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2019: Despite Presidential Veto, INEC Forecloses Use Of Incident Form​

Mon, 2018-12-10 10:19

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said despite the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018, which makes the use of card reader mandatory, the 2019 elections will not be conducted with incident form.

INEC’s assurance is coming as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation has said the use of incident form in the impending general elections would be unacceptable to it.

The electoral body, however, said the rejected bill would have addressed the controversies that trailed the 2015 exercise especially the place of technology and others that the amendments seek to address.

Responding to THISDAY enquiry yesterday, INEC’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said the presidential veto has created no lacuna in the electoral legal regime, explaining that the Electoral Act 2010 as amended in 2015 would be the operative law.

According to him, “While it may be better to have the necessary amendments to avoid some of the controversies that trailed the 2015 exercise, especially the place of technology and others the amendments seek to cure, we can still have good elections with the extant act as we did in 2015, which were adjudged free, fair and credible.”

Reacting to a report by an online newspaper that 13.5 million voters voted for Buhari without full biometric accreditation in 2015, Osaze-Uzzi said, “How was this determined? Biometric accreditation does not determine who a person votes for. Put another way, the card reader is used for biometric accreditation. It doesn’t determine how such persons vote.

“Incident forms will not be used in 2019.”

President Muhammadu Buhari had last week, for the fourth time withheld his assent to the amendment bill, citing legal drafting errors.

In separate letters dated December 6 titled, ‘Presidential Decision to Decline Assent to the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 2018’, addressed to the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and Speaker Yakubu Dogara of the House of Representatives, Buhari explained that he was declining assent “principally because passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general election, which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act, could create some uncertainties about the applicable legislation to govern the process.”

The president also listed four provisions of the bill that required drafting amendments by the National Assembly. They include Section five of the bill amending section 18 of the principal act, which should indicate the subsection to which the substitution of the figure “30” for the figure “60” is to be effected and Section 11 of the bill amending Section 36 should indicate the subsection in which the proviso is to be introduced.

But the PDP presidential campaign said the use of incident form would not be acceptable to it in 2019.

One of the spokespersons, Mr. Segun Sowunmi, said that outpouring of goodwill by Nigerians since the PDP started its zonal presidential campaigns was an indication that the All Progressives Congress (APC) could not win the election in a free and fair contest.

He stated, “I want to tell INEC that it is a major unacceptable embarrassment that the business of incident forms will now take precedence over the card reader.

“Card reader is what must be encouraged to be the only thing that will be used for the 2019 elections. But how can we trust the integrity of the process if it is compromised by incident forms and underage people voting.”

Sowunmi insisted that the 2019 elections should be a celebration of the development of the country’s democratic journey, which he said could only be achieved if INEC conducts free, fair, credible and transparent elections in 2019.

An online newspaper at the weekend reported that at least 13.5 million Nigerians voted manually, without biometric accreditation, in the 2015 presidential election, according to data from INEC, part of the problems the amendment bill seeks to address.

The data, obtained by DeepDive Intelligence, shows that Buhari, candidate of the APC, won in nine of the 10 most-affected states, notwithstanding that the non-use of PVCs during the poll cut across all the political parties’ strongholds.

The 2015 presidential election had two major contenders, Buhari and Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s first incumbent president to lose a re-election bid.

Of the 31,746,490 accredited voters in the election, 13,536,311, representing 42.6 per cent of voters, voted without biometric accreditation.

Out of this number, 10,184,720 votes are from states won by Buhari and 3,351,591 votes came from states won by Jonathan, the PDP candidate, representing 75 per cent and 25 per cent of accredited voters respectively.

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Sowore’s Supporters Detained By Lagos CP For Pasting Posters

Sun, 2018-12-09 19:16

The Lagos State Police Command has arrested six supporters of Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC).

The Police accused them of breaching the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency laws by pasting posters at night and damaging campaign posters belonging to candidates of other political parties.

However, Olagokun Banwo, popularly known as 'Proficient', who led the team, denied damaging posters of other political parties.

Speaking on the incident, Banwo said: "We were arrested for pasting Sowore's posters, but we didn't tear posters of any other party. How can we, who are part of those calling for the arrest of those damaging campaign posters, go about committing the same offence?"

When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos Command, CSP Chike Oti, maintained that the six are guilty of breaching Lagos signage law and removing posters of other political parties and candidates.

"The anti-crime patrol team of the Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja Division, around 2:30am on December 9, 2018, arrested six young men, namely: Olagokun Odunayo, Kool-Kloud Henry, Ugaju Joseph, Damilola Omidiji, Michael Kate and Banwo Olagokun, tearing posters of other political parties and replacing them with that of the African Action Congress. Their action is contrary to the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency laws that forbid advertisers from pasting posters at no other hour than the day time," he said.

The six persons are still in custody and the Lagos Police PRO maintained that they will be charged to court.

Speaking on the arrest via his Twitter handle, Sowore wrote: “I just spoke with the DPO of Area F and he shockingly revealed that the Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal ordered that our supporters be kept in detention for pasting my posters. Mr. Edgar hasn’t been reachable since”.

Sowore, a pro-democracy campaigner and human rights activist, has called for their immediate release from detention.

The Police Commissioner could not be reached at the time of filing this report.

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Let’s Get Nigeria Dangerously Working Again – By Obajeun Jonah

Sun, 2018-12-09 16:54

Protocols, just so we don’t run afoul of courtesies. The ATIKUlate nation; the twittering hegemony of the swashbuckling hashtag – #Letsgetnigeriaworkingagain; the ubiquitous OBIgatory foot soldiers; the Atiku/Obi Campaign organization whose directorate is in the able hand of the #GrowNigeria anchor man – characteristically described as a Traditional Doctor by the Chair of the ruling party; and of course, the people’s policy document crafted in the Arabian Peninsula – the Tokunbo document that will get Nigeria working again. This alludes to the fact that Nigeria has worked before, but it is not currently working, and it has to get working again.

Let’s get into further details. They said that Atiku does not have the competence to govern the country. They need to be reminded that the hallmark of leadership is to identify talents. Atiku’s current campaign organization abounds with great talents, A-list campaigners with track records in their chosen fields (Ben Bruce, Dino et al).

More importantly, Atiku single-handedly assembled the A-team of the 1999 to 2007 golden era in our political history. 

The era saw the assemblage of youngsters and Generals who oversaw the affairs of the country. Wailers are now shouting that those talents were only smart with spoken English, not competence and results. They are making reference to the failure in the power sector after so much investment went into it. Between 1999 to 2007, the Power sector was at different times managed by Bola Ige, Segun Agagu and Liyel Imoke. Let’s even admit that the Power sector was a huge failure for Atiku/Obasanjo, the trio of Bola, Segun and Liyel tower above the wailers’ Babatunde Fashola in terms of talent. Forget delivery and results, what was needed was talent and Atiku delivered it. Talent was enough! Period!

Adamu Ciroma, Okonjo Iweala and Nnenadi Usman (now standing trial) were the top strikers of the golden era of Obasanjo/Atiku, making the economy the biggest in Africa and were almost dragging Nigeria into G20 membership when 2007 election suddenly eroded that move. They negotiated debt forgiveness and reduced official corruption to what was only possible between Obasanjo and Atiku. The duo experimented with it in sacking NASS leaders in quick succession and confirmed that only them could enjoy sleazy engagements. At some points, they started competing with the experiment. What a success story. Till today, that represents the peak of our anti-corruption success.

Still on the A-team, Mohammed Arzika, Haliru Bello, Cornelius Adebayo, Obafemi Anibaba, Frank Nweke, Femi Fani-Kayode, Chukwuemeka Chikelu, Jerry Gana led the communication/information bit at different times. Soft spoken, inspirational and exemplary communicators, these talents were the poster boys of the Atiku/Obasanjo era. They opened up the communication sector with Atiku signing and issuing the licences. 

Obasanjo as the big boss, only sat back and watched as Atiku led the team to revolutionise the communication sector. Wailers are arguing that mobile communication was a global revolution and Nigeria unwittingly tagged along. But they need to be reminded that Atiku pressed full throttle to ensure that Nigeria was ahead of the world.

From the get-go, Atiku ensured that basic communication tools – phones, SIM were affordable and available to the common man on the street. Nigeria suddenly became flat, internet penetration skyrocketed and everyone became upwardly mobile, even you!

If given the chance, Atiku will do to the Power sector what he did to the communication sector.

They said Atiku’s inconsistence claim on his number of employees is a bad signal. But Atiku has been running companies, smartly and patriotically avoiding taxes. Even if he clones his employees to increase them from 50,000 to 100,000 because of elections, that is a trivial matter, the same way we have trivialised our double-body story.

What wailers will not tell you is that Atiku has bold ideas. He will sell NNPC, I am sure he will buy back the DISCOs and re-sell them just to get them working again. He has done it before when he led the privatization of critical aspects of the economy. Even in the education sector, he opened it up such that he is now a key private player as well as Obasanjo. He knows how to sell and buy, and that is what economics is all about, that is how he will create jobs, that is how he will lift all Nigerians above poverty line. Nigerians will become dangerously wealthy.

