The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has expressed concerns over the state of the country and concluded that by the next general election in 2023, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) would have completely wrecked Nigeria.
The group, which challenged governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to show evidence that the APC was using extra legal means to poach its members, however, dismissed both the ruling and opposition parties as one and the same.
Spokesman of NEF, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, who maintained that both the APC and the PDP had been destroying Nigeria since 1999, when she returned to civil rule, spoke Monday night during a programme on Channels Television.
His words: “What are they going to do with 2023, because between now and 2023, in one and a half years, APC would have completely wrecked this country. You are going to take over a country that is effectively destroyed by a party that has been substantially produced by PDP?”
Baba-Ahmed, who was reacting to the comments by PDP governors that the Presidential Villa had become APC headquarters for coercing their members to join the ruling party, noted that while the APC would have completely wrecked the country by 2023, the PDP has not shown the blueprint for resolving the challenges bedeviling the country.
He, therefore, maintained that the concern of the PDP and the APC was the 2023 presidential election, and not about developing the country.
“There have been defections from both sides. Like I said earlier on, we are dealing with one and the same thing. We have governors from the other party, who just change dress and come back to sit and say I’m PDP. The next day, a governor will also defect and say I’m APC. These are the same people.
“In the last 16 years, since 1999, it is these two parties that have destroyed this country and they are playing the same game, all over again.
“What did the PDP say it is going to do about bringing these different parts of the country together? Where is the economic blueprint to do with unemployment; to do with the building of the Nigerian economy? All they are interested in is 2023,” he added.
On the allegation that their members were being coerced into the APC, Baba-Ahmed asked the PDP to present evidence to Nigerians that the State House was using “extra-legal and political muscle to peer away its governors to the APC.
“If governors have evidence that the State House, the Villa, is using extra-legal and political muscle to peer away governors from their parties, I wish they will share some of this information with us,” he said.
The PDP governors forum had repeatedly accused the presidency and the APC of intimidating its governors.
In their communique after a meeting in Bauchi, Bauchi State, they said, “The meeting condemned, once again, the use of underhand tactics to arm twist some PDP Governors and other stakeholders to join the APC, a political party that has wrecked Nigeria’s economy, turned Nigeria into a killing field and has nothing to offer Nigerians but misery and bad governance.
“The Governors condemned Mr. President and APC for turning the Presidential Villa, that belongs to all Nigerians, into the new APC headquarters, where coerced PDP members are being paraded at intervals”.(THISDAY)
The Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari made the rare appearance talking to the press for years since he took power in 2015. Several incidents have taken place and he never found it worth to talk to the press. There has been many calls from every strata of the Nigerian society calling him to speak on insecurity, mass killings and kidnappings and many more and he has not spoken but give prerecorded speeches.
The taciturn and almost reclusive president finally granted an interview to Arise Television and online television owned by ThisDay newspaper.
Below are excerpts from his time with the Arise journalists.
“Dividing Nigeria to piecemeal is not any solution. It’s a wrong signal to all investors. So each Republic will become a paradise? How do we share what United us? What we have done together within such a record time? I’m surprised Nigerian elites watch these uniformed lots to make criminal statements everyday. We are all better off as Nigerians” GMB
Your Government borrow more?
“The previous earn more with nothing on ground. Did you ask them where they kept our money? If I knew where, may be I would not borrow. They sold oil at $100, we sell at $25 sometimes. They wasted money on power, no light, no road, no rail. We are the ones constructing bridges, building roads and rails. Today, I’m commissioning Lagos Ibadan Railway, I will commission Lagos Ibadan Expressway later, I will commission more across the country. No country can survive without infrastructures…..”
