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2019 Election: R-APC Perfects MoU With PDP |The Republican News

 GALADIMA-OSHIOMHOLE-SECONDUS

 

**We won’t fall for Buhari’s bait again

**We’re ready to welcome them back -PDP

 

Ismail Omipidan

Members of the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC) have concluded plans to move as a group from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Daily Sun has learnt.

Former secretary of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Buba Galadima had last week announced a new faction, the R-APC, in Abuja.

As part of the plans for their eventual exit, the group is already putting the finishing touch to its side of the bargain and it is expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the main opposition party soon.

 

A source close to the group told Daily Sun that the PDP was willing to enter into the MoU.

According to the source, the issue of the MoU arose because of what members of the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) suffered in the APC.

“It is to ensure that what happened to the majority of our members while in the APC does not repeat itself in the PDP. When we moved to the APC in 2013, there were discussions, but mostly there was no collective bargain. For instance, (President of the Senate, Bukola) Saraki had hinted Asiwaju (Bola

Tinubu) about his senate presidency ambition before the election, Asiwaju did not show any sign of opposition to it. However, after winning the election, they began singing a different tune. So, we want to avoid that kind of scenario.

“Good enough, PDP has so far demonstrated sincerity in all our dealings. All that is remaining is to perfect the details of the MoU and we sign it,” the source added.

Asked what constitute details of the MoU, the source said: “I will be unfair to both our group and the PDP to start discussing that in the open. More so, the opposition could turn it against us and may create a fresh crisis

for us and the party we are moving into. The APC will be doing all they can to want to frustrate this marriage. We won’t give them the opportunity and I think they can never succeed because we are far gone now to look back.”

Reacting to the development, the PDP through the spokesman, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, told Daily Sun, yesterday, that “our party is open to all Nigerians. Our party has been rebranded and repositioned to take in as many Nigerians as we can in our bid to rescue the country’s sinking ship under the APC in next year’s election.

“As a party, we have cast our net into the river, waiting to catch the big fish.”

Asked what the details of the MoU would look like, Ologbondiyan said the party’s Contact and Integration Committee has not reported back to the party.

However, Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, said the party was not bothered by what he termed “antics of some of the former members.”

He told newsmen, after a meeting with the House of Representatives caucus, that the APC had opened talks with genuine party leaders and was unbothered about renegades. He also noted that if members of the R-APC choose not to be happy, that was their business

“There is no break-up. If one Galadima is not happy, that is fine. He has a right not to be happy. If he chooses to call himself whatever he wants to call himself, I will not lose my sleep over that. We know those who are in the system. Those who are seeking break-up; that is their problem. We are engaging real stakeholders in the Executive and the two arms of the National Assembly.”   (The Sun)

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Corruption, Stealing Under Buhari’s Gov’t Unprecedented – Turaki, PDP Presidential Aspirant

Uche-Secondus-with Turaki

Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin-Kebbi

The former minister of Special Duties, Labour and Productivity under the immediate past President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, and a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN), has said that the stealing and corruption being perpetrated under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) government was unprecedented in the country’s political history.

He also revealed how the anti-graft war under the APC is one-sided. He spoke on other issues.

How far have you gone with your presidential aspiration?

I have met stakeholders in Kebbi State including State Executive of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from wards, local government and other leaders of the party concerning my ambition. We had discussed how I am going to get a ticket of my party to contest the 2019 presidential election. I decided to come home first, to seek the support of my people, discuss with them strategies to be adopted and their advice. We had a good discussion and their overwhelming support had boosted my moral. Also, I have met our traditional, religious leaders, different stakeholders across the country and their responses and support was a clear indication for me that Nigeria needs an experienced person as their President. I asked them political question whether they think it was worthwhile for me to go into the presidential race and I got a resounding positive feedback that I should also join the race.

So, with their approval, support, I think the stage is now clear for me to declare publicly before over 180 million Nigerians to seek their mandate to be elected as the president of this famous country in the world.

What should Nigerians be expecting from you that would be different from the past, and present Presidents that have governed Nigeria?

This ambition, I mean my presidential ambition is not just about me. It is all about PDP reformed programmes which other presidential aspirants in the party are equally aware of. So if anyone among us finally gets the ticket, the person will implement them. As many Nigerians are aware, my party had an opportunity to rule this nation for almost 16 years and we have looked into areas where we made mistakes. We have learnt our lessons and we are going to do better. Beyond that, there are many key issues that my party are mostly concerned about. These issues include our economy, corruption, insecurity, Niger-Delta unrests, kidnapping across the country, herdsmen/farmers’ crisis among others.

