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Five Persons Can’t Decide For Us, Igbo People React To S’East Governors For Disowning IPOB, Secession |RN

By Ochogwu Sunday

There has been outrage amongst Igbos following the recent pronouncement by the southeastern Governors who met in Enugu State on Saturday.

DAILY POST has reported that the five governors in the region, on Wednesday disowned the secessionist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), stating that the group does not speak for the Igbos.

Chairman of the Southeast Governors Forum, David Umahi, who stated this while addressing newsmen shortly after the meeting, said they believe in one Nigeria.

The meeting was targeted at proffering solutions for the current insecurity ravaging the region particularly Imo, Abia, Anambra and Ebonyi State.

“We condemn in totality, the activities of violent secessionist groups in the South East and elsewhere.

“We firmly proclaim that we do not support them, they do not speak for the South East.

“The impression that South-East leaders are silent over some of our youths’ agitations for secession is not correct.

“South-East Governors, Ohanaeze President, National Assembly members, notable leaders had come out publicly many times in the past to speak against such agitations.

“In order not to mismanage the unfortunate situation, South-East leaders have set up a committee to engage such youths to stop and allow elders to speak to address such fears,” he said.

Reacting, some indigenes of the region took to their social media handles to lambast the governors for taking decisions that do not represent the common voice of their electorates.

Here are some of the reactions from Facebook:

Omesi Bonn Pillar said, “Southeast governors forum cannot speak for the youths and of course we have decided to exit Nigeria whether or not the governors want it.

“The said governors have mortgaged our future for so long until the advent of IPOB which has come to rescue and set us free by process of giving us Biafra—and that we have aligned with. We are asking for a referendum in order to settle everything”.

According to Ifeanyi Ejimkonye, “It’s quite unfortunate, disheartening and irritating that south east governors can officially disown IPOB and support one Nigeria with the high level of marginalization just because of their selfish interest. I am so ashamed of so-called Southeast Governors.”

“You people should continue showcasing stupidity, greediness and insensitivity. It’s now obvious that you people are not speaking for Igbos. Chukwu Okike Abiama will punish you people one after the other.”

Bob Eluwa: “Miserable five persons’ opinion doesn’t matter concerning the future of about 40 million people”.

Victor Mbaka, “South east governors nobody is begging you people to support us agitating for Biafra only God support we are asking for because I know the problem we are facing in the South East from you people call governors but as far as everybody is still alive you people call governors most reap it, all the blood of Innocent youth you people will face the judgement when time comes”.

The situation is not different from Twitter as many who, despite the ban on the microblogging platform, expressed their opinions using the medium.

DAILY POST compiled some of the reactions as follows:

@Suitzio: “Instead of them after a long deliberation, we’ll be engaging our people in the coming weeks to know exactly what they want, as it appears Nigeria is drifting off course. For now we urge our people home and abroad to be calm and work for the peace and progress of SE”.

@Stevedameze: “Who are these “Southeast Governors?” Do we really recognize them? I am not sure if they know that they don’t speak for the Igbos. They’ve lost any credibility & a vote of no-confidence has been passed on them. The so-called governors don’t even have a word of their own”.

@Nj99625368: “An adult do not need the consent of his parent to become a Gay/Lesbian. The so-called Leaders must understand that their consent is never needed for us to have a different political opinion. It’s called “Right to choose just as they have chosen which party to belong”.

@KennyAry1: “When was the last time any of our politicians listened to the yearning of the people and acted on their behalf? The last time I checked these men have been representing themselves and not their people. What do y’all expect when elections in black nations aren’t ‘election’ but ‘selection’.

@CharleslyObim0: “This is meaningless. Have they ever supported #IPOB #MaziNnamdiKanu. Leaders that tried to kill their own son by inviting the enemies to kill him and many others in his fathers compound in the name of python dance.”

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JUST IN: Middlebelt Releases Country’s Flag, Currency, Coat Of Arm, Calls It Midwest Republic |The Republican News

Midwest Republic Flag and Coat of Arm

by Ada Ada

Following the country’s high level of instability, the citizens of Middle Belt have reportedly issued their own flag, currency, and coat of arms, according to reports.

Hundred Lalas
Fifty Lalas

The Unknown Gunmen had carried out a number of attacks prior to this. However, the new administration is doing everything possible to combat insecurity in all parts of the world.

Five Lalas
One Lala

The current administration, on the other hand, has urged Nigerians not to give up on the nation. Middle-Belt people, according to a source, dubbed their new country the “Midwest Republic.”

