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2019: A Clarion Call For Change |The Republican News

Chris Nwokeji

With less than two months to go, Nigerians are still pondering which presidential candidate to vote for in the general election of 2019. It will be definitely fun to watch the winner of the election. In the build up of 2015 presidential election, many Nigerians were meant to believe that corruption increased by unimaginable proportions, leading to hardship, hunger, frustration and withdrawal. In fact, one of the strong points the opposition had against the government of Goodluck Jonathan was his seeming inability to curb insurgency. Criticisms were rife. The government was given many ill-labelling that actually smacked of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it.  The common unfortunate label was ‘clueless.’

Three years after Jonathan, insurgency and daily killing of innocent people seem to have increased throughout Nigeria. Today, some Nigerians are not current in what happens in other parts of the country and the rest of the world due to lack of or inadequate supply of electricity to power their televisions and other modern media devices to access news and current affairs and importantly, information disseminated in the social media.

The power of television is not really in persuading viewers to take one side of an issue or another but is used for decision making; deciding what issues would be given attention and those to be ignored.

Newspapers are the major source of information for the vast majority of Nigerians. Over two-thirds of Nigerians report that they receive all or most of their news from the newspaper. Prior to the invention of television, Newspapers had always reported news, politics, business, entertainment and sports just as they do today. Additionally, the masses of Nigeria always read the news sections of their daily paper and topical issues in the editorial columns.

In Nigeria, the importance of television in transmitting information is a relatively new occurrence. As a result, households with television were reported at 40 percent in 2010, according to the World Bank development indicator. At the end of 2017, 22 percent of Nigerians had television in their homes, thus, showing a decrease in the number of households with television. In most developed countries, television is really the first form of mass communication that reaches nearly everyone such as youths and children.

More importantly, television presents to adults, youths and children visual images rather than printed words. It is quite unlike Nigeria where Newspapers are major source of information due to lack of adequate supply of electricity.

Electricity plays an important part in our everyday lives, at home, school, business or job and our daily activities rely heavily on the use of electricity. It is used at homes and businesses to run electronic components and appliances such as lighting, television, fan, refrigerator laptop, radio, air conditioner, microwave oven and others. In industry, electricity is used to operate huge machines that make foods, cups, clothes, paper, toiletries and many other things. According to World Bank, 90 million Nigerians have no access to electricity. Truth is, Nigeria is blessed with large oil, gas, hydro and solar resources with the potential to generate 12,522 megawatts(MW) of electricity power from existing plants but most days is only able to generate between 4,000- 5,000 megawatts which is grossly insufficient. In short, our leaders are cruel and inhuman because they know that without electricity, Nigeria can never develop and the masses would continue to be separated from the rest of the world.

Since the beginning of this government, many Nigerians are confused at the appropriateness of the anti-corruption war, believing that corruption has increased by unbelievable proportions, leading to hardship, hunger, frustration and withdrawal, practically losing faith in the administration. It is true that the maintenance of law and order is a prime function of the government and is essential to development. The sole aim of government is to provide its people happiness, stability and security. In addition, government is about increasing human and material resources for economic growth and to improve political development and provide support for cultural expression.

Perhaps not to be left out are those policies and programs designed to deal more directly with the people such as access to reasonable prices of food supplies, clean water, affordable healthcare, education, housing, electricity, road, infrastructure, and allowances for the unemployed, the aged, the disable, the blind and the deaf. Again, at no time in the history of Nigeria have the prices of staple foods gone up by 400 percent. For example, in May of 2015, the price for a bag of 50Kg rice was between #6,000 and #7,500. Now the same brands sell at between #18,500 and #20,000 for each. At no time in Nigeria has the price of petrol gone up by nearly 700 percent. At no time in Nigeria has the price of electricity from national grid and the resultant blackouts quadrupled. At no time in Nigeria has Naira been so weakened without any conscious effort by the Central Bank to rectify the currency.