“Two South West governors came to me to say cattle rearers are destroying farms in their states, I asked them what happened to the grassroot security panels from Traditional Rulers to Local Governments who meet regularly to identify the root of their problems and identify crooks within their environment and apprehend the criminals, Who destroyed this system? Go back and fix it, give your people sense of belongings. I don’t like it when people campaign to become governors and people trusted them with their votes and after winning, they can’t perform, they’re trying to push responsibilities to others. ……..we have three tiers of Government, Federal, State and Local. We have killed the Local Government totally. We will send N300m as allocation to a Local Government, one Governor will ask the LG Chairman to sign that he collected N300m but he will give him N100m and the Chairman will keep quiet…..is that how we will continue?”
“I am particularly impressed with the South-South leaders regarding their stand about Nigeria. Both their elders and youths. None told me what they said, I listened to them myself and their message was clear. God bless them all…”
“My statement about speaking language is very simple. It is meant for all criminals in Nigeria. What it means for the IPOB is that I will go after them through the military and police and rid them of their criminal tendencies. I have no regret whatsoever…..”
“That IPOB is just like a dot in a circle. Even if they want to exit, they will have no access to anywhere. “And the way they are spread all over the country, having businesses and property, I don’t think IPOB knows what they are talking about. “In any case, we say we’ll talk to them in the language that they understand. We’ll organise the police and the military to pursue them.”
“Take the North West for example, people with same language and culture are killing themselves, stealing each other’s properties. Imagine the madness. Well, I have now told the military and the Police to be brutal. From now, we will speak the language they understand and in the coming weeks, you’ll get exactly what I am saying………”
But there are some senior officers that will leave because of new Service Chiefs?
‘Yes, in the military, only those who are always with the troops lead the troops”
“……..You’re saying someone who had gone through military and police training all his life should not be appointed to lead the military or police department he works with just because we must balance appointments? What are you saying? The system didn’t restrict anyone from joining the military or the police, and if you decided not to join, we will not force you but you too will not force us to bring someone who is not qualified in training and experience when it comes to leadership of these institutions just because we want to balance some appointments……..”
“APC have no other strategy to win elections apart from mobilising people from bottom to top as seen in our party membership registration and we will continue to bring more people in. The party leadership has requested for 30 more days in which a date for convention will be set. Politics is about the people. By end of this month, we will have all our programmes from now till I will leave in 2023…..”
“APC will continue to run Nigeria after my tenure. So, Abati, tell anyone who wants to be Nigeria’s President in 2023 to join APC….”
When are you going to unban Twitter….?
“We are not there yet. I keep that to my chest…”- Muhammadu Buhari
What will be your legacy?
“I will accept whatever verdict Nigerians pass on me. I hope they will be fair…”- Muhammadu Buhari on Interview with The Arise TV panel
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Yekini Nabena has threatened the party may be forced to report Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka, to the Pope and Vatican for allegedly committing acts capable of causing instability in the country.
The APC leader alleged recent calls for impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari by the cleric were capable of instigating the people against their leader and cause disaffection for the government.
Mbaka, who in 2015 publicly endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari and repeated same for his reelection in 2019, recently in a church service called on Buhari to resign or the National Assembly should impeach him if he fails to resign over escalating insecurity.
The cleric had complained during a service that no civilised leader would remain in power with the spate of violence in the country.
“How can people be dying and the chief security officer of the country would be sitting down without making any comment?” he questioned.
He further complained: “Gunmen attacking people everywhere. Buhari should have resigned honourably following his (alleged) failure as a leader. Let me tell you that if it were in a civilised country, President Buhari would have resigned by now. So, it is amazing that he has chosen to sit tight while people are dying daily.”
He called on the National Assembly to impeach the President in the face of intense poverty and insecurity across the nation.
But Nabena, in a statement on Friday in Abuja, said it was unfortunate for a man of God “who is supposed to deploy all known spiritual means of averting crisis to be threatening a democratically elected government for his own personal benefit while pretending to be speaking for the people.”
He referred to Mark 4: 35-40 where Jesus Christ calmed the storm when a wild wind came up and the waves was about to crash the boat.
Nabena noted instead of complaining or blaming captain of the boat, Jesus prayed and calmed the storm.
