APC’s Committee On Restructuring Dead On Arrival, Says Fayose |RN


Gov. Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State has called on Nigerians to reject the All Progressives Congress’s committee on restructuring, describing it as dead on arrival and a ruse.

“It is a blatant attempt to draw the wool over the eyes of Nigerians”, he added.

In a statement yesterday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, Fayose, who is also the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, said the APC committee on restructuring is unnecessary since the jury is that Nigerians in their large numbers, cutting across party, regional, ethnic, social, and religious backgrounds have overwhelmingly voted for immediate restructuring of the polity.

“This APC distraction is meant to deceive Nigerians one more time. Nigerians must unequivocally reject it. They have deceived us enough and we must not allow them to deceive us again.

“APC and its government at the centre have failed on all fronts and have not delivered on their promises to the electorate. They have lived in denial and have spent the last two years either blaming everyone else but themselves for their cluelessness or repudiating their election promises.

“Whereas they promised to restructure in their party manifesto, they have come out openly to deny this obvious fact. So, who does not know that their so-called committee is an ingenious attempt to deceive and sweep the raging storm over restructuring under the carpet?

“This is a government that specialises in sweeping serious national issues under the carpet. The report of the presidential investigative committee on the alleged corrupt activities of two principal officers of the Buhari administration has been swept under the carpet. My protest letter to the acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on this issue has not received the speedy attention it deserves”, he said. (The Sun)

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Buhari Will Shock Nigerians When He Returns, Says Tam David West |RN

From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan

Former Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Prof Tam David-West, in this interview,  says President Muhammadu Buhari, will shock Nigerians positively when he returns to Nigeria from his medical trip to London hale and hearty. He notes that he expects him to surprise Nigerians with cabinet reshuffle and a major re-thinking of the method of governance.
He also speaks on comments of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State on Buhari, the parable of Lion-king, the hyenas and jackals he must throw out of his “Kingdom”, the face-off between the Senate and the Presidency over the chairmanship of the Economic  and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), agitation for restructuring of Nigeria and calls for referendum, as well as his perspective on the calls that Buhari should vie for the 2019 presidential poll. Excerpts:

Many Nigerians are complaining that since President Muhammadu Buhari travelled to London on a medical trip, things have not been going in the right direction, especially in the political arena. Many Nigerians seem to have been frustrated. So, what are the shockers Nigerians should expect from him when he returns to the country?

First, when Buhari comes to the country, Nigerians will be shocked. Have you ever seen a dead man coming back alive? Many people have been saying he has died, I don’t care for them because I have contact with him every week, and I know what is happening every week. When they said Buhari had died, I said they were talking rubbish because I have evidence that he is alive.
All of the people that are talking stupidly, if you want to be responsible, make a statement based on facts. They have no facts. Look, I have the latest evidence two days ago, the man is healthy and alive. How are they going to be shocked? They will be shocked because he will come back alive, which will be the first shock. They will also be shocked that he will come back hale and healthy. They will be shocked that when he comes back, he will be the same Buhari that those that know him know – he is so humorous; intellectual Buhari. They carried rumour that he had died and he’s in the mortuary. Muslims don’t put their dead ones in the mortuary.
Then, his wife went to see him. She came back and said she saw her husband and thanked all the people that were praying for him. But sceptical Nigerians, useless and wicked Nigerians said ‘how do we know that his wife saw him?’ She said ‘ I saw my husband and you are still doubting him.
Then, they said he could not talk again. He addressed the nation on Sallah. They also said he addressed the nation in Hausa, not in English. Before that time, they said he could not speak. Now, the latest one, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who is the acting president presently has gone to London and said he talked with the President for over one hour. He said Buhari was busy cracking hilarious jokes. They will be shocked because all the evil things they wished him, will never come true. They will be shocked because when he returns, it is not likely to be as usual. Second, I have this strong feeling that when Buhari comes back, there will be a major re-thinking of governance method. I trust that he will do cabinet reshuffle. But cabinet reshuffle is just a little normal thing. I think that a major re-thinking of the method of governance is the only way left for us to turn the table around, and get back the confidence of the people.
I am a die-hard Buhari fan, but I will not keep silent when I see something that is wrong. There is no doubt that a lot of people are suffering in this country, not caused by him, and some caused by him, but we supporters too can make this inheritance argument for too long that it becomes dull. We need a change and I know we can make a change. So, I have this strong feeling that there is the likelihood that there will be drastic re-thinking of the method of governance.
The third thing is restraint. He is not used to this type of set up. He is working in a democratic system. If it was the military era, he would be alpha and omega. So, if he is, things cannot be like this. But he has to think about the National Assembly. He has to think about pressure groups.
The problem with Buhari is that he trusts, and when he trusts, he is a very honest person, he will find it difficult to doubt you. I have been saying it, he has to look around himself dispassionately.  There are some people I do see around him, that are not working for his interest; they are working for themselves. They are not as clean as himself.
Fortunately, I said this before,  his great wife has come out to say the jackals and hyenas around him would be thrown out of the kingdom. And he has to do that if he has to get the steam again.

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has said on many occasions that President Buhari should vacate office and he should be replaced because, according to him, he is no longer capable of leading the country. What is your stand on this?

I don’t comment on irresponsible statements. Ayo Fayose is a governor. I expect him to be more responsible than what he is doing. As a governor, he has certain aura, prestige and respect due to him that we owe him. Then, if he talks irresponsibly, then he loses that respect. I don’t answer to irresponsible statements.
Ayo Fayose is a governor, I expect him to know the Constitution. Is there anywhere in the Constitution that says President should resign? What will make the President not to be in office is clear in the Constitution?
I am one of the people that drafted the 1979 Constitution. I know it inside-out. But what Ayo Fayose is saying is irresponsible if it is not in the Constitution. I don’t expect somebody of a status of a governor, that should be respected, to make a statement like that.
Ayo Fayose said Buhari is so sick that he’s on a life-support machine in London; newspapers published it. A few days ago, I was in contact with them. A man on life-support machine cannot talk.