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NEC Affirms Nigeria’s Unity, Seeks For Consultation Over Agitations, Denys Printing Of Naira For March Allocation |RN

Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

NEC STRONGLY AFFIRMS NIGERIA’S UNITY, DIRECTS STATE-BY-STATE CONSULTATIONS

■ Unanimously debunks claim Naira was printed to support March allocation



Welcoming recommendations of a national townhall meeting on Enhanced Security and National Unity recently held in Kaduna, the National Economic Council (NEC) rose from its monthly meeting today strongly affirming the unity of the country, emphasizing that staying as one country remains the best option for Nigeria.

The Council’s position was among resolutions adopted at the 4th 2021 meeting of NEC, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, which also had in attendance State Governors, FCT Minister and the Central Bank Governor. Also at today’s meeting were the Finance, Transportation, Information, Aviation and Water Resources Ministers, and the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning.

While emphasizing the need to address the problems of agitation in parts of the country, Council noted that “these agitations are common with countries with huge and diverse populations like ours and it is important not to allow the minority to hijack the mainstream of opinion.”

The Council also directed States “to hold consultations and dialogues on the issues and report back by the next meeting of Council so that a firm position would be taken on the recommendations of the Townhall many of which it already welcomed.”

NEC urged all States (even where there are no agitations) to hold wider consultations to have diverse opinions on the burning issues, taking into consideration local peculiarities and report back to NEC the outcome of the consultations.

The Council resolved that after the planned State-wide consultations a national consensus would be reached on the recommendations of the national town hall meeting held in Kaduna which included the adoption of State Police among other matters.

Taking a position on the alleged printing of N60 billion after receiving presentations from the Minister of Finance and the Central Bank Governor, the National Economic Council (NEC) stated that the claim as reported in the press is outrightly false, affirming that no money was printed to shore up allocation for the month of March.

The Governors, having critically reviewed the matter, unanimously expressed satisfaction with clarifications made by the NGF represented by its Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Finance Minister, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed and the Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele.  While the Finance Minister categorically debunked that Naira was printed to back up allocation last month, the CBN Governor fully supported the position of the minister, and the Chairman of NGF also noted that he knew no such thing happened at all.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS 115TH NEC MEETING:

BUDGET AND NATIONAL PLANNING MINISTER TO BRIEF ON FINANCE UPDATES:

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning gave update to Council on the under listed accounts as follows:

1.     EXCESS CRUDE ACCOUNT (ECA)

Balance as at 22nd April 2021 stood at N72, 413,008.60

2.    STABILIZATION ACCOUNT

Balance as at 22nd April, 2021 was put at N23,299,008,799.06

3.    NATURAL RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT ACCOUNT

Balance as at 22nd April, 2021 was N77, 742,012,342.87

BUDGET SUPPORT
On the budget support facility, Finance Minister observed that the deductions for repayment by States are meant to resume in May. The Governors however requested for an extension considering the economic challenges in the States.

The Central Bank Governor explained the technical challenges involved should there be a further postponement of the deductions. The Vice President then directed that a meeting be held soon after today’s NEC where the issue would be properly considered and a decision reached.

The VP will chair the meeting and the Governors would be represented by Governor Kayode Fayemi, while the Finance Minister and the Central Bank Governor both of whom attended the meeting today will also participate.

Council also received a presentation on the current status of water, sanitation, and hygiene services level across the country as revealed by the 2019 WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH-NORM II) survey jointly carried out by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and National Bureau of Statistics in collaboration with UNICEF.

Under the 2019 survey, six modules were adopted: (1) Households, comprising Water Quality assessments and household WASH; (2) Water Facilities, (3) WASH in Educational Facilities, (4) WASH in Health facilities and (5) WASH in Public places (markets and motor parks), and (6) Water Utilities and Consumer Satisfaction Survey.

Key findings from 2019 WASH-NORM survey:

The percentage of the population with access to basic water supply services has steadily increased from 67% in 2015to 68% in 2018, and 70% in 2019. In terms of population figures, these changes equate to about 9 million more people gaining access to basic water supply services between 2018 and 2019. However, only14% of the population has access to safely managed drinking water supply services, which means that up to 171 million Nigerians are still off the SDG target 6.1.

On access to sanitation, indicators across the country show a slight improvement as 44% of the population were found to have access to basic sanitation services in 2019 compared to 42% in 2018. Only 17% of the population use improved sanitation facilities that have proper handwashing facilities with soap.
The number of people practicing open defecation marginally changed from 24% in 2018 to 23% in 2019 meaning that about 46 million people are still defecating in the open.

