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Nnamdi Kanu: FG Can’t Hold Abaribe, Others Responsible But Security Forces, Itself

 

nnamdi-kanu-buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari,  Nnamdi Kanu

 

The move by the Federal Government to hold Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and others responsible for the disappearance of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), may hit a brick wall as legal opinions outside government circles do not seem to support such a plan.
A source conversant with the matter told our correspondent that the preponderance of legal opinions showed that it was the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. T.Y. Buratai, and the Commanders of Operation Python Dance (2) that should be held responsible for Kanu’s disappearance and not anyone else.
According to our source, the Federal Government and its military would have themselves to blame if Kanu remains incommunicado, by October 17, 2017, the date he is expected to appear in court to answer to the charges pending against him.
“The idea of holding sureties responsible for the disappearance of Nnamdi Kanu is not only ridiculous but laughable. It is true that some personalities signed the bail bond that led to his release from prison.
It is also true that Kanu may have violated some of his bail conditions, but that should have been left to the court to decide and then mete the necessary sanctions on him. “The bail bond was the outcome of a judicial process and therefore, a legal instrument of a court of competent jurisdiction.
It is obvious that the court did not envisage that the Federal Government, a party in the dispute, will, at some point, take the laws into its own hands and act in the manner it has done.
“Why did the Federal Government decide to resort to self-help by invading the residence of Kanu with armoured tanks? It is more or less jungle justice to invade the home of an unarmed Nigerian citizen, shooting sporadically at the building and causing unquantifiable collateral damages.
As it is today, neither Kanu’s lawyers nor the sureties have seen Kanu since the military invasion of his home.
“It is only the Federal Government and the military that can tell the world why they preempted the court and decided to take the laws into their own hands. It is because they either wanted to arrest Kanu and detain him ahead of his date in court, or they wanted to kill him using jungle justice. Either way, they cannot eat their cake and have it.
The onus lies on them to produce Kanu when the need arises because they have willfully sidelined the due process of the court in their desperation to achieve political goals.
They can’t eat their cake and still have it,” the source said. Although Abaribe could not be reached on his mobile phone for reactions to the development, his Special Assistant on Media Affairs, Mr Uche Awom, told Sunday Telegraph that his principal and others who stood surety for Kanu did so in good faith and as law abiding citizens of Nigeria.
According to Awom, there was no cause for alarm as the sureties had kept their own side of the bargain before the military threw spanners in the works.  (New Telegraph)
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IPOB Is Wrong, Dangerous, Defect To The Youths – Rev Moses Iloh |The Republican News

By Christy Anyanwu

Rev Moses Iloh speaks on the agitation by the now outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the Federal Government anti-corruption drive and calls for a restructuring of the country, among other contemporary issues. Excerpts:

AS an Igbo man, what would you say about the happenings in the South-east?

  It is a manifestation of godlessness. The problem with the Igbo till date is that they have got to the stage where people became so educated that lots of the very educated people started a theory of godlessness. And I knew in my mind that one day, that feeling is going to land them in a mess. Maybe this is the day.

  I was brought up as a child both by my parents who are Igbos and White missionaries. I grew up to know that there is a God; his name is Jehovah, creator of the entire universe. I also grew up as a radical politician. I was in the Zikist Movement. We had problems in Jos. I don’t know what we did that offended the policemen then. All the police officers became so angry; we were children. When we heard that Zik was coming to Jos at that time, we said we were going to protest on the streets. Some people told us, go on the streets but we decided to talk to Zik first before doing that. He came and we went to him, we were talking and rattling.  Then he said we should listen to him.

  He told us the story of a woman who was very rich and had a lot of children and wealth. So one day, some of the children came to her and said that people had been cheating them, people had been doing all sorts of things to them and that they were willing to die. She just listened to them. When they finished venting their anger and complaints, the woman told his children that she was rich enough and had enough for all of them; that she had no room for the death of any child and that she does not want any child to die.

So, he warned us not to ever open our mouths and say we are going to demonstrate or that we are ready to die for Nigeria. He said Nigeria is a very, very, rich woman who has everything for every child. And the last thing she would want to hear is that a child wants to die for her. All of us have grown up now, but since that day, none of us has come out to demonstrate because of what Zik told us.

That was good training; it came to us raw. Look at another point of view. Nigeria is principally a Christian nation. In Igbo land, the Muslims are just trying to infiltrate now. If you look at the Igbo’s rioting, killing people, there must be a lot of stupidity about the word Christianity. Do you know my anger with Ndigbo today? They are so richly blessed and our young people are coming out in the streets, provoking the soldiers, provoking the police, shooting front and back, losing lives and you are there; you are the big governor, you are the big senator, you are the big House of the Reps member. Do you realise that if the Igbo people have anything near following Christ, all they need to do is to call the leaders of the youths and say ‘we do not want any of you to die’ like Zik told us and I have never forgotten?

  The governors as the leaders we have now should work out the kind of industries to start in every state so that the youth can have enough employment. Do you know that if develop industries in the South-east, nobody will want Ndigbo to go; they will come to you.

  I wrote a memo to some of the governors a long time ago, giving them proposals. Firstly, why don’t you governors come together? If you go to the East, there are lots of bush areas. Why don’t the governors come together and start a company? Have a contract with a Japanese or Chinese firm and say to them, ‘we want to have a construction company’. They can come together and do low-cost houses in every state where the Igbo who are outside can buy and pay little by little. I wrote this piece during the Jonathan period and nobody replied.

