The Abubakar Atiku support group, Articulated, has urged President Mohammed Buhari’s advisers to leave the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), Atiku Abubakar alone but face the security and economic issues that demand critical attention in the country.
The group regretted that at this critical moment in the nation, it sounds unreasonable for the president’s aides to be “jittery about what Atiku says, does and/or even imagine, instead of addressing pressing national issues.”
The Director General of Atikulated Agenda Worldwide, Chief Emeka C. Kalu, in a statement advised presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina to stop chasing shadows and ensure his principal pays more attention to the yearnings of the masses whose security is in danger and are gradually losing confidence in the economy.
Kalu, who was reacting to a recent statement by Mr. Adeshina also said that it was unfortunate that out of every patriotic and concerned points raised by the statements from Alhaji Atiku, the former found pleasure in picking and thematically analysing only a section to score cheap political point, forgetting that this is not a popularity contest, but a crusade on the need to salvage what is left of the nation.
“It thrives on insincerity for Adesina to read meaning into a simple statement in part while overlooking the whole text which is a sign of the attempt to score cheap political goal out of a simple and straightforward statement.
“Having used and continued to use all means to cling unto power at the detriment of everybody, one would’ve expected that government could at least give respite to Atiku who has continued to maintain all manners of decorum and decency while pursuing justice.
“Atiku is a true democrat that believes in the rule of law, but nobody should misstate his gentle stride as a sign of cowardice, as the nation’s peace would have been disturbed if Buhari has lost t he election,” he said.
He called on government to address such issues as restructuring, the controversy and threatening issue of RUGA, the dwindling economy, and prayer for better welfare of Nigerians. “PANDEF, Afanifere, Ohaneze, are getting louder over restructuring because Nigeria seems to be at a standstill. The issue of Shiite Muslim’s daily protest in Abuja is getting more disturbing. Just today, and in previous days, we’ve had the issues of angry people occupying the express roads, including herdsmen insisting on “NO RUGA”
Herdsmen attacks threatening food security, says Rev. Ogu
Apostle Eugene Ogu is the founder of the Abundant Live Evangel Mission, (ALEM) and former Chairman of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, (PFN), Rivers and Bayelsa states chapter. In this interview with EMMANUEL MASHA, he speaks on insecurity in the country and killings by Boko Haram sect, the Fulani herdsmen and other issues
Nigeria at the moment appears to be on the precipice following the palpable tension created by the rural grazing area, RUGA, policy of the Federal Government, what in your opinion is the effect of this to the peaceful co-existence of the nation?
I want to say that Nigeria has come to a point where the truth must be told or the truth itself will tell itself. We must tell the truth or the truth will tell us the truth. Every government and leadership owes its people the truth. That truth constitutes a direction that guides the flow of the people whether politically, religiously or otherwise. Nigeria has been living in a fool’s Paradise over the years where various leaders come and tell us what they want us to believe. We believed them only to later discover that the actions of the leaders are towards a different game from what they wanted us to believe. The issue of Boko Haram right from the arrest of their former leader (Mohammed Yusuf) and the sudden disappearance of that same leader brought a question of trust on the government.
What is the government truly up to? First and foremost, we had a man who was in the position to tell us so much about Boko Haram and its formation, about its intention and about his sponsors. We had a man who ought to have given us the evidence through which the developed countries would have used in a way that it would have saved us from what we are into today. But within the same security agencies, that man was mysteriously killed.
The same government that arrested him was the same government in which he was killed. Killing him means that he died with all the information that would have helped Nigeria to forestall all that is happening today. You can see that we have a government that cannot investigate the high profile killings in this country. Chief Bola Ige under the watchful eyes of the security agencies was killed and up till today nobody has been indicted for that. Marshal Harry was killed, no investigation. All of these happened in a country that invests so much in security.
The question is, is it true that the Nigerian security agencies cannot find out who these killers are? Whether they are Boko Haram or cattle herdsmen, we don’t know. In Dogo Naawa, for instance, 362 persons were killed in one day in March 2010. In Miango, 37 and later 72 persons were killed in Bassa Local Government. Go to Benue, Kaduna, Adamawa, Taraba states and many other places, people are being killed without anybody asking questions. Is it true that the security agencies that billions of naira was invested in both at state and national levels are sincere that they cannot find out who these people are!
We have come to a point where we must tell the truth or the people will tell us the truth. So, having been deeply involved in the sense that social burden of the people of this country in their thousands has come to my shoulders to do something to uplift then lives of the needy. Go to Benue, Adamawa, Benue, Plateau, to Nassarawa, Kaduna, mention it, you will see children going to school because I am alive. I built a secondary school in Dogo Naawa in 2010 that is free. I pay the teachers up till date. I am not a government employee. Government does not do anything for me. I am a citizen of this country who is concerned about the goings-on in this country. How can a government that was supposed to protect its people now by its body language and actions allow people to insinuate certain things?
What do you make of government’s response?
The governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El- Rufai, once said that they paid money to some people so that they don’t come and kill and invade Nigeria. He said it. Who did they pay the money to?
First, they said they were Libyans, later on they said they were Malians. How did they know these people were Libyans if they did not see them? How did they give them the money?
Now, the Federal Government is determined to bring RUGA for these same people to settle. Does the government think that for killing Nigerians, you will appease the people? What part of the constitution that backs government action allows us to be killed and then give these killers a settlement?