Many Nigerians would all recall that PDP brought Nigeria economy to be the fastest growing in Africa. Our nation was the number one hub for investors from the different part of the world. Then, these investors have confidence in our nation because there was a conducive environment for their investment to strive, yielding quick returns within the shortest time. Through that processes, many jobs were created for teaming Nigerians. But today, many of these investors have sold off their assets and liabilities after relocating from our country. I wonder what is our economic role now among the African nations?

Today in Nigeria, there is fear everywhere. No security especially in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria. Everybody knew how Nigeria was before 2014-2015 elections. Nigeria and Nigerians were all well secured under PDP before the election. I have a rare opportunity and privilege to be among the Presidential Committee saddled with the responsibility to dialogue with insurgents in the North-east and I knew the progress we made and how our efforts crippled the wings of the group.

We succeeded in having those that wanted to dialogue with government dialogue, which brought relative peace to that region. But this government especially those people that surrounded them are not sincere about the fight against insurgents. They are telling Nigerians that they have degraded insurgents; yet, this group still kill innocent people every day.

Again, the issue of kidnapping has spread all over Nigeria. Beyond that, there is also the herdsmen-farmers crisis, bandits attacked towns and villages have become normal scenarios in our country. All these insecurity symptoms have culminating effects on Nigeria’s projects, be it economy or sociopolitical development. Today, under APC government, our country is under siege, we are not safe in our houses, on the streets, places of works and one would wonder what sort of country is this? Many investors have gone. Instead of APC government to preserve our nation’s heritage, the ruling party’s leaders are behaving on the contrary.

Again, on the issue of corruption, in the history of Nigeria since the amalgamation of this country over 100 years ago, I have not witnessed the kind of corruption going on under APC government. Never in our history as the political entities, have we seen the kind of corruption and stealing being perpetrated under the APC administration. It is so open and done without decorum. No arm of government under APC that is free of corruption. It is free for all. If the so-called war against corruption that this APC government is saying they are championing is real, then, why is it one-sided to the extent that even ordinary Nigerians on the streets know that there is no fairness, no credibility, no integrity in what they are doing.

I can go on and on, but let me say here that we in PDP have a close relationship with Nigerians. Nigerians know us; we know Nigerians and they understand our administration. It is just like a senior wife, a husband can have many wives, but there would be specific uniqueness about the first wife. That is, she will be the best wife that would have a better understanding of their husband. Therefore, in the political dispensation, PDP is the senior wife in Nigeria.

So, how are you going to solve all these problems you have mentioned?

Like I said, I would draw inspirations from PDP manifestos and constitution to serve as my guide. On the issue of corruption, if we get back to the government our anti-graft war will not be selective. We shall start corruption war from our party so that opposition party will not accuse us of witch-hunt like what is happening under APC today. I know many political office holders serving under APC who were accused of corruption, but since they are in the ruling party, they become saints and innocent. Their properties were not seized and were allowed to enjoy the freedom and to enjoy their looted funds. So, tell me how many APC members accused of corruption that are undergoing investigation today? None! So, our corruption war will be holistic, honest, done with integrity, not selective.

If you observe this APC government, they lack integrity, so disgusting and dishonest
in the so-called war against corruption and insurgency. PDP will resuscitate our economy for the benefits of our dear nation if we get back to power.

Most state governments collected Paris Refund from the federal government, yet, they could not pay workers their salaries. Many states today still owe civil servants their monthly salaries, pensioners’ gratuities thereby subjecting them to unnecessary hardship. How would you address workers plights if elected as President of this country?

To start with, many Nigerian workers know me very well as being workers friendly. I had the privileges of being a minister of Labour and Productivity for nine months. While I was appointed to supervise the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, there were 14 outstanding strikes in both public and private sectors. Within nine months as the Labour Minister, I was able to resolve these strikes before I handed over to the substantive minister. So, if I become Nigeria’s President, I am not only going to approve new minimum wage for Nigeria workers, my government will give workers befitting salaries that would be sufficient for them, to take care of their families and move them away from any sort of corruption.

I have a track record as student unionist, youth activism, and Bar Unionist. So I understand the importance of paying workers their salaries promptly. It is only a wicked leader that would not pay workers their salaries promptly. It is very unfortunate that APC government do not care about workers’ plights, instead, they are mismanaging our resources. It is not that we are a poor country, or we don’t have resources, the resources are there, but they are being mismanaged.

How would you rate the APC administration in the last three years?

I will leave the rating to Nigerians and electorate because whatever I say here will be seen as opposition views.

What is your position on nPDP returning to PDP from APC?

