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Nnamdi Kanu Storms Rivers Insists On Referendum As Condition For 2019 Poll

 

From: TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt

The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has restated the demand for a referendum for the South Eastern to become an independent nation, declaring that the region would not be Islamised.

Kanu reiterated his earlier position that election would not take place in Igboland, especially the scheduled November 18, governorship poll in Anambra State to press the demand for Biafra.

He made the declarations yesterday, as he addressed thousands of pro-Biafra enthusiasts, who gave him a rousing welcome in Oyigbo, near Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The venue was St. Peters Catholic Church in Oyigbo Local Government Area.

The IPOB boss said that the Anambra State election would serve as the first experiment in the resolve of IPOB supporters to make a powerful statement that they were no longer interested in one Nigeria.

A huge crowd from across Port Harcourt and some neighbouring states welcomed Kanu, who arrived the venue quietly.

The IPOB leader said that he wanted Biafra to be actualized “today”, but informed the crowd that Biafra would be achieved through a process and that the first step in that process would be the boycott of the Anambra election and other elections in Biafra land.

“So, the election will not hold in Anambra State and other states in Biafra. That is what the people have agreed on, and there is no going back,” he declared.

He maintained his position to sustain the Biafra struggle, stressing that the struggle was to save the destiny of future generations.

According to him, Biafra people had been marginalised by the Nigerian government, and there was the need to redeem the Igbo from such injustice and inequality.

Kanu led the agitators in a prayer session for the liberation of ‘Biafraland’, vowing that he would not be alive to see any part of Igboland Islamized by the government.

Meanwhile,  the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni,  a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP),  confirmed the visit of the leader of the IPOB to the state.

He told Saturday Sun yesterday, that the command got intelligence report and put adequate security in place to forestall violence.

“We are aware of his (Kanu) visit to Rivers State.  We got intelligence report of his visit and we put adequate security in place, to ensure that the people did not take laws into their hands”. (The Sun)

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Just In: Biafran USA Delegate Meets White House Officials, Secure Certificates, Support For Referendum (Video)

By Ike A. Offor

The IPOB leaders and friends in the United States in the company of their two attorneys met with White House Officials today, 21st July 2017 and made a case for referendum towards the third quarter of this year.

The Biafran delegate was issued with a certificate and given a date for a referendum, according to their report from the group’s delegate.

The meeting was not much publicised to avoid being infiltrated by the agents who IPOB delegates regard as enemies from the Nigerian government or APC distractors in the United States.

The actual meeting was not filmed, as that is wholly against the rules of the White House security protocols and was not covered widely by the press

The issues raised in the meeting were the referendum and the scheduled date for the referendum. Their government support for Biafra and their struggle for independence.

According to one of the delegates, Miss Candy Stallworth, who is an American but one of the IPOB leaders, the date for the Biafran referendum is scheduled for 12th of September 2017.

Though, this date seemed very close and apparently not much preparation has been made for the actual referendum, one wonders how feasible this date is.

In a phone call by The Republican News with one of the delegates, who would not want to be mentioned, he said that the United States actually supports Biafra and the need for a referendum. ‘They are really in affirmative and in good thought about Biafra’, he said.

He also said: ‘President Donald Trump has his options very wide open about Biafra and he has been following the issue with keen interest’. Also,  the time is coming when the entire United States government will make a public statement about Biafra and he is sure it is going to be shocking to the enemies’.

He also said that President Trump and America are not against Biafra and asked Biafrans to keep to keep their hope alive and strong. The delegate said that the time is coming when the whole government will turn around and give total support for Biafra, and that includes the government of other countries.

The vague thing here is whether the September 12th date for the referendum is for an actual referendum or scheduled date for the United States to make a public statement about Biafra referendum.

Obviously, if these are true and real, the Nigerian government may have picked up some bits of information on the reality and the authenticity of the probable upcoming announcement and the date for a referendum. So, why is the APC-led government not doing anything to address the issue or is the government aware that Biafra will finally come and has given up hope about it. Perhaps, the government do not regard it as serious the issue about Biafra.

 

WhiteHouse

The White House

 

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Biafran Delegate To Meet President Donald Trump Tomorrow |The Republican News

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By Ike A. Offor
 
The Biafran delegate in the company of their two attorneys will meet President Donald Trump and other White House officials tomorrow, 21st July 2017.
 
The details of the meeting and topic covered will be widely serialised by THE REPUBLICAN NEWS during and after the meeting.
 
This is the very first time Biafrans are being invited by the government or President of any country to hear their grievances with regard to their push for an independent state of Biafra.
This meeting could be a big turning point for the Biafran secessionist group.
 
Whatever transpires in this meeting could be a game changer for the entire struggle.
 
It could be recalled that the United States has stated its support for one United Nigeria, a message passed on by its ambassador to Nigeria.
 
But, it could also be recalled that the United States was indeed against the formation of the state of Israel but later agreed to it.
Could the same fate befall Biafra? The preamble to that question could be addressed in this first meeting with Biafrans in the White House tomorrow.
 
For the fact that this meeting is scheduled and the White House agreed to grant such audience to Biafrans is a giant step for Biafra.
 

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Renewed Agitation For Biafra: What Would Ojukwu Say If Alive Today- Nnanna Ijeoma

 

Image result for odumegwu ojukwu

Dim Odumegwu Chukwuemeka Ojukwu

By Nnanna Ijeoma (Former Special Assistant to Ojukwu)

Ever since the renewed quest for the restoration of Biafra and the intensification of the effort vis-a-vis the support it has generated amongst the Igbos, especially amongst the youths, a couple of my friends and associates who are aware that I worked for the Ikemba sometime in the 80s as his Special Assistant have asked me what I thought Ojukwu’s thoughts or reaction could have been, where he to be alive today and my answer have always been, I don’t know. And that’s the truth. Even though I worked for him and with him, especially on the book, “Because I was Involved”, which I compiled from a box full of old speeches and edited, I can’t in all honesty claim I knew him that well to be able to state most categorically and affirmatively what his thoughts and reaction would be, were he to here with us today and this is because he, the Ikemba was a very intense, serious and complicated man who was neither impulsive, imperious or prone to public outbursts in the expression of his views without a serious thought process.