And that is how to get Nigeria working again, albeit dangerously!

They said Atiku does not have character and that he is notorious with corruption. Let the one without sin cast the first stone. Let’s even admit that he is notoriously corrupt as they claim and as indicted by the US government as well as his former boss. It means he knows the ways of corruption, he is familiar with the economics and mathematics of corruption.

Therefore, he knows the science of anti-corruption. Atiku will fight corruption to a standstill, to the extent that the success recorded by GEJ in his anti-corruption crusade would be a child’s play. 

They said Obasanjo wrote scathing remarks about Atiku in his book, My Watch. This is a no issue as Obasanjo himself has willed their joint tenure from 1999-2007 to Atiku alone. So for the sake of politics, that era which did not witness any physical infrastructural investment can gracefully be regarded as The Atiku Golden Era. 
Let’s stop here and come back to reality. 

Ours is a sorry story to tell, we have to consciously avoid sending our memory as envoy into our past. We have on our hands a situation where failure is reinforcing another failure. If we have to get Nigeria working again the way it has been described between 1999 to 2007, then we have foreclosed the redemption of our nationhood.

May we not throw our last salute to our own nation state.
Obajeun Jonah Ayodele writes from Lagos and blogs via He is on twitter @Obajeun

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FAAN Withdraws Services From Lagos, Warri, Gombe Airports Over Debt

Sun, 2018-12-09 15:28

Barely 48 hours after SaharaReporters exclusively reported the threat by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to withdraw services from the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2), Lagos over N1.9 billion debt, the agency has made good its threat.

A source close to FAAN told our correspondent on Sunday morning that its management had written a Notice To Air Men (NOTAM) to all airlines operating from the terminal on Saturday, informing them of its intention to withdraw services from the terminal, following the debt owed over a period of 11 years.

However, apart from MMA2, which is owed and operated by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), FAAN is also withdrawing services from Osubi Airport, Warri and Gombe Airport.

According to the NOTAM, FAAN would withdraw Aviation Security (AVSEC), marshallers and Fire/Safety services from MMA2 as from today.

On Friday, SaharaReporters had reported that FAAN had threatened to withdraw services from the terminal over N1,943,516.50 debt incurred since it commenced operations on September 8, 2007. See Also LABOR/WORKERS' RIGHTS FAAN Threatens To Withdraw Services To Bi-Courtney Over N1.9bn Debt 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

This time around, in a letter addressed to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BASL, dated November 3, 2018, personally signed by its Managing Director, Engr. Saleh Dunoma, FAAN claimed that since the organisation commenced operations in 2007, it was yet to remit any amount to its coffers as agreed in the contractual agreement.

The breakdown of the latest sum indicated that BASL as at July 31, 2018 owed FAAN N1,444,044,893.83 for provision of Aviation Security (AVSEC), another N143,466,896.96 for Fire/Safety Cost.

Others were for marshalling, N2,168,058.21 and management cost, which it put at N1,943,323,516.50.

In the letter to the management of BASL, FAAN also threatened to withdraw the services of its personnel from the terminal with effect from December 3, 2018 if the debt was not cleared.

Arik Air confirmed that it would relocate its services out of the affected airports until further notice.

Adebanji Ola, spokesman of the airline, said the airline would suspend its flights to Osubi Airport, Gombe Airport and move Port Harcourt flights out of MMA2 from Monday, until further notice.

Ola advised Warri passengers to use Benin Airport as alternative, while Gombe passengers were to use Bauchi Airport as alternate.

“All Arik Air flights to Omagwa Airport Port Harcourt will as from the same date operate from Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal One otherwise known as General Aviation Terminal (GAT). Arik Air regrets any inconvenience the closure of the three airports may cause its esteemed customers. The airline hopes the issue between FAAN and the airport authorities will be resolved soonest,” he added.

Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Public Affairs of FAAN, could not be reached for comments, while the phone number of the BASL spokesman was switched off.

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Immigration Arrests Foreigners Over Possession Of PVCs

Sun, 2018-12-09 14:48

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has disclosed that it has arrested non-Nigerians for being in possession of permanent voter’s cards (PVCs). NIS comptroller general, Muhammad Babandede, who stated this at the 2018 NIS award presentation yesterday in Abuja, revealed that the service had retrieved over 700 PVCs from foreigners living in the country.

LEADERSHIP Sunday also learnt exclusively that over 323 national identity slips had also been seized from foreigners in the last six months.

An inside source who pleaded not to be named also revealed that  about 1,729 irregular migrants were also repatriated between the second and  third quarter of the year.

LEADERSHIP Sunday reports that only Nigerian citizens are eligible to vote in elections in the country.

The immigration boss also warned politicians against engaging in  “political smear campaign,” even as he gave assurance that his agency was fully involved in the election process to ensure that no foreigner votes during the forthcoming  2019 general elections.

Babandede made the disclosure while responding to questions bordering on the alleged importation of a crowd by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  from Niger Republic to boost its support strength in Sokoto.

He said, “This year, we have retrieved over 700 voter’s cards from non-Nigerians. We promise that we will stop at nothing  to ensure that non- Nigerians do not  participate in the 2019 general elections.

“We will make sure that they don’t vote and they are not voted for. During the election, we will ensure the borders are secured so that nobody can enter the country.”

The NIS boss added that the service had built the capacity of personnel and improved on structures which had contributed to Nigeria’s security and prosperity.

LEADERSHIP Sunday recalls that Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai had accused the PDP of importing foreigners from Niger Republic  to its Sokoto rally, a development which led to his political rivals advising him to also import a crowd from Sudan for his campaigns .

The allegation sparked a protest in Sokoto State as youths from the state gave the NIS a 24-hour ultimatum to respond to el-Rufai’s allegation.

We need collective effort to forestall future occurrence – INEC

However, in its reaction, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) called for collaboration among security agencies and Nigerians to tackle the problem of foreigners having voter’s cards.

The chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the electoral commission had earlier visited the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in Abuja some months to ask for help in identifying foreign nationals who are in possession of PVCs.

He said it was part of the Commission’s responsibilities  to clean up the voter register by identifying ineligible persons who might be on it.

“On that occasion, the NIS informed the Commission that it had actually identified about 300 foreign nationals with Nigeria’s PVCs and had recovered the cards from them.”

Explaining how these PVCs would have gotten into the hands of foreigners when many Nigerians are having trouble getting theirs, Oyekanmi said:“There are many foreign nationals from neighbouring countries living in Nigeria and vice versa. Some of these foreign nationals bear names similar to those of Nigerians.

“For instance, nationals in some parts of Niger Republic bear similar names with northern Nigerians and a few of them could have knowingly or unknowingly taken advantage of one of two loopholes to register in the past.

“Ordinarily, no INEC official will register a foreign national, but in a few cases where this might have happened in the past, the facts were not visible.

“However, the important thing is that the relevant agencies are now  measuring up to ensure that non-Nigerians do not flout our laws by attempting to participate in the electoral process.”

Speaking on preventive measures INEC will adopt to ensure such PVCs are not used for the 2019 polls, the commission said it requires the collaborative effort of all agencies and Nigerians.

“One of the measures the Commission has taken is to approach the NIS as I explained earlier, but the Commission cannot prevent a PVC legitimately obtained from being used.

If for instance,  a non-Nigerian bears the name, Mohammed Yusuf, and presents himself as a Nigerian to INEC officials during the CVR exercise with a form of acceptable identification, there is no way of finding out that he is not a Nigerian unless somebody alerts the Commission to that effect. “Therefore, collective efforts are necessary to prevent such things.

That was why the Commission displayed the voter register throughout the country for one week recently, for claims and objections, so that Nigerians can look at it and draw its attention to names of deceased or underage persons and foreign nationals that should not be on the voter register.

“An agency like the NIS has been helpful in this regard, and once such names are identified and checks carried out, they will be removed from the register. We appeal to Nigerians to  help the Commission clean up the voter register,” Oyekanmi said. …

Immigration Has Vindicated Us – PDP

On its part, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said yesterday that the recovery of PVCs from foreigners had vindicated its position that INEC must allow stakeholders participate in the review of the voter register. The national publicity secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, who dismissed the review of the voter register by INEC, told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the refusal of the Commission to objectively sanitise the voter registers shows that it has no plan in place to conduct free and fair elections in 2019. 

He said, “It is a vindication of our position on INEC. We have repeatedly said INEC has been registering underage persons and aliens. We have challenged them to review the register and also allow stakeholders to participate in the review.

“So INEC said they have reviewed their register and that they came up with  a certain number of people, which we challenged because stakeholders were not allowed to participate in that process.”

Attempts to reach the All Progressives Congress (APC) for reaction were abortive as several calls placed to the spokespersons of the party, Lanre Issa-Onilu and Yekini Nabena, were not returned just as text messages sent to them were also not responded to.

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Gnassingbé’s Forces Kill Three Togolese Civilians During Protests Against Tenure Elongation

Sun, 2018-12-09 14:46

At least three people, including an 11-year-old, were killed on Saturday in civilian protests against plans by the Togolese government to elongate its tenure through the backdoor.