Go to the market now, before the President Muhammadu Buhari regime, in the month of March new yam has come out. In April, May, you will see new yam everywhere. This is July and new yam is yet to come out, why? It is because those who used to go to farm are no longer going to farm for fear of being killed by herdsmen… Here, we allow our farmers in the North, in the East and the West to come under threat. This is the worst warfare.
Go to the Bible and see the history. What this implies is that, you are gradually turning young people to criminals, kidnappers, prostitutes and all forms of social vices and crimes. This is the effect of the herdsmen not allowing the farmers to access their farms. These people come to Rivers State and all the Niger Delta states with their cattle even in Abuja in a broad day light embarrassing the people with their cows. This shows that Nigeria is a cattle farm.
Are you satisfied with the responses of the southern governors so far?
I have heard the South-West governors saying they don’t have land for RUGA. South-East governors have said they don’t have land for RUGA. It is only governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State that said I don’t have. This is not an “I” thing. The South-South governors should also say that they don’t have land for Ruga. Benue, Taraba and other states up North have said they don’t want it. In most states, they don’t want it. Nigerians are watching as things unfold. You can take our oil money in billions and invest in cattle colony for them in the North; we will collect it back when the time comes.
The Federal Government should take off its hands from private businesses. You don’t invest billions of public funds in private business because tomorrow a South-East person, South-West, South-South person will be there. You are telling people that anybody who becomes president should fend for his family first. From your kitchen cabinet to the military and security agencies appointments are one sided. You are building a structure on false foundation and it will fall. Buhari should not destroy the image we used to know he had. One day he will not be in that office and the truth will be told. How can a government allow people to herd their cattle into somebody’s farm?
President Buhari should tell the police to arrest those people who are killing farmers and innocent Nigerians. There is nothing like communal clash in Nigeria. What we are having now is terrorist invasion. You call them bandits…
Bandits used to break into people’s houses and steal things. It is only under Buhari that bandits are now killing and maiming people. These bandits have done worse than Boko Haram. But if it was IPOB, you will brand them terrorists and you sent the military to destroy their place and kill them.
There has been this out cry for restructuring of Nigeria, do you subscribe to that agitation?
The question is, why are Nigerians asking for restructuring? It is because we think that corruption is only when people steal money. Corruption is when you corrupt a genuine process that should show an equitable flow of the process for everybody but you corrupt it. It is not just stealing money.
Restructuring is because we have seen that everything about Buhari government is lopsided. We have a government where three or more persons dictate who becomes what in this country. This is not supposed to be so. This is a country of about 200 million people with different tribes of equal stake. So, no cabal should be seen dictating things for other tribes in this country.
It is sad that just two or three persons are just there in this government deciding the fate and destiny of this country. It is bad. Aba is one city where all the spare parts are being manufactured. Today, if you want to go to Aba, you must pass through Etche and that road has been bad for so long.
Which major road do we have in South-South? Look at the East West Road. The way former President Goodluck Jonathan left it, that is how it is today. Go to the North, they are using Julius Berger to construct roads everywhere there. What is wrong with the South-South region that produces all the money you are using to develop and beautify the North!
We have seen quite a number of church pastors being accused of rape or one form of sex crime or the other. Is this not corruption too?
I totally disagree with you on that. That argument has no basis whatsoever. What is happening now is an orchestrated plan by agents of the Devil to destroy the body of Christ and I can tell you that they have failed. If not for the church, this country would have completely gone down.
The church is like a candle on the mountain. It takes a beast to rape somebody. The Pastor of COZA said he did not do it. And I want to say to him, my friend go back and pastor your church. As far as I am concerned, that was just a satanic plan to push COZA out of where they are. If you have gone to where COZA is, it is located at where elites live. A plot of land there is between N200 to N300million. The Devil will not be happy to see that church there. When they have a programme, you cannot pass through that road because of heavy traffic.
The presidential election tribunal is current ongoing. What is your expectation from that tribunal?
In Nigeria now, anything you see, you take. I’m just praying that God should see us through at this point in time. Are those people in the tribunal not Nigerians? I don’t have confidence in these people. A criminal who defrauded me went to court and the court was playing games with me. Come today, come tomorrow until the judge retired.
One day, the truth that has been hidden in this country would be told. We have been covering a lot of things. That is why we cannot prosper as a country. It is only in Nigeria that you can hear that animals swallow money. The world is watching and laughing at us. Shame. If God has helped you to stand firm where you are, don’t let anybody to push you down.
RUGA: X-raying the 30-day ultimatum to govs, Buhari
Politicians, particularly in Africa today, continue to face hard times in seeking common grounds, making compromises and balancing self-interest in leadership towards achieving democratic progress. The call by the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, in her last address as she prepares to quit office, on leaders around the world, to strive in addressing the genuine concerns that citizens hold, without absolutism becomes very apt.
For too long, both leaders and the led in Nigeria have allowed sentiments to overshadow debates on critical national issues of development. Quite painfully, our choice of leaders to date at federal, states, and local levels is hinged on religion and region rather than competence, which compounds the problem. It didn’t start today. We laid this faulty foundation right at the beginning of the current democracy in 1999, when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was presented to Nigerians. This is without prejudice to the experiences in the days of the military junta.
Former President Obasanjo did not emerge on the strength of his competence but based on sentiments, primarily, to assuage the ill-feelings of the South-West region who had lost an earlier opportunity of producing Nigeria’s leadership in MKO Abiola. He was seen more as a stabilising factor.
Although Obasanjo appeared detribalized in his leadership style, the South-West saw the eight years of his government as their time. Any criticism of the Obasanjo administration with or without merit, from persons other than the Yorubas was deemed to be subjective. It is a typical aberration that has permeated through the periods of late President Umaru Yar’Adua, former President Goodluck Jonathan, and now President Muhammadu Buhari.