So, you have been speaking with President Buhari since he travelled…

(Cuts in)
I have direct contact with London, at least once a week. I may not speak to him directly but I may also hear his voice. I know people around him that are permanent with him for 24 hours. I have direct contact with them directly and indirectly.
When Buhari left the first time and came back, the doctor said he would come back for review. A day before he left for the second time in Abuja, Buhari gave audience to the Chibok Girls that were released with their parents in the full view of the press. It was a big function in Aso Rock.
Now, he left the country for London, not on a stretcher, not in a wheelchair. He walked to the plane himself. He never left Nigeria a sick man. He went there for re-check. I have gone through this myself. If a doctor examines you and he said what you come for, this is the situation, you can go, but you will come back for review; there is nothing wrong with that because I have done such before. My doctor is in London, who I will not mention. I do go there once every year for a check-up. But they would say come for re-check. Within certain period, you will go back for the re-check
On one occasion, I was to leave about two days to the last check up, but the doctor said he would not allow me to go. One of the results must be repeated. I had to stay an extra one week; that is little me, not to talk of President. So, there is nothing happening to Buhari that is strange to me.

Buhari has brought the best thing out of Nigeria, and also brought out the worst things out of Nigeria. Why did I say this? First, what best thing has he brought out of Nigeria? Buhari has shown that he can win an election in Nigeria without having money to bribe. A Nigerian newspaper, Thisday, rated different candidates for the presidency when he was contesting against the sitting president, Goodluck Jonathan, according to the largeness of their purse. Buhari was the last with a low purse. He had no money. Buhari himself had said ‘I don’t want to have anything that I cannot account for.’ There’s no money. He did not bribe, and I know that during the primaries, there’s a particular aspirant that bribed so much, even giving $5,000, to people. Buhari never gave N1, yet he won. So, that is the best Buhari has brought to Nigeria. Buhari has shown Nigerians that they should go for quality leadership. You don’t have to bribe to get their votes. It is a great thing for us in democracy.
And what are the bad things Buhari has brought out of Nigerians? Buhari has also shown that Nigerians have very bad and terrible part of their nature. Everywhere in the world, when somebody is sick, people pray for such person to get well in time; that is the normal thing. Buhari has shown that Nigerians would say “may God help you to die in time.’
Many people are saying he should die. He will not die now and he will only die when God wants him. And those of them saying he would die, they will die first. For instance, Zik (Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe) died many times. I was very close to Zik. I have his personal handwritten letters to me when I was Commissioner for Education and when I was in Bama Prisons. Babangida (Ibrahim Babangida, former military president) put me in Bama Prisons for nine months. I was in Kirikiri Prisons for two weeks…I have forgiven him, but God will judge him.
Some time ago, there was a rumour that Zik had died. I was so surprised that even influential Igbo people set up a burial committee for Zik. But they had not found out whether he had died. Some of them in the burial committee died before Zik died.
Another example is TOS Benson, a great mentor of mine. One man, a parapsychologist, who used to write a column in a newspaper, said TOS Benson would die that year. TOS Benson told him ‘you will die before me.’ The person died many years before TOS Benson died.
So, Nigerians like to wish people dead. If you wish evil for somebody, the law of karma should come to you. Those that are wishing dead, some of them will die before him.

What actually gives you the assurance that President Buhari will return to the country to continue his mandate?

What gives me the assurance is that I have the fact. I know that he will come back. With the evidence I have at the moment, I know Buhari will come back to continue his work. This time around, his style, I think, will change. He is an intelligent man. I am confident that by the grace of God that he will come back hale and healthy, and he will continue his job.

What do you make out of what the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, said that when the Lion-king returns, he will throw out hyenas and jackals from his kingdom?

I congratulate her for it. I commend her greatly for it. I am a friend, a loyalist of Buhari. But she sees him every day. If I am concerned about the nonsense things they wished about Buhari, if I am concerned that some people around him are not working in his interest, his wife should be more concerned.
I have said it many times that some people around him are not working in his interest. So, if his wife, who is the closest to him, should make that kind of statement, it means I am vindicated. It is true. I congratulate her for it. I also pray that he should throw away the hyenas, the jackals, and the monkeys.

Who are the people you suspect are the hyenas and the jackals?

They know themselves. They asked the wife of the president and she said ‘they know themselves.’ He knows them. They know people around him who are working in the same programme with him but are working to enrich themselves. They even did it to the extent that they are spoiling his name.
One thing they don’t know is that Nigeria is a very transparent country when it comes to corruption. Whistleblowers have been in our culture right from the beginning. We don’t need a whistleblower. Nigerians don’t like corruption.

But the hyenas and the jackals are powerful animals and are many in the animal kingdom. When the Lion-king returns, how do you expect him to throw them out of the kingdom such that it will not affect his reign negatively?

Hyenas and jackals are powerful to the extent that they have a forest that you can’t expose yourself to. If you have God, however powerful the hyena is, the good thing is that you can shoot him. Lion, though very courageous and powerful, sometimes take cautions. If you go to the zoo to see lion, if you jump very close to a lion, he does not attack instantaneously. First, he runs away, though it will attack. This means that the lion himself is not invincible. So, the jackals and hyenas around him are not invincible. The opportunities he gave them made them hyenas and jackals. If he takes the opportunity from them, they will not be hyenas and jackals again.

At this time, many politicians have been calling on President Buhari to run for the second term in office in 2019 to complete the good work he has started when Mr President is still battling with his health. Would you rather say the calls are good or ill-conceived?

First, were they the people that asked him to run the first time? But he had the conviction to run. If he has the conviction to run again, it is over to him to make his decision. The public position is that based on the first term, I don’t think he should run again. The long and short is that whether Buhari should run for a second term or third term, the decision is purely his own. Was it the public that made him run the first time? Why should the decision to run for the second term come from the public?
But where do I stand? I stand wherever it is the way. If he wants to run the second time, will I support him? If it is his decision, I will not go against him. My duty is to point out areas he should improve on because to go for the second term, he must base it on the credentials of the first term. It has not come up in our discussion that he would run for the second term in office. But let’s assume that he wants to run for the second term. What will you do as a friend? I will tell him, let us sit down and analyse the first term. We must sit down and analyse the first term. What he had done right and what he has done wrong. Then, we talk about what the public wanted when he started and now. When we analyse that, then we will be able to identify areas that he should have done better. Do you have time to make amend so that the people will be impressed that things have turned around? These are basic questions to be asked before jumping into the issues of the second term. You don’t just jump into the second term like that, you have to analyse and come to a seasoned self-introspection to guide your decision.

