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Why Buhari Won’t Arrest Obasanjo |The Republican News

Obasanjo-and-Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari and Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s former president, has cried out that President Muhammadu Buhari plans to arrest him.

 

I consider it the mother of all false alarms: Buhari lacks motivation for such an action.

But according to Obasanjo’s June 6 statement, which was signed by an aide, the plan arises from “(Buhari’s) desperation to frustrate, intimidate and blackmail him into abandoning his divine mandate to protect the rights of the people to better life and living” because of Obasanjo’s indictment of his administration in January.

Expressing disgust with Buhari’s abysmal performance in office, Obasanjo had urged him not to seek re-election.  Ordinarily, Obasanjo’s status as a statesman ought to be enough for him to speak out on matters of national interest.  But having squandered that, he now mistakes his six-month-old university diploma for God’s very mandate.

But to be clear: in a normal polity, the prosecution—not persecution—of Obasanjo should have started on or right after May 29, 2007, following his loss of presidential immunity, for a truckload of offences that are now well-known to Nigerians.  But he had carefully planned his future, handpicking those who took over from him, thereby foreclosing the option of justice when Umaru Yar’Adua took office in 2007.

Mr Goodluck Jonathan, who eventually assumed the presidency in 2010, ought never to have been anywhere near that office, considering his abysmal record as governor of Bayelsa.

Still, Obasanjo shoehorned him onto the express path to the presidency, and when he made a mess of it, accused his creation of being fake and ineffective.

But he was fake and ineffective by design: Obasanjo’s.  But Obasanjo knew if he had made the patriotic choice and allowed the emergence of a strong and popular president, he might have wound up in prison rather than as a larger-than-life political deity forever trying to define Nigeria in his image.

But the man with a “divine mandate” (to protect Nigerians) has never apologised to Nigerians for his chicanery in manipulating the political process for his own purposes.

Now that in Obasanjo’s eyes, Buhari has descended to the same political lower life form—even if so in the eyes of many disappointed Nigerians—we must remind ourselves not only of Obasanjo’s responsibility for our suffering but also of other crimes as president that he has yet to pay for.

Crimes that, despite Obasanjo’s “alarm,” Buhari has no intention of making him pay for, nor can make him pay for.

And then there are those that he selfishly continues to commit. In the June 6 statement, Obasanjo said, among others, “We are currently in a nation where the Number Three citizen is being harangued and the Number Four citizen is facing similar threat within the same government they serve.”

This illustrates the double standards and arrant hypocrisy by which Obasanjo has perennially divided and cheapened Nigeria.

Bukola Saraki may have other issues with the executive branch, but at the heart of his troubles are allegations of false declaration of assets from his governorships of Kwara State.  Lest we forget, in 2006 during Obasanjo’s second term, 15 governors, including Mr Jonathan, were indicted for similar offences by his Joint Task Force and recommended for trial.

But Obasanjo personally rubbished the report and instead, gave Mr Jonathan the vice-presidency.  In that light, Obasanjo is consistent: the only side he has ever been on is Obasanjo’s, not justice.

To hear Obasanjo tell it, however, he is clean, and he was absolved by everyone, particularly the EFCC.  On that score, here is how he attempted to handcuff Buhari in his statement: “The same EFCC that had conducted a clinical investigation on the activities of Obasanjo in and out of government…would now be made to stand down the existing report that gave Chief Obasanjo a clean bill of health on the probes…”

Obasanjo never says that it was his EFCC that “cleared” him while he supervised it.  Or acknowledge that Nuhu Ribadu, who chaired the commission at the time, subsequently declared publicly that his government was more corrupt than Sani Abacha’s had been.

One more example: in April 2010, a report of the United States confirmed that over 80 Nigerians had collected bribes, some of them in the millions of dollars, from Halliburton.  They included former heads of states, notably Ibrahim Babangida, Abdusalam Abubakar…and Obasanjo!

That report, and a local one two years earlier by the Mike Okiro panel set up by Yar’Adua, reached the same conclusions that are well-known to Buhari.  But no Nigerian leader, certainly not Buhari, has had the courage to do anything about it.

That is because Buhari is not interested in fighting corruption symptomatically.  His corruption does not involve people who are as “important” as Obasanjo.  He also appears to be working with the template that leaders don’t harass former leaders, an EFCC official describing last year an arrangement under which Buhari will not arrest Jonathan or his wife.

Note that until Obasanjo shot Buhari’s re-election plans full of holes, Buhari never expressed one negative thought about him.  Only then did Buhari dig up Obasanjo’s infamous expenditure of $16bn in the power sector between 1999 and 2007.