Faure Gnassingbé has been President of Togo since 2005, taking over from his father Gnassingbé Eyadéma, who had just died aged 69 after being President for the 38 years between 1967 and 2005.

This means the Gnassingbés have ruled Togo for a combined 51 years already. The latest attempt to illegally elongate Faure’s tenure has sparked protests in parts of the West African country, which government forces have tried to quell by shooting at civilians.

A Togolese who witnessed the protests told SaharaReporters about the anguish of the people.

“Today has been a very chaotic day filled with lot of violence in Togo. I am devastated as I am writing this now,” she said in an email to SaharaReporters.

“The regime deployed heavy military forces against civilians protesting against their plans to hold rushed legislative elections on December 20th, which will help them consolidate power and pass a constitution that will let the President seek a fourth term come 2020. 

“The opposition is boycotting the elections and called for massive street protests all over the country. The regime banned the protests violating our constitution which guarantees freedom of association. 

“They have been shooting live bullets at civilians wounding dozens and killing three today, including an 11 years old boy. We have information that the upcoming days will get worse if the regime doesn’t stop the violence and I am very concerned for Togo. 

“We have also been informed the regime plans to arrest the leaders of the opposition parties who called for the protests and if that happens, the country will fall in a severe crisis.  This is December where families are meant to come together to celebrate the end of the year but in my country families are mourning their children killed by a bloodthirsty regime that has been imposing themselves on us for 51 years. It hurts so much and no matter how hard I try, I can neither help the tears nor contain the anger.” 

Before taking over power in 2005, Faure, 52, was appointed by his dad as Minister of Equipment, Mines, Posts, and Telecommunications between 2003 to 2005.

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National Assembly CCTV Down As Bandits Loot Journalists’ Cars

Sun, 2018-12-09 14:22

The Nigerian National Assembly

The Nigerian National Assembly

Thieves are vandalising cars and stealing their batteries on the premises of the National Assembly, SUNDAY PUNCH can authoritatively report.

Several cars have been vandalised in recent times, including that of our correspondent.

Our correspondent had parked his Honda CR-V car at a park close to the Annex building at about 11.30am but discovered at about 6pm that its battery had been stolen, with the bonnet left half opened.

The incident was reported at the Crime Office of the National Assembly Division of the Nigeria Police on Thursday morning, where our correspondent was told that several similar cases of vandalism and theft had been reported at the unit.

In spite of lodging the complaint, none of the officers on duty requested our correspondent to lead them to the vehicle for inspection.

Several National Assembly workers and journalists, who spoke on the issue, lamented the security lapses in and around the complex.

A victim, Mr Okechukwu Jombo, who is a reporter with the Nigerian Pilot, said his car’s battery was stolen on the premises earlier in the year.

“They did it to me too early this year, around March. I parked at the main park behind the building. There is a cameraman at the House of Representatives, they took his own too. We were many during that period. It was a very rampant thing,” he said.

Another victim, Mr Mudashiru Atanda, a photojournalist with The SUN, narrating his ordeal, said, “It was a Friday; I had parked inside at the car park behind the main building. When it was time to go to the mosque for the Juma’at prayer, I entered into the car, thinking I would have a smooth ride to the mosque. As I got close to the car, I saw that the bonnet was not firmly locked. I thought I did not lock it well. I lifted it with the intention of locking it only to discover that the battery had been stolen.”

Atanda lamented that no arrests had been made since the incident occurred in 2016.

Another photojournalist with THISDAY, Mr Julius Atoi, said his Honda Accord car was broken into at the first car park close to the second security gate while the National Assembly was on an annual recess between July and October.

Narrating a similar experience with our correspondent on Friday, Mr Ezekiel Dike, a cameraman with the Nigerian Television Authority, said the battery of his Honda Accord was stolen from the car in September 2017 at the same car park.

He said, “I reported (the theft). I went to the police station on the premises. They asked if I suspected anybody. I said I could not have suspected anybody when I was covering the plenary at the chamber. They did not follow the matter up. Each time I went there, they did not give me attention. So, I let go.

“We were about three whose car batteries were stolen that same day. There was a man (victim) who came for a public hearing; he came in a Ford SUV.”

Our correspondent observed that security men at the gates did not inspect cars going into the complex but only demanded personal identities, especially of persons not known to them.

It was further observed that no checks were conducted on cars leaving the premises.

At the general car park outside the second gate, it was observed that while a pass was issued to every car going in, the security men closed much early, allowing some car owners to go away with the pass as there was no one to take it from them.

Several users of the park, who spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH, warned that any pass not retrieved could be used to steal cars from the park.

A security operative blamed the lapses on the malfunctioning Closed Circuit Television cameras around the parks, adding that several cases had been reported but nobody had been arrested.

The security man, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “We have been receiving such complaints.

“If the CCTVs are functioning, it is just to play back the tape and see the thief. That is one major problem that we have. The CCTVs are not working.”

A senior police officer, deployed in the National Assembly, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, lamented that efforts to get the National Assembly leadership to fix the CCTVs in and around the complex had failed.

The Sergeant-at-Arms of the National Assembly, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Sani (retd.), could not be reached as several calls made to his telephone line on Friday were not returned.

Sani had yet to reply a text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report on Saturday.

When contacted on the incidents, the Divisional Police Officer, National Assembly Complex, Mr Abdullahi Sambo, a Superintendent of Police, referred our correspondent to the Police Public Relations Officer, Federal Capital Territory Command.

The PPRO, Mr Anjuguri Manzah, who was asked what was being done to address the ugly development, said, “I can’t answer you now…you have to give me time to speak with him (Sambo) first.”

Nigerians were shocked on April 18, 2018, when unknown men in a convoy of cars and pick-up vans stormed the Senate chamber while plenary was ongoing, snatched the mace and made away with it.

The legislature’s symbol of authority was only recovered several kilometres away, according to the police, where the invaders dumped it.

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2019: North Will Not Vote On Sentiment, Says Elders’ Forum

Sun, 2018-12-09 14:10

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has said the 2019 presidential election will be won and lost based on the capacity, performance and incompetence of the candidates rather than sentiments as was the case in 2015. According to the forum, the ideal Nigerian president should be a patriot, committed nationalist, bridge-builder and unifier of all Nigerians, irrespective of tongue, tribe and religion. Speaking with journalists in his Arewa Farms in Zaria yesterday, convener of the forum, Prof Ango Abdullahi, also revealed that power brokers in the North will not support President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election in the 2019 polls because he has woefully failed to address abject poverty and underdevelopment in the region. He said, “No one should take the North for granted, and it is not for sale. The North will no longer vote based on sentiments. It will resist shedding its blood for any candidate, and will critically scrutinise all politicians who have betrayed the hopes and mandates of our people. “They should be prepared to suffer rejection, in the same manner the votes of the North rejected the attempt to continue with impunity, corruption and indifference of the Jonathan administration,” Prof Ango warned”. On the kind of presidential candidate Nigerians should vote for in 2019, Abdullahi who will clock 80 years on December 13, 2018 said, “The ideal presidential candidate for 2019 should be a patriot, a committed nationalist, a bridge-builder and unifier of all Nigerians. “He must believe in, and must have demonstrated in practical terms, a strong commitment to the principles of our common humanity and the transformation of our diversity into sources of strength. “He must inspire, by personal disposition, the confidence and trust of all Nigerians that they can expect fair and just treatment and leadership that is inclusive of all sections and interest”. On why the forum are against Buhari’s re-election, Abdullahi stated categorically that President Buhari has fallen short of the expectations of Nigerians, especially the Northern elite on whose back he rode to power in 2015 after 12 years of failed attempts. He said, “It is unfortunate that most supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari, including the president himself, think that he won the 2015 presidency because of what they described as ‘Buhari Magic.’ If Buhari had any magic at all, how come he could not win the presidency in 2003, 2007 and 2011? For 12 years, he failed to make it to Aso Rock, until we rallied round him and helped him to power in 2015. “I, Prof Ango Abdullahi, stuck out my neck for Buhari’s cause. I was nearly killed for my support for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. I was attacked in Bauchi and nearly got killed. There were 11 bullet holes in my Jeep. The Late Maitama Sule, I and other Northern elders of like minds tried to advise him, but he arrogantly ignored us. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed was the one who took our advisory letter to him. And even after he followed up with another copy of the letter after the President claimed to have forgotten receiving any such letter, we never got any response from till date”. Abdullahi said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost the 2015 general elections basically because its leadership reneged on the agreement of eight-year tenure for the South and eight years for the North. He continued: “Former President Olusegun Obasanjo served eight years; and then it was the turn of the North. He made an attempt at a third term, but we fought him vehemently and he failed. He then brought Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. He spent three years in office and died. Initially, we didn’t want his choice, but the late Sunday Awoniyi pleaded with us to give Yar’Adua a chance and we rallied round him. “The Constitution says the vice president should step and complete the tenure in the event that the president dies. Ideally, the PDP leadership need not argue that it was indeed the turn of the North. “And then Goodluck Jonathan was allowed to contest the 2011 presidential election. The argument was that it was about Nigerian president and not a Northern president. There was no quarrel. But when towards the end of Jonathan’s first tenure he said he was not aware of any power shift in the PDP, it became a serious problem. And this was what eventually led to the defeat of the party in 2015”. Abdullahi further maintained that the Northern elite believe that only the candidate that can measure up and is clearly capable of meeting the very high demands of leadership with personal integrity, unblemished record of selfless service, sound health and commitment to Nigeria’s unity and survival should be trusted with the leadership of the country in 2015. He lamented that under President Buhari, Nigeria’s economy is characterised by significant loss of output, massive youth unemployment, a rising level of poverty, instability and irregular migration of skilled and unskilled labour, a situation he described as a national embarrassment and a disgrace to a country that is endowed with abundant resources. He said another four years of Buhari administration would be catastrophic with the current government’s unprecedented incompetence and enthronement of mediocrity in dealing with the horrendous spate of killings and general insecurity across the country. He warned that no Northern politician, including the president who is seeking re-election, should expect to be voted in the 2019 general election unless they demonstrate a willingness to champion a massive assault on poverty and underdevelopment in the North. “All political office holders from the North are, hereby, served notice that they have failed the test to lead the region towards economic recovery and growth”, he added. Our sister publication, LEADERSHIP, had reported last Wednesday that members of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) on Tuesday sang discordant tunes on the re-election bid of President Muhammadu Buhari. While some members, led by zonal conveners, Sani Zangon Daura (Danmasanin Daura) and Maj-Gen Paul Tarfa; and director of Logistics, Capt Bashir Sodangi, had dismissed claims of a search for President Buhari’s replacement in the North and threw their weight behind his second term bid, others on the side of the convener of the forum, Prof Abdullahi, vehemently opposed the president’s re-election.