Some people have advised President Buhari to resign so that he could rest. Do you subscribe to this

Rubbish. Why is it rubbish? First, there is no provision in the Constitution that says he should resign. If Buhari believes, especially after thorough medical examinations that he has gone through many times, that he should resign, it is his own decision.
Some of the people attacking Buhari, are they medically fit? Let us send them to medical examinations, whether they can come back 100 per cent healthy. Even some of them, their brains need to be tested by psychiatrists.
The way a person ceases to be president is clear in the Constitution. Why should Buhari resign? On health ground, no. If it is on health ground, he is the one that will decide that he is too weak to run the government again. The final decision is between Buhari and his doctor. If the doctor gives him a clean bill of health, who is Fayose to query him?

What will you suggest as a way forward on the face-off between the Senate and the Presidency over the appointment and confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu?

I felt bad with what happened in the upper chamber. It made me feel ashamed and worried. I know a lot of very good people in the Senate. I know Saraki (Senator Bukola Saraki, the Senate President), I know his father (Senator Olusola Saraki). There are some very few good people in the Senate. Like in every other organisation, there are some rubbish people there too. Look at the National Assembly on television when they are debating, it is like a play case. Look at their presentations of the year 2016 on national television, compare that with British Parliament, or the Congress in the United States. You can see that the atmosphere is so different, our own is so careless.
The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), is one of the most brilliant legal minds in the country. From his records, he was Attorney General of Lagos State and his brilliant record is there. The man is a great intellectual. He is a professor of law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). What is happening here is the interpretation of the Constitution.
He has said that Magu does not need confirmation by the Senate. That is the issue at stake; it is a constitutional matter. And his reason was that there are some appointments that do not need to be confirmed by the senate. He supported his view with Section 171 of the Constitution.
Some members of the Senate said the Vice President was wrong.

So, I expect the Senate to solve this matter by going to the Supreme Court. The ultimate interpretation of the Constitution is the Supreme Court. The Senate should tell the apex court that the Vice President or the President has acted against the Constitution, which he swore to protect. They can make the Supreme Court give it accelerated hearing. The Supreme Court can set itself to hear and dispose of it within two weeks.
So, is the President or the Vice President right? For me, when I read that section in the Constitution, I tend to agree with the Vice President, that it is not every appointment that needs to go for confirmation. I am one of the people that drafted the 1979 Constitution, I may be wrong. But if a great legal mind like the Vice President and a very well respected professor and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, says a part of the Constitution did not compel the president to do so, so, so, I will go along with him. I may be wrong.

He may be wrong too. Senate may be wrong. The only ‘person’ to decide is the Supreme Court. So, let the Senate go to the Supreme Court and challenge the Vice President and the President, de facto,  that they are violating the Constitution they swore to protect. So, let the Supreme Court rule and that will end the matter.

How can the Senate and the Presidency work together harmoniously for the growth and development of Nigeria?
What we are experiencing now is a question of personal interest and national interest. Is the President’s party not controlling the majority in the parliament? But we have a situation where the President of the Senate is from one party, the Deputy President of the Senate is from opposing party; it has never happened in the history of Nigeria and anywhere in the world. But have a very weird construction. How can they work together? Are they working for themselves or they are working for Nigeria? If all of them say they are working for Nigeria, the interest of Nigeria, which I think they should, no quarrel. So, let them address the national interest, not personal interest.

Agitation for the restructuring of Nigeria has gathered a lot of momentum from different parts of the country. Some thought leaders have been asking for a referendum on whether some parts of Nigeria should go or remain. So, what is your position on the agitation for a breakup of the country?

Some said the 2014 amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates, which brought Nigeria into existence was wrong. If the amalgamation was wrong, why did we celebrate the 100 years of Nigeria in 2014? This shows that most of the points they are making are no points at all.
What we need is for Nigerians to restructure themselves. Human beings and human organisations are dynamic. You will change by time. Fortunately, a book of mine will soon be on the shelves soon. I have talked about this on June 1, 2012, at ASUU lecture in Abuja, which took over two hours. I have been writing about this since 2010.
So, a section of the country feels that one section is monopolising and marginalising the other. Specifically, the South complains of Northern domination. Northern domination is a myth, nurtured by the South, it doesn’t exist.

In my book that is coming out, I gave more than 20 examples that Northern domination does not exist.
What you call Northern domination is the weakness of the South. If they know the Constitution, no part Nigeria can dominate the country. The Constitution says to be president of this nation, in an election, win a majority of votes. Not only that, but your votes must spread across every part and you must win at least 25 per cent of the votes. We have 36 states with 19 in the North and 17 in the South. Two-third of 36 is 24. Even, if a Northern candidate wins 100 per cent of the votes in the North, which is not possible, he cannot even be the President. He still needs Southern states to give him 24 states.  So, there is no domination. The Southerners were the ones that sold out themselves. We are being hunted by this silly idea of northern domination. It does not exist.
After Aguiyi-Ironsi died, who was the most senior Nigerian Army officer? It was Brigadier Ogundipe (Brigadier Babafemi Ogundipe, who was the de facto Vice President of Nigeria during Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi’s 1966 military government). A junior northern soldier insulted him before senior Southern Generals. Did they defend him? No. That was why he decided to be High Commissioner in London.
Yes, every organisation needs reconstruction. That is why we also have the review of the constitution. Every human organisation is dynamic and can change with time. But I cannot see reconstruction based on myth and fear and wrong reasons.
First, you said we want true federation. The Constitution is clear in white and black that Nigeria is a federation.