I remember with nostalgia, listening to President Buhari at the popular Eagle Square in Abuja on 29th May 2015 when he delivered an inaugural speech shortly after taking the oath of office and allegiance. ”I belong to everybody and belong to nobody, ” he said. This singular statement assuaged the fears of many Nigerians who had earlier expressed concerns of ’religious and ethnic bigotry’ as allegedly being part of his personality in the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.
Two weeks ago, a coalition of northern groups (CNGs) issued a 30-day ultimatum to the federal government and governors who are opposed to the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan also called RUGA across the country. The group warned the governors to reverse their decisions immediately to give peace a chance.
Spokesman of the coalition, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman at a press conference in fact, placed President Buhari specifically on notice to stop the resistance from the governors which his group described as outright madness. The statement by the coalition on 4th July 2019, reminds one of a similar group also referred to as CNG two years ago in Kaduna, which gave an ultimatum to Igbos residing in the North to vacate the region. For the prompt condemnation of the group by the Federal Government under Professor Yemi Osinbajo then as acting President, the situation was brought under total control. It was at the height of the agitations by members of the Indegenous People of Biafara (IPOB).
Southern leaders have been threatening fire and brimstone over the suspension of RUGA since the fresh ultimatum to both the governors and the President was issued. No one at the moment knows the intent of the latest ultimatum. As far as political commentators are concerns, it is a treasonable action against the state.
Despite failing to state clearly what action they would take if the governors do not reverse their positions on the suspended policy, an act which stokes hatred among Nigeria’s nationalities is a serious offence that should never be treated with kid gloves. Surprisingly however, neither did the Federal Government nor the presidency condemn the said ultimatum by the coalition until two weeks after, when they were backed by the Northern Elders Forumn (NEF). Maybe, President Buhari did not consider the CNGs seriously as to warrant a presidential response.
How can an issue raised by the CNGs that a major tribe in Nigeria ’Fulani’ are today being singled out for profiling and denied access to ordinary grazing lands and the right to thoroughfare in the South not be taken seriously by the government? Again, the coalition insists that Fulani are being hunted, expelled or slaughtered while southerners are comfortably hosted in northern cities and towns.
Considering how weighty the concerns of the coalition are and the fact that they have called on these group of northerners to quite the south, rather than wave it with the back of the hands, the government ought to have demanded the arrest of those behind such calls. It is hate speech.
As it stands currently, the ultimatum days by the CNGs are still counting. No one knows what will follow next. By encouraging Fulani to remain wherever they are, without first, condemning the actions of the two groups, President Buhari may be giving credence to allegations that he is only building confidence in his kinsmen as a Fulani man himself while ignoring the real issues. Inclusion of sentiments in handling the crisis also compounds the problem rather than address it.
Mr. President remains the leader of all Nigerians, he should never be seen to showing partiality in the discharge of his functions. The presidency also needs to accept objective criticism from well meaning citizens as their modest contribution to enriching the polity.
In pushing for the unity of the country also, the government should adopt the idea of Vice President Osinbajo that all hate speech in the country be treated as terrorism. Any silence from our leaders at this critical time of insecurity will definitely be a grave disservice to the country, its peace and its future.
This week’s Aso Rock guests
President Muhammadu Buhari’s first guest in the week was the Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege. The lawmaker after a closed door meeting with the President announced the parliament’s support to a call by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for the deployment of military personnel on major high ways across the country to fight insecurity. Omo-Agege explained that the upper legislative chamber would buy into the idea in view of the “exigencies of the moment.”
The President on Tuesday also played host to the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) led by the President, Dr Francis Adedayo Faduyile. NMA had come to make a case for National Health Insurance Scheme to be made compulsory for all Nigerians, including those in the informal sector. In their view, some special treatments, like cancer, will require funds that might be beyond the reach of many. Same day, the President met with the leadership of Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) who raised concerns with Buhari on multi-taxation challenges facing businesses in Nigeria. In their opinion, if this not addressed, the country may face difficulty with the recently signed AfCFTA.
Other prominent guests of the President within the week were the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and the Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi. Both leaders engaged President Buhari on issues relating to security of the national and other matters of national development.
The Daniel’s grace
For many who are familiar with the Bible, the name and story about Daniel won’t be too strange to them I’m sure. And for many of us who did Christian Religion Studies (CRK) in our secondary schools, we feel in love with the man Daniel because of the lion’s den part of his story.
How would a man be thrown into a lion’s den and not be eaten up? That must be a Superman
I remember vividly, it was after one of such classes in my secondary school days that I was overwhelmed with this man, Daniel’s story and I decided to start bearing that name as my middle name.
My recent studies about him made me discovered greater revelations about him.
Daniel won every war he was confronted with; he survived every attack directed at him and finally, he excelled beyond imagination, even in the presence of his enemies.
So what is the Daniel’s Grace? You may want to ask. In chapter 2 of the book of Daniel, the king had a dream but couldn’t remember what the dream was all about. He needed someone who would tell and interpret his dream.
How would you interpret a dream you don’t know?
Magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers were all summoned to the palace to tell and interpret the dream.
Many of these persons were left dumbfounded, as no one knew the dream talk more interpreting it. Long story short, Daniel pleaded for patience with the king; and with time, God Almighty revealed the dream and its meaning to him.