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Beaufils: ISIS W’Africa Behind Attacks On Nigerian Military

Sun, 2018-12-09 12:02

British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ms Laure Beaufils, has said ISIS West Africa, and not Boko Haram, was responsible for the rise in insurgents’ attacks in the North-east. Beaufils said the federal government must pay attention to the new development.

Speaking exclusively to THISDAY ahead of the United Nations Anti-Corruption Day, which holds today, Beaufils said there were no quick wins in the fight against corruption. She added that part of the successes the cooperation between Nigeria and the UK had recorded in the fight against graft was the over £70 million Malabu oil loot that had been returned to the nation’s treasury.

Shedding more light on the war against insurgency, especially, the recent rise in attacks on military formations in the North-east, Beaufils said, “I think it is the ISIS in West Africa that is responsible for a lot of the terror in the North-east. Why it is so difficult to defeat, as it is often the case with terror or guerrilla organisations, is that they use unconventional methods, throwing in very mean young girls, women with guns on their backs, attacking and bombing populations of people.

“It is very difficult to spot them in a crowd. It is very difficult to know what they are planning and it is very difficult to stop them. I think the government has to really focus on them and I think we have all seen an upsurge and I think it is important that we do speak about it.”

She maintained, “We are really committed to fighting extremism alongside Nigeria. We have provided a lot of support, not only to the military in Nigeria to address terrorism, and I think it is right that we continue to focus on the North-east right now, because a lot of people are suffering and this is why our organisation is in the North-east to see that the people have access to basic services and put them in Internally Displaced Camps (IDPs).

“But now because of security concerns, they are worried about putting our people there. So, I think it is really essential that we continue to shine the spotlight on North-east and on the situation there, and on the civilian population that are suffering.”

On concerns about the slow pace of prosecution of corruption cases, Beaufils said, “That is speed and systems and, ultimately, what you need for a country to really have robust anti-corruption policies are strong institutions. If you had those then you are much more protected from corruption. But these take a very long time to do and I think a long term approach is absolutely necessary.

“The chances are also that the people have short term expectations and political cycles are also short term. Putting perpetrators behind bars is a short term reward, which is why I think the EFCC is attempting to extradite people that are charged and to see that people that have demonstrated to have corrupt practices, to see that they are indeed punished.”

She reiterated that there were no quick wins in the fight against graft, saying, “I think also it’s a good thing that they are challenging expectations and creating disincentives for people. So, they are all short term.

“In fact, there are no quick wins, because the legal system is long and I know that you gather data and information on large corruption cases and you just need a little bit more time to do all those things.”

Beaufils dismissed insinuations that the collaboration between the UK and Nigeria had yielded very little results.

“We have recorded some success stories this year. We have recovered about £70 million of the Malabu loot and that has gone straight to government’s treasury account,” she stated. The Deputy High Commissioner added, “The government will be able to use it as it sees fit and civil society organisations are monitoring how that is being done. I think the fact that that happened a few months ago is a demonstration of our commitment, and I can assure you that we have no intention of keeping a single pound of money looted from Nigeria.

“What we are doing is to ensure that legal processes are done in a very thorough fashion and that they are not rushed so that we can have due process that is followed, and on the back of that, assets that were stolen are returned.

So, I expect that we will be seeing more of that and I know that some people are frustrated that it is taking so much time. But I know that we will be seeing more of such funds being returned, such as we have seen in the Malabu loot.”

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Atiku Campaign: How Jonathan, Others Prevailed On Wike Not To Resign

Sun, 2018-12-09 11:15

The threat by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike to resign as the South South Coordinator of Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Council has, once again brought to the fore, pains still stemming from unhealed wounds in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In fact, had Wike not been pacified to back down from his planned resignation by critical stakeholders within the party, including former President Goodluck Jonathan, the party’s plans of reclaiming the Presidency, which it lost to the All Progressives Congress (APC) would have received a jolt of seismic proportions.

In the build-up to the party’s presidential primary, a powerful blog within the party had plotted to relocate the convention venue from Port Harcourt to elsewhere in the South South, due to Wike’s perceived support for Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal.

Pronto, the governor vehemently warned that there would be consequences if the PDP succumbs to pressures from some undisclosed presidential aspirants to move the convention away from Port Harcourt.

He further threatened that Rivers State delegates would teach the party a bitter lesson if it allowed desperate presidential aspirants to scuttle the hosting of the primary in Port Harcourt.

“Let me warn the party, if you dare, Rivers State will teach the party a lesson. Those days have passed when they took Rivers State for granted. Nobody can use and dump Rivers State. No presidential aspirant can use and dump Rivers State. We never lobbied for it; we never asked for it; but it will boost the economy of the state, and people will make money. Those who are against Rivers people making money to improve their businesses will not get our support.”

Because the party did not have the luxury of time, critical stakeholders waded in swiftly to douse the tension, which the governor’s outburst generated.

Wike’s support for Tambuwal also fuelled speculation that he might be nurturing a vice presidential ambition, as he had earlier claimed that some presidential aspirants who sought his support had offered him the position of Vice President in the course of political consultations, which he said he declined.

“There are aspirants who have promised me the position of the Vice President, but I said I will not seek the position. Not even in the dream will I seek that position at this point. I am a first term governor and the National Chairman of the PDP is from my State and the South South. These are mere allegations (angling for the Vice President) because you know that people can carry rumour. But everything that I will do will be in the interest of Rivers State.  Nobody can use Rivers State as a tool. They did that in the past, but not anymore.”

Amid the intrigues, Wike had his way as the PDP presidential primary eventually held in Port Harcourt. However, Wike, who had overtly and covertly thrown his political weight behind Tambuwal, could not thwart the formidable political machinery of Atiku, who eventually won the keenly contested presidential primary.

The Guardian gathered that while the deep cut inflicted on Wike during the primary still festers, some strategic appointments made into the PDP national campaign council have also not gone down well with the governor and his supporters who feel that certain forces within the party were methodically crafting a new political hegemony.

A source within the party told The Guardian that Wike felt marginalised, belittled and undermined by Atiku’s coterie, who have not been taking his supporters views into account, while formulating plans for the party’s future, particularly as it concerns the forthcoming general elections. According to him, Wike felt he was losing his ability to influence the direction of things in the party.

It was also gathered that before Wike voiced out his grievances to some party members, he had reckoned that the party was gradually turning out of gear and giving less recognition to him and others, who had worked tirelessly to bring the party back from the brink; and still working with same zeal to retake power from the ruling APC.

However, before Wike could formally tender his resignation as zonal coordinator, an emergency meeting held between him and top leaders of the party, including Jonathan, in order to prevent friction within the party that could precipitate PDP’s loss of Rivers State in 2019.

“The issues are largely political and several persons had intervened to douse tension. He did not resign formally; he just said he was not doing the job again because he thinks they were not treating him and Tambuwal right. But Tambuwal, who is the Coordinator of North West, was the first to mount pressure on him to rescind the decision at this point. Obviously, he has some unresolved grievances that require him to sit down and discuss with leadership of the party for amicable resolutions to be reached,” a source in the party said.

A source in Atiku’s camp, told The Guardian that the PDP presidential candidate himself met privately with Wike all in a bid to manage the conflict and prevent it from creating tension and instability within the party only weeks to the general elections.

“I must say that it was extremely important that the national leadership of the PDP, including President Jonathan, got involved and resolved the issues at stake. Atiku met with him because he has to. Everybody is important in this business. The issue is that at least they discussed. They met with Tambuwal too and even President Goodluck Jonathan met with him,” he said.

