Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, says his mango plantation in Howe, Gwer East Local Government Area will employ over 1,000 workers in Benue State.
Mr Obasanjo made the disclosure on Monday in Howe during a visit to the farm to inspect the progress made so far.
He said the plantation would produce and process finished products such as juice from assorted fruits and oil from the seeds that could be used by pharmaceutical companies among others.
“I have come for four things, first to see how the farm has started, thank the governor for his encouragement; thank the community for accepting us and lastly give the workers the way forward.
“The workers are from this community. The mangoes will start producing between three to four years time. We have about 140 hectares of land for the project.’’
The former president said that factories for processing fruits would be built and over a 1,000 people would be employed at completion.
He said the oranges, mangoes and other fruits produced by farmers in the state would not enough be enough to run the factories, hence the need for the plantation.
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, who accompanied Mr Obasanjo on the visit, said the state government was ready to facilitate the enabling environment for investors to invest.
Mr Ortom said agriculture remained the only permanent gold mine in the country, stressing that it was even far more than oil.
He said his administration would support the private sector and promote development and provide employment for the Benue people.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Obasanjo had earlier laid foundation of the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi School for “Children with Special Needs” in Igbor, Gwer East local government area.
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The Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode in this explosive interview with The Nigerian Express touched on very touchy past, present and future political issues in Nigeria.
He discussed about Buhari, Tinubu, Osinbajo, Awolowo, Obasanjo, Jonathan, IPOB, Biafra-Nigerian civil war, the North, The South and more.
Below is the interview.
Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister is a lawyer, essayist, poet and a political activist. He spoke to AKANI ALAKA on the contemporary political developments in Nigeria, relations among the ethnic groups in the country, the civil war, agitations for self-determination, the need to restructure the country, as well as the jostling for the 2023 presidency among politicians from the South, among other issues.
QUESTION: Just recently, Nigeria celebrated its 59 Independence anniversary. You also celebrated your 59th birthday some days ago. As an historian and somebody whose father also played a significant role in ensuring that Nigeria became an independent nation, would you say the country’s founding fathers will be proud of the position the country is in now 59 years after?
ANSWER: I think we ought to have gone much farther than we have gone. And if I am to be frank, I will tell you that those that fought for Independence of Nigeria, including my father and many generations before them, will not be too pleased with the situation we are in today.
We were meant to have gone much further, become much stronger, much more united. We were meant to be the greatest asset of the Black man on planet Earth. But we have failed in all these respects. And consequently, I will have to say that I am rather disappointed.
We are like a giant that has shrunk into the position of a dwarf. We have been dwarfed in many ways – even by countries that are far smaller, with less potential than us, even in the African continent. And that’s not good enough. And I think it all boils down to one thing – the fact that we have had leadership that has not been the best for much of the past 59 years.
And of course, the other part of the problem is that we have not been able to answer the fundamental questions like, for example, the national question and the outstanding issues concerning the Nigerian civil war and so many other things.
And I think this is why our development has been stagnated and in many ways, has become retrogressive.
QUESTION: You talked about the national question – what is that national question and do you think there have been sincere efforts to address it?
ANSWER: I don’t even think most political leaders or politicians in Nigeria even know what the national question is. And that is really, really worrying because as long as you don’t answer that national question or address that issue, we will continue to go round in circles.
Of course, it starts with one fundamental question, which was asked in 1947 by the great Chief Obafemi Awolowo in his book, The Path To Nigerian Freedom. And the question was simply this – “Is Nigeria really a nation?” He (Awolowo) concluded by saying, No, that it’s a geographical expression.
He added that there is as much difference as between a German and a Turk as there is between a Fulani man and an Igbo man and everybody ought to be able to develop at his or her pace within his or her own region or zone. That was essentially Awolowo’s contention in 1947. And many decades later, I still think he was right.
We pretend to be one nation, we tell ourselves that we are one, but deep down, we know how much we resent one another for various reasons. We continue to act as if this is a marriage that is eternal, even though we don’t want it. That’s the reality of Nigeria’s situation today.
Most politicians will not say this to you because they are interested in getting votes from all over the country and so, they prostitute their principles and compromise on so many issues. But the new type of politicians that I think will deliver this country will not think like that. I don’t think like that.
I will rather tread the path of truth and justice than to say things that are politically correct in order to gain favour with Northerners or anybody from any other part of the country.
The path of truth is the path that will deliver this country into the light of God and the greatness that she deserves and we must not shy away from treading that path. We are not a nation; we are a union of ethnic nationalities that are yet to resolve our fundamental differences and fundamental issues.
The questions that were raised before the Nigerian civil war and in the course of that war are still being raised today. And my prayer is that it does not take another war or civil conflict in this country for us to resolve those issues.
We can resolve them in amicable and peaceful way, so that everybody will feel equal before God and everybody will feel they have equal opportunity to aspire and to excel in this country as citizens and not that we have some that are born to rule and some that are destined to serve.