Again it must be understood that during the period I worked for him, it was a relatively less tumultuous time in Nigeria even though the military was in power, hence any privileged insight I might have had regarding his mode of thought at the time does not give me any predictive powers to forecast or better still say what his views would be today regarding the present political environment in the country. Despite the fact that reading all those past speeches on different issues, most of which did not make their way to the book, except for a selected few, gave me a fairly good idea of his thinking and beliefs I am also aware that people change their views from previously held beliefs depending on changing circumstances. Notwithstanding all of the above, this much I can say based on my daily interactions, meetings and verbal exchanges with the Ikemba at the time. He, Ojukwu was very much an introvert as he was an extrovert. No doubt he was a man who spoke his mind without fear of being politically correct, he also was very mindful of the import and impact of his comments hence he chose his words carefully and expressed them unabashedly and unapologetically. However, in doing so, he did his best to react to the political impulses that emanated from the people. Impulses he always said any leader cannot afford to ignore. His views were always grounded in honesty, decency, and fairness. So if he were to be alive today, his opinion about the resurgent clamour for a Biafran nation would not be lacking in those qualities.

The Ikemba Nnewi, if alive today would probably describe the new demand for Biafra as an embodiment of a combustible combination of grievance, perceived inequalities, a lack of equity, justice, and gratuitous disrespect. This much he would acknowledge. Having known and experienced the vicissitudes of war, he would be against any talk or mention of war and may again probably have preferred the whole idea of restructuring and this is because, after his return from exile, he committed himself to the full reintegration of the Igbo nation into the Nigerian family. He believed in a peaceful and united Nigeria where no individual was denied his place in the affairs of the nation or relegated to a second-class citizen status. He possibly would have tried to be a bridge over troubled waters instead of further polluting the waters. He probably would have been a voice of political moderation, an ancient view which in our country today is seen with contempt by some and has become synonymous with weakness and acquiesce. But then again I may be wrong considering the present political environment since the election of this President. His lopsided and ethnically tinged appointments, the marauding herdsmen, the forced retirement of senior Igbo military officers, the eviction notice to the Igbos in the North, the divisive nature of our politics, etc etc. It is said that, “Behind every reasoned decision is a reason for deciding”, hence I cannot say what, if any of the aforementioned issues would have informed his decisions. But be that as it may, all I have done is to forecast a guess of what I think he would have done based on the much I knew of him and it is what it is, just a guess hence I’ve repeatedly used the words “probably ” and “possibly” interchangeably. There are other people who knew him far better and much longer than I did and I am sure if solicited for their opinions they would make a better guesswork than I’ve done

With regards to my views about the IPOB and their leader Nnamdi Kanu, all I can say is that no one individual did a better job in elevating his status and prominence than Buhari by detaining him for the length of time he did. This would remain among other political missteps one of his biggest blunders. He, the President should have learned from history that the imprisonment of the leader of any movement has not in any way dampened his or her following. Rather the reverse has been the case. They become more popular and reverent when released and also, on the other hand, they assume martyr status should they die in prison. I have no doubt Nnamdi Kanu took into consideration the risks and benefits of a possible incarceration when he decided to visit the country from London knowing he may be arrested. As he probably expected, Buhari and his band of novice advisers fell for it. Now the genie in the bottle has been let out and they can’t put it back in and neither are they willing to re-arrest him despite the many violations of his bail conditions. Would Mr Kanu be enjoying all this public adulation and following especially amongst the Igbo’s, should the Ikemba be alive today? I don’t think so, because even with his passing Ojukwu still remains the face of the Igbo people.

Now, is Nnamdi Kkanu a transformational figure? I guess to some extent, having by his efforts increased the political awareness of the Igbo’s regarding their place in Nigeria, to the extent that the Igbo’s do not trust many of their present self- proclaimed leaders, most of whom are political prostitutes and charlatans with little or no following. Does he have the political skills and resume to fully harness the abilities and commitment of the Igbo’s and indeed the South-South towards the goal of a Biafran nation? I doubt he does. Already he has made some ill-advised comments and continues to show some grandiose sense of self that might create some reservations in the minds of some. For me personally, I cringe each time I see pictures of some of his visitors bowing and prostrating before him as if in supplication before some higher authority or supreme- being. My feeling is that he should discourage such public show of servitude. When I read his comment calling on the Igbo’s to boycott the 2019 elections which have raised the ire of his detractors including those who believe in his mission, I regret that he has not learned one of the attributes of leadership, which is “the ability to avoid graduating your friends into enemies and your enemies into bitter foes’. With that singular comment, he has caused the Ohaneze Ndi Igbo” to come out with a public statement disavowing him. Some may believe the group has no political relevance, hence their public disavowal may be inconsequential. What it has done however is to galvanise those against the prospect of a Biafra by citing the statement by the group and in the process diminishing he, Nnamdi Kanu’s appeal.

For me, it was a manifestly, uninformed and ill-advised comment that has rallied his enemies against his cause. Yes, there is no doubt “Civil Disobedience ” as a political tactic has worked many times before after it was first made a tool of public disaffection by the late Mathama Gandhi of India, but then the late Indian leader had the entire country behind him irrespective of race or religion against British Colonial rule. The same cannot be said of Mr Kanu who is yet to pass the threshold of Igbo acceptability, not to mention our neighbours many of whom have publicly expressed their lack of enthusiasm for the Biafra project. I fear that there is an adolescent idea of masculinity that appeals to him, hence he does not make the right political calculations that will serve his cause well and the fact that the Igbo’s like the Aro’s from where I hail, prefer to be followed and not led. My purpose here is not to bash Mr Kanu or attempt to diminish his efforts hence I am offended when I see people trying to diminish what he has achieved or cast aspersions on him by lying about his efforts or motives. For me what he has done was to speak truth to power at a time some of our Igbo leaders have retreated to their comfort zones and intellectual silos while taking oaths of silence.