  I also wrote that sport is a unifying factor. Get all your commissioners for sports to meet and draw up a programme that every two years you have a sports festival in one state capital. Bring your youths together with a broad mind and let them have a game with each. Thirdly, have a festival of arts, also change from one state capital to another and bring all the youth together. Nobody said anything. The governors can put capital together and bring up a big, big business. Get some of them to manage the business and then let every Igbo man be free to buy shares in the business; that is unifying factor. Wherever you are, you would want to know how that business is going on. Nobody said anything.

  What is the benefit of our education? All that the governors need to do is come together, open up industries in the East, give the boys/girls job and encourage them. If you develop the East, people will want to come there; nobody will want to leave because the boys from the East are brilliant, the girls are brilliant. Give the support; technical knowledge, advise them and watch them and you will be very surprised.

  But what do we see? The governors in the East, they all have houses in Dubai and almost everywhere in the world. They are so rich but they can’t develop the youths in their own states.

What is your view on the agitation for Biafra, which is being championed by Nnamdi Kanu?

  Some of the young boys came to see me last year about Biafra and I said to them, it would be difficult to come with you. I said when you people don’t listen to your elders, the elders you will put together one day and you will kill them in one year. I said to show respect. So many elders have spoken with you. Then Kanu has not even shown up. Now, what is Kanu looking for? To be president of Biafra? All of them were not born when Biafra problem was on. Any Igbo boy or man who will declare to be part of what will make an Igbo boy or girl die will be killed by somebody else and that fellow will go to hell. You have no right to do that. There is enough incentive in Igbo land.

  In Igbo land, when somebody is dead it’s something serious. But when they kill you on the streets like a tout or like a dog, what do you want our children to remind us of. It makes no sense. What is Nnamdi Kanu looking for? If he is brilliant, he studied in England, he should build an industry at home, take youths to form a company and show other youths an example of how they can make progress. Instead, you are touting them to be killed and buried. I don’t think Kanu is sincere; I think some influence is behind him. If that young man has gone to the university, educated and come out and thinks that all that is good for his colleagues is to drag them out of the streets to be shot, then I don’t think he is sincere.  What do you want? To be president or what? It is wrong.

  There is no excuse for the blood of any Igbo youth that has been shed and God is going to ask those who did that. Why don’t you die yourself or rather be shot in the street? What are you calling Biafra for? We were in Biafra from day one to day zero and we know what it caused our youths. I want to insist that no Igbo boy, no Igbo girl is to be slaughtered like a dog or a goat. For who? Who are you that somebody else’s child will die for you.

So, IPOB’s agitation is wrong in your view?

  It is wrong; it’s not just wrong, it is a defect to the youth and a dangerous enterprise. It is not right at all. What I’m saying is, there is no excuse to do what they are doing.

What is your take on anti-corruption special court and corruption?

  My view on anti-corruption is that it is going at a snail speed. I agree that the president has had a challenge with his health. I’m waiting to hear that they arrested so and so and tried them in the courts.

  Look at the fun they made with the Judges. They found cars in their houses; they caught them with this and that; they jeered them and while they were still under bail, they allowed them to slip into the court and try criminals. How much ridicule can we make of Nigeria? The fight against corruption in Nigeria is one of the most confused ever. Why is it so? Most of those who claim to be helping to fight corruption want to inherit the inheritance there, so you can’t get the truth. If Buhari were not sick, I could have blamed him.

  Some years ago, there was an interview I did where I said, ‘if you arrest the thief, try him and jail him in Nigeria here. Put an ole uniform on him; when there is a football match, put him on a glass shelf and let the youths see, let the family see. Put them to such a shame that when they tell you to steal kobo you will think of the shame you will go through. Put them in the stadium; wherever there will be a large gathering of people, bring them out and let people see.”

  In Nigeria, the more you steal the more, you get respected; you are honoured so that you can start stealing. You have done nothing for Nigeria and they have given you OON and big, big honours. What have you done to merit such honours?  In other countries, it is when you show integrity, fruits of good work, that they honour you. Today, who cares about honours? I don’t think Nigeria is fighting corruption.

The worst thing is the hypocrisy of Christians in government. The Christians in Nigeria who are top in government are the problem. They are hypocrites. How can we have 83 million people who go to church on Sunday and you cannot change one corrupt habit in Nigeria? All they are doing is to compete on who gets richer.

Do you think Nigeria should be restructured?

Nothing like that. The only thing instead of restructuring is to get us back to a unity government. When they fill the form for us, there should be no space for the tribe, local government or religion. That is rubbish. That is not necessary. But to imprint an evil of corruption, you put your name, you put your tribe, and you put your religion, it’s incredible.

   I have never seen a country so naïve with all our degrees and everything. There is no country as naïve as Nigeria. That is why Buhari is sick now; that is the President who has the courage to fight corruption. You look around, and you ask yourself if Buhari should die now, who is going to take over? Nobody!

  

Is Buhari high-handed in handling the IPOB agitation?

