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Jubliation As National Assembly Makes June 12 Democracy Day, Public Holiday |RN

RN file photo: National Asssembly Complex

**NASS passes Bill making it Democracy Day, public holiday

Magnus Eze, Enugu, Fred Itua, Abuja and Chinelo  Obogo

The Federal Government has received kudos as the Bill recognising June 12 as Democracy Day scales the National Assembly hurdles.The Senate, yesterday, concurred with the House of Representatives on the passage of a bill to legalise June 12 as Democracy Day.

Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan moved that the House bill which sought the concurrence of the Senate be read the second and third reading. The motion was unanimously carried and the bill passed.

 If President Muhammadu Buhari assents to the Bill, May 29 that had been held as Democracy Day since 2000 will cease to be.

It equally means June 12 of every year will replace May 29 as Democracy Day if the bill is signed by President Buhari

In separate reactions, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Afenifere lauded the ratification of June 12 as a healthy development for the nation’s polity.

The apex-Igbo group said  the election held in 1993 and annulled by the military government marked a watershed in the annals of Nigeria’s democratic experience.

Deputy National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Chief Chuks Ibegbu told Daily Sun that without June 12, there would not have been any further democratic milestone in the country.

He, therefore, urged the ruling class and all Nigerians to imbibe the lessons of June 12, even as he said what was currently going on in the country was political drama.

“Nobody can discountenance that June 12 was a watershed in this country. Without it, all these subsequent democratic journey wouldn’t have been possible. Anything done to make that day sacrosanct is laudable. The significance of June 12 should not be lost on the ruling class and all Nigerians.”

While the Afenifere also expressed happy that the date has got national recognition, it said until the tenets of democracy were upheld by the Federal Government, such recognition will be futile.

Spokesperson of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin told Daily Sun that the Federal Government has not embraced the principles of June 12, which is free and fair election.

“We welcome the decision of the Senate to recognise June 12 as Democracy Day and we are happy that the date has got official recognition. However, we are worried that if we are not careful, all that we are doing will amount to a mockery of June 12, if we do not embrace the spirit of June 12, which is free and fair elections. We just had elections in March; did that election reflect what June 12 stands for? All that June 12 stands for has been watered down, we are living with the spirit of annulment on the one hand, while we celebrate the date (June 12) on the other hand. So, until we live with the spirit of what June 12 stands for, it would appear that we are just playing games.

“If the president genuinely believes in June 12, we would not have gone into an election without amending the Electoral law. We did not sign the Electoral Bill and went into election only to ratify June 12 in order to validate the election. For us, it is not just about celebrating the symbolism of that date, it is about the nation accepting the spirit of June 12. That’s when we can clap our hands,” Odumakin said.

Reacting, Anthony Sani, Secretary General of the ACF said: “When President Muhammadu Buhari recognised  June 12 as Democracy Day in honour of Chief MKO Abiola, we applauded the action and prayed that the gesture would go a long way to bring about healing of the wound inflicted by annulment of the election in 1993. And if the NASS has passed the decision into law, then it is heartening. Democracy Day is now legally on June 12 of every year”

President Buhari, had in June 2018, as a way to immortalise the late M.K.O Abiola, acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, declared June 12 as the new Democracy Day.

To give the Presidential declaration necessary legal backing, Edward Pwajok and Kayode Oladele sponsored a Bill in the House of Representatives last year.

The bill passed by the House in March, sought for an Act to amend the Public Holidays Act to declare June 12 as Democracy Day in Nigeria in view of current realities and exigencies of the modern time.

Pwajok who led debate on the bill, noted that before 1979, there were separate Acts regulating public holidays in the country.

The Plateau State lawmaker recalled that in 1975, a law was enacted to repeal all state laws on public holidays and to streamline the process of declaring holidays for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He noted that by law, the president may declare any day as a public holiday by public notice or Act through the Minister of Internal Affairs.

 He added that by the schedule of the Act, some days such as New Year Day, National Day like October 1 and religious festivals were set aside for public holidays.

