Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Council (OYC) Worldwide Sunday advised the Vice President, professor Yemi Osibanjo, to quit his 2023 presidential ambition and focus on his calling as a pastor or be ready to face humiliation.
President General of OYC, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, in a statement said from the handwriting on the wall, Osibanjo’s fate may be worse than that of former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen.
According to the statement, the outright sack of VP’s aides is a sign that he might face humiliation like Justice onneghen.
The statement reads I parts: “There is a sinister motive behind the sacking of VP Osibanjos political aides. This shows that VP Osibanjo might face humiliation like CJN Justice Walter Onneghen and he is likely on his way out of office. It is just a matter of time before he faces the worst treatment akin to what former CJN Onneghen witnessed.
“Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the National leader APC had likely seen this handwriting on the wall and carefully choose to support and side President Muhammadu Buhari instead of Osibanjo, his political godson.
“When Senator Ahmed Tinubu said that there is nothing wrong for the President to sign the offshore bills in London while observing his private visit without transmitting power to VP Osibanjo; it’s a clear testimony that VP Osibanjo is likely on his own and should mend his ways,” the statement reads.
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The Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode in this explosive interview with The Nigerian Express touched on very touchy past, present and future political issues in Nigeria.
He discussed about Buhari, Tinubu, Osinbajo, Awolowo, Obasanjo, Jonathan, IPOB, Biafra-Nigerian civil war, the North, The South and more.
Below is the interview.
Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister is a lawyer, essayist, poet and a political activist. He spoke to AKANI ALAKA on the contemporary political developments in Nigeria, relations among the ethnic groups in the country, the civil war, agitations for self-determination, the need to restructure the country, as well as the jostling for the 2023 presidency among politicians from the South, among other issues.
QUESTION: Just recently, Nigeria celebrated its 59 Independence anniversary. You also celebrated your 59th birthday some days ago. As an historian and somebody whose father also played a significant role in ensuring that Nigeria became an independent nation, would you say the country’s founding fathers will be proud of the position the country is in now 59 years after?
ANSWER: I think we ought to have gone much farther than we have gone. And if I am to be frank, I will tell you that those that fought for Independence of Nigeria, including my father and many generations before them, will not be too pleased with the situation we are in today.
We were meant to have gone much further, become much stronger, much more united. We were meant to be the greatest asset of the Black man on planet Earth. But we have failed in all these respects. And consequently, I will have to say that I am rather disappointed.
We are like a giant that has shrunk into the position of a dwarf. We have been dwarfed in many ways – even by countries that are far smaller, with less potential than us, even in the African continent. And that’s not good enough. And I think it all boils down to one thing – the fact that we have had leadership that has not been the best for much of the past 59 years.
And of course, the other part of the problem is that we have not been able to answer the fundamental questions like, for example, the national question and the outstanding issues concerning the Nigerian civil war and so many other things.
And I think this is why our development has been stagnated and in many ways, has become retrogressive.
QUESTION: You talked about the national question – what is that national question and do you think there have been sincere efforts to address it?
ANSWER: I don’t even think most political leaders or politicians in Nigeria even know what the national question is. And that is really, really worrying because as long as you don’t answer that national question or address that issue, we will continue to go round in circles.
Of course, it starts with one fundamental question, which was asked in 1947 by the great Chief Obafemi Awolowo in his book, The Path To Nigerian Freedom. And the question was simply this – “Is Nigeria really a nation?” He (Awolowo) concluded by saying, No, that it’s a geographical expression.
He added that there is as much difference as between a German and a Turk as there is between a Fulani man and an Igbo man and everybody ought to be able to develop at his or her pace within his or her own region or zone. That was essentially Awolowo’s contention in 1947. And many decades later, I still think he was right.
We pretend to be one nation, we tell ourselves that we are one, but deep down, we know how much we resent one another for various reasons. We continue to act as if this is a marriage that is eternal, even though we don’t want it. That’s the reality of Nigeria’s situation today.
Most politicians will not say this to you because they are interested in getting votes from all over the country and so, they prostitute their principles and compromise on so many issues. But the new type of politicians that I think will deliver this country will not think like that. I don’t think like that.
I will rather tread the path of truth and justice than to say things that are politically correct in order to gain favour with Northerners or anybody from any other part of the country.
The path of truth is the path that will deliver this country into the light of God and the greatness that she deserves and we must not shy away from treading that path. We are not a nation; we are a union of ethnic nationalities that are yet to resolve our fundamental differences and fundamental issues.
The questions that were raised before the Nigerian civil war and in the course of that war are still being raised today. And my prayer is that it does not take another war or civil conflict in this country for us to resolve those issues.
We can resolve them in amicable and peaceful way, so that everybody will feel equal before God and everybody will feel they have equal opportunity to aspire and to excel in this country as citizens and not that we have some that are born to rule and some that are destined to serve.
QUESTION: How can we, as a country resolve this question – because some like the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, want every tribe in the country to go their separate ways as independent entities while others think restructuring of the polity will give every Nigerian a sense of belonging. On which side of the divide are you?
ANSWER: The battle for restructuring is dead and buried. Restructuring is not discussed in the National Assembly. It’s not discussed even in the main political parties. As long as they are concerned, restructuring is a dirty word.
To me, it is a way out of the mess that we have put ourselves in. But to most politically correct politicians, who are mostly insincere and cowardly, they won’t even talk about it. The leadership of the two main political parties – the PDP and APC – will not talk about it as a matter of policy and neither will most of the small political parties.
