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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Somebody Left Our Doors Open To Insurgency– Kukah


KUKAH

Somebody Left Our Doors Open To Insurgency– Kukah

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Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah is the Catholic bishop of Sokoto Diocese. His opinions on critical issues usually create national agenda for public discourse. In this exclusive interview with ANKELI EMMANUEL, he observes that certain salient issues bordering on the loss of moral values both in the religious and political arena are responsible for the myriads of problems confronting the country
In recent times, there appears to be mutual suspicion about northerners in other parts of the country who are seen as potential Boko Haram members. What do you think this suspicion portends for the country?
I think the issues are grossly exaggerated. And I don’t think it is something we should pay too much attention to. It seems to me that there is a bit of media frenzy and there is the need for us to think even much more clearly and closely about how the media behave in a period such as this. How do citizens, religious leaders, and everyone behave in a period such as we are in?
I say that because some days ago, Daily Trust newspapers published a story involving a very prominent leader of the Arewa Community in Imo state who was actually saying the idea of identity cards was their own not that of Governor Rochas Okorocha. However, on television today, Okorocha denied anything of that sort.
What I am saying in effect is that the media has gone into frenzy and the result is that, there is very little attention to facts before they are published. There is so much sensationalization in some of the reportage. Therefore, I am just saying that it is not correct to say that every northerner is a potential Boko Haram member. I have been to Asaba, Onitsha and different parts of this country. Therefore, it is not true to say that I or anybody coming from this part of the country should be seen as a potential Boko Haram.
Recently, the Sultan of Sokoto Sa’ad Abubakar III solicited advice on the way forward thereby prompting criticism that Muslim leaders are not doing enough on terrorism. What would be your advice as a clergyman?
Well, I am not an adviser to the Sultan. He is more than eminently qualified to speak for himself. Let me, however, say very quickly that I think the most important thing is that perception is a reality. Cain did not necessarily cease to be the son of Adam because he killed his brother. That I have become a murderer today does not mean I am not the son of my father, rather, I am probably a bad son. So, the truth of the matter is that the people who are perpetuating this violence said they are Muslims; they are not asking for anything but an Islamic state.
Now, you may quarrel with how they are going about it. You may even say that Islam does not allow anybody to murder another person. Indeed, no religion or society tolerates murder. But what I think we are missing in the whole of this conversation is that we are not asking ourselves what prepared people for this kind of action.
If you have children that are well fed, and well clothed within the best means available to you and suddenly, one of them becomes a thief, I don’t think the best thing to do is to simply condemn him, rather you try to find out why in the midst all the affluence, he went wayward. In the same way, I think these are times for serious introspection among the Muslim communities in Nigeria. I have said it severally that Boko Haram has been a terrible advertisement for Nigeria, but perhaps, it is the worst advertisement for Islam.
It is not enough to say that these people are not Muslims but that what is it in Islam that predisposes people to this kind of action? For me, these are not questions that we can answer. The question we should rather ask ourselves is about the person that left the door open for this calamity to set in. Perhaps, we must also say that these issues are not peculiar to Islam in the whole country but in northern Nigeria alone. Therefore, we must isolate and localize the problem not because it is a northern problem but because it is a problem peculiar to Islam as expressed in northern Nigeria.
There are Muslims in the southwest. There is also a little percentage of Muslims in the middle belt and there are Muslims in some parts of the southeast. They are not going around murdering people. There are Muslims in Senegal, Gambia and other parts of Africa. They are not going about it that way.
So, the question we must ask with honesty is, “What is it about Islam as practised in northern Nigeria that predisposes people to this kind of action? And as I said earlier, we can have long lectures on this, but I think that is the direction we should focus the question. It is not about whether we are being represented well or not or whether those people are not Muslims. The criminals who represent us badly in Nigeria do not lose their Nigerian identities. That was why I said this is a very trying time for us as a nation. It is not for us to cast aspersion but to ask ourselves certain honest questions.
 The Sultan said recently that insecurity in Nigeria is all about 2015. Do you also share that thought?
Well, that is what the Sultan said and you should have asked him. However, whether there is a correlation between the insecurity we are facing, I do not know. I however, have the feeling that the matter is grossly exaggerated. I think that it is quite conceivable and possible that 2015 will come and go very peacefully, but since we are Nigerians and we always look at the worst case scenario for ourselves, we are also our worst enemy in terms of perception.
But over and above that, like I have consistently said to the politicians, there has to be a country first, before we can think of conducting elections.
The abduction of over 200 innocent school girls in Chibok has raised global concern and criticism against Nigeria. As a priest, what do you think the government should do and what they have failed to do to rescue these girls?
You know, I worry because this is Nigeria where you have about 170 million experts on everything. And there are certain things that we must concede that, at least, we don’t have the answer. I think people have been very critical of the president, the government, the military and all that. Yes, they have the right to do so, but none of these get us anywhere closer to bringing these girls home. And I think it is sad if anybody believes that the president of Nigeria, one way or the other, has something to do about this matter which he is not doing now.
It is not a fair assessment of the situation because nobody else could have done something else completely different from what he has been doing. Secondly, I think that we should have been praying. The unfortunate thing is that this whole thing has turned into politics. And there are people who are looking at it as if the president is weak. It is not the way a country behaves when you have a crisis of this nature, there is need for sobriety.
It is important to note that we are not the first people to go through all these. America sat down helplessly to watch for, at least, 445 or so days when its citizens were kidnapped in Iran. They could not do anything about it. This is not the first time something of this nature is happening but the most important thing we are saying is that we want these girls back alive.
With the level of insecurity in Nigeria almost reaching its crescendo, most Nigerians are of the opinion that the country is at the crossroads. Do you also share that belief?
There is no doubt about the fact that we are facing very challenging times as a nation, and as I said, no sane citizen must treat this situation with levity. It is a wakeup call for all of us. But we must also appreciate the fact that this is not the worst thing that has happened in human history. Few months from now, it will be the beginning of the First World War in which over 20 million people lost their lives.
The people of Algeria had a war after their election and it all came to pass. Now, we have the Boko Haram insurgency in its intense form for the better parts of a year and a half or two, and for the lives we have lost, it is one of the greatest tragedies because we are not even having an all-out war. It is also that we are dealing with senseless killings.
We must, however, address the fact that if anybody knows the best way of addressing this kind of things, let them step forward and say so. But the fact of the matter is that, there are no easy options. The way our country is right now, there are massive wastelands and with a police force of less than half a million, how many policemen can you send across the country? With the military force of perhaps less than 200,000, how many of them can you send across the nation? These are some of the practical realities.
For instance, when some innocent people were been killed in Southern Kaduna and I went there on condolence, one of the things I tried to tell the young people was that they should be very careful because I could see anger and frustration on their faces because you may be the only one left and I said, “Look, you may be angry but do not do anything stupid. May be you are the only surviving person left and other people have died on your behalf. If you go on and do something stupid the history of your house is forgotten”.
So, it is the question of us having the maturity and the capacity to know that this too will pass away. And depending on how we handle situations, it could give us a stronger and a better nation. But frankly, I’m personally convinced from the things I am seeing and from the things I’m monitoring that the worst is over. Also, the unwritten part of this text is that I am convinced that a substantial part of these evils have been perpetrated by people who are not necessarily Nigerians.
The easy thing, of course, is for us to say that everything that has happened is a Fulani man creation or whatever. But again, we also have to ask some of the questions as to whether we have the kind of Fulanis we used to see around us to have been able to acquire the kind of sophistication and the clinical ability to do the kind of things that these people were doing?
Now, the Janja weeds were in Sudan until about three or four years ago and we do not know where they have gone to. And like my grandmother used to say, that the bird that calls the rain is usually the first to be beaten by the rain. It is quite possible that some people contracted these people expecting that they will probably do a quick job and get out and as it has turned now, it is worst than they expected. So, I think what we can do is just to still remain together like men and women in a boat that is threatened by a turbulent sea. We may have reasons to quarrel but the worst we can do is to lose control of the rowing instrument.
The National Confab recently gave recommendation for the creation of additional states. Do you think Nigeria needs additional states as it is now?
I guess my thought don’t matter because I am not a member of the confab and I can only say, well, if they have come up with the recommendation for the creation of 18 more additional states, then I’m sure they probably know how thestates can be created. So, I guess it is left for them, the National Assembly and the president.
Nigerians seems not to be happy with the confab because they failed to place emphasis on security of lives and properties of Nigerians but rather concentrated on resource control and the host of other petty issues. What is your view on that?
They are not police force. I don’t think you could have called a national conference or whatever name it is called just to address the problem of security. If you want to address the problem of security, very few people in the hall have been brought to the place because of their competence in security matters. If you want to address the problem of security in this country, then the person who is the chief security officer of this country is the president. He has his service chiefs and then the various directors of the security agencies.
There are nobody else; they could solicit for advice but the ball is in their courts. And I think we must also trust their abilities and competence. No matter how knowledgeable you and I may be, unless our advice is sought, there is little or nothing we can do, but, remember that we are living in a country like Nigeria where everybody knows everything and everybody has a point of view about everything.
So, there are no learners. Everybody in Nigeria is a teacher because everybody has a point of view about everything. But the issues we are dealing with are not issues you can resolve by conference. And like I said, I have listened to many people on the television like the governors, ministers and so on and sometimes, I’m very happy with the effort that most of them are putting in. All those efforts are tied to the security of this country. So, it is not as if one day, whether Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, January, February, March or May that we would say now this is the deadline and security has returned to Nigeria.
Security is a psychological state of mind. Israel is one of the most secured countries that one would want to be but if you go to Tel Aviv, there is also far greater tension. So, insecurity is not necessarily absence of harm it is more or less a psychological state of mind that is contingent on a range of other factors. So, I don’t think that all of us should necessarily think that we have the capacity to comment on matters that are as sophisticated as the issue of security.
So, clearly, there is a correlation between the unemployment as we called it and the non industrial activities that are occurring in Nigeria. I mean, probably you were not born then but when the Textile industries were functionally running in Kaduna, even if 10 or 15 of such industries are still working, then it would have been an open question whether we would have had Boko Haram?
But again, you will discover that in those days when the textiles were functional, people require minimal skills. There are people that were working there who never went to any school. There are people who had primary school education and a very few number of them then had secondary school education, but there was always something for somebody them to do. So, our glorification of the university degree, in my own view, is not only largely a misplaced priority but is also a function of the colonial mentality of the feelings that this is what you require in order to climb higher.
Like I said, there was this joke somebody told me about an Igbo man who came back from America with a Ph.D and there was a reception in his honour in the village square. After the man got up to speak, he was speaking eloquently about how much he worked had to get the Ph.D and one spare parts dealer who is one of the richest men in the village got up to say, “Look, can somebody ask this man what is it that he is saying and how it can be translated in naira?” He requested that the man should tell them the value of Ph.D in naira. What I am saying in essence is that, money may not be everything, but it is also important to know that people have also demonstrated that you can actually do the best you can and everybody does not necessarily need to have a university degree.
 