They are PDP members and we have been saying it at different fora that they are our friends. They are orphans in APC and the best option for them is to return to their family house. They will be welcome back anytime they are ready to return. They are PDP members who went on the discovery mission. Now, they have seen it all over there that there is nothing to discover in APC, nothing again. They will be welcome back because our doors are open not only to them but to other Nigerians in different political parties, any Nigerian who want to contribute their quota to the developments of this nation. Though we are all human being and bound to make mistakes, now in PDP, we have reviewed our constitution which allows both old and new members to seek elective positions contrary to the old constitution which did not allow new members to seek elective positions until they are two years old in the party.

What are the lessons your party learnt during the prolonged leadership tussle?

You see, if not because PDP is strong and deeply rooted, the ruling party, APC would have succeeded in sending us to an untimely grave. We are having a ruling party which do not tolerate opposition party. They are trying to plant different crisis in our party. Look at Ali Modu Sheriff for instance; after he had lost at the court to remain as PDP national chairman, he has gone back to APC which was using him to cause confusion in PDP. If you read the interview he granted recently, he claimed he has succeeded not only in denying PDP from losing Edo and Ondo states gubernatorial elections, he said he had indeed created factions, schemes among party’s members. So, it is now left to Nigerians to judge him and APC. That is why we have remained consistent in telling Nigerians that Ali Modu Sherrif was planted in PDP by APC to create the crisis.

But today, PDP has come out from the crisis strong and able to stand from 2015 to date. We have succeeded in holding our national convention. But look at APC today common ward Congress; they could not organise it without violence, what a shame!   (The Sun)

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INEC: Southern, MiddleBelt Forum Push For INEC Boss Sack, CSOS Intervenes

INEC

Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja

Key Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) recently took up an unusual task. They elected to weigh in for the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu whose job was recently called to question by Southern, Middle Belt Leaders Forum.

In fact, the leaders in their parley in Abuja asked President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve him and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris of their appointments. Among those who attended the conference were Chief Edwin Clark, representing the south-south; Chief Ayo Adebanjo, south-west; Chukwuemeka Ezeife, south-east; Retired Air Commodore Dan Suleiman, Middle Belt; and Nkanga Idongesit, South-South. Yinka Odumakin was the spokesman.

The leaders accused INEC under Yakubu of not being in a shape to deliver free and fair elections in 2019. They claimed that “the bug of nepotism and sectionalism which they alleged this administration is renowned for has also eaten up the leadership of the commission.”

Idongesit, the chairman of the Pan Niger Delta forum, who delivered the group’s position, argued that retaining the service chiefs who ought to have retired and keeping Yakubu as INEC chairman were suspicious.

He contended that what is playing out was in tandem with the narrative that the INEC leadership and the Service Chiefs would play partisan roles in favour of the president.

“From 1960 till date, only President Muhammadu Buhari has been audacious to pick only people who are either his relations or of the same ethnic stock with him to lead the electoral body,” he said.

“The Balewa government headed by a northerner appointed Eyo Ita-Esua from the south, who was in charge of the federal electoral commission from 1960-66; Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yoruba, set up the federal electoral commission under Michael Ani from 1976-1979.

”When Dr Goodluck Jonathan came in from the south-south, he appointed Prof. Attahiru Jega from the north-west from June 2010-Oct. 2015,” the group noted, insisting that it was only Buhari who appointed his relation from the north-west, Amina Zakari, as the acting INEC chairman when he became president in 2015.

Certainly, the Forum’s call has irritated not just the INEC staff but some democratic circles. Surprisingly, there has not been any formal reaction from the commission. But a counterpoise to the elders’ demand recently came from CSOs and human rights activists.

Senator Shehu Sani representing Kaduna Central was the first to fire a salvo. A respected human rights activist and a nonconformist, Sani, disagreed with the Forum that Yakubu has committed grievous sins that should attract a sack.

He said, “The recent call for the removal of INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, made by the Middle Belt and Southern Leaders is unnecessary and uncalled for. The incumbent INEC chairman has not in any way demonstrated inclination or proclivity to unfairness or injustice in his conduct and his leadership of the electoral umpire. The INEC chairman has kept to the credible standards of transparency in Edo and Anambra governorship elections and subsequent by-elections. “

He continued “The leaders have the fundamental right to raise issues and observations in any of the activities of INEC and demand redress. Nigerians are now more awakened and conscious of their electoral rights.

“The track record of the chairman and his pedigree is enough assurance and guarantee to give him the benefit of the doubt to lead INEC through the next elections.

“It is impossible for the INEC chairman to bow to any form of pressure from any quarters to undermine the 2019 polls. And President Buhari, I believe, will not tamper with the duties of INEC. The President that openly called on Nigerians to vote for whoever they want has raised the bar of assurance in the credibility of the electoral process.