But this is something so obvious, that ought to have been done long ago, not now. And the problem now is that it may well be too late for that. The sentiment is so strong now for ethnic nationalism – it is happening all over the world. Look at what is happening in Germany, in the US with Trump, in the UK with Brexit, the right wing political parties in Europe like in Holland and Germany.
The rise of ethnic nationalism is going on all over the world and Nigeria cannot be isolated from that. In this country, we have major ethnic nationalities that see themselves as members of that nationality before seeing themselves as Nigerians.
There is nothing wrong with that. It’s the perfectly natural order of things and that is the conflict we have in Nigeria. This globalized hybrid state, that we must all become one, to my mind, is not natural. Yes, we can become one if we share common values, common vision, a common understanding about how life should be and common worldview.
But if we don’t have that, and if one believes that he is king and the others are slaves and must be slaves forever, then, on what basis can we continue to stay together? And why should we remain together, just because a rather misguided man in 1914 by the name of Lord Lugard, with his wife, decided that we should be together? I resent and reject that.
I am a proud Omo Kaaro o o jiire, I refused to use the word Yoruba. I am a proud son of Oduduwa and I believe proudly and passionately in the rights of the people of the South-west to self-determination, if that’s what they choose to do. I believe that the people of the East, the Igbo, have that right as well, if that’s what they choose to do.
And I believe in the power of referendum, self-determination and I think it is absolutely wrong for anybody to say I don’t have a right to exercise that right, provided I do it in a peaceful, logical and rational way.
QUESTION: Are you calling for the dissolution of Nigeria as a country then, because that is what this right to self-determination will amount to…
ANSWER: I’m calling for the self determination of any ethnic nationality that chooses to be self-determined based on referendum. This happens all over the world, international law backs it and it’s something that should be done, provided it’s what the people want and it is done peacefully. And that’s my view.
Even if I don’t believe in it, I don’t think it will be right for me to impose my will on others and deny them the right to believe in self-determination or the right to referendum to decide whether or not we should remain as one.
The UK that brought us together and declared our marriage one – between the poor husband of the North and the rich wife of the South – and said that we must remain one forever is doing that today.
They are brexit-ing, based on referendum, from Europe, and they are also doing it internally within the United Kingdom. Scotland had a referendum recently. They narrowly agreed to stay in the United Kingdom. If they hold another referendum in the next few years, definitely, Scotland is leaving United Kingdom.
All the polls suggest that, and they will be allowed to leave. It is on that basis of expression of freewill that you can say you will create and establish a nation. Now, if you don’t want that part to be taken by the people, the only way is to treat them with respect, love and apologise to them when you got it wrong. I will cite the case of the Igbo people and I have said it over and over again.
A situation where three million people -civilians- were killed during the civil war, the greatest act of genocide in the history of African continent -black on black, not white on black- because King Leopold ll killed 10 million Congolese.
But we killed three million Igbo -civilians, men, women and children- in a space of three years and we have not apologized for that. This is a crime against humanity. It is a war crime. And for that kind of thing, the Nigerian commanders in the field, the Nigerian Head of State at that time, all should be at ICC. But I haven’t called for that.
All I am saying is that, at least, we should have the decency to apologise and also apologise for the fact that between 30,000 and 100,000 of them were killed just before the civil war by mobs in the North. These are the fundamental issues.
Every country that has indulged in such barbarity in the past has apologised, including the Belgians. The only country that has refused to do so and has committed genocide is Turkey. And I don’t think we should be in the same bracket as Turkey.
They killed one million Christian Armenians and they haven’t acknowledged it. We don’t want to be in that category. Everybody else, including the Germans, what they did in the Second World War, 50 million people died, six million Jews gassed to death, they apologised.
Everybody at some time recognizes the power of apology, reconciliation and restitution but we haven’t done that. Instead, we are still killing Igbo people till today. Is that how a nation is built? And when they say they want to go because they are tired of being killed even now, we are still killing them.
It is unacceptable. Sadly, it is not just the Igbo now that are being killed; if you go to the Middle Belt, Niger Delta, the West, Mid-West you will find slaughter. All these slaughterings are being carried out by Fulani herdsmen and, of course, you have Boko Haram in the North-east. It is so bad that Fulani herdsmen are even killing the local Hausa in the North itself.
The ethnic group carrying out this havoc, seven per cent of the population, that’s what they are, and we will sit here and say we are one nation. We don’t have the right to retaliate, we don’t have the right to cry, we don’t have the right aspire to be leaders in this country because we are second class citizens, even, when we are the indigenous people of Nigeria.
And you are saying we must accept that? I will never do that. Unless they change and these things stop, Nigeria’s unity can never be something that will be accepted by all of us.
QUESTION: Some critics, especially from the North had always faulted the call for apology to the Igbo people over the civil war with the argument that the war was a reaction to the killings carried out in the first coup of 1966, led by officers who hailed mostly from the then Eastern region…
ANSWER: I am very conversant with the history; I am part of it. They came to my father’s house in January 1966; I was conversant with what they did. And my father was the only person that was taken away from home that night who was not killed. About 20 people -key leaders in the military and the government of that era- were killed.
My father only escaped by divine providence because the federal troops saved him at Dodan Barracks and I appreciate that. And I appreciate the pains that were caused that night because I felt the pains too. I will never forget it. I witnessed it. I saw it. And I suffered the consequences of that for many, many years because it traumatized me.