Friday, 15 August 2014

“THE CHALLENGE OF DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE” - BY THE GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY, MR. BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA, SAN ON THE BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY OF HIS EXCELLENCY TIMIPRE SYLVA - August 14, 2014



 I think it is too elementary to attempt any formal definition of democracy.

It will serve our purpose to say that it is participatory governance in the sense that we all have a say, whether we vote or not.

It is also useful to remind ourselves that participation is largely by representation; in other words, those who are old enough to vote and those who are not, are represented by people elected to speak, think and act for us.

This part is very important because we all cannot be in Government, especially the Executive and Legislative arm, so we must elect or otherwise choose people to go there on our behalf.

The problem is compounded by size.

Can you imagine what a Senate or House of Representatives where all 160 million of us can sit will look like?

From this point we can see the inherent challenges that lie in a process of collective decision making.

In order to further highlight some of the challenges that lie in democratic governance, I will share with you a report of developments across the World published by Newsweek Magazine on August 23 & 30, 2010 edition titled “the Best Countries in the World”, Newsweek Top 100.

An article by Rana Foroohar posed the following question before delivering the report of a survey of 100 nations:-

”If you were born today, which country would provide you the very best opportunity to live a healthy, safe, reasonably prosperous and upwardly mobile life?”

In the answer, Finland was number 1, Nigeria was number 99, Ghana was number 86, South Africa was number 82, Brazil was number 48, Singapore was number 20, USA was number 11, United Kingdom was number 14. Greece, with its recent economic and debt crises was number 26, Russia was number 51.

The United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, that are not democracies in the contemporary sense of the western conception were rated 43, 53, 54 and 64 respectively.

Out of the 53 African countries on the continent, only 18 made the ranking, the highest being Tunisia 65, Morocco 67 and Egypt 74.

South Africa, which is reputed to be arguably the best democracy in Africa and at the time, the largest economy ranked lower than these “undemocratic” North African countries at 82.

As if this was not bad enough, earlier this year on a business trip to Abu Dhabi, I was forced to enter into conversation with a middle aged man of Arab extraction.

It was in the evening in our hotel. He had come out to the restaurant to dine and unwind. I ended up on the same table with him and he was insistent on making conversation while he drank a glass of red alcoholic wine.

In the event he sought to know where I came from and when I said Nigeria, he accused our Government of pauperizing our country when we have oil like his own country, Saudi Arabia.

When I told him that he was not supposed to drink alcohol he asked me if I was going to report to his country.

When I reminded him that his country was not democratic, he hit me where it hurts most.

He asked what the value of democracy is to my own countrymen when his own countrymen can build hospitals that we bring our own ailing presidents to.

As if this was not enough, he rounded off by saying to me that in his country they see what their leaders are doing with their money, building roads, bridges, new airports, schools, hospitals, rail, shopping malls and generally driving development, and he at least did not care about democracy.

Although I felt hurt that he thought very little of my country, the idea of freedoms, to think, to speak, to act and to ask questions is too valuable for me to exchange for development under an autocratic or undemocratic government.

So I worry as we must all worry, when I hear some people say that it is part of their achievement that they allow us to express ourselves. Utter Rubbish!

They seek to re-define the relationship in the social contract. They are to serve us and not the other way round. It is not a privilege for us to complain when they do not deliver.

If the only options left to choose from were between freedom and development, I for one will rather surrender development than freedom.