  I think that the Buhari I supported is not this Buhari. I supported a Buhari who sees black and says he wants to make it white and he makes it white. Today, all the brilliant Christians around him in government have completely caged him with the word democracy. They will impeach you ooh, if you do so, so, and so. Buhari is not the same Buhari; he is not. If something is bad, call a leader of the group; they should take the fellow to court. Let the whole world watch what the court will do. But they don’t do anything because it’s a democracy.  They tell him that they will say you are autocratic. What kind of thing is that? This is not what I expect of him. He is the president and he should allow the law have its way. This one, the law never had its way. No one has been punished; they all go round and round and only God knows where it will end.

In all these, if Buhari is coming out in 2019 will you still vote for him?

  If he’s coming out in 2019 I will vote for him. The reason is, I can’t find another person. Show me? Look around; I see fraud in everything. Even the water you drink there is corruption in it. Look around you and show me if you can see transparency. So, I will vote for him because he still has the reputation to fight corruption. As it is now, I can’t vote for somebody else.  Show me the Nigerian who can take over from Buhari? If you show me one, let him come out. Let him tell us that if he wins the election, he will be better than Buhari.

You are so passionate about Buhari. Why?

  Yes! Because Buhari was the army General that ruled this country and did a good job. People went to work on time; everything was right.

Now, he is back as president. Who knows whether it’s Nigeria that made him sick? Who knows whether they poisoned his food? He became sick and they started praying for him to die. Ha, ha, ha, what kind of country is this? Now he has not died.  Who knows what they are planning for him?  (The Sun)

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No Automatic Ticket For Buhari In 2019, Says Ango Abdullahi |The Republican News

Prof.-Ango-Abdullahi                       Ango Abdullahi, Northern Elders spokesman

•Says North ready to support Atiku, Kwankwaso, others

Professor Ango Abdullahi is the spokesman of Northern Elders Forum, and former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.  He expressed support for the position of the Yoruba nation that Nigeria be restructured. Although there is a caveat that each existing region be allowed to decide the modalities for internal restructuring in view of new realities before fusing with others under a federal constitution similar to the First Republic. The NEF boss spoke with ABDULLAHI  HASSAN in Zaria on other national issues including the current rift between former Vice President,  Atiku Abubakar and President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC; the speculated cabinet reshuffle; Buhari’s performance and health; who the North will support for President in 2019; and ongoing militarization of the South East.

Sir, few days to Nigeria’s 57 years of nationhood, are we where we ought to be, given our potentials and the level of development of other countries with which we were at par at take -off?

Well, the starting point is to thank Allah for enabling us to observe yet another independence anniversary which we got in 1960. Obviously, the citizens must expect a lot of good things to have happened in terms of development over these years. When we look back, we can see that Nigeria is endowed with a lot of potential areas for development. This is what has been the expectation of Nigerians, particularly my generation because when the country attained independence, I was at the University College, Ibadan. Our fathers or leaders of the country at the time used to talk to us in the university and asked us to work hard, saying that very soon Nigeria would attain independence and that we were the ones to take over from the British. There were high hopes and expectations from within and outside the country that the new nation would make rapid progress in all aspects that touched the lives of her citizens. As you said, we will be 57 years and the question is, have all those aspirations been achieved? The honest answer is no.  If I was a teacher marking Nigeria from 1960, or a teacher marking Nigeria’s script as one of my students  of over these 57 years, I will grade her a failure.  When you look at it from the point of view of the opportunities available, the resources available, the chances available, both internal and external and you sum all these up, including  the human capital, I will say that Nigeria failed to achieved  the goals and aspirations it set for itself and for its people. There are benchmarks with which one can base this conclusion. There are quite a number of countries we virtually achieved independence either together or almost at the same time. Some of the references used in gauging our development indices are  India, in 1948  and Malaysia. Malaysia has really moved faster in their development endeavours. Unfortunately, despite all the endowments, Nigeria has failed to achieve the goals expected of it since independence.

So, who or what do we blame for the failure?

Well, if you go back to 1960, I will say that our founding fathers did extremely well. They did very well indeed. I will score  them high, going  by my marking scheme. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, with all his colleagues in his cabinet did well for the independence government; Chief Obafemi Awolowo for the  South Western Nigeria, along with his friends, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe; Michael Okpara for Eastern Nigeria and Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello for Northern Nigeria. All the leaders did well in terms of providing honest and committed leadership to their people. If you  did an honest assessment of each of these leaders on what they achieved even before or after independence, you will appreciate and commend them, especially for managing  their resources well. They had nothing to depend on except revenue generation mostly from tax and agriculture, being the main export product that  earned the country a lot of foreign exchange. In fact, 75 per cent of total revenue came from agriculture. For those of us now who  witnessed and were beneficiaries of that government, the current state of things is regrettable. For example, I went to  elementary school free, Middle School free and university free.. those were things  enjoyed within the limited resources. In Western Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo introduced Universal Free Education Programme for his people and ultimately placed Western Region at an advantage over the North and East. In 1953, there were only two secondary schools in Northern Nigeria-Barewa College and Government Secondary School, Keffi. By 1966, the Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello had provided  secondary schools in each of the  provinces in the North,  as well as Teachers Colleges and vocational training centres. He  established Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria  in 1962. One should ask why those leaders were different from those that followed them? Despite the interruption of democracy by the military in 1966 which culminated in civil war , their legacies and values have continued  to yield positive results… Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s regime invited most of the products of the First Republic to  serve as federal commissioners. People like Chief Obafemi Awolowo was appointed Finance Commissioner, Malam Aminu Kano was appointed Health Commissioner. From 1960 until 1974, Nigeria was doing well in the area of development. I happened to have served as Commissioner of Economic Planning  under the military government from 1973 to 1975. As from that period, things began getting worse, particularly, during Gen. Murtala Mohammed. Although Murtala appeared to be a nationalist and Pan-Africanist, regrettably, he messed up the civil service, which has always been the stabilising factor in any country’s development programme. Politicians come and go, but civil servants remain until retirement. Murtala abused civil service rules, he arbitrarily sacked civil servants, permanent secretaries , directors  were sacked on radio without procedures, no query, warning or setting up of committees. The security of tenure that civil service guaranteed, Gen. Murtala destroyed it when he came to power. Now a civil servant has to be a liar, or sycophant to keep his job. This is where Nigeria began to run into serious difficulties in governance. Secondly, we rushed to change from parliamentary system in the Second Republic to presidential with a military fiat . This  is the major  mistake  that was made. Presidential system brought about nothing other than huge overhead costs in government; compared to parliamentary system.