A political analyst, Ross Alabo George, observed that when politicians feel aggrieved sometimes, the often resort to threats to force attention.

According to him, Wike has successfully deployed this strategy in his political exploits, stressing that Atiku’s group may not have reached out to a lot of the South East and South South governors properly.

He said that Atiku group is made up of very experienced and seasoned politicians and they have basically tried to run the system using their vast experience, without giving due recognition to Wike and others.

“Wike had control over the party, but now the Atiku structure seems to have taken over and I think Wike is not happy.

But I think Wike understands the consequences of pulling out from the Atiku structure completely. I don’t think he will do that. I think what he has done is to force them to the table. He needs the party because the people that will back him when things begin to go wrong in Rivers State are there. Of course, there is a plan to rig the election in Rivers State. The people that will fight for him when security agencies barricade his house; when his movement will be restricted are in the party. He will need the voices of these seasoned politicians nationwide to speak for him. He needs the party’s structure around the country; he needs the contact that the party has and so on,” he said.

George insists that Wike could not actually attempt to defy and refuse to tow the party’s line at this point, particularly as the crucial 2019 general election draws near, adding that both Wike and the party desperately need each other at this point.

Another political observer, Robinson Sibe said the fact that both Atiku’s group and Wike’s supporters have not come out to refute the claim that the governor had threatened to resign is an indication of some unresolved issues.

He also reckoned that it would be politically unwise to sow a seed of discord within the party ahead of the 2019 general elections.

“Both parties need each other parties seriously right now because you need national coverage from your party, and party structure to guide you and see you through, especially if the opposition wants to rig you out. But I believe that what is happening is a move to draw attention to his grievances as somebody who was relatively in charge of the party, and suddenly things began to slip away from him. It is possible that this is his line of thinking. It is also possible that his people are being victimised, just as it is possible that the people who are supporting him are not carried along in terms of appointments into the campaign council. There were very strong sentiments that characterised the party primary and I thought they would find ways to kill those sentiments.,” he said.

Meanwhile, a pro-Wike group, the Grassroots Development Initiatives (GDI) has declared its readiness to carry out door-to-door campaign to convince the electorate to see reasons why it should vote for both Atiku as President, and for Governor Wike.

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Electoral Act: National Assembly Plans To Override Buhari This Week, APC Senators Kick

Sun, 2018-12-09 11:01

There were strong indications on Saturday evening that the Senate would, this week, begin the process to override President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to withhold his assent to the 2018 Electoral Act amendment bill.

Senate spokesperson, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, had told Saturday PUNCH that the red chamber had rejected Buhari’s reasons for declining assent to the legislation and would do everything possible to override his action.

A cross-section of the senators, who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH on the issue on Saturday, vowed to make Buhari’s position a major issue on resumption of plenary on Tuesday.

They vowed to ensure that to ensure that all the amendments made to the new electoral act formed part of what the Independent National Electoral Commission would comply with in the conduct of the 2019 polls.

But there are other indications that as Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, prepare to read the letter to members in plenary at their respective chambers on Tuesday, the lawmakers are set for a stormy debate on the matter.

SUNDAY PUNCH can authoritatively report that Buhari’s decision has polarised members of the National Assembly across political lines.

While members of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, have expressed their support for the President, those of the opposition PDP alleged an ulterior motive behind the withholding of the assent by the President.

Already, the Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan and Senator Biodun Olujimi, separately told SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday that the matter would be discussed when the lawmakers reconvene, after which a decision would be taken on the bill.

Olujimi told SUNDAY PUNCH that the federal parliament approved the huge budget proposed by the INEC for the election because of the anticipated electronic voting being planned by the electoral umpire.

Olujimi said, “This is because 70 per cent of the INEC budget has to do with the funding of card readers and other equipment needed for the election.

“We are going back to the chamber on Tuesday to look at the reasons for the President’s rejection and we will do our best to override his assent because the Electoral Act (amendments) bill is the best thing that can happen to our election in Nigeria.

“It is not only the opposition senators who would override the President. We would work on our colleagues in the ruling APC, most of whom are disgruntled that their party denied them tickets to return to the Senate.”

Another senator from the North-West geopolitical zone, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also corroborated the position of Olujimi, describing Buhari’s reasons as untenable.

He said, “It is possible that we start the process to override the President’s assent when we resume on Tuesday. I can assure you that it will be on the front burner of our proceedings. It will be a major issue and I am very sure that it is going to generate a lot of debate.

“If you look at the equation these days, many of our colleagues don’t come to the National Assembly again because of campaigns. So, it is really not impossible to get two-thirds majority to override the President’s assent.

“If the decision to override the President did not take place on Tuesday, it will certainly be done on Wednesday when we would enjoy the privilege of the NTA live coverage of our proceedings.”

Also, a senator from the South-East geopolitical zone, who also spoke off record, alleged that Buhari withheld assent to the bill because he did not want the usage of card readers in the North where a lot of Permanent Voter Card had allegedly been procured for underage voters.

The senator stated, “If INEC should make use of the card reader in northern Nigeria, we would demystify their bogus claims that they have the majority of voters in that part of the country.

“They can write any figure and declare it if there is no electronic accreditation of voters. The moment the ‘already-biased’ INEC officials signed the fraudulent election result sheets, we would not be able to do anything on them.”

Plan to override Buhari’s assent will fail –Marafa, Ndume

But a prominent member of the ruling APC caucus in the Senate, Kabiru Marafa, said the moves by his colleagues in the opposition parties to override Buhari on the issue this week would fail.

Marafa argued that the opposition lawmakers did not have the required number to form the two-thirds majority needed to achieve their aim.

He added, “How will they get us to support their action when we already agree that the reasons given by President Muhammadu Buhari were genuine and reasonable?

“INEC, at the moment, has a lot of issues to contend with. Why should we overburden them with new amendments that would make its works more cumbersome? Why can’t we wait till after the 2019 elections before we introduce new electoral laws?”

Marafa also disagreed with his opposition colleagues who claimed that Buhari rejected the new law in order to give room for unqualified voters to vote.

He said, “Why are they unnecessary jittery now over the use of the card reader. I am beginning to think that those who are agitating now have some ulterior motive. The 2015 election was successful because of card reader.”

Marafa also faulted Olujimi’s claims that the INEC budget was approved based on the assumption that card readers and other electronic gadgets would be massively deployed in the elections by the electoral agency.

He said, “I disagree with Senator Olujimi completely on that issue. INEC budget was huge because of the insecurity in the country. Most of the funds would be expended on security personnel to ensure a hitch-free exercise.

“I challenge her to come up with her figures and prove me wrong. There could be some calculated attempts in some quarters to sabotage the entire process; otherwise, I don’t understand the attack on the President for postponing the implementation of the law till after the general elections.”

Another APC lawmaker, Senator Ali Ndume, dismissed the claim by Murray-Bruce that the Senate would veto the President.

Ndume added, “You quoted Ben Murray-Bruce as saying that the Senate was going to veto. Who gave him the right to speak on behalf of the Senate? Even if you are the Vice-Chairman of the Media and Public Affairs Committee, you don’t just go and talk on behalf of the Senate.

“Let it be on record that he did not speak on my behalf. The letter from Mr President has not even been read and it has not been deliberated upon. His responsibility is to speak on behalf of the Senate, but if he is speaking for himself, that is a different thing.

“He went on to say that they are going to veto it. Where are they going to get the numbers (two-thirds) to veto it?”

Stormy debate loom

When our correspondent asked the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, to speak on Buhari’s decision, he said, “When I return to Abuja. I spoke about this even before now. When I return to Abuja.”

Speaking with one of our correspondents again on Saturday, Murray-Bruce said, “First of all, we think it is a mistake not to sign the bill. We think Buhari should have signed it. We want the APC senators and all Nigerians to understand that that bill is the right thing to do at this period of our national life.

“We will do everything possible to work with progressive APC senators to get the right number of votes to override it. We will override it.”

Another PDP lawmaker, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, dismissed Buhari’s reason for withholding his assent.

Ibrahim said, “We all know and we have already been saying that he was afraid of signing the bill majorly because it will make the election to be more transparent. This bill is all about processes; it is not going to disrupt anything. It is about card reader, agents having some rights, parties having the right to some information and determining certain things about electoral materials.”

But the Secretary of the Parliamentary Support Group, a body of the APC lawmakers in the National Assembly backing Buhari’s interests, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, said while the President had the right to sign or withhold assent to a bill, the lawmakers also had options they could consider.

“But from what I have read, his reasons are very genuine. Like I have always maintained, Mr President has always supported this bill.

“It is the usual ‘town crying’ of the PDP particularly. Let me say that PDP is scared because they were used to rigging when they were in government. We are in government now and they think everybody will be the same. If you are not a rigger, why are you talking about rigging when the election has not been conducted?”

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Mbaka ‘Escapes’ Assassination

Sun, 2018-12-09 10:22

The Adoration Ministry, Enugu, headed by controversial Catholic priest, Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka, yesterday alleged an attempt on his life in the Enugu State capital.

Representatives of the ministry claimed in a statement that Mbaka was shot at last Thursday night on Emene Road in Enugu by some unknown people but he escaped unhurt.