What he has done is to voice the frustrations of a voiceless Igbo majority and their demand for fairness and equity. To that extent, he has been God sent. As for a complete secession, I doubt its possibility and feasibility because of our fractiousness and inability to agree on any set purpose. Our neighbours don’t trust us and so far we have been unable to assuage their fears about us. My preference will be an intensified economic revitalization and industrialisation of the South East, turning it into an economic power zone in the country and then causing the rest of the country to not only to depend on us but also making us indispensable to other ethnic groups. We have the entrepreneurial spirit, manpower, and abilities and there is no limit to what we can achieve if we focus on that. As one Facebook commentator recently pointed out, the region of Bayern once wanted to break away from Germany. Today, Bayern is the industrial powerhouse of Germany and the rest of Germany cannot do without it. In my humble opinion, a true fiscal restructuring is a more- worthier goal to pursue now and if that fails to materialise, then we can consider the Biafra option. In so doing so we will be telling the rest of the nation that as much as we can dial back the Clock, we can wind it up again.

Now back to the Ikemba. If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, it is that “the only thing to expect is the unexpected”. As much as I am at a loss in saying what Ojukwu would have done today, were he to be alive, if there is one thing I am certain he would have disavowed, it would have been any idle talk about another civil war. He definitely would have fought for greater resource control by the states hence he was opposed to some living on the collective inheritance of others. He would have intensified his fight for the Igbo’s gaining a seat or seats at the table where national decisions are made and in the words of Shirley Chislom, the first African American who ran for the United States presidency, “and if there is no chair at the table give them a folding chair”. Despite the many misgivings in different parts of the country, he came back from exile in peace however disguised and he believed in the possible greatness of Nigeria if only we can set aside and ignore the demons inside us and in our leaders. But again, who am I? I might be completely wrong regarding what his thoughts about the clamour for a new Biafra will be today, but in today’s tumultuous times we wish he was still around. The Igbo’s could use his wise counsel and guidance.

(Nnanna Ijomah is a New York City-based Political Science lecturer and a former Special/Personal Assistant to the late Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Emeka Ojukwu.)

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Buhari Will Shock Nigerians When He Returns, Says Tam David West |RN

From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan

Former Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Prof Tam David-West, in this interview,  says President Muhammadu Buhari, will shock Nigerians positively when he returns to Nigeria from his medical trip to London hale and hearty. He notes that he expects him to surprise Nigerians with cabinet reshuffle and a major re-thinking of the method of governance.
He also speaks on comments of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State on Buhari, the parable of Lion-king, the hyenas and jackals he must throw out of his “Kingdom”, the face-off between the Senate and the Presidency over the chairmanship of the Economic  and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), agitation for restructuring of Nigeria and calls for referendum, as well as his perspective on the calls that Buhari should vie for the 2019 presidential poll. Excerpts:

Many Nigerians are complaining that since President Muhammadu Buhari travelled to London on a medical trip, things have not been going in the right direction, especially in the political arena. Many Nigerians seem to have been frustrated. So, what are the shockers Nigerians should expect from him when he returns to the country?

First, when Buhari comes to the country, Nigerians will be shocked. Have you ever seen a dead man coming back alive? Many people have been saying he has died, I don’t care for them because I have contact with him every week, and I know what is happening every week. When they said Buhari had died, I said they were talking rubbish because I have evidence that he is alive.
All of the people that are talking stupidly, if you want to be responsible, make a statement based on facts. They have no facts. Look, I have the latest evidence two days ago, the man is healthy and alive. How are they going to be shocked? They will be shocked because he will come back alive, which will be the first shock. They will also be shocked that he will come back hale and healthy. They will be shocked that when he comes back, he will be the same Buhari that those that know him know – he is so humorous; intellectual Buhari. They carried rumour that he had died and he’s in the mortuary. Muslims don’t put their dead ones in the mortuary.
Then, his wife went to see him. She came back and said she saw her husband and thanked all the people that were praying for him. But sceptical Nigerians, useless and wicked Nigerians said ‘how do we know that his wife saw him?’ She said ‘ I saw my husband and you are still doubting him.
Then, they said he could not talk again. He addressed the nation on Sallah. They also said he addressed the nation in Hausa, not in English. Before that time, they said he could not speak. Now, the latest one, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who is the acting president presently has gone to London and said he talked with the President for over one hour. He said Buhari was busy cracking hilarious jokes. They will be shocked because all the evil things they wished him, will never come true. They will be shocked because when he returns, it is not likely to be as usual. Second, I have this strong feeling that when Buhari comes back, there will be a major re-thinking of governance method. I trust that he will do cabinet reshuffle. But cabinet reshuffle is just a little normal thing. I think that a major re-thinking of the method of governance is the only way left for us to turn the table around, and get back the confidence of the people.
I am a die-hard Buhari fan, but I will not keep silent when I see something that is wrong. There is no doubt that a lot of people are suffering in this country, not caused by him, and some caused by him, but we supporters too can make this inheritance argument for too long that it becomes dull. We need a change and I know we can make a change. So, I have this strong feeling that there is the likelihood that there will be drastic re-thinking of the method of governance.
The third thing is restraint. He is not used to this type of set up. He is working in a democratic system. If it was the military era, he would be alpha and omega. So, if he is, things cannot be like this. But he has to think about the National Assembly. He has to think about pressure groups.
The problem with Buhari is that he trusts, and when he trusts, he is a very honest person, he will find it difficult to doubt you. I have been saying it, he has to look around himself dispassionately.  There are some people I do see around him, that are not working for his interest; they are working for themselves. They are not as clean as himself.
Fortunately, I said this before,  his great wife has come out to say the jackals and hyenas around him would be thrown out of the kingdom. And he has to do that if he has to get the steam again.

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has said on many occasions that President Buhari should vacate office and he should be replaced because, according to him, he is no longer capable of leading the country. What is your stand on this?

