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Oyegun, NWC Sabotaging APC Congresses, Says Okorocha |The Republican News

By Onwuka Nzeshi

 

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Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha

 

  • Party to gov: Your comments uncharitable

Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, has linked the crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) over its congresses to a plot by some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) to manipulate the internal electoral process of the party in order to achieve some selfish goals.

Okorocha, who is also the Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, pointedly accused the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and the National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso, of being less than transparent in the crisis rocking the Imo State chapter of the party, resulting in the disappearance of the result sheets meant for the ward congress in the state.

National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had in an advertorial on Sunday titled: ‘APC congresses: Why We Are Here’, blamed the crises rocking the party’s congresses across the country on “singular pursuit of self-interests” by some individuals. “They tried to scuttle congresses and to anoint themselves that they might retain their various positions beyond the agreed term.

They sought to do this without recourse to the will of party members who first voted them into their positions,” Tinubu said. Parallel congresses had been held in some states by various factions of the party, while deaths and arsons have been recorded in others.

Okorocha, who spoke to newsmen at the weekend in Abuja, insisted that the entire crisis, which has resulted in the burning down of APC secretariat in Owerri, the Imo State capital, parallel congresses and killing in some states, could have been avoided if the party had not allowed Oyegun and other members of the NWC to conduct the congresses.

“I think the mistake that is trailing the whole issue is that we appointed a convention committee chairman who is the governor of Jigawa State and instead of him to conduct the congresses and convention, the national chairman and his team are now the ones conducting the congresses. It is not done that way and that is why we have problems now. “Most members of the NWC have a conflict of interests in this matter.

They are conducting the congresses for themselves. “Like what is happening in Imo State where the national organising secretary (Izunaso) is conducting a congress to raise delegates that will re-elect him to come back as national organising secretary of the party, this is the problem. It is not done this way; that is where the lacuna is and I warned about this danger.

“If we had taken a neutral committee to run the congresses and convention, we will not be having these problems we are having today in Imo, Oyo, Rivers and other states. People have become judges in their own case,” he said.

The embattled governor expressed dismay at the sudden rebellion launched against him and his political structure in Imo State, alleging that it was the handiwork of those who did not like his opposition to the tenure elongation plot hatched by members of the NWC to perpetuate themselves in office.

“Initially, I spoke against tenure elongation and said it was not good for our party. But the national chairman of the party and some other members believed that there should be tenure elongation so that there will be no Congress as provided by the party’s constitution.

“I was a lonely voice on that matter until it became an issue that picked the interest of some party leaders and they supported my position. I told them the danger, that if we do not conduct this congress and we conduct primaries, those people who will elect our candidates would have been illegal. We might win an election and somebody whom we might defeat can go to court and claim our victory because we were elected by illegal delegates.

They disagreed with me, saying that the constitution allows the party to do without congresses because the party is supreme. But I said party supremacy cannot override the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Great minds like the vice president (Prof.Yemi Osinbajo) who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) also concurred with me on that position and that is where we are today.

They were giving the flimsy excuse that holding congress will divide the party, but we told them that the danger of not holding the congress is worse than not having the Congress.

You should do the right thing,” he said. On the controversy trailing the disappearance of electoral materials and party officials sent to conduct the congress in Imo State, Okorocha expressed disappointment that the national headquarters of the party had not been able to give a clear explanation on the development.

“I personally went to the national chairman’s office and when I met with Chief Oyegun, I did a request of him to declare his stand on this congress – whether it has been cancelled or not. He was not categorical with his statement as to whether it was cancelled or not, but he said that he was waiting for the outcome of the appeal panel.

“Shortly after that, the secretary of the appeal panel came to the party secretariat and we asked her about the situation in Imo State and she said that no congress was held in my state on that day as there were no electoral materials to do so,” he said.