“In 2019, Nigerians will vote for the vehicle to take them to the future, either by trucks, tractors, trains or ambulances.”

Sani was not alone in this line of thought. A coterie of CSOs equally stepped out to tackle leaders of Southern, Middle Belt Forum over their demand. They insisted that the call was not backed with cogent and verifiable reasons. The groups advised that rather than seek the removal of Yakubu, Nigerians should pay more attention to the activities of Resident Electoral Commissioners in various states to ensure that they discharge their duties diligently and constitutionally.

The groups that spoke at a news conference include Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDG), Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP); Network of Police Reform in Nigeria; National Democratic Alliance; Yoruba Revolutionary Assembly, Public Interests Lawyers and Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice.

They were represented by Mr Ledum Mitee, former President of MOSOP; Okechukwu Nwanguma, of the Network of Police Reform in Nigeria; Ezenwa Nwuagwu of Partners for Electoral Reforms; Faith Nwadishi, Director, Contact Mobilization, ISDMG, and MacDonald Ekemezie of Kyenum Immllah Foundation. Others include Mr. Aminu, Public Interests Lawyers, Akin Lawson, National Democratic Alliance; Yoruba Revolutionary Assembly and Comrade Sherri Mulade of Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice Dismissing the call as misplaced and uncalled for, Executive Director, ISDMG ,Dr. Chima Amadi, who was first to speak contended that the demand of the elders as it affects the INEC chairman had no basis.

 

Although he agreed that no stone should be left unturned in ensuring a free and fair election in 2019, he insisted that the preoccupation of all Nigerians at the moment should be monitoring and supporting INEC to succeed in conducting an acceptable election.

The ISDMG boss charged President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore the call which he further described as the way out of line. He drew the attention of those calling for Yakubu’s removal to the elections the commission under Mahmood had conducted, insisting that those elections were credible and transparent.

He argued, “INEC is a creation of Section 153(1) (f) and 154 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, while the qualification for appointment is set out in Section 14(1), Part 1 of the Third to the Constitution.”

Amadi stressed that the same group of elders who made the call for Yakubu’s sack were also the same faces who raised a similar alarm against the former INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, adding that the fact that Yakubu comes from the same ethnic group like President Buhari does not make him less qualified and incapable of discharging his responsibilities.

He contended that those calling for INEC Chairman’s sack at this time were seeking to endanger democracy adding that many election observer groups have condemned the call for Yakubu’s sack.

Amadi further explained that though the Coalition does not hold the fort for the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, they are compelled to respond by stating the facts as they are.

He said: “For us, the claim suggesting that the INEC Chairman will rig the 2019 elections in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari is not only stupid but silly. If there are accumulated indications, they point to those successful governorship elections conducted in Bayelsa and Rivers States respectively by the same Professor Mahmood Yakubu and won by the opposition parties.

“Will these elders tell us that they are oblivious of the numerous elections conducted by the current INEC which produced different outcomes for different political parties irrespective of incumbency at both the federal and state level?

“The latest is the Ibarapa East state Constituency by-election in Oyo State in which the opposition party in the state won the seat. This is significant against the background of the Local Government election in the State three weeks earlier in which the ruling party in the State won every Chairmanship and Councillorship constituency.

“Of course, the Anambra State governorship election is still fresh on our minds in which the candidate of the ruling party lost in every Local Government Area to the extent that even the Ohanaeze commended INEC for its transparency in conducting the elections? Two months later, the same INEC successfully concluded the Anambra Central Senatorial election after staying the course in a protracted legal battle.

“The Ondo governorship election was also a watershed. For the first time, the outcome of the election was not challenged in court because of its transparency, although the three leading candidates were senior lawyers. This is significant given the fact that a number of previous governorship elections in the state were in fact determined by the courts.”

He queried the claim that INEC Chairman was working for Buhari, adding that the man would have simply handed the states recently won by opposition parties to the APC if that were to be true.

He said that the fact the INEC Chairman was presiding over a clean process ensured that the ruling party did not secure victories in the by-elections held in Dukku North constituency in Gombe State, Ardo Kola in Taraba and Osun West Senatorial Zone won by the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The outspoken politician, Dr Ezekiel Izuogu, also does not see the merit in the call for the removal of the INEC boss.

However, he disagreed with those pelting the Forum leaders with stone on account of their demand. He insisted that everybody, in a democracy is free to express his opinion on any issue.

To a large extent, those picking hole in the sack call is not wholly wrong. Elections conducted under the leadership of the current INEC have not attracted many tirades or legal challenges. In fact, INEC’s handling of Anambra governorship election and the recall moves against Sen. Dino Melaye elicited some accolades too.

