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Obanikoro Tells Court How He Gave Fayose $5m from Arms Funds On Dasuki's Orders

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 18:50


Musiliu Obanikoro, a former Minister of Defence for State, testified in the ongoing corruption trial of former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.

Fayose is standing trial alongside his company, Spotless, on allegations that he benefitted from N6.9billion siphoned through the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) in the previous administration.

Obanikoro was led in evidence by Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday.

Giving his testimony, he said: “In June 2014, I received a call from Mr. Peter Ayodele Fayose, when we were approaching the gubernatorial election in Ekiti State wanting to know if there is any message from National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, but I replied ‘no’. Shortly after his call, a message entered from the NSA saying a certain amount of money will be received into the account that was opened to manage Boko Haram threat under my watch as Minister of State for Defence.

“NSA told me that Fayose will call me as to how he will receive the money. A total equivalent of $5m from the National Security Adviser imprest account was given to Fayose by the order of NSA.”

Obanikoro said Fayose introduced one Biodun Agbele to him as the recipient for the money, which was done at Akure Airport, because it was cash.

“I had earlier wanted to transfer the dollars so that the naira equivalent can be withdrawn in Ado Ekiti, which was the reason I initially called Diamond Bank MD, but he replied that the bank does not have such capacity in Ado Ekiti for that huge amount of money,” he added.

Obanikoro said the sum of N200million was given to Fayose on June 5, 2014 from the National Security Adviser imprest account.

He equally said the sum of N2billion was delivered to Fayose during the Ekiti State election in 2014 from the NSA’s imprest account on June 16, 2014, noting that his aide, who is now late, was at the meeting where Fayose acknowledged receipt of the total Naira equivalent of the $5million.

Fayose's counsel, Kanu Agabi (SAN), applied for an adjournment to enable him cross-examine Obanikoro.

Meanwhile, counsel to Fayose's company, Mr Olalekan Ojo (SAN), who is also joined as a second defendant in the suit, also urged Justice Olatoregun to adjourn the case to enable him confer with his client on Obanikoro’s testimony.

Justice Olatoregun adjourned the case till February 5 and 6, 2019.

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Okowa's Aide's Orderly 'Killed' A Middle-Aged Man — Now The Police Are Trying To Cover It Up

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 18:32


Ute-Okpu community, Ika North East local government area of Delta State, was thrown into mourning in the early hours of Friday December 25, 2018 when a middle-aged man was murdered by the orderly attached to Hilary Ibegbulem, Principal Secretary to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, SaharaReporters has learnt.

Narrating the ugly incident, which is said to have been concealed from the public since December, a trusted police detective attached to the state Criminal Investigation Department who pleaded for his name not to be mentioned as he was not authorised to speak, said the deceased had since been buried.

"On that fateful Thursday, December, 24, 2018, Hilary Ibegbulem [pictured], the Principal Secretary to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, in his yearly end of year party, had organised a party at his residence in his village, Ute-Okpu community, Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State, where community indigenes, both male and female, in attendance danced away their sorrows," the source said.

"As the party was going on with enough assorted foreign and local wines and gins to drink, some indigenes of the community at about 1:00 am on that fateful day stormed Ibegbulem's residence, but they were stopped at the gate and prevented from entering the party venue by Ibegbulem's orderly, Felix Dugbo, attached to Government House, Asaba. At this point, a serious argument ensued between Dugbo, the orderly, and one Chukwueku Emeadi, and before anyone could intervene, Dugbo had shut Emeadi on the forehead with his rifle at close range."

Our correspondent reliably gathered that immediately after the deceased was gunned down, he was rushed to the Anioma clinic at Boji-Boji Owa, but was abandoned as non of the medical personnel on duty that day could attend to him before he finally gave up the ghost.

Investigations, however, revealed that Dugbo was immediately arrested by the local police station in the area and was transfered to the police headquarters in Asaba on Friday morning, where the story was changed from murder to accidental discharge.

Speaking with SaharaReporters, a member of the deceased family, who begged not to be named, expressed bitterness with the way the matter was being handled by the Police.