QUESTION: How can we, as a country resolve this question – because some like the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, want every tribe in the country to go their separate ways as independent entities while others think restructuring of the polity will give every Nigerian a sense of belonging. On which side of the divide are you?
ANSWER: The battle for restructuring is dead and buried. Restructuring is not discussed in the National Assembly. It’s not discussed even in the main political parties. As long as they are concerned, restructuring is a dirty word.
To me, it is a way out of the mess that we have put ourselves in. But to most politically correct politicians, who are mostly insincere and cowardly, they won’t even talk about it. The leadership of the two main political parties – the PDP and APC – will not talk about it as a matter of policy and neither will most of the small political parties.
But this is something so obvious, that ought to have been done long ago, not now. And the problem now is that it may well be too late for that. The sentiment is so strong now for ethnic nationalism – it is happening all over the world. Look at what is happening in Germany, in the US with Trump, in the UK with Brexit, the right wing political parties in Europe like in Holland and Germany.
The rise of ethnic nationalism is going on all over the world and Nigeria cannot be isolated from that. In this country, we have major ethnic nationalities that see themselves as members of that nationality before seeing themselves as Nigerians.
There is nothing wrong with that. It’s the perfectly natural order of things and that is the conflict we have in Nigeria. This globalized hybrid state, that we must all become one, to my mind, is not natural. Yes, we can become one if we share common values, common vision, a common understanding about how life should be and common worldview.
But if we don’t have that, and if one believes that he is king and the others are slaves and must be slaves forever, then, on what basis can we continue to stay together? And why should we remain together, just because a rather misguided man in 1914 by the name of Lord Lugard, with his wife, decided that we should be together? I resent and reject that.
I am a proud Omo Kaaro o o jiire, I refused to use the word Yoruba. I am a proud son of Oduduwa and I believe proudly and passionately in the rights of the people of the South-west to self-determination, if that’s what they choose to do. I believe that the people of the East, the Igbo, have that right as well, if that’s what they choose to do.
And I believe in the power of referendum, self-determination and I think it is absolutely wrong for anybody to say I don’t have a right to exercise that right, provided I do it in a peaceful, logical and rational way.
QUESTION: Are you calling for the dissolution of Nigeria as a country then, because that is what this right to self-determination will amount to…
ANSWER: I’m calling for the self determination of any ethnic nationality that chooses to be self-determined based on referendum. This happens all over the world, international law backs it and it’s something that should be done, provided it’s what the people want and it is done peacefully. And that’s my view.
Even if I don’t believe in it, I don’t think it will be right for me to impose my will on others and deny them the right to believe in self-determination or the right to referendum to decide whether or not we should remain as one.
The UK that brought us together and declared our marriage one – between the poor husband of the North and the rich wife of the South – and said that we must remain one forever is doing that today.
They are brexit-ing, based on referendum, from Europe, and they are also doing it internally within the United Kingdom. Scotland had a referendum recently. They narrowly agreed to stay in the United Kingdom. If they hold another referendum in the next few years, definitely, Scotland is leaving United Kingdom.
All the polls suggest that, and they will be allowed to leave. It is on that basis of expression of freewill that you can say you will create and establish a nation. Now, if you don’t want that part to be taken by the people, the only way is to treat them with respect, love and apologise to them when you got it wrong. I will cite the case of the Igbo people and I have said it over and over again.
A situation where three million people -civilians- were killed during the civil war, the greatest act of genocide in the history of African continent -black on black, not white on black- because King Leopold ll killed 10 million Congolese.
But we killed three million Igbo -civilians, men, women and children- in a space of three years and we have not apologized for that. This is a crime against humanity. It is a war crime. And for that kind of thing, the Nigerian commanders in the field, the Nigerian Head of State at that time, all should be at ICC. But I haven’t called for that.
All I am saying is that, at least, we should have the decency to apologise and also apologise for the fact that between 30,000 and 100,000 of them were killed just before the civil war by mobs in the North. These are the fundamental issues.
Every country that has indulged in such barbarity in the past has apologised, including the Belgians. The only country that has refused to do so and has committed genocide is Turkey. And I don’t think we should be in the same bracket as Turkey.
They killed one million Christian Armenians and they haven’t acknowledged it. We don’t want to be in that category. Everybody else, including the Germans, what they did in the Second World War, 50 million people died, six million Jews gassed to death, they apologised.
Everybody at some time recognizes the power of apology, reconciliation and restitution but we haven’t done that. Instead, we are still killing Igbo people till today. Is that how a nation is built? And when they say they want to go because they are tired of being killed even now, we are still killing them.
It is unacceptable. Sadly, it is not just the Igbo now that are being killed; if you go to the Middle Belt, Niger Delta, the West, Mid-West you will find slaughter. All these slaughterings are being carried out by Fulani herdsmen and, of course, you have Boko Haram in the North-east. It is so bad that Fulani herdsmen are even killing the local Hausa in the North itself.