President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nina Nwodo after the Anambra election said “the security personnel deserve congratulations for the secure atmosphere in which the election was held. INEC, so far, appeared transparent and must be given a pat on the back”.

Although Nwodo can always change his position and tackle the commission if it is observed that it has begun taking maladroit decisions that are hurting the electoral process, Izuogu and Amadi believe that the INEC chairman has not derailed yet. (The Sun)

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Biafra: The Igbo Need IPOB For Several Reasons – Prof Nwala |RN

Prof.Uzodimma-Nwala

President of Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), Prof Uzodinma Nwala has said that it is in the interest of Ndigbo to have Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) de-proscribed and declassified as a terrorist organisation.

According to him, Ndigbo will be able to integrate IPOB and other pro-Biafra organisations as instruments of development and freedom, add￾ing that the Yoruba nation has been able to do this successfully with the OPC.

In an interview with VINCENT KALU, Prof. Nwala expressed regrets that the federation is driven by a particular ideological mould, which treats aberrations as normal in the conduct of the affairs of the society.

Nigeria is on edge; it has turned to a killing field; kidnapping and other violent crimes everywhere. Why?

The Nigerian Federation is driven by a particular ideological mould, which treats these aberrations as normal in the conduct of the affairs of the society.

How do we come out of these problems?

We must alter the power configuration in the Nigerian Federation. First, we must return power to the original nationalities that were brought together by the British outside their consent. Second, we must ensure that the decision as to whether Nigeria remains a political entity is made according to the principle of self-determination, without any compulsion.

How can IPOB be de-proscribed?

Ndigbo should apply all possible political pressures to get IPOB de-proscribed. The state governments in the Igbo-speaking areas should take action and demand the de-proscription of IPOB; the Federal legislators from Alaigbo should lobby their colleagues to get the National Assembly to pass a resolution de-proscribing IPOB (we are aware that they have publicly condemned the de-proscription of IPOB); the
churches, the women and youth should demand for IPOB de-proscription. ADF has already made this call and has further challenged the Operation Python Dance in court as an illegal invasion of Alaigbo.

Igbo have been clamouring to produce the president in 2023. What direction should the Igbo follow in 2019?

The issue of the Presidency of Nigeria should be part of the total package of the process of laying a new foundation for the future of Nigeria. The Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), based on proven general view of Ndigbo, our people are no longer interested in the continuation of a political union in which they are treated like conquered people, daily slaughtered as animals, without political rights and with the foundation of their economic life virtually destroyed, in which there is no equality and justice in the system.

This is why ADF has proposed for the Nigerian Federation to be turned into a Federal Union of Autonomous Regions in which Alaigbo is recognised as an autonomous region, enjoying the fundamental right of self-determination, with full control of their domestic affairs, their security, their land and its resources, and contributing to the maintenance of a Federal Union with powers ceded to it by the various autonomous regions that make up the Federal Union. Anything less than this, Ndigbo shall regard it as enslavement against their will and shall continue to fight for their freedom and total liberation, which we have no doubt shall come in the nick of time. Our God has not created us to be slaves to other people.

President Buhari recently said that Nigerian soldiers during the war were soft on Biafra, even in the face of the bombing of markets, IDPs and other atrocities committed against the Igbo. What is your reaction to this?

I am aware that some Igbo leaders and organisations have reacted to this show of arrogance and mindless insult by President Buhari on Ndigbo based on the loss of a war that could justifiably be defined as the Third World War. Yes, the Nigeria-Biafra war was a world war involving a coalition of major powers against Biafra. Indeed, that defeat was made possible by several world powers against Ndigbo. The soldiers who fought on the Nigerian side were aware of this fact.

What Buhari is actually saying is that Ndigbo were lucky that they were not completely wiped out by the Nigerian troops and their allies. One would ask, Odi Ofele. I do not think it is the mark of a self-confident soldier to revel in a victory won for his side by a foreign army.

I had on another occasion responded to a claim that appears similar to Buhari’s statement; this one by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a frontline commander during the war. According to him, they (the Federal military leaders) conducted the war without any hate or vengeance because it was a quarrel between brothers.

To that statement, I asked a few pertinent questions, which I now pose to General Buhari, namely: How did the world come to describe the conduct of the war as pogrom? Secondly, what about the bombing of refugee camps, marketplaces, churches, etc? Thirdly, when you allowed the massacre of unarmed soldiers and leaders even when they had declared their return to Nigeria, what did you expect? I mean when you murdered Prof. Kalu Ezera or when you killed unarmed Col Onwuatuegwu in cold blood, what did you expect? Fourthly, when you killed and also buried alive thousands of innocent civilians in Asaba, was that a circus show? Fifthly, let us not get into the punitive measures meted to Ndigbo immediately after that war and until this day.