"Do you know that the Police cooked up a story against my late brother that he was trying to snatch the gun from the police orderly during the argument," he lamented. "Now, let's assume he was trying to snatch the gun from the police orderly as alleged, how come he was hit by a bullet from the gun straight on his forehead and apart from my later brother no other person died or sustained any injury. The Police only know how to steal but do not know how to run. Their cock and bull story is very funny.

"They made sure the ugly incident didn't come to the public and as I talk to you, they have succeeded in burying the matter and it was never reported in the media too. The arrested orderly has been released as we talk and we have decided to bury our brother. He was buried last two weeks. No one to fight our case for us and we have handed everything to God almighty for justice. It is on record that every end of year when Hilary Ibegbulem is holding such party in his residence, it always resulted to blood."

When contacted on the issue, the Delta state's Police Public Relations Officer ( PPRO), Andrew Aniamaka, said he had no knowledge of such incident and promised to get back to our correspondent but he didn't, while efforts to reach Ibegbulem on the issue proved abortive.

 

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BREAKING: Buhari Fires TETFund Executive Secretary

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 17:51


Breaking News

President Muhammadu Buhari has reinstated Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro as the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

By Bogoro's reinstatement, Dr. Abdullahi Bichi Baffa has been sacked.

A statement signed by Benjamin Bem Goong, Deputy Director of Information at the Federal Ministry of Education, dated January 21, 2019, noted that Bogoro's reinstatement is to take immediate effect.

The statement read: "The Federal Government has approved the reinstatement of Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro as the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).

"A statement from the office of the honourable Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said the re-instatement of Prof. Bogoro is with immediate effect, with the same terms and conditions as it were in his previous appointment and as stipulated in the TETFUND staff conditions of service.

"Prof. Suleiman Bogoro was the Executive Secretary of TETFUND between April 2014 and February 2016."

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Police Sergeant, Lawyer, Others Killed As Gunmen Unleash Mayhem In Bayelsa

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 16:59


A policeman, a lawyer and two other persons were shot by gunmen in various parts of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital. 

While the Police Sergeant, said to be attached to the Joint Military Task Force code-named Operation Delta Safe, was gunned down at Otiotio area of Bayelsa on Friday during a clash between rival cult groups identified as Greenlanders and Icelanders, the lawyer, identified as Abel Ozi, was shot dead on Thursday at the Opolo market area and the sum of N1.9million stolen from him.

Two others were killed in separate cult shootings at Kpasia and Gwegwe areas.

It was gathered that apart from the policeman, whose name was kept under wraps, a suspected cultist was also killed.

The supremacy battle, which created tension in some parts of Yenagoa, was said to have been caused by the killing of a leader of one of the cult groups, the Greenlanders. The cult leader, nicknamed 'Arrow', was killed at Gwegwe area of Yenagoa by members of the Icelanders. His fellow cult members had vowed to avenge his death, a situation that led to bloody clashes in some parts of Yenagoa.

Security sources said the policeman was not on duty when he was killed at Otiotio junction in Yenagoa.

Narrating the incident that led to the policeman’s death, a source, who preferred not to be named, said: “Following the death of 'Arrow', his members took over the streets of Kpansia, Otiotio and chased their rival members. They were also raiding and shooting. Their actions created panic and made people scamper for safety. The sergeant only came to eat at a canteen located at the junction when he was hit by a stray bullet. He was immediately rushed to the hospital but he didn’t survive it. He was confirmed dead on arrival at the hospital. The Police and other security agencies are working to arrest the suspected cultists”.

On the lawyer, Abel Ozi, he continued: “He was double-crossed at Opolo area and shot when he refused to open the car. His driver was also shot. On hearing the shots, everyone in the area scampered for safety. After they took the money, they shot him in the abdomen. He died on arrival at the hospital".

When contacted, Asinim Butswat, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), confirmed the shooting of the lawyer, but declined comment on the killing of the policeman, stating that he was yet to be briefed on the development.

In another development, Nwafor Ogbu, Ogale Youth President in Eleme local council area of Rivers State was gunned down by suspected armed robbers on Sunday evening. Another person, Ugo Emesiobi, was shot at Obi-wali road, a suburb of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

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BREAKING: New IGP Orders Immediate Disbandment Of F-SARS

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 16:13

Mohammed Adamu, the new Inspector General of Police (IGP), has ordered the immediate disbandment of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS), Special Investigative Panel and the Special Tactical Squad.