But it is the same Buhari who had always vowed to recover all the funds looted since 1999. “We want to have everything back – all that they took by force in 16 years,” he swore in November 2015.

And yet, in the three years during which he has borrowed externally by the billions, he has not set about recovering any part of that $16bn.  Or any major accounts and scandals of real magnitude.

In other words, Obasanjo symbolises the duplicity and emptiness of Buhari’s mythical onslaught on corruption.  Obasanjo is proof that Buhari’s war is not blind; to investigate Obasanjo would open Pandora’s Box.

But now there may also be another reason why Buhari appears to be playing with parallel agendas: his own record.  In “Petroleum Trust Fraud,” last week, Ray Ekpu, one of Nigeria’s most accomplished journalists, explored Buhari’s sordid tenure as Executive Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund under Abacha.  It is not an insult to say it diminishes Buhari considerably.

The irony of the power-play between Obasanjo and Buhari is that, in the end, a man without a conscience wants to be the conscience of a people. Had Obasanjo Nigeria at heart, he had eight full years to serve Nigerians with distinction.

He didn’t grasp the opportunity: the same test Buhari is failing as we speak.

(Akahi News)

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100 Million-year-old Frog Trapped In Amber Shows They Have Not Changed Much

 

A group of researchers has found ancient frogs fossilized in amber, making these 100 million-year-old fossils the oldest evidence of frogs in tropical rainforests. The researchers hope that this discovery will reveal more about how amphibians evolved and moved to their modern habitats.

Frogs first moved to tropical forests between 100 million and 200 million years ago, and today that’s where almost a third of all frogs are found. But it’s difficult for scientists to piece together exactly what these forest environments look like because the frogs are so small and tropical forests aren’t great environments for fossil-making.

a close up of food © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc  

This new discovery of frogs frozen in amber along with plants, insects, and other organisms is an incredibly important resource to learn more about the plants and animals living in these forests. Prior to this fossil discovery, the oldest known fossilized frog was only 25 million years old, illustrating the difficulty of learning about these animals’ history.

These fossils revealed that ancient frogs look a lot like modern frogs, showing that frogs haven’t changed much over the last 100 million years. Today, frogs-along with many amphibian species are dying at an alarming rate. Only time will tell if the same tricks that got them through the past 100 million years can get them through today’s changing climates and ecosystems as well. (Popular Mechanics)

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June 12: Stop Showing Loyalty To Abiola’s ‘Tormentor-in-Chief’, Soyinka Tells Buhari

Wole-Soyinka
                  Prof. Wole Soyinka

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to stop admiring and displaying loyalty to an unnamed individual whom he referred to late MKO Abiola’s “Tormentor-in-Chief.”

Some are of the opinion that he had referred to the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, who clamped the business mogul to jail for about five years.

Abiola died in prison.

Although Soyinka did not mention Abacha’s name specifically, the Nobel laureate said it was confusing for Buhari to honour Chief Moshood Abiola on the one hand and be admiring the late politician’s “Tormentor-in-Chief” on the other.

He wondered why President Buhari will continue to display loyalty to a man he described as “one of the worst dictators in the history of the country” and who should be having his days in court for crime against humanity.

Soyinka said that in a private meeting with Buhari, he had also raised concerns over how the President could be saying his administration was fighting corruption, whereas a major road in the Federal Capital Territory is named after a “corrupt former leader.”

He said he was not satisfied with the response he got from Buhari.

He called on the President to consider establishing a Hall of Shame for those who have wronged the country, just as he puts up Hall of Fame for the nation’s heroes. (Punch)

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June 12: I’ll Work For Your Re-election, Tinubu Promises Buhari |RN

Tinubu-and-Buhari

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

A national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said President Muhammadu Buhari deserved a second term and that he would work for his victory in the 2019 presidential election.

While highlighting some of Buhari’s achievements, Tinubu claimed that Nigerians are no longer paying for darkness, giving an indication that electricity supply has become stable under the present administration.

He also lauded Buhari for the school feeding programme, a component of the government’s Social Investment Programme.  (Punch)

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BREAKING: Court Jails Ex-Plateau Gov. Dariye, 14 Years For N1.16bn Fraud

Joshua-Dariye
  Ex-Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye, jailed for 14 years

Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

 

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Gudu, Abuja, on Tuesday sentenced a former Governor of Plateau State and serving senator, Joshua Dariye, to 14 years’ imprisonment on charges of criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of overN1.16bn belonging to the state.

Justice Adebukola Banjoko  ‎in a judgment which took her six and a half hours to read convicted the ex-governor on 15 out the 23 counts preferred against him.

