Prof. Wole Soyinka has alleged that the Buhari-led administration is using security agencies to silence Nigerians.
The Nobel Laureate made this claim at the unveiling of an art gallery in commemoration of his 85th birthday. Insisting that such move only shows that the government is afraid, Soyinka added that it also reduces those running the government, Igbere TV reports.
“It is important to send strong message to this government and to the security services to stop trying to muzzle people when they come together to exchange ideas.
“You’re reducing them as human beings and you’re also reducing yourselves as human beings, because it means you’re afraid to listen” he said.
Speaking further at the event held on Saturday August 24, Soyinka told Nigerians not to believe everything they read on social media.
“Be very, very careful what you believe even when you read such materials in social media or sometimes in newspapers because in this country, we have a most fertile multiplier effect.
“When somebody hears something, he puts it on the Internet, it spreads and an industry begins as people start commenting on things which never existed.
“Sometimes on social media, you’ll even see trending quotes supposedly from me, with my name, my photograph, with statements which represents what those people want to say but lacked the courage to say it” he said.
This is coming after security operatives sealed off the venue of a symposium where Soyinka, Falana and many others were expected to speak on the security issues ravaging the country.
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FormerDeputy National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olabode George has insisted that the National Leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu lobbied to be appointed Deputy Administrator or a Commissioner in Lagos State when late General Sani Abacha sacked the Interim National Government, ING, headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan in 1993.
George who was reacting to denials by some associates of Tinubu that the APC stalwart never romanced nor lobbied the late dictator for appointments as claimed by Mr Kola Abiola, son of the late M.K.O Abiola in a recent interview, insisted that Kola Abiola’s claims against Tinubu were true. “Tinubu can never deny it. He lobbied Abacha for appointment and I was a witness to it. Those defending Tinubu are his apologists who are not familiar with the story of June 12. I challenge Tinubu to an open public debate on any popular TV station in Nigeria and across the world on this,” he declared. In this interview with TUNDE THOMAS, George also spoke on other national issues.
What is your reaction to the nationwide controversy trailing Federal Government’s decision to set up Ruga settlements for Fulani herdsmen in states across the country?
The Federal Government should tread softly. It should be very careful about the whole thing. This is not the first time that Fulani herdsmen or the Fulani cattle rearers have been traversing the length and breadth of this country, and we’ve never heard of anything of such before. No past government in the country has ever contemplated anything of such – so why would federal government now come up with this idea capable of precipitating crisis?
Already the uproar that is being generated by this Ruga policy conceived by the present federal government is enough to tell any leader that there is need for caution. We should tread carefully. Why is this idea of Ruga settlements now being conceived? Is it because we now have a Fulani man as President that this Ruga tendency is now manifesting in Nigeria?
Let’s cast our mind back to the past, when we had an Ijaw man as Nigeria’s president, did he go round or make an announcement that they should set up fish ponds all over Nigeria? When Baba Obasanjo was Nigeria’s president, did he make it an official policy that they should plant cocoa in all hamlets all over Nigeria?
Developmental purposes should be seen as negotiation between parties. This Ruga project should not have any coloration of the federal government being involved. The impression that the Ruga project gives is that federal government wants to create a colonization army.
I want to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari that the federal government should tread softly. President Buhari was my commander-in-chief in the military, and I served as a staff officer to him, so I’m therefore appealing to him as my Oga that he should tread softly.
If this Ruga project is something that will boost the economy and will benefit Nigerians, all these opposition against it would not have arisen. Naturally Nigerians would have gravitated towards it, and embrace it. Every state governor is the chief security officer of that state; power and control over the land within the state rest squarely with the governor. So federal government doesn’t have the constitutional power to impose the Ruga project over any state.
In the first place, the federal government has no business getting involved in the Ruga project, it should be a private initiative between parties who will discuss and come to terms of agreements among themselves. It is very wrong now that Nigeria is on the cliff. I want to see Nigeria as an indivisible entity where all the tribes would first and foremost see themselves as Nigerians. I also expect this nationalism to drive us to greater heights. What I see today all over Nigeria frightens me, and I cry for my beloved country, Nigeria.
What I’m saying here has nothing to do with politics. I’m speaking as a patriot who loves my country. This Ruga project by the federal government, which they are desperately promoting, can it be sustained? Is it in the common interest of all Nigerians? And if there is cacophony of voices opposing it, should federal government not listen? I believe federal government should listen to those voices of reason opposing the Ruga project.
What is your reaction to the present state of insecurity, and the way out?
The situation is not only unfortunate, but it has also become alarming. But for me I believe that creation or setting up of state police is part of the way out. We should establish state police to have effective control over issues relating to insecurity. The Nigeria Police as it presently stands is overwhelmed. The number of officers and men in Nigeria police is grossly inadequate to effectively police over 200 million Nigerians.
Although some are talking about state police being abused, but there is no system that is perfect. Then we should even start it first. We should not expect that if we start state police today, then we will have perfection immediately. It will take time before we attain perfection.
In the United States of America which is our role model, they have what we call county police or what we call local government police. They also have state police – then they also have the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The other day, the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu was lamenting that he has only 334,000 men and officers in the Nigeria police, and Nigeria’s population has been put at 200 million people. Then how can 334,000 police force man the internal security of this country? Even if you add the personnel of the Civil Defence Corps men, LASTMA and whatever you call them and join them with the Police, it still amounts to nothing.