I don’t comment on irresponsible statements. Ayo Fayose is a governor. I expect him to be more responsible than what he is doing. As a governor, he has certain aura, prestige and respect due to him that we owe him. Then, if he talks irresponsibly, then he loses that respect. I don’t answer to irresponsible statements.
Ayo Fayose is a governor, I expect him to know the Constitution. Is there anywhere in the Constitution that says President should resign? What will make the President not to be in office is clear in the Constitution?
I am one of the people that drafted the 1979 Constitution. I know it inside-out. But what Ayo Fayose is saying is irresponsible if it is not in the Constitution. I don’t expect somebody of a status of a governor, that should be respected, to make a statement like that.
Ayo Fayose said Buhari is so sick that he’s on a life-support machine in London; newspapers published it. A few days ago, I was in contact with them. A man on life-support machine cannot talk.

So, you have been speaking with President Buhari since he travelled…

(Cuts in)
I have direct contact with London, at least once a week. I may not speak to him directly but I may also hear his voice. I know people around him that are permanent with him for 24 hours. I have direct contact with them directly and indirectly.
When Buhari left the first time and came back, the doctor said he would come back for review. A day before he left for the second time in Abuja, Buhari gave audience to the Chibok Girls that were released with their parents in the full view of the press. It was a big function in Aso Rock.
Now, he left the country for London, not on a stretcher, not in a wheelchair. He walked to the plane himself. He never left Nigeria a sick man. He went there for re-check. I have gone through this myself. If a doctor examines you and he said what you come for, this is the situation, you can go, but you will come back for review; there is nothing wrong with that because I have done such before. My doctor is in London, who I will not mention. I do go there once every year for a check-up. But they would say come for re-check. Within certain period, you will go back for the re-check
On one occasion, I was to leave about two days to the last check up, but the doctor said he would not allow me to go. One of the results must be repeated. I had to stay an extra one week; that is little me, not to talk of President. So, there is nothing happening to Buhari that is strange to me.

Buhari has brought the best thing out of Nigeria, and also brought out the worst things out of Nigeria. Why did I say this? First, what best thing has he brought out of Nigeria? Buhari has shown that he can win an election in Nigeria without having money to bribe. A Nigerian newspaper, Thisday, rated different candidates for the presidency when he was contesting against the sitting president, Goodluck Jonathan, according to the largeness of their purse. Buhari was the last with a low purse. He had no money. Buhari himself had said ‘I don’t want to have anything that I cannot account for.’ There’s no money. He did not bribe, and I know that during the primaries, there’s a particular aspirant that bribed so much, even giving $5,000, to people. Buhari never gave N1, yet he won. So, that is the best Buhari has brought to Nigeria. Buhari has shown Nigerians that they should go for quality leadership. You don’t have to bribe to get their votes. It is a great thing for us in democracy.
And what are the bad things Buhari has brought out of Nigerians? Buhari has also shown that Nigerians have very bad and terrible part of their nature. Everywhere in the world, when somebody is sick, people pray for such person to get well in time; that is the normal thing. Buhari has shown that Nigerians would say “may God help you to die in time.’
Many people are saying he should die. He will not die now and he will only die when God wants him. And those of them saying he would die, they will die first. For instance, Zik (Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe) died many times. I was very close to Zik. I have his personal handwritten letters to me when I was Commissioner for Education and when I was in Bama Prisons. Babangida (Ibrahim Babangida, former military president) put me in Bama Prisons for nine months. I was in Kirikiri Prisons for two weeks…I have forgiven him, but God will judge him.
Some time ago, there was a rumour that Zik had died. I was so surprised that even influential Igbo people set up a burial committee for Zik. But they had not found out whether he had died. Some of them in the burial committee died before Zik died.
Another example is TOS Benson, a great mentor of mine. One man, a parapsychologist, who used to write a column in a newspaper, said TOS Benson would die that year. TOS Benson told him ‘you will die before me.’ The person died many years before TOS Benson died.
So, Nigerians like to wish people dead. If you wish evil for somebody, the law of karma should come to you. Those that are wishing dead, some of them will die before him.

What actually gives you the assurance that President Buhari will return to the country to continue his mandate?

What gives me the assurance is that I have the fact. I know that he will come back. With the evidence I have at the moment, I know Buhari will come back to continue his work. This time around, his style, I think, will change. He is an intelligent man. I am confident that by the grace of God that he will come back hale and healthy, and he will continue his job.

What do you make out of what the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, said that when the Lion-king returns, he will throw out hyenas and jackals from his kingdom?


I congratulate her for it. I commend her greatly for it. I am a friend, a loyalist of Buhari. But she sees him every day. If I am concerned about the nonsense things they wished about Buhari, if I am concerned that some people around him are not working in his interest, his wife should be more concerned.
I have said it many times that some people around him are not working in his interest. So, if his wife, who is the closest to him, should make that kind of statement, it means I am vindicated. It is true. I congratulate her for it. I also pray that he should throw away the hyenas, the jackals, and the monkeys.

Who are the people you suspect are the hyenas and the jackals?

They know themselves. They asked the wife of the president and she said ‘they know themselves.’ He knows them. They know people around him who are working in the same programme with him but are working to enrich themselves. They even did it to the extent that they are spoiling his name.
One thing they don’t know is that Nigeria is a very transparent country when it comes to corruption. Whistleblowers have been in our culture right from the beginning. We don’t need a whistleblower. Nigerians don’t like corruption.

 
But the hyenas and the jackals are powerful animals and are many in the animal kingdom. When the Lion-king returns, how do you expect him to throw them out of the kingdom such that it will not affect his reign negatively?

Hyenas and jackals are powerful to the extent that they have a forest that you can’t expose yourself to. If you have God, however powerful the hyena is, the good thing is that you can shoot him. Lion, though very courageous and powerful, sometimes take cautions. If you go to the zoo to see lion, if you jump very close to a lion, he does not attack instantaneously. First, he runs away, though it will attack. This means that the lion himself is not invincible. So, the jackals and hyenas around him are not invincible. The opportunities he gave them made them hyenas and jackals. If he takes the opportunity from them, they will not be hyenas and jackals again.