The government seems to have over blown its anti-corruption war and people are beginning to see it as a way to persuade or influence people rather than arresting those that have emptied the nation’s treasury. Furthermore, the President continues to arrest members of other political parties and some organized groups that are opposed primarily ideologically to the government while much more are stolen under his watch. In addition, regardless of one’s ideology, ethnicity, language or background, now is the time for those in positions of leadership in Nigeria to speak out concerning a broken political system. This administration has widespread examples of corruption, ineptitude, ineffectiveness, cluelessness, unproductivity and a disorganized and unschooled group of people flaunting as leaders.

As politicians and leaders of this great nation, we must encourage each other to voice our concerns whenever Nigeria is going in the wrong direction. Perhaps, Nigerians need to understand the importance of upholding the constitution of Nigeria. Moreover, a constitution is a plan for running the government. For example, the freedom of speech, press and politics are some of those rights. It guarantees the voting rights of men and women and also protects citizens’ rights in every aspect.

All things considered, l think it’s the wrong time for us to start blaming or criticizing the former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan. Noteworthy here is that Atiku Abubakar was the vice-president of Nigeria under president Olusegun Obasanjo while Peter Obi a former Governor of Anambra State, representing the People’s Democratic Party and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (which shares ideological principles  and cooperation with the PDP) respectively. On this basis, one may conclude that Nigerian economy grew rapidly and achieved higher on many other macroeconomic metrics when the president of Nigeria was of PDP than now it is of the APC. For instance, the previous administrations tried reducing poverty by creating jobs monthly, but instead, the present government refuses to create jobs for our teeming youths across the country. Nigerians are yet to see any substantial foreign investment attracted by this administration for the interest of our citizens. Nonetheless, our government is doing all it can to prevent creating jobs in Nigeria. The corporate tax rate of 30 percent for business is too high. Proponents of tax reform argue that lower tax rates will boost business profits, therefore, creating more jobs for our teeming youths and citizens.

  Consequently, the youths should understand that it is time for a clarion call for what kind of economic policies are in place for creating jobs for  them. This is no time to point fingers at one another to rationalise considering a President and members of his party who refused to listen to the masses of Nigeria. With less than two months to go, the politicians will always make you believe that you have freedom of choice while you don’t. The APC government are owners.

Prof. Nwokeji writes from the US

(The Sun)

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Buhari’s Performance On NTA Live Programme Shameful – Ortom |RN

Rose EjembiMakurdi

 

BenueState Governor, Samuel Ortom, has described  President Muhammadu Buhari’s overall performance during the live programme on NTA, on Wednesday night, as shameful and a confirmation that he had lost control to cabals in his government.

The governor said this, yesterday, at NKST Church, Buruku, while interacting with officials of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), during his reelection campaign in the local government area.

The governor, who was reacting to the televised comments on president Buhari on the matter, said the poor outing gave credence to what the president’s wife had said that he has lost control and a cabal has taken charge.

On the planned cattle routes by the Federal Government, Ortom insisted there are no cattle routes in his state and stressed that even if there were such routes which were gazetted, he would have de-gazetted them, as the current population of the state had made such routes untenable.

“At the time such routes were contemplated in the 60s, the entire population of the country was about 40 million, while the current population is about 200 million, thereby, foreclosing the possibility of such routes.”

The governor, who said he battled and overcame financial, social vices as well as security challenges during his first term, said his focus on these areas impacted negatively on his performance, adding that if given a second mandate, the end of his administration would be better than his rough beginning.

Governor Ortom said the All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled federal government failed to forestall attacks on the state by Jihadists, who openly declared their conquest and occupation agenda on the state and, thereafter, failed to give the people justice when they demanded it. “This development coupled with the deliberate neglect of  Benue people, by not giving them strategic positions in government, prompted me to seek an alternative platform on which to pursue my reelection.”    (The Sun)

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Abuja Town Hall Meeting Outing Exposes Buhari |The Republican News

Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation (PPCO), has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s comments at the Presidential Town Hall meeting, Abuja, on Wednesday, exposed his alleged proclivities for corruption, as well as his insensitivity to the plight of ordinary Nigerians, especially those in the North.