Now, this is the main thing, the moment Daniel began to achieve results, most people around him began to hate and envy him. Instead of them to ask him for the secrets, they began to devise means to bring him down; and this played out in chapter 6 of same book of Daniel.
The moment you begin to achieve some level of results, some persons would no longer be comfortable around you. An average mind prefers an average or low life. Once you begin to aim for uncommon feats, expect to lose some close friends.
Sometime, some persons just hate you for no reason. Ask them what your offence is, they can’t lay hand on any tangible thing. Check the root, it is envy, bitterness, hatred and unnecessary rivalry.
These magicians, enchanters and others whom I call “The Cabal” of the government then, knew that Daniel loved God so much. So they needed to come up with a policy which would make Daniel go against the things of God. They came up with one and cunningly passed it to the king to sign. The king signed without knowing the grand plans – which was to destroy Daniel.
In summary, Daniel was found guilty based on the law signed by the king, which could not be reversed. And what was Daniel’s offence, you may want to ask?. He prayed to his God three times daily; and for this reason, he was thrown into the lion’s den. You know the rest of the story…
Because of the grace upon his life, instead of the lion to devour him, they began to play with him and treated him well. That is what I call GRACE.
I pray that same grace will locate you. What was meant to destroy you will be the source of your elevation. Someone reading this now, like Daniel, your enemies thought it’s all over for you based on the present situation you’ve found yourself. But guess what, they didn’t know you are a seed. Your comeback will shock them. Your present situation won’t consume you. May grace locate you.
Lastly, everyone who was part of that plans to destroy Daniel were used as exchange for Daniel’s position in the lion’s den. They and their families took his place, and of course, they were devoured.
The same pit they dug for you will be what would destroy your enemies. Instead of you going down, you will go forward and upward. What was meant to consume you will announce you. And those who felt it’s all over for you will never recover from the coma they will go into as a result of the great things they’ll hear about you.
I see you rising. Receive the Daniel’s grace.
Have a blessed week.
PDP denies own ‘candidate’ at Reps Election Tribunal
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has admitted that her candidate’s name was never published ahead the 2019 poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the February 2019 general election for the Njikoka/Anaocha/Dunukofia Federal Constituency seat of Anambra State.
This clarification was dropped before the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal One sitting in Awka by Mr. Ntiham Niam – a top administrative officer at the PDP headquarters while giving evidence as a defence witness in a petition by the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)-Chief Dozie Nwankwo.
He is challenging the declaration of PDP’s Valentine Ayika as winner of the instead of himself. Nwankwo said Ayika was never a candidate of any political party when he was cross-examined by the lead prosecution counsel Dr. Kayode Fatoke.
Ayika in his evidence-in-chief while reading out the copy of PDP National Assembly Primaries Appeal Panel’s report stated that it the primary contest was won fair and square by Dr. Richard Egenti for the Federal Constituency, not himself.
According to the panel, that at the end of the primary election when the committee that organised and supervised it has concluded counting and recording proceedings and was about to announce Egenti as winner, “ alleging that one of the candidates connived with the Returning Officer and ran away with the result.
He also said that the PDP Appeal panel recommended that Egenti’s name be restored and forwarded to INEC, but that was curiously not done, lead to a battery of law suits, even up to Supreme Court.
Ayika admitted that his name was not listed in the Supreme Court judgment which he has been laying claim to because he was not joined in the suit.
While being cross-examined by the INEC counsel, Mr. E.E. Udeh, who earlier claimed his name was published by INEC as a candidate, admitted he got to know his name wasn’t in the list used for the election only on the actual day of the election.
With the conclusion of presentation of witnesses with Ayika as star defense witness, the proceedings wounded up while the respondent was given up to July 25,2019 to file final defense address, while the prosecution will follow on Aug 1,2019. Adoption/argument of final addresses was fixed for Aug 3,2019.
We stopped fulanisation of the South in the First Republic, we’ll do it again –Amaechi
Chief Mbazulike Amaechi was a Minister of Aviation during the First Republic. He spoke with KENNETH OFOMA on the spate of insecurity in the country amidst the RUGA controversy. Excerpts…
What is your take on the recent killing of the daughter of the Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti?
I am very concerned about the statement by the Commissioner of Police, that she was not killed by Fulani herdsmen, but by other kidnappers and armed robbers, when the police had not even started investigation. I have been telling people; this Fulani thing is sponsored by some people in government, it is part of an agenda; fulanisation of Nigeria. I have been saying it, they started this thing at the time of Uthman Danfodio, it stopped at Lafia. Again, in 1962, some people wanted to extend the fulanisation agenda to Benue and from Benue to Nsukka, Cross River and Ogoja area. But because we were in government, we stopped it, and particularly with the help of the then Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa, who did not support the Sardauna’s programme.
The thing stopped. Now, there is a Fulani man who fanatically believe in the resuscitation of Uthman Danfodio’s conquest, and he wants to extend the whole thing, using some minions in the South. The government of Nigeria is responsible for what is happening and they will be held responsible if they break up this country.
They are moving towards breaking up this federation.
But the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, also said the Fulanis should not be stigmatised for the killing. Don’t you agree with him?
Who is taking Tinubu seriously?
Apart from being a governor in Lagos State, what is Tinubu in Nigeria? Nobody should take Tinubu serious at all.
Your friend and contemporary, Tanko Yakassai, was quoted to have said that Ndigbo should support the RUGA settlement or forget 2023 Igbo presidency. How do you see that?
The Igbos should first of all get ready to fight for presidency in 2023.
Are they seriously working towards it?
They should start first of all now to organise and mobilise; I have asked them to come to me, they don’t want to listen.