The judge barely a fortnight ago, imposed 14 years’ jail term on ex-Governor of Taraba State, Jolly Nyame, on similar charges.

On Tuesday she sentenced ‎Dariye to two years imprisonment on each of the five counts bordering on criminal misappropriation and 14 years’ jail term on each of the 11 counts of criminal breach of trust.

The judge, however, ruled that all the sentences would run concurrently, implying that the convict would have to spend 14 years in jail.

The punishments imposed on the ex-governor for the two categories of offences of criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation are the maximum as provided under sections 315 and 309 of the Penal Code Act, respectively.

The judge threw out eight of the 23 charges on the grounds of either duplicity or lack of sufficient evidence.

‎Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s lawyer, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), had in opposing the defence lawyer’s plea for mercy, urged the court to impose the maximum sentence to serve as deterrence to others.  (Punch)

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Mobile Phone Use After 10pm Increases Chances Of Depression, Loneliness – Study

a person sitting in a chair talking on a cell phone    © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited  

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It’s no secret that using your phone at before bed isn’t really conducive to a good night’s sleep.

However, now a study of more than 91,000 people has found that scrolling through your Instagram and Twitter feeds from the comfort of your pillow in the wee hours could increase the likelihood of developing a number of psychological problems such as depression, bipolar disorder and neuroticism.

Late night phone-usage is just one of the disruptive behaviours pointed out by the researchers, who attributed the links to the aforementioned symptoms to body clock disturbance.

Previous research has shown the detrimental effects of interruptions to the body’s natural 24-hour cycle of the body – known as the circadian rhythm – as the result of shift work that requires employees to work through the night.

However, this study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry by professors at The University of Glasgow, is the first to monitor body clock disruption on such a large scale.

Participants aged 37 to 73 had their activity levels monitored by wrist-work accelerometers, which they wore for a seven day period, enabling researchers to measure the extent at which their circadian rhythmicity was disturbed during this time.

However, there were caveats to the findings, given that participants were only monitored for a week and were exclusively middle-aged and above.

The researchers also conducted cross-sectional examinations to measure participants’ psychological well-being and found that roughly one in 25 had unusual activity habits whereby they weren’t that much more active during the day than the night.

These people were 11 per cent more likely to have bipolar disorder and six per cent more likely to be battling depression, they found.

Plus, they also reported lower happiness levels and greater rates of loneliness.

Such people suffer from “very poor sleep hygiene”, said lead author Daniel Smith of the University of Glasgow and would engage in late night activities such as playing on their mobile phones or making cups of tea.

The figures may seem small, however, Smith added they are no less significant:

“This is important because it seems to be across the board,” he said, “so it is a very consistent finding for these negative mental health and cognitive outcomes.”

While Smith advocated imposing a 10pm limit to phone usage to help combat this, he added that daytime activities have a part to play too, explaining that a healthy sleep pattern is often the result of being active during the day and inactive at night.

“I think this is important as a population health issue because so many of us are living with disrupted circadian rhythms,” he said.

“It’s unlikely that the way society is currently set up is good for your health. So many people are living in city environments flooded with light 24/7.”

(Independent)

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Trump, Kim Shake Hands To Commence Momentous Summit In Singapore

 SINGAPORE (AP) — President Donald Trump says that his one-on-one meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “very, very good” and that the two have an “excellent relationship.”

Trump and Kim met for about 40 minutes Tuesday one-on-one, joined only by interpreters.

Trump made the comments as he and Kim walked together along balcony as they headed to a larger meeting with aides.

Trump was flanked in the larger meeting by chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton. They sat across the table from Kim and his team.

President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un kicked off a momentous summit Tuesday that could determine historic peace or raise the spectre of a growing nuclear threat, with Trump declaring they would have a “great discussion” and Kim said they had overcome obstacles to get to this point.

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un before their expanded bilateral meeting at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst © Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un before their expanded bilateral meeting at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Standing on a red carpet in front of a row of alternating U.S. and North Korean flags, the leaders shook hands warmly at a Singapore island resort, creating an indelible image of the two unorthodox leaders. They then moved into a one-on-one meeting, joined only by their interpreters.

“We are going to have a great discussion and I think tremendous success. We will be tremendously successful,” Trump said.

Speaking through an interpreter, Kim said: “It wasn’t easy for us to come here. There was a past that grabbed our ankles and wrong prejudices and practices that at times covered our eyes and ears. We overcame all that and we are here now.”