A statement by its Director of Media and Publicity, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “Particularly revealing was Buhari’s contention on whether Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, could not have used another person to get the money; a comment, which ostensibly exposes how corruption is being covered in the Buhari Presidency.

“Nigerians can now see that the Buhari Presidency is a sanctuary of corruption, where officials thrive in using faceless individuals as fronts to fritter trillions of naira and cover their trails, while Nigerians wallow in hunger, acute starvation and untold hardship.

“Perhaps, this offers an insight into why there has been no investigation into alleged involvement of some individuals said to be close to the Buhari Presidency in the N1.032 trillion alleged corrupt acquisitions in 9Mobile and Keystone Bank PLC.

“This is in addition to the muting of investigations of a former aide to the First Lady, Aisha, Mr. Baba Inna, who was arrested in September last year, over accusations of receiving N2.5 billion from politicians, businessmen and women on behalf of the First Lady.

“Nigerians can also recall the confession of one Amina Mohammed, who while being paraded by the Department of State Services (DSS), stated in public that persons close to President Buhari were involved in serial fraud and looting of public resources under the official cover of the Buhari Presidency.

“This could also explain why investigations into the leaked memo detailing how N9 trillion was frittered through underhand contracts at the NNPC and Ministry of Petroleum Resources has been stalled.

“This is in addition to government’s refusal to open up on allegations that 18 unregistered companied were used to divert N1.1 trillion worth of crude oil in 2017, as well as the alleged stealing of over N18 billion out of the N48 billion approved by the National Assembly for the rebuilding of six North East states ravaged by insurgency among other sleazes in the Buhari Presidency.”

In another statement also signed by Ologbondiyan, the PDP mocked Buhari for referring to the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Delta State, Great Ogboru as “our presidential candidate,” at the party’s campaign in Warri, yesterday.

“President Buhari is already in the mood of his May 29, 2019 handover of mantle of leadership to PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, following the national consensus to return the PDP back to power in the February 16, 2019 presidential elections.

“Buhari had continued to display that he did not have the intention of seeking for a second term in office. It is evident that he is only being compelled by the cabal in his Presidency, who the First Lady, Aisha, had confirmed are manipulating the President for their pecuniary interest while the nation suffers,” the opposition party stated.

Repeated efforts to reach the APC spokesman, Lanre Issa-Onilu, for reaction were  unsuccessful yesterday, as he did not respond to calls and tex massage sent  to his mobile phone.  (The Sun)

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Police Stop Man From Jumping Into Lagos Lagoon |The Republican News

lagos-lagoon-suicide

Suicide attempt suspect with police

Etim Ekpimah

 

Operatives of the Lagos State Police Command, on Tuesday, stopped a yet-to-be-identified man from jumping into the lagoon.

It was learnt that the man pretended to be picking something from the floor of the Third Mainland Bridge while he was forcing his head through the railings.

Policemen, who were not far away from the scene, were said to have rushed to the man and prevented him from jumping into the lagoon.

It was gathered that the Rapid Response Squad operatives, who apprehended the man, handed him over to cops at the Adekunle Police Station for investigation.

An eyewitness, Salami Ogundele, said he saw the man while driving on the bridge, noting that he did not know what the man was trying to do at the time.

He explained that he had to stop his vehicle when he saw some policemen running to the man through his car mirrors.

Efforts to reach the state Police Public Relations Officer, Chike Oti, proved abortive as he neither answered calls placed to his telephone nor responded to text messages sent to him.

However, the Divisional Police Officer, Adekunle Police Station, Maria Agbor, said if our correspondent wanted information on the man, he should come to the station. (Punch)

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Python Dance 2 Drove Away Nnamdi Kanu From South East, Says Buratai |RN

PHILIP NWOSU

 

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, on Monday attributed the escape of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu as one of the major successes of Exercise Egwu Eke II.

