The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has expressed concerns over the state of the country and concluded that by the next general election in 2023, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) would have completely wrecked Nigeria.
The group, which challenged governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to show evidence that the APC was using extra legal means to poach its members, however, dismissed both the ruling and opposition parties as one and the same.
Spokesman of NEF, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, who maintained that both the APC and the PDP had been destroying Nigeria since 1999, when she returned to civil rule, spoke Monday night during a programme on Channels Television.
His words: “What are they going to do with 2023, because between now and 2023, in one and a half years, APC would have completely wrecked this country. You are going to take over a country that is effectively destroyed by a party that has been substantially produced by PDP?”
Baba-Ahmed, who was reacting to the comments by PDP governors that the Presidential Villa had become APC headquarters for coercing their members to join the ruling party, noted that while the APC would have completely wrecked the country by 2023, the PDP has not shown the blueprint for resolving the challenges bedeviling the country.
He, therefore, maintained that the concern of the PDP and the APC was the 2023 presidential election, and not about developing the country.
“There have been defections from both sides. Like I said earlier on, we are dealing with one and the same thing. We have governors from the other party, who just change dress and come back to sit and say I’m PDP. The next day, a governor will also defect and say I’m APC. These are the same people.
“In the last 16 years, since 1999, it is these two parties that have destroyed this country and they are playing the same game, all over again.
“What did the PDP say it is going to do about bringing these different parts of the country together? Where is the economic blueprint to do with unemployment; to do with the building of the Nigerian economy? All they are interested in is 2023,” he added.
On the allegation that their members were being coerced into the APC, Baba-Ahmed asked the PDP to present evidence to Nigerians that the State House was using “extra-legal and political muscle to peer away its governors to the APC.
“If governors have evidence that the State House, the Villa, is using extra-legal and political muscle to peer away governors from their parties, I wish they will share some of this information with us,” he said.
The PDP governors forum had repeatedly accused the presidency and the APC of intimidating its governors.
In their communique after a meeting in Bauchi, Bauchi State, they said, “The meeting condemned, once again, the use of underhand tactics to arm twist some PDP Governors and other stakeholders to join the APC, a political party that has wrecked Nigeria’s economy, turned Nigeria into a killing field and has nothing to offer Nigerians but misery and bad governance.
“The Governors condemned Mr. President and APC for turning the Presidential Villa, that belongs to all Nigerians, into the new APC headquarters, where coerced PDP members are being paraded at intervals”.(THISDAY)
…Says opinion of South East is to get 2023 President
…Laments that 2014 CONFAB was another failed attempt at remodelling Nigeria’s federalism
…Notes it can’t deny IPOB members,
…Throws its weight behind EbubeAgu
By Henry Umoru
AHEAD of 2023 general and Presidential elections, the umbrella body of South East people, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has asked Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and other political parties to zone the presidency to the South East for equity, justice and fairness.
Addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja, the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Professor George Obiozor, who noted that time is ripe for Nigeria to get a President of South East extraction in 2023, said the talent of Igbo is yet to be fully utilized and maximised by Nigeria.
Obiozor, who expressed optimism that the South East would get the Presidency in 2023, however, warned that many were called, and a few were chosen. It wondered why why people were beaming unnecessary attention on negative issues such as security challenges in the South East because Igbo Presidency had changed from probability to possibility.
Responding to a question on how Ohanaeze Ndigbo would achieve its purpose for an Igbo President in Nigeria’s multiparty system, Obiozor said: ‘’We have many politcal parties. We would appeal to them to nominate an Ibo man or woman as their Presidential candidate.
‘’That would do. That would be wonderful. It is found in the Bible, ‘many are called, few are chosen. Politics is a matter of selection. We would sort out ourselves. Just support us, including the press. I am soliciting the press. For now, just support a president from the South East, an Igboman or an Igbo woman.”
The Ohanaeze President General, who stated that Igbo leaders had already started consultations on the realisation of Igbo presidency, said it had been wonderful.