About 27% of markets and motor parks have access to basic water supply services. Accessibility of persons living with disabilities is very low at 17%. About a quarter of markets and motor parks (24%) have access to basic sanitation services and slightly more than half (53%) of markets and motor parks do not have toilets for public use.
28 out of 36 States plus FCT have urban water utilities out of which only 16 are functional and producing water for the people.  The functional 16 State Water Agencies (SWA) have a total number of 1,171 water works which 41% is operational.

Council, therefore, welcomed the key findings from the 2019 WASH-NORM survey and noted that the Ministry has commenced the third round of WASH-NORM Survey in 2021 and is hereby urging all the States and FCT to support the process.

PRESENTATION ON NATIONAL AVIATION INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT PLAN, PROSPECTS OF LEVERAGING PRIVATE SECTOR CAPACITY ON INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT BY SENATOR HADI SIRIKA, MINISTER OF AVIATION

The Minister stated that the Federal Ministry of Aviation is saddled with the overall responsibility for the formulation and management of aviation policies and was given the following mandates:

1.     Conclude the Concession of Murtala Muhammed International Airport (Lagos), Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (Abuja), Aminu Kano International Airport (Kano) and Port-Harcourt International Airport (Port-Harcourt).

2.     Implement a plan for effective maintenance and optimal use of Airport facilities across the Country.

3.     Ensure and facilitate the Establishment of a National Carrier.

4.     Actively collaborate with the Private sector to create a large number of well-paying jobs for Nigerian youths.

5.     Implement a strategy towards the realization of Mr. President’s June 12 promise to take 100 Million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

1.     Concession of four International Airports – Lagos, Abuja, PH and Kano

2.     Implement a plan for effective maintenance and optimal use of all Airport facilities across the Country

3.     Ensure and facilitate the establishment of a National Carrier

4.     Actively collaborate with the Private sector to create a large number of well-paying jobs for Nigerian youths

5.     Implement a strategy towards the realization of Mr. President’s June 12 promise to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years

Council Resolution:

The Minister should make available copies of the presentations to states so that Council will have a fuller understanding.

PRESENTATION ON THE PROGRESS REPORT OF RAIL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA BY RT. HON. CHIBUIKE ROTIMI AMAECHI, HONORABLE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT

Council was informed on how Rail Development was stalled in the 60s until 1986, when the Federal Government of Nigeria commenced the construction of 326 km standard gauge (1,435m) rail lines phase 1 from Itakpe – Ajaokuta – Warri.

Furthermore, rail infrastructure development halted until the present Administration came on-board and brought to reality the railway modernization plan of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) by commencing the implementation of the 1,367 km Lagos – Kano railway lines. The outcome of the present government intervention includes:
Completed and made operational the 186 km Abuja – Kaduna Standard gauge rail lines;
Commencement of 185.5 km Lagos-Ibadan new Double standard gauge rail lines in 2016 and is almost completed;
Completed and made operational the 302 km Itakpe – Ajaokuta – Warri standard gauge rail lines; and
Connected the Apapa Ports by Rail, while that of Warri Port has been concessioned.

THE 25 – YEAR RAILWAY STRATEGIC VISION
The Federal Government in its determination to revive and modernize the Railway System in line with the 25-year Strategic Vision, adopted a Systematic dual approach.

This entails the rehabilitation of the entire existing narrow gauge lines simultaneously with the development of standard gauge lines.

The Ministry/NRC is rigorously following the strategic vision in developing its short and medium-term plans
KEY CHALLENGES

Finance

Inadequate Funding

Operational challenges
Insufficient locomotives, coaches and wagons, leading to congestion
Obsolete Machineries and workshop equipment
Access to only two seaports and none to airports
Lack of capacity to recover encroached premises and rental debts from government organisations

Security
Porosity of rail corridors and level crossings
Vulnerability of outdoor Signalling & Telecommunication installations to vandalism

Legal and Legislative
The Railway Act of 1955 does not encourage Public Private Partnership.

Council welcomed the presentation and looked forward to further collaboration with the FG on this matter.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
22nd April 2021

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JUST IN: UK To Grant Asylum To IPOB/MASSOB Members |The Republican News

Biafrans members

BY BRIDGET EDOKWE

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has released new guidelines to its decision makers on how to consider and grant asylum applications by members of Biafran secessionist groups, TheCable can report.