However, I am however convinced beyond doubt that democracy can deliver development and this is the central theme of my presentation.

Political Parties

In order for this to happen, the vehicle of politics, the political parties must be developed as first class institutions.

The first thing to seek is the “idea” behind governance (this is often contained in the program of a political party).

This is very important because the extremes of left and right ideologies have now converged around the centre.

If China and Russia are democratizing, no matter how imperfectly, it is clear that the communist or socialist ideologies of economic exchange have proven to become unsustainable.

Conversely, capitalism in its purest sense has also had to reinvent itself to remain viable. Therefore it moved from cash to credit and credit almost killed it.

The question of ideology is important because it lies at the heart of choice making for the people who participate in election to choose their representatives.

At all times, the welfare of the people is the central theme for the canvassing of votes. It is the ideology, often on economic outlook, sometimes on social outlook that helps to crystallize the difference between the political party machines.

Before concluding on party ideology (because it can be the subject of a full lecture itself) let me say that while some people still delude themselves that there is no difference between our political parties, especially the ruling party and the main opposition, the differences are emerging daily for those who are discerning enough to notice.

If on major policy issues such as power, security, agriculture, corruption and unemployment the main opposition has disagreed with the party in Government and has criticized its choices, I wonder what else the party needs to do to prove that there is a difference.

If you look at the level of progress and development (World Bank poverty index) in the States governed by old and new opposition Governors, there is clear daylight in terms of development.

For example, it is no coincidence that only 2 (two) States, Lagos and Rivers, governed by APC Governors are executing rail projects on their own as a mass transit solution.

The party in government has lied about when there will be stable electricity for 16 years, and an APC state, Lagos led the way in showing what is possible with its power initiatives in Egbin, Akute, Lagos Island and Alausa. Ikeja and Lekki will be commissioned this year.

Other APC Controlled states are clearly Pack Leaders in service delivery across the religious landscape.

The party in power prefers to continue to import fuel with the attendant disruptions, and monumental corruption. It cancelled its own concession of moribund refineries.

Lagos believes that in a strategic partnership where it provides land for a refinery, Nigeria can produce enough petroleum products for consumption and still have some to export in 4 (four) years.

The ruling party is now sending a clear message to the people. This is what they are saying:-

“We care about you, but you do not need development so we will not do any developmental work in 3 (three) years. In the 4th (fourth) year we will give you money, kerosene, and rice. Please vote for us, and use the money we give you to provide your own roads, schools, hospitals and security, until we see you again in 4 (four) years”.

In the last election in Osun, the APC candidate sought the peoples vote on a campaign anchored on first his record of 4 years, and a clear developmental and economic agenda to empower the people if elected.

For the candidate of the other main party, the election was going to be a war. So said no less a person than the Vice-President of our country. A leading member of that party. The candidate therefore anchored his campaign on an intention to CAPTURE Ekiti. For me there is clear daylight between these two approaches.

Anyone who still pretends not to see this major economic ideological difference will not see the tallest building in the world even if he stands in front of it.

People and members

I will start here with the quote of Bertolt Brecht who said:-

“The worst illiterate is the political illiterate. He hears nothing, sees nothing, takes no part in political life. He doesn’t seem to know that the cost of living, the price of beans, of flour, of rent, of medicines, all depend on political decisions. He even prides himself on his political ignorance, sticks out his chest and says he hates politics. He doesn’t know, the imbecile, that from his political non-participation comes the prostitute, the abandoned child, the robber and, worst of all, corrupt officials, the lackeys of exploitative multinational corporations”.

It seems that when opposition does its job will the Governmet panic and resort to a propaganda of lies.

It is part of the lies they have told us about the mismanagement of our National Security.

Their first story was that those behind it were within the Government. When the opposition pushed them to identify those people they have turned around to say it is the opposition.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is still regrettable that the majority of the members of our political parties and politicians do not yet include the critical elite of our society.

They still see politics as something too dirty.

Whether we like it or not, history has shown that the elite of any society, especially its professional cadre, and the very best of them decide the direction of the nation when they come to a consensus about the pathway for their nation, even if they belong to different political parties.

Where are all the people who have built things with their hands in our society?

What are they doing outside of Government?

Where are the founders of the big banks, businesses, telecoms in our body politic?

Are they just content to finance and yet remain unwilling to take the plunge?

There is unverifiable talk that they are willing to identify with the ruling party when they are in Abuja, and with the party in Government in their states when they get to their bases for fear of reprisals?

What do our elite believe?

It is only by their belief, that contributions can come in to fund parties, where members pay dues, where strong values restrain people from decamping whenever the grass in not green on their side again.

Truth be told, opposition politics is tough and only the committed and true believers see it through.

Opposition politics carries its own pain everywhere and has been the subject of a book called “How to be in Opposition. Life in the Political Shadows”, where Nigel Fletcher provides useful insight into the challenges of being in opposition and also profers useful tips.

The one I will share with you is sub-titled “choose your weapons wisely”, and this is what he says:-

“An opposition cannot compete with the Government on resources, so you must be inventive. In what is a David and Goliath contest, you can use the advantages of greater agility to aim your slingshot where it can do the most damage. Parliamentary ambushes, media attacks and effective research will wear down Ministers and help expose their mistakes”

As you may have also heard in this part of the World, the party in power will accuse you of trying to bring down the Government.

This is certainly not the same thing as bringing down the Country because the Government can be removed by LEGITIMATE and CONSTITUTIONAL means at the ballot box.

According to Nigel Fletcher:-

“…bringing down the Government was a peculiar day job and it is. But that is really only the negative side of the job description. With equally lofty ambition, the positive side of opposition could be summed up as ‘trying to change the World’. This is surely something worth doing…”

Perhaps when all these issues have been put in proper place, can we then begin to talk of the people of the party and what defines it.

This is different from a manifesto, which can change (discuss) easily.

It is the ideology of the party (what the Americans call the platform statement )and what I call the DNA of the party that is very difficult to change. The nearest to it since the Action Group was formed in 1951 is the All Progressive Congress Code of Ethics unveiled at its inaugural summit on the 6th of March 2014.

It is important to repeat the codes here:-

“1. Our party considers the Nigerian people as our nation’s greatest asset, and will do everything to protect and preserve human life and dignity.

2. Our party upholds a Nigeria bound by the principles of freedom, justice, peace, unity and the rule of law.

3. Our party upholds and respects every individual’s choice of faith under God.

4. Our party has no tolerance for corruption and will manage Nigerian resources responsibly, with a commitment to accountability and the pursuit of the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

5. Our party is committed to a strong system of government at the federal, state and local levels as the most effective vehicle for harnessing the diversity and preserving the unity of Nigeria.

6. Our party rests on the foundation of democracy, fairness and the pursuit of opportunity for all citizens, predicated on economic productivity, fair competition and the bridging of inequalities.

7. Our party pursues its objective of increasing economic opportunity, social welfare and progress through a government-led and private sector driven economy.

8. Our party upholds the principle of one person, one vote grounded in free and fair elections at all levels.

9. Our Party upholds and respects the interests of Nigeria’s diverse ethnic groups that constitute our Nation.

10. Our party recognizes Nigeria’s strategic role on the African continent and commits to the pursuit of a foreign policy that promotes peace, security and our national interest.”