How can it be that the Inspector-General of Police is based in Abuja and he control all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, then how can he be effective? We are not serious.
All these things happening are issues that require urgency to tackle because we are talking about the internal security of the country. Then when people like us are talking, we are not talking politics, we are talking about national interest. So whatever I’m saying should not be misconstrued. I’m talking as a patriot who loves his nation and dear country.
Sadly on this issue of insecurity, we are losing the battle. Something has to be done very fast to bring the situation under control because Nigerians are no longer secure. We should be able to tell ourselves the home truth. Nobody prays that Nigeria should be turned into Somalia where banditry, kidnappings and other forms of crimes are prevalent but sadly we are now travelling on that road to Somalia. Our prayer is that this should not be so, but those in authority have to do all the needful now.
How would you describe the approaches being adopted by the federal government to tackle the menace of insecurity so far?
The federal government has to buckle up. The security situation across the country is pathetic and alarming. But unfortunately look at the way federal government is taking the issue as if it is not a serious matter. Look at the way the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo was trying to downplay the seriousness of the issue when he recently travelled to the United States of America where he met the US Vice President, Mike Pence.
Haba! Prof. Osinbajo, how can you be lying or not saying the truth about the situation of things in your country? Unfortunately for Osinbajo, the world is now a global village. Although Osinbajo tried to hide the truth about Nigeria from Pence, but those people in America and other countries of the world know that bandits, kidnappers and abductors are having a field day in Nigeria, and this is why some of those countries including the United States issued warning alerts to their citizens coming to Nigeria and those resident in Nigeria. My advice to Osinbajo is that he should be careful. The job he is holding on to will end one day, and there will be a day after his job, and when that period comes what will he tell Nigerians? Will he be able to look Nigerians in the face?
What is happening in Nigeria today is not a joking matter. People now live in fear in Nigeria. People go around in Nigeria. The first job of any government is to provide security for lives and properties but on these the present federal government has not lived up to expectations. Security first, then others follow. All over Nigeria, people are crying.
My advice as a Nigerian to President Buhari is that the federal government should organize a national discourse on insecurity. We should have a national discourse on the issue with a view of proffering solution. Democracy is government of the people by the people and for the people. We are not in a military era, this is a civilian government so President Buhari must let Nigerians make an input into how the scourge of insecurity can be tackled. This has nothing to do with politics. It is in our diversities that our strength lies.
On the raging internal crisis rocking Yoruba Council of Elders, some eminent Yoruba have expressed concern about it, what’s your own reaction to the crisis?
I’m very disturbed. I’m not happy at all about what is happening in YCE. What those elders are doing amounts to washing their dirty linens in the public. I’m going to beg all the parties involved. I will appeal to both the Secretary-General, Kunle Olajide, and the YCE President, Colonel Ade Agbede to sheath their swords. I will speak to both of them personally.
YCE has always been one united family, and that’s the way it should remain. The founding fathers of YCE like late Justice Adewale Thompson and Baba Archdeacon Alayande would not be happy in their graves with the present unfortunate development in YCE.
Disagreement is part of life, but then you only disagree to agree. The moment members of the same family go to the market place to expose one another, then that means the situation is degenerating out of control. It is even a taboo in Yoruba land for elders to fight in the public. These elders should cool down. As the Atona Oodua of the Source, I’m speaking to all parties to give peace a chance. They should be able to resolve their crisis within the YCE fold.
It is just like what is happening in Afenifere. Imagine, the emperor of Bourdillon, Bola Tinubu is leading a faction. This is perfidious and treacherous. How can Tinubu lead Afenifere, and imagine also taking the same group to Aso Rock to meet President Buhari. A divided house is a defeated house. What does some of these Yoruba want history to remember them for? When I saw those that headed to Abuja parading themselves as Afenifere leaders, I shuddered.
On this issue of claims by Kola Abiola that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu lobbied to be made an Administrator, or a Commissioner when General Sani Abacha sacked the ING led by Chief Ernest Shonekan, you came on it to say that Kola’s claims were right, but some supporters of Tinubu have claimed that you said so because you are not on the same political page with Tinubu, how do you respond to that?
I have nothing personal against Tinubu. I don’t hate him. We may not be in the same political party and there is no big deal about that. Nigeria’s constitution guarantees freedom of association. On this issue of Kola’s claims, I’m saying nothing but the truth. Kola Abiola was right. Tinubu begged Abacha to make him an administrator or a state commissioner. I was in the military that time, and I was in Aso Rock with Gen. Abacha and Gen. Oladipo Diya who was then Chief of General Staff to Abacha. I was the Principal Staff Officer I to Gen. Diya. I was then a Commodore in the Nigerian Navy. The equivalent of that rank in the Army is a Brigadier-General.
Unfortunately, many Nigerians don’t know this. Most Nigerians only know Bode George as a politician. Back to what transpired then between Abacha and Tinubu.
Tinubu came to Aso Rock to lobby for these positions but already the military had taken decisions that Abacha’s regime was going to be purely a military regime unlike that of Babangida who appointed civilians as deputy governors to military governors then.