“One will wonder whom Father Mbaka is emulating because the Lord Jesus Christ did not threaten to bring down the government during his own time. In fact, Jesus Christ obeyed and honoured constituted authorities. That’s why he paid his tax.
“We are calling on Father Mbaka to concentrate on his spiritual calling and stop speaking like politicians who it is obvious he (Mbaka) has been dining and wining with. If Mbaka has found another political ally, it is better to leave political message for politicians.
“Calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to either resign or be impeached because of the current challenges is ungodly. Father Mbaka should not, however, take his luck too far because there are lot to tell the Vatican and the Pope about his person and his sources of inspiration,” he said.
Nabena also called on other clerics to emulate the likes of Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and Pastor WF Kumuyi of the Deeper Life Bible Ministry and many others who will rather fast and pray to avert crisis instead of threatening the government of the day. (The Nation)
…Says opinion of South East is to get 2023 President
…Laments that 2014 CONFAB was another failed attempt at remodelling Nigeria’s federalism
…Notes it can’t deny IPOB members,
…Throws its weight behind EbubeAgu
By Henry Umoru
AHEAD of 2023 general and Presidential elections, the umbrella body of South East people, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has asked Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and other political parties to zone the presidency to the South East for equity, justice and fairness.
Addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja, the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Professor George Obiozor, who noted that time is ripe for Nigeria to get a President of South East extraction in 2023, said the talent of Igbo is yet to be fully utilized and maximised by Nigeria.
Obiozor, who expressed optimism that the South East would get the Presidency in 2023, however, warned that many were called, and a few were chosen. It wondered why why people were beaming unnecessary attention on negative issues such as security challenges in the South East because Igbo Presidency had changed from probability to possibility.
Responding to a question on how Ohanaeze Ndigbo would achieve its purpose for an Igbo President in Nigeria’s multiparty system, Obiozor said: ‘’We have many politcal parties. We would appeal to them to nominate an Ibo man or woman as their Presidential candidate.
‘’That would do. That would be wonderful. It is found in the Bible, ‘many are called, few are chosen. Politics is a matter of selection. We would sort out ourselves. Just support us, including the press. I am soliciting the press. For now, just support a president from the South East, an Igboman or an Igbo woman.”
The Ohanaeze President General, who stated that Igbo leaders had already started consultations on the realisation of Igbo presidency, said it had been wonderful.
“The results of the consultations are in the papers of day before yesterday, yesterday and even today. Very sound, positive results. Wonderful responses. Have you listened to Edwin Clark or read him? One at a time. None is on the run. ‘’So we are taking it easy. We have given you wonderful example of the support. First outing, tremendous success. You read it, you saw it. Edwin Clark is not a frivolous man. He is a man of history and he is leading a people who have had experience in this country. ‘’In the politics of precarious balance in Nigeria, they have had experience. They know what it takes to support any group and they have done it.”
On political parties he said: “As many as they are, each one of those parties should nominate an Igbo man from the South East. As for who (candidate) it will be, it’s found in the Bible, many are called few are chosen.
“During the last Presidential election, all the major candidates were from the same zone. It was also so in 1999. So why are we trying to break our heads because it is coming to our zone. Give us, our choice will be made by us with your cooperation. That is what the Ibos are demanding. We deserve it and it is reasonable.”
On how the South East would speak with one voice to avoid a plurality of interests and aspirants, Obiozor said: “Other tribes are more divided than us, Igbo are more united. But because all of a sudden there is possibility of Igbo Presidency, some people want to label Igbo a terrorist zone.
‘’I advise the press and ourselves to avoid certain things that are not necessary. Nobody can divide us. This time around, we can get the Presidency from Igbo land. Probability of Igbo Presidency in 2023 has become a possibility.
“Igbo want peace, but not peace of the grave yard. Whatever every other citizen of Nigeria is enjoying, the Igbo need it too.”