Asylum is to be granted to “persecuted” members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the Nigerian government, and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).

IPOB was formed in 2012 by Nnamdi Kanu and is believed to be an offshoot of MASSOB, which was founded in 1999 by Ralph Uwazuruike.

Both are campaigning for the secession of mainly the south-east but also several other ethnic nationalities from Nigeria.

In the just-released ‘Country Policy and Information Note Nigeria: Biafran secessionist groups’ seen by TheCable, the UKVI, a division of the Home Office, directed its decision makers to consider if a person “who actively and openly supports IPOB is likely to be at risk of arrest and detention, and ill-treatment which is likely to amount to persecution”.

According to the guidelines, the decision makers “must also consider if the [Nigerian] government’s actions are acts of prosecution, not persecution. Those fleeing prosecution or punishment for a criminal offence are not normally refugees. Prosecution may, however, amount to persecution if it involves victimisation in its application by the authorities”.

An example of persecution, the UKVI said, is “if it is the vehicle or excuse for or if only certain groups are prosecuted for a particular offence and the consequences of that discrimination are sufficiently severe. Punishment which is cruel, inhuman or degrading (including punishment which is out of all proportion to the offence committed) may also amount to persecution”.

They are also to “consider each case on its facts to determine if the person is likely to be of interest to the [Nigerian] government and whether this is for the legitimate grounds of prosecution which is proportionate and non-discriminatory”.

BURDEN OF PROOF

The onus is on the applicants to demonstrate that they will be “at risk of persecution or serious harm” in Nigeria, according to the guidelines.

In particular, the decision makers are to consider each case on its facts, taking into account: profile, size, and organisation of the group/organisation to which the person belongs and its activities
whether a person in the UK would wish to continue their activism if returned to Nigeria (if not, why not)
whether the group/organisation has a presence in Nigeria as well as outside of the country and any evidence that it is being monitored by the government
person’s profile and political activities (including those online) and relevant documentary or other evidence
profile and activities of family members
past treatment.
The UK acknowledges that the Nigerian government has a responsibility to maintain law and order, “to prevent and protect the public against acts of violence”.

It said where supporters or members of MASSOB or IPOB “have incited or used violence to disrupt public order, the government may have legitimate grounds to arrest and prosecute those people”.

“However, where the government has arrested and detained persons who, for example, peacefully participate in demonstrations and has then charged them with treason or the person is subjected to periods of detention in degrading or inhuman conditions, such treatment is unlikely to be fair or proportionate, and is likely to amount to persecution,” the guidelines noted.

The UK defines ‘Biafra’ as an area “in the south-east of Nigeria that comprises the states of Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, Enugu and Anambra. The area is inhabited principally by Igbo (Ibo) people who are one of the country’s 3 largest ethnic groups”.

EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS APPLICATIONS

The UK, which is a signatory to several human rights and refugee conventions, believes Biafran secessionist agitations are covered by one or more of the following policies:

A person is reasonably likely to face a real risk of persecution or serious harm
The general humanitarian situation is so severe as to breach Article 15(b) of European Council Directive 2004/83/EC (the Qualification Directive)/Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights as transposed in paragraph 339C and 339CA(iii) of the Immigration Rules
The security situation presents a real risk to a civilian’s life or person such that it would breach Article 15(c) of the Qualification Directive as transposed in paragraph 339C and 339CA(iv) of the Immigration Rules
A person is able to obtain protection from the state (or quasi state bodies)
A person is reasonably able to relocate within a country or territory
A claim is likely to justify granting asylum, humanitarian protection or other form of leave, and
If a claim is refused, it is likely or unlikely to be certifiable as ‘clearly unfounded’ under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.
However, decision makers are directly to still consider all claims on an individual basis, taking into account each case’s specific facts.

TheCable has contacted the Nigerian government for comment.

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I’m In War With Nnamdi Kanu Because I Don’t Want Nigeria To Break Up —Pa Adebanjo |The Republican News

L-R: Nnamdi Kanu and Pa Ayo Adebanjo

An Elderstateman and Afenifere Leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, has explained that his grouse about the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is his insistence on the secession of the South-East region in the country.

Adebanjo said that breaking away is never a challenge confronting the country but the constitution.

The Afenifere leader said this during the Never Again Conference 2021 themed: 51 Years After The Nigerian-Biafran Civil War organised by the Nzuko Umunna of the Igbo Think Thank, held via the zoom on Thursday afternoon.