What is your fear for the country?

I answer this by quoting from the recent memorandum of the Alaigbo Development
Foundation (ADF) on the future of Alaigbo and the future of the Federal Republic of Nige￾ria, popularly addressed by many as the Green Book: Today in Nigeria. The monstrous forces of hegemony are on the rampage in fulfilment of the founder’s behest. The chickens have come home to roost, things have fallen apart and the artificial centre can no longer hold.

The forces of ethnic and religious cleansing have been let loose-blood is flowing in the land! All the victims of this hegemony are now astir, and the songs of freedom are now raging all over the artificial federation!

The only way out is for the autonomy of the various nations trapped in the Nigerian Federation to be restored.

Once this is done, they shall be free to decide if they want to live together and in what form of a union they wish to live together as free people, but not as conquered people or as annexed territories.

You talked about what to do to de-proscribe IPOB, why do you want it de-proscribed?

When I address certain sensitive issues, such as the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), MASSOB or any other pre-determination organisations, I try not to project my personal views. I endeavour as much as possible to state the position of the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), a civil society organisation to which I belong along with several eminent statesmen in Alaigbo. As their chief spokesperson, I owe them the duty not to mix my personal views with the views of the ADF.

The issue of IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu was first raised at the ADF Elders Consultative Forum held in Enugu on March 29, 2016. We chose that organ of ADF because it includes mainly the distinguished elders in ADF – Archbishops, bishops, chairmen of State Council of Traditional Rulers and other notable traditional rulers, ex-governors, ex-ministers, past president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, retired generals and high level military officers, ex- and serving vice chancellors, distinguished professors, top-level academicians, top-level business leaders, respected women leaders, media chiefs, youth leaders, etc. we felt that such a sensitive issue, required the guidance of such Igbo leaders.

At that meeting, we extensively discussed the on-going global agitations for Biafra under the aegis particularly of the IPOB at the time.

In the end, a communiqué was issued followed later by a press statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of ADF, Col Justino Ezeoke (Retd). In the communiqué, ADF condemned the reaction of the Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari to the renewed agitation for Biafra as discriminatory when compared to the attitude of the government to Boko Haram armed separatist insurgency. ADF noted that the Federal Government was known to have sought and indeed negotiated with the Boko Haram insurgency, which has claimed and continued to claim thousands of lives of civilians and security forces and destroyed millions of private and state property.

However, in the case of non-violent pro-Biafra IPOB, MASSOB and other Biafra agitators in Alaigbo, which employ peaceful and non-violent methods of agitation, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is unwilling to negotiate or even to dialogue with them. ADF also had expressed grave disappointment over the discriminatory way the federal government
was handling the case of the detention of Mr Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the IPOB and his colleagues, despite calls for his release by local and foreign governments and organisations and despite the fact that several courts in Nigeria had ordered for his release from detention. We also
noted that in Nigeria, governments and leadership of various zones including political leaders, businessmen, intellectuals, traditional rulers, human rights groups, lawyers, pan-national organizations from within and outside the Southern parts of Nigeria have appealed to the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to
release Mr. Kanu, whom, everyone know as an unarmed, non-violent prisoner of conscience.

The unrelenting spread of national and global sympathy for the renewed agitation for Biafra is premised on the fact that the campaign of the Pro-Biafra agitators has been both non-violent and does not violate any known national or international laws, but rather is protected by the fundamental constitutional rights of freedom of
speech and political agitation, guaranteed even by the Nigerian Constitution.

As I have stated earlier, ADF maintains that
IPOB and other Prof-Biafra organisations are
legitimate non-violent agitators for political
equality and freedom. ADF likens the Pro-Biafra agitators in Alaigbo as comparable to the OPC within the Yoruba nation, the Niger Delta militants within the Niger Delta region and the Boko Haram and the murderous movement in Arewa land called Fulani Herdsmen. All those are instruments for political struggle by the various
zones. But there is a big difference between those and the IPOB and its sister Pro-Biafra organisations in Alaigbo. That big difference lies in the non-violent character of the Pro-Biafra groups.

It also lies in the fact that the Federal Government of Nigeria has negotiated with the others, but has arrogantly refused to listen to or negotiate with the Pro-Biafra agitators. Rather the Federal Government, under President Muhammadu Buhari has treated them with disdain and continues
to have them slaughtered like fowls with such mind-boggling self-abandon.

De-platforming of IPOB, is it in the interest of the Igbo, or is it that Ndigbo wants it?