The killing of all those people was barbaric and unacceptable. I have said so. Definitely, the majority of the participants were Igbo, I am not disputing that. But the question that you have to first answer is did those Igbo officers conduct a referendum in the East before embarking on the coup? Did they do it on behalf of the Igbo people?
Because if you say you want to punish a whole ethnic nationality because of the action of a few people -barbaric action in terms of the slaughter. They killed 20 people. You now say you want to wipe out entire nationality, I think that’s an unacceptable behavior. The reaction is even more barbaric and quite unacceptable in my view.
QUESTION; The argument was that the killings took place during a war situation…
ANSWER: It was not a war, because there was a coup in January 1966, 20 leaders were killed from all over the country and only one leader was killed in the South-east. It was a tragedy. It was a wicked act. I accept that. But there was no war at the time, there was a coup, an attempted coup. The coup failed.
And what happened next? The Northerners now decided to do a counter coup. Again, there was no war. It was what they called a Northern revenge coup to avenge those that were killed in the first coup. And what did they do? Here is what they did.
They killed 300 Igbo officers in one night. They killed an Igbo Head of State – Ironsi. They killed a Yoruba Governor of the Western Region, Fajuyi and they killed a number of other people – all in one night. Now, look at it in numbers – 20 of yours were killed, you killed 300 of theirs, plus the Head of State and Yoruba Army officers six months later.
And there was no war declared. You didn’t stop there, but went a step further few months later and you slaughtered in the North -the official figure is 30,000, the real figure is close to 100,000- Igbo civilians who knew nothing about coup plotting, who did not participate in it, who are equally victims and were still mourning that their people were killed.
Those killings took place in few pogroms in a space of two months and again, no war had been declared at that time. But you didn’t stop there. When the Igbos said it’s enough, let’s go back to the East, as they were going back, you were killing them at train stations, firing bows and arrows at them.
And when they got to the East, they now said ‘look, if you want to wipe us all out, it is perfectly natural for us to say we want to leave’ and they now said they want to go. First, you agreed that they will go based on terms agreed to at Aburi, then, you now change your mind that even Aburi, which you have signed and agree on, you are not going to accept.
They must stay by force and the war started. And what did you do during the civil war? You killed three million Igbo civilians. The number of Biafran soldiers that were killed was not more than between 30,000 and 40,000. But you killed three million Biafran civilians. One million of them were starved to death with the policy of starvation that you put in place.
And you justified that policy before the world when you, Nigeria, said starvation is a legitimate weapon of war. Have you ever heard anything as inhuman as that? I know who said that. I don’t want to mention the man’s name.
Another government official, a minister in Gowon’s government, went to America and when Americans were crying that we were committing genocides against the Igbo people, he said ‘no, we are simply defending ourselves, we will starve them to death.’ The people that said these were politicians, civilian leaders, but military commanders executed that policy.
Then, at the end of the war, you said ‘no victor, no vanquished,’ but that was the biggest lie from the pit of hell. You gave them 20 pounds and then, you took all their properties.
It is only in the South-west that their properties were not taken and you turned them into not second, but third class citizens. And today, one of those who participated in that war and all those atrocities is now our President.
Now, we have killed many in the last four years. You killed many IPOB people. And now, they are saying they want to go and you are saying they have no right to go. Is that just or right?
QUESTION: The civil war was followed by a succession of military regimes and in 1999, Nigeria returned to democracy. How well would you say we have done as a democratic nation since 1999?
ANSWER: I don’t think we have a real democracy and I will tell you why. In a real democracy, political parties can be formed based on whatever criteria you choose. Anybody can literally get up and say, this is my party, register it, I’m going to run as an independent, as whatever in my local government area.
But here, INEC, which is essentially a tool for government of the day controls everything in terms of elections. And if you have a man who is the chairman of INEC working against you as the president, which is what happened in 2015. (Attahiru) Jega worked against Jonathan at that time.
I’m accusing him of that right in this interview. And I’m also saying that there was time he was asked to resign and the evidence was clear on why he has to …. but, in my view, very naively, (former President Goodluck) Jonathan decided to keep him there. If you can control the INEC and the chairman of INEC as an opposition party or if you can put your man there to run INEC as this government has done since 2015, then, you know you have no democracy.
Yes, they can let you win some states as they did in 2019, but they can rig you out wherever they like. If you control the courts and you can remove the Chief Justice of Nigeria just like that or you can raid the houses of judges at night with the DSS and you have, more or less, captured the judiciary and intimidated the judges, you don’t have a democracy and neither do you have rule of law.
If you can send DSS officers to the National Assembly to go and raid the place and lock out legislators because you cannot control the place as happened some months ago, then you don’t have a democracy. Today, the APC, by design, controls the National Assembly.
They control it because they control virtually all the elections and so, they returned as many people as possible through INEC – mostly unfairly. They control the elections tribunals, in my view.
They control the courts, in my view, and they control the media, in my view, because this kind of interview, I will be surprised if you publish what I am saying. You may publish it online, but if you publish it in your paper, you may get into trouble.
They control the television. If you go there and you say anything against them that is strong, factual, the NBC will come down on the television station. And you called that democracy? It is tyranny. It’s a dictatorship. And everything that I, FFK, said in 2015 during the course of the election that would happen if Buhari became the President has happened.
And everybody that insulted me then, laughed at me then, and said I was talking rubbish, even from within the PDP itself, are now being prosecuted. All of them are now calling to say I was right.
And everybody that stood with them (APC) then, including Atiku, Obasanjo, Kwankwaso, Tambuwal, Dino Melaye, Saraki has come back now. And now, they are all victims of this monster that they helped to create in 2015.