The ethnic group carrying out this havoc, seven per cent of the population, that’s what they are, and we will sit here and say we are one nation. We don’t have the right to retaliate, we don’t have the right to cry, we don’t have the right aspire to be leaders in this country because we are second class citizens, even, when we are the indigenous people of Nigeria.
And you are saying we must accept that? I will never do that. Unless they change and these things stop, Nigeria’s unity can never be something that will be accepted by all of us.
QUESTION: Some critics, especially from the North had always faulted the call for apology to the Igbo people over the civil war with the argument that the war was a reaction to the killings carried out in the first coup of 1966, led by officers who hailed mostly from the then Eastern region…
ANSWER: I am very conversant with the history; I am part of it. They came to my father’s house in January 1966; I was conversant with what they did. And my father was the only person that was taken away from home that night who was not killed. About 20 people -key leaders in the military and the government of that era- were killed.
My father only escaped by divine providence because the federal troops saved him at Dodan Barracks and I appreciate that. And I appreciate the pains that were caused that night because I felt the pains too. I will never forget it. I witnessed it. I saw it. And I suffered the consequences of that for many, many years because it traumatized me.
The killing of all those people was barbaric and unacceptable. I have said so. Definitely, the majority of the participants were Igbo, I am not disputing that. But the question that you have to first answer is did those Igbo officers conduct a referendum in the East before embarking on the coup? Did they do it on behalf of the Igbo people?
Because if you say you want to punish a whole ethnic nationality because of the action of a few people -barbaric action in terms of the slaughter. They killed 20 people. You now say you want to wipe out entire nationality, I think that’s an unacceptable behavior. The reaction is even more barbaric and quite unacceptable in my view.
QUESTION; The argument was that the killings took place during a war situation…
ANSWER: It was not a war, because there was a coup in January 1966, 20 leaders were killed from all over the country and only one leader was killed in the South-east. It was a tragedy. It was a wicked act. I accept that. But there was no war at the time, there was a coup, an attempted coup. The coup failed.
And what happened next? The Northerners now decided to do a counter coup. Again, there was no war. It was what they called a Northern revenge coup to avenge those that were killed in the first coup. And what did they do? Here is what they did.
They killed 300 Igbo officers in one night. They killed an Igbo Head of State – Ironsi. They killed a Yoruba Governor of the Western Region, Fajuyi and they killed a number of other people – all in one night. Now, look at it in numbers – 20 of yours were killed, you killed 300 of theirs, plus the Head of State and Yoruba Army officers six months later.
And there was no war declared. You didn’t stop there, but went a step further few months later and you slaughtered in the North -the official figure is 30,000, the real figure is close to 100,000- Igbo civilians who knew nothing about coup plotting, who did not participate in it, who are equally victims and were still mourning that their people were killed.
Those killings took place in few pogroms in a space of two months and again, no war had been declared at that time. But you didn’t stop there. When the Igbos said it’s enough, let’s go back to the East, as they were going back, you were killing them at train stations, firing bows and arrows at them.
And when they got to the East, they now said ‘look, if you want to wipe us all out, it is perfectly natural for us to say we want to leave’ and they now said they want to go. First, you agreed that they will go based on terms agreed to at Aburi, then, you now change your mind that even Aburi, which you have signed and agree on, you are not going to accept.
They must stay by force and the war started. And what did you do during the civil war? You killed three million Igbo civilians. The number of Biafran soldiers that were killed was not more than between 30,000 and 40,000. But you killed three million Biafran civilians. One million of them were starved to death with the policy of starvation that you put in place.
And you justified that policy before the world when you, Nigeria, said starvation is a legitimate weapon of war. Have you ever heard anything as inhuman as that? I know who said that. I don’t want to mention the man’s name.
Another government official, a minister in Gowon’s government, went to America and when Americans were crying that we were committing genocides against the Igbo people, he said ‘no, we are simply defending ourselves, we will starve them to death.’ The people that said these were politicians, civilian leaders, but military commanders executed that policy.
Then, at the end of the war, you said ‘no victor, no vanquished,’ but that was the biggest lie from the pit of hell. You gave them 20 pounds and then, you took all their properties.
It is only in the South-west that their properties were not taken and you turned them into not second, but third class citizens. And today, one of those who participated in that war and all those atrocities is now our President.
Now, we have killed many in the last four years. You killed many IPOB people. And now, they are saying they want to go and you are saying they have no right to go. Is that just or right?
QUESTION: The civil war was followed by a succession of military regimes and in 1999, Nigeria returned to democracy. How well would you say we have done as a democratic nation since 1999?
ANSWER: I don’t think we have a real democracy and I will tell you why. In a real democracy, political parties can be formed based on whatever criteria you choose. Anybody can literally get up and say, this is my party, register it, I’m going to run as an independent, as whatever in my local government area.