This was disclosed in a tweet by Bashir Ahmad, the President's spokesman on New Media.

In his tweet on Monday, Bashir wrote: "JUST IN: The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed A. Adamu, has ordered the immediate disbandment of the Federal SARS, Special Investigation Panel and Special Tactical Squad. Details @PoliceNG." 

JUST IN: The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed A. Adamu has ordered the immediate disbandment of the Federal SARS, Special Investigation Panel and Special Tactical Squad. Details @PoliceNG

— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) January 21, 2019

Details later...

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Obasanjo’s Sorrowful Nunc Dimittis By Peter Claver Oparah

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 15:47


Olusegun Obasanjo, the swash-buckling former president is sad; so sad that he cannot put a finger on how best to manage his elephantine emotions. Sure, his flippant emotions stand out in the many irrational acts he had been known for in all his adult years. Obasanjo is a legendary moral cretin, an ethical wreckage who makes a show of his nuisance value. Obasanjo is a quintessential adult delinquent who cares no hoot being seen in clearly pejorative lights. A man who cares no hoot about deigning Nigeria’s election as do-or-die for which he indulged in every known vile means to rig, a man that cares no hoot sleeping with his daughter-in-law, a man whom Prof. Soyinka challenged to swear he was not giving out oil blocs for sex and he dodged, a man on whose name huge cases of corruption including a $16 billion power sector heist hangs makes no pretence about his moral emptiness. This, however, is not the subject of this report on the mangled, twisted and crooked personality called Olusegun Obasanjo

Why should Obasanjo, a man on whom providence bestowed the favour of ruling Nigeria for two record times be sad at late 80s? What should make a man that lives on his arcane ability to waffle through many epochs feel sad at his ripe old age? Obasanjo is sad that in President MuhammduBuhari, his life of ego-massage and pretension to hold Nigeria in his palms is about to be nullified. He is sad that President Buhari has defied all his idiosyncratic nuances and well-known sly tactics and evaded the type of control he neighs for every Nigerian leader since he finished his reign as military Head of State and since he was chased, tail-behind-his-back, out of an innate desire to purchase a third term and eventual perpetuity in power as civilian president. Ever since his obnoxious third-term bid failed, Obasanjo has pursued the desire to be seen as the maker and unmaker of Nigeria, with an infinite desire to make and control any leader that comes after him. That arrogant insouciance is about to come to an end with the upcoming general election which incumbent President Buhari is expected to convincingly win against Obasanjo’s own fatal prediction.

Obasanjo is a sad man today because he sees the end of his annoying petulance and obtrusiveness in Nigerian affairs just at his doorsteps. Obasanjo is a sad man today because his efforts to control and dictate to Buhari has fatally crashed. In apparent anger to the frustration of his ego-trip, Obasanjo had, last year, threatened to lead a revolution, a mass action, a coalition to vote out Buhari for daring to snub him and his wily ways. So far, his threat to form and lead a revolution against Buhari has ended like spittle in the sun and this has exposed the emptiness and incapacity of Obasanjo to the outside world. Obasanjo is much sadder that three weeks to the eventful election where he threatened to lead the unseating of Buhari, his efforts have hardly ignited a spark. He is so sad that his threat seemed to have worsened his very arid political base. Simply put, Obasanjo is a general without an army. His feeling of political relevance which led him to issue such rash threat to President Buhari is a carefully nurtured balloon that has no practical unction. Obasanjo is very sad today because in a matter of weeks, and going by all practical indices, his threat to lead the removal of Buhari will end up in very thin smoke. He is so sad that his demystification is nigh. Obasanjo is so sad that his political end is around the corner, that his waterloo is within sight! What a man!

But then, given all the unmerited benevolence providence has blessed him with, Obasanjo in his late eighties should have been a jolly good fellow, putting final touches for his final journey. But hell no, Obasanjo is a restive, springy and highly volatile player who is rattled by the fear that the ground to his well-crafted political life is about to shift. Obasanjo is an agitated hustler that is about to lose his bait. His worries and agitations stem from the fact that in President Buhari, he knows he has made a terrible gamble and the stupidity of his gamble is about to crash in his face.