The governor further expressed discomfort at what he described as the conflicting statements from Oyegun on the matter. Okorocha explained that Oyegun had earlier assured him that the ward congress will be suspended only for him to report that the results had been received at the national secretariat of the party. “I did ask the national chairman where are the result sheets and he told me categorically that they have received the result sheets.

The questions I asked were: Who submitted it? I am aware that the Police and DSS are looking for the result sheets. If the result sheets have reached the party office, then who submitted it? Anybody that submitted it should be able to tell security agencies how he was able to conduct the elections and brought the result sheets to Abuja.

“However, on Saturday, we are now hearing that the result sheets are not in the party office, but with some unknown persons caught in a hotel. This means that the party lied that it had got the result sheets.

So everything here looks funny; it looks like some kind of mischievous connivance by some people who are trying to make up things and cook up stories about the whole exercise.

“It is unfortunate that men who were elected into offices for their supposed integrity will condescend to lying and cheating, thereby debasing party principles. It is really very unfortunate, all because people want to get to power at all costs,” the governor lamented.

But the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, described the allegations levelled against members of the NWC as unfair and uncharitable.

In a telephone chat with New Telegraph, Abdullahi said Okorocha should be specific on what went wrong and who did what, rather than blaming the entire members of NWC.

“I think Rochas is not being charitable and, which I think is just, because of his particular experience. People like Rochas would not mind setting the entire village on fire because they want to win.

You understand. So, saying that kind of a thing is not right, it is unfair. “If he has any specific thing against anybody, he should say so, but making that kind of wild allegation that the NWC conducted the congresses to favour them is not fair.

“What did the NWC do that they were not supposed to do. There were guidelines for the congresses. Or was it that the guidelines were not followed by the NWC? So, I don’t understand the meaning of what he is saying. If he has problems with anybody, he should go and sort it out, but I think it is wrong for him to cast aspersions on the entire people working for the party.

“I think it is wrong and I take exception to that. If he has any grievances with people, he should say so and if he has anything with the chairman or Osita, he should go and sort it out with them rather than involving the NWC,” Abdullahi said.    (New Telegraph)

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My Heart Bleeds Over Insecurity In Nigeria, Says Gowon |The Republican News

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Ex-military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon with Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha

  • As Okorocha warns against politicizing national challenges

Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri

Former Head of State General Yakubu Gowon has expressed dismay over the incessant insecurity challenges in Nigeria, saying that his heart bleeds over the activities of Boko Haram, herdsmen, and other armed militants, whose actions he described as man’s inhumanity to man.

General Gowon spoke when he paid a courtesy call on Governor Rochas Okorocha at the Government House Owerri over the weekend, as part of his tour for a prayer rally in the country.

Gowon stated that Nigeria needs peace so that all its people can live and work together in the interest of one another and in the overall interest of the country.

According to the former Head of State, with prayers God can touch the hearts of all those involved in the terror killings like he touched that of the biblical Saul, who he changed to become an instrument of transformation instead of destruction, adding that no situation is too difficult for God to change for the better.

“After the Civil War, from this town Owerri, I visited Nsukka, Enugu, Abakeliki, Umuahia, and Onitsha. We were impressed with the way the children turned out to welcome us. They were saying, you are our parents, our leaders, please do not allow any Nigerian child to suffer what we suffered,” Gowon said, recalling the experience of the Nigerian Civil War.

“God can touch one’s heart and change the person into becoming a vessel of peace. My prayer for every Nigerian man is to live in harmony. We would wish every man and woman and religious leaders to rally round and assist in any way possible. Every one of us has a role to play, not only the leaders. That is why we seek for God’s intervention,” Gowon said.

He further added that “without peace, we cannot go further. Let us continue to pray and do whatever we can to achieve the peace we all desire. Your role and our collective role is important.”

Explaining his reason for the visit, Gowon said: “We are in Imo for the Nigeria Prayer Rally. A prayer rally we have been doing throughout the geopolitical zones or States. This time around, it is for the South-East Zone to host the prayer rally, and Imo is hosting us. Your Excellency, we are grateful for the arrangements and support. We are impressed with your zeal and passion for Christ, suing for peace, which is what the country needs now,” the former military ruler said.