At this time, many politicians have been calling on President Buhari to run for the second term in office in 2019 to complete the good work he has started when Mr President is still battling with his health. Would you rather say the calls are good or ill-conceived?

First, were they the people that asked him to run the first time? But he had the conviction to run. If he has the conviction to run again, it is over to him to make his decision. The public position is that based on the first term, I don’t think he should run again. The long and short is that whether Buhari should run for a second term or third term, the decision is purely his own. Was it the public that made him run the first time? Why should the decision to run for the second term come from the public?
But where do I stand? I stand wherever it is the way. If he wants to run the second time, will I support him? If it is his decision, I will not go against him. My duty is to point out areas he should improve on because to go for the second term, he must base it on the credentials of the first term. It has not come up in our discussion that he would run for the second term in office. But let’s assume that he wants to run for the second term. What will you do as a friend? I will tell him, let us sit down and analyse the first term. We must sit down and analyse the first term. What he had done right and what he has done wrong. Then, we talk about what the public wanted when he started and now. When we analyse that, then we will be able to identify areas that he should have done better. Do you have time to make amend so that the people will be impressed that things have turned around? These are basic questions to be asked before jumping into the issues of the second term. You don’t just jump into the second term like that, you have to analyse and come to a seasoned self-introspection to guide your decision.

Some people have advised President Buhari to resign so that he could rest. Do you subscribe to this

Rubbish. Why is it rubbish? First, there is no provision in the Constitution that says he should resign. If Buhari believes, especially after thorough medical examinations that he has gone through many times, that he should resign, it is his own decision.
Some of the people attacking Buhari, are they medically fit? Let us send them to medical examinations, whether they can come back 100 per cent healthy. Even some of them, their brains need to be tested by psychiatrists.
The way a person ceases to be president is clear in the Constitution. Why should Buhari resign? On health ground, no. If it is on health ground, he is the one that will decide that he is too weak to run the government again. The final decision is between Buhari and his doctor. If the doctor gives him a clean bill of health, who is Fayose to query him?

What will you suggest as a way forward on the face-off between the Senate and the Presidency over the appointment and confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu?

I felt bad with what happened in the upper chamber. It made me feel ashamed and worried. I know a lot of very good people in the Senate. I know Saraki (Senator Bukola Saraki, the Senate President), I know his father (Senator Olusola Saraki). There are some very few good people in the Senate. Like in every other organisation, there are some rubbish people there too. Look at the National Assembly on television when they are debating, it is like a play case. Look at their presentations of the year 2016 on national television, compare that with British Parliament, or the Congress in the United States. You can see that the atmosphere is so different, our own is so careless.
The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), is one of the most brilliant legal minds in the country. From his records, he was Attorney General of Lagos State and his brilliant record is there. The man is a great intellectual. He is a professor of law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). What is happening here is the interpretation of the Constitution.
He has said that Magu does not need confirmation by the Senate. That is the issue at stake; it is a constitutional matter. And his reason was that there are some appointments that do not need to be confirmed by the senate. He supported his view with Section 171 of the Constitution.
Some members of the Senate said the Vice President was wrong.

So, I expect the Senate to solve this matter by going to the Supreme Court. The ultimate interpretation of the Constitution is the Supreme Court. The Senate should tell the apex court that the Vice President or the President has acted against the Constitution, which he swore to protect. They can make the Supreme Court give it accelerated hearing. The Supreme Court can set itself to hear and dispose of it within two weeks.
So, is the President or the Vice President right? For me, when I read that section in the Constitution, I tend to agree with the Vice President, that it is not every appointment that needs to go for confirmation. I am one of the people that drafted the 1979 Constitution, I may be wrong. But if a great legal mind like the Vice President and a very well respected professor and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, says a part of the Constitution did not compel the president to do so, so, so, I will go along with him. I may be wrong.

He may be wrong too. Senate may be wrong. The only ‘person’ to decide is the Supreme Court. So, let the Senate go to the Supreme Court and challenge the Vice President and the President, de facto,  that they are violating the Constitution they swore to protect. So, let the Supreme Court rule and that will end the matter.

How can the Senate and the Presidency work together harmoniously for the growth and development of Nigeria?
What we are experiencing now is a question of personal interest and national interest. Is the President’s party not controlling the majority in the parliament? But we have a situation where the President of the Senate is from one party, the Deputy President of the Senate is from opposing party; it has never happened in the history of Nigeria and anywhere in the world. But have a very weird construction. How can they work together? Are they working for themselves or they are working for Nigeria? If all of them say they are working for Nigeria, the interest of Nigeria, which I think they should, no quarrel. So, let them address the national interest, not personal interest.

Agitation for the restructuring of Nigeria has gathered a lot of momentum from different parts of the country. Some thought leaders have been asking for a referendum on whether some parts of Nigeria should go or remain. So, what is your position on the agitation for a breakup of the country?

Some said the 2014 amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates, which brought Nigeria into existence was wrong. If the amalgamation was wrong, why did we celebrate the 100 years of Nigeria in 2014? This shows that most of the points they are making are no points at all.
What we need is for Nigerians to restructure themselves. Human beings and human organisations are dynamic. You will change by time. Fortunately, a book of mine will soon be on the shelves soon. I have talked about this on June 1, 2012, at ASUU lecture in Abuja, which took over two hours. I have been writing about this since 2010.
So, a section of the country feels that one section is monopolising and marginalising the other. Specifically, the South complains of Northern domination. Northern domination is a myth, nurtured by the South, it doesn’t exist.