The existence of these codes leads inexorably to how the parties are managed.

Who leads them? What type of experience do they have? When and where are meetings held and how are decisions taken? (Night meetings).

Finally, what is the process of choosing representative of the party (officials) and its flagbearers?

What role do debates play?

What is the efficiency of primaries?

Where do we draw the difference between “godfatherism” and “endorsements”?

I have taken the trouble, even if in summary form, to highlight some of the bridges we must cross in order to deepen democracy.

These are only some of the challenges that democratic governance faces.

It seems to me that the countries that have managed to deliver development with democracy got one thing right – they built strong political parties (Not one in four years parties).

The makings were appearing in SDP and NRC until the annulment of June 12.

Thankfully, the APC provides the opportunity for a rebirth, with the broad base from which its coalition is formed.

That in itself is a challenge, which, if overcome and harnessed, provides very deep diversity from which to project strength and national unity.

Leadership of Government

Until recently, we all used to think that our national development was inhibited by the fact that we never had a university graduate as leader of any national government in an executive capacity.

This perhaps alludes only faintly to the issue of the elite consensus, but it is not the same.

Thankfully, the myth of graduate leadership as desirable as it is, has been exploded now.

We have two graduates (a zoologist and an architect) at the helm of our National affairs and I think the majority of Nigerians will tell you today that their lives are worse off today than they were 4 (four) years ago.

Clearly there must be more to leadership than a university degree and educational qualification.

There is character, vision, courage, empathy, compassion and many more attributes that you simply will not find in a classroom or school.

They are in homes, in communities and also in the value system of society.

Recently, our leadership has re-defined empathy by inviting parents of abducted Chibok girls, bereaved people, to the presidential villa for commiseration.

I find this truly strange. Truly unAfrican.

How does this sound? “I heard you lost your child to abductors. Please come and see me at home so I can sympathize with you”.

This is my paraphrasing of what has so far transpired.

As if this was not bad enough, there is a tissue of lies around whether or not they tried to give the bereaved parents money. It is a low point for leadership. It suggests the lack of empathy.

This is not the first lie that surrounds the unfortunate abduction of young girls in Chibok.

The first statement was to say that they had rescued the girls.

When pressed to show us the girls they issued a statement casting doubt on whether the girls were actually abducted.

The new story, is that they now know where the girls are.

This is the same way they lied about the unaccounted for $48 Billion; when they say it was only $20 Billion as if it was good not to account for $1.00.

They have turned around to say no money was missing, but add that they have appointed “forensic auditors” to find out of the money was missing. It seems strange and illogical to be searching for what is not missing.

Where is courage? The character to proceed even in spite of fear.

I think we will all do well to remember that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King led from the front in the civil rights movement, so did Mandela, so did Lee Kuan Yew in the agitation for Singapore‘s independence.

Barack Obama has been to the war fronts in countries where American troops (young men and women) are put in harm’s way, to inspire them.

As racially divided as America was in the days of Martin Luther King, he did not seek to divide the country and impose black rule over white.

He dreamt and worked hard to unify divided people.

Mandela sacrificed personal liberty for the emancipation of his people and surrendered presidential power for a higher power – a moral authority – that made him the father of a continent and a global leadership reference, when by clinging to power he could not have been more than a president of one of the world’s 196 (One Hundred and Ninety Six) countries.

Instead of dividing the ethnic Chinese, Malay and Indians in Singapore, Lee Kwan Yew united them by his housing and education policies, built a nation, and took them on a journey of dizzying adventure and development.

What we are witnessing now is a daily dishonor and discredit of the service of previous Governments.

They tell us now that since Nigeria was created, no Government has done for us what they have done for us.

What would the nationalists who fought for our independence say to these inheritors?

I wonder how the 7 surviving formers Heads of State and Presidents who attend the National Council of States feel, when they hear this kind of talk.

Yet their unmatched achievements has not delivered stable power whose delivery date has not escaped their lies. The date has shifted from month-to-month to year-to-year since 2011. The lie was even told to an International News Agency.

Instead of boasting that no previous leader of Government has done more for the country as our Government does, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the leader of Dubai whose achievements far surpass ours (at least for now) not only acknowledges the service of those before him, he sets new challenges for his Government and dreams new dreams for his people.

This is what he said in the book “MY VISION: Challenges in the Race for Excellence” at pages 44, 45, 46, 213 and 214.

“Although Arab and world history abound with numerous examples of such leaders, if I were to review the history that I stood witness to, the leader I constantly think about is Sheikh Zayed”

“Sheikh Zayed earned the love of all those around him, out of their great respect for his hard work and achievements. He was also frank and expected people to be frank with him. This is something he taught me and this is how I came to respect him”

“How can I prove this? Well many people, from the United Arab Emirates and overseas, criticized Sheikh Zayed for drilling artesian wells in the desert and using the water for farming. They said this would deplete a non-renewable source, inflict heavy damage on the environment and disturb its natural balance. Although none of those critics ever knew the actual size of the underground water reservoirs, they continually criticized the idea.

As time passed, water remained abundant and none of the fears of critics materialized, while Sheikh Zayed was proven right. In the not-so-distant past, people travelling between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain would die of thirst if they did not have enough water for the long journey. Sheikh Zayed transformed the same journey into a fascinating drive on an ultramodern highway flanked by farms, palm gardens and endless greenery.

In fact, Sheikh Zayed transformed a large area of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi into the world’s largest oasis in one of the world’s harshest deserts. All this was made possible by the huge water reserves he put to good use and which are now expected to last many decades.

“I will never abandon one opportunity and wait for another. We have not reached the goal we are striving for. What you see now is nothing compared to our vision…just tiny parts of what lies ahead”

“I know the road to development and modernization is difficult; I know that it is long and I also know that the next stages will be even tougher and longer. But I have faith in God, I believe in my people, in the wisdom of our leadership and the future of our nation. I am confident we will realize our goals. Our vision is clear, our road is paved and the clock is ticking. There is no more time for hesitation or half-baked goals or solutions. Development is an ongoing process and the race for excellence has no finish line”

So until we find that kind of leader that believes in God and country, who truly loves the people, the leader who recognizes ‘service” not awards, self-adulation and national honours as the highest honour, until then will our democracy remain undeveloping.

Certainly, without subscribing to any recklessness, I would think that if the leadership of any country is worth living for, it must be worth dying for.

Regrettably, such sterling leadership as we now so desperately need is not given to nations, frequently or in abundant supply.

In 236 years of the USA, she has produced 44 presidents (of which one was elected for 4 terms) and in about 500 years of British democracy, she has produced about 75 Prime Ministers.

How many of those Presidents or Prime Ministers do you remember off hand? Why?

Many were either not outstanding or simply did not meet the developmental aspirations of their people.

In just about a decade, Britain has produced 3 (three) Prime Ministers, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron. Who knows what will happen in next year’s election?

This March 2014 in India, the ruling party, the Congress Party was defeated with the winning party, BJP having 31.4% of the votes against the then ruling party’s 19.5% of votes.

The instructive message of this musical chair of leaders is that their people have always acted to vote out leaders who were inefficient, not trusted or simply unable to inspire their people.

A number of American presidents served only one term, some voluntarily stepped down (e.g. Nixon) others were voted out after one term (eg. Carter, Bush Snr.).