Governor Okorocha in his speech advised Nigerians to see the activities of groups like Boko Haram and others as national problems or challenges that require all hands to be on deck for solutions, but that the crises should not be politicized. He added that those who have lost their lives in the current troubles are people of all ethnic backgrounds, religions and political affiliations.

The Governor called on Nigerians, regardless of their religious and political persuasions, to come up with ideas on how best to come out from the country’s challenges, and should stop talking in a manner that would aggravate the problems.

“The acronym Gowon means “Go On with One Nigeria,” Okorocha quipped. “If this leader (Gowon) seated with us here today had not ended the war the way it ended, giving room for no victor, no vanquished postulations, today we would not be having a nation called Nigeria. His name is synonymous with peace. A man who ended the Civil War without bad feelings.”

He further remarked about Gowon that “this gentleman is 84 years old. We will honour him in our state. We are happy that he is still looking strong and young. In the face of the crisis that we have today, he has continued to pray. I do not know what would have happened to the Nigerian situation if prayers like this are not going on all over Nigeria. Thank God, in the face of these challenges, we have men who are busy praying for the nation and her people,” Okorocha said.

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I Might’ve Been Part Of Herders, Farmers Crisis If I Didn’t Go To School – Buhari

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                       President Muhammadu Buhari

Armstrong Bakam, Bauchi

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he may have been one of those involved in the herdsmen/farmers’ clashes had he not gone to school.

He stated this in a speech he delivered during his two-day state visit to Bauchi State on Thursday at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi, where he inaugurated the 261 Nigerian Air Force Referral Hospital, some roads and five tractors and some farm implements.

Buhari, while addressing the thousands of Bauchi residents in Hausa who thronged the stadium to welcome him on his first visit to the state since 2015, encouraged them to allow their children to go to school.

He said, “Make every effort to put your children in school, plead with them to be patient and read hard. In this generation, you cannot make it except you are educated.

“Now, look at the farmers/herdsmen’s clashes in the northern part of this country. I have been telling people that if I had not gone to school, I would not have gone into the military and where I come from since my cows are finished; maybe, I would have been involved in this fight.

“But because I went to school, I got a job to do and because of that, desertification is everywhere, there is no bush we will go to and cut down trees and destroy farms and the rainy season is not promising. Because of that, education is the guarantee.

“You should strive hard and be educated, get the education that will benefit you and the society, it is not compulsory that government will give you what to do.”

The President restated his resolve to seek re-election in the 2019 general elections, declaring that he would emerge victoriously.

He said he would ensure that corrupt government officials and looters were brought to book and the looted funds returned to the country’s treasury.

In his remarks, the Bauchi State Governor,  Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, said the main objective of distributing the tractors to farmers was to boost rice and maize production in the state.

He said Nigerians hitherto went outside the country to buy rice, but with these farm implements, farmers in the state would no longer suffer any setback

Abubakar said that all the farm implements which included, ox plough, power tillers, tractors, grinding machines, water pump machines, mini pick-up vans, fertilizer, plastic fish pond motorcycles and tricycles would be sold to farmers at subsidised rates. (Punch)

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SHOCKING: Herdsmen In Army Uniform Kill Another 43 Benue Farmers |The Republican News

By Cephas Iorhemen, MAKURDI

 Herdsmen-fulani

 

Less than 24 hours after Fulani herdsmen killed nineteen people including two Catholic Priests in Benue, the insurgents in the wee hours of Wednesday attacked fifteen villages in Guma and Gwer West local government areas leaving at least 43 local farmers dead.

The herders who residents said were dressed in the Nigerian Army uniforms, attacked the Mbakpaase, Tse-Umenger, Tomanyiin, Tse-Ali Agudu and Mbanyiar communities, while in Gwer West they attacked ten council wards.