In other words,  the presidential system is more expensive to run anywhere around the world.  It also brought in corruption  and  lack of accountability. In the parliamentary system, ministers were appointed from elected members in the Parliament, which means that you have a constituency to account for, not only to your constituency, but also to the parliament and the prime minister. While under presidential system, you can lobby for positions by licking the  boots of other political leaders, in a nutshell, you can be enlisted to be a minister even if your people don’t know you. In other words, you don’t feel accountable to anybody apart from the person who nominated you, or a godfather. In presidential system, a minister is free to do whatever he likes as long as  the President is comfortable with him. These are some of our major setbacks. So, to answer your question, this is to some extent, the factors responsible for the lack of development of our nation today.

You were an arrowhead of support for the election of President Muhammadu Buhari. It is nearly 15 months for this administration to exit, but people are still complaining about lack of development viz bad roads, ill-equipped hospitals, schools etc. Does that mean that Buhari  has failed Nigerians?

    You see, the problem is the system.  Buhari may be a good person; he could be a gentleman who  wants to work honestly but in a wrong system. It was a system of military fiat when he was a head of state, but the system he finds himself now does not allow him to manoeuvre. He has to cross many  hurdles and checkpoints at the National Assembly and his party before he can execute anything meaningful, and all these squabbles are not based on principle but  personal interests, either at party level or at constituency  or at the level of the judiciary.  All this really will make it  impossible for a good person or committed  person to operate effectively in this country in the manner which will accelerate development.  Perhaps,  you might ask the question if  we can really change? Buhari might not have failed, but the system of government that he is operating in has substantially failed in the same manner as the ones before it.

Many Nigerians expected the President to re-shuffle his cabinet soon after his return from medical vacation as a step towards rectifying mistakes in the administration, but that is yet to happen.  How do you view this?

I really don’t count that as a solution to government’s problems, weighed against the substantial damage he inherited. You see, once a system is not right everything inside it tends to fail. Of course,  people blame President Buhari for not picking a good team to start with. I personally made that observation  two years ago and I came under much fire from the corridors of power but I’m here again criticizing. I have so far been vindicated  in terms of the quality of people he picked as operators of the government, either at ministerial level, or institutional level. Their quality has failed to measure or meet the yearnings and expectations of Nigerians. When people think that cabinet reshuffle is the answer, it may bring out some good, but for me, it is too late in the day. Ministers are part of the instrument of decision-making, the only difference between them and their permanent secretaries is that only ministers are allowed in the Federal Executive Council. Bureaucrats in their ministries prepare the memos they read at FEC. What I am saying is that it is not enough to simply look at the ministers as the problem. I can argue that most of the people who brought the problem on this country, especially during Obasanjo and Jonathan’s administrations are still and very much in this administration. When you are talking of corruption and incompetence, in fact 70 per cent of the people who operated in the Jonathan government are still in this system. So why do people expect Buhari to perform miracle? It is possible, but very difficult in this kind of system or arrangement.  I believe that the system in which Buhari is operating is not working, since it was changed in 1977/79. It does not fit the kind of federation of Nigeria’s structure, because when the British came, actually, they thought Nigeria could run in two parts, the Northern and Southern protectorates. But very soon, they realized that there was substantial difference between the eastern part of the country and the western part, which later made mid-west to be created, leaving the North as it was.

What do you make of the stiff war between Abubakar Atiku on one hand and the President and his party on the other over alleged spite of the former VP?

You see, I don’t regard Atiku as a major actor in the system; he only operated in the system, but largely failed us. He operated as a Vice President to Obasanjo in the latter’s government, which, as far as I am concerned failed.  So they both have failed. I could not see Atiku being isolated as a major factor in subsequent years. He joined APC, but he was not part of the major groups, though he contested in the primary election when we were challenging the Jonathan administration. In 2015, I was one of those who  felt that PDP had failed to honour an agreement that everybody was aware of and which most of the leaders signed. I was one of those who drafted the constitution of PDP and signed for it to become a political party. So I was also a member of the first Board of Trustees of the party. But the party quickly collapsed and failed. People in executive authority replaced the PDP. The PDP paved way for Obasanjo to be reelected. In the case of states, the party paved way for governors to manoeuvre. So what we had was mini dictatorship within a short time.  Obasanjo changed  the party chairmen about three or four times. If you want to maintain your position you have to go and vow before  Obasanjo or a governor. Atiku can go and make whatever complaints,  he knows how he joined the party, he is just a party member like anybody else. The only thing he may argue is that when the party was formed , he played a role, which  he thought should be appreciated, recognized and rewarded. He is only behaving like most ordinary Nigerian politician. He participated and contributed and he now waits for reward.    In other words, he is like an investor expecting dividends and profit, therefore, he wants to get dividend on his investment. I think this is all Atiku’s complaints.