Recently, Gordon Brown only finished the term of Tony Blair and was voted out in the first election he called.

Conclusion

So apart from building great parties, finding good people, and so on and so forth, the Nigerian people must find the courage to vote out an un-performing Government after its first term.

This must be the mood when a Government lies about power, about security an about the economy which are the problems it was mandated to solve.

This is the strongest message of a desire for development that the Nigerian people can send to the incoming government as well, that we will vote you out if you also do not develop our lives.

It remains or me to wish Governor Timipre Sylva, at whose behest this paper was written to commemorate his birthday anniversary, a very Happy Birthday and many happy returns.

I thank you for listening.

Babatunde Fashola, SAN
Governor of Lagos State.

APC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: POLITICAL EXPEDIENCE AND ELECTORAL VALUES (PART 3).




Chief Bisi Akande, after the merger became the Chairman of the APC Interim Management Committee (IMC). I attended his first Press Conference as Chairman, IMC and listening to him further earned more of my respect for him when he said that “a political party is like a cult and only those that are in tune with the objectives/direction of the leadership will get to the destination”. This has been in my memory till date and I am never going to forget that statement. Interpretation of the statement can be in different ways and with different meaning and understanding. But in politics, this is what some of us refer to as LOYALTY. Leaders do not joke with loyalty.

While the APC merger process was going on, Governor Rotimi  Amaechi was engaged in a political battle of his life with the Presidency and his former Party (PDP). He was therefore “caught between the devil and the deep blue sea”. The APC leadership saw an opportunity to pay solidarity visit to Governor Amaechi and cultivate his friendship, inviting him to join the APC. Eventually, Governor Amaechi, after wide consultations, decided to take the plunge into the “deep blue sea”. The general opinion then was that Rotimi Amaechi will be offered the APC Vice Presidential ticket to challenge President Goodluck Jonathan from the same South-South geo-political Zone and deliver substantial electoral votes from the Zone. At the time, the opinion was politically expedient and an accepted political calculation. But as political expedience and electoral values will later dictate, this political calculation became unattractive. The reason for this will be made clear shortly.

Later, the G5 (PDP Governors) including Governor Rotimi  Amaechi and their loyal followers and supporters, staged a walk out on their Party (PDP) and formed the new PDP (nPDP). They all subsequently decamped to the APC. The G5 Governors teamed up with the APC Governors and started agitation for the Presidential and VP Candidates to be picked from within the now APC Governor’s Forum under the Chairmanship of Governor Rochas Okorocha. Again political expedience came into play.

Prior to this period, there was an unwritten arrangement in the APC that the Presidential Candidate will be a candidate from the North. Will it be politically expedient to have Rotimi Amaechi, incumbent Chairman, Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) and a PDP decampee to APC as the Party VP Candidate and another PDP Governor decampee from the North as the Presidential Candidate for the APC? Will the APC Governors (from the legacy Parties) accept this situation and be edged out of the Presidential ticket/candidacy? Your guess is as good as mine. And certainly, members of the legacy parties will hear nothing of such arrangement. In all these, the decampee Governors conveniently overlooked the fact that the two leadership of the APC (GMB and BAT) that conceptualize the idea of the merger and the unwritten agreement of a Northern Presidential candidacy were completely and conveniently left out of the Governors arrangement!!!

As the Governors scheming and horse trading were going on, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his group announced the formation of the PDM (another breakaway faction of the ruling party, PDP) The PDM was registered by INEC as a political party. Then, out of the blues, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar dumped the PDM and pitched his political tent with the APC. Atiku Abubakar announced to the world that he came into the APC assuring the leadership that he had no presidential ambition. But later events during the APC Congresses in the States revealed otherwise. Atiku Abubakar’s underhand and underground scheming became exposed. Again, will political expedience allow APC to hand the Presidential ticket to Atiku Abubakar, another PDP decampee. Atiku’s political sojourn has taken him from PDP to AC, back to PDP, then to PDM and now APC. Will it be politically expedient to trust Atiku Abubakar with the Presidential ticket of the APC?

Saturday, 9 August 2014

APC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: POLITICAL EXPEDIENCE AND ELECTORAL VALUES.( PART 11). BY




Prior to the merger of the legacy Parties to form the APC, I had neither come in close contact with Chief Bisi Akande nor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. When the idea of the merger, in the first instance between the ACN  and the CPC (both defunct) was introduced to the CPC members, some of us initially opposed the idea, against the background of the collapse of the coalition talks between both parties during the 2011 Presidential election. We believed that the leadership of the ACN sold out to the PDP and therefore betrayed the CPC. On the other hand, the ACN had their own side of the story and arguments as to the reasons for the collapse of the coalition talks. The rest is now history.

After the 2011 elections, the CPC had set up a National Peace and Reconciliation Committee under the Chairmanship of Alhaji Adamu Bulkachuwa, to look into the issues leading to the loss in States considered by the Party to be predominantly CPC States. I served as a member of this Committee. The Committee later was disbanded and Zonal Peace and Reconciliation Committees were then set up to take care of the six geo-political zones. I served as Chairman of the South-West Zone. The CPC, as a result of the reports of the Peace and Reconciliation Committees from the six geo-political Zones, thereafter set up a Renewal Committee headed by Malam Nasril el’Rufai to reposition the Party towards the 2015 general elections and revisit the Party Constitution, Manifesto etc.

The argument put forward by some of us members of the Renewal Committee against the merger with the ACN was the advantage of our numerical strength from the 2011 general elections (12million votes plus) within a short period of setting up the Party before the 2011 elections. The CPC was in second position overall, behind the PDP in the Presidential election. However, superior arguments prevailed that one opposition Party, mainly regional based and with no national spread, will not be able to defeat the ruling PDP in a general election. Most of all, our leader, General Muhammadu Buhari had accepted to team up with the ACN  leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu bringing a political synergy of the North-West and South-West voting strength together, as a formidable force against the PDP. The rest again, is now history. The birth and formation of the APC became a reality bringing into the merger the ANPP and a faction of APGA led by Owelle Rochas Okorocha.

The legacy Parties had to conduct Mid-Term Convention to get the mandate of party members to form the APC. The CPC Mid-Term Convention was in May 2013 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Hassan Muhammed Lawal. I was Chairman of the sub-committee on Protocol and Publicity. The Convention was highly successful judging from the mammoth crowd and the peaceful conduct at the Convention ground at Eagle Square. Chief Bisi Akande who was invited by the Party and was present at the Convention, we were told, remarked that, if winning elections is by followership, the Buhari factor and followership he witnessed on the convention ground, is evidence that General Muhammadu Buhari will be part of the winning team and ticket of the APC. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was unavoidably absent at the Convention as he was abroad at the time. Chief Bisi Akande relayed his observation to Asiwaju and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu requested for the DVD of the event. He (Asiwaju) was not disappointed with what he saw in the DVD.

Chief Bisi Akande we were told that before the CPC Mid-Term Convention, was not really an admirer of General Buhari because Chief Akande was one of the UPN Governors that was jailed during the military administration of General Buhari. Chief Akande had to put aside personal differences between himself and General Buhari for the success of the Party. Thereafter and at any subsequent Party functions and events, the two leaders became best of friends and are always seen happy together.  For this singular act of maturity of Chief Akande, he earned my respect. (continued).