“The results of the consultations are in the papers of day before yesterday, yesterday and even today. Very sound, positive results. Wonderful responses. Have you listened to Edwin Clark or read him? One at a time. None is on the run. ‘’So we are taking it easy. We have given you wonderful example of the support. First outing, tremendous success. You read it, you saw it. Edwin Clark is not a frivolous man. He is a man of history and he is leading a people who have had experience in this country. ‘’In the politics of precarious balance in Nigeria, they have had experience. They know what it takes to support any group and they have done it.”
On political parties he said: “As many as they are, each one of those parties should nominate an Igbo man from the South East. As for who (candidate) it will be, it’s found in the Bible, many are called few are chosen.
“During the last Presidential election, all the major candidates were from the same zone. It was also so in 1999. So why are we trying to break our heads because it is coming to our zone. Give us, our choice will be made by us with your cooperation. That is what the Ibos are demanding. We deserve it and it is reasonable.”
On how the South East would speak with one voice to avoid a plurality of interests and aspirants, Obiozor said: “Other tribes are more divided than us, Igbo are more united. But because all of a sudden there is possibility of Igbo Presidency, some people want to label Igbo a terrorist zone.
‘’I advise the press and ourselves to avoid certain things that are not necessary. Nobody can divide us. This time around, we can get the Presidency from Igbo land. Probability of Igbo Presidency in 2023 has become a possibility.
“Igbo want peace, but not peace of the grave yard. Whatever every other citizen of Nigeria is enjoying, the Igbo need it too.”
According to him, a President of Igbo extraction will bring “capacity, difference and Justice and equity. It is sad that Nigerian does not want to use talent of Igbos. The Igbos are known for their divergent opinions. Is a true consensus possible?’’
Obiozor, who dismissed the claim that South East people were not united politically, said the notion that the zone does not speak with one voice reflects the plurality of ideas by what he termed an egalitarian people which would be harnessed by Ohanaeze.
He said: “Speaking with one voice is dictatorial and undemocratic. We won’t speak with one voice, Igbos will express themselves in different voices which will be articulated by a central leadership that knows.
“For the Igbos having variety of opinion is not a crime, no section has only one opinion on an issue. Igbos have different opinions and they all converge on president of South East in 2023.
“Divergent opinion is healthy in politics and politics is not a science of exactitude. It is not mathematics. Politics is considerably and consistently a matter of choices. So for the Igbos having divergent opinions is not a crime.
‘’No section of Nigeria has one opinion or has one leader. Do we have one opinion in the North East, the North West, even South South. Igbos have different opinions and they converge in Igbo President, President from the South East in 2023. That is the opinion.”
Asked to speak on members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, question, Obiozor said IPOB members are their sons that could never be denied.
“We won’t deny IPOB because they are our children, we can never never deny them. They are our people and they must listen to us just as we listen to them. Any area of conflict we will resolve as their father.’’
Answering questions on the 2014 National Conference, the Ohanaeze President hailed the conference as the best but faulted the refusal of the federal government to implement the recommendation of the conference, describing it as another lost opportunity.
“That confab was another failed attempt at remodelling our federalism. They didn’t want restructuring, they didn’t want federalism,’’ he said.
Responding to where the support of Ohanaeze laid between Eastern Security Network and Ebube Agu, Obiozor said: ‘’Believe me, an organization that is working for the security, peace, safety and interest of the Igbos is welcomed. Ebube Agu is formed by the government and governments of the South East.
‘’There is no comparison between Ebube Agu and any other organization. Any organization should come under the control of the government. This question is a very divisive one and we are a people tired of being divided by English language.
‘’Any organization that is fighting for fairness, equity and justice for Igbos is welcomed. If there is a difference, it will be method. It has to be harmonized. As the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, I don’t want any method that puts Igbos in harms way.
‘’That is inimical to our own safety, you get my point. In fact, every group in Nigeria is divided, some even more divided than the Igbos. Look around.
“Until recently, the South East used to be the most peaceful zone. Now all of a sudden, because the idea of a president from Igboland has moved from a probability to a possibility, people want to turn Igboland into a terrorist environment.
‘’Igbos are not nation breakers, we are not violent people. So we must find out the root of the recent spread of violence and Kidnappings and all that. So that is what I am trying to say. People should not use such a thing as the character of Igbo people. For all the things you can know Igbos for, Igbos are not known for getting money through laziness, like kidnapping. You kidnap your uncle, you get money.