He noted that the constitution currently in use is not a representative of everyone in the country, adding that it gives so much power to the North and this speaks to why they want to be in power for a very long time.

“I am in war with Nnamdi Kanu because I don’t want this country to break.

“Instead of thinking of break-up, we should tackle the root cause of the problem.

“The root cause of the problem is our constitution which is not a true reflection of the yearnings of all the people in the country.

“Now that the North is in control, they want to continue to be there because they are enjoying from the lopsided and fraudulent constitution.

“The Constitution has made our President the most powerful president in the world,” He said.

Meanwhile, the Elderstateman said that there would not have been agitation for secession if the constitution had reflected an aggregated opinion of all and sundry in the country.

“If there is a constitution that is a true reflection of everyone in the country, there will be no agitation.

“There will be no ground for Nnamdi Kanu to want to get away,” he said.

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The Issue Of Biafra Is Beyond You To Decide Alone —Prof. Obiozor Warns Nnamdi Kanu |The Republican News

Ohanaeze President General, Prof. George Obiozor warns Nnamdi Kanu that the issue of Biafra is beyond him to decide alone

Prof. George Obiozor, the new President General Ohanaeze Ndigbo has cautioned Nnamdi Kanu to understand that Igbo nation isn’t at war with anyone.
The Igbo leader made this known during a World Press Conference at Ohaneze Ndigbo Secretariat in Enugu on Wednesday, 20th January, 2021.

He warned that Biafra Nation is beyond Nnamdi Kanu to decide alone and advised that all utterances and actions that put the Igbos in harms way must be avoided as Diplomacy is the best way to go.

In his words: “The Igbo Nation in Nigeria isn’t at war with Nigeria and has nothing pending before any institutional authority in Nigeria or diaspora that demands a separate existence from Nigeria.

” Nnamdi Kanu is one of us and he must listen to some of us for several reasons. The fact and realities are that the issues of Biafra are above and beyond his capacity to decide. He must listen because he’s one of us and we’re all in this dilemma together. And our mutual and collective responsibilities are sacred and must be respected.

“Consequently, all actions or utterances that put Ndigbo in present and imminent danger or harm’s way must be avoided.

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Don’t Boycott 2019 Elections, House Committee Warns South-East Residents |RN

The House of Representatives Committee on Electoral and Political Matters has advised residents of the South-East to shun agitations by pro-Biafra activists for the boycott of 2019 general election.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Dr. Chukwuemeka Ujam led a four-man team of the committee on an oversight visit to the Independent National Electoral Commission in Enugu State on Thursday.

Ujam, who represents Nkanu East/Nkanu West Federal Constituency, spoke in reaction to calls by some pro-Biafra groups for residents to boycott the election.

He urged the people residing in the South-East to participate actively in the election as a measure of enthroning good governance through which they can demand for redress on their perceived marginalisation.

He said the activities of the pro-Biafra groups were major setbacks in the various political efforts to let South-East residents vote massively in previous elections, so that their votes could count.

Ujam called on the people to “exhibit total sense of maturity by ignoring such calls’’.
The lawmaker urged the people to relay the message of mass participation in their respective constituencies.

He said such problems which hinged on voters’ apathy would be tackled head on this time around across the zone through sensitisation and enlightenment campaigns.

Ujam, said that the visit was to ascertain INEC level of preparedness ahead of the 2019 elections, assuring that the committee would tackle all issues raised by principal staff of the commission in the state.

Earlier, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Enugu State, Dr Emeka Ononamadu, appraised the result of the just-concluded Continuous Voter Registration in the state as very encouraging.

Ononamadu noted that INEC registered over 549,326 new voters during the exercise, but harped on the cancerous problem of `voters’ apathy’ in the South-East based on Biafra sentiments as a source of worry.

He also narrated the internal problems of lack of water and inconsistent power supply as some of the major problems confronting INEC offices in the state.      (NAN)

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How We Stopped Niger-Delta Militancy, IPOB Plot – Osinbajo |RN

Yemi-Osinbajo4

 

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

  • Nigeria’s foundation deficient, threatened – Monarchs
  • Say non-adoption of confab reports disheartening

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has singled out traditional rulers as the brains behind the successful stoppage of Niger Delta militancy and the truncation of the secession plot by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South East, leading to relative peace in the two regions.

This is even as Traditional Rulers in the country have expressed described Nigeria’s foundation as deficient and threatened.

