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
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
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
Founder of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Oke-Afa, Ejigbo Lagos, Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele, has released prophecies for year 2020.
Ayodele made the revelations public during Christmas at his annual fest gathering.
The cleric gave prophecies on Nigeria, prominent citizens including President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, government agencies, the international community, among others.
“NIGERIA: Nigeria in the Diaspora will witness more troubles. I foresee incessant killings in the country as rioting will be on the increase. Nigeria 2020 needs to pray so well because I foresee so many things happening in the country. The country will face serious economy challenges.
I foresee that Budget 2020 will not drive the need of the people. The country needs prayers for guidance and God’s divine protection. Government should look for ways of working things out.
Let us pray against unexpected bomb explosion in Nigeria.
Let us pray against the death of a professor, a judge, a onetime civilian governor, a military officer, a minister and a business tycoon.
Let us pray against the death of a prominent banker.
The government should take steps to tackle the level of crime. The prices of gas will increase as there will be new electric stove.
“There will be issues and clashes between Yoruba and Hausa, Igbo and Hausa.
I foresee deportation of Nigerians in some countries and some Nigerians will be deported within Nigeria. Government will caution people that try to criticize their policy.
People will not be able to express their desire.
Democracy will cause a lot of problems and will break Nigeria. I foresee future referendum coming. A lot of things will happen in Nigeria. I foresee protest and counter protest against the government. Let the country pray against confusion. Nigeria will face a lot of challenges as they will embark on certain steps to normalize and checkmate its security challenges.
“Despite all this, there will still be security challenges in major parts of the country.
Let’s pray for God to protect Federal Ministries that their office will not be involved in any fire incident.
The following states: Enugu, Kogi, Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti should be careful of erosion and flood and some parts of the north that have not experienced it before.
There will be too much population in the country. Nigeria is still sitting on a time bomb that may explode. The country should pray for peace and unity in the nation. I foresee a new flag in the world i.e. another country will emerge.
Some country will come out of another country.
“Let us pray to rebuke the death of a present and former Minister, former governor, and Former president in Nigeria.
The government of President Buhari will expose some former governors who are corrupt.
The government will make lots of efforts to move the country. APC will rise up against the government. Some government agencies will be scrapped due to internal inefficiencies. Lagos (EKO) Electric Distribution Company will face problems and also in Rivers, Kwara, Edo, Ebonyi, Kano and Cross Rivers.
I foresee that the 2023 election will pose serious tension as the Northern part will want to continue to be in power at all cost. They will do so many things so as to ensure they remain in power. The Yoruba clamouring to become the next president of the country should seek the face of God before they embark on any journey.
“The Igbo will not be recognized in 2023. The 2023 election will be so tough and challenging. The geo-political zones who have sold their right are still going to regret it because anybody that talks will be arrested or oppose what the government are doing will face so many threats. I foresee some people will oppose the decision of the government.
The Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) should be committed into prayers and they will introduce a new tax system into the country.
Let us pray against calamity in the country.
There will be environmental pollution. Stock Exchange will experience changes in its leadership position. Some company license will be seized.
“I foresee unexpected explosions and fire outbreak in Nigeria.
Some Federal Ministers must be careful because some will face unexpected challenges in discharging their duties properly.
Let us pray against troubles in our security system.
Baby factories will be detected. The government will embark on new methods of sanctifying the state in order to make it free and cool the security of the country. Pensioners will demonstrate. Some state will not be able to pay their pensioners. Pensioners will go on strike.
Fraud will be detected in the Pension Board. Ghost workers will be detected by the Federal government.
“Let us watch against unexpected explosion and killings in Abuja. Herdsmen will come in various dimensions. Some state will work on cattle rearers which will not work as expected.
There will be attack on herdsmen. The president must pray to rebuke troubles. Nigeria will be concerned about the security challenges confronting the country. Nigeria will make security dominant in the country. Let us pray so that curfew will not be declared in some states and local government and let’s rebuke cases of emergencies in any of the sectors in the country.
I foresee the Villa being changed from its present location in the nearest future. I also foresee a new Presidential Villa being built.
“Let us pray to rebuke death and cases of fire in the Villa. Let us also be careful and watchful because of so many things that will be happening in the villa. Let us pray against attack and threat on the Villa. Let’s pray so that none of the presidential convoy will be attacked.
The government should be vigilant. President Buhari should take a rest in the month of April, May, August and September 2020 and he should watch his policies. I foresee drama in the Villa.
Let us pray for our governments so that none of them will be attacked. Some Ministers will be queried by the President. Some of the hidden agendas of the Ministers will be exposed. Apart from this, Nigeria will experience what they have not being experiencing before. I foresee earthquake, landslide and earth tremor in Nigeria.
“Farmers will be assisted and encouraged by borrowing them money but the money will not be accounted for. Government will distribute fertilizers to the farmers so as to enhance their farm crops and fake fertilizers will be given also. I foresee the South-West will start producing food.
“Let us pray to rebuke attack in some neighbouring countries. Government will raise tax on tricycle riders in Lagos. The license method of C of O will be changed.
Tinubu will be betrayed. Osinbajo and Buhari will have problems as there will be moves to remove him from office even as I foresee the cabals working against Tinubu’s plan and they will be threat to question Tinubu.
Osinbajo must be prayerful because he will face counter challenges before the end of his tenure. Malabo oil scam will still rise. Some present and past politicians will be accused. The country needs lots of prayers as the Lord has blessed the country so much.
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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)