On the day, the Abacha’s government took that decision, it was taken in Lagos at Air Force Mess at Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island. Military officers present were from the rank of Lt.-Colonel and above. When the question was put to the military gathering as to whether civilians should be accommodated or given some roles in the new military government, all the officers present in unison and overwhelmingly rejected the idea. I was part of the military gathering that day.
Tinubu actually came to lobby to be made a commissioner but when he was told about the military decision, he became sad. He wasn’t happy and that was when he went to join NADECO and other pro-democracy activists. If Abacha had given him the positions he lobbied for, Tinubu would have been part of Abacha’s government.
Unfortunately some of these people defending Tinubu and now attacking both myself and Kola Abiola don’t know all these that I’m revealing. I’m saying it again categorically that it was when Tinubu didn’t get appointment from the Abacha’s government that he, out of frustration and anger went to join NADECO.
I challenge Tinubu to a public debate on this. I challenge Tinubu to a public debate on any national television station either here in Nigeria or abroad. I’m even ready to face him on CNN or BBC on this issue. I’m calling out Tinubu, he should take up my challenge. Even if he said we should go to a graveyard to face one another on this issue, I’m ready to face him. For those defending Tinubu, have they seen Tinubu coming out to speak personally or issue a personal statement on Kola Abiola’s claims and my support for Kola Abiola? I’m talking about people like former Lagos State APC chairman, Chief Henry Ajomale, former NUPENG President, Joseph Akinlaja and others who have become Tinubu’s defenders on this issue. If these people don’t know about what transpired during the June 12 crisis, they should keep quiet instead of defending what is not defensible, I say once again, Tinubu should come and face me in a public debate on this issue if he believes I’m not saying the truth. General Diya, and Colonel Olagunsoye Oyinlola who later became Lagos State Military Governor were some of the witnesses to what I’m saying. If Abacha had agreed with Tinubu, Tinubu would have become Deputy Governor to Oyinlola. Both Oyinlola and Tinubu are brothers. They are both from Osun State. Tinubu is from Iragbiji while Oyinlola is from Okuku. Nigerians should ask Oyinlola if I’m lying. Facts are facts, Tinubu can’t deny that he lobbied Abacha to be made a commissioner or deputy governor to Oyinlola. I’m putting all these together in my memoirs, which will be out very soon.
How would you describe the defection of former Minister of Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, your former ally in PDP to APC?
Like I said in an earlier interview, Ogunlewe has gone back to where he comes from. He has gone back to his vomit. Nobody is missing him in PDP. I don’t want to waste my saliva talking about him. His defection is like a good riddance to bad rubbish. Talking about him or his defection to APC is a waste of time.
Chief Henry Ajomale in an interview said that with Senator Ogunlewe’s defection, you are the next big fish from PDP that will defect to APC. What is your reaction to that?
Ajomale is daydreaming. I can’t and will never join APC. APC is not a political party. It is a congregation of strange bedfellows. I’m not a political prostitute that jumps from party to another. Since 1999, I have been in PDP and up till now, I’m still in PDP. I can never leave PDP. If Ajomale is waiting for me to join APC, he is not only wasting his time, but he will wait till only God knows when.
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Heavily fortified security operatives of the Nigeria Police Force and the State Security Service have surrounded the premises of African Independent Television (AIT) after the station came back on air late Friday.
Group Managing Director of DAAR Communication Mr. Tony Akiotu speaking to newsmen said shortly after AIT commenced operation, security forces gathered around the station’s premises
He decried the action saying the action of the Nigeria Police Force and the State Security Service was an ‘unwarranted threat’ on AIT.
He explained that by 12.30 a.m. Saturday morning, the premises of DAAR Communications Plc was surrounded by security operatives of the Nigeria Police Force and the State Security Service.
He went further to say the “heavily fortified security operatives were carrying out surveillance on the premises,”
Mr Akiotu said this is “unusual” and the motive “unclear” but the sation will not be deterrd as “the station is still transmitting signals on its national and global beam,” adding that the action of the security operatives was “unwarranted threat” .
The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, had granted an ex-parte order that restored the operating license of DAAR Communications Plc, owners of African Independent Television, AIT, and Ray Power FM, which was earlier suspended by the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC.
The court ordered both DAAR Communications Plc and NBC to revert to the status quo that was in existence as at May 30, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit before it. The order followed a suit the media establishment lodged to challenge the suspension of its operating licence on Thursday by the NBC.
The NBC had based its action on allegation that the media outfit breached its rules and regulations. Meanwhile, cited as Respondents in the suit the plaintiff filed through its lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, were the NBC, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture (FMIC) and the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF.
The plaintiff equally filed an affidavit of urgency, wherein it urged the court to quickly intervene in the matter. Out of three principal reliefs that DAAR Communications Plc sought in its motion ex-parte, the court declined to grant two of them.
Specifically, the plaintiff had sought to restrain the Respondents, its agents or privies, from interfering with its operations in any manner whatsoever, pending the determination of its application for injunctive reliefs. However, in his ruling, Justice Inyang Ekwo, said he was minded to grant the alternative relief to restore the status quo that was in existence as at when the matter was brought before the court for adjudication.