Chief Aka Emmanuel, President, National Adoration Family; Chief Okolo Godwin, President, Adoration Fathers’ Associations World Wide; Mrs Ann Aligwe,President, Adoration Mothers’ Association World Wide; Chukwu Agoziem, President,  Adoration Youths’ Association World Wide; and Barr Ike Maximus Ugwuoke,Media Chief said the development came to them as a rude shock and utter surprise.

But the police said they were unaware of any such attack on Mbaka at press time.

The Adoration Ministry representatives said: “It is with rude shock and utter surprise that we received the report of the attempted assassination plot of the Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria last made Thursday evening by some unknown gunmen who fired gun shots at him on his way along Emene road Enugu.

“This incident has added to several other assassination plots targeted at Fr Mbaka since after the first plot was carried out on him on his way from the Bishop’s house where he had gone to answer an impromptu call by his Bishop during the regime of Governor Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu State.

“This assassination plot against Fr Mbaka is coming barely few days after the 2018 Harvest and Bazaar of the Ministry where Fr Mbaka had come under massive media attack for asking Peter Obi, the PDP Vice Presidential Candidate for the 2019 general election who attended the Bazaar programme, to make public his support or donation for the Church Project of the Ministry.

“Many Supporters of Peter Obi and even clergies have misconstrued this as embarrassing to Peter Obi and to the Catholic Church and this has consequently given rise to the statement issued by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) that same Thursday on the issue.

“The issue had lingered in spite of the apology  which Fr Mbaka, in his characteristic humility ,had tendered at the altar to Peter Obi and anyone who may have been in any way form and kind been offended at the Bazaar event.

“We have refrained from making any official statement on the ongoing media attack against Fr Mbaka over the Baazar incident because he had held us from joining issues with the Church Clergies and hierarchies on the subject, but we cannot continue to keep silent especially now that the issue is taking the dimension of plot to exterminate his life.

“We recall that the last time Fr Mbaka raised alarm over threat to exterminate him was in early 2015 when he faced a similar persecution by some church hierarchy and the PDP Government following his 31st December prophecy of the imminent defeat of former President Goodluck Jonathan led PDP Government by President Mohammadu Buhari at the 2015 General Election.

“Today, with the 2019 general election around the corner, it appears that history is repeating itself. The contemporaneousness of the recent attack of Fr Mbaka by gunmen with the Peter Obi and the CBCN saga leaves us to a safe conclusion that the attack on Fr Mbaka may have either been politically engineered or ecumenically endorsed, and thus we will not hesitate to call on the security agencies in this country to beam their searchlights and leave no stone unturned in getting to the root of this issue.

“Fr Mbaka’s life means so much to us and many poor and voiceless Nigerians for whom he lives and so we cannot be silent on the face of any threat to his life real or perceived.

The Police however said last night that no report of any such attack had been brought to their notice at press time.

Spokesman for the State Police Command, Ebere Amaraizu, told our correspondent the command was unaware of the alleged assassination attempt.

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FG To Pay Oil Marketers N236bn Subsidy Claims On December 14

Sat, 2018-12-08 21:55

NNPC station in Abuja

NNPC station in Abuja Sahara Reporters Media

The Federal Government has promised to pay oil marketers N236billion on subsidy claims on Friday, December 14, 2018.

This was disclosed by Henry Ikem-Obih, Chief Operating Officer (Downstream) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), when he addressed journalists in Abuja on Saturday.

The N236billion is the first tranche of the N348billion owed to oil marketers on subsidy.

“The Debt Management Office (DMO) will by next week, precisely on December 14, pay oil marketers the first part of the subsidy arrears of N236billion as agreed by both parties. We agreed that after the first tranche is paid, the marketers will form a committee to work on details of how the next tranche will be paid in 2019 and the last paid in 2020. Government is fully committed to pay the first tranche as promised and will be paid through promissory note that will issued by the DMO." he said.

Ikem-Obih expressed government's commitment to paying the arrears, just as he urged Nigerians not to engage in panic-buying of petroleum products, stating that stakeholders will work towards preventing scarcity during the festive season.

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PDP Accuses Presidency Of Blackmail, Condemns Freezing Of Peter Obi's Accounts

Sat, 2018-12-08 21:06

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the presidency of "attempting to blackmail" Peter Obi, its vice-presidential candidate for the 2019 general election, claiming that Obi's accounts had been frozen.

The party also claims that aside Peter Obi, the accounts belonging to his wife, his family members and their businesses were also frozen.

This was contained in a statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, Director of Media and Publicity of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council issued on Saturday.

According to Ologbodiyan, since Obi's nomination, the All Progressives Congress (APC) had made "failed attempts to destroy his reputation".

The statement read: "The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO) decries the stoppage of transactions on all accounts belonging to PDP Vice presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, wife, his family members and their businesses by agencies of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

"Since his nomination, Peter Obi, apart from facing series of failed attempts by the APC to destroy his reputation, has also continued to receive all manners of threats and blackmail, including threats to his life and those of his wife and children.

"Having realized that the majority of Nigerians are rallying behind the duo of Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi as the our Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates respectively, the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have resorted to all manners of machinations, including smear campaigns and direct attacks on their persons and business concerns, in a bid to run them down.

"The Buhari Presidency is intimidated by Peter Obi’s resume, particularly, his general acceptance as epitome of fiscal responsibility, frugality and transparency in governance. Otherwise, why is the Presidency on a wild goose chase in investigating Peter Obi, who left office as Governor of Anambra State five years ago with a nationally acclaimed clean record, intact reputation for frugality, transparency, zero tolerance for corruption and leaving behind a huge saving of N75 billion naira in cash and investments; without owing any salaries, pensions, gratuities or even contractors for contracts executed. The fact remains that the Buhari Presidency and the APC are merely shadow boxing in their attacks on Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, as their records before Nigerians speak for them.

"All discerning Nigerians know that the reasons for an investigation on a man like Peter Obi, is a journey to nowhere aimed to stifle him of funds as well as attempt to distract our campaign and divert attention from the failures of the Buhari administration. It is ludicrous that President Buhari would continue to condone the looting of our treasuries by his party leaders and the cabal in his Presidency, which even, the First Lady had even alluded to, only to be using government agencies to attempt to blackmail our Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates whose reputations stand clear before all Nigerians.

"The PPCO reminds President Buhari that neither he nor Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was in 2015, as candidates, harassed, attacked at the airport or subjected to blackmails, and wonder why they are now employing such tactics just because Nigerians have resolved to do away with them, come 2019."

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Nobody Wants To Give Me Credit For June 12 '93 Election, Says Babangida

Sat, 2018-12-08 20:11

General Ibrahim Babangida, Nigeria's former Head of State, has said nobody gave him credit for the June 12, 1993 presidential election.

He stated this in an exclusive interview with The Crest.

Babangida spoke of the intricacies surrounding the election, and the details of what led to the annulment.

His words: "I think people who said that have not been fair to me because when we started the transition programme, I was in the media; I said we will be doing it step by step, by learning. Wherever we met a hiccup, we will stop, change it and move again. On this, I was honest with Nigerians. I told them that, and they would have judged me with what I said on that particular issue. But everybody wanted the military to just leave. But I did say it, that in the process of implementation, we may have a hiccup or mistake. And if we do, we would pause, correct it and then move on.

"Even the transition after the June 12, we gave a time span which again nobody was patient with. But we studied, we compared to either have a non-conventional election or a general election. And everybody said they wanted to see the country carry out a general election. And you can’t just have a general election within seven days. You have to plan for it. Again, if people allowed us, we said there would be a general election in this country. I think Abacha came in November. Nobody wanted to listen. Everybody was tired. I appreciate that. I appreciate it. Yes, people were bored and we envisaged it and we said it. We warned you in advance that if this happens, this is our next step. And that led us to the famous June 12."

Responding to the interviewer's statement that read: "June 12 is considered the freest and fairest election…", Babangida said: "And nobody wants to give me credit for it".

On June 12, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari tendered a national apology to the family of Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, for the annulment of the election by Ibrahim Babangida, the then Military President. See Also Politics ‘MKO Was The Winner’ — Buhari Apologises To Abiola Family Over Annulment Of June 12 ’93 Election 0 Comments 6 Months Ago

When asked why he didn't take the opportunity to support the 1993 democratic process, Babangida said: "Everybody said so. I agree. Even my boss, OBJ, told me that. He said you had an opportunity and if that had gone through properly, history would have recorded it as your greatest achievement. But then, we discussed at length what could have transpired. Again this: I will always talk about the Nigerian mentality. I think we are always anxious. We are always in a hurry. We want things to get done in the fastest time possible time. I tried to go out and talk to the public on why we had to do this but we were overwhelmed with criticisms. Nobody wanted to listen".

He also revealed plans to release his memoir, stating that: "It is a work in progress. It is in the works. I will have time to finish it. It will be soon".