According to him, a President of Igbo extraction will bring “capacity, difference and Justice and equity. It is sad that Nigerian does not want to use talent of Igbos. The Igbos are known for their divergent opinions. Is a true consensus possible?’’
Obiozor, who dismissed the claim that South East people were not united politically, said the notion that the zone does not speak with one voice reflects the plurality of ideas by what he termed an egalitarian people which would be harnessed by Ohanaeze.
He said: “Speaking with one voice is dictatorial and undemocratic. We won’t speak with one voice, Igbos will express themselves in different voices which will be articulated by a central leadership that knows.
“For the Igbos having variety of opinion is not a crime, no section has only one opinion on an issue. Igbos have different opinions and they all converge on president of South East in 2023.
“Divergent opinion is healthy in politics and politics is not a science of exactitude. It is not mathematics. Politics is considerably and consistently a matter of choices. So for the Igbos having divergent opinions is not a crime.
‘’No section of Nigeria has one opinion or has one leader. Do we have one opinion in the North East, the North West, even South South. Igbos have different opinions and they converge in Igbo President, President from the South East in 2023. That is the opinion.”
Asked to speak on members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, question, Obiozor said IPOB members are their sons that could never be denied.
“We won’t deny IPOB because they are our children, we can never never deny them. They are our people and they must listen to us just as we listen to them. Any area of conflict we will resolve as their father.’’
Answering questions on the 2014 National Conference, the Ohanaeze President hailed the conference as the best but faulted the refusal of the federal government to implement the recommendation of the conference, describing it as another lost opportunity.
“That confab was another failed attempt at remodelling our federalism. They didn’t want restructuring, they didn’t want federalism,’’ he said.
Responding to where the support of Ohanaeze laid between Eastern Security Network and Ebube Agu, Obiozor said: ‘’Believe me, an organization that is working for the security, peace, safety and interest of the Igbos is welcomed. Ebube Agu is formed by the government and governments of the South East.
‘’There is no comparison between Ebube Agu and any other organization. Any organization should come under the control of the government. This question is a very divisive one and we are a people tired of being divided by English language.
‘’Any organization that is fighting for fairness, equity and justice for Igbos is welcomed. If there is a difference, it will be method. It has to be harmonized. As the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, I don’t want any method that puts Igbos in harms way.
‘’That is inimical to our own safety, you get my point. In fact, every group in Nigeria is divided, some even more divided than the Igbos. Look around.
“Until recently, the South East used to be the most peaceful zone. Now all of a sudden, because the idea of a president from Igboland has moved from a probability to a possibility, people want to turn Igboland into a terrorist environment.
‘’Igbos are not nation breakers, we are not violent people. So we must find out the root of the recent spread of violence and Kidnappings and all that. So that is what I am trying to say. People should not use such a thing as the character of Igbo people. For all the things you can know Igbos for, Igbos are not known for getting money through laziness, like kidnapping. You kidnap your uncle, you get money.
“So my advice to the press, do not give publicity to things that do not merit it by comparing Ebube Agu with any other organization that is working in Igboland. Things have hierarchy. The governors of the states are the chief security officers of the states.
‘’So how do you compare them with organizations. Organizations are welcomed if they are working in the interests of the people and the nation. The people we are taking about are our children. They are our people.’’ (Vanguard News)
The Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum, Dr. Salihu Lukman, has warned the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to admit former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, into the party.
This comes after pictures of a meeting between the APC National Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; and Fani-Kayode emerged.
It had led to rumours that Fani-Kayode might be preparing to dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the ruling party.
“Do we want to reduce our party into one in which everybody is welcome?
“Can we for instance in anyway or form contemplate having an Nnamdi Kanu or Abubakar Shekau as a member?
“At this rate, Nigerians will just wake and see some of our leaders presenting Mr. Fani-Kayode to President Buhari as a new member of our party.
“Although, we can confidently argue that President Buhari will not approve such deranged possibility, it is important to caution that such consideration will be stretching the trust of party members beyond acceptable limits,” the statement read in part.