“So my advice to the press, do not give publicity to things that do not merit it by comparing Ebube Agu with any other organization that is working in Igboland. Things have hierarchy. The governors of the states are the chief security officers of the states.
‘’So how do you compare them with organizations. Organizations are welcomed if they are working in the interests of the people and the nation. The people we are taking about are our children. They are our people.’’ (Vanguard News)
The Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum, Dr. Salihu Lukman, has warned the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to admit former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, into the party.
This comes after pictures of a meeting between the APC National Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; and Fani-Kayode emerged.
It had led to rumours that Fani-Kayode might be preparing to dump the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the ruling party.
“Do we want to reduce our party into one in which everybody is welcome?
“Can we for instance in anyway or form contemplate having an Nnamdi Kanu or Abubakar Shekau as a member?
“At this rate, Nigerians will just wake and see some of our leaders presenting Mr. Fani-Kayode to President Buhari as a new member of our party.
“Although, we can confidently argue that President Buhari will not approve such deranged possibility, it is important to caution that such consideration will be stretching the trust of party members beyond acceptable limits,” the statement read in part.
Fani-Kayode had earlier claimed his meeting with the APC chieftains was to discuss national issues and party politics.
The PDP chieftain also noted that Nigerians must set aside their differences, because the country was heading towards a civil war. (Daily Post)
The Peoples Democratic Party had said the allegations by the Presidency, that certain Nigerians, particularly the elite, are waging a smear campaign against the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), shows that the Buhari regime “is being haunted by the shadows of its own failures”.
The PDP in a statement titled ‘Smear campaign: Nobody but your failures are after you, PDP Mocks Buhari Presidency’, by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, advised Buhari to stop his “new-found pleading with Nigerians to award him an unmerited pass mark”.
The PUNCH reports that the Presidency had on Friday raised the alarm over what it called planned orchestrated smear campaign against Buhari, using some online newspapers and blogs.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, made the claim in a statement titled “Unrelenting plot to wage smear campaign against President Buhari.”
The fresh alarm is Adesina’s second in about one month having issued a similar statement in December 2020 in which he alleged plan to smear the image of the President and portray him as not being in charge of the affairs of the government.
But PDP warned the presidency to stop assaulting the sensibilities of Nigerians and stop blaming elite for Buhari’s failure.
Part of the statement read, “It is clear that the Buhari-led APC administration is plagued by all-round failure in governance. If indeed it has any record of success in any sector, Mr. President would not be begging Nigerians, even in his home state, Katsina and among his party members, to award him a pass mark.
“It is rather appalling that instead of facing reality, the Buhari Presidency is threatening Nigerians and overheating the polity will allegations of plots to wage a “smear campaign” against President Buhari in unnamed online newspapers.
“Such allegation is only symptomatic of a failed administration that is looking for who to blame for its woes. This is more so as any fair appraisal of the Buhari-led APC will only present a litany of failures and woes
“We however hope that this allegation is not a ploy for a renewed clampdown on the media and dissenting voices, particularly those now arising among well-meaning APC leaders, who are completely disenchanted by the incompetence and corruption inherent in their party and its administration.
“In any case, President Buhari and his APC should know that Nigerians have moved on and cannot be swayed again by false performance claims and unfounded propaganda.” (Punch)
By Olalekan Adetayo, John Alechenu, Friday Olokor and Adelani Adepegba
THE Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said despite the security challenges being witnessed in parts of the country, security situation under the current regime is better than the situation in 2015 when the regime came on board.
Mohammed made the claim at a press conference in Abuja.
This is as the Peoples Democratic Party, Youruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, the Middle Belt Forum and security experts dismissed the minister’s claim, saying the country has never experienced the level of insecurity across the country.
Speaking further, the minister said, “I have no hesitation in saying yes; that the security situation in the country is better than we met it in 2015. Nigeria today is facing security challenges but it is by far better than what we met.
“What do I mean? Prior to 2015, bombings, suicide bombings by Boko Haram were taking place in at least 12 states of the federation. They were Plateau, Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe. Not even Abuja was spared.
“And if you look at the number of lives that were lost before then and today, there is no doubt that yes we have challenges but we are much better than it was.”