His challenge seems to foreshadow the direction of the politics/contest of the 2019 presidential election. Who will the north support between the two leaders in the event the dice is cast, and why?

I am not a witness to that, I don’t know, what I read in the newspaper is that, Atiku only complained that he was sidelined in the process of operating party and government. That was not enough for me to say that he has reached a point  of  contesting or  quitting the party. I would want to say he, of course, in the primaries of the party together with others and they all lost to Buhari. It’s also wrong to assume that in every contest, you must win. You may contest severally without winning, so winning election is not always automatic. There are some party executive arrangements that sometime make you an enemy if you  contest elections and lose, and this is happening in many states now, those who contested for governor became enemies  of those who won. I think that is what will continue to divide APC, if care is not taken.

Is the Buhari-Atiku altercation in the interest of the  North, and where do we place the aspirations of others like  Kwankwaso , Lamido, Tambuwal, etc?

No, no, you see the fact that Buhari is incumbent does not automatically confer on him  the candidature of the party in the next election if  there is internal democracy in the party. The fact that you are a sitting president does not mean other members of the party cannot contest against you. If I were Buhari, I will  welcome competition in my party. This is an opening for democracy in my party and I will ask  people to come and test their popularity. If he has done well, people will re-elect him. This is a confirmation he has  done well and that both the party and voters trusted him. I criticize all political parties for the system they employ in conducting primary elections. The one I am most familiar as good was the one used by Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1992, that was a direct primary election, where every member of the party has a chance to come and vote for who will represent him as a councilor, chairman, governor  or president. In direct primaries, all parties have chance to come, cue and vote or elect any person of their choice. But the current  delegate system brings nothing except corruption. Once the parties are corrupt, certainly, government must be corrupt, this is what is happening now all over the country.

Where do you stand on the question of whether or not Buhari should run again, against the backdrop of non-delivery on electoral promises and his health issue? You may wish to answer that question with what you think is in the North’s strategic interest, vis-a-vis, experience over the issue of tenure and dispute with the South on zoning principle.

On the issue of who the North will support among Northerners who are likely to contest, I will say we will support internal democracy, that the person who wins the primary election in the party becomes the candidate. It is premature to say and there is no  basis for me to deny Atiku or Kwankwaso, or whoever is said to be contesting, the right to contest. Whoever emerges from the North, we will support him. You see personally I am not a member of any political party, I am only concerned that there should be an internal democracy in any party for development of our democracy, so that people will know that the candidate emerged  and was chosen by their wishes and support. That is the most important thing. In the case of Buhari, he  had a bad start as far as I am concerned, somebody who is in office is supposed to show his credentials of being in that office and these credentials should sell him not only to his party, but to the generality of Nigerians. The decision will be made by party members and eventually when election  comes, voters will ultimately decide party’s decision. My support or non support for Buhari does not matter, our concern is for the system to be  sanitized.

The Yoruba nation unanimously and unequivocally stated last week  its position on  restructuring, declaring it was mandatory as the basis for the continuation of the Nigerian union. The Yoruba also defined what this restructuring should be, so there won’t be any ambiguity that those opposed to it had often cited. Your take on this?

I believe Nigeria has been in existence for 100 years now, in this 100 years, there are people who believe that Lord Lugard or the British made mistakes in the way they crafted a territory and called pieces of this country called Nigeria in 1914. Up till now there are people of high intellect and in responsible positions who  believe  that Lugard made a mistake by merging the Northern protectorate and Southern protectorate and Lagos Colony. These agitations have manifested in various forms over the years and appear directed against the North.  You see, there was no restructuring agitation during Jonathan or Obasanjo’s administration. It started few years ago. All these agitations started when there was no  true  government. My first reference is to go to 1914,  examine this question of whether Lugard or the British made a mistake by merging the territories that appeared  incompatible, according to the agitators. So, if we want to give credit to the British in 1914, for crafting the constitution for these colonies and you also want to give credit to our founding fathers who really faced the British and argued for independence, you may say that, perhaps, this was the fundamental mistake of  our coexistence. There is also a merit in looking forward that even though diverse, we could eventually be molded into a nation. So they tried together with our founding leaders and agreed on the federal constitution. By 1960, if you remember very well,  prior to independence, the regions asked for self-government on different dates. The Northern Nigeria  said it was not ready  in 1957, while other regions said they were ready, which later brought about some misunderstanding in the country, but eventually the regions resolved their differences in term of dates. The North later had its own in 1959, while other regions had theirs  in 1957. Again within one year, Nigerian leaders sat together and discussed independence of the country. The final constitution we had was a federal constitution with regions as the federation units. Western Nigeria, Eastern Nigeria and Northern Nigeria. Those were the federating units under the 1960 federal constitution. My excitement about the position taken by the Yoruba  is that we should go back to the 1960 constitution, go back to the regions. I agree with this position in all honesty and sincerity, but the only point I may have difference with is that, let it be Western, Eastern and Northern, as it was said, but the Yoruba should remember that each of these regions  in the past had a constitution. If we are going back to that, then we must take  each region  to  have its constitution. It’s also  good to remember that a lot of things had happened even before the British left, there was minority commission set-up by the British prior to 1960. The minority groups from different parts of the regions asked for status. The Western Region later agreed that Mid West should be created. So even now, if we are to go back to the regions, what should be done is for each region to go back and consult its people to decide whether these regions will be like what is used to be,  or  there should be amendments in the 1960 constitution, or  there is need for new arrangement before making recommendations to the rest of the country. The Eastern Region will do the same. The Northern region will do the same. You see , I am not discounting that there will be a lot of requests,  even before 1960 , there were lots of agitations in the North for Middle-belt. In short, I agree entirely that we should go back to regions as the Yoruba have suggested, the point of difference here is that the regions should go back  decide for  themselves and decide how they want to restructure themselves. Nobody should decide for any region how to be restructured. I am happy to hear that even South East governors have decided to remain together, to that extent, this might be attractive on the part of Northern Nigeria. I am among those who support this Yoruba recommendation.