The lawmaker said in 2000, the National Assembly amended the schedule to declare May 29 as Democracy Day.

He noted that in May 2018, President Buhari announced June 12 as the new Democracy day.

Pwajok posited that for the pronouncement of President Buhari to become effective, there has to be an amendment of the Public Holidays Act.

 The Federal Government had said President Buhari’s inauguration for a second term on May 29 will be low-key.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who spoke to State House correspondents on the activities slated to mark the May 29 inauguration said a number of events slated for the inauguration will be held on June 12.

Mohammaed said the decision to have a low-key inauguration for the presidentwas taken at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council on May 8. He said invitations had been sent to world leaders to attend the ceremonies, marking the observance of Democracy Day on June 12. (The Sun)

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

John Adams, Minna

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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IBB To Saraki: I’ll Endorse Your Presidential Ambition |The Republican News

Saraki-IBB

Saraki and IBB

Babangida said in supporting Saraki’s presidential bid, he was only returning a favour the senior Saraki paid him during his own presidential ambition.

John Adams, Minna

Former military President General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has thrown his weight behind the presidential ambition of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

Babangida said in supporting Saraki’s presidential bid, he was only returning a favour the senior Saraki paid him during his own presidential ambition.

“it is my turn to do what your father did to me,” Babangida said when Saraki visited him in Minna, on Saturday, as part of his nationwide campaign tour for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) convention.
Babangida also added that he will treat Saraki as his own son and ensure that he succeeds in his bid.

He pointed out that “I will rightly observe that you are my son, for coming to pay a courtesy visit. I remember when I was still in office, I spoke with your father, Oloye Saraki, who always provided advice on a number of things attached to this country.

“He always made himself available to me, to give advice and encouragement which will move the country forward. Your visit is historical. Now, it is your time and turn to come to me and I will do just that.”

Earlier, Saraki told General Babangida that Nigeria is now at a crossroad following the high level of hunger, insecurity and killings across the country.  (The Sun)

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Saraki In Secret Deal With Babangida, DSS, EFCC, Police – Presidency |RN

Bukola-Saraki1

The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki

In an article Friday evening by Senator Babafemi Ojudu, the Political Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari in the Office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the presidency insinuated that Saraki had been working with retired General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, the Nigeria Police, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

In the article, titled: “Fifth columnists in our recent history,” Ojudu alluded to some of the happenings during the military regime, which Buhari led, allegedly committed by some of the former General’s lieutenants, but which they ended up heaping on him as reasons for overthrowing him.

Ojudu wrote: “They hired a band of boys within the security to proceed to the house of the revered leader of the Yorubas, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

“In the middle of the night, the boys sacked the house, forced their way into his bedroom, ransacked everywhere and broke down his wardrobe.

“They claimed they were sent by the then Head of State General Muhammadu Buhari to go look for some confidential documents acquired illegally by the Chief.

“The Yorubas and another sympathizer of Buhari were outraged. That was the end of the romance between the anti-corruption duo of Buhari and General Tunde Idiagbon and the people.

“They didn’t stop at that they sent another band of marauders to Kaduna. The destination was the home of the Islamic cleric, Alhaji Gumi. Their goal: embarrass the much-respected cleric and set the Muslims against the regime. They succeeded at this as well.

“A couple of months thereafter when they struck and overthrew the regime, these were listed among the offences committed by General Buhari. The people having been deceived applauded them and Buhari adjudged high handed, brutal and a dictator.”

Ojudu said he was not shocked when Saraki visited Babangida after the invasion and blockade of the National Assembly by the operatives of the DSS, adding that his reading of the situation was that the President of the Senate went to brief Babangida on the development.

He wrote: “When a couple of days ago Senator Bukola Saraki visited the gap tooted General in Minna, I interpreted it as going to ask: ‘Oga I hope I am doing well?’”