New Telegraph gathered that the heavily armed men, numbering more than 50, stormed the Tse-Umenger on Tuesday night around 7pm and set the entire village on fire and killed nineteen (16) people.

It was gathered that while the attack was going on, another group of the insurgents numbering over 20 attacked Tomanyiin in Saghev council ward, Tse-Ali Agudu, Mbanyiar at Mbawar council ward at about 11 pm killing 19 persons.

As if the killings were not enough, the armed Fulani herdsmen also invaded and attacked Abiam village in Sengev council ward of Gwer West local government area and killed eight people after they had abducted one person and took him to an unknown destination.

Chairman of Gwer West, Mr Francis Ayaga told reporters that the herders have occupied ten out of fifteen council wards of the local government adding that the invaders made an incursion into the area from Doma in neighbouring Nasarawa State to attract the people.

Mr Ayaga said however that he could not ascertain the casualty figure as more bodies were being recovered from the bush but said many people were killed.

A resident of Gwer West who did not want his name mentioned said, the victims who have been taking refuge in Naka, had gone home to find out whether they could return home when the herdsmen attacked them.

“The victims went home to find out whether their village was safe for them to return but they were attacked and abducted by the herdsmen”.

“This morning they collected a phone of one of the victims and called his family members and while he was still speaking they executed him”.

“The herdsmen also called and told family members of the victims to go and collect the bodies of the deceased. But nobody can go there because the herdsmen are still occupying the place”.

Former governorship aspirant on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP in the state, Dr Tivlumun Nyitse, who hails from Umenger community told journalists that the invaders killed many people in the village and burnt many houses stuffed with food items.

Hordes of the inhabitants including women, children and old people alike who deserted their homes are said to be taking refuge in the bush, while in Mbakpaase, corpses recovered were hurriedly buried by the villagers, who have since fled for safety while lots of people were still missing as at press time.

A source from the area who pleaded anonymity hinted that no single house was reported standing in these villages at the time of this report.

The attacks, it was learnt, occurred same day the herdsmen attacked Gwer East local government and killed 19 persons, including two Catholic Priests.

Commissioner of Police in Benue State, Mr Fatai Owoseni told journalists that he was yet to obtain details about the killing and promised to divulge them as soon as they were ready.    (New Telegraph)

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Stop Senseless Killings, Anglican Church Head Tells Buhari |The Republican News

Image result for Buhari with Anglican Bishops

 

Tony Okafor, Awka

The Primate of Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to find ways to stop the killing of Nigerians across the country.

Okoh said it was the duty of the Federal Government to protect the lives and property of Nigerians in any part of the country.

He decried what he called the senseless killings of Nigerians by arms-bearing Fulani herdsmen.

The Anglican Primate spoke at Atani, Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State during the dedication of Basilica of St. James the Great Cathedral by the Ogbaru Diocese.

He said it was not only in Southern Kaduna that people were being massacred, stressing that “everywhere in the country, Nigerians are being killed every now and then.”

He urged the Federal Government to provide adequate security for Nigerians in every part of the country.

Okoh enjoined Nigerians to continue to pray for the full recovery of President Buhari, to enable him to offer Nigeria the desired leadership for which he was elected.

The primate also called for economic measures to cushion the effects of the economic downturn in the country.

In another development, parishioners at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Awka, Anambra State, on Monday protested an alleged encroachment on the church premises by indigenes.

The protesters, including clergymen, carried placards with different inscriptions. Some of the placards read, ‘This land is not for sale,’ “Stop trespassing on our land,’ and ‘We are bona fide owners of the land.’

They alleged that land grabbers in the area were determined to sell   their land.

Their spokesperson, Revd. Canon Jason Onyeakagbusi, told our correspondent that the land was given to the Church in 1904 by the Umudiana people of Amikwo village following the arrival of the Church Missionary Society led by Rev. Smith in 1890.               (Punchng.com)

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