ADF believes that it is in the interest of
Ndigbo to have IPOB de-proscribed and declassified as a terrorist organisation. One, it is not a terrorist organisation. Two, it is non-violent in its agitations. Three, Ndigbo needs IPOB and other self-determination organisations for their own political struggles for survival and relevance in
the scheme of things in the country.

Employing the methods the Igbo society employs in the handling of the activism of their youth, Ndigbo will be able to integrate IPOB and other pro-Biafra organisations as instruments of development and freedom.

The Yoruba nation has been able to do this successfully with the OPC. Ndigbo can
do so with the youths in search of freedom and equality. (The Sun)

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Plateau Mass Killings: Human Life Becoming Cheap, Says Buhari |RN

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President Muhammadu Buhari

…says politicians taking advantage of nationwide killings

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday lamented that human life was increasingly becoming cheap in Nigeria.

He, however, heaped the blame on some unnamed politicians who he accused of taking advantage of the killings associated with herdsmen/farmers clashes in parts of the country.

He said some “desperate people” have continued to pursue their quest for instability and chaos which they hoped would give them an advantage in the coming elections.

Buhari said this in a statement made available to journalists by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

The President was reacting to latest clashes in Plateau State during which scores of people have killed.

He said, “We know that a number of geographical and economic factors are contributing to the longstanding herdsmen/farmers clashes.

“But we also know that politicians are taking advantage of the situation. This is incredibly unfortunate.

“Nigerians affected by the herdsmen/ farmer clashes must always allow the due process of the law to take its course rather than taking matters into their own hands.”

The presidential spokesman indicated in the statement that information available to the Presidency showed that about 100 cattle had been rustled by a community in Plateau State, and some herdsmen were killed in the process.

He added that the state governor, Simon Lalong, had invited the aggrieved groups and pleaded against further action while the law enforcement agents looked into the matter.

He regretted that less than 24 hours later, violence broke out.

He added, “Some local thugs then took advantage of the situation, turning it into an opportunity to extort the public, and to attack people from rival political parties.

“There were reports of vehicles being stopped along the roads in the state, with people being dragged out of their cars and attacked if they stated that they supported certain politicians or political party.

“On his way back to Jos after attending the All Progressives Congress’ Convention in Abuja, the state governor had to dismantle a number of illegal roadblocks set up by these thugs.

“There were also a number of dead bodies thugs had killed, lying along the road.” (Punch)

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June 12: I’ll Sue Buhari If He Confers National Honours On Abiola, Others – Ardo

Nobody can buy Yoruba race –Lamido • It’s Greek gift –IPOB

Ismail Omipidan; Billy Graham Abel; Yola and Geoffry Anyanwu, Awka

Former adviser to former vice president Atiku Abubakar, Umar Ardo, has described the planned conferment of national honours on the late MKO Abiola, Babagana Kingibe and Gani Fawehinmi as illegal.

He vowed to institute a court action to demand compliance with the provisions of the constitution in the award of the said national honours if the government goes ahead with the investiture ceremony without abiding by the due process of law.

“It is important, however, to state that I have absolutely no objection to the president conferring such national honours on the late Chief MKO Abiola and Chief Gani Fawehinmi, and indeed that they richly deserve such awards and much more, but it is only right to do the right thing rightly.  My current call and possible court action are solely motivated by the obligation to enforce the rule of law and constitutionalism in the process of governing this country,” Umar Ardo explained.

Citing from the Constitution, he pointed out that President Muhammdu Buhari has no power to confer national honours on anyone without first seeking for and obtaining the approval of the National Council of State.

Ardo, in statement yesterday, said: “Pursuant to the powers of the Council of State in section 6(a)(iii) of Part 1 to the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) to advise the president on the matter of awarding national honours, I call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately convene a meeting of the National Council of State to deliberate and advise him on his decision to award national honours to the late Chief MKO Abiola, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and Chief Gani Fawehinmi before performing the planned investiture ceremony on Tuesday. This is simply to comply with due process of law.”

To determine whether the president’s decision to confer the said national awards followed due process of law, Ardo said he telephoned and asked a former president and a serving member of the Council of State whether the issue had at any time been raised in any of the meetings of the Council of State and the advice of the said Council sought and obtained.

“He informed me and I verily believe him, that it was never ever raised nor the advice of the Council ever sought or obtained. Therefore, to go ahead and perform the investiture ceremony as planned is to indulge in flagrant illegality.”
According to him, having campaigned on, sworn-in and is on oath to govern the country in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and due process of law and to defend and protect the said constitution, the president cannot confer national awards on Abiola, Kingibe, Fawehinmi or anyone else without subjecting his decision to the advice of the Council of State as stipulated in the constitution.  To do so is a breach not only of the constitution but also of the oath sworn to by the president and that is unacceptable,” he said.