Fani-Kayode had earlier claimed his meeting with the APC chieftains was to discuss national issues and party politics.
The PDP chieftain also noted that Nigerians must set aside their differences, because the country was heading towards a civil war. (Daily Post)
By Olalekan Adetayo, John Alechenu, Friday Olokor and Adelani Adepegba
THE Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said despite the security challenges being witnessed in parts of the country, security situation under the current regime is better than the situation in 2015 when the regime came on board.
Mohammed made the claim at a press conference in Abuja.
This is as the Peoples Democratic Party, Youruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, the Middle Belt Forum and security experts dismissed the minister’s claim, saying the country has never experienced the level of insecurity across the country.
Speaking further, the minister said, “I have no hesitation in saying yes; that the security situation in the country is better than we met it in 2015. Nigeria today is facing security challenges but it is by far better than what we met.
“What do I mean? Prior to 2015, bombings, suicide bombings by Boko Haram were taking place in at least 12 states of the federation. They were Plateau, Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe. Not even Abuja was spared.
“And if you look at the number of lives that were lost before then and today, there is no doubt that yes we have challenges but we are much better than it was.”
Earlier, while reading from a prepared text titled, ‘FG makes progress in war against terror, banditry’, the minister claimed that the nation’s security agencies were winning the war against insecurity.
He said, “Since the beginning of this year, which is barely three weeks old, the Armed Forces of Nigeria have neutralised 158 criminal elements across the country. This is in addition to scores of other terrorists and bandits killed during air strikes.
“Some 52 criminal elements were arrested, with scores of arms, ammunition and equipment recovered. Troops have also rescued a total of 17 kidnapped victims across the country.”
Mohammed added that 684,856 barrels of stolen crude oil, 1,724,000 litres of stolen Automotive Gas Oil and 500,000 litres of Dual-Purpose Kerosene have been recovered this year.
While saying the successes recorded by security agencies did not come cheap, Mohammed regretted that some of the troops paid the supreme price in the course of the operations.
He said 118 bandits were killed in the North-West with 11 kidnap victims rescued and 11 arrests made; and 30 suspected terrorists killed in the North-East with arms and ammunition recovered.
Nigerians no longer buying Buhari’s propaganda, says PDP
Reacting, the Peoples Democratic Party on Monday said Nigerians were no longer subscribing to the propaganda being dished out daily by the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said, “With due respect to the minister, Nigerians are no longer buying the tissues of lies laced with propaganda being dished out by this Buhari regime on a daily basis.
“We had a successful election in Borno State the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency in 2015, results were collated and announced, and not a single local government was in the hands of the terrorists.
“Yet, this regime which was a beneficiary of that election is today telling Nigerians that Boko Haram was in control of territory. Nigerians are counting months to the next election to vote out the APC and all its represents.”
Security experts disagree
Also, a security expert, Ben Okezie, disagreed with the minister, saying the security situation in the country had deteriorated.
He stated, “Everybody knows that people are living in fear; so, it is not true that the security situation is better. The insurgents are daily attacking and abducting people.
“Consider what is happening in Oyo State where herdsmen are killing and abducting the residents. And to worsen the situation, the IG deployed a female commissioner of police without much experience to handle the crisis.”
A security consultant, Kabir Adamu, says if the minister used conventional metrics, he cannot say security was better.
He added, “If he (Mohammed) is being fed with information by the military, they will tell you security has improved. The police will tell you the same thing and that is what they are telling the President and by extension, the minister of information.”
Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum too
Speaking, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said, “These people now believe their own low quality lies and it is unfortunate for the country. We know that things are far worse today than when the President came in, but apostles of falsehood will make just any claim to justify their pay.”
Similarly, the National Publicity Secretary, Middle Belt Forum, Dr Isuwa Dogo, described the assertion that the nation’s security situation had improved compared to the pre-2015 period as an incontestable lie too glaring for anyone to debate.