Afterwards came the question on if he was threatened at the time by General Sani Abacha on being head of state, to which he responded: "No, he couldn’t have threatened me, to be fair to him. But I knew he wanted that job at all cost. You will be reading it…"

Speaking further on why he decided on the annulment, Babangida continued: "I have a conviction that if I get involved in building this environment, I wouldn’t like to be seen as having the environment destroyed. That’s number one. I wouldn’t be part of the destruction. So, I either make sure I remain with it, and belong there, or a circumstance will come and, eventually, I will leave. When I leave, if it gets destroyed, nobody will blame me.

"I wouldn’t declare the result if (Professor Humphrey) Nwosu declared the result. I knew deep into this that there were consequences which will not be fair to this country. I give an example: I took part in the management of PDP and I can’t disown them because I’m part of them. I made an input into its emergence, and if you say it is the worst thing that could ever happen to the country, I cannot in all conscience sit down and say it is because I participated in it. If the transition failed, and I knew it would have fallen down, nobody would have been bothered. They will say no. I will feel guilty like after all I spent the money but it collapsed. My conscience will never forgive me.

"It was not a threat to my life but if it was a threat to my life, I have no problem. After all I have a bullet in me; there couldn’t have been any greater threat than that. But my fear was: what would the country end up becoming. Could the country be better? This was what we sought to establish. Could it better? If the answer is no, then, I take the blame because I should have put in place certain measures that will make it good. What we wanted was an enduring legacy.

"I wouldn’t say the evil was in the person who won the election, after all he campaigned for it, people saw in him what he stood for, and therefore decided to vote for him. It was the finest hour in Nigerian political history where people voted anyhow; not ethnically, religiously and so on. That was our finest moment in our political history. He (Abiola) was on the verge of winning that election. From what I saw, he was on the verge of winning that election, because by the time it was assumed that he won, officially, the official thing was not done. Results were still coming in, and it wasn’t declared. So, I think I would be deceiving myself if I say he has won.

"The credit of not getting it right? You wouldn’t give me; so, I accepted that I will not be given that credit no matter what I say."

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BREAKING: EFCC 'Storms' Doyin Okupe's Residence

Sat, 2018-12-08 18:59

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has taken Dotun Okupe, a former aide to immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan into custody.

According to Okupe, the EFCC operatives arrived his residence in Lagos on Saturday, and asked him to follow them.

He disclosed the incident via a tweet that read: “EFCC just stormed my house in Ilupeju Lagos asking me to follow them. No letter. No letter of IV no warrant. Saturday!”

Efcc just stormed my house in Ilupeju Lagos asking me to follow them. No letter . No letter of IV no warrant. Saturday!

— Doyin (@doyinokupe) December 8, 2018

He, however, tweeted after more than an hour that the EFCC operatives left his house after he promised to report to their office on Monday.

The tweet read: "The men from EFCC left my house finally, after I promised them that I will be in their office on Monday."

The men from Efcc left my house finally after I promised them that I will be in their office on Monday.

— Doyin (@doyinokupe) December 8, 2018

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EFCC's Persecution Of The NBA President By Jibrin Samuel Okutepa (SAN)

Sat, 2018-12-08 18:54

Is the EFCC's persecution of the NBA President not an attempt to test the unity and brotherhood of the bar? Of course there is a bigger issue here: policing the fees lawyers charge clients. Therefore, the persecution is not primarily targeted at the person of Paul Usoro,SAN. It goes beyond the President. It is an attack on the sanctity of the age-long immutable and judicially established doctrine of lawyer-client privilege. 

The NBA President represents an institution and it is that institution that is being targeted. It happened to the Judiciary and we thought we were spared. They tried it with Mike Ozekhome,SAN and E.B. Ukiri (former NBA 1st Vice President).

No government agency has the power to regulate fees charged by members of any profession. Lawyers have the right to take up briefs pro bono or also charge any amount. It is equally the right of the client to reject or accept the terms of engagement. Third parties have no locus standi in contractual matters. They are meddlesome Interlopers. 

Should we allow EFCC to continue this persecution? Today, it is the NBA President; tomorrow it may be used as a precedent to launch criminal investigations into fees charged by members of the Nigerian Medical Profession, ICAN, NSE and other professional bodies. 
Do we stand aloof or sit on the fence and allow such brazen intrusion on our privileges? Do professionals now allow external regulation of professional fees or we should  investigate the sources of fees paid to us by their clients for services rendered, before accepting the fees?  Do we continue to say, as lawyers, we are not individually affected?"

 With the greatest respect to Mr Olakunle Edu, his write up is ladden with sentiments and whipping of emotions and it failed to address core issues of law and ethics of the legal profession.  First there is no attack on the noble profession. We must stop whipping up sentiment. The legal profession is a noble profession. It does not encourage conduct that aids and abets wrongs. The charge I read does not attempt to regulate the fees charge. The charge does not try to intrude into client lawyers relationships. 

The charge seems to question the propriety of a lawyer being paid from government coffers for a brief done for private citizen. Whether that is right or not can only be decided by the court to which the matter has been turned over to. The charge wants to know whether what was done was right or wrong. I believe what is wrong is wrong and no amount of baptismal colouration can give a wrong the the true meaning of right. We must be ready to learn and get precedents.

The only institution that can set binding precedents is the judiciary. I get worried when as lawyers we play to public gallery and then ignore really issues. I am not going to allow myself or any other right thinking members of the Bar to be dragged into purely what is Mr Paul Usoro SAN personal issue with security agents. The issues of fees he allegedly collected for the alleged briefs he did for his clients are or were not done in the cause of his duty when he started occupying the seat of the president of NBA.

This issue was there before he put himself forward for NBA election. Even the election that led to his being declared NBA president is still subject of both ethical and criminal controversies. As lawyers we must avoid sentiment. Sentiment command no place in legal proceedings. I have said before and I say here again that as lawyers we must live above board. As lawyers we have no immunity in our clients lawyers relationships if and when crime is alleged to have been involved in the cause of that relationship. As lawyers we must respect judicial process. The issues involving Mr Usoro SAN has been turned over to the judicial arm of government. We should  and must have confidence in the judicial process.

Taking to social media to campaign as it were that Mr Paul Usoro SAN is being persecuted with respect amount to interference with judicial process. The court before whom he has been arraigned is the only competent authority that can make the pronouncements. 

Those who believe in his innocence can join the legal team to present his case in court.I do not see his arraignment as harrassment of the Bar or Nigerian lawyers. Nigerian lawyers have to obey the law of the land. The only persons who by my limited knowledge of law have immunity from criminal and civil prosecution while in the office are the President, Vice President of Nigeria and Governors and Deputy Governors of the states in Nigeria. As lawyers we owe a duty of respect to and obedience to the rule of law and due process. I say no more. God bless Nigerian lawyers and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


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Protest Rocks Iwo Town Over Chieftaincy Title

Sat, 2018-12-08 18:49

Some members of the Baale Olatifede family, Olatifede village in Iwo Local Government area of Osun State on Friday urged the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdul-Rasheed Akanbi, to respect the tradition by installing the eldest male in the family as baale of the community. 

They made the call during a peaceful protest against a purported plan to install a younger candidate over Rasaki Akande, a septugenarian who is the eldest and the most popular candidate for the position. 

The Baale Oloba Olatifede family members, who took to the streets in Iwo town on Friday morning, displayed placards bearing messages such as: 'We appeal to Kabiyesi Oluwo to approve the installation of Rasaki Akande as our Baale', 'Baba Akande is our choice; let's follow tradition', 'We are for peace and justice. Pa Akande for fairness'.

Speaking on behalf of the group, leader of the protesters said: "Our message is clear and we are taking to the streets as well as the palace to ventilate our demand. We are appealing to our royal father, the Oluwo of Iwo, to acede our demand as his subjects. 

"There are procedures set by our forefathers in filling or nominating candidate to the stool of Baale of Olatifede. Filling the position should, ordinarily, not generate controversy because there is an agelong practice of installing the eldest male in the branch of the family whose turn it is to produce occupant for the stool." 

A communique addressed to the Oluwo, signed by the head of the Oloba Olatifede family, Staff Sergeant AbdulMojeed Agbaje (retd.); Secretary to the ruling family, Pastor Isiaka Akanji; and Community Leader of Oloba Olatifede, Hon. Sunday Salawu, read in parts: "There is a norm and tradition. The eldest son (in the ruling family is) to fill the vacant stool of Baale.

"Unless the eldest son is mentally retarded or not of sound mind or when a candidate is seen to have bad antecedent, the eldest son should fill the vacant stool of Baale."

Akande explained that there should be no contention on the rightful person to fill the vacant position.

"As the eldest person I am unarguably the next baale. The family took a unanimous decision to forward my name to Kabiyesi (Oluwo) but it appears is making moves to circumvent the agelong tradition," he said.

"The entire community and its council, the Oke Oba Parapo adopted me as the next baale, so there is no room for arguments about the whole matter."

Meanwhile, Morufu Adewale, younger half brother to Akande, said in a telephone interview that he is well qualified for the position as a bonafide member of the family. 

Insisting that he is the best candidate for the position, Adewale said: "I am the preferred candidate. I left the village (Olatifede) 31 years ago and still met it the same way; nothing has changed since then. Akande, who is claiming right to the position, is hated in the village. I will spend my time and money on the village as baale."  