Meanwhile, former National Secretary of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), the platform that produced late Chief Abiola as the winner of the June 1993 presidential contest, Alhaji Sule Lamido, has cautioned against making political capital out of the June 12 struggle.

This is even as he said the Yoruba race is a unique one that cannot be easily bought over, “with a pot of porridge,” insisting that there was nothing anyone could do to placate the Yoruba race politically when the issues centre on the late Chief Abiola and former president, Olusegun Obasanjo.

According to him, regardless of what anyone does, the Yoruba race would always remember the role played by the newspaper owned by the late Abiola to “denigrate, demonised and exposed” late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. In the same vein, he said the Yoruba race is yet to forgive Obasanjo for not handing over to Awolowo in 1979.
“So when you people say ‘Oh, it would placate the Yoruba,’ I asked how? The Yoruba people are too politically sophisticated to be placated with a pot of porridge or something,” Lamido said.

Speaking in an interview with Daily Sun, Lamido, a former Foreign Affairs minister, described June 12 as a story of the high power play, treachery and political civil war.

“Let me, however, add that, if the government declares him the winner of the election, they should pay him all his entitlements, including the N45 billion debts which they owe him. They said the reason they annulled the election was because of the huge debts they owed him,”Lamido said.

However, the Indigenous People of Biafra, yesterday, described President Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day and conferment of highest national honour on Chief Abiola as a Greek gift.

IPOB said the move of Buhari was cynical, insisting that it was not for good that he had to make such pronouncement a few months to the general elections.

The group in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, urged  Nigerians, especially the people of South-West, to view the president’s pronouncement with circumspection.
IPOB stressed that Buhari’s move was specifically designed to destroy the glowing handshake across the Niger wherein the South-East and South-West geopolitical zones had made “formidable progress” to change the old order of northern oligarchy.

“It’s  a cynical move designed to truncate any East/West alliance or understanding with regards to a renegotiated Nigeria before 2019.”

“IPOB is the authentic voice of the people of the East, their next best move is to gain the confidence of the West in order to checkmate the rising influence of those that have come to forge an alliance strong enough to rattle the status quo,” the group said,

IPOB expressed confidence that the people of  South-West would be able to “detonate Buhari’s time bomb due to their high level of education.” (The Sun)

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2019: I’m Going To Contest For The Seat Of The President – Donald Duke

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Former Governor of Cross Rivers, Donald Duke

Another high-profile candidate has announced he wants to stand in next year’s presidential election in Nigeria but held off declaring which party he would represent.

Donald Duke, a former governor of Cross Rivers, told AFP: “I’m running. I am sure many, many will join.”

Duke is a respected politician who was in charge of Cross Rivers for eight years until 2007 and is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

But he has been linked to a movement backed by former president Olusegun Obasanjo, who has fiercely criticised Nigeria’s incumbent Muhammadu Buhari.

Obasanjo said in January that Buhari, whose fitness to govern has been questioned after he spent months in London last year being treated for an undisclosed illness, needed a “deserved rest”.

Buhari, who like Obasanjo previously headed a military government, had shown a poor grasp of the economy, foreign policy and Nigeria’s complex internal politics, he added.

Another former military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida has equally implied Buhari should step aside instead of seeking a second, four-year term, saying “analogue” leaders should make way for “digital” rulers.

– ‘Zoning’ –

At 56, Duke is so far the youngest declared candidate, just behind the outgoing Ekiti state governor Ayodele Fayose, also of the PDP.

Another PDP presidential hopeful, former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, is 71, while Buhari, who looks likely to win the All Progressives Congress ticket unopposed, is 75.

Nigeria recently lowered age limits for political candidates to reflect changing demographics in Africa’s most populous nation and usher in younger leaders.

Duke said: “It’s ridiculous to have a leadership with people of 75 or above in a country where the age average is 21 or 22 years old.

“They can’t be in touch with the people and their reality.”

Since the return to civilian rule in 1999, Nigeria has rotated the presidency between the mainly Muslim north and the largely Christian south in a process known as “zoning”.

The 2019 elections are expected to see two northern candidates, including Buhari, and the PDP has already said its candidate would be from the north.

Where that leaves Duke’s candidacy is unclear — if he plumps for the PDP — but he said “zoning” was not a constitutional imperative.

“It has been imposed by people who want to use it to their own advantage,” he said.

“I’m not running as a southerner. I’m running as a Nigerian, I want to represent the nation as a whole.”

Asked about his programme, he said he wanted to revitalise the economy, which has struggled to emerge from the worst recession the country has seen in 25 years.

“Buhari caused the recession. He didn’t know what he was doing and people (investors) left, there was a lack of confidence.”    (Punch)

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