Government has practically militarised the S’ East under the pretext of going in to tackle crimes and insecurity in the region. We have seen a crackdown on Biafra agitators, while Arewa youths known to have breached the constitution are treated as sacred cows. Tell me how can this brazen display of double standard promote a sense of equality and fair treatment and as such oneness among Nigerians from different divides? Again, as long as this continues, don’t you think it will only further fuel discontent and agitation? And do you believe this strong arm tactics and forceful approach by government is the best way to bring about peace?

Well,  I consider  all these Kanu’s  saga as general pretence of Nigerians’  dishonesty.  When the Northern youths reacted to the abuses that their parents and grandparents were being subjected by some interest groups,  insult and provocation , nobody  uttered a word of guidance, counseling or caution among so-called elders in the East,  even as I am speaking now. It is when our children reacted the way they did that they had, had enough of these abuses coming from that area, and also supported that those agitating for their own state should be given chance for self-determination in line with the international protocol for self-determination.  With this, who now says that Nigeria’s unity is settled? It is not settled for  more than hundred years? We can see from this saga that there is a lot of pending issues on  Nigeria’s unity. If this problem is still lingering, then you cannot say Nigeria’s unity is settled,  this word is Utopian. Settling  the issue of unity is a determinant factor for coexistence, as such you cannot say Nigeria is indivisible, while its component parts are not united. So you see, I disagreed with all this Utopian position that Nigeria’s unity is settled. The question of its unity now or in future will be the question to ask from time to time. I keep repeating that the problem of Nigeria is the elites, both political and other levels, Nigerian elites have been the cause of either disunity or lack of developments and if that is the case, then we are not prepared to read and visit our souls and attitude. It means that the  celebration of  independence anniversary, to me, is an anniversary to mark the waste of two generations of Nigerians over the last 57 years. Let’s ask ourselves; if we the elites are the problem of Nigeria, why can’t we  come and sit down and tell ourselves the truth? Enough is enough, let’s save future generations, if we continue the way we are going, nothing positive will happen apart from wasting time.

At Yusuf Maitama Sule book presentation, Chief Edwin Clark  made a similar observation and requested you all to come and resolve  your differences as elites in order to save Nigeria from ongoing crises. Are you ready?

I don’t want to reveal too much on what transpired between me and Chief Edwin Clark,  it is an old issue,  we engaged Edwin Clark and his people when we were fighting Obasanjo’s third term, we engaged him positively together with the current father to the Senate President. The Northern Union headed by its chairman, the late Dr Olusola Saraki, while I was his deputy, fought against Obasanjo’s third term agenda. Edwin Clark pledged that whenever the North takes over the presidency, his area (South South) will produce the Vice President.  And this was how we sealed the deal, which produced Jonathan as Vice President to Umaru Yar’Adua. The arrangement was perfected and successfully executed. I don’t want to go into details of other negative side of the story, but I know we’ll get ourselves together for discussion on the solution to Nigeria’s problem.

So, if I may ask you as part of the Nigerian elite, what is the solution to the crises?

We have been failing Nigerians, the elites before us, like late Sardauna, Chief Awolowo,  Dr. Azikiwe and others risked their lives, worked and died for Nigeria, under an arrangement that was not forced. Like what the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, said, let’s understand our differences, so that we work together for the development of Nigeria. This can still be applied today, that is why I feel excited with the position of Yoruba elders,  that we should go back to our regions as federating units. The elites should stop pretending that tough time is over  and  Nigeria’s unity is settled. We in the Northern Elders Forum have agreed that we  are ready to engage in dialogue with anybody that will solve Nigeria’s problems.  (The Sun)

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UNGA: Buhari Condemns Killings in Myanmar, Says Palestinians Suffering |RN

Nigerian President Buhari addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S. September 20, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the killings in Myanmar which have been targeted at the Muslim-majority Rohingya population.

The President also asked the United Nations not to forget the people of Palestine who have been suffering for decades.