Now, we fought them in 2015 and we are still fighting them up till today. And until the end of time, we will continue to fight them, not as individuals, because I have nothing against anybody personally. If anything, I have more friends in APC than in PDP.
That’s the truth. But in terms of ideology, politics and what I think is best for my country, I see them as immortal enemies; I see them as nothing but darkness. And I see those that seek to liberate this country from their shackles as the light and the vessels and the tools of God to fight that darkness. That’s my position.
So, if you asked me that do I believe that we have a democracy? My answer is, no. They have corrupted it, they have abused it and I knew this was going to happen. And let me tell you that it is going to get worse.
QUESTION: What has APC done to our democracy since they took power in 2015 that made you to arrive at this conclusion?
Since 2015, what have they done? First, they introduced religion and ethnicity into government. Every security agency in this country – whether the military, the one that have to do with external or internal security – 17 agencies in all – they are all in the hands of Northern Muslims, except for one, which is the Navy.
And that’s unacceptable in a multi-religious, multi-cultural society. A situation where the whole of the judiciary from the Supreme Court to the Court of Appeal, the Federal High Court has just changed now – but the three tiers of the judiciary were being headed by Northern Muslims.
It is just now that we have only one being headed by Northern Christian, that’s the Federal High Court. A situation whereby in the National Assembly, the Senate is headed by a Northern Muslim, House of Representatives headed by a Southern Muslim – Femi Gbajabiamila, he is a good friend of mine, I have known him for over 40 years – but he is a Muslim as well. So, you have Muslims heading both wings of the National Assembly.
And you know what they have done with Femi Gbajabiamila? They have surrounded him with Muslims – his deputy is also a Muslim and the four principal officers around him are also Muslims. So, what is there for us in that place?
In the executive, apart from the security agencies, look at all the key appointments – nine times out of 10, they go Northern Muslims. Go to the Villa today – the official language is Hausa, 90 per cent of the people that are working in the Villa are Northern Muslims.
Look at the appointment of chief executives for the key agencies – they were Northern Muslims, look at the ministerial appointments in terms of substance – the North-west where the President comes from, the Hausa-Fulani catchment area, you have 10 substantive ministries, those are full ministries, not Ministers of state, 10 in the North-west.
Next is the South-west where I come from, we have five substantive Ministers and everywhere else – the South-east, the North-central and North-east have three substantive ministers each.
That means the North-west where Buhari comes from, which is the Fulani heartland has over three times the number of substantive ministers that all the other zones have, except for the South-west. And south-west has only half the number the North-west have. Is that fair? (Nigeria Express)
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Former Lagos governor and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has dismissed speculation that he was working against Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, over 2023 presidency.
He said this in reaction to the latest actions taken by President Muhammadu Buhari allegedly targeted at his deputy.
President Muhammadu Buhari reportedly met recently with Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande, former APC Interim National Chairman of the APC.
He reportedly complained about certain actions of the Vice President, and allegedly asked the duo to prevail on Osinbajo to resign his appointment from the cabinet.
According to the Sunday Independent, while Akande was said to have opposed resignation, Tinubu allegedly supported the President and claimed that nothing was wrong with Osinbajo quitting if found to be culpable.
Reacting, Tinubu’s spokesman, Tunde Rahman, denied rift between his principal and Osinbajo.
“There is no truth in the allegation that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is against the Vice President. There is nothing stopping the Vice President from nursing a presidential ambition. If he wants to run, let him run.
“We are all watching and waiting. It is all a bundle of lies that Asiwaju Tinubu is unhappy about that. People are just politicising the situation. Tinubu cannot muscle his own boy in any way”, he said.
Last Thursday, Osinbajo stated that the Economic Management Team (EMT) which he heads was not scrapped or dissolved by the president.
Buhari had on Monday, constituted an Economic Advisory Council (EAC), which is widely believed would take over the functions of the EMT.
In response to an enquiry from the National Economic Council (NEC), which comprises the 36 state governors, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), among others, Osinbajo noted that both councils were for the benefit of the President.
He added that, “If NEC want to be briefed regularly by the Economic Advisory Council, EAC, we will request the President to do that”.
Osinbajo explained to the council that such interaction will promote synergy.
Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State, confirmed that he and his colleagues discussed Buhari’s new team with the VP.
“And the vice president explained that those councils are advisory for the benefit of the President while NEC is established by the constitution, they are to complement one another.
“He added that NEC could be briefed regularly on the activities of the Economic Advisory Council with the permission of the president,” he added.
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Mazị Tony Kanu responds to Prof Yemi Osibanjo’s assertion that “No region in Nigeria will prosper on its own if Nigeria breaks up”
He reminded the vice president how one tribe or region made it back to being the economic powerhouse of Nigeria after they were defrauded of all their money and left with nothing but £20 to fend with irrespective of their millions in banks across the country.
His full response is below
Professor Osibanjo sir,
Being a bona-fide Igbo son, I boldly put it to you that you are free to speak for the western region and other regions but not the eastern region. Don’t bother about what will happen to Ndị Igbo if Nigeria breaks. Keep your love & concern for the Igbo and leave us to our fate as separate Igbo nation when we achieve that.
And to be clearer on this, sir..
If after the 1966-1969 Igbo genocide, our rich fathers & brothers who were “vanquished” and each given a miserable £20 in a bid to keep them impoverished and stagnant, were able to beat the odds and later became both local & international shining lights and multibillionaires in just over a decade and half from that time, it’s commonsensical that the outstandingly ingenious Igbo of today will turn the eastern region to the new ‘Singapore’ or ‘Dubai of Africa’ if given the chance as a separate Nation.