In my book that is coming out, I gave more than 20 examples that Northern domination does not exist.
What you call Northern domination is the weakness of the South. If they know the Constitution, no part Nigeria can dominate the country. The Constitution says to be president of this nation, in an election, win a majority of votes. Not only that, but your votes must spread across every part and you must win at least 25 per cent of the votes. We have 36 states with 19 in the North and 17 in the South. Two-third of 36 is 24. Even, if a Northern candidate wins 100 per cent of the votes in the North, which is not possible, he cannot even be the President. He still needs Southern states to give him 24 states.  So, there is no domination. The Southerners were the ones that sold out themselves. We are being hunted by this silly idea of northern domination. It does not exist.
After Aguiyi-Ironsi died, who was the most senior Nigerian Army officer? It was Brigadier Ogundipe (Brigadier Babafemi Ogundipe, who was the de facto Vice President of Nigeria during Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi’s 1966 military government). A junior northern soldier insulted him before senior Southern Generals. Did they defend him? No. That was why he decided to be High Commissioner in London.
Yes, every organisation needs reconstruction. That is why we also have the review of the constitution. Every human organisation is dynamic and can change with time. But I cannot see reconstruction based on myth and fear and wrong reasons.
First, you said we want true federation. The Constitution is clear in white and black that Nigeria is a federation.

If a particular president comes from a particular area and he’s taking all the powers to himself, is it his fault? You go and challenge it in court. He supposed to obey the Constitution, which he swore to obey and protect because we are in a federation.
In a federation, the states have their powerful rights. The states are not depended like a parasite on the federal government. But states have allowed the federal government to be powerful because state governors that should fight for their rights secretly go and get patronage from the centre, and they keep quiet. I know what I am talking about.
If you say the centre is too powerful, who made the centre powerful? If a particular president wants to take more powers from the states, it is left for the states to challenge him in court that it is against the Constitution.

Also, they said they want reconstruction because Nigeria is not a true federation. Reconstruction alone cannot give you true federation. The true federation is that we should insist that the Constitution must be respected. The Constitution has already provided for it. If you stayed in your house, a thief came to take your television, you did not talk, it is when the thief has run to the street that you are shouting thief, thief, thief. Why didn’t you stop him from taking your television set?
They also said we should go back to the 1963 Constitution. They are ignorant of the 1963 Constitution. When we were drafting the 1979 Constitution, all the 49 of us were given a copy each of the 1963 Constitution. Any one that is saying we should go back to the 1963 Constitution is an enemy of Nigeria.
The copy of the 1963 Constitution was given to us each to study, and write out what we think is wrong there, that we should change. We spent more than one month working on the 1963 Constitution and why it is not good for Nigeria.
Some people have said the states should be converted to six. Chief Emeka Anyaoku (former Secretary General of Commonwealth of Nations)  just said eight units. They surprised me and disappointed me. The Constitution is clear that states can come together. There is a constitutional provision for state merging together. The conditions are in the Constitution. So, there is nothing new that they are saying. Let them give me convincing reasons.

The 2014 National Conference, there is nothing from that confab that is so strange, though there are big brains there. But why should your country pay you millions of naira for every sitting when you want to do something in the interest of your country?
We did 1979 Constitution, none of us was given one kobo. None of the 49 of us had the sitting allowance. They only paid for our transport and accommodation. But those that were at the 2014 Confab, the country paid them in millions and fed them too. But one day, they were so childish that they said the food they gave them was not enough for children, and they protested because of food. Tell me, you cannot be the serious person now. There is nothing they said there that is a panacea.
Nigeria does not need any more national conference. Let us set up a body that will go to the archives, bring all the reports of conferences we have had so that we can work on them.
This is why I don’t support restructuring. How can the 36 states be merged into six geographical regions? To me, it does not make sense. Have you ever seen somebody, who after he enjoyed political independence, would voluntarily say take my independence, he does not want to be independent again? Freedom is part of the basic aspect of people. You cannot convert the 36 states to six or eight just by fiat.

On the referendum, sometimes people don’t convince me that they understand the rule of the referendum. Some of them even suggested that we should have sovereign national conference and thereafter, we will have a referendum. It is stupid. After a sovereign national conference, you don’t have referendum again. The two cannot go together. Whatever is said at the sovereign national conference is permanent, and I don’t support that. I have not supported it over the years because why should sound 170 million people surrender their rights to few hundreds of people to decide their fate and whatever they decide will be sacrosanct as the Quran or the Bible. Anything that comes out of sovereign national conference cannot be changed again. National Conference can say Tam David-West, from today on, you are a woman, not a man.
So, all the reasons they are giving for restructuring, I am not impressed. It is not that there is no need for it. But they have not impressed me. What Nigeria needs is restructuring themselves. We must think of Nigeria and believe in Nigeria for the good of Nigeria.
If you make every village in Nigeria a state, some families will still complain of marginalisation. Until the people operating it changed their orientation to say that we could all work together. If you are talking of marginalisation, what will I, an Ijaw man, say? We are the most marginalised.
In Nigeria, we are too full of formula. We always look for a panacea to solve our problems. The problem with Nigerian is Nigerian.

Poverty, is no doubt, prevalent in Nigeria, though Nigeria is said to be coming out of economic recession. Many have lost their jobs. It is likely that Nigerians will pay more for electricity tariff to enjoy more power supply and pump price of petroleum products. Nigerian expect Mr President to do something about it when he comes back. What would you advise him to do?

I will be the last person to support an increase in electricity tariff. I will be the last person to support the increase in petroleum pump price. The petroleum price should come down. I am saying it loud and clear, I have already discussed it with Buhari, he knows where I stand. Anybody that is suggesting that we increase petroleum price is an enemy of Nigeria. Most of them that are suggesting the increase is not paying for petrol. The state is paying for their petrol.
On economic recession, when I listened to Minister of Finance, I used to laugh when she said the economic recession will end in eight months. I don’t believe you. Is it magic? You don’t take economic recession by magic or by wish. What have you don’t to the economy that will make the recession to stop? You are not the only country that went through a recession. America went through the worst recession. In the 1930s, America was finished. Recently former US President, Barack Obama, before bringing us the stimulus formula. We talk, we don’t act. I don’t believe the recession is finished. If the recession is finished, I challenge the Minister of Finance if she says the recession will finish in few months time, if it is true, I will go and hold a party for her in Abuja. I don’t believe them. In fact, I have to see it physically that something is changing. People are suffering. It is a wicked government that can add more suffering to the people. Government exists for the interest of the people.
Edmund Burke said a government is a contrivance of human wisdom, and human beings have the rights to expect that the government should satisfy that wisdom. Any government that cannot serve the interest of the people and give greater happiness to the greater number of people is a failed government. I will not be part of it. I will never support it and I know Buhari will never support it. (The Sun)