Each person is pursuing his own life; presidency cannot just come to them because they said we want to be president. You have to organise, you have to work, you have to strategise, you have to mobilise and they are not doing that.
But should the Igbo support RUGA settlement in the South East even when they don’t have land for it?
Of course it cannot be. The Fulani RUGA cannot work. Our governors are playing hide and seek game but if they fail to oppose it, the people of Igboland will fight to protect their territory.
We have done it before and we stand to do it again.
Since the suspension of the RUGA programme, some northern groups, youths and elders have taken up the fight, issuing threats, ultimatum and quit notices. Aren’t you worried about this development?
It is for the Nigerian people to decide. By their action, they are provoking action.
They are provoking a rebellion in the country and the rebellion or revolution might come. Nobody wants it, I don’t want it; I fought for the freedom of this country, for the unity of this country. I believed in a party that had the slogan of one Nigeria, we never wavered, I believe in that. But not in a one Nigeria where I will be a slave.
So, what they are doing now, they are already telling the people of Southern Nigeria that its either they accept the position of slavery or whatever happens, let it happen.
That is the policy now. That the people of Southern Nigeria, including the Middle-belt area, the Christian areas of Nigeria should accept the position of slavery or colony in this country, but it will never happen!
Baylesa guber: Intrigues as PDP ticket tears Dickson’s group apart
PAULINE ONYIBE writes that the coming Bayelsa governorship election has put so much unrest in the Seriake Dickson camp and that some PDP bigwigs seems not to be on the same page as far as the choice of who succeeds Dickson is concerned.
Since the last governorship election in Bayelsa State in 2015 which brought the incumbent Governor Seriake Dickson back to Creek Haven, plans had been on to pick someone who succeeds him as the restoration government rounds off. Political pundits have analysed that the incumbent governor wants to pick his successor by all means to indirectly continue having a voice after his tenure but other powers that be are blocking that. They believe that he has not done so well to bring in a successor.
Ofcourse that has created a very big space in the PDP family as the ticket to Creek Haven is now being sought by every Tom, Dick and Harry, something that had never happened in the history of Bayelsa politics.
Already so many persons from the restoration government had purchased nomination forms including the Deputy Governor, Gboribiogha John Jonah, a decision Bayelsans believe must have created a negative impact in the government. Others that have also purchased the form include Ambassador Boladei Igali, Barrister Kemela Okara, Chief Benson Agadaga, Honourable Konbowei Benson, the immediate speaker of the state House of Assembly from Southern Ijaw local government.
Others are Senator Douye Diri, Talford Ongolo, the chief of staff to the governor, Dr. Franklin Erepamo Osaisai, Fred Agbedi, Reuben Okoya, Pastor Kenebi Okoko, Chief Ndutimi Alaibe and Joshua Maciver. Yet others are on the way as it has been alleged that the person the sitting governor wants to hand over to is yet to pick the form in the person of Dr Nimibofa Ayawei the chairman of Bayelsa State board of internal revenue, who is from Southern Ijaw and a cousin to Dr. Ereepamu Osaisai.
Also in the race is Kemela Okara the current Secretary to the State Government, who incidentally is from Bayelsa central and a son of Ekpetiama kingdom where Architect Reuben Okoya and Keniebi Okoko hail from.
Another person is Talford Ongolo the Chief of Staff Government House also from Bayelsa Central Southern Ijaw local government who is adjudged by many as not well known and might had been put in the race to dislodge those from that axis. Then comes Douye Diri an incumbent senator representing Bayelsa Central Senatorial District at the 9th National Assembly who also is from central from the same local government with Timi Alaibe who has already bought form. PDP in the state as we know has two camps; that of Jonathan and that of Dickson.
While the former president seems to be supporting some aspirants, the governor has his own people that he is supporting. Of course, the APC had earlier opined that the PDP was in disarray but the umbrella party had refuted the allegation saying the party was in order until the recent intrigues that exposed and confirmed the allegation.
The restoration government through the office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Affairs, Fyneman Wilson, had recently mentioned some names that are being supported by the restoration government.
All these are happening after the conclusion of praying and fasting organised by the restoration government to choose the next governor of the state.
This, according to some people is an attempt by Dickson, technically trying to dislodge men that have already bought forms as he had repeatedly said that people cannot be outside watching while others are busy making the party attractive only for them to come and pick tickets to become governor. In less than a month, the national secretariat of the PDP has raked in about N364m from the sale of forms, in a state where there had been cry of hunger and poverty.
However, the Special Adviser on Political Matters to the Governor, Fyneman Wilson, described the increasing governorship aspirants on the platform of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as healthy process to filter the best from the pool.
He told journalists in Yenagoa that every member of the party who has the requisite qualification is entitled to contest that election, stating that the party has no preferred candidate in the upcoming election. He said that it is in Dickson’s interest to have as many persons that are willing to contest the election and that they must not be intimidated by others who claim to have been anointed.
He denied rumours making the rounds that the restoration government and the PDP has banned people who recently decamped from opposition parties from contesting the election.
But a staunch PDP member of the restoration government and Dickson’s representative in Southern Ijaw Local Government, Chief Frank Dogood Bekebo, lamented the nature and manner in which Dickson wants to bring up his successor. Bekebo advised Dickson to be weary of those he called the enemies of the party whom he said the governor has anointed to take over from him both at the local government and state levels.