As a reminder, today Ndị Igbo are unarguably the most successful ethnic group in Nigeria, and beyond, despite what they faced in the late 1960s. No other ethic group in Nigeria could have attained such enviable position had they been in the Igbo man’s shoes after the genocide.
Sir, with all due respect, it is laughable that you think a 21st century Igbo won’t do better if alone.
In fact, telling the Igbo how they’ll become a huge failure if they break away from Nigeria has become boring load of hogwash.
Nigeria is United Nations’ member-state. Section B of article 73 of Chapter XI of the United Nations charter allows for the peaceful demands of ‘self-determination’ by the eastern region of Nigeria.
The Igbo man has a right to self-determination. It is NO CRIME.
May I also let you know sir, we the Igbo KNOW that the eastern region have been systemically kept retrogressive because some other regions are keeping us on their snail-speed due to the eastern region being chained in the Nigerian contraption, and the federating system being operated from hell’s deepest parts. Had the Igbo become a separate nation after Nigeria’s independence, or may be the regional system of government maintained, the eastern region and their people would have been way better-off today and would have progressed with that lightning speed the Igbo is naturally blessed with. As a separate entity, the Igbo nation would have been rubbing shoulders at the international top; Not having a very bright ethnic nation like NDI IGBO being part of a Country now placed on the lowly rated level of the likes of Niger Republic & Chad.
Final word, Sir.
You are certified and trusted clergy. I’m guessing, with your “spiritual eyes” you may have seen the downfall of Ndị Igbo if they break away from Nigeria.
With that, and your position in Nigeria and your ability to send the word directly across to Nigeria’s top seat of power, the Igbo are begging to be allowed a peaceful separation from Nigeria so that your “prophetic position” will be confirmed after the eastern region have left Nigeria to go and die in hunger, poverty and retrogression as you have indirectly predicted.
That won’t be too much to ask, knowing that I’ve spoken the minds of at least 60% of Igbo people today.
Best regards, Sir.
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**We must resist those stoking ambers of division – Osinbajo
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has described residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as a necessary evil even though they did not vote for him and his Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo in 2019 general elections.
According to him, securing the FCT means securing himself and Vice President, Osinbajo, assuring that in spite of the toughness of his neighbours (opposition), he will continue to do his best for the country.
Buhari said this amidst laughter when FCT permanent secretary, Christian Ohaa, led a delegation of Abuja residence comprising religious leaders, National Assembly members, civil servants, service chiefs and heads of other security agencies among others to pay him Sallah homage to mark the successful completion of this year’s Ramadan fast.
Buhari who commended Osinbajo and other leaders for being exemplary in their conduct, urged them not to break down else the impact will reverberate across the country and his administration will lose its popularity and whatever efforts they make will not be appreciated. The President said: “I want to appreciate the number two man of the country because he knows what we are going through very quietly. I am very pleased that you came with this very powerful constituency.
“I appeal to you to remain exemplary so that those under you will know that the country is doing very well. If you break down and complain, the impact will reverberate all over and then government will not be popular and whatever efforts we are making will not be appreciated.
“I have just spoken to the senator on my left (Philip Aduda) and I told him that his constituency did not vote for me. So I was very pleased that when they made the arrangement they put him very far away from me. I have all the results of all constituencies. I am not threatening FCT because to make FCT secure is to make myself secure and the vice president. I think they know that they are a necessary evil that was why they decided to vote for PDP.”
Buhari recalled that during his campaigns across the country that took him around the country, he met a large turnout of citizens even though he had no money to distribute, they believed in him and gave him their mandate.
He said: “During my long journey to this place, 2003, 2007, 2011, those were interesting political developments that enabled me to visit all the local governments in this country, all 774 local governments. My first port of call whenever I visited any local government was to visit the community leader for understanding and support. I am very pleased that Nigerians understand me that although I was a governor, Minister of Petroleum and one time head of state, people know I don’t have a lot of money to give. So when I went round, I smiled and greeted them and I think it has helped. Because by the time I went to campaign for my second and last term constitutionally, I visited all the states this time around, some two states in a day. I thank God for giving me the stamina to do it. What impressed me most was the turn out in all the states and FCT. The number of those who turned out was more than what anyone can afford to pay or force to come and listen. So, I am very pleased that a lot of Nigerians voted me; they sympathised with me for what I went through between 2003 and 2019. I went to court up to Supreme Court and in 2011; I went to court for eight months. And in the last one, God answered our prayers and gave us victory, and brought in technology through the permanent voter’s card. And they said whoever is aggrieved should go to court.
“You all know as much as I know that most of my supporters are looking for the next day’s meal; we don’t have money to give. In 2011, I said God dey; in 2015 God brought technology – PVC and that is how we won.
“I thank you very much – those of you who suffered so much to support me. And I congratulate you for being happy that I made it and I assure you that I will continue to do my best in spite of the toughness of my neighbours.” Osinbajo, who commended President Buhari for a successful fast said the gathering whose members cut across religious and ethnic divide was a demonstration that the country was united.
The vice president said: “I want to say that God Almighty has been extremely good to you and to our government. I recall about two years ago when I had to host this particular event because you were away on medical leave at the time.
“But God has been so good, not only did he bring you back healthier than when you left, but has also been gracious enough for you to have a second opportunity to lead our great country. I thank the almighty God for you and for all of us who have been a part of your government and who have been a part of what God has done in our midst.