Earlier, while reading from a prepared text titled, ‘FG makes progress in war against terror, banditry’, the minister claimed that the nation’s security agencies were winning the war against insecurity.
He said, “Since the beginning of this year, which is barely three weeks old, the Armed Forces of Nigeria have neutralised 158 criminal elements across the country. This is in addition to scores of other terrorists and bandits killed during air strikes.
“Some 52 criminal elements were arrested, with scores of arms, ammunition and equipment recovered. Troops have also rescued a total of 17 kidnapped victims across the country.”
Mohammed added that 684,856 barrels of stolen crude oil, 1,724,000 litres of stolen Automotive Gas Oil and 500,000 litres of Dual-Purpose Kerosene have been recovered this year.
While saying the successes recorded by security agencies did not come cheap, Mohammed regretted that some of the troops paid the supreme price in the course of the operations.
He said 118 bandits were killed in the North-West with 11 kidnap victims rescued and 11 arrests made; and 30 suspected terrorists killed in the North-East with arms and ammunition recovered.
Nigerians no longer buying Buhari’s propaganda, says PDP
Reacting, the Peoples Democratic Party on Monday said Nigerians were no longer subscribing to the propaganda being dished out daily by the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said, “With due respect to the minister, Nigerians are no longer buying the tissues of lies laced with propaganda being dished out by this Buhari regime on a daily basis.
“We had a successful election in Borno State the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency in 2015, results were collated and announced, and not a single local government was in the hands of the terrorists.
“Yet, this regime which was a beneficiary of that election is today telling Nigerians that Boko Haram was in control of territory. Nigerians are counting months to the next election to vote out the APC and all its represents.”
Security experts disagree
Also, a security expert, Ben Okezie, disagreed with the minister, saying the security situation in the country had deteriorated.
He stated, “Everybody knows that people are living in fear; so, it is not true that the security situation is better. The insurgents are daily attacking and abducting people.
“Consider what is happening in Oyo State where herdsmen are killing and abducting the residents. And to worsen the situation, the IG deployed a female commissioner of police without much experience to handle the crisis.”
A security consultant, Kabir Adamu, says if the minister used conventional metrics, he cannot say security was better.
He added, “If he (Mohammed) is being fed with information by the military, they will tell you security has improved. The police will tell you the same thing and that is what they are telling the President and by extension, the minister of information.”
Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum too
Speaking, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said, “These people now believe their own low quality lies and it is unfortunate for the country. We know that things are far worse today than when the President came in, but apostles of falsehood will make just any claim to justify their pay.”
Similarly, the National Publicity Secretary, Middle Belt Forum, Dr Isuwa Dogo, described the assertion that the nation’s security situation had improved compared to the pre-2015 period as an incontestable lie too glaring for anyone to debate.
“Just last year in 2020, the death toll from the killing spree unleashed by these bloodthirsty herdsmen hit over 1,400 in Kaduna State alone, especially in the southern part.
“The Federal Government should stop this self-deceit that the nation’s security situation is better compared to the pre-President Muhammad Buhari’s administration,” Dogo said.
The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, told the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja on Tuesday that he was leaving the party.
He said he would join the ruling All Progressives Congress which he claimed would protect the interest of the South-East in the 2023 elections.
Our correspondent gathered that Umahi told the members of the National Working Committee of the PDP that his decision to join the APC was irrevocable.null
The members of the PDP NWC, who were led to the meeting by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, were said to have tried in vain to convince the governor not to abandon the party.
Apart from Secondus, among those that were at the meeting at the Ebonyi Governor’s Lodge in Abuja were Deputy National Secretary, Agbo Emmanuel; National Organising Secretary, Austin Akobondu; Financial Secretary, Abdullahi Maibasira; National Women Leader, Mariya Waziri and Senator Sulieman Nazif.
The governor was said to be friendly when he received the PDP delegation, but stuck to his decision to leave the PDP when the issue came up.
It was gathered that the PDP delegation impressed it upon the governor that there was no need leaving the PDP for the APC, which they argued had become unpopular.
Sources at the meeting, however, said the governor was not convinced, insisting that the APC was planning to zone the 2023 Presidency to the South-East.