What better way to gauge the worried state of Obasanjo’s unsettled mind than the flippant, base and demeaning tone of his latest letter? Yes, Obasanjo fancies himself as a legendary letter writer, though a very horrible act when it comes to practising what he volubly prescribes to other leaders. He has formed the notorious habit of deigning himself as above board and subjecting other leaders to his ill-digested tirade. He had formed the habit of superciliously reading political trends and jumping into any profitable train and using that thereafter to feather his interests. When any leader is not attending to his nebulous cravings, he resorts to letter-writing, penning long and winding diatribes, couched in less-edifying, insulting and gutter verbiage and waiting to reap the aftermath. That way, he had come to invest so much on his ceaseless adventures in penning cantankerous missives to his successors and celebrating such noxious interventions as veritable game-changers in Nigerian politics.

But in President Buhari, Obasanjo showed his poor arts. He wrongly read into Buhari’s persona and his political base and what fired both his emergence and successes so far such that when he directed his usual obnoxious letter to Buhari; replete with his subtle blackmail, mischievous narratives and reading of Nigerian affairs and ranting of his readiness to lead a coalition to remove him in office, he ignorantly over reached himself and penned his last epitaph. From all seeming indices, Obasanjo had struck his nemesis in a Buhari that suffers such perennial, crooked and cunny arts as Obasanjo’s silently and calmly. Where Obasanjo hoped for a deal after his letter, he met the worst snub he had ever received since his letter-writing misadventure started. Where he hoped for s shouting match, he met stonewall ignominy nod instead came face to face with the scorching firepower of Buhari’s legions of die-hard supporters; a challenge Obasanjo was ill-equipped and not ready to take, even in his obnoxious cantankerous nature. Buhari treated Obasanjo’s with such contempt that resonated in Obasanjo’s megalomaniac crave for attention. He simply behaved as if Obasanjo never existed. 

After Buhari’s snub, the route left for Obasanjo was to plunge head-on into his formation and mobilization of an anti-Buhari coalition to kick-start his eventual voting out this February. He did that but was met with the hugest disappointment he never imagined. All his efforts to mould a formidable coalition against Buhari have so far, ended in the dust and this rather exacerbated the frustration of Obasanjo and ignited the clear warning to him that his end is near. In desperate frustration, Obasanjo executed a hara-kiri of re-joining his soulmates in PDP, a party whose membership card he tore in contempt and which he had condemned and besmirched in unprintable languages. Without shame, Obasanjo quickly embraced his former deputy, ally in byzantine corruption and age-long foe, Atiku Abubakar, an equally dented cohort who was selected as PDP presidential candidate and on whom the same Obasanjo swore just last August that God will never forgive him (Obasanjo) if he ever backs as Atiku on whom he had released so much damaging evidence of monumental corruption. In frustration, Obasanjo formed an alliance of the damned and the dirty with Atiku and PDP in a desperate effort to stave off an impending waterloo this February. That ill kite is not flying and this has left Obasanjo a terribly disturbed and haunted man.

However, with the election just three weeks away, Obasanjo is writhing in apparent fear, frustration and anger as the Buhari candidacy gathers engulfing momentum nationwide. Before Obasanjo’s korokoro eyes, all the doomsday prophecies and threats he had issued on Buhari have ended in biting failure as February election approaches faster than Obasanjo’s vile mind can comprehend. Obasanjo is watching as the Atiku candidacy, hedged under the thick veil of corruption, flounders to a certain defeat in the coming general election. Obasanjo knows that with the failure of Atiku and his soiled PDP, he is gone from Nigerian political scene as all windows for his cheeky interference with Nigerian affairs will close by that defeat! He knows that with a Buhari victory, all his cunning meddlesomeness in Nigerian statecraft will end. Obasanjo knows that his jealously-guarded aura of invincibility is about to violently rent asunder if Buhari wins in February. He knows that his messianic pretension will crash with a possible Buhari victory. Obasanjo knows that the futility of his vow to remove Buhari and re-install his cronies and hirelings in PDP spells doom for the magic wand he believes he welds over Nigerian politics. In fact, Obasanjo is deeply troubled, rankled, worried and this has made him display such fidgety and unsettled demeanour as he generously advertised in his latest letter. 