The Army Chief who spoke at the flag off of the third edition of the military maneuver Exerciser Egwu Eke III in Lagos said: “One of the important achievement of the Exercise held in 2016 was the escape of Nnamdi Kanu; let him come and face the battle if he wishes.”

General Buratai said if Nnamdi Kanu dared, the python would have swallowed him, warning other criminal elements and those planning to cause trouble in Lagos and Ogun states to stay clear or “the python will swallow them.”

He explained that the objective of the military maneuver was to reinvigorate all existing operations in the country with additional manpower, equipment and resources to address the lingering security problems in the country.

His words: Nigerians should be assured that at the end of the exercise which is also conducted simultaneously by other divisions in the army; the python must have swallowed all the bandits, rustlers, terrorists, kidnappers, robbers and militants in the country. The python will also swallow thugs and other miscreants that may raise their heads to disturb the peace in the country.”

General Buratai warned criminals within Lagos and Ogun states to flee or would be crushed by troops of the Exercise Egwu Eke 111.

He said: “The exercise is a realistic training package in internal security operations, clearance operations, emergency management, rescue operations, roadblocks, cordon-and-search as well as anti-kidnapping and anti-cultism.

“It is necessary to draw the attention of well-meaning Nigerians that while reporting issues of defense and security, they must have at the back of their minds, the importance of national security. Just as mentioned earlier, defense and national security are not all comer’s affairs. No one is permitted to divulge any information that is injurious to national security.

“This is contained in the Official Secret Act 1962. “Section 1(3) of this Act states that a person who transmits any classified matter to a person to whom is not authorised on behalf of the government to transmit it; or obtains, reproduces or retains any classified matter which he is not authorised on behalf of the government to obtain, reproduce or retain, as the case may be, is guilty of an offence.”

“l enjoined Nigerians to be mindful of the fact that this is the only country that we have and all efforts should be focused to save it from the claws of unpatriotic elements fighting to pull the country down. Giving out official information or spreading fake news is inimical to national security.”

General Buratai said that prior to EX EGWU EKE III, the Operation AWATSE had intensified operations to crack down the activities of illegal oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism, kidnapping, armed robbery and cultism among others, adding that the operations conducted against economic sabotage by pipeline vandals and cultists as well as other criminals had achieved commendable successes. He said several vandals had been apprehended while other criminal elements especially cultists were on the run.

General Buratai said the momentum of the Operation Awatse must be sustained, pointing out that the military must continue to display professionalism in the discharge of its constitutional roles while acting in aid to civil authority.

“Do not provide any opportunity for criminal elements to infiltrate your ranks. You must also embark on civil-military relations activities like medical outreach and others.

“Let me use this opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of the Nigerian Army and our mandate in aid to civil authority. Accordingly, EX EGWU EKE III has the mandate to provide adequate protection and security for the good people of Nigeria.

“I am also calling on all law-abiding citizens to provide troops adequate support and cooperation, especially timely information to enable them to accomplish their task. I assure you of adequate logistic and operational support throughout the conduct of this exercise.

“You must deal decisively with the criminals and ensure that the right of law-abiding citizens is protected. I wish you good luck as we commence EX EGWU EKE III in 81 Div AOR and Nigeria.”  (The Sun)

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Military Should Change Strategy To Win War Against Boko Haram – IBB |RN

John Adams, Minna

 

As Nigerians prepare to go the polls in less than 30 days, former military President, Ibrahim Babangida, has urged the military to change strategy in order to defeat Boko Haram.

General Babangida also urged the military to ensure it remains apolitical and face its constitutional responsibility of protecting the territorial integrity of the country from external aggressions.

In a statement issued in Minna, capital of Niger State, personally signed by him, yesterday, to mark this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration, he pointed out that “it is pertinent for the top echelons of our military to speedily evolve new combat strategy to bravely confront the callous terrorists who have continued to hold many parts of the North East, and in extension, Nigeria in ransom.