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Buhari Must Not Die, He May Not Be Stable Until End Of His Term- Primate Elijah Ayodele

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Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele

• SAYS, ‘KANU WILL NOT LEAD BIAFRA’

By Olakunle Olafioye

AS a follow up to his earlier prediction on why Ali Modu Sheriff must be stopped as PDP chairman, foremost Nigerian seer and cleric, Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele, in this interview reacts to last week’s Supreme Court verdict, which returned the Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee as the lawful leadership of the party.

He also speaks on the agitation for Biafra being championed by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) among other boiling issues.   

In your predictions published on August 14, 2016, you alluded to the fact that only the faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Ahmed Makarfi could revive the party. Now with the Supreme Court having ruled in favour of the former Kaduna State governor, is that an indication that the party will bounce back?

We have just started. With Makarfi back in the saddle, PDP will be on its way to gradual recovery if they take the right steps. As it is PDP needs proper cleansing. Makarfi can still bring the party back but if the party brings the wrong person for the presidential election in 2019 the party may not win. Then, APC will now have crisis with Makarfi returning except they are able to put their house in order and re-strategize if the party is to retain power. At end of the day, it may neither be APC nor PDP that will get central if they fail to present sellable candidates.  I don’t want to talk about candidates now; at the appropriate time, I will reveal that.

What I am saying is that Makarfi can still stabilise PDP. What happens in Osun does not mean that PDP is back. They should reorganise the party properly and do the right thing in the party. At the same time, APC is cracking. If APC wishes to retain the Presidency they should also ensure they put their house in order. Then the vice president’s life is in danger but God will see him through. Many things will still be exposed to the plots against him. There are so many things we don’t see now; the vice president is struggling against the cabal. As it is now the villa is vacant.

What do you mean by this?

We still need to pray very well for Buhari to recover quickly. He may not be stable until the end of his term. I am also seeing a big referendum coming in Nigeria but I cannot see when or how it will come because God did not show me that. Honestly, Buhari needs prayers. His family needs to pray very well for him. I am not saying the medical treatment he is receiving will not work, but it is not the lasting solution. It is only God that can sustain his life. Buhari must not die because if he dies it will affect a lot of things in the North. But I see the national flag being flown at half mast but I don’t know where that is coming from. Oyegun’s seat is shaking. His position will be in crisis if Buhari fails to continue.

The agitation for the state of Biafra is still on. What is your view on it?

Nnamdi Kanu’s life is at risk especially because of the way he talks, his misuse of words. Forget about all he is doing, let him continue to pray to the dead souls. Kanu will not lead Biafra. Biafra vision may be actualized in the nearest future, he will not lead the Igbo to actualize the vision. He is taking some wrong steps that will fail him to actualize his dream as a leader of Biafra. Then the Igbo should not expect the Presidency in 2019. Their time has not come. I am talking as a prophet, not as a politician. Kanu is still going to face a lot of challenges and if he is not careful enough, he may miss it. He must be careful so that he doesn’t lose his life in the cause of this struggle. He needs to be extremely careful and watchful.

There will be election in Anambra although there will be crisis. If the governor remains steadfast with his party APGA God can help him to sustain that seat but he if he attempts to take wrong steps, he will see the other side of the voters. In a nutshell Nigeria is sitting on time bomb.

No party can do it. That is why I said Buhari should leave the issue of corruption because if we continue to play money politics, the fight against corruption will continue to be a mirage, even the EFCC cannot effectively fight corruption under the current arrangement until we stop money politics.

The Badoo crisis in Ikorodu seems to defy security solutions and many people believe it is more of a spiritual challenge. What is your view on this?

Let me say that the police have been trying their bit. They are not spirits, the residents are also doing their bit but the step they are supposed to take is to continue arranging prayer programmes involving churches and mosques and pray to God to arrest those behind the Badoo killings. I said it in 2013 that terrorism is coming to Lagos. This is part of the terrorism. Yet we still need to be more security conscious in Lagos.

There are other things that will follow. The security operatives just need to be ready to contain it. Christian association needs to come together, organize vigils for three days to make sure that Badoo is rooted out of Ikorodu. I am telling Lagosians that very soon those behind it will be exposed and Ikorodu will be free from this crisis. (The Sun)

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IPOB Under Pressure To Dump Secession, Declares No Amount Of Pressure Will Work

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…It’s Biafra or death –Group

By ENYERIBE EJIOGU (Lagos) and Jeff Amechi Agbodo (Onitsha)

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has said that the leadership of the group has come under pressure to accept the decision of Igbo leaders to pursue a restructuring of the country rather than the quest for the restoration of Biafra.

IPOB, however, has declared that no amount of pressure and persuasion would change its resolve to push for the restoration of Biafra as being championed by its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

The Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Mr. Emma Powerful, who spoke to Sunday Sun said that under no circumstance would IPOB accept restructuring because the Aburi Accord was a form of restructuring, which the British Government advised the Hausa Fulani to reject in the aftermath of the crisis that arose in the country, following the Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu-led January 15, 1966 coup, which claimed the lives of prominent politicians including the then Prime Minister, Sir Tafawa Balewa, the Premier of the North, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Ladoke Akintola as well as the July 29 counter-coup of the same year, led by young northern military officers, in which the then military head of state, Major-General Aguiyi Ironsi was gruesomely killed.