The presidential aide further listed the invasion of the houses of some judges by the DSS in the middle of the night, the freezing of the accounts of the Akwa Ibom and Benue States Governments by the EFCC and the invasion of the National Assembly and Benue State House of Assembly by the DSS and police as activities carried out with the knowledge of Saraki.

He wrote: “From the shenanigans at the Benue House of Assembly, to the siege on National Assembly, the attack on judges home in the night, the so-called barricade of the Senate President’s house, the laughable kidnap of Boy Dino and ‘his eleven hours on a tree’, the freezing of Benue and Akwa Ibom accounts all are scripted, produced and acted by Oloye (Saraki) Productions.”

Ojudu added: “Soon they may come up with a bullet-riddled vehicle and claim that the Executive Producer has survived an assassination attempt. After all, some of the Offa sharpshooters are still at large.

“May God save us from these power mongers.” (Sycamoretimes)

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IBB, Jonathan, Danjuma, Others On Buhari’s Gov’t’s Target – Fani-Kayode

Jonathan-and-Obasanjo

Former Presidents, Goodluck Jonathan, and Olusegun Obasanjo

Sunday Ani

Former minister of Culture and Tourism as well as Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has alleged that the All Progressives Congress, APC-led Federal Government has perfected plans to silence all opposition voices, starting from the former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

In a statement he signed yesterday, Fani-Kayode warned that such move would not augur well for the country’s democracy.

Fani-Kayode was reacting to Obasanjo’s allegation that Buhari was planning to arrest him.
He described as disturbing, reports about Buhari’s plan to frame up, arrest and detain Obasanjo on trumped-up and politically-motivated charges.

“The government is also planning to target other key opposition figures and elder statesmen as we get closer to 2019 such as General T.Y. Danjuma, General Ibrahim Babangida, former President Goodluck Jonathan and a handful of others. It appears that Buhari will stop at nothing in order to ensure that all his critics are silenced.

“The plan to implicate and silence all these leaders, together with key figures in the PDP, such as Ayo Fayose, Emmanuel Udom, Ibrahim Dankwabo, Nyesome Wike, Darius Ishaku, Godswill Akpabio, David Mark, Ike Ekweremadu, Lyle Imoke, Uche Secondus, Sule Lamido, Ibrahim Shekarau, Abubakar Suleiman, Kabiru Turaki, David Jang, Atiku Abubakar, Dele Belgore, Jumoke Akinjide, Nenadi Usman and others is condemnable.”

The former minister also accused the government of planning to give him and potent voices against the government “the Nnamdi Kanu or El Zakzaky treatment.” (The Sun)

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IBB’s Spokesman, Afegbua Arrives Force Headquarters, Says He Is Not Under Arrest |RN

Kassim-afegbua-at-Police-HQ
                  Kassim Afegbua at the Force Headquaters, Abuja

Adelani Adepegba, Abuja 

Kassim Afegbua, the media aide to former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, has been released by the police after a short interrogation at the force headquarters, Abuja on Wednesday.

Afegbua, who was accompanied by his wife and his lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, told journalists that the police said he was not under arrest.

He explained that the police simply informed him that there was a mix-up in the statements he issued on behalf of the ex-dictator.

The IBB media aide was released after about two hours.

The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had ordered Afegbua’s arrest for “making false statements, defamation of character, and for an act capable of inciting  public disturbance.”

The order for the arrest of the former journalist followed two statements purportedly written by the former military dictator, which bordered on the 2019 elections, herdsmen/farmers’ crisis and other issues plaguing the nation.   (Punch)

Details later…

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2019 Election: Buhari Must Not Re-contest – Ibrahim Babangida |The Republican News

• Babangida stands by statement –Afegbua
• He was not authorised to release statement –Abdullahi

Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja

Barely too weeks after former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek reelection in 2019, ex-Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), yesterday reaffirmed this position, asking the president to complete his current term of office and pave the way for a new breed leadership that will lead the country in the digital age.
In a statement released on his behalf by Prince Kassim Afegbua, his official spokesman, Babangida said inasmuch as he would not deny Buhari his right to vie for election, there comes a time in a nation’s life when national interest must override personal ambition.
This is coming in the midst of another statement purportedly issued by Babangida, disowning the first one, wherein he said it was not his style to go public when he has unfettered access to the highest authorities in the country.
Afegbua, however, insisted, in a counter-statement, that Babangida stood by the earlier position, declaring: “Please, this is to affirm that the earlier statement issued and signed by me on behalf of General IBB stands. We regret the mix-up in a rebuttal issued to contradict the statement. The statement stands.”
Also speaking on a television programme last night, he said: “I spoke with General Babangida after the second statement and he said the earlier statement stands and that the kernel of the statement should be the thrust of discussion.”
Emphasising that his statement was authentic, Afegbua said: “Those are his thoughts. We sat down together and articulated them. I don’t know why anybody would think I generated a statement without his authorisation.”
In the earlier statement by Afegbua, Babangida said the incumbent administration had shown lack of capacity in addressing security concerns and widening disunity in the country and, therefore, should go in 2019.
Said he: “I do not intend to deny President Buhari his inalienable right to vote and be voted for, but there comes a time in the life of a nation, when personal ambition should not override national interest.
“This is the time for us to reinvent the wheel and tap into the resourcefulness of the younger generation, stimulate their entrepreneurial initiatives and provoke a conducive environment to grow national economy, both at the micro and macro levels.
“In the fullness of our present realities, we need to cooperate with President Buhari to complete his term of office on May 29, 2019, and collectively prepare the way for new generation leaders to assume the mantle of leadership of the country.”
Echoing Obasanjo’s position, Babangida lamented that the incumbent administration’s handling of herdsmen/farmers conflicts, which have resulted in deaths, has been unsatisfactory.
He wrote: “The unchecked activities of the herdsmen have continued to raise doubt on the capacity of this government to handle with dispatch, security concerns that continue to threaten our dear nation; suicide bombings, kidnappings, armed banditry, ethnic clashes and other divisive tendencies.”
Still on killings in the country, Babangida further lamented: “In the past few months also, I have taken time to reflect on a number of issues plaguing the country. I get frightened by their dimensions. I get worried by their colourations. I get perplexed by their gory themes.
“From Southern Kaduna to Taraba State, from Benue State to Rivers, from Edo State to Zamfara, it has been a theatre of blood with cake of crimson. In Dansadau in Zamfara State recently, North-West of Nigeria, over 200 souls were wasted for no justifiable reason. The pogrom in Benue State has left me wondering if truly this is the same country some of us fought to keep together.
“I am alarmed by the amount of blood-letting across the land. Nigeria is now being described as a land where blood flows like river, where tears have refused to dry up. Almost on a daily basis, we are both mourning and grieving, and often times left helpless by the sophistication of crimes.”
On how to solve the herdsmen/farmer clashes, he said: “We need to bring different actors to the roundtable. Government must generate platform to interact and dialogue on the issues, with a view to finding permanent solutions to the crises.”
Warning on the consequences of the clashes, the former military president said: “The festering nature of this crisis is an inelegant testimony to the sharp divisions and polarisations that exist across the country. For example, this is not the first time herdsmen engage in pastoral nomadism but the anger in the land is suggestive of the absence of mutual love and togetherness that once defined our nationality.
“We must collectively rise up to the occasion and do something urgently to arrest this drift. If left unchecked, it portends danger to our collective existence as one nation bound by common destiny; and may snowball into another internecine warfare that would not be good for nation-building.”
He emphasised the need for the nation to have new leaders that can reinvent the country, saying: “The next election in 2019, therefore, presents us a unique opportunity to reinvent the will and provoke fresh leadership that would immediately begin the process of healing the wounds in the land and ensuring that the wishes and aspirations of the people are realised in building and sustaining national cohesion and consensus.”
Babangida said though APC raised hopes of changing the parlous stats of things in the country, it is yet to redeem the promises.