If a particular president comes from a particular area and he’s taking all the powers to himself, is it his fault? You go and challenge it in court. He supposed to obey the Constitution, which he swore to obey and protect because we are in a federation.
In a federation, the states have their powerful rights. The states are not depended like a parasite on the federal government. But states have allowed the federal government to be powerful because state governors that should fight for their rights secretly go and get patronage from the centre, and they keep quiet. I know what I am talking about.
If you say the centre is too powerful, who made the centre powerful? If a particular president wants to take more powers from the states, it is left for the states to challenge him in court that it is against the Constitution.

Also, they said they want reconstruction because Nigeria is not a true federation. Reconstruction alone cannot give you true federation. The true federation is that we should insist that the Constitution must be respected. The Constitution has already provided for it. If you stayed in your house, a thief came to take your television, you did not talk, it is when the thief has run to the street that you are shouting thief, thief, thief. Why didn’t you stop him from taking your television set?
They also said we should go back to the 1963 Constitution. They are ignorant of the 1963 Constitution. When we were drafting the 1979 Constitution, all the 49 of us were given a copy each of the 1963 Constitution. Any one that is saying we should go back to the 1963 Constitution is an enemy of Nigeria.
The copy of the 1963 Constitution was given to us each to study, and write out what we think is wrong there, that we should change. We spent more than one month working on the 1963 Constitution and why it is not good for Nigeria.
Some people have said the states should be converted to six. Chief Emeka Anyaoku (former Secretary General of Commonwealth of Nations)  just said eight units. They surprised me and disappointed me. The Constitution is clear that states can come together. There is a constitutional provision for state merging together. The conditions are in the Constitution. So, there is nothing new that they are saying. Let them give me convincing reasons.

The 2014 National Conference, there is nothing from that confab that is so strange, though there are big brains there. But why should your country pay you millions of naira for every sitting when you want to do something in the interest of your country?
We did 1979 Constitution, none of us was given one kobo. None of the 49 of us had the sitting allowance. They only paid for our transport and accommodation. But those that were at the 2014 Confab, the country paid them in millions and fed them too. But one day, they were so childish that they said the food they gave them was not enough for children, and they protested because of food. Tell me, you cannot be the serious person now. There is nothing they said there that is a panacea.
Nigeria does not need any more national conference. Let us set up a body that will go to the archives, bring all the reports of conferences we have had so that we can work on them.
This is why I don’t support restructuring. How can the 36 states be merged into six geographical regions? To me, it does not make sense. Have you ever seen somebody, who after he enjoyed political independence, would voluntarily say take my independence, he does not want to be independent again? Freedom is part of the basic aspect of people. You cannot convert the 36 states to six or eight just by fiat.

On the referendum, sometimes people don’t convince me that they understand the rule of the referendum. Some of them even suggested that we should have sovereign national conference and thereafter, we will have a referendum. It is stupid. After a sovereign national conference, you don’t have referendum again. The two cannot go together. Whatever is said at the sovereign national conference is permanent, and I don’t support that. I have not supported it over the years because why should sound 170 million people surrender their rights to few hundreds of people to decide their fate and whatever they decide will be sacrosanct as the Quran or the Bible. Anything that comes out of sovereign national conference cannot be changed again. National Conference can say Tam David-West, from today on, you are a woman, not a man.
So, all the reasons they are giving for restructuring, I am not impressed. It is not that there is no need for it. But they have not impressed me. What Nigeria needs is restructuring themselves. We must think of Nigeria and believe in Nigeria for the good of Nigeria.
If you make every village in Nigeria a state, some families will still complain of marginalisation. Until the people operating it changed their orientation to say that we could all work together. If you are talking of marginalisation, what will I, an Ijaw man, say? We are the most marginalised.
In Nigeria, we are too full of formula. We always look for a panacea to solve our problems. The problem with Nigerian is Nigerian.

Poverty, is no doubt, prevalent in Nigeria, though Nigeria is said to be coming out of economic recession. Many have lost their jobs. It is likely that Nigerians will pay more for electricity tariff to enjoy more power supply and pump price of petroleum products. Nigerian expect Mr President to do something about it when he comes back. What would you advise him to do?

I will be the last person to support an increase in electricity tariff. I will be the last person to support the increase in petroleum pump price. The petroleum price should come down. I am saying it loud and clear, I have already discussed it with Buhari, he knows where I stand. Anybody that is suggesting that we increase petroleum price is an enemy of Nigeria. Most of them that are suggesting the increase is not paying for petrol. The state is paying for their petrol.
On economic recession, when I listened to Minister of Finance, I used to laugh when she said the economic recession will end in eight months. I don’t believe you. Is it magic? You don’t take economic recession by magic or by wish. What have you don’t to the economy that will make the recession to stop? You are not the only country that went through a recession. America went through the worst recession. In the 1930s, America was finished. Recently former US President, Barack Obama, before bringing us the stimulus formula. We talk, we don’t act. I don’t believe the recession is finished. If the recession is finished, I challenge the Minister of Finance if she says the recession will finish in few months time, if it is true, I will go and hold a party for her in Abuja. I don’t believe them. In fact, I have to see it physically that something is changing. People are suffering. It is a wicked government that can add more suffering to the people. Government exists for the interest of the people.
Edmund Burke said a government is a contrivance of human wisdom, and human beings have the rights to expect that the government should satisfy that wisdom. Any government that cannot serve the interest of the people and give greater happiness to the greater number of people is a failed government. I will not be part of it. I will never support it and I know Buhari will never support it. (The Sun)

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IPOB Under Pressure To Dump Secession, Declares No Amount Of Pressure Will Work


…It’s Biafra or death –Group

By ENYERIBE EJIOGU (Lagos) and Jeff Amechi Agbodo (Onitsha)

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has said that the leadership of the group has come under pressure to accept the decision of Igbo leaders to pursue a restructuring of the country rather than the quest for the restoration of Biafra.