The court therefore issued, “An order for the maintenance of status quo ante bellum as at 30th of May, 2019, pending the hearing and final determination of the motion on notice filed along with this application”. Justice Ekwo said he would not hesitate to sanction the plaintiff, if the court is later convinced that the order was made in error.
More so, the court ordered all the Respondents to appear before it on June 13, “to show cause why the prayers in the applicant’s motion should not be granted”. DAAR Communications Plc had in its affidavit of urgency that was deposed to by one Mr. Kelly Elisha, prayed the court to wade into the matter that led to NBC’s sanction against it.
“The timeous intervention by this Honourable Court is necessary to prevent irreparable damage from being done to the Plaintiff, thus foisting a situation of complete helplessness on this Honourable Court”, it pleaded. In the motion, the embattled media organisation sought for, “An order of interlocutory Injunction in favour of DAAR Communication Plc, the Plaintiff/Applicant (operators of African Independent Television (AIT), RAYPOWER 100.5 FM, FAJI FM and DARSAT), restraining the Defendants, whether by themselves, their agents, operatives, servants and/or privies, howsoever called, from blocking, jamming, stopping, removing from air and/or interfering with the air waves of the Plaintiff/Applicant in any way and manner howsoever, in its broadcast and airing of news, views, documentaries, or any other legitimate broadcast material that is usually associated with television, radio or social media broadcast pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
As well as, “An order of interlocutory Injunction in favour of DAAR Communication Plc, the Plaintiff/Applicant (African Independent Television (AIT), RAYPOWER 100.5 FM, FAJI FM and DARSAT), restraining the Defendants, whether by themselves, their agents, operatives, servants and/or privies, howsoever called from invading the premises of the Plaintiff/Applicant, or closing down, viet armis, the said premises, its operations or broadcast services, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit”. As part of its grounds for making the application, the Plaintiff/Applicant, told the court that it was the first privately owned Independent Broadcasting Organisation in Nigeria, having been licensed to broadcast on television and radio since 1996.
“The Plaintiff/Applicant has in the best tenets and tradition of broadcast and in compliance with section 22 of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as altered, carried out its duties legally, legitimately, morally and nationalistically, in informing, educating and entertaining Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora on sundry matters, which activities have energized and contributed to national development and also nurtured, widened, deepened and strengthened democracy, rule of law, human rights and anti-corruption in Nigeria.
“Since the emergence of the present government, the Plaintiff/Applicant has been under its close surveillance and undue monitoring of its operations by the present government which wrongly believes that the Plaintiff/Applicant had been too supportive of the immediate past government.
“That sometimes on 16th April, 2019, agents of the Federal Government represented by the 1st Defendant, in a Gestapo- like- manner, attacked and pulled down the two gates leading to the Plaintiff/Applicant’s operational Headquarters which damage and destruction run into of hundreds of millions of naira.
“The Defendants and their agents have been writing series of letters with which they harassed and intimidated the Plaintiff over the contents of their broadcast, particularly of late, concerning its social media segment of its morning flagship broadcast show called KAKAKI (the African Voice). “Credible information just reaching the Plaintiff has it that the Defendants have concluded plans to invade and shut down the premises of the Plaintiff and/or part thereof, in the next few days. “Shutting down the broadcast services of the Plaintiff will deny majority of Nigerians access to information which is constitutionally guaranteed, and its teaming workers of their means of livelihood.
“That it is extremely urgent to hear and grant these prayers pending the hearing of the substantive suit, so as prevent irreparable damage which cannot be compensated for on monetary terms from being inflicted on the Plaintiff/Applicant”, it added. NGE condemns suspension of DAAR communications licences, demands reversal
The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has condemned the suspension of the licences of the African Independent Television (AIT) and Ray Power by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and demanded its reversal. The NGE expressed its view in a statement in Abuja on Friday.
In the statement signed by President of the Guild, Mrs Funke Egbemode, the editors appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, to use his good offices to call the NBC to order to revoke the suspension. The Guild demanded in clear terms the revocation of the suspension order as it runs contrary to the ideals of free speech and the fine tenets of press freedom.
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Femi Fani-Kayode, former Minister of Aviation has called for the removal of President Muhammadu Buhari like that of President of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir.
Making reference to revolution against Omar al-Bashir by the Sudanese, Fani-Kayode in a tweet on Thursday called on Nigerian youths to revolt against Buhari.
Recall that DAILY POST earlier reported that Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, stepped down, while the military took over after anti government protest.
Thousands of Sudanese had since poured in to the streets of Khartoum in early celebration of what many think could be the end of President Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year rule.
Reports had it that the revolution for Omar’s removal was led by a 22-year old, named Alaa Salah.
Speaking on the development, Fani Kayode called on Nigerian youths to summon courage and stage up a revolution to demand removal of Buhari from office.
The former minister wrote: “Her name is Alaa Salah. She led a revolution in Sudan. She called for the oppressive leader of Sudan to step down. She is only 22 years old.
“If only the youths of Nigeria had her courage, strength and conviction Buhari would have been out long ago!
“If you really want freedom you must be ready to risk all by openly opposing tyranny and evil, protesting in the streets and fighting for it. Anything short of that will result in failure and prolonged servitude and slavery.