Friday, 8 August 2014

APC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: POLITICAL EXPEDIENCE AND ELECTORAL VALUES. (PART 1) BY EDDY OGUNBOR.




This is Not an attempt at writing a rejoinder to Dele Momodu’s articles captioned  “Why I am not a fan of PDP” and “Why I am a fan of APC”, but I will strongly recommend the       articles to Nigerians for political enlightenment and awareness in this dispensation. This will make Nigerian electorate focus on what is expected of them in our democracy and the option of choice to the electorates in the forthcoming elections.The two articles of Dele Momodu were posted on my timeline on facebook and can also be found posted on my blog – eddyogunbor.blogspot.com.

I am neither a card carrying member of the PDP nor a fan of PDP and therefore I am totally on the same page with Dele Momodu’s arguments and opinions contained thereof in his first article, “Why I am not a fan of PDP”.  However, I am a card carrying member of the APC and certainly a fan of the APC. I believe in the objectives, aims and manifesto of the party at rescuing Nigeria from the sordid state of decadence the country has found itself due to the inglorious governance of the PDP since 1999. Therefore, haven played active roles at the national level , leading to the formation of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), - one of the legacy parties – and in the merger process leading to the birth of APC, I consider it proper to throw light on some aspects raised in Dele Momodu’s  “Why I am a fan of APC”. The article touched on the need for the APC to get its acts together properly in picking the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates that can dislodge the ruling party in the 2015 Presidential election. Dele Momodu in his article suggested a pairing formula he considered potent enough to defeat PDP in 2015.This pairing formula he suggested is precisely the reason for this write up. I will address this in due course. But let me digress for a moment.

Most friends of mine, aware of my political leanings and opinions, have asked the question on several occasion on who I think the choice of the APC will be as the Presidential candidate. The reason they ask is for the fact that they are aware of my unabashed loyalty to and committed support for a particular individual and this individual being the reason for my venture into politics, in quest of a rescue team and mission for our dear country from the low depth of decadence we have found the country in recent time. My answer always has been,  “when we get to the bridge, we will cross it” and that the leadership has not come up with the modalities for picking the candidates. In truth, they (my friends) know my preferred choice of Presidential candidate for the APC and that I do not want to “let the cat out of the bag”. Now that we are almost at the “the bridge” and about to “cross it”, Dele Momodu’s article came out at the appropriate time for the “cat to be let out of my bag”. (continued).

Monday, 4 August 2014

Osun Election: APC says 500,000 unclaimed permanent voters cards cloned


Governor Rauf Aregbesola
Governor Rauf Aregbesola
Party alleges that the cards would be used for rigging.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, has issued a red alert on the August 9 gubernatorial election in Osun State.
The party alleged that about half a million Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, which were either unclaimed, not handed over to their authentic owners, or were obtained fraudulently, have been cloned by unscrupulous persons ahead of the election, with the sole purpose of rigging.
“These cloned cards, mostly in the hands of persons from states other than Osun, are to be used along with the authentic PVCs issued to the electorate in Osun State during the August 9 Osun governorship election,” the party said in a statement issued in Osogbo on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed.
“Already, we can confirm that the hundreds of thousands of people in possession of these cloned cards all over Nigeria, especially in the states neighbouring Osun, are being induced monetarily and instructed to super impose their photographs on the cloned PVCs.
”The game plan is for them to arrive early at the polling booths on Election Day, where conniving electoral officials will turn a blind eye to this fraud by not checking whether or not the names of these impersonators with cloned cards are on the voters register before going ahead to accredit them, to pave the way for them to use the cloned cards to vote at the expense of the genuine holders of the cards,” it said.
APC alleged that based on the dubious plan, unscrupulous security agents – both official and unofficial – would be at hand to brutalise, arrest, and detain any agent or voter who may want to challenge this illegality.
The party therefore called on INEC to ensure that only the voters’ registers used to issue out the PVCs to voters up till August 4 be used to conduct the August 9 election.
”We also demand that copies of these registers, which are already in possession of the local government electoral officers, be made available to all political parties at least 72 hours before the election. Anything short of using the registers that contained the names of the authentic voters will not be acceptable,” it warned.
APC thanked the people of Osun, clamouring for a free, fair and credible election, for reaching out to the party with useful information that would thwart any rigging plan and ensure the success of the polls.
The party urged the people of the state and APC members to be very vigilant ahead, during and after voting on Saturday, against the background of the alleged desperation to win at all costs by the PDP candidate, Iyiola Omisore.
The APC had accused Mr. Omisore and the PDP of conjuring an opinion poll purportedly by USAID showing he was leading every other candidate. The USAID later disowned the poll.
“Their desperation knows no bounds, hence they will do anything, no matter how illegal, to thwart the will of the people. But no power is bigger than people’s power, and no inducement is worth anyone’s conscience. The votes of the people of the state of Osun must not only be counted, but must count on Saturday,” it said.

TREACHEROUS: Whereabouts of Boko Haram “Butcher” Unknown! Nigeria Military Lost Him


Mohammed-Zakari
By Yusuf Alli
Military source: we don’t have him
There was anxiety yesterday over the whereabouts of the suspected Boko Haram “chief butcher” Mohammed Zakari in police custody.
The suspect was arrested on July 15 after a counter-insurgency operation in Balmo forest in Bauchi State, which was rated as the major armoury of the sect.
The suspect had been undergoing interrogation in a police facility.
A source claimed that the suspect was in Bauchi; another said he had been transferred to a secret location in Jos.
It was gathered that the tension over the  suspect’s whereabouts was heightened by the fact that he had not been grilled by the military and other security agencies.
A top security source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, confirmed that there was disquiet over the fate of the suspect because the police did not state the extent of their investigation into his activities.
“No one can also explain who is keeping the suspect in the last two weeks. There are different claims on whether he is in Bauchi, Jos or Abuja,” the source said, adding: “It could also not be confirmed whether he is still alive or dead during encounters. The situation is creating fears in the states under emergency rule.
“Those from these states have been raising concerns on Zakari’s actual status.”
It was also learnt that there were issues about the lack of coordination between the police and  the military and security agencies.
A military source, who spoke last night, said: “Well, the police arrested the suspect they should be in the best position to account for his whereabouts.
“So far, we have not been involved in the quizzing of the suspect.”
Attempts to get official confirmation from the police last night did not yield results.
A text message to the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Frank Mba, was not replied as at 8pm.

Emotan

Emotan a patriotic woman who traded in foodstuffs at the very spot where her statue stands in the 15th century. At that period,{11th} Oba Uwaifiokun {1430AD-1440AD} usurped the throne of the Benin kingdom in place of his senior brother,Prince Ogun who was the heir apparent. Ogun in those times of travail. paid secret and nocturnal visits to Benin from his exile. On many occasions,this market woman called Emotan warmed Ogun of impending dangers and advised him
iagainst interacting with some treacherous chiefs who may reveal his presence. On one occasion Emotan actually hide prince ogun from his adversary. Some Historians are of the view that Emotan was a market woman who took care of little children whilst their mothers were away buying and selling their wares in oba market they refer to her as the market woman who began the first "DAY-CARE CENTRE" in Benin City.
When Prince Ogun eventually regained the throne and was subsequently crowned as the real Oba of Benin, he took the name {12th} Oba Ewuare the great {1440AD-1473AD}. He did not forget the pivotal role played by this simple market woman, Emotan who saved him from glaring dangers during his exile years. When Emotan died, Oba Ewuare ordered that the sacred Uruhe tree be planted at the very spot where Emotan used to display her goods in Oba market and decreed that thereafter, every person in Benin who is performing any ceremony of whatever must pay homage to Emotan.Thus to this day every citizen,including the Oba himself pays homage to Emotan.