“Our country as it is today is at the threshold of greatness, you have said so many times. Any time when something great and something important is about to happen, usually you will have very many and negative opposing voices that want to keep that thing from happening.
“I believe that our country is at the threshold of the breakthrough that we have been praying for and hoping for all these many years. And this is why many challenges are going on. Challenges around security, religion, people who are stoking up ambers of religion, religious grievance and ethnic divisions and all that. But this gathering is one of those gatherings that we are at liberty, political leadership, religious leadership to demonstrate to our people that this country is a country of one people, the Nigerian people. They may be different in their faith, ethnicity, but we are one people. We are one and united people.
“I want to commend all our leaders who are here for making this tradition, that we will come together – Christians, Muslims, and people of different faiths to demonstrate that this country is a united country. And that those who want to stoke up ambers of division we will not allow them to do so.
“So I want to urge all our leaders here that we must not allow the rhetoric of religion to supersede the rhetoric of unity. We must also speak up; we must seek ways that will unite our country. We cannot keep quiet because there are so many negative statements being made every day, and sometimes we ignore those statements and say these are people who have no understanding. But if we allow these negative statements to continue, then they will define our country and will define the situation of our country.
“As I have said, our country is destined for greatness and I pray that the almighty God will lead us to that greatness. And as we move day by day towards that greatness, those who want to bring us down that God Almighty will prevent them from doing so.
“I want to commend you for the great leadership you have shown in the past four years and in this second term. I pray that God almighty will help you and strengthen you, give you the grace and understanding and empower you, even more, to be able to do the things you desire in your heart to do make this country really great.”
The FCT permanent secretary said the delegation came to congratulate President Buhari for a successful fast as well as a successful second term in office inauguration.
Ohaa said: “We pray that Almighty God in his infinite goodness and mercy continue to grant you good health and wisdom as you steer our country back to the path of social harmony, security and economic recovery.
“The people of the FCT stand solidly behind you as you begin this task and pledge our support and cooperation in the coming years ahead. “We do this sir because we are a grateful people. Over the last four years, the FCT has benefited immensely from your wisdom and belief and divinely-inspired leadership. We have enjoyed the peace and the social intervention programmes have filled the gaps in our educational system and provided succour for thousands of our people.
“We in the FCT will continue to do our part to ensure that you succeed in your second term in office starting of course with the first celebration of our Democracy Day on June 12, 2019.
“Our people have been mobilised to be exceptional hosts to the hundreds of foreign guests who we know will honour the invitation to be here and felicitate with us.
“On this day as we celebrate the end of Ramadan, we pray that Almighty Allah to blesses and sustain you and your family; we pray that your administration succeeds in all that it has set out to do and above all, we pray that our country Nigeria, under your watch remains a great prosperous and indivisible nation.”
Those in the delegation were former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari; Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
Others were the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; Director-General of Department for State Service (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi, and Civil Defence FCT Commandant.
Also in attendance were the Permanent Secretary, State House, Jalal Arabi; former Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu and Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele. (The Sun)
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A little more details have emerged regarding how the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, escape death in a helicopter crash incident in Kabba, Kogi State.
The propeller of Osibanjo’s helicopter was said to have suddenly pulled off at Kabba township stadium.
According to an eye witness account, the vice president’s helicopter had managed to land at about 2.22pm at the township stadium before the propeller of the helicopter suddenly pulled off and went flying in the air to the surprise of party faithful who had gathered to welcome him.
There was, however, no casualty.
Although, the remote cause of the accident was not known as at the time of filing in this report, it was learnt that the pilot of the helicopter might have found it difficult to land due to the dusty nature of the stadium.
Immediately the incident happened, the vice president was said to have been immediately evacuated from the scene of the incident into a waiting vehicle and was thereafter driven in a convoy of other political office holders to the palace of Obaro of Kabba, Oba Solomon Owoniyi, where he paid a courtesy call on the monarch
He later addressed some party supporters at St Augustine’s College, Kabba field.
Osibanjo was billed to launch the Tradermoni scheme in Kabba and was expected to visit Okene in central part of the state as well as Idah in the eastern flank before returning to Abuja. (The Sun)
The acting Director General of the Department of State Services, Mr Mathew Seiyefa, has recalled officers he transferred out of the headquarters of the agency when he resumed office on August 1.
The decision to recall the officers followed the open directive given Seiyefa by the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari, who was said to have scolded the new DSS boss for carrying out reorganisation in the agency without clearance from the Villa.
Seiyefa became the acting DG of the Service following the shocking sacking of its erstwhile DG, Mr Lawal Daura.
The then acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), who sacked Daura, ordered him to hand over to the most senior officer in the agency.
Daura, who hails from Katsina State, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, was also handed over to the police for debriefing.
President Buhari was not in Nigeria when Daura was sacked.
Daura was relieved of his position because of the role he played in the deployment of operatives in the National Assembly, an action that portrayed the Federal Government as anti-democratic.
It was speculated then that Daura took the action in conjunction with some people in the Villa, without the knowledge of Osinbajo.
Seiyefa, who was then serving at the Institute of Security Studies, Bwari, Abuja, immediately carried out some reorganisations immediately he assumed office.
Among those he transferred were the Director of Operations, Mr Bassey Eteng, and another Director, Grace Kentebe.
Both of them were among those that Kyari asked Seiyefa to return to their duty posts.
A source close to the agency told our correspondent in Abuja on Monday night that, “There is tension everywhere because the directive has been complied with by personnel, most especially by those who instigated it.