IPOB, however, has declared that no amount of pressure and persuasion would change its resolve to push for the restoration of Biafra as being championed by its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

The Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Mr. Emma Powerful, who spoke to Sunday Sun said that under no circumstance would IPOB accept restructuring because the Aburi Accord was a form of restructuring, which the British Government advised the Hausa Fulani to reject in the aftermath of the crisis that arose in the country, following the Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu-led January 15, 1966 coup, which claimed the lives of prominent politicians including the then Prime Minister, Sir Tafawa Balewa, the Premier of the North, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Ladoke Akintola as well as the July 29 counter-coup of the same year, led by young northern military officers, in which the then military head of state, Major-General Aguiyi Ironsi was gruesomely killed.

The counter-coup led the foundation for the widespread massacre of Igbo people in the North. It was in the bid to find a lasting solution that the then federal military government led by Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon, as he then was, and the then military governor of the defunct Eastern Region, Lt. Colonel Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, as he then was, met in Ghana to negotiate the future of the country and thereafter arrived at the Aburi Accord, which would have enthroned a confederal structure in the political administration of Nigeria. Gowon and Ojukwu signed the agreement, but soon after Gowon set foot in Lagos, he dumped the Aburi Accord, on the instigation of the British government, which believed that implementation of the agreement would cripple its grand agenda to continue exerting political influence in the newly independent Nigeria. With the Aburi Accord stalemated, events quickly snowballed in a way that led to the Nigerian civil war, following Ojukwu’s declaration of the then Eastern Region as the Republic of Biafra, a name taken from the Bight of Biafra, which was later changed to the Bight of Benin by the Nigerian government. A three-year war that caused massive loss of Igbo lives as well as economic assets ensued in 1967 and ended in 1970 with the capitulation of Biafra.

In the light of the 1966-67 crisis, and not wanting to have a repeat of that, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, as well as other notable Igbo leaders, have been calling for the restructuring of the country as opposed to IPOB’s drive for the restoration of Biafra. Besides, a groundswell of support for restructuring has grown across the country from the South-west, South-south and the Middle Belt. Moreover, notable northern stakeholders like former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar and former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, have both endorsed restructuring.

Against this background, Igbo elders and the apex Igbo leadership group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, advised IPOB and other Biafra agitation groups to dump secession and adopt restructuring as their primary agenda for the country as it could be achieved with the support of other geopolitical zones through dialogue that would produce fundamental and relevant constitutional amendments without the break out of war, which a secession bid would entail.

The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, in a press release, explained why the majority of the Igbo prefer a restructuring of the country to total break up. Nwodo said that no ethnic group has more stake in the Nigeria Project than the Igbo and as such cannot consider a break up as a viable option. He said that there is no part of this country where Ndigbo have not invested their resources even without any corresponding investment in Igboland by people from other parts of the country.

While appreciating the circumstances that prompted the youth agitations under the MASSOB and IPOB platforms, Nwodo noted that the elders do not believe that leaving the country is a reasonable option at this time.

He said that the various segments of Igbo leadership comprising Ohanaeze leadership, governors, National Assembly members, traditional and religious leaders after deliberating on the situation when they met in Enugu came to the conclusion that the restructuring option offers Igbo the best way forward.

He said that restructuring would bring Nigeria to a level where every person regardless of tribe, religion or class would have a sense of belonging and in return give in their best for the development of the country.

Nwodo assured that the leadership of the apex body would carry along the youths of the region and ensure that the Ndigbo have a common and unified position on the way forward for them. “Equal partnership, equal ownership and level playing ground for all is the right way to go to bring out the best in our people and set the country on the path of growth and development,” he said.

In the same vein, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Chukwudi Ibegbu, graphically summarised the position of the apex Igbo group in a recent media report: “We want fiscal and structural restructuring. We want the implementation of the 2014 confab reports and more states and more local government areas in the South-East. We want equity, justice and fair-play. We want issues that lead to agitation to be addressed. We want the killing of our people in the North to be stopped.”

The former governor of Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, who was at the 2014 Confab expressed the same thought when he spoke at a forum in Abuja: “We must go back to the ‘agreed Nigeria,’ that is, the structure of Nigeria, as agreed by the founding fathers— our heroes past. That ‘agreed Nigeria’ was a federal structure, with regions as federating units.

“Initially, there were three regions: Eastern, Western and Northern. The Midwestern region was created later, making four regions: three in the South, one in the North. Each region had its own constitution and operated fairly autonomously. The Federal Government handled issues universally agreed to be federal responsibilities, issues like external relations, currency, weights and measures, etc.

“There was fiscal federalism as the resources for running the Federal Government came, basically, from the federating units. Each region controlled its resources and grew at its own pace. The people owned their regions in the sense that people in the regions were, particularly, concerned about how their regions were run. That was mainly because the money spent in the regions was basically internally generated—contributed by the people of the regions, through taxation, other payments, etc.

“The main problem is that as the country is currently structured and run, the country is growing backwards, indeed, taking giant steps backwards.”

However, in explaining why IPOB would continue pursuing its agenda, Powerful said: “We are always misunderstood because people are not conversant with what IPOB is all about. We want to be free from Nigeria, not restructuring it.

“However, we have maintained our stance of Biafra or death, from which we cannot shift. Nigeria is irredeemable. The soldiers killed many of our people, buried them in mass graves without anybody saying anything and at the same time denied killing the innocent civilians in different locations. Since inception, we have never been involved in any form of crime but the government ordered the killing to suppress the people’s wish. That is a pointer that the Hausa Fulani ‘born-to-rule’ champions do not want anything from this region to come up.

“We, IPOB, have nothing to do with restructuring. Anybody or group of persons are entitled to their opinion but we want total freedom not just for Biafra but for every ethnic nationality in Nigeria because a lot of ethnic nationalities are being denied their rights by the same people who want to bury Biafrans but we said no to what they have done to our elders and fathers. This generation said we can’t allow such to continue unless they kill all of us in one day.