But here, INEC, which is essentially a tool for government of the day controls everything in terms of elections. And if you have a man who is the chairman of INEC working against you as the president, which is what happened in 2015. (Attahiru) Jega worked against Jonathan at that time.
I’m accusing him of that right in this interview. And I’m also saying that there was time he was asked to resign and the evidence was clear on why he has to …. but, in my view, very naively, (former President Goodluck) Jonathan decided to keep him there. If you can control the INEC and the chairman of INEC as an opposition party or if you can put your man there to run INEC as this government has done since 2015, then, you know you have no democracy.
Yes, they can let you win some states as they did in 2019, but they can rig you out wherever they like. If you control the courts and you can remove the Chief Justice of Nigeria just like that or you can raid the houses of judges at night with the DSS and you have, more or less, captured the judiciary and intimidated the judges, you don’t have a democracy and neither do you have rule of law.
If you can send DSS officers to the National Assembly to go and raid the place and lock out legislators because you cannot control the place as happened some months ago, then you don’t have a democracy. Today, the APC, by design, controls the National Assembly.
They control it because they control virtually all the elections and so, they returned as many people as possible through INEC – mostly unfairly. They control the elections tribunals, in my view.
They control the courts, in my view, and they control the media, in my view, because this kind of interview, I will be surprised if you publish what I am saying. You may publish it online, but if you publish it in your paper, you may get into trouble.
They control the television. If you go there and you say anything against them that is strong, factual, the NBC will come down on the television station. And you called that democracy? It is tyranny. It’s a dictatorship. And everything that I, FFK, said in 2015 during the course of the election that would happen if Buhari became the President has happened.
And everybody that insulted me then, laughed at me then, and said I was talking rubbish, even from within the PDP itself, are now being prosecuted. All of them are now calling to say I was right.
And everybody that stood with them (APC) then, including Atiku, Obasanjo, Kwankwaso, Tambuwal, Dino Melaye, Saraki has come back now. And now, they are all victims of this monster that they helped to create in 2015.
Now, we fought them in 2015 and we are still fighting them up till today. And until the end of time, we will continue to fight them, not as individuals, because I have nothing against anybody personally. If anything, I have more friends in APC than in PDP.
That’s the truth. But in terms of ideology, politics and what I think is best for my country, I see them as immortal enemies; I see them as nothing but darkness. And I see those that seek to liberate this country from their shackles as the light and the vessels and the tools of God to fight that darkness. That’s my position.
So, if you asked me that do I believe that we have a democracy? My answer is, no. They have corrupted it, they have abused it and I knew this was going to happen. And let me tell you that it is going to get worse.
QUESTION: What has APC done to our democracy since they took power in 2015 that made you to arrive at this conclusion?
Since 2015, what have they done? First, they introduced religion and ethnicity into government. Every security agency in this country – whether the military, the one that have to do with external or internal security – 17 agencies in all – they are all in the hands of Northern Muslims, except for one, which is the Navy.
And that’s unacceptable in a multi-religious, multi-cultural society. A situation where the whole of the judiciary from the Supreme Court to the Court of Appeal, the Federal High Court has just changed now – but the three tiers of the judiciary were being headed by Northern Muslims.
It is just now that we have only one being headed by Northern Christian, that’s the Federal High Court. A situation whereby in the National Assembly, the Senate is headed by a Northern Muslim, House of Representatives headed by a Southern Muslim – Femi Gbajabiamila, he is a good friend of mine, I have known him for over 40 years – but he is a Muslim as well. So, you have Muslims heading both wings of the National Assembly.
And you know what they have done with Femi Gbajabiamila? They have surrounded him with Muslims – his deputy is also a Muslim and the four principal officers around him are also Muslims. So, what is there for us in that place?
In the executive, apart from the security agencies, look at all the key appointments – nine times out of 10, they go Northern Muslims. Go to the Villa today – the official language is Hausa, 90 per cent of the people that are working in the Villa are Northern Muslims.
Look at the appointment of chief executives for the key agencies – they were Northern Muslims, look at the ministerial appointments in terms of substance – the North-west where the President comes from, the Hausa-Fulani catchment area, you have 10 substantive ministries, those are full ministries, not Ministers of state, 10 in the North-west.
Next is the South-west where I come from, we have five substantive Ministers and everywhere else – the South-east, the North-central and North-east have three substantive ministers each.
That means the North-west where Buhari comes from, which is the Fulani heartland has over three times the number of substantive ministers that all the other zones have, except for the South-west. And south-west has only half the number the North-west have. Is that fair? (Nigeria Express)
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Shortly after news broke that men of the Nigerian Police Force have sealed the Corporate headquarters of Oando Plc on Ozumba Mbadiwe street in Victoria Island, ex presidential aide, Reno Omokri took to Twitter to react.