Buhari said this while delivering his speech before over 150 world leaders at the 72nd United National General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

Related: President Buhari’s Complete Statement To United Nations General Assembly |RN

He said the killing of the Rohingya people was reminiscent of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

While expressing fear over the possibility of a nuclear war due to the activities of North Korea, the President urged the UN not to forget United Nations Security Council Resolutions from 1967 on the Middle East crisis which remains unimplemented.

Related: UNGA: U.S. May Have To ‘Destroy’ North Korea, Donald Trump Warns |RN

Buhari said, “New conflicts should not make us lose focus on ongoing unresolved old conflicts. For example, several UN Security Council Resolutions from 1967 on the Middle East crisis remain unimplemented. Meanwhile, the suffering of the Palestinian people and the blockade of Gaza continue.

“Additionally, we are now confronted by the desperate human rights and humanitarian situation in Yemen and most tragically in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. The Myanmar crisis is very reminiscent of what happened in Bosnia in 1995 and in Rwanda in 1994.

“The international community cannot remain silent and not condemn the horrendous suffering caused by what from all indications is a state-backed programme of brutal depopulation of the Rohingya inhabited areas in Myanmar on the basis of ethnicity and religion.

“We fully endorse the call by the Secretary-General on the Government of Myanmar to order a halt to the ongoing ethnic cleansing and ensure the safe return of the displaced Rohingya to their homes in safety and dignity.”

The President thanked the UN for assisting Nigeria to tackle its humanitarian crisis in the North-East.

He also commended the UN’s role in helping to settle thousands of innocent civilians caught in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“In particular, we must collectively thank the government of the Federal Republic of Germany under the commendable leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Governments of Italy, Greece and Turkey for assisting hundreds of thousands of refugees.”

Buhari said his administration was fighting corruption but would need the assistance of the international community to succeed.  (Punch)

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President Buhari’s Complete Statement To United Nations General Assembly |RN

Nigerian President Buhari addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York

STATEMENT DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE 72ND SESSION OF UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, IN NEW YORK, ON TUESDAY, 19 SEPTEMBER 2017

On behalf of my country, Nigeria, I congratulate you Mr President on your election and Mr Gutteres on his first General Assembly outing as our Secretary-General. I assure you both of my country’s solidarity and cooperation. You will indeed need the cooperation of all Member States as we are meeting during extra-ordinarily troubled and dangerous times. Let me also thank former Secretary-General Mr Ban ki-Moon for his service to the United Nations and wish him a peaceful retirement.

Mr President,

2. The previous year has witnessed many far-reaching developments. Some of the most significant events include the Iran Nuclear Deal, the Paris Climate Change Agreement and, of grave concern, the North Korean nuclear crisis.

Mr President,

3. I must also commend the UN’s role in helping to settle thousands of innocent civilians caught in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. In particular, we must collectively thank the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany under the commendable leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Governments of Italy, Greece and Turkey for assisting hundreds of thousands of refugees.

4. In an exemplary show of solidarity, the international community came together to my own region to assist the countries and communities in the Sahel and the Lake Chad regions to contain the threats posed by Al Qaida and Boko Haram.

5. We thank the Security Council for visiting the countries of the Lake Chad Basin to assess the security situation and humanitarian needs, and for pledging assistance to rebuild lives and livelihoods. Indeed, in Nigeria, we are providing relief and humanitarian assistance to millions in internally displaced camps and those afflicted by terrorism, drought, floods and other natural disasters.

6. In the last year, the international community came together to focus on the need for gender equality, youth empowerment, social inclusion, and the promotion of education, creativity and innovation. The frontiers of good governance, democracy including holding free and fair elections, and enthronement of the rule of law are expanding everywhere, especially in Africa.

7. Our faith in democracy remains firm and unshaken. Our regional organisation ECOWAS came together to uphold democratic principles in The Gambia – as we had done previously in Cote D’Ivoire.

8. Through our individual national efforts, state institutions are being strengthened to promote accountability, and to combat corruption and asset recovery. These can only be achieved through the international community cooperating and providing critical assistance and material support. We shall also cooperate in addressing the growing transnational crimes such as forced labour, modern-day slavery, human trafficking and cybercrime.

Mr President,

9. These cooperative efforts should be sustained. We must collectively devise strategies and mobilise the required responses to stop fleeing ISIS fighters from mutating and infiltrating into the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, where there is insufficient resources and response capacity is weak.

10. This will require strong UN cooperation with regional organisations, such as the African Union, in conflict prevention and management. The UN should continue to take primary leadership of the maintenance of international peace and security by providing, in a predictable and sustainable manner, adequate funding and other enablers to regional initiatives and peacekeeping operations authorized by the Security Council.

Mr President,

11. New conflicts should not make us lose focus on ongoing unresolved old conflicts. For example, several UN Security Council Resolutions from 1967 on the Middle East crisis remain unimplemented. Meanwhile, the suffering of the Palestinian people and the blockade of Gaza continue.

12. Additionally, we are now confronted by the desperate human rights and humanitarian situation in Yemen and most tragically in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. The Myanmar crisis is very reminiscent of what happened in Bosnia in 1995 and in Rwanda in 1994.

13. The international community cannot remain silent and not condemn the horrendous suffering caused by what, from all indications is a state-backed programme of brutal depopulation of the Rohingya inhabited areas in Myanmar on the basis of ethnicity and religion. We fully endorse the call by the Secretary-General on the Government of Myanmar to order a halt to the ongoing ethnic cleansing and ensure the safe return of the displaced Rohingya to their homes in safety and dignity.