He spoke further: “We advise the elders not to go against the wish of the people because many have sacrificed their lives, to ensure that Biafra is restored. If they don’t know, we have crossed the Rubicon, there is no going back. They should not allow themselves to be seen as siding with the oppressors of poor masses. The IPOB agenda is ordained by the Most High God Almighty. Who can stand against the wish of God Almighty, Chukwu Okike Abiama? IPOB is moving with the direction of Almighty God in Heaven but those are myopic may not know or see it.”

“Every right thinking person must know that the time has come for Biafra to be free from Nigeria and history will be kind to those that recognise this moment and are able to seize it. We call on our Igbo leaders not to allow their old political loyalties and affiliations to becloud their sense of judgement because we are witnessing the tentative emergence of the new Biafra nation. They cannot serve the Hausa-Fulani interest in perpetuity. The time has come for them to remain strong and side with the people, otherwise, they will lose relevance forever in this contraption created by Lord Lugard.” (The Sun)

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Restructuring: Osinbajo Wrong, Nigeria’s Unity Is Negotiable, Says Olisa Agbakoba

                                    Olisa Agbakoba

A delegate to the 2014 National Conference and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), tells BAYO AKINLOYE what he thinks about calls for restructuring

Why do you think many politicians are calling for a restructuring of Nigeria?

Nigeria is facing a lot of challenges and the sudden call by politicians for a restructured Nigeria is not well-meaning because they are making such calls for a political end aimed at 2019 and they are already taking their positions. Politicians cannot sit down in one place and discuss solely in their interest to promote something that is fashionable. They have started to bandy around the word ‘restructure.’ Civil societies first used the word ‘restructure’ in 1979. But all through the decades, we have been going downhill. Suddenly, it has become fashionable now to talk about restructuring to gain power because, like it or not, Nigeria is completely fractured. You have the possibility of the All Progressives Congress not remaining in power in 2019; you have the Peoples Democratic Party that is almost dead.

In all this, politicians are taking positions. They are looking for alliances. They are in all kinds of caucuses in Abuja, Enugu and Kaduna and it is the sound of restructuring that binds them all together. One needs to point out very strongly that they can’t use us any way they like. When they find it convenient to use us, they use a word to buy us. Once they win they will go and live in Abuja. They build no roads, schools, hospitals – nothing. And, that is not going to stop. The only way that can stop is to confront the political elite. We can’t restructure if we don’t even know whether to restructure. The political elites’ debate is full of deceits.

What is restructuring and can it address the nation’s woes?

Nigeria’s problem is not about restructuring. Nigeria’s problem can be likened to a marriage that is not working and the husband says to the wife, ‘Let us restructure by living in different rooms or stay together in one room.’ That doesn’t resolve the underlying tension, if the man, for instance, always goes out to act in an unbecoming manner. The only way they can ‘restructure’ their marriage is for the couple to sit down and identify the cause of the problem in the marriage. There is only one way we can begin to talk about restructuring or zoning if that is what we want: How do you know if we want to restructure? How do you know we don’t want to go our separate ways? Because, in 1914, we were forced to live together by the colonialists; in 1960, the colonialists imposed a constitution on us. And then, the military took over, and in 1998, the military imposed on us another constitution.

So, Nigerians have not actually sat down to ask that question that Bola Ige asked long ago: ‘Do we really want to be one country?’ Is it a crime to ask that question? I don’t think so. Therefore, when that question is answered in the positive, then the second question will be: what kind of country do we want? It may not be a regional system; it may not be presidential; it may be parliamentary. I have no idea. All this requires a discussion, that’s my point.

If the political elite is using calls for restructuring to hoodwink the electorate so that they can gain power in 2019, what can be done to stop them?

It’s a huge challenge because the political elite with the resources at their disposal has practically fractured Nigeria. The point where the other components of the Nigerian society are very weak is civil societies. Civil societies, I must admit, even though I am a member, are extremely weak. But that does not mean that people will not speak about it. I want it to be on record that when this happens, I said it. Whether it succeeds or not, I can say what I think is important. Nigerians need to organise themselves and confront the political elite because the political elite does not give us value. At my age, I have not enjoyed any grant from Nigeria. What loyalty do I owe Nigeria? Nothing! My loyalty is not just that I am a Nigerian and hold a green passport. It has to do with something that the leadership of this country has done for me, which is able to persuade me to stand up for the country as a proud Nigerian because its leadership has given electricity, a good life, comfort, health care, etc. Now, there are no such things. The fact that the civil society is weak doesn’t mean those of us who talk shouldn’t say these things.

If the country agrees to restructure, what kind of political structure will you recommend?

I am not sure about the parliamentary system. But, I will prefer a regional system of government. Because I know that part of the problem in Nigeria is that the so-called federal system is not federal; it is unitary. There is too much power vested in the Federal Government. Therefore, I will recommend two things:  to create a more balanced federal system so that the Federal Government does not have all the powers. Whether it is at the state level or regional level, at whatever level, there is the need for the Federal Government to give up a lot of its powers so that the federation is balanced up and then the federation can be more efficient. There are a lot of things the Federal Government should take its hands off – like agriculture, health, education – these are matters that should be handled at the state level, even electricity. Can you imagine if all the 36 state governments had the mandate to power up their states? You will have 36 Fashola, not one Fashola running around Nigeria. Why can’t we simply say in the Constitution that each state should provide its own electricity? Why do we have to have a Federal Road Safety Corps that issues driver’s licence, whereas that is a responsibility for local governments in other countries?

Related: Olisa Agbakoba Throws His Support Behind Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB, Condemns Restructuring Calls

Even if there is restructuring, having devolved power to the states, we still need to look into what the state and federal governments should allow the private sector to do, so that government is lean and efficient and capable of delivering the relevant policies and services that the masses need. As of today, all ideas are based in Abuja –financial decisions, trade policies, etc. They forget that the private sector is richer than the government. I know many Nigerians who can raise any amount of money, three times the national budget. Abroad, the private sector is not something the government trifles with. In a restructured Nigeria, I will like to see political and economic reforms; I will like to see policy reforms. I will like to see a more efficient, easy-to-handle government that cares about the people. Restructuring is not about allowing some politicians to become new masters and still exclude the people. Nigerians are excluded from governance. The restructuring must include equity, justice and fairness. I will like to see a social programme initiated for poor, old, and disabled people. In America, it is called the Social Security Administration; in the United Kingdom, it is called the Benefits Agency. Fifty per cent of the American budget goes to benefits because that’s what government should do: care for the people, the vulnerable. The government is there to assist people.