According to the reports, the police sealed off the building following the directives of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the constitution of an Interim Management Team, headed by Mr. Mutiu Olaniyi Adio Sunmonu
Omokri said Bola Tinubu, a National Leader of the All Progressives Congress(APC) was going through this because he had insulted former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
He urged the former Lagos state governor to go and apologise to the ex-president — As that marked the beginning of his crisis.
What he wrote via Twitter thus:
When you opened that your smelly yellow teeth mouth to openly insult Olusegun Obasanjo, a man old enough to be your father, a man who fought for Nigeria in war and led her in peace, I told you God will reward you. Tinubu, go and apologise to Obasanjo.
See how they are disgracing him anyhow with Oando. When you sold your people so cheaply, how will they respect you? In their eyes, a used sanitary pad has more value than you. When will you learn? Jagaban? By the time they finish with you, you will turn to jagajaga!
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Former national vice-president of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and military governor of Ondo State, Olabode George, has slammed a former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, for referring to former President Olusegun Obasanjo as a religious and ethnic bigot.
Speaking at his Ikoyi office in Lagos, George accused Lamido of disrespecting the former president, whom he described as a concerned nationalist over the latter’s allegation of plans by some elements to ‘fulanise and Islamise’ Nigeria and other West African countries.
Obasanjo had recently alleged that there was a grand plot by some elements to foist a Fulani and Islamic agenda on Nigeria and other West African countries. While speaking at the second session of the Synod of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, held at the Cathedral of Saint Paul’s Anglican Church, Oleh, Delta State, he said:
“It is no longer an issue of lack of education and lack of employment for youths in Nigeria which Boko Haram began as. It is now West African fulanisation, African Islamisation and global organised crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change.”
But Lamido responded to Obasanjo’s statement, saying he should not allow his displeasure with the current administration make him a religious and ethnic bigot. He said: “Please sir, don’t let your disappointment with the sitting president turn you into a bigot. You must not abandon the national stage. The cracks along the various divides in our national cohesion are already turning into huge gorges.”
However, George backed Obasanjo, saying he has the right to express his observation over the incursion and increased activities of herdsmen in the South West.
He said: “Things have never been this bad in this country and the way that we are going about it is creating unnecessary division. What is our problem as Nigerians? When Obasanjo left office as military head of state in 1979, a lot of Yoruba people blacklisted him saying he should have handed over to Pa Awolowo instead of a Fulani man. There was no name that he was not called, but Obasanjo is a straightforward person.
“Recently, he made a comment as an observation that things are not going right in this country. The incursion of herdsmen is disturbing. He is also a farmer and a lot of farmers are complaining bitterly that their farms are being ravaged. My friend, the former governor of Jigawa, Sule Lamido accused Obasanjo who has always been a nationalist of being a bigot. What Lamido said were absolute nonsense and an insult. Does he know what Obasanjo suffered? Was it not the same man who made Lamido whom he is by giving him the opportunity to become a minister? But he is now turning round to call him a bigot. Why did Lamido not find out from Obasanjo why he made that statement? Wole Soyinka made the same observation that Obasanjo made and you know that both men are not usually on the same page.
“Maybe we should reverse roles and get some Agbekoya farmers from the South West to go to Lamido’s village and start ravaging farmlands, and then we would know what he would say. What is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. I invite Lamido to come to the South West and I will take him around the villages so that he can see what these farmers who are losing their livelihoods are feeling. Our people are complaining about the sudden incursion and increased activities of herdsmen in the South West; why can’t Lamido see through that prism? We should be careful about some of the reckless comments that we make. Does it mean if tomorrow an Igbo man becomes the president, Igbo traders will now carry cutlasses and chase everyone away from their villages? Buhari should use his position as the President of the Fulani herdsmen in West Africa to calm these people down. It is a challenge to him.” (The Sun)
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The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has cautioned former President Olusegun Obasanjo against giving criminal activities ethnic and religious colouration.This point was made on Sunday by the Secretary General of ACF, Anthony Sani, during a chat with THISDAY in Kaduna, Kaduna Sani was reacting to assertion by Obasanjo, that herdsmen were plotting to ”Fulanise and Islamise” the country. Obasanjo had in a paper he presented on Saturday at the 2nd session of the 7th Synod of the Anglican Communion, Oleh Diocese, in the Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, was reported to have said the Boko Haram insurgents and herdsmen were plotting to ”Fulanise” and Islamise the country.
It maintained that giving ethnic and religious colouration to crime, will only embolden the criminals to continue with their evil deeds.
Sani said “former President Obasanjo may have his facts, for making such comments, saying that ”for me, I do not want us to give ethnic and religious coloration to the criminal activities of some people, lest we provide them with platforms upon which to stand and commit crimes, knowing it is almost impossible to prosecute religion and ethnicity“.
According to him, there are moderate Muslims who are the majority and are opposed to religious fanatics, stressing that “such moderate Muslims need to be enlisted such in the campaign against Islamic terrorists whose aims are not for piety but political, albeit attired in the garb of religious jihadists.”