He was said to have promised to stay in the PDP if the party could make a pronouncement that it would zone the Presidency to the same
One of the sources said, “I think his (governor’s) mind was made up. We told him there was no need for him to abandon the party that had made him a deputy governor, state chairman of the party, two-time governor and all that. But he refused.
“He wanted us to unilaterally zone the office of the Presidency to his area. We cannot do that. Parties are not run that way. He told us he was leaving. That is what we got from him.’’
When contacted, Secondus confirmed that the party’s leadership met with Umahi.
He, however, refused to declared the details of the meeting, insisting that the meeting was on ‘‘national issues.’’
Congratulations to the people of Edo State on a credible and peaceful governorship election. We thank the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian security services on the positive role they played in the election and commend their work in strengthening Nigeria’s democracy. We recognize the critical role that Governor Godwin Obaseki and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu played in promoting peace. We also thank our civil society partners for their invaluable work in upholding democracy and accountability in this election.
The United States remains concerned with reports of some violence that did emerge during the election, and by reports of vote-buying and intimidation of both voters and civil society domestic observers. We will continue to encourage all stakeholders, including INEC, political parties, and the security services, to improve the electoral process in the upcoming Ondo State governorship election. As a democratic partner of Nigeria, the United States remains committed to working together to achieve our mutual goals of peace and prosperity for the citizens of both our countries.
The All Progressives Congress has congratulated Governor Godwin Obaseki on his re-election as the Governor of Edo State.
This was contained in a statement by the chairman of the APC national caretaker committee, Mai Mala Buni, on Monday.
The statement was released a few hours after Buni and the chairman of the party’s governorship election campaign for Edo State, Abdullahi Ganduje, met with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), behind closed doors.
It was titled “Edo State Governorship Election: Victory for Democracy” and personally signed by Buni.
Buni, in the statement, described the election as peaceful, adding that its outcome represented a victory for Nigeria’s democracy.
He explained that some problems within APC worked against the party and its candidate in the just-concluded election.
The governor subsequently warned against disunity in the party.
The PUNCH had reported Sunday that the Independent National Electoral Commission declared the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Governor Godwin Obaseki, winner of the keenly contested election.
INEC’s Returning Officer, Prof. Akpofure Rim-Rukeh, said Obaseki polled 307,955 votes to defeat his closest rival, Ize-Iyamu, who got 223,619 votes.
The statement read, “The September 19, 2020 Edo State Governorship election is over, the winner has been declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the person of the Mr. Godwin Obaseki, candidate of the People Democratic Party.
“We hereby congratulate the winner of the election, the people of Edo State and all Nigerians. The peaceful conduct of the election and its outcome represent victory for Nigeria’s democracy
“As a party, we join our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, to affirm our ‘commitment to free and fair elections’ in order to strengthen ‘the foundation for our political and moral authority’. We commend INEC, our security agencies and all political parties that contested the election for the successful conduct of the election. As a governing party, we will take every step necessary to support the Federal Government to consolidate all the gains achieved.
“We, in particular, want to salute our candidate in the election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamuh for his tenacity and leadership. We similarly commend our Edo State leaders, especially our immediate past National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and all our members in Edo State for demonstrating unwavering support for our party and our candidate in the election.
“In the face of all the challenges, we collectively remained faithful and worked tirelessly during the campaigns. We appeal to all our members to be strengthened by the outcome of the election and unite in order to correct all the problems that worked against our party and our candidate in the just-concluded election.
“Let us unite to move our democracy forward. We must put an end to the era when the electoral contest become warfare. We urge our candidate and all our members to join us in congratulating Mr. Godwin Obaseki and the PDP, being the declared winner of the election.
“Our attention must now shift to Ondo State and ensure that we win the October 10, 2020 election. September 19, 2020 Edo election should present a new watershed.
“We will work hard to win the Ondo election. Having reaffirmed our commitment to free and fair elections, it is our expectation that all opposition parties in the country will also commit themselves to free and fair contests. We will therefore accordingly expect a congratulatory message from all parties just as we similarly guarantee that once we are defeated in a fair contest, we will congratulate the winner.” (Punch)