Trump and Kim planned to meet with their interpreters for most of an hour before aides join the discussion and talks continue over a working lunch. But even before they met, Trump announced plans to leave Singapore early, raising questions about whether his aspirations for an ambitious outcome had been scaled back.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Kevin Lim/The Straits Times via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY © Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Kevin Lim/The Straits Times via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY

 

The first meeting of a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader was the product of dizzying weeks of negotiations over logistics and policy.

Up early in Singapore, Trump tweeted with cautious optimism: “Meetings between staffs and representatives are going well and quickly … but in the end, that doesn’t matter. We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen!”

In the run-up to the talks, Trump had hopefully predicted the two men might strike a nuclear deal or forge a formal end to the Korean War in the course of a single meeting or over several days. But on the eve of the summit, the White House unexpectedly announced Trump would depart Singapore by Tuesday evening, meaning his time with Kim would be fairly brief. And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to keep expectations for the summit in check.

“We are hopeful this summit will have set the conditions for future successful talks,” Pompeo said, describing a far more modest goal than Trump had outlined days earlier.

 

The sudden change in schedule added to a dizzying few days of foreign policy activity for Trump, who shocked U.S. allies over the weekend when he used a meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized economies in Canada to alienate America’s closest friends in the West. Lashing out over trade practices, Trump lobbed insults at his G-7 host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trump left the summit early, and as he flew to Singapore, he tweeted that he was yanking the U.S. out of the group’s traditional closing statement.

As for Singapore, the White House said Trump was leaving early because negotiations had moved “more quickly than expected,” but gave no details about any possible progress in preliminary talks. On the day before the meeting, weeks of preparation appeared to pick up in pace, with U.S. and North Korean officials meeting throughout Monday at a Singapore hotel.

The president planned to stop in Guam and Hawaii on the way back to Washington.

Trump spoke only briefly in public on Monday, forecasting a “nice” outcome. Kim spent the day mostly out of view — until he left his hotel for a late-night tour of Singapore sights, including the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, billed as the world’s biggest glass greenhouse.

As Trump and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sat down for a working lunch at the Istana house, the president sounded optimistic, telling Lee, “We’ve got a very interesting meeting, in particular, tomorrow, and I think things can work out very nicely.” Trump had earlier tweeted about “excitement in the air!”

It was a striking about-face from less than a year ago when Trump was threatening “fire and fury” against Kim, who in turn scorned the American president as a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.” As it happens, the North Korean and the American share a tendency to act unpredictably on the world stage.

Beyond the impact on both leaders’ political fortunes, the summit could shape the fate of countless people — the citizens of impoverished North Korea, the tens of millions living in the shadow of the North’s nuclear threat, and millions more worldwide. Or, it could amount to little more than a much-photographed handshake.

Still, the sense of anticipation was great in Singapore, with people lining spotless streets holding cellphones high as Trump headed to meet Lee.

U.S. and North Korean officials huddled throughout Monday at the Ritz-Carlton hotel ahead of the sit-down aimed at resolving a standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal. Delegates were outlining specific goals for what the leaders should try to accomplish and multiple scenarios for resolving key issues, a senior U.S official said, adding that the meetings were also an icebreaker of sorts, allowing the teams to get better acquainted after decades of minimal contact between their nations.

President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sentosa Island, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © AP President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sentosa Island, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

Trump’s early exit will be his second from a summit in just a few days.

As he was trying to build a bridge with Kim, he was smashing longtime alliances with Western allies with his abrasive performance at the G-7. After his premature departure from Quebec, he continued to tweet angrily at Trudeau from Singapore, saying Monday, “Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal.”

Trump advisers cast his actions as a show of strength before the Kim meeting.

Alluding to the North’s concerns that giving up its nuclear weapons could surrender its primary deterrent to forced regime change, Pompeo told reporters that the U.S. was prepared to take action to provide North Korea with “sufficient certainty” that denuclearization “is not something that ends badly for them.”

He would not say whether that included the possibility of withdrawing U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula, but said the context of the discussions was “radically different than ever before.”

“I can only say this,” Pompeo said. “We are prepared to take what will be security assurances that are different, unique than America’s been willing to provide previously.”

The North has faced crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions as it has the advanced development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Pompeo held firm to Trump’s position that sanctions will remain in place until North Korea denuclearizes — and said they would even increase if diplomatic discussions did not progress positively.

Experts believe the North is close to being able to target the entire U.S. mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there’s deep scepticism that Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there’s also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the U.S. and the North.

While advisers say Trump has been reviewing briefing materials, the president insists his gut instincts will matter most when he gets in the room with Kim. He told reporters he thinks he will know almost immediately whether a deal can be made, saying: “I will know, just my touch, my feelings. That’s what I do.”

(AP)

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