Sani said ”if we offend the sensitivity of such moderate Muslims and push them to the side of the fanatics,we would be playing to the gallery by swallowing the bait put by the fanatics and that is what they want.
“That explains why President Obama won the Nobel Prize for a speech he made to Arabs in Egypt where he made clear distinction between Islam and terrorism cast in the mould of Islamisation.
“Also, it is that distinction that enabled a coalition of 66 countries of all faiths, led by America that has defeated IS in Syria and Iraq.
”I therefore submit that the nation should have common narrative that emphasizes the trite that Islamic terrorists are not furthering Islamic faith when they desecrate by way of continuous killings of innocent people.
“They merely use Islam as strategy to enable easy recruitment of gullible cannon fodders.
”West African countries should also regard all violent herdsmen who kill innocent people as criminals and treat them as such.No ethnic or religious coloration to purely criminal acts”. (Globalsentinel)
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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has revealed a grand plot by some elements to foist a Fulani and Islamic agenda on Nigeria and other West African countries, just as he called for global action against terrorism and other organised crimes.
Obasanjo, a one-time military Head of State and two-term civilian president expected to be privy to local and global intelligence on terrorism, said lack of education and employment for the youths could no longer be advanced as the reason Boko Haram insurgency still festered.
“It is no longer an issue of lack of education and lack of employment for our youths in Nigeria which it began as.
“It is now West African Fulanisation, African Islamisation and global organised crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change,” he said.
The former president made the revelation on Saturday while speaking on the topic Mobilising Nigeria’s Human and Natural Resources for National Development and Stability, at the second session of the Synod of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, held at the Cathedral of Saint Paul’s Anglican Church, Oleh in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State.
He knocked the Federal Government for allowing the Boko Haram and herdsmen’s attacks to fester by treating the matter with kid gloves, urging President Muhamamdu Buhari to rally local and global stakeholders in seeking solution to the fight against terrorism.
The former president tasked Buhari to take the issue of insecurity seriously at all levels and address it at once “without favouritism or cuddling.”
“Both Boko Haram and herdsmen’s acts of violence were not treated as they should at the beginning. They have both incubated and developed beyond what Nigeria can handle alone. They are now combined and internationalised with ISIS in control.
“Yet, we could have dealt with both earlier and nip them in the bud, but Boko Haram boys were seen as rascals not requiring serious attention in administering holistic measures of stick and carrot.
“And when we woke up to the reality, it was turned to industry for all and sundry to supply materials and equipment that were already outdated and that were not fit for active military purpose.
“Soldiers were poorly trained for the unusual mission, poorly equipped, poorly motivated, poorly led and made to engage in propaganda rather than achieving results.
“Intelligence was poor and governments embarked on games of denials while paying ransoms which strengthened the insurgents and yet governments denied payments of ransoms.
“Today, the insecurity issue has gone beyond the wit and capacity of Nigerian government or even West African governments.
“Government must appreciate where we are, summon each group that should make contributions one by one and subsequently collectively seek the way forward for all hands on deck and with the holistic approach of stick and carrot.
“There should be no sacred cow. Some of the groups that I will suggest to be contacted are: Traditional rulers, past heads of Service Chiefs (no matter how competent or incompetent they have been and how much they have contributed to the mess we are in), past heads of paramilitary or organisations, private sector and civil society.
“Others are community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past Heads of States, past Intelligence Chiefs, past heads of Civil Service and relevant current and retired diplomats, members of the opposition and nay groups that may be deemed relevant,” he said.
On the poor state of the economy, Obasanjo advised the Buhari-led government to wriggle itself out of the temptation of excessive borrowing and the attendant devaluation trap.
“What have we gained from moving Nigerian currency value from one naira to almost two dollar to N360 to one dollar in one generation’s impoverishment?” he asked.
Meanwhile, speaking on the theme for the Synod Work, Night Comes taken from John chapter 9 verses 4 and 5, the Bishop of Ughelli Diocese, Right Reverend John Aruakpo, urged the congregation to serve God while they’re still alive, stressing that, “no one knows where, how and when death will meet him/her.”
The cleric, who acknowledged the presence of dignitaries, commended former President Obasanjo for honouring the church’s invitation to attend the 2019 synod. (Tribune)
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A lawyer and former National Secretary of the Labour Party, LP, Olukayode Ajulo, has stated that being a former Vice President does not automatically qualify the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to contest for the presidency.
Ajulo, an All Progressives Congress, APC, lawyer, stated this while fielding questions from The Sun on issues relating to the contention of the nationality of Atiku.
According to the lawyer, it was even former President Olusegun Obasanjo that inspired the thought that Atiku is not Nigerian when he raised the issue of the former Vice President being of ‘dubious parental background’ in his book, ‘My Watch.’
He said, “President Olusegun Obasanjo inspired that thought and this further inspired me to go into research to know who is a Nigerian citizen by birth because if somebody who had not only worked with Atiku but was also the president then can raise this issue of Atiku being of ‘dubious parental background’ in his book, ‘My Watch,’ then there must be more than what meets the eyes.