Speaking with Saturday Telegraph, Bekebo advised the governor to remember those that worked for him during his last governorship election instead of trying to anoint those that didn’t work for him. He knocked the governor and the party for denying him the opportunity to test his strength during the forthcoming local government election disclosing that instead of the party to make the buying of the form open, they sold the forms to only one candidate from each of the local governments.
He therefore wondered why the PDP now made the picking of the governorship form open for every body adding that they should have also made the local government form open too. In his words, he said: “The government that we supported betrayed my right by appointing people that did not even bring one vote and made them to be flag bearers of the party.
We are the people that worked for Dickson to make him governor. When came on board, people were afraid of the governor at that time and we came up and worked for him and places that did not even bring one vote, those are the areas the governor is looking unto. “But we that went and faced the guns, today we are not being carried along. That is not good. First tenure, we worked for him, the second tenure, ward 15 brought the second highest votes in the whole of Bayelsa and I was the ward coordinator. Nothing to show for it. “People that he appointed as commissioners and caretaker chairmen didn’t even bring one vote for him.
And if they had killed us that time, our families would have lost us. I wanted to contest for local government election as chairman and to my greatest surprise, I was denied the privilege to buy form
. If they had been stopping people from buying forms in the past, would he have been the governor. It is my right. “I even pity the former speaker, some hoodlums wanted to kill him and he ran to my place and those places did not even bring votes.
some hoodlums wanted to kill him and he ran to my place and those places did not even bring votes. Let him go to his records; how many wards brought votes in his second tenure and people that betrayed Mr Speaker during House of Reps election, those are the people that want to contest election.
“Then they expect us to come and work for the party. How can we work for the party? If you want to consider somebody, if he wants to do the real thing, the first person the governor should consider is kombowei, but today we have not seen anything even among the three persons he selected, his name was not there. “Upon all he did to kombowei and his group, today they don’t have anything to say.
A serving speaker cannot even install a local government chairman in his own local government. He does not even have one person in the cabinet. That is not the way politics is played. If somebody worked for you, you have to consider those people. “And even him too, they betrayed him in is election and the assembly election. If not because of him, the assembly member would not have won.
He brought almost 8,000 votes. Even Douye Diri failed in Kolokuma Opokuma in his own place. He failed in Yenagoa local government, then speaker begged that he can’t disappoint his governor and Douye Diri became the flag bearer. He is in the Senate but Mr speaker’s own, they betrayed him. It is now that he is going to court. If I were him, I will leave this case for the party.
“When army came to Ogbimbiri, governor was talking to me, after the election. Governor’s Rep that he gave to me, am I really representing the governor, governor’s Rep is only in salary and the salary too is not encouraging. That is not the way to do things. “He supposed to consider those that fought for him. If we were killed at that time, the governor would not have come out to do anything for us. It is not good. Let him try to consider those people that fought for him. Not the people that betrayed the party. Those people that are contesting election now those people betrayed the party and it is not fair.
“At that time if you go Southern Ijaw constituency four, you can hold on to Kombowei and you can hold on to Frank Dogood Bekebo. We were putting heads. Which other person in Southern Ijaw that will come and boast that he brought votes in constituency 4 today we have seen thousands of people. “We are the giant of Southern Ijaw where were they when we brought these votes. We went to the lion’s zone. We frustrated all our business because of this party my businesses have been frustrated nobody helped me. Im a friend to David lion but because of party issue we are no longer close. I have now seen that if you listen to this party (PDP) your family will suffer. Now we have served him for eight years we that brought the votes what did we achieve
Edo people are firmly with Obaseki –Onobun
Honourable Marcus Onobun is one of the inaugurated members of the Edo State House of Assembly, representing Esan West constituency. The former Special Adviser to Adams Oshiomhole is now a diehard supporter of Governor Godwin Obaseki. In this interview with OJIEVA EHIOSUN, he spoke on the current political brawl between the godfather and the godson. Excerpts:ß
You were known to be a staunch supporter of the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, but you are now on the side of Governor Godwin Obaseki. What is your take on the conflict of interest between the duo over 2020 guber?
I don’t want to believe that there are issues between the governor and his predecessor. What we are seeing is the handiwork of some people beating drums of war, dropping names and saying, ‘oh, that is involved, this is involved’. I have worked with the former governor and by the grace of God today, I am a legislator under the present governor, who I understand meant so well for Edo State.
The former governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has contributed his quota and the present governor has taken off from where comrade stopped, and he is doing very well. Edo people are happy with him. If there are issues, the party has its own internal mechanism to deal with those issues.
The situation in Edo today is not above the APC National Working Committee, it is just that some people are trying to be more holier than God Himself.
But I want to assure you that at the end of the day, the issues will be finally settled and those of them who want APC to be scattered will be put to shame.
Do you support the call for the abolition of godfatherism in our political system?
Nigerian electorate are becoming politically conscious of their environment.
We cannot continue to be slaves to a particular system. So if the people of Edo State are saying no to godfatherism, who am I to say no.
You are acclaimed to be the youngest lawmaker in the 7th Assembly of Edo State. How do you feel having your dreams fulfilled as a politician?
I feel very elated to be a part of the 7th Assembly in Edo State.
It is something one has always wished to be part of. If you take a critical look at this 7th Assembly in Edo State, it is full of young and talented men, full of wisdom and knowledge, people that God has sent to help our amiable governor, Godwin Obaseki achieve the set out goals of taking Edo State to its pinnacle.
After such a long wait, I am thankful to God that at the end, I have joined my colleagues to commence the work we were elected to do. I feel good because it has given a good opportunity to get closer to my people and at the same time, give my best to the people, because it is said that to whom much is given, much is expected.