14. In all these crises, the primary victims are the people, the most vulnerable being women and children. That is why the theme of this session: Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet” is most apposite.

15. While the international community grapples to resolve these conflicts, we must be mindful and focus on the widening inequalities within societies, and the gap between the rich and the poor nations. These inequalities and gaps are part of the underlining root causes of competition for resources, frustration and anger leading to spiralling instability.

16. The most pressing threat to international peace and security today is the accelerated nuclear weapons development programme by North Korea. Since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, we have never come so close to the threat of nuclear war as we have now.

17. All necessary pressure and diplomatic efforts must be brought to bear on North Korea to accept a peaceful resolution of the crisis. As Hiroshima and Nagasaki painfully remind us, if we fail, the catastrophic and devastating human loss and environmental degradation cannot be imagined.

Mr President,

18. Nigeria proposes a strong UN delegation to urgently engage the North Korean Leader. The delegation, led by the Security Council, should include members from all the regions.

19. The crisis in the Korean peninsula underscores the urgency for all member states, guided by the spirit of enthroning a safer and more peaceful world, to ratify without delay the Treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, which will be open for signature here tomorrow.

Mr President,

20. I end my remarks by reiterating Nigeria’s abiding commitment to the foundational principles and goals of the United Nations. Since our admission as a member state in 1960, we have always participated in all efforts to bring about global peace, security and development. Nigeria will continue to support the UN in all its efforts, including the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

I thank you.

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Buhari Formally Kickstarts Process To Proscribe IPOB |The Republican News

IPOB-Crowd

President Muhammadu Buhari is reported to have signed a presidential proclamation to formally proscribe Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Reports also said that the Federal Government was also approaching the court to get a nod to nail IPOB over the group’s involvement in terrorist activities.

According to a national newspaper, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation confirmed the presidential declaration.

President Buhari was said to have signed the declaration on Sunday before his departure for the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

Buhari’s decision to sign the proclamation was a fallout of the sharp criticism that followed the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation by the Nigerian Army at the weekend and the group’s proscription by the South-east governors.

By the action of Buhari, the attorney general’s office explained that the presidency had effectively initiated the formal process of proscribing IPOB in accordance with the provisions of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011.

It also paved the way for the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) to head to court to give legal backing to the presidential proclamation.

Meanwhile, Senate President Bukola Saraki has joined the South East senators to denounce military action in the region, but the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Buratai has countered his stand.

Buratai said that the army was performing its constitutional responsibility.

But Saraki insisted that due process should have been followed before the declaration and proscription by the army and South-east governors respectively.

Meanwhile, five northern governors are currently on a peace mission to the South-South and South East following the tension generated by the activities of IPOB.

They have visited Rivers and the Abia States, where they addressed Northerners, telling them to remain calm.

They were Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima, Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Aminu Masari (Katsina) and Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi).

Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu promised to defend Nigeria’s unity, despite the IPOB agitation.

While Governor Nysom Wike of Rivers State also vowed not to support the disintegration of Nigeria as well as the molestation, intimidation and harassment of any Nigerian and non-Nigerians resident in Rivers state. (NAN)

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Buhari Returns To London After UNGA, Return Date Is Unknown |The Republican News

 

Buhari-at-FEC

President Muhammadu Buhari

 

………Return date unknown

From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The presidency has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari will return to London after attending the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 72), which opens on Tuesday, September 19.

The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina in a statement did not disclose the purpose of Buhari’s visit to London nor when he will return.

Adesina in the statement said: “President Buhari will transit through London on his way back to the country.”

Buhari returned to the country August 19th after spending over 100 days in London on medical vacation.

Meanwhile, the president who will be accompanied by the governors of Zamfara, Abdulazeez Yari, Ebonyi, Dave Umahi, and Ondo Rotimi Akeredolu, and key cabinet ministers, will depart the country on Sunday to join other world leaders at the UN General Assembly (UNGA 72).

The theme for this year’s Debate is: “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet.”

The Presidential Spokesman said the high point of the Buhari’s visit will be his participation in the General Debate during which he will deliver the country’s National Statement.

“President Buhari will join other world leaders at the welcoming reception to be hosted by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and also hold a bilateral meeting with the UN scribe.

“Equally, the Nigerian leader will hold a lunch meeting with President Donald Trump of the United States of America, along with other world leaders”, the statement read.

Adesina said, Nigeria will participate in high-level meetings on ‘Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: Building Momentum for Change,’ the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, a High-Level Event organized by the African Union under its Theme of the Year: ‘Roadmap on the Demographic Dividend: from Commitment to Action,’ among others.

He said at the events, “President Buhari and members of his delegation will strive to project Nigeria as a strong moral force and responsible member of the international community.

“Nigeria’s commitment to global peace, security and development will also be reaffirmed and where necessary, the need for increased international cooperation in the fight against corruption.

“Other priorities for the Nigerian delegation at UNGA 72 include strengthening human rights institutions; the rule of law; support for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as a result of terrorist acts and recent flooding, and mitigating the effects of Climate Change.

“The Nigerian delegation will also canvass the support of UN member states for the Buhari Administration’s efforts towards combatting illicit financial flows in order to foster sustainable development.” (The Sun)

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