During the reign of {33rd} Oba Osemwende {1816AD-1848AD} the commemorative tree fell and he replanted another Uruhe tree on the same spot.

In 1951, the British colonial administration officials injected the tree with poisonous chemicals and uprooted it. This action almost led to a violent mass reaction. After which the {37th} Oba Akenzua II {1933AD-1978AD} vehemently protested the destruction of the Emotan shrine. This had been there since the 15th century. Consequently, the colonialists acceded to the request for a replacement. A life-size statue was cast by Mr. J.A.Danfor in London from a clay Marquette modeled by Enomayo, professional brass caster from the Igun-Eronmwon.
The new Emotan statue was unveiled amidst pomp and pageantry by the Oba Benin, Akenzua ll on March 20, 1954.
Emotan a patriotic woman who traded in foodstuffs at the very spot where her statue stands in the 15th century. At that period,{11th} Oba Uwaifiokun {1430AD-1440AD} usurped the throne of the Benin kingdom in place of his senior brother,Prince Ogun who was the heir apparent. Ogun in those times of travail. paid secret and nocturnal visits to Benin from his exile. On many occasions,this market woman called Emotan warmed Ogun of impending dangers and advised him
iagainst interacting with some treacherous chiefs who may reveal his presence. On one occasion Emotan actually hide prince ogun from his adversary. Some Historians are of the view that Emotan was a market woman who took care of little children whilst their mothers were away buying and selling their wares in oba market they refer to her as the market woman who began the first "DAY-CARE CENTRE" in Benin City.
When Prince Ogun eventually regained the throne and was subsequently crowned as the real Oba of Benin, he took the name {12th} Oba Ewuare the great {1440AD-1473AD}. He did not forget the pivotal role played by this simple market woman, Emotan who saved him from glaring dangers during his exile years. When Emotan died, Oba Ewuare ordered that the sacred Uruhe tree be planted at the very spot where Emotan used to display her goods in Oba market and decreed that thereafter, every person in Benin who is performing any ceremony of whatever must pay homage to Emotan.Thus to this day every citizen,including the Oba himself pays homage to Emotan.

During the reign of {33rd} Oba Osemwende {1816AD-1848AD} the commemorative tree fell and he replanted another Uruhe tree on the same spot.

In 1951, the British colonial administration officials injected the tree with poisonous chemicals and uprooted it. This action almost led to a violent mass reaction. After which the {37th} Oba Akenzua II {1933AD-1978AD} vehemently protested the destruction of the Emotan shrine. This had been there since the 15th century. Consequently, the colonialists acceded to the request for a replacement. A life-size statue was cast by Mr. J.A.Danfor in London from a clay Marquette modeled by Enomayo, professional brass caster from the Igun-Eronmwon.
The new Emotan statue was unveiled amidst pomp and pageantry by the Oba Benin, Akenzua ll on March 20, 1954.

IMPEACHMENT: NASARAWA SPEAKER, 5 OTHER LAWMAKERS FACE RECALL FROM CONSTITUENTS

 by Hir Joseph, Lafia


Six of the 20 members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) including the speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly (NSHA), Musa Ahmed Mohammed (PDP, Nasarawa-Central), who signed the impeachment notice against Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura are facing recall from their constituency over allegations that they did not consult with the constituents to commence the process of removing the governor.

The other five members are: the deputy speaker Elisha Agwadu (PDP, Obi II), Mohammed Baba Ibaku (PDP, Udege/Loko), Abdulkarim Usman (PDP, Wamba), Francis Orogu (PDP, Keana), and Mohammed Sidi Bako (PDP, Obi I).

In two of the constituencies, namely Nasarawa-Central, and Udege/Loko where the speaker, and Ibaku are representing, respectively, the recall process has clocked two weeks and has reached the level of collecting signatures from constituents. But the other constituencies are merely beginning the exercise, apparently inspired by the two constituencies which pioneered the recall plot.

In Nasarawa-Central, the constituents have already set up a central committee headed by the chairman of Nasarawa Local Government Area, Tijjani Ahmed, who is coordinating the recall process with three sub-committees headed by a former LG chairman, Barrister Mohammed Sani Bawa for Nasarawa-Central sub-committee, and the state commissioner of Agriculture, Danladi Madaki heading the sub-committee for Udege, while Alhaji Ibrahim Gambo and Nuhu Abubakar, a former councilor, are heading the sub-committee for Loko axis.

The council chairman, Tijjani Ahmed, who disclosed the detailed process of recall in the two constituencies in his area, told Daily Trust, yesterday , that there are also Seven sub-committees for the Seven wards of Nasarawa-Central, as there are 44 sub-committees set up to coordinate signatories in the 44 polling units of the constituency.

He also said the two-week old process has seen the setting up of Eight sun-committees for the Eight wards of Udege/Loko, as well as 89 sub-committees for the 89 polling units in the area.

“We are on course, and signatures have started coming in from constituents against the two lawmakers representing the two constituencies of Nasarawa LG,” Ahmed said.

The state commissioner of Agriculture, Madaki told Daily Trust that constituents are “falling on each other to append their signatures against Ibaku,” just as Sani Bawa said the process first saw signatures pouring in from Angwan Dalatu polling unit where the speaker voted in 2011.

But Ibaku, who confirmed he is aware of the process initiated to commence his recall, said in a swift reaction that he is not bothered when the minority APC chieftains of his area made the moves. “I was voted by 43,500 PDP members of my constituency in 2011. My opponent polled only 13,000. If the 43,500 people who elected me say they want me out; I will be bothered. If disgruntled APC members in their microscopic minority are initiating a recall against me, I will be sleeping and waiting for 90 days our people to go a referendum to decide who is more popular in Udege/Loko,” Ibaku said.

The speaker’s spokesman, Tanko Ibrahim told Daily Trust on the telephone that “frankly speaking, I have no comments.”

When asked for his reaction, Francis Orogu confirmed the moves against him, but insisted that the process is not one to give him sleepless nights. “I have 100 percent support from my constituents to go ahead with the impeachment against the governor. I consulted my people, and they gave me the go ahead. Today, they are promising an automatic ticket because I did them proud by appending my signature to the impeachment notice because this government has come to introduce misery in their lives and those of their children,” Orogu said.

This is just as Lanze Kassim Ujah, a legislative aide to Honourable Usman of Wamba said he is aware there are plans by the minority APC members in his area to recall his boss, but added that “my boss consulted his constituents and got their approval. He is still in touch with his constituents if not for the threats on the lives of lawmakers by sponsored APC agents. The provisions of the constitution are clear on the role of my boss, and he applied them to the latter.”