“My position is still unchanged, and that is, that Atiku was a vice president is not an automatic qualification to contest for the presidency.
“Long repetition of wrong occurrences, won’t make it right. In fact, in Australia, one of their members of Parliament had to resign when it was discovered that his nationality was questionable.
“I don’t think ours is beyond rectification and that is why the issue is being raised. I was a student when Atiku became a vice president. .
“As a lawyer, who must be on the right side of the law, I know my limits particularly when a matter is before the court; and as a counsel to one of the parties in the election, whatever I am going to say is going to be circumspect to the point that it will not prejudice the matter before the court.
“It is so clear beyond conjecture that the APC raised a lot of fundamental preliminary objections especially on the claim of Atiku that he has right to be nominated and voted for whereas the constitution has a special condition that to be able to be voted for as the president you must be a Nigerian citizen by birth.
“Yes, it is true that no one should be prejudiced by the circumstances of his birth. However, there is an exception for every right. For example, there is a right to freedom of speech and however this right is still circumscribed by the right of other persons.
“Therefore, your right must be exercised within the ambit of the law. For example, you can’t say you have a right to freedom of movement and then find your way to my bedroom, without authorisation or justification, I will deal with you.
“The constitution stipulates the condition precedent to the right Atiku is laying claim to and I am of the view that he has not, in fact, and cannot, fulfil that condition precedent.” (Daily Post)
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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday said he has not fled Nigeria, contrary to a social media report that he had travelled out of the county ahead of the presidential election scheduled for Saturday.
Obasanjo spoke with newsmen at his Presidential Library, Abeokuta, describing the Social media post as “fake news.”
The former president was reacting to a Facebook post of one Gbenga Lawal who posted: “Breaking: Obasanjo jets out of Nigeria. He can’t even wait for the thief he is imposing on Nigerians.”
In his reaction, Obasanjo said “Why should I travel out of the country before the election?
“If not for anything, I believe I should be here to perform my civic responsibility, which is to vote according to the dictate of my heart tomorrow and on the second of March.
“Those who are carrying that type of rumour or fake news; I leave them in the hands of God; I am used to that kind of thing.
“In Yoruba land, if your head is hard, you don’t have to worry yourself.
“Let anybody tell lies against you, let anybody issue fake news against you, let anybody abuse you, God will deal with them rightly and appropriately.” (Punch)
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FormerPresident Olusegun Obasanjo has again taken President Muhammadu Buhari to the cleaners, rating him far below the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, in competence.
Obasanjo who made the declaration yesterday at the Lagos Island Club Quarterly Business lecture, said unlike Buhari who paraded himself as a saint while being contrived in corrupt practices, Atiku never lied about his personality.
He said he never retracted his words on Atiku but that the former vice president “has done three things which are absolutely imperative for a leader to be followed and believed.
“First, know who you are and present yourself as you are – a human being in blood and flesh and susceptible to human mistakes and human frailties.
“Don’t cover up with sanctimonious veneer of bogus integrity, incorruptibility, uprightness, goodness and false figures and statistics, all of which are contrived to deceive, to cheat, to plunder and to destroy.
“Atiku never claimed to be a saint and I never described him as such. I will never so describe any human being alive let alone calling him a Messiah.
“On an occasion in the past when I said that someone was not a Messiah, some Nigerians out of bad ‘belle’ were up in arms.
“For me, as a Christian, the only Messiah I know and have is Jesus Christ and even then, the man aspect of Him was imperfect while the divine aspect of Him was perfectly messianic.
“Secondly, a leader must be honest to himself and to the people he serves or he wants to serve. He must identify and acknowledge his situation, mistakes, shortcomings and inadequacy; show remorse where and when he has erred, seek forgiveness and repent; and not passing the bulk or keep blaming others and fail to accept responsibility.
“Atiku accepts responsibility for his mistakes, shows remorse and seeks forgiveness from his political party and subsequently from Nigerians.
“He asks for forgiveness from me and as a believer, a Christian as such, I forgave him in accordance with the teaching and instruction of my Saviour, ‘For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins’ (Matt 6:14-15 NIV).
“If anybody blames me for forgiving Atiku, I leave such a person with God Almighty, especially as both Christian and Islamic clerics joined Atiku to visit me to seek forgiveness.
“Anybody who does not forgive when forgiveness is sought with contrite heart cannot be a true believer and should not expect the forgiveness of God.
“Thirdly, as a leader, you must understand the fundamentals of the problems you have to solve and be courageous, visionary and ready to reach out sufficiently to build a credible team of experts, knowledgeable men and women, concerned and interested citizens and non-citizens to work hard and tirelessly for solutions that will benefit all Nigerians and indeed Africans and humanity.