My people have already lifted me now, it is my own responsibility to give them the best of representation.
You are still in your young element, do you think you can surpass the records of your predecessors?
I wouldn’t want to go into records of those that have represented this constituency before.
What is most important to me is going there to do a good job and surpass their records. I make bold to say that I will surpass their records. Among all the legislators that had represented Esan West in the past, the difference is that, I am a young man. This is the first time my party is winning Esan West, and we won overwhelmingly.
So, I am here with a burning desire to give my best, and I believe that by the end of the day, I would have surpassed the records of the past legislators. Again, being the party in government, I am going to collaborate with our governor to see how we can bring about the dividends of democracy to the entire Esanland.
Now that Esan has the speakership of the state assembly, can you still complain of marginalisation?
I want to say that the outcome of the 2019 general elections in Edo State is an attestation of the good work the governor is doing in the state. This is why you see almost all the representatives of Esan land supporting the governor because that is what gave us the gateway to coming to the House of Assembly.
The entire people of Esan voted for us because they want us to come and join hands with the governor to take Edo State to an enviable level, so that by the time we leave office, our names would go into the good book of records. And now that Esan people have clearly show to the governor that we love him, Esanland will be better for it.
Buhari should retain top performing ministers –Olokoba
Comrade Razaq Olokoba is the National President, Campaign for Dignity in Governance (CDG), a coalition of over 70 civil society organisations. In this interview with some journalists in Lagos, the pro-democracy activist took a critical look at the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet, among other issues. OLALEKAN OSIADE brings excerpts…
Now that President Muhammadu Buhari is set to appoint ministers and properly kickstart his second term, what is your assessment of his first term, especially in terms of infrastructural development?
We must first appreciate the challenges we have in Nigeria about the state of infrastructure. There are data that were put out by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, that they have constructed over 4000 kilometres of roads.
That is the distance between Nigeria and London! That is in a way comical and confusing to Nigerians. But at the moment, the Ministry of Works under Babatunde Raji Fashola has constructed over 1000 kilometres of roads besides rehabilitation and repairs across the nation and that is huge. It is huge because of the peculiarity of the moment, the challenge of fund.
We are at a time when Nigerian government declared to be broke because in terms of prosperity, the prosperity of Nigeria has not been this bad giving the income we are making from oil, $14pb, $26pb. It kept fluctuating.
What that means is that the expenditures were in trouble, and budget ran into crisis. So, even within this financial turbulent, the Buhari administration was able to tar over a thousand kilometres of road and also repaired some. That is huge for the kind of purse of the Federal Government. So, what I am saying in essence is that, it doesn’t stop there.
There are also mass action programme that is going on across the country. There is no state in this country that is not going through Federal Government’s mass action programme, except Lagos State that is yet to give land to the Federal Government.
What I am saying in essence is that, this technical intelligence to infrastructure is unique and peculiar.
Whatever it takes, Nigeria should support President Muhammadu Buhari. There is also a nightmare that Nigerians pass through during rainy sessions just as the situation we find ourselves now across the country.
There are crises on the Badagry Road and other places because of the rain. But our consolation is to look at where we are coming from. Five years ago, when the rainy session was not as disturbing as now, the last administration could not achieve much.
And today, the story of good roads might had been forgotten if not with the effective efforts of the Buhari administration. So, people should be assured that any road that had not been done is definitely on the list of those to be done. If you look at difficult terrains that are enjoying good roads now, what comes to mind is that the past administration was governing as if development is not possible in Nigeria.
In your opinion, should Buhari bring back some of his old ministers?
Buhari’s team should be empowered more and given more support this time to do more. Some of them are exemplary. This is possible because Buhari gave us some good guys. In his first term, he would have done better than this if we had a patriotic parliament.
In the first instance, I will not want Buhari to dismantle the winning team. The first term of Buhari enjoyed the services of a winning team from the president to the cabinet members, his advisers and by extension many of the public officers and the civil servants. They were fantastic. And when you are in that situation, it is not tactical, it is not strategic, and in governance, it is not proper to assume that changing those winning hands is the best thing to do. He gave us somebody with mathematical knowledge of road construction and repair in person of Babatunde Fashola (SAN).
Even as a lawyer, he did well in the Ministry of Works, and because of Fashola’s example, you would not be shocked if you see a medical doctor doing well in the field of environment. Fashola, a lawyer, has done equally well in the field of engineering just as a qualified engineer could have done.
So, there is a bigger assurance now that infrastructure development will be sped up now than the first term because the challenges are over. He should hit the ground running now. That should be the target now because there will not be budget delay.
Lagos/Ibadan Expressway was spilt into three sections. By now, we would have got a brand new road between Ibadan and Lagos but it was sabotaged by the immediate past parliament.
What I am saying in essence is that the required level of understanding should be given to the Federal Government by the people so that it will be able to double what it has done in the first term.
Are you implying that Fashola has the record of performance to return?
We must not deny the efforts and foresight of Mr President who saw the quality in Fashola.
So, immediately we appreciate that, we have to also commend the role of the immediate past Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola. He is a very patriotic public officer. He did very well and many people are not surprised about his superlative performance in office. He did same when he was the governor of Lagos State.
So, it is not a surprise to an average Nigeria that he performed wonderfully as a minister. I was not surprised either because immediately he was appointed Minister of Works, Power and Housing, I knew bad roads, and pot holes in Nigeria were in big trouble.
We must also commend the civil servants for giving him the needed support to excel.