According to him, “when the ruling party campaigned with the change mantra, I had thought they would device new methods, provoke new initiatives and proffer new ways to addressing some of our developmental problems.”
He lamented that things have not changed for the better, stating: “We are still experiencing huge infrastructural deficit across the country and one had thought the APC-led Federal Government would behave differently from their counterparts in previous administrations. I am hesitant to ask; where is the promised change?”
Calling for the restructuring of the country, the former military president said: “Like I did state in my previous statement late last year, devolution of power or restructuring is an idea whose time has come if we must be honest with ourselves.
“We need to critically address the issue and take informed positions based on the expectations of the people on how to make the union work better.
“Political parties should not exploit this as a decoy to woo voters because election time is here. We need to begin the process of restructuring, both in the letter and spirit of it.
“For example, I still cannot reconcile why my state government would not be allowed to fix the Minna-Suleja Road, simply because it is called Federal Government road, or why state governments cannot run their own policing system to support the Federal Police.”
In concluding his statement, Babangida said he was speaking as a “stakeholder, former president, concerned Nigerian and a patriot who desires to see new paradigms in our shared commitment to get this country running.”
Meanwhile, another statement purportedly by Babangida, which Daily Sun gathered, was issued by his friends, said the earlier statement was the opinion of Prince Afegbua.
The statement said: “My attention has been drawn to a press statement on the state of the nation with a particular reference to 2019 general elections and beyond.
“Let me categorically state that as a former President and statesman, I have unfettered access and channel of communication with the highest authorities in the country without necessary going public with a sensational statement. Therefore, the views expressed in the alleged statement are not mine, but that of the writer.”
On the state of the nation, the statement said it was “worrisome that political events and civil unrest in many parts of the country have raised many questions on the governance and unity of our great nation,” adding:
“Indeed, 2018 has been inundated with political clamours and hot debates over the corporate existence of this country. Many of the contributions, including constructive criticisms and engagements, have shown greater concerns for the corporate existence of Nigeria beyond 2019 general elections.”
It said recent happenings and utterances by political gladiators were “alarming and not in the interest of common man that is already overstretched and apparently living from hand to mouth due to precarious economic conditions.”
The statement however, expressed optimistic that the “political actors will play within the ambits of political norms and decorum to ameliorate the problems facing our society now.”
On his belief in democracy, the statement said: “I am a realist that believes in all issues in a democratic atmosphere are sincerely discussed and resolved in the spirit of give-and-take.
“Since after my military years that metamorphosed to being the only Military President in the history of Nigeria and my civilian life, I always have one clear objective that freedom can only be achieved through democracy.
“Some people find this freedom as an avenue for eroding democracy by antics of hate speeches under the guise of religion, tribal or self-imposed mentorship. This trend of pitching political class and the people against one another is unhealthy and must be discouraged by all and sundry.”
Supporting two-party system, he said: “I have been an advocate of a two-party system, but in our present reality in Nigeria, our political parties can fusion into a strong political association or party that can form a formidable opposition to a ruling party.
“As students of history, we are aware that many advanced democracies have two distinct ideological political parties, with a handful of smaller political groupings that serve as buffer whenever any of the known political parties derailed or became unpopular. I still believe in a two-party system as the best option for Nigeria.”
The statement urged Nigerians “to come together to address all communal conflicts and criminality under any guise, so as to unite the country, in line with the vision of our founding fathers.”
Speaking with Daily Sun last night on telephone, Mahmoud Abdullahi, former Chief Press Secretary to ex-Niger State Governor, Abdulkadir Kure, insisted that the rebuttal signed by IBB remained the authentic statement.
He said: “I was with General Babangida in the presence of Brigadier-General Halilu Akilu and Mohammed Babangida, when he denied the statement written and signed by Afegbua.
“He did not get IBB’s consent to release the statement and IBB is really upset that he even went ahead defending himself on television.
“When I saw Afegbua’s statement, I went to see IBB and he told me to write a rebuttal which I did, and he signed it.
“He said he never authorised Afegbua to release such statement, that is the reason for the rebuttal which he personally signed.” (The Sun)

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