Speaking on Wednesday at the opening of the 10th National Development Summit of Nigerian Traditional Rulers in Abuja, Osinbajo noted that the monarchs have played crucial roles at the point that the country was threatened by Niger Delta militancy and the secessionist group, IPOB in the South East.

The Vice President challenged monarchs in Nigeria to take greater responsibility in resolving conflicts in the country, saying dialogue and engagements are just as important as law enforcement in tackling disputes.

According to him, “traditional rulers were better placed to champion this vision of continuing dialogue and engagement because of the respect you command from the widest possible range of stakeholders and parties.

“Dialogue and engagement are just as important as law enforcement, especially in situations triggered by misunderstandings and disagreements between people and communities who have existed peacefully side-by-side for centuries.”

Osinbajo added that although security agencies are critical elements in checking criminality and ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice, overlooking the place of non-coercive conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms would do a great disservice to the people of Nigeria.

“You are also repositories of important intelligence that can be useful in detecting suspicious or criminal activity. The partnership between traditional authority and government is therefore crucial,” he said.

He said it was against this background that government co-opted the monarchs in its approach in dealing with Nigeria’s most pressing security issues in the Niger Delta and in the Middle Belt.

“I can say without fear of contradiction that the New Vision for the Niger Delta would not have happened without the support of traditional rulers and leaders in the region.

We have made it a priority to meet with them and carry them along, and ask for their wisdom and their support in resolving issues with stakeholders and communities. This was also our approach in the wake of secessionist agitation by IPOB in the South East.”

He added that the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has been engaging traditional rulers in the flashpoint regions, counting on the influence they wield to chart a new and collective course of understanding, instead of the default approach of resorting to violence as a way of dealing with grievances.

“As custodians of our rich history, we also believe that you have a duty to remind us of the things we have got right in the past, but from which, for some reason or another, we have departed from, to our detriment,” Osinbajo said.

He noted said the traditional cultures have long perfected timeless dispute-resolution and community-engagement mechanisms that are now under threat of being lost forever.

“As traditional rulers, your forebears and ancestors were the initiators and implementers of many of these mechanisms, and our cultural institutions have evolved ways of passing this knowledge down the generations – even if we have not been paying attention as we should.

“May I therefore most respectfully ask that you take this as a call to you, as royal fathers, as traditional rulers, as elder statesmen, to commit yourselves to deepen your partnership with government, to achieve our shared goal of laying the foundation of peace and security that will guarantee true greatness for Nigeria.”

In his welcome address, Chairman of Governing Council of the National Development Summit of Traditional Rulers, the Ovie of Uvwie Kingdom of Delta State, His Royal Majesty, Emmanuel Abe called for more roles for traditional rulers by the government.

He said it was disheartening that the constitutional review embarked upon by the National Assembly had remained inclusive for over a decade, while resolutions at the recent national conference, have not been considered for adoption in the interest of national survival and progress.

Abe said the country needs a good leader that will create jobs and build bridges, adding that as a result of the security challenges in the country, most traditional rulers were unable to attend the summit that started with over 400 members when it was inaugurated by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua ten years ago.

The Monarch said that the country has incredible potentials and uncommon ideals that could make it soar into greatness, adding that Nigeria was not meant to crawl or stagnate.

According to him, “Here is a country born with incredible potentials, established on goodness and trust, with uncommon ideals and dreams that could make her soar into high altitudes of greatness. Like the eagles, Nigeria was born with powerful wings, in the form of enormous natural endowments. Nigeria was never meant to crawl or stagnate.

“Whatever we may say or do, the fact remains that our foundation as a nation as designed by our founding fathers has been visibly deficient and threatening. Administrations come and go but none has been courageous enough to address conclusively the issue of structural flaws.

“We cannot do anything against the truth. The only way the eagle will fly is for it to realize that it is gifted with better wings than other birds and make a decision to use the wings effectively.

“We must resolve to build a new nation on a foundation of equity, justice, fairness, labour and high moral standards. This is what makes the United States of America and other advanced economies to tick.

“It is amazing how constitutional review has remained inclusive for over a decade at the National Assembly in spite of the exigency of the matter. It is equally disheartening that the resolutions of all recent national conferences were never considered for adoption in the interest of national survival and progress, the huge funds sunk in these projects notwithstanding.”  (The Sun)

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2019: Nigerians Must Be Ready for Revolution, Says Balarabe Musa |RN

By ONWUKA NZESHI

 Balarabe-Musa

Former Governor of Kaduna State during the Second Republic, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, is one politician who is down to earth any time he airs his views on the state of the nation. In this interview with ONWUKA NZESHI, he delves into various contemporary political issues. Excerpts…

 

What is your take on the recent apology rendered by the PDP to Nigerians?
It is a sensible political reaction to the allegations against them. What the PDP has done is sensible. It improves its image in the eyes of the public. It means they can admit mistakes and hopefully, they can correct the mistakes.