“Both Eteng and Kentebe have reported. Personnel morale is at its lowest ebb.
“Even quite a significant number of the personnel of northern extraction are not happy with the Chief of Staff because they said himself and the ousted DG had not been good to the service.
“Meanwhile, there is every possibility that the service may witness an unprecedented protest against the undue interference in the affairs of the service by the Chief of Staff to the President.”
Our correspondent gathered that the Presidency had yet to decide on whether to confirm Seiyefa or appoint another officer as a replacement for Daura.
Some members of the Presidency cabal were said to have been making moves aimed at frustrating the confirmation of the acting DG because of political interests.
The aides of the President, who were said not to be happy about the unceremonious sacking of Daura, were also said to be lobbying to have a say in who would replace him.
Daura, it was gathered, had nominated Eteng as a “worthy successor” and could be useful to the cabal ahead of the 2019 elections.
The cabal is believed to be considering other options, including the possibility of appointing a substantive DG outside the service.
Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide has faulted the alleged moves by the Presidency to remove Mr Matthew Seiyefa as the DG of the DSS and reinstate the sacked Lawal Daura.
The President, IYC, Mr Eric Omare, said, “While the IYC recognises the fact that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has the power to hire and fire head of security agencies in the country, we wish to state that the President also has a corresponding mandatory constitutional duty to ensure that such appointments are in line with the Federal Character principle.
“As of today, Seiyefa is one of the few heads of security agencies in Nigeria from the southern part of the country, hence it would amount to grave violation of the Federal Character principle of the constitution to replace Seiyefa, who was appointed less than a month ago, with a northerner as alleged.
“Consequently, the IYC strongly calls on President Buhari to put a stop to the Satanic plan by the Presidency cabal to replace Seiyefa as Director General of the DSS because there is no basis for it. Seiyefa is doing a great job in repositioning the SSS and what he deserves is encouragement from the Presidency and not a replacement.” (Punch)
Loyalists of President Muhammadu Buhari have begun moves to take control of the Department of State Services ahead of the 2019 general elections, The PUNCH learnt on Sunday.
It was gathered that the loyalists, who were working in tandem with a cabal in the Presidency, had already given the acting DG of the Service, Mr Mathew Seiyefa, a signal that he might not be in office during the conduct of the general elections next year by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Seiyefa, who is due for retirement in July 2019, hails from Bayelsa State.
Buhari’s loyalists are believed not to be comfortable with him, having hailed from a state where the President is not very popular.
Besides, former President Goodluck Jonathan, who Buhari defeated in the bitterly contested 2015 presidential election, hails from the same state.
“We cannot, therefore, trust such a man to head the security apparatus that is very vital for the conduct of the 2019 general elections, in which President Buhari will still be a candidate,” a source said.
One of our correspondents gathered that since the appointment of the acting DG, there had been serious gang-up against him by a cabal in the Presidential Villa.
It was learnt that members of the cabal had yet to get over the shocking removal of the erstwhile DG of the Service, Mr Lawal Daura, by Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) while acting as the President in Muhammadu Buhari’s absence.
Daura is from Katsina State, the home state of President Buhari.
Osinbajo had asked Daura to hand over to the most senior officer in the agency when he (Daura) was sacked on August 7 for deploying operatives of the agency to block the National Assembly.
The sacking was said to have come to those close to Buhari as a shock.
Members of the cabal, which is allegedly headed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Abba Kyari, have remained unrelenting in their determination to have a say in who heads the agency.
The source added that Seiyefa had been asked by Kyari to also reverse all the appointments he made when he assumed office.
A security source said, “Since the appointment of the acting DG, there have been serious gang-up against him by the cabal in the Villa.
“The chief of staff has ordered the Acting DG to reverse all the appointments, warning him to stop further postings.
“The most unfortunate, ugly and unethical development that occurred was the instruction by the Chief of Staff to the President to the DG to bring the lists of all the postings and appointments he has done since his assumption of duty. It is causing serious rumbles in the office now.
“Some officers have been grumbling over interference by politicians in the workings of the agency.”
Those that the DG has been directed to bring back to the headquarters are the agency’s former Director of Operations, Mr Bassey Eteng.
Eteng was recently transferred to the Institute of Security Studies, Bwari, Abuja, where the incumbent DG once served as the director before he was appointed to take over from Daura.
Also, another Director, Grace Kentebe, who was transferred out of the headquarters of the agency, had been asked to be returned to the Yellow House, as the office of the DSS is popularly called.
It was also learnt that Kyari frowned on the posting of another officer from Kebbi State to serve as the Chief of Staff to Seiyefa.
It was also gathered that there were some aggrieved members of the agency, who were currently working at the Villa using their contacts within the corridors of power to help the cabal achieve its aim.
The officers are said to be using the Chief Security Officer to Buhari, Bashir Abubakar, to actualise their plans.
Those serving officers, four in number (names withheld) and who are involved in the game plan are said to be in the assistant directorate cadre.
A security source at the Presidency said, “There are some aggrieved elements in my office that are bent on removing him and bring in another person.”
Possibility of Daura’s return
It was learnt that the cabal was also working on the possibility of bringing back the sacked DG.
However, there were speculations that some members of the cabal felt that his return might bring bad blood between President Buhari and Osinbajo.
“How can we reinstate him when he was removed by the acting President, who took the action after reportedly seeking the approval of the President,?” a senior Presidency source said.
Besides, he said that recalling Daura might send the wrong signal to both local and international communities that there was a division in the Presidency.