“He must have ability to build a credible team, lead them, listen to them and give them enough leeway to achieve and make meaningful contribution without abdicating his responsibility. He must be accessible to them. From my personal knowledge of Atiku, he has these qualities.
“I must reiterate that Atiku is not a saint and who is? But from what I know of Atiku, he will be a performer in all respects. I can say that again from my personal experience. He knows the problems and he handled some of them or similar and in the past.
“We now know that both Buhari and Atiku have issues and all of us as human beings have one issue or the other in different magnitude.
“But judging both of them empirically and for the task at hand, Atiku will perform much better than Buhari and he will seek for good and able people around the country and beyond and make use of them to achieve his mission and vision for the general good of Nigerians and the country.
“He will be a team leader but will not allow the seizure of his mandate by a cabal. A system to prevent impunity and ‘I can do what I like’ attitude and action must be put in place for all concerned.
“One of the most ridiculous claims I have heard on these issues is that I did not give Atiku chance to preside over the Federal Executive Council because I did not trust him.
“That was not correct because he had occasions to preside on a few times that I was out of the country on duty. On those occasions, he was in charge of the Federal Executive Council meetings.
“No Nigerian Chief Executive has devolved to his deputy as much as I did to Atiku. I did not need to designate him Acting President because the Constitution is clear, once the President is not available, the Vice-President automatically acts with full powers and he consults where and if he considers it necessary.
“But since I was not absent from home for 104 days at a time, people may not know that Atiku actually stood in for me whenever I was out.”
Obasanjo, however, said Atiku could not do it alone, he urged that everyone should ensure he is voted as president.
He told Atiku that if voted as next president by majority of Nigerians, he should be the leader of all and not act like the incumbent “who is serving the interest of sectional groups.”
However, the Buhari Diaspora Support Organisation (BDSO), descended on Obasanjo over his continuous verbal attack on Buhari.
Its coordinator, Charles Sylvester, told newsmen in Owerri, Imo State, yesterday that the former president’s “public excoriation showed that he lacked the qualities befitting the status of a former president, such as self respect, decorum, discipline and restraint.” (The Sun)
Former president Obasanjo, APC National leader, Tinubu
NationalLeader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has described former President Olusegun Obasanjo as an “election rigger without peer.”
Tinubu said this in a reply to Obasanjo’s Sunday letter, wherein he accused President Muhammadu Buhari of planning to rig the elections.
In the reply, which he personally signed, titled ‘Chief Obasanjo–At War Against His Own Deeds,’ Tinubu, who is co-chairman of the APC Presidential Campaign, said Obasanjo’s accusations depicts what he (Obasanjo) would have done if he were in power.
Tinubu also claimed Obasanjo never superintended over any credible election while in office.
He said: “There is no election which occurred under Obasanjo’s watch or in which he participated that did not involve cheating on his part.
“Yet, the ways of Obasanjo are not those of the APC. And, this difference has meant the better for Nigeria.
“…The worst of Obasanjo’s record, I have yet to describe.
“When it comes to elections, he has been a rigger without peer.
“There is no election which occurred under Obasanjo’s watch or in which he participated that did not involve cheating on his part.
“Even the late President Umaru Musa Yar ‘Adua admitted he was the beneficiary of a flawed election engineered by none other than today’s vociferous complainant. For Obasanjo to lament over electoral malpractice is tantamount to the ocean complaining that a few raindrops are causing it to get wet.”
Tinubu added that the 1999 presidential election was also handed over to Obasanjo “on a silver platter.”
He said rather than seize the opportunity to unite Nigeria, Obasanjo “lowered himself to being a divisive, vindictive conniver.
“This man should have positioned himself to be the father of the nation. All the goodwill that could be granted a political figure was bestowed on him. The global economy was such that it fuelled our growth. Everyone wanted Nigeria to succeed after emerging from years of noxious military rule.
“Despite the flawed exercise that rendered him president, we all bit our tongues in hope that he would say and do the right things that would move Nigeria forward.
“Instead of being a unifying figure as Commander-in-chief, he lowered himself to being a divisive, vindictive conniver.
“There was no table which he neared that he did not upset and overturn. There was no one who came into his company for any period of time with whom he did not fall out; if he expresses a thought contrary to one of his.
“Obasanjo is many things to many people; but he is all things unto himself. His recent contribution to our political discourse wherein he alleges plots to steer the coming elections shows he benefits from an exceedingly faulty memory, is purely shameless or has a most wicked sense of humour. Perhaps all three are facets of his makeup and were equally on display in his latest prosaic display.
“The crux of his long tirade was the allegation that INEC is poised to cook the election results.
“Chief Obasanjo should not get his dander up and waste good ink for nothing. This election will be a free and open exercise of the people’s right to choose their leaders. Obasanjo makes fiery allegations against this right but offers no corroborating evidence; he presents only reams of words.
“This is because Obasanjo is projecting onto the APC the misconduct he would wrought if still in power.” (The Sun)