While addressing the procession at the palace of the Oluwo, the Secretary to the Oluwo, assured the people of the readiness of Oba Akanbi to ensure that justice and peace are guaranteed. 

The secretary said the interest of the people would be addressed appropriately without fear or prejudice.

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Okowa's N45million Grant To Political Parties Causes Confusion In Delta

Sat, 2018-12-08 17:25

Festus Ochonogor, Political Adviser to Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State; Festus Agas, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), and Innocent Okunbor, Director of Finance and Administration, SSG's office, have been accused by chairmen of political parties in the state over allegations of fraudulent activities involving a N45million grant "released by the governor".

SaharaReporters learnt that N45million was released to political parties in the state by the governor. However, officials of political parties have accused the political adviser to the governor and the SSG of defrauding them.

One of the political party chairmen, who preferred not to be named, said the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the governor on Inter-Party Relations, Christian Moses Abeh, had applied in a memo through his office to the governor for a grant of N85million for political parties in the state.

"The memo was later hijacked by the political adviser to the governor, Mr. Ochonogor in connivance with the SSG and the Director of Finance and Administration in the SSG's office. The governor ended up releasing the sum of N45million only, which Ochonogor, Agas and Okunbor cornered and took the lion share and gave peanuts to us the party chairmen," he said.

When contacted on the issue, Abeh told SaharaReporters that the governor's political adviser, the SSG and the Director Finance and Administration in the SSG's office, Innocent Okunbor allegedly hijacked the N45million grant.

Abeh disclosed that as a result of his refusal to part with N10million from the N30million grant to political parties in 2016 as demanded by the governor's political adviser and the SSG, the SSG has stopped his salaries since February 2018.

"I refused to given them the sum of N10million from the N30million grant released by the governor to political parties in the state in 2016. As a result of my stand against such fraud, the SSG seized my salaries since February this year till date. I would have written a comprehensive letter to the governor long ago over the sidelining, gang-up and maltreatment against me and my office because of their personal interests. As I talk, since February 2018, the SSG has stopped my salaries. I am appealing to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to intervene in this matter."

A petition dated September, 2018, entitled 'A Case of Suppression, Blackmail, Witchhunt, Intimidation, Political Persecution and Subsequent Hijack of My Official Functions with Impunity by the SSG (Chief Ovie Festus Agas) and the Senior Political Adviser (Festus Ochonogor)', addressed to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa by Abeh, obtained by SaharaReporters, explained details of the allegations of fraud.

The petition read in part: "Your Excellency will recall that I wrote you a memo on the 7th of July, 2017, titled '2017 Grant to Political Parties' with file number SSA/IPR/GTPP/03, where I listed the forty parties that are existing in the state as at then and equally said that we have additional five new parties that were registered by INEC then, but yet to receive their letters. You graciously approved and released the sum of N45million out of the N85million I proposed and the fund was subsequently released.

"Sir, from the day the memo was approved till the day the SSG and the Senior Political Adviser disbursed the fund which my office applied for, everything was shrouded in secrecy. The duo of the SSG and the Senior Political Adviser have succeeded in making my office lose respect before the political parties as a result of their personal interest; a situation where my office has become their cassava farm.

"Your Excellency, the fund was disbursed by Mr. Okunbor, DFA in SSG's office, under the supervision of the Senior Political Adviser with the assistance of the IPAC chairman, who is not a government official. Using a private person to do the work of a government established office just to humiliate me simply because they are from the same Ndokwa while I am an Isoko man.

"The original owners of the money were shortchanged and dumped. The parties turned the SSG office to their protesting ground on a daily basis, while some of the shortchanged parties have called me to threaten my life that I am the cause of their problems. Some of the original owners of the grants were not accommodated. Your Excellency, in all of these they were doing, I was neither consulted nor my office carried along. Meanwhile, the memo/file originated from my office.

"Sir, recall you approved the sum of N2.5million for me to hold an interactive session with the political parties in the state in 2016. Immediately the fund was given to me by the DFA Government House and Protocol, your Senior Political Adviser invited me to his office and demanded a part of the money from me and when I asked why, he told me that it was what the governor directed, so I obliged him N900,000. Your Excellency, should any harm befall me and my family members as a result of the shortchanging of political parties, the SSG and the senior political adviser will be held responsible.

"I was ejected from my office February 2018, as a result of my inability to continue paying my annual rent of which the SSG is fully aware of. No office, no funding to carry out my official duties effectively as a result of the SSG returning all my memos/files; no official vehicle, yet your Senior Political Adviser is constantly usurping the functions of my office for pecuniary gains. Your Excellency, immediately after the N2.5million interactive session money, you approved N30million for me as grant to the forty parties in 2016.

"When the cheque was released, I was summoned by the the Senior Political Adviser who demanded the sum of N10million for himself and some people whose identity I don't know. I refused and told him that the whole parties are fully aware of the money, that if we do anything funny, it will spell doom for us and it will cause the administration great embarrassment. Few days after, I was summoned to the SSG's office. Instead of them to strategise on how we can have landslide victory in 2019, they are busy looking for things that are immaterial.

"I was the person who saved the senior political adviser last year August when the political parties accused him and two others of stealing the SUBEB contracts you gave to them. I stopped the political parties from addressing a press conference over the fraudulent and corrupt activities of Mr. Ochonogor. After properly consulting present and past political office holders, Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries, financial experts and civil servants, I came to the conclusion that I must humbly write you officially before taking further steps."

It was gathered that before the stoppage of Abeh's monthly salary, a deduction of 50 per cent had been carried out by the SSG, while all efforts and letters written to the governor by Abe were said to have been prevented from reaching the governor until the September petition, which he sent to the governor through a courier service.

Sources confided in our correspondent that Abeh has vowed to drag the governor's political adviser, the SSG and the director in the SSG's office to anti-graft agencies.

It was learnt that another N100million grant was released to political parties through the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), and was disbursed by the SSG and the governor's senior political adviser, while another sum was disbursed to governorship candidates of some selected political parties in collaboration with their party chairmen to endorse Okowa as their consensus candidate in the 2019 general election.

When contacted on the allegations, Ochonogor debunked the allegations, stating that "It was the office of the SSG that made the disbursement. There is no office like Inter-Party Relations in the state". On his part, the SSG denied the allegations, while Okunbor said: "Please, I don't know you, I want to see and know who I am talking to please".

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Re: Osinbajo Is Welcome In OAU By Binzak Azeez

Sat, 2018-12-08 17:01

This is to give an informative and instructive response to a supposed release issued by the University's Public Relations Officer (P.R.O), published by The Punch Newspapers (pg. 34) on the Tuesday, December 4, 2018 where he stated, in contrast to the statement of the Students' Union Action Committee that "the OAU Community, particularly, the Students, are eagerly waiting for a day when either President Muhammadu Buhari or Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, or both of them, will come to OAU on a visit."

To start with, it is imperative to state that the University's P.R.O is an administrative staff (not a student) of the University whose function is to give necessary information about the adminstration of the University. He is not in the position to speak for the student populace, not to talk more of taking decisions on behalf of the Student populace who form the largest population of the University community.

Therefore, the statement issued by the PRO is not only erroneous and misleading, it is also an act of impersonation and imposition.

Furthermore, I make bold to assert that the rejection of irresponsible, corrupt, and by the virtue of the latter, anti-student  politicians in OAU campus is a long- standing position of the union through her congressional resolution of the Students' Union since 2005/06  and also 2008/09 parliamentary Year respectively where corrupt politicians were declared persona non grata on OAU campus without any sense of political partisanship. This position remains not countered because it is still valid as corrupt politicians are the same leopards whose skins have never changed.

From and for the records, a long list of corrupt politicians have been given same rejection and warning in times past while the erring ones have always had their bitter regrets. 

The likes of Olusegun Obasanjo, Nuhu Ribadu, Goodluck Jonathan, Ayodele Fayose and Aregbesola have all had themselves to bitter regrets and blame because they ignored the initial warnings against their presence on campus by the student populace.

It should be recalled, that the reasons for rejecting Osinbajo was adequately stated in release of the Students' Union Action Committee some weeks ago. While I had expected that the Presidency and the Office of the Vice President would have done the needful regarding all demands for an immediate need to attend to the dying state of public education in Nigeria, I find it rather odd that their adminstration went ahead to introduce a 'no work, no pay' policy (which was reversed after the agitations of Nigerian masses).

I consider it not only a rickety, but an unproductive approach to the crisis of the education sector, but unfortunately, the PRO rather made claims that the Vice President who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and renowned professor of law whose brilliant performance in the present administration has done the academic community proud. One finds it hard to logically measure to any extent at all, the correctness of such claim here.

It is rather obvious that this present governmental  administration, like every other, is not only anti-students but also anti-workers.

To cap it all, this piece should serve as a valuable information to all students, staff, the general public, and also to other anti-people politicians, who quest to be celebrated in public and in academic environment but further contribute to mass impoverishment of the people and the decay of public education through their policies in administrations. If this cannot be challenged in an academic environment, then there is no education at all.

If the government exists for the people and not that the people exist for the government, then, a word they say is enough for the wise!

Binzak Azeez writes from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.

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