But the ruling party has dismissed the apology as a hoax that should not be taken seriously
No. The thing is this, APC should not say a thing like this because whatever mistakes PDP made, the APC is making the same mistakes, with even more serious consequences for the country.

Are you saying that Nigerians should forgive the PDP for its mistakes?
Yes, honestly, we should forgive them. They should give them another chance. But that doesn’t mean that I am supporting the PDP or supporting the APC. No. I am just being fair to them and everybody.

What is your reaction to the Third Force springing up outside the main political parties?
We have been having such political coalitions with various names, particularly after the Second Republic, but let us give them a chance too. Let us not dismiss them with a wave of the hand but let us be careful in dealing with them. They have not promised us what their predecessors did not promise us. For instance, we’ve had groups that proposed mega alliances and mega parties and those who promised to change Nigeria in various ways.
Apart from this Obasanjo group, there is still another group which has not appeared but maybe they are afraid of appearing. They are a group of secessionists from both the North and South. These groups include the Afenifere in the South West; the Middle Belt Forum in North Central and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in the far North.

These are socio-cultural organisations in different regions. Why are you calling them secessionist groups?
Of course, they are all secessionist groups. If you know the history of every one of them including the Ohaneze, you will agree with me that they are secessionist groups. I am telling you what they are in reality. In the case of ACF, they are not so vocal about it but you know they have been secessionists right from the beginning. They don’t openly call for secession from Nigeria but they want Nigeria on their terms and if they can’t get it, they must secede. The same thing with the Afenifere; the same thing with Ohaneze Ndigbo and the other groups. The philosophy of these groups is that their ethnic or regional agenda must come first and Nigeria comes second. If they can’t get Nigeria on their terms, they will rather break away.

This is strange. Do you really believe that these groups are not socio-cultural organisations?
They are more than socio-cultural organisations; they are basically secessionists. They wear the toga of the socio-cultural organisation but basically, they are secessionist groups because, for them, it is not Nigeria first. It is their area first, Nigeria second. That is the truth.
I know you are surprised at what I have said but that’s the truth. The political parties are the only groups working for Nigeria. No matter how much you dislike the PRO, APC and the other political parties, they don’t champion the cause of one particular area, they champion the cause of one united Nigeria. I call them secessionist groups because they want a Nigeria created only on their own terms.

What could be responsible for people placing sectional interests above national interest?
It is a major challenge. Every country has nearly the same problems as we have in Nigeria but other concentrates on their national interest first and whatever sectional interest they have is secondary because they know that they need to have a country first before they pursue their individual interests. For instance, if Nigeria breaks up, do you think there will be anything left in Nigeria?
If the secessionists, particularly the ACF, Ohaneze and Afenifere, the three biggest groups; if each of them gets what they want then what will be left of Nigeria? If the ACF does not get Nigeria on its terms, they could secede. But after that what are they going to do? Is there really anything new they can bring to the table? After all, they have been involved in the governance of Nigeria right from the beginning. I think you know the leaders of these groups, ask them what contributions have they made when they had the opportunity to preside over the affairs of Nigeria. The same thing you should ask the Afenifere. Most of them have been involved in Nigerian politics right from the beginning. What have they done specifically for the West?
I will give you an example. We have now a political party solely for the East and that is APGA. What have they done for the East particularly? It is a regional political party based on ethnic sentiments. The party has even won governorship election in Anambra State and has been ruling the state since the party was formed. Can they point at anything significant that the party has done in furtherance of the interest of the South East more than the other political parties? I mean other parties such as NPN, PDP, APC and so on. Can they name any distinguishing achievement of any of these ethnic and secessionist groups? No. Nothing.