Other people should learn from what the President and Fashola did by giving the public officers and civil servants the right environment, right motivation, right encouragement and right tools to work. Such attitude would bring out the best in them and the country will be better for it.
With right leadership, Nigerian public officers will perform well like their counterparts anywhere in the world. The President, the minister and public officers in the three sectors, Works, Power and Housing should also be commended for a job well done.
But there are still challenges with our roads. Don’t you think so? The appeal I will make to Nigerians is that there is no 100 per cent solution for traffic challenges all over the world wherever roads are under construction. And so, we should bear with the government when some roads are partially closed against the traffic now. There must be a sacrifice for development.
The second Niger Bridge will be beneficial to all after completion but people should exercise patience because there is always pain before gain.
By saying that he will only appoint the people he know, do you think the President has preference for some people in the yet to be constituted cabinet?
From the public assessment that we have seen, there were top ministers that have done fantastically well. Fashola was one of them. Rotimi Amaechi was one of them.
The Minister for Agriculture was one of them. Abike Dabiri, Boss Mustapha are also there without forgetting the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
And that is why our group and other civil society organisations worked assiduously and vigorously to mobilise Nigerians, to mobilise the youth and I travelled virtually to all the states of the federation to campaign for Team Buhari on the platform of our organisation. Our structure is still intact. Before the election, we organised several rallies. During the electioneering, we went round to test Buhari’s popularity and discovered he was a God-sent leader.
The impressive feedback we got even from difficult terrains like the South-South and South-East showed that Buhari did not do it alone.
It showed he did it together with all his team members. Against this backdrop, Buhari should parade many of his first term team members so that this second term would witness triple performance and surpass first term achievement in multiple folds. That is my candid advice to Mr President on his new cabinet composition.
If per chance he wants to return some of them, would you advise that they retain their old portfolios?
We are not supposed to mystify governance. President of Nigeria oversees all the ministers.
He oversees all the advisers. He reads security reports from Police, from DSS, from border intelligent personnel, from the army and so on. And the President has 24 hour a day like other Nigerians.
He does so many things within a day. So, if the job is not too much for the president and is not too much for the governor that oversees the affairs of the state, how then can only three portfolio be too much for a minister like Fashola, who had been tested, trusted and had done so well? Let us look at where we are coming from on power. Let us watch clearly the improvement.
It is not proper for people to pretend as if there is no improvement in all the sectors in the country! Such pretence confuses the government. There are fundamental advancement in power sector apart from some apparatus like DISCO and others that are not doing well. There is tremendous improvement in power. Again, there is a mass housing programme that has not been pursued for over 30 years.
The last administration that has pursued mass housing scheme was Shagari administration. At the moment, a mass housing programme is going on in all the sections of the country except Lagos. Then, if you look at roads, it is difficult for you to pretend as if you don’t notice what the ministry of works has done throughout the federation. There is a long list of what they have done across the nation.
Plateau LG polls: Election Appeal Tribunal declares PDP candidate Lantang-North winner
From Musa Pam, Jos
The Plateau State Election Appeal Tribunal on Friday declared Mr. Ubandoman Joshua-Laven of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of Langtang North Local Government polls conducted on the October 10 last year.
Chairman of the Appeal Tribunal Justice Arum Ashom made the declaration in an over eight-hour judgement on the appeal filed before it by Joshua-Laven.
PDP Chairmanship candidate, Joshua-Laven, had challenged the declaration of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Kparnim Nanloh-Amos, by the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC), as winner of the poll.
But the Election Petition Tribunal, led by Mr. Jovita Binjin had, in a six-hour judgement delivered on May 25 this year, dismissed PDP’s only surviving Langtang-North petition for lack of merit.
Dissatisfied with the ruling of the lower tribunal, PDP and Joshua-Laven, had approached the Appeal Tribunal and appealed against it and asked the tribunal to declare him winner alleging that he won the highest votes of the elections.
Consequently, the Chairman of the Appeal Tribunal, Justice Ashom, while delivering the judgement at the High Court on Friday, said the lower tribunal goofed when it dismissed their petition.
According to the Appeal Tribunal, several mistakes were made by the lower court when taking decisions on some of the exhibits presented before it by all the parties involved.
The Appeal Tribunal faulted the lower tribunal for accepting a baseless result hurriedly presented by PLASIEC after the petitioners had completed their prosecution.
It described that result as worthless when compared with what were compiled at the various polling units as authentic results at the 17 wards of the area.
The tribunal gave the actual results for both APC and PDP as 14, 708 and 19, 599 votes respectively.
Why I withdrew my suit against APC-Shittu
A former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, on Friday said he voluntarily withdrew his suit against the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the Supreme Court.
The former minister made the disclosure in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday.
Shittu had challenged his disqualification from participating in the APC governorship primary at the High Court and Appeal Court.
The case, which was hinged on his non participation in the NYSC, was dismissed in both courts having been instituted outside the stipulated time frame allowed by the Electoral Act.
Shittu said: “When the appeal came up before the Supreme Court on Thursday, and before same could be heard, my counsel stood up and voluntarily withdrew the appeal.
“It must be noted that the dismissal of the suit was based on the application of my counsel and same was not predicated on the decision of the case on the merits.”
Shittu said that he listened to the advice of his counsel who made reference to the decision of the Court of Appeal in Dapo Abiodun’s case.
He hinted that the Appeal Court held categorically that the possession or non-possession of an NYSC discharge or exemption certificate was not a prerequisite for contesting elections in Nigeria.
“Therefore, the Appeal Court has already laid the issue to rest effectively and there is therefore no need to flog a dead horse,” he said.
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