The counter-coup led the foundation for the widespread massacre of Igbo people in the North. It was in the bid to find a lasting solution that the then federal military government led by Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon, as he then was, and the then military governor of the defunct Eastern Region, Lt. Colonel Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, as he then was, met in Ghana to negotiate the future of the country and thereafter arrived at the Aburi Accord, which would have enthroned a confederal structure in the political administration of Nigeria. Gowon and Ojukwu signed the agreement, but soon after Gowon set foot in Lagos, he dumped the Aburi Accord, on the instigation of the British government, which believed that implementation of the agreement would cripple its grand agenda to continue exerting political influence in the newly independent Nigeria. With the Aburi Accord stalemated, events quickly snowballed in a way that led to the Nigerian civil war, following Ojukwu’s declaration of the then Eastern Region as the Republic of Biafra, a name taken from the Bight of Biafra, which was later changed to the Bight of Benin by the Nigerian government. A three-year war that caused massive loss of Igbo lives as well as economic assets ensued in 1967 and ended in 1970 with the capitulation of Biafra.

In the light of the 1966-67 crisis, and not wanting to have a repeat of that, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, as well as other notable Igbo leaders, have been calling for the restructuring of the country as opposed to IPOB’s drive for the restoration of Biafra. Besides, a groundswell of support for restructuring has grown across the country from the South-west, South-south and the Middle Belt. Moreover, notable northern stakeholders like former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar and former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, have both endorsed restructuring.

Against this background, Igbo elders and the apex Igbo leadership group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, advised IPOB and other Biafra agitation groups to dump secession and adopt restructuring as their primary agenda for the country as it could be achieved with the support of other geopolitical zones through dialogue that would produce fundamental and relevant constitutional amendments without the break out of war, which a secession bid would entail.

The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, in a press release, explained why the majority of the Igbo prefer a restructuring of the country to total break up. Nwodo said that no ethnic group has more stake in the Nigeria Project than the Igbo and as such cannot consider a break up as a viable option. He said that there is no part of this country where Ndigbo have not invested their resources even without any corresponding investment in Igboland by people from other parts of the country.

While appreciating the circumstances that prompted the youth agitations under the MASSOB and IPOB platforms, Nwodo noted that the elders do not believe that leaving the country is a reasonable option at this time.

He said that the various segments of Igbo leadership comprising Ohanaeze leadership, governors, National Assembly members, traditional and religious leaders after deliberating on the situation when they met in Enugu came to the conclusion that the restructuring option offers Igbo the best way forward.

He said that restructuring would bring Nigeria to a level where every person regardless of tribe, religion or class would have a sense of belonging and in return give in their best for the development of the country.

Nwodo assured that the leadership of the apex body would carry along the youths of the region and ensure that the Ndigbo have a common and unified position on the way forward for them. “Equal partnership, equal ownership and level playing ground for all is the right way to go to bring out the best in our people and set the country on the path of growth and development,” he said.

In the same vein, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Chukwudi Ibegbu, graphically summarised the position of the apex Igbo group in a recent media report: “We want fiscal and structural restructuring. We want the implementation of the 2014 confab reports and more states and more local government areas in the South-East. We want equity, justice and fair-play. We want issues that lead to agitation to be addressed. We want the killing of our people in the North to be stopped.”

The former governor of Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, who was at the 2014 Confab expressed the same thought when he spoke at a forum in Abuja: “We must go back to the ‘agreed Nigeria,’ that is, the structure of Nigeria, as agreed by the founding fathers— our heroes past. That ‘agreed Nigeria’ was a federal structure, with regions as federating units.

“Initially, there were three regions: Eastern, Western and Northern. The Midwestern region was created later, making four regions: three in the South, one in the North. Each region had its own constitution and operated fairly autonomously. The Federal Government handled issues universally agreed to be federal responsibilities, issues like external relations, currency, weights and measures, etc.

“There was fiscal federalism as the resources for running the Federal Government came, basically, from the federating units. Each region controlled its resources and grew at its own pace. The people owned their regions in the sense that people in the regions were, particularly, concerned about how their regions were run. That was mainly because the money spent in the regions was basically internally generated—contributed by the people of the regions, through taxation, other payments, etc.

“The main problem is that as the country is currently structured and run, the country is growing backwards, indeed, taking giant steps backwards.”

However, in explaining why IPOB would continue pursuing its agenda, Powerful said: “We are always misunderstood because people are not conversant with what IPOB is all about. We want to be free from Nigeria, not restructuring it.

“However, we have maintained our stance of Biafra or death, from which we cannot shift. Nigeria is irredeemable. The soldiers killed many of our people, buried them in mass graves without anybody saying anything and at the same time denied killing the innocent civilians in different locations. Since inception, we have never been involved in any form of crime but the government ordered the killing to suppress the people’s wish. That is a pointer that the Hausa Fulani ‘born-to-rule’ champions do not want anything from this region to come up.

“We, IPOB, have nothing to do with restructuring. Anybody or group of persons are entitled to their opinion but we want total freedom not just for Biafra but for every ethnic nationality in Nigeria because a lot of ethnic nationalities are being denied their rights by the same people who want to bury Biafrans but we said no to what they have done to our elders and fathers. This generation said we can’t allow such to continue unless they kill all of us in one day.

He spoke further: “We advise the elders not to go against the wish of the people because many have sacrificed their lives, to ensure that Biafra is restored. If they don’t know, we have crossed the Rubicon, there is no going back. They should not allow themselves to be seen as siding with the oppressors of poor masses. The IPOB agenda is ordained by the Most High God Almighty. Who can stand against the wish of God Almighty, Chukwu Okike Abiama? IPOB is moving with the direction of Almighty God in Heaven but those are myopic may not know or see it.”

“Every right thinking person must know that the time has come for Biafra to be free from Nigeria and history will be kind to those that recognise this moment and are able to seize it. We call on our Igbo leaders not to allow their old political loyalties and affiliations to becloud their sense of judgement because we are witnessing the tentative emergence of the new Biafra nation. They cannot serve the Hausa-Fulani interest in perpetuity. The time has come for them to remain strong and side with the people, otherwise, they will lose relevance forever in this contraption created by Lord Lugard.” (The Sun)

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