“Elections are also coming. If we present a picture of a divided house to Nigerians and the international community, we know the opposition will cash in on it to make strong statements,” the source added.
Those shortlisted for replacement
In the event that the plan to restate Daura fails, one of our correspondents gathered that the cabal had perfected a plan to present some people for the position.
It was gathered that one of those on their list included Alhaji A. Kabir, who was once an acting Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Trust Development Fund.
Kabir is also a retired DSS Officer.
It was also gathered that the cabal had pencilled up the name of the Minister of Internal Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd.).
The former army chief played a vital role in the emergence of Buhari in 2015.
Dambazau was sacked by former President Goodluck Jonathan over the role he played in the deployment of troops and the smuggling of the then President, Umaru Yar’dua from overseas before he eventually died.
It was also learnt that Bassey Eteng is also being considered, in case there were complaints against appointing another northerner for the sensitive position.
It was gathered that both Kyari and Abubakar were playing a vital role in the conspiracy to either bring back Daura or get a suitable replacement.
Authoritative sources said that four other officers were also working with both Kyari and Abubakar in the plot.
The officers (names withheld), are said not to be comfortable with the reforms initiated by Seiyefa since he assumed office.
Another said that the activities of the cabal in the last few days had made working in the service worrisome in the last few weeks.
He said that officers and operatives were worried that professionalism was being eroded in the service.
The source said, “There is serious tension in the service now. Personnel are unhappy that the Chief of Staff to the President is now trying to run the service by intimidating the acting DG, thereby rubbishing the VP, who sacked the former DG.
“What the COS and CO are trying to cover are many. They are holding brief for the sacked DG.”
Efforts made to get the reaction of the spokesperson for the agency, Mr Nnochirionye Afunanya, failed as calls made to his mobile telephone number indicated that it was switched off.
There was also no assurance that a text message sent to the same number delivered.
SMBLF rejects plot to remove DSS boss
But the Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum has warned against a plot by some Presidency officials allegedly led by Kyari, to remove Seyeifa from office.
The forum said this on Sunday in a statement co-signed by its spokespersons, Yinka Odumakin (South-West), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South), Prof. Chigozie Ogbu (South-East) and Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt).
The group stated that it would have ignored the reported plan to remove Seyeifa “but for the clannishness, sectional proclivity and exclusive handling of the security architecture of the country by President Buhari in the last three years.”
The forum added, “He (Buhari) had defied all protestations from all well-meaning Nigerians in making appointments into all key and sensitive security positions in sectional and kith-and-kin affairs in a very insensitive and ‘you-can-do-your-worse-manner’ that until the recent sacking of Lawal Daura, 16 out of 17 service chiefs were from his corner of the country.”
The SMBLF noted that the President had not commented on the sack of the former DG of DSS since he returned from his London vacation, stressing that this confirmed the speculation that he was not happy with Daura’s removal.
The group asked the President to prevail on Kyari and stop him from removing Seyeifa, warning that there would be consequences if the South-West and South-South regions were marginalised in the DSS leadership hierarchy.
“The rest of the country has lived with the insensitivity of Mr President in handling the security architecture in the last three years with equanimity.
“It may be necessary not to overstretch it by removing the acting DG and stopping the professional reorganisation in the DSS because it is not in tandem with the ethnic domination script of Mr President. It may turn out the proverbial last straw,” SMBLF warned. (Punch)
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has berated gospel preachers for failing to lend support to the Federal Government’s anti-corruption war by failing to preach against the scourge.
Speaking at the 30th National Biennial Conference of the Students Christian Movement of Nigeria held in Enugu, Osinbajo noted that preachers were preoccupied with preaching prosperity rather than righteousness.
“Very rarely do you hear our preachers talk about corruption from their pulpits. If a nation is not righteous nothing will help it.”
Osinbajo said that the problem with Nigeria was neither ethnicity nor religion but systemic corruption.
He said that corruption had been so entrenched in the country that if you dare challenge it, you will be in the minority.
He, however, challenged the youths to change the narrative and make the difference by checking the impunity of those that had stolen the resources of the country.
“Our problem in this country is not ethnicity or religion; it is not about Christians or Muslims. Our problems are the same wherever you go in this country.
“The story of our country is about good and evil. It is about those that have left us in this condition by stealing our common resources.
“Do not let anyone deceive you.”
The acting president challenged members of SCM to ensure that the movement becomes one of the tools that will move the country forward.
“You should understand that our country can be delivered by people like you.”
According to him, young Christians have special and distinct roles to play in the transformation of the country which is superior to those of other sets of people.
“All of the great nations of the world were transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not a gospel that tickles people’s imaginations or dwells on prosperity.
“It is not a gospel that fits your fancy. It is a gospel that teaches that righteousness exalts a nation.”
Osibanjo appealed to Nigerians to stand against the plundering of the nation’s resources as well as support the anti-corruption initiative of the Federal Government, irrespective of party affiliations.
Earlier in his address, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State commended the organisers of the event for a successful convention.
Ugwuanyi said that Christians needed such events in order to seek spiritual reformation and renaissance, considering the situation in the world.
He said that Christians also needed to contribute their quota toward promoting good living among Nigerians.
Ugwuanyi urged Nigerians to continue to pray for President Muhammadu Buhari and for the peace of the nation.
In an address of welcome, the National President of SCM, Rev. Eric Ighalo, commended Osinbajo for honouring their invitation.
Ighalo said that the conference was about active involvement of youths in reversing the problems that had held the country down through dialogue, collaboration and contention.