“As we prepare to celebrate this year’s Remembrance Day, we should not be oblivious of the fact that our military is presently faced with horrific challenges in the crucial counterinsurgency war, and activities of other blood-thirsty armed groups.

“To say the least, these ugly circumstances are not only heart-rending, but unacceptable.”

Babangida maintained that it is high time, therefore, “we seek to consolidate our gains and also, fortify our combat strength.

“Every year, our valiant Armed Forces majestically roll out their drums to honour our slain fallen heroes, with streams of organised fascinating events coming to a climax on January 15,” and added that “the 2019 edition is coming at a critical period when the teeming Nigerian electorate will go to the polls next month to elect their new leaders at various levels of government.

“In recent times, elections have tested our unity as a people, while also posing threats to our socicultural diversity and challenging our common destiny.

“I salute the uncommon bravery of our lion-hearted fallen heroes who paid the supreme price in their quest to defend our Fatherland. “Let me also commend our armed forces for their resilience over the years in maintaining peace in Nigeria, United Nations Missions, African Union and regional interventions.

“I urge all Nigerians to support our military at all times.

“While identifying with the officers and men of the Nigerian armed forces on the momentous occasion of this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, I wish all Nigerians happy new year,” Babangida said.  (The Sun)

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IGP Idris Retires, AIG Mohammed Takes Over |The Republican News

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abujaand Chris Oji

 

As Inspector Gneral of Police Ibrahim Idris clocks the retirement age of 60, there are indications that President Muhammadu Buhari will today name AIG Abubakar Adamu Mohammed from Nasarawa State as his replacement in acting capacity.

An authoritative source from the Police Service Commission (PSC) who spoke on the condition of anonymity said signal to that effect had been sent out, ahead the official announcement today

“Yes, IGP Idris is retiring tomorrow (today) and an acting IGP will be named. But I would advise that you wait for official statement to that effect,” the source maintained.

Mohammed was born on November 9, 1961. He enlisted in the police in 1986. He has a bachelor’s degree in Geography.

He was at one time a director of peacekeeping operations. He was also a police commissioner in Enugu and later AIG in charge of Zone 5.

He is currently a directing staff member at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, near Jos, Plateau State.

The Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) had earlier appealed to Buhari to extend Idris’ tenure.

Deputy national chairman of PCRC, Alhaji Sanusi Ajiya, made the call in Abuja, yesterday, after a peaceful march to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, in Abuja.

A senior police officer from the headquarters told Daily Sun that Buhari decided to wash his hands off the allegation that he was trying to use Idris for election malpractice: “I can tell you authoritatively that a new IGP has been appointed, he will be announced tomorrow (today). He has been contacted as the signal is out. All the Deputy Inspectors-General of Police (DIGs) will be going with Idris.

“We are surprised that the Presiden- cy appointed someone from the northern part instead of the southern part. There was serious speculation that the President would not pick (someone) from the North, but today we are seing a different thing.”

The President had met with Idris behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.

Idris, whose is due for retirement from the Nigeria Police Force today, as he turns 60, arrived the Villa at about 4.30pm and proceeded straight to the President’s office for the meeting.

Buhari earlier met with Idris on January 4, shortly after they attended the juma’at prayer, the day he clocked 35 years in the force.

Buhari appointed Idris on March 21, 2016, to replace Solomon Arase, who retired from the police on June 21, 2016.

Idris enlisted in the NPF in 1984, after he graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, with a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture.

Buhari, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, is vested with the power to extend the IGP’s tenure or otherwise, but opposition parties and some civil society organisations have already kicked against the idea of an extension for Idris, the IGP from Niger State.

Regardless, there were indications yesterday night that a new IGP would be named today.

A source close to the Presidency who declined to be named confirmed that Idris’ replacement would be announced today, among a shortlist of candidates already submitted to the president for approval.

As at the time of going to the press no official statement had been made either by PSC, or presidency. Daily Sun gathered that there was tension at the Police headquarters as senior police officer from the DIG rank were waiting for the arrival of Mohammed who was still in Jos, Plateau State.  (The Sun)

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