“Some of us have paid our dues and have fought hard against Buhari over the last four years. We have suffered all manner of hardship and persecution for it. It is time for others to do their bit.” (Daily Post)
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The Federal Government has said that the statements by the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, portends tolerance for corrupt acts and the downplaying of the anti-corruption crusade of the Buhari administration.
The government also said the statements signified alignment with the opposition and endorsement of its position that the ruling party, and by extension, the Federal Government of Nigeria, is working on rigging the forthcoming elections.
This is the third time the government is reacting to statements by the US, the UK and the EU, having earlier said that the presidency will not bend rules or allow interference, and that the US, UK and the EU were not properly informed over concerns raised by the suspension of Onnoghen.
In a statement by the spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, George Ehidiamen Edokpa, the government stated that the statements were inimical to the wellbeing and development of Nigeria, given their nuisance value of promoting sectional and religious divide in the country, anarchy and retrogression.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria notes with deep concern, statements made by representatives of foreign governments and international organizations resident in Nigeria, notably the Embassy of the United States of America, the High Commission of the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union Election Observer Mission, regarding the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), which demonstrate serious and unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Nigeria.
“The various statements, especially of those referred to above, appear prejudicial and signify alignment with the opposition and endorsement of its position that the ruling party, and by extension, the Federal Government of Nigeria, is working on rigging the forthcoming elections in Nigeria. These statements also portend tolerance for corrupt acts and downplay the anticorruption crusade of the Buhari administration, knowing fully that the suspended CJN had not denied the charges against him and that probity requires of him to step aside while the case is under scrutiny.
“It is pertinent to underscore the unfortunate fact that statements, as referred above, are inimical to the wellbeing and development of Nigeria, given their nuisance value of promoting sectional and religious divide in the country, anarchy and retrogression. Now, more than any other time, Nigerians and true friends of Nigeria should be working towards repositioning Nigeria to realize her potential and sustainably provide the leadership expected of her.
“His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari had consistently demonstrated respect for the rule of law as a presidential candidate and as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and would engage in nothing to the contrary. He also remains a man of integrity who has severally pledged free and fair elections. It is therefore absurd to presume that the suspension of the CJN is geared towards rigging the forthcoming elections in favour of the ruling party.
“For the avoidance of doubt, be it known that on three occasions that Mr. President went to court as a presidential candidate and lost his case, in 2013, 2011 and 2007, the presiding judges at the Supreme Court were all northerners and Muslims: Justice Muhammad Lawal Uwais, Idris Lebo Kutigi and Dahiru Mustapha respectively. In fact, in one instance, the presiding judge at the Appeal Court was from Katsina State and the President’s former classmate, yet, he lost the case. The minority judgements in his favour were given by two judges, both of them southerners and Christians: Justices George Adesola Oguntade and Sylvanus Nsofor.
“Resident embassies and international organizations invited to observe the forthcoming elections must therefore be wary of being drawn into the camp of the opposition, otherwise their neutrality, which is the hallmark of election observers becomes questionable. It is indeed unfortunate that foreign missions would align with the opposition and seek to negatively interpret actions by the Federal Government, no matter their positive basis and intention. Had the Federal Government been high-handed, would the opposition have been able to express its views even to the point of pouring invectives on Mr. President? How best can the corruption in the judiciary, which has enormously undermined the rights of the common man and made justice available only to the highest bidder, be best tackled than by ensuring that known cases are fundamentally tackled? Where is the rule of law, if justice is applied selectively?” the government queried.
The government further raised pertinent questions which it said, the opposition and their sympathizers must reflect upon.
“Pertinent questions that the opposition and their sympathizers must reflect upon are: How has the action of Mr. President undermined the resolve for free and fair election? In what ways does it undermine the independence of the Judiciary, except in the minds of the opposition and its cohorts? What right has a representative of a foreign government to incense an already volatile situation on the grounds that her government has invested heavily in the elections? It is insulting for any foreign representative to claim the right to interference in Nigeria’s internal affairs, based on the premise that its government has invested heavily in the election,” the government added.
The government further said Nigeria had invested enormously over the years in election processes of many African countries and will continue to do so without interfering in their internal affairs.
The government also said interference in Nigeria’s internal affairs under any guise will therefore not be accepted.
“Representatives of foreign governments and organizations are therefore advised to tread with caution and desist from using the utterances and actions of opposition organizations and individuals as a vehicle to interfere in Nigeria’s internal affairs. Embassies and organizations accredited to Nigeria should desist from actions and utterances that can only create political, sectional and religious crises and divides,” the government warned. (The Sun)
Less than 24 hours after former President Olusegun Obasanjo President Muhammadu Buharia of behaving like late General Sani Abacha, he has fired yet another shot at the incumbent.
Obasanjo, in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, Yoruba, the former president said Buhari is sick in the spirit, body and soul. The elder statesman said Buhari needs to rest and allow another person to take charge of Nigeria, ahead of the February 16 presidential election.
“Buhari is sick in the spirit, body and soul. Let’s beg him to go and rest. He has tried his best. Let give chance to another person..
“When people ask me that, ‘what if the next person is not suitable?’ I tell them ‘that is the beauty of democracy.’”
In an open letter on Sunday, titled: Points for concern and action, Obasanjo specifically accused the president of taking the country back to the Abacha era and also, accused the Buhari government of derailing the country’s democracy by using security institutions to fight perceived critics.