The deputy speaker, Elisha said he got the mandate of a majority PDP constituent to represent the area in the state assembly, just as he insisted that he had the approval of the electorate to sign the impeachment notice against the governor.

Sidi Bako could not be reached at press time.

Boko Haram: Borno Youth Group In Passionate Letter Begs Jonathan To Investigate Modu Sheriff


SAS_returns
Aug. 3, 2014
A group, Youth for Peace and Restoration of Democracy has written a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan detailing the genesis of the Boko Haram sect.
The letter, published as an advertorial in the Daily Trust of Friday, August 1, 2014, specifically accused former Borno State governor, Ali Modu Sheriff of being the brain child of Boko Harm and therefore called on the president to immediately investigate and prosecute him.
The letter is reproduced below:
OPEN LETTER TO MR. PRESIDENT DR. GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA GENESIS OF BOKO INSURGENCY IN NIGERIA
With much honour to you, the association of youth for peace and restoration of democracy in Bornu State wishes to forward the above captioned. The Youth for Peace in Bornu State after due scrutiny of the allegation that the Ex-Governor of Bornu State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff is the alleged mastermind of Boko Haram, insurgency in Nigeria should be investigated.
The rationale for assertion is as follows:
Introduction of ECOMOG:
The so-called ECOMOG were first noticed when Ali Sheriff contested for Governorship candidate in 2003 under the platform of A.P.P. After the emergence of Boko Haram crisis in 2009 when the leader, Mohammed Yusuf was killed, many ECOMOG were arrested and killed on involvement in the crisis.
Among the notorious ECOMOG members was Musa popularly known as “DUHU”.
The Ex-Governor Ali Sheriff created a Ministry of Religious Affairs through to which he appointed one of the Boko Haram Leaders, Buji Foi as commissioner of religious affairs. Buji was arrested and died in the hands of security operatives after he confessed as being a member of the sect.
The amazing thing is when Buji Foi was arrested, he urged the security operatives to allow him see Ali Sheriff so that he will discuss some important issue in the presence of security agents. When Sheriff was told his request, he refused to see him and the security operatives subsequently summarily killed him.
Bornu citizens ask the Federal Government why Sheriff was allowed to land at the Maiduguri international airport despite the fact that Muslims intending to go for lesser Haji Umra were not allow to use the airport for their holy trip.
After his 8 years as Executive Governor of Bornu State, he contested for senatorial seat representing Bornu Central Senatorial Seat he was defeated in the election by someone called Ahmed Zannah who is not even popular, nor influential with far distance votes, Ali Sheriff lost the senatorial seat with all his influence in the government. A reasonable man must look for the reason of his defeat.
Upon all the killing of lives and destruction of properties in Bornu State, Ali Sheriff, if he is patriotic citizen of the State must sympathize and commiserate with the people and the government of Bornu State but Ali Sheriff have never commiserate with the people of the State by any means.
Senate Committee on Security has already ordered that the Ex-Governor, Ali Sheriff should be stopped from entering Maiduguri, the state capital since there are lot of allegations against him by Bornu youths which may possible bring crisis in the State.
Similarly, Bornu elders’ forum had once criticised , Ali Sheriff on why accusing fingers are on him, when many governors have come before him. There must be a reason for such assertion.
Atuman-WANTEDIt could be recalled that the State Chairman of the former, A.N.P.P, Mala Uthman who was an intimate friend to Sheriff was arrested by the civilian JTF after discovering weapons where one of his house was burnt and he was beaten seriously and handed over to security operatives.
Finally , we urged Mr. President and security operatives to join hand together and investigate all the allegations against Ali Sheriff and if found wanting he should be brought to book so that the menace of Boko Haram will be a thing of the past.
Mohammed Abass Chairman Youth For Peace and Restoration of Democracy In Bornu Plot 1059, Sir Kashim Way, Maiduguri Bornu State
Contact number: 09020379102
CC: Minister of Defence
National Security Adviser
Chief of Defence Staff
Chief of Army Staff
I.G of Police
D.G S.S.S
D.G N.I.A
pdp and boko


Nigeria Would Be In Turmoil If Buhari And Sheikh Dan Bauchi Were Killed, Says President Jonathan

Muslim leaders greet President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House on SundayPresident Goodluck Jonathan said calamity would have befallen Nigeria if former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari and Islamic scholar, Sheik Dahiru Bauchi, were killed in the July 23 bomb attacks in Kaduna. The two leaders survived the attacks that killed more than 40 people.
Speaking when a delegation of the Muslim community, led by Vice President Namadi Sambo, paid him Sallah homage at his official residence, in Abuja on Sunday, President Jonathan appealed to clerics in the country to preach peace and unity to their followers “and not the gospel of hate”, saying that the country could not develop without peace.
He said, “Not too long ago we had these dastardly attacks in Kano and Kaduna. We stand to condemn these acts of terror on our people.
“And, we extend our condolence and sympathy to the bereaved and those who might have been injured.
“The recent attacks in Kaduna, especially where Sheik Dahiru Bauchi and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari were targets are quite instructive.
“You can imagine if these two people had died in the attacks.
“Sheik Bauchi is one of our top Islamic preachers; he has millions of followers. Buhari, a former Head of State and leading political figure, has massive supporters.
“On the same day, people wanted to kill them‎; those who planned the attacks are clearly sons of the devil, because if they had killed these two people, we wouldn’t have been here today; this country would have been in turmoil.
”We couldn’t have gathered here to celebrate.”
Sallah Homage Visit To President Jonathan Led By Vice-President Namadi Sambo
Mr. Jonathan thanked God for saving their lives and preventing “a major calamity” that would have befallen the country.
The president restated that the Federal Government was doing everything possible to end the activities of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the country.
He used the opportunity to renew his call on Nigerians to continue to
work with government in that regard.
“Government is looking on how to raise funds; in fact, we are launching the fund on Thursday.
“This is to ensure that the widows, orphans, those whose business premises have been vandalised and even our worship places, mosques and churches, that have been destroyed, we will rebuild.
“Government alone cannot do it because we will need huge sums of money. The Nigerian private sector is vibrant and willing if they see sincerity in government.
“We have demonstrated that very clearly and we are hopeful that on that day, reasonable amount of money will be raised.
“And, we will continue to raise money until we are able to cushion the effect of these excesses and at the same time, we are strengthening our security services so that they will be able to confront this menace,” he said.
Mr. Jonathan said that he was honoured by the visit of the Muslim community after the Ramadan and prayed God to listen to and answer their prayers.
Earlier, Mr. Sambo commended the president for fasting with Muslims during the Ramadan, and for welcoming the delegation to his residence.
He prayed God to continue to give the president wisdom and guidance to lead the country to greater prosperity.
The vice president also prayed for peace in Nigeria and for Allah to bring all evil, including Boko Haram, to an end.
He urged Nigerians to be their brother’s keepers “for peace, tranquility, total reconciliation and stability to reign in the country.”
During the visit, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed, paid homage to the president on behalf of Abuja residents.
He said; “We have always enjoyed humane and civil disposition that is why you see Muslims and Christians coming to pay homage in line with your exemplary leadership.
“We pray that Allah will grant you courage and wisdom to continue to steer the ship of leadership despite the current security challenges.”
(NAN)