How do we get over this sectionalism and enthrone nationalism in Nigeria?
First of all, let us have a true Nigeria. The root cause of all these is the social, economic and system controlling all developments in the country and the political leadership produced by the system.
Both our economic and social systems are based on self-interest first and public interest is secondary or even non-existent. Let us change the system and the political leadership produced by the system. We need to have a system based on public interest first and enlightened self-interest, second.
In addition, let us by any means possible work towards free, fair and transparent elections capable of establishing a legitimate government in Nigeria.
Thirdly, let us begin the whole process by re-defining the leading role of the government in the economy to ensure peace, justice, equality, the dignity of the human person and progressive even development of the whole country. These are possible things to achieve and if we do these things, then we will be able to eliminate these divisive tendencies.
All countries that are advanced in terms of national unity, peace and progress have done what I suggested that we should do. If we adopt this approach we would have eliminated a lot of problems confronting us as a country.
Even the advanced countries have not solved all their problems but that has not resulted in the collapse of those countries or made it impossible to develop. Take for example Britain, Germany, United States and the rest of them, have some of these sectional tendencies but it has not made it impossible to govern with national unity, democracy and progress.

What is your reading of the political dynamics that will shape 2019?
Unless we work hard; unless those of us who are conscious enough, who have the vision, who are committed and who want to see a united, democratic and progressive Nigeria, make every sacrifice to bring these dreams about, the present negative state of the nation will continue until it leads to… well, we hope a constitutional revolution. If the constitutional revolution becomes impossible, we may have a proletarian revolution. These are the realities of life.

How do we achieve this constitutional revolution?
We should aim at solving our problems to avoid a distraction or disruption of social order. We should face our problems with a constitutional revolutionary approach. Constitutional revolution is possible, by which I mean, let the National Assembly, states houses of assembly and even the legislative arms of the local government councils be really what they ought to be. Let them work for the people and not for themselves. Let them be revolutionary in their work and by so doing they can bring about changes in the constitution which will enable us to solve our problem constitutionally or legally and without disruption of social order.
But if this becomes impossible, then the inevitable will happen which is a proletarian revolution. Check the history of all the advanced countries particularly the western countries we know are better: Britain, France, United States, Germany etc. They are today what they are because they got themselves involved in a constitutional revolution. Remember what happened in these countries before they got to where they are today. The American Civil War, during which they fought over two issues -slave trade and British colonial policy. Britain itself had to deal with a monarchy to enable parliament to function. The same thing happened in France and Germany. These were revolutions but constitutional ones.

If we are to embark on a constitutional revolution in Nigeria, what issues should we be tackling?
The issues are so many. The issue of restructuring will be part of it. Whether there is a revolution or not, restructuring is a normal thing. The only mistake in Nigeria is the misuse of the idea of restructuring which unnecessarily frightens some people. Every person who wants to know whether he is going accordingly or not; everybody who wants to find out whether what he is doing is right or wrong will have to review it. Restructuring means reviewing a system. For instance, we have lasted 100 years since the creation of Nigeria. We have adopted various types of government, adopted so many policies but now we see a lot of problems like corruption and waste of economic resources, political anarchy and the rest of them. Why should we keep suffering in these problems for 100 years without going back to find out what went wrong? How can we change things for the better? That is simply the goal of restructuring. It is only the political manoeuvres who want to manipulate things for selfish purposes that have made the idea of restructuring bad and frightening. But in truth, it means a holistic review of the state of the nation. What is wrong with that?   (New Telegraph)

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Spain Takeover Will Escalate Crisis, Catalan Leader Warns |The Republican News

Catalonia’s leader, Carles Puigdemont warned, on Thursday, that the crisis over his drive for independence would escalate if Spain follows through on its vow to suspend the region’s autonomy.

The government “will create an even more serious, extraordinary situation by seizing Catalonia’s political autonomy,” he wrote in a letter to the Spanish senate.

The senate is poised to approve measures on Friday to take away Catalonia’s powers.

Puigdemont said that would be an “affront” to Spain’s constitution.

In the senate, the central government is preparing to invoke the never-before-used Article 155 of the constitution which allows it to intervene in Catalonia.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government plans to use this article to strip Puigdemont and the rest of his executive of their political powers. It also plans to take control of Catalonia’s regional police force, public broadcaster and parliament.

Those measures are intended to last for up to six months, until regional elections are called and a new Catalan parliament is sworn in.

Spain’s senate, where Rajoy’s Popular Party has a majority, will convene Friday to formally approve measures under Article 155.

Puigdemont said the measures would violate “the principle of political autonomy” of Spain’s regions. He added that the constitution does not give the central government blanket powers.

The Spanish constitution states Spain is “indivisible”. But Puigdemont’s separatist government declared itself “above” the constitution when it held an independence referendum on October 1.

That vote istelf was ruled unconstitutional by the courts.

The Catalan parliament is scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon to formulate a response to Madrid. (France24)

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