“EFCC, Police and Code of Conduct Tribunal are also being equally misused to deal with those Buhari sees as enemies for criticising him or as those who may not do his bidding in manipulating election results. Criticism, choice and being different are inherent trade mark of democracy. If democracy is derailed or aborted, anarchy and authoritarianism will automatically follow,” Obasanjo said in the letter.
The interview was on its website (www.bbc.com/yoruba/afrika-46942779), yesterday evening, BBC Yoruba, with release of the full interview, today, at 6:00am.
In the interview, Obasanjo also said although he has reservations about Atiku, he would be a better alternative than Buhari.
In a swift reaction, the All Progressives Congress (APC) described Obasanjo as someone whose nuisance value is high.
Reacting to the latest attack on Buhari, from Obasanjo, APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, told Daily Sun, yesterday night, that everything that is supposed to be said about his attacks to Buhari has been said.
Insisting that Obasnjo’s utterances have become inconsequential, Issa-Onilu said Obasanjo should not forget that he has only one, un-influential vote.
“Whatever he is saying now is not different from what he said on Sunday. I have reacted enough to what he said. If mine was not enough, what Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and others said about him should be enough.
“We don’t want to give Obasanjo that privilege of replying to everything he says. APC is done with Obasanjo.
“He is not worth the attention the media is giving to him. It is not true that Nigerians want to hear from him.
“His nuisance value is becoming very high. APC has more important things to do than replying to Obasanjo. He has only one vote and can decide where to take it to.” (The Sun)
•Urges Nigerians to fight, safeguard their votes •Your past haunting you, APC replies ex-president
ByIsmail Omipidan, Laide Raheem, Abeokuta & Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
FormerPresident Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday came hard on President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing him of allegedly plotting to rig the February 16 presidential election.
This is the third time Obasanjo would attack Buhari in less than one year.
The first major attack came through a formal letter to Buhari in January 2018, where he pointedly told a man he helped to power in 2015, not to bother seeking a re-election.
By April of the same year, Obasanjo again hit Buhari, asking him to stop giving Nigerians excuses, insisting that the attitude of always giving excuses was why Buhari had not achieved results.
Obasanjo, who described Buhari as a failure then, this time spoke at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State, while playing host to the New Nigeria 2019 Group, led by the convener, Chima Anyaso, in company with Moses Siasia.
Obasanjo, in a 4002-word letter, titled “Point for Concern and Action,” warned Nigerians never to allow Buhari deceive them the second time.
Obasanjo said: “What is happening under Buhari’s watch can be likened to what we witnessed under Gen. Sani Abacha in many ways. When Abacha decided that he must install himself as Nigerian President by all means and at all costs, he went for broke and surrounded himself with hatchet men who on his order and in his interest and at high costs to Nigeria and Nigerians maimed, tortured and killed for Abacha. Buhari has started on the same path in mad desperation.
“From available intelligence, we have heard of how Buhari and his party are going about his own self-succession project. They have started recruiting collation officers who are already awarding results based on their projects to actualise the perpetuation agenda in which the people will not matter and the votes will not count. It is the sole reason he has blatantly refused to sign the revised Electoral Reform Bill into law.
“His henchmen are working round the clock in cahoots with security and election officials to perfect their plan by computing results right from the ward to local government, state and national levels to allot him what will look like a landslide victory irrespective of the true situation for a candidate who might have carried out by proxy presidential debate and campaigns.
“The current plan is to drape the pre-determined results with a toga of credibility. It is also planned that violence of unimaginable proportion will be unleashed in high voting population areas across the country to precipitate re-run elections and where he will be returned duly elected after concentration of security officials as it happened in Osun State.
“We are monitoring them and we call on all democrats across the world to keep an eye on the unfolding anti-democratic agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari. This is the time for preventive measures to be taken otherwise Nigeria may be presented with a fait accompli with impunity and total disregard of all pleas.
“His scheme bears eloquent testimony to this road similar to Abacha whom he has praised to high heavens and as an arch-supporter and beneficiary from Abacha, he has seen nothing wrong done by him.
“Buhari has intimidated and harassed the private sector, attacked the National Assembly and now unconstitutionally and recklessly attacked and intimidated the Judiciary to cow them to submission.
“Today, another Abacha era is here. The security institutions are being misused to fight all critics and opponents of Buhari and to derail our fledgling democracy.
“EFCC, police and Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) are also being equally misused to deal with those Buhari sees as enemies for criticising him or as those who may not do his bidding in manipulating election results. Criticism, choice and being different are inherent trademark of democracy. If democracy is derailed or aborted, anarchy and authoritarianism will automatically follow.
“Today, as in the day of Abacha, Nigerians must rise up and do what they did in the time of Abacha. Churches and Mosques prayed. International community stood by us Nigerians. I was a beneficiary and my life was saved.
“Well-meaning Nigerians took appropriate actions and made sacrifices, some supreme, some less than supreme but God had the final say and He took the ultimate action.
“Buhari has succeeded in deceiving us the first time and we will be fools to allow ourselves to be deceived the second time. Buba Galadima, who knows Buhari very well as a confidant and has warned us this time around that no matter what he promises, he cannot change his character and attitude.