The UK spends £102bn on its National Health Services. The budget of the NHS is more than that of the entire African countries put together. Our government needs to copy from the examples I am referring to and they can do that by following the standards set by the United Nations through the Sustainable Development Goals. The least of what our government should do for its people; chapter two of our constitution spells that out. And, by electoral law, that chapter of the constitution is incorporated into the constitutions of all political parties. But, what the parties are doing is not in tandem with that. This is part of the restructuring that should take place. Restructuring isn’t just about taking more powers away from Abuja and giving them to states. Restructuring is a complex concept; we must all sit down and discuss and define it. Once that is done, we can then implement it.

You were a delegate to the 2014 National Conference. Do you think there is something in that report that can benefit this country if considered and implemented?

Your question presupposes that we want to be one. The first question is: do we want to remain as one united country? Who told you we want to be one? You can’t assume that. But if we sit down and agree that we have a common agenda and interest to be together, then we can talk about the kind of union that we want. That was the mistake of the national conference. We have been having national conferences going back to the time of Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha, and (Olusegun) Obasanjo. They didn’t create the conferences in order to promote the interest of Nigeria. They created the conferences for their own personal interests. IBB created it to find a way to become a civilian leader – it crashed. Abacha created it in order to become a civilian leader – he died. Obasanjo created his own in order to become a third-term leader – he failed. Goodluck Jonathan created his own in order to have a seven-year tenure and to avoid election – he failed. So, why should I recommend any of such reports?

So, why were you part of the delegation to the 2014 confab?

I went because I felt it was necessary to go. That is why Tunde Bakare and I made it a point not to accept our N12m allowances, because we came there to make a point that, while the conference was a good platform, it was important that delegates looked beyond it and considered the motive of the people that created it. The conference was concluded and its report submitted to (former) President Jonathan, who simply created another committee and changed everything we had said. So, you can see that the four reports I referred to initiated by the four presidents were not born out of good motivations. We need to have a process – and I have no answer to what that process will be – that will give us people who will, out of love of nation and sacrifice, take Nigeria on the great path. Nigeria ought to be among the top 10 countries in the world, but our politicians have crippled the nation and reduced it to a lame duck. We have about 50 to 70 people keeping the country in bondage. What we can do is plead with these people or overthrow them – overthrowing them will be an uphill task but not a mission impossible; pleading with someone like Obasanjo to lead a campaign to tell his fellow old men to allow young men to govern Nigeria and give examples of how it had happened.

Do you support Nnamdi Kanu’s agitation for an independent state of Biafra?

I understand it (Kanu’s agitation), even though I don’t support it. Many young men are frustrated. They have nothing to do and little to lose. Nnamdi Kanu has a right to self-determination. Whether he will succeed is a different thing because it’s a long process: you have to file your papers to the United Nations; you have to set up a motion for referendum; you have to persuade your people. It’s a matter of consensus, not by violence or hate speeches. So, I didn’t support that part of his campaign. But I will support any Nigerian – those northerners who asked Igbo to leave have a right to say so. They haven’t broken any law. They may be politically incorrect but there is no law that says you can’t speak, provided that you don’t speak in a way that generates heat.

It is important also to state categorically that what the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said that Nigeria’s unity is sacrosanct is not correct. There is nothing sacrosanct about Nigeria’s sovereignty because Nigeria’s law recognises the right of sub-nationalities — the right to self-determination of whatever group is agitated, be it the Ijaw or Igbo, as long as they generate enough momentum and persuade their people to support them. But they must do so within the ambit of the Nigerian law – for anyone to go outside Nigerian law, it will be unconstitutional. (

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Restructuring: Something Will Be Done, Osinbajo Raises Hope On Restructuring |RN



Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo


• Something will be done soon –Acting President

From Molly Kilete, Abuja and Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, raised hope on the ongoing debate over restructuring, with a pledge that government would harvest the various views and act on them to move the country forward.

Osinbajo, who spoke at the official presentation of a book, ‘Nigeria: The restructuring controversy,’ written by Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Dr Mike Okiro, in Abuja, said the government was observing and taking note of the debates.

“We can assure you that all of the contributions being made across the country, whether from the north, from the south, east or west; the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is taking note of all the contributions you are making, and very soon, we are going to come out with policies that would take care of some of the issues that are germane in this debate about restructuring,” Osinbanjo, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, said.

In recent time, restructuring debate has received a groundswell of support from eminent Nigerians including  Ibrahim Babangida, Atiku Abubakar, Ayo Adebanjo, Olu Falae and Ike Ekweremadu.

The acting president who identified lack of inclusiveness as Nigeria’s major problem said the right thing was being done through the debates.

He insisted that the nation could not afford to go back to issues that were resolved during the civil war.

“Many have died in the course of fighting for one Nigeria. Therefore, we cannot afford to go back to issues that were resolved during the Nigerian civil war. What we can do is what we are doing, as we have gathered here today: writing books, debating and arguing among ourselves, and in the process of debate, we would find solutions to our problems.”

Citing the break-up of Sudan and the Soviet Union, Osinbajo noted that no country had been able to resolve the nationality question, stressing that the government was working to achieve equity, justice and fairness.

He warned against taking up arms, as Afghanistan had been fighting a war for over 40 years without resolution.

“We want everyone to continue with this debate across the country, in boardrooms and conferences. This is what we need and not war. We are going to observe and take note of all your opinions, and be rest assured that we are hearing you loud and clear and that something will be done accordingly to make this country respectable and peaceful,” Osinbajo declared.

However, to move the nation forward, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, said the report of the 2014 national conference could not be consigned to the trash bin.