“Just last year in 2020, the death toll from the killing spree unleashed by these bloodthirsty herdsmen hit over 1,400 in Kaduna State alone, especially in the southern part.
“The Federal Government should stop this self-deceit that the nation’s security situation is better compared to the pre-President Muhammad Buhari’s administration,” Dogo said.
The former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, on Monday announced the plan by politicians and other concerned citizens to form a new political movement in Nigeria.
Okorocha, who disclosed this to journalists in Abuja, said the All Progressives Congress (APC) was hurriedly formed in 2014 to take power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) without taking into consideration the character of individuals championing the course.
He added that progressive-minded politicians perfected the plan in response to current state of the nation.
According to him, Nigerians are not satisfied with the current situation in the country.
Okorocha, who is representing the Imo West Senatorial District in the upper legislative chamber, is a founding member of the APC.
The ex-governor urged “all good politicians” in Nigeria to regroup in a bid to restore public confidence in governance and save the country.
He called for political reengineering and warned that Nigerians cannot be fooled again by mischievous politicians in 2023.
Okorocha said: “The movement for a new Nigeria has begun and we must come together, I mean progressive Nigerians to make the country work.
“The APC was a hurried arrangement. It was hurriedly formed to take power when the then government was drifting. APC would have been better until people who were not members of the party; people who came for congratulatory message hijacked the party and became lords.”
He pointed out that the new coalition is being championed by people with a proven track record of achievement and public spirit, saying it was no longer ideal to allow people without the genuine interest of the country to hijack power in the future.
The All Progressives Congress congratulated Nigeria’s former ambassador to the United States of America, Prof. George Obiozor, on his election as President-General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation.
The party’s congratulatory message was contained in a statement titled, ‘APC congratulates Obiozor on emergence as Ohanaeze Ndígbo President-General, by the National Secretary of the party, Senator John Akpan Udoedehe, in Abuja, on Sunday.
While congratulating the incoming President-General, the party also congratulated the outgoing leader of the group, Chief John Nwodo, and the executive committee he headed for its “mature and patriotic leadership.”
The statement read in part, “The APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee under the leadership of Governor Mai Mala Buni is determined to consolidate the ongoing efforts to further mainstream the South-East geo-political zone in the workings of the governing APC and place the zone in its deserved political standing in the country.”
However, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly, which claims to be the only recognised Igbo socio-cultural organisation, has warned the newly elected Ohanaeze Ndigbo President General, Prof. George Obiozor, to confine himself to Imo State or risk arrest and prosecution.
The President-General of the group, Basil Onyeacholam, stated this in his reaction to Obiozor’s election in Owerri, Imo State on Sunday.
Describing Obiozor as president-general of Ohanaeze Ndi Imo, Onyeacholam said, “Whatever happened in Imo State today (Sunday) remained null and void.”
He said he (Onyeacholam) remained the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo recognised by law, the Federal Government and the international community.
Onyeacholam said, “Obiozor cannot function. Obiozor has been elected under an illegitimate platform and they were duly served of court processes before they embarked on the said kangaroo election.
“He should make sure he confines himself to Imo State and should not mention anywhere that he is the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. I still remain the President-General. I’m in charge. There is no vacancy in Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership.”
Congratulations to the people of Edo State on a credible and peaceful governorship election. We thank the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian security services on the positive role they played in the election and commend their work in strengthening Nigeria’s democracy. We recognize the critical role that Governor Godwin Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu played in promoting peace. We also thank our civil society partners for their invaluable work in upholding democracy and accountability in this election.
The United States remains concerned with reports of some violence that did emerge during the election, and by reports of vote-buying and intimidation of both voters and civil society domestic observers. We will continue to encourage all stakeholders, including INEC, political parties, and the security services, to improve the electoral process in the upcoming Ondo State governorship election. As a democratic partner of Nigeria, the United States remains committed to working together to achieve our mutual goals of peace and prosperity for the citizens of both our countries.