“Even when figures, facts and statistics are made clear to Buhari, he keeps repeating what is untrue, either because he cannot understand or for mischief purposes and that places him on the level of a pathological liar. He believes he can get away with impunity and deceit as he seems to have done on many occasions in the past.
“Galadima’s position is well complemented by Dr. Auwalu Anwar on the APC, CPC, TBO and Buhari’s character and attitude in his yet to be launched book, ‘Politics As Dashed Hopes in Nigeria’. It is also a stunning revelation. Anwar clearly pointed out, ‘the brazen display of incompetence, insensitivity and irresponsiveness by delusional party, CPC, leadership at all levels’. Buhari was the leader of the party.“Bola Tinubu’s statement about Buhari in 2003 is fairly prophetic, ‘Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilisation, ethnic bigot and religious fanatic who, if given the chance, would ensure the disintegration of the country. His ethnocentrism would jeopardise Nigeria’s national unity.’
“Junaid Mohammed was eloquent on the issue of nepotism. But if as we were told that Buhari is nepotistic because he does not trust others, why should others trust him to continue to put their fate and life in his hand?
The All Progressives Congress (APC),however,reacted saying Obasanjo’s “past is actually hunting.” Its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said:
“When you are adept at a particular thing, that is, what you know how to do well, for eight years of president Obasanjo, all the elections he held and government policies were determined by whatever mood he finds himself. All the institutions of government were brought under his wings and what he did for those eight years is what is hunting him.
“We have conducted over 93 elections since the APC came to power and you can be sure that all those elections were conducted without any interference from this government.
His past is actually hunting him and he must be imaging that perhaps the way he did it remains the same.”
“The 2003 and 2007 elections were nothing to write home about and it happened under former president Obasanjo. He has carried himself about as the dispenser of our destiny and God is showing him clearly that he has just only been lucky and he has considered the favours God has done to him as coming from himself.
credible election. And if the INEC is willing, will the ruling party and government allow it?
“From what we saw and knew about Osun State gubernatorial election, what was conclusive was declared inconclusive despite all advice to the contrary. The unnecessary rerun, if viewed as a test-run for a larger general election, would lead people to expect incidences of deliberately contrived, broken or non-working voting machines or card readers, confusion of voters as to their voting stations, inadequate supply of voting materials to designated places, long line to discourage voters and turning blind eyes to favour the blue-eye political party of INEC because the commission’s hands will be tied to enable hatchet men and women to perform their unwholesome assignment.
“The transmission and collation of results are subject to interference, manipulation and meddling. If the INEC’s favourite political party wins with all the above infractions, the result will be conclusively declared and if not, there will be a ‘rerun’, the result of which is known before it is carried out.
“I know that I am not alone in being skeptical about the integrity of INEC and its ability to act creditably and above board. But we are open to be convinced otherwise.”
He also did not spare INEC’s National Commissioner, Amina Zakari either. Obasanjo held that since both the families of Amina Zakari and Buhari have accepted that there was indeed a marriage relationship between both families, she should have excused herself from the election exercise.
Doing otherwise, Obasanjo said, would suggest that she may deliberately have been “assigned to Collation Centre for one duty only – to write out figures that are not results of the voting in the field on fake results sheets without water mark or on genuine results sheets which she will have access to as a commissioner.
“Amina Zakari is not the only commissioner that can be in the Collation Centre. Let the INEC chairman act boldly and impartially and prove his absolute neutrality and responsiveness to contribute to make the election peacefully free, fair and credible. His integrity needs to be transparently demonstrated.”
The former president also took Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to the cleaners for leading the Trader Moni campaign, saying it is “outrightly idiotic” for a person of his status, to lead such a campaign.
“It is no use, at this juncture, to keep lamenting about the failure, incompetence, divisiveness, nepotism, encouragement and condonation of corruption by Buhari administration as there is neither redeeming feature nor personality to salvage the situation within that hierarchy.
“You cannot give what you don’t have. Bode George put it bluntly in his statement of December 3, 2018 when he said: ‘The other day, the Vice-President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo – a learned man, an enlightened person in all parameters – was seen at various markets in Lagos State and Abuja distributing N10,000 each to market women. What an absurdity! It was indeed an obscene display of executive recklessness and abuse of office. Pray, where did the money come from? Was it budgeted for in the appropriation law? In more civilised nations, Osinbajo would have been impeached and prosecuted for gutting our collective treasury.’
“What an act by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria lawyer, number two man in the executive hierarchy; and what is more, a pastor of one of the Christian movements led by a revered, respected and upright church leader, Pastor E. A. Adeboye.
“Osinbajo must have gone for, ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. A great pity indeed and which makes people ask the questions, ‘any hope?’ Yes, for me, there is hope.
“Osinbajo has shown the human weakness and proved the saying that the corruption of the best is the worst form of corruption. His explanation that it was their government programme can only be construed to be very shallow and lopsided, if not an outrightly idiotic programme.” (The Sun)
Armed soldiers invaded Daily Trusthead office in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, hours after taking over the newspaper’s regional office in Maiduguri, Borno State and arrested the Regional Editor, Uthman Abubakar and a reporter, Ibrahim Sawab.
They demanded to see some senior staff, among whom was the Political Editor, Hamza Idris.