According to him, the future of Nigeria lies in the implementation of the reports of the conference, convened by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Falae who spoke on the topic: Restructuring Nigeria: Options and Strategies,” at a meeting of the Conscience of Yoruba Race, held at Premier Hotel, Ibadan, said the present government might not be positively predisposed to negotiating the unity of Nigeria, but the currency the debate about restructuring has made it critical for it to be discussed if Nigeria is to have a future.

“What we have come to discuss is a big subject in Nigeria. Not long ago, the new president, my friend, said it was a non-issue and that the report of the national confab had not been read.

“But that subject has become topical, and like I said in my recent interview, the restructuring of Nigeria via the report of the national conference is the future of Nigeria if Nigeria has a future.

“The options for restructuring are many. We went to Abuja for a regional agenda, but on getting there the Middle Belters were scared of it. But I am happy that in recent times, they are at the forefront of what the region shall be. I asked my friend, Jerry Gana what had happened; he said they had had a change of mind. Change must come but not the partisan change that has no meaning. Massive devolution of powers, responsibilities and resources must take place from the centre to the federating units.

“I want to add that the devolution will not stop at the old regional capitals of power. It must continue to the states created in the regions and the local government, which is where our people reside.”

The administrator of the Conscience of the Yoruba Race, Akogun Omololu, who said the group started as a social media group for the mobilisation, argued that it smacked of injustice for the government to insist that the unity of the country could not be negotiated, adding that the colonial rulers even allowed the negotiation of terms of governance. (The Sun)

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House Of Representatives Will Address Issue Of Restructuring, Says Gbajiabiamila


Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajiabiamila (Lagos-APC), says the House would address the calls for the restructuring of the country.

Gbajiabiamila made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

The lawmaker, who frowned at the approach adopted by some groups to press home their demands, said the unity and stability of the country could not be compromised.

“This is a matter the house will address very soon and we are all concerned and we cannot bury our heads in the sand (and pretend nothing is going on around us) like the proverbial ostrich (would do).

“The National Assembly as an institution has a role to play on the issue of whether you want to call it restructuring or reengineering – however you want to describe it.

“And very soon national assembly will come up with a position.

“We are discussing it, we are talking with stakeholders behind the scenes and it will be tabled at some point hopefully before we go for another break,’’ Gbajabiamila said.

Meanwhile, Hon. Uchechukwu Nam-Obi (Rivers-PDP) has condemned the idea of secession that any part of the country might be considering.

According to him, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

He, however, called for true federalism, saying that equity and justice were the panaceas to the agitation in various quarters.

Federalism is the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government (the central or ‘federal’ government) with regional governments (provincial, state, cantonal, territorial or other sub-unit governments) in a single political system.

Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the founding example of modern federalism of the United States of America under the Constitution of 1787, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established.

It can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status.

Nigerian federalism began in 1954 under the tutelage of the British colonial authorities.

The founding fathers of the country opted for federalism because of their belief that federal states have the intrinsic structural and institutional capacity to accommodate diversity.

The multifaceted differences that exist among the peoples of Nigeria, as well as the gargantuan size of the country, made the choice of federalism a necessity.

However, the problems inherent in amalgamating myriad different peoples and regions continue to provoke debate and controversy, which are often directed at the country’s federal system.

 “The federating units must be happy and the happiness must start with justice, happiness and equity.

“Anybody who thinks Nigeria is a contraption will have to think again.

“We have had talks, we have had talk shows and all of that, about the implementation because these things will keep coming up again and again if we do not address them and we need to address them within the ambit of the law.

“We don’t have to run away from restructuring, but we have to understand what it really means.

“Restructuring is the way to go for Nigeria.

“What we want is to live in such a way that we have respect for one another and in such a way that there is no domination by one group.
“We need to have mutual respect and we need to sit down and say this is a Nigeria we need to bequeath to our children,’’ the lawmaker said. (NAN)

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Olisa Agbakoba Throws His Support Behind Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB, Condemns Restructuring Calls

Image result for olisa agbakoba
The former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), on Tuesday, condemned the call for the country’s restructuring, describing it as a political calculation by the elite to grab power in 2019.
Agbakoba justified the demand for self-determination by the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra, which is seeking a referendum to achieve same.
Agbakoba, who rejected the declaration by acting President Yemi Osinbajo that Nigeria’s sovereignty was not negotiable, said IPOB’s quest for self-determination was lawful and found justification in Article 1 (2) of the United Nations Charter and Article 20 (1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, to which Nigeria was a signatory.
He said the Federal Government must immediately initiate a process to put the continued existence of Nigeria as a sovereign entity to a debate, stressing that restructuring was not the road map to federalism.
Agbakoba addressed journalists in Lagos on Tuesday at his Ikoyi office on “The future of Nigeria.”
He said, “I see every politician now says restructure but I disagree. I also think the acting President was wrong to say that Nigeria is insoluble. There is nothing sacrosanct about Nigeria. It can blow up anytime. It’s an artificial creation, which was made in 1914 and when it was amalgamated we were not there. It was amalgamated in the interest of the colonialists.”
Agbakoba said it was unfortunate that since 1914 when amalgamation was thrust on the people, there had not been any home-grown process to resolve the will of the people to co-exist.
Agbakoba argued that the Federal Government goofed by charging Nnamdi Kanu with a treasonable felony for seeking self-determination.
He said, “For me, the best that he can be charged with is an unlawful assembly and an act capable of breaching public peace. Those are the things he can be charged with, but not treason; because Nigeria is a signatory to the United Nations’ Charter, which recognises the right for self-determination.”
When asked whether he aligned with IPOB’s call for a referendum towards self-determination, Agbakoba, who said he had nothing against Kanu, responded, “Absolutely! What is sacrosanct about Nigeria? Nothing. What is sacrosanct about Nigeria is our agreement to be part of Nigeria. I’m not suggesting that Nigeria should not exist but to say that Nigeria’s sovereignty is not negotiable, nobody should talk about it.”
Agbakoba, who was a delegate at the 2014 National Conference, also said implementing the resolutions of the conference would not quell the various secessionist agitations in the country. (

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