At the Abuja headquarters of the newspaper, they reportedly forced the gate open and drove in with three Jokic vans loaded with armed soldiers.
Everyone in the building was asked to move to the ground floor while they moved the newspaper’s computers.
Last night, security operatives sealed up the premises of Media Trust Limited, publisher of Daily Trust newspaper; over Boko Haram stories.
The operatives, led by a Second Lieutenant in the Nigerian Army, arrived the Utako, Abuja premises at 6:00pm, with scores of soldiers and plain-cloth personnel. They immediately demanded to see some staff. The soldiers wore masks and cordoned off the Mafeni Crescent, off Solomon Lar Street of the newspaper.
Staff of the organisation, who gathered in group outside the office, told Daily Sun that the operatives,
on arrival, asked them to converge at the front yard of the office. After that, the soldiers, reportedly disconnected computers in the office, assembled and loaded them into their vehicles and drove away.
A statement by the Deputy Managing Director of the organisation, Mahmud Jega, said the soldiers still laid siege to the newspaper’s office, as at yesterday night.
Jega said: “Armed soldiers in several vehicles have laid siege to Daily Trust headquarters in Abuja. They have surrounded the premises, dismissed the Mobile Police guards and do not allow entry or exit. “
“Soldiers had earlier today (yesterday) entered Daily Trust’s office in Maiduguri and arrested two reporters, including the Bureau Chief, Usman Abubakar. They say it is regarding today’s lead story of Daily Trust on Sunday. Production has stopped.”
As at 8.30 pm soldiers were still manning the entrance and premises of the newspaper at Utako. Several staff of the organisation gathered in groups, on the street, and discussed the development. Meanwhile, the Lagos Bureau Office of the newspaper, was also, yesterday night, taken over by a combination of armed military and police officers.
The security operatives had earlier in the day besieged and shut down the Borno regional office of the news publication before arresting the regional editor and a reporter.
At about 9:00pm, seven security operatives’ vehicles were stationed within and outside the Lagos office premises situated at the Textile Labour House on Acme Road, Agidingbi, Ikeja.
Of the seven vehicles, two Hilux vans and one Rapid Response Squad (RRS) car were situated right in front of the Bureau office.
Four other Hilux vans were situated at the other side of the road, facing TheNews publishing house, a stone throw from Media Trust office.
About 15 soldiers and police officers were seen angling around the premises; as at the time of filing this report.
But, Defence Spokesman, Brigadier-General John Agim, described the newspaper’s Sunday publication as unpatriotic and capable of undermining the war against Boko Haram.
He told Daily Sun that the newspaper published highly classified details about a Boko Haram operation; which could ultimately hinder the war against insurgency.
In a development yesterday night, the Federal Government ordered the military to vacate Daily Trust’s offices. (The Sun)
A National Executive Committee member of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Mohammed Abdulrahman, tells TOBI AWORINDE that President Muhammadu Buhari may not achieve balance in the appointments of his security chiefs before the 2019 elections
What do you think of the predominance of northerners among the security chiefs in the country as we approach the election year?
The 2019 elections will be inconclusive because the blood flowing in Nigeria is beyond what God permits. God does not even permit blood flow. Nobody has a power to destroy His creation. People are losing their lives every day in Nigeria to the extent that America, England, Europe and other countries are saying the bloodletting should stop. It is unfortunate that all these are happening in a country where we are supposed to be the strongest force among the African peacekeeping forces. Even on social media, they are wasting their time, watching and monitoring what people say. Is leadership about that? Has what you hear people discuss got anything to do with good eldership? It will never help them. They are spending billions on what will not help the common man. God gave Buhari the Presidency but removed his ability to watch whether he is going to serve the common man or not because that is what God brought him to do – to change the face of Nigeria, reposition Nigeria in Africa. But instead of repositioning Nigeria, they made the situation worse.
So, the appointment of security chiefs from one section of the country and the heavy spending on security payments can never save Nigeria form insecurity.
He is not God. He is a human being like all of us. He cannot use power and security to break people. He has left the issue of leadership, but God is going to intervene. We all have to be patient.
What do you think of the ethnic composition of the appointments of Buhari’s service chiefs in particular?
That is what I am telling you. It was done to create the conquering of other tribes in Nigeria. But Nigeria has about 370 tribes. They are the owners of Nigeria, not the northerners; every Nigerian — Yoruba, Igbo or Ijaw — owns Nigeria. Mark my words: no human being has the capacity to chain them. War does not knock on the door. It triggers intolerance and impunity, which are happening now. If they put the entire security outfits in (the hands of) one ethnic group, just watch what God is going to do about it.
Do you think Buhari can reshuffle the appointments before the elections?
Think about it. You know Buhari’s antecedent since his first coming as a military head of state. The National Security Organisation was very powerful because it was a military outfit. Nothing happened in government without the NSO. That’s where I was. Even if he (Buhari) makes the whole security outfit from his house, it cannot change anything. It’s now in God’s hands. The Igbo have known that there can never be Igbo presidency in Buhari’s time. All these things we are watching are part of God’s intervention. He (Buhari) can never change his cabinet. Even if he changes it, it is cosmetic with no desire to move Nigeria forward, but to deceive Nigerians. And if we’re talking about deceit, well, you know very well the credentials of this government as far as deceit is concerned. (Punch)