So, what better excuse can Obasanjo advance for his looming end than to forewarn of a plot to rig the election against him and his soiled PDP confederates even with the clearly obvious indications of a heavier trouncing awaiting them in February? Even without showing evidence for his convenient hoax, a troubled Obasanjo who, by all indices, is the most notorious, compulsive and corrosive election rigger Nigeria has ever had, to brush all pretensions of shame and allege that his impending end is being plotted by the Buhari regime through an unclear and unstated plot to rig the coming election? What better escape for a sly, immoral and unethical character like Obasanjo to plot for his coming waterloo than to raise the hollow allegation of rigging? So that was the mission of a sad and obviously drowning Obasanjo in his latest Nunc dimittis called letter. Rightly, the President has dismissed Obasanjo as a sick man who needs prayers to recover soon but he knows that his present sickness is leading to his political death and that no well-wishing will cure him of the self-inflicted horror he is going through now.

 

Peter Claver Oparah

Ikeja, Lagos.

Email: peterclaver2000@yahoo.com

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Of Evolution, Revolution And Disruption: A Requiem For Crude Oil Outside The Box By Alex Otti

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 14:34


“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change” - Albert Einstein

Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882) was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist. He propounded the theory of evolution which has become a very important, albeit controversial contribution to science. In his theory, he reached a very important conclusion; those species that cannot adapt to change, face extinction. This is the summary of my piece today and it is important to relate it to Nigeria.

Darwin's Theory of Evolution contends that all life descended from a common ancestor and that are all related. It presumes the development of life from non-life, insisting on a purely naturalistic (undirected) "descent with modification". His main thesis was that complex creatures naturally evolve from more simplistic ancestors over time. “In a nutshell, as random genetic mutations occur within an organism's genetic code, the beneficial mutations are preserved because they aid survival - a process known as "natural selection." These beneficial mutations are passed on to the next generation. Over time, beneficial mutations accumulate and the result is an entirely different organism (not just a variation of the original, but an entirely different creature).” All these he documented in his famous book titled, “On the Origin Of Species” published about 160 years ago. The summary of Darwin’s thesis is that man was not created but evolved from an ape. The logic of the thesis is that, a more simplistic animal  like an ape, developed  into man,  a more complex one. While this theory became popular with most scientists, those of us who believe in creation have asked why the evolution of man from ape stopped. One should have seen more apes evolve into full grown human beings, but it does appear that after the Darwinian evolution theory, apes stoped mutating into humans. Surely, there must be a missing link somewhere. I can confirm that the debate continues unabated.

Revolution, on the other hand, has different connotations. It is defined as ‘a complete change in thinking, in how things are done or set of beliefs’. It can also be defined as a sudden change of government by a large mass of people, usually in a violent manner, eg, the French Revolution which overthrew the monarchical government and installed a republic by force. 

The kind of revolution that is important to this essay today is the one that leads to a complete change in how things are done. They happen gradually through inventions and accelerated obsolescence. The different phases of the industrial revolution would very well make our list of the revolutions in question. According to Wikipedia,“the Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the US, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from manual production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the factory system.”

While the industrial revolution started in Britain, it quickly spread to other parts of Europe and America. The major industry that benefited from the revolution was the textile industry. This industry also benefitted from the use of “modern” equipment to aid production.

The Industrial Revolution led to a major change in almost all facets of life. These changes were, amongst other places, felt in lifestyle, income, and population. Societies where it occurred, began to enjoy higher standards of living and their demographics changed dramatically. Life would not be the same again. This phase in civilization had even more consequences. For instance, long-held beliefs, some of them the kernel of certain religious beliefs, came under questioning. People who were stuck to the past would be swept away by the rapid changes taking place in the different economies. New products were flooding the market. People moved away from the agrarian economies to the manufacturing economies. One of the major changes was the enhancement of trade as division of labour was not only introduced, but it became an imperative. This was because people who manufactured one set of goods had to sell to the market and procure the many other goods and services they could not produce.

Following 1870, rapid economic growth began to occur across the West and these were fueled by newer innovations that came in the wake of what has been described as the Second Industrial Revolution. These new innovations included new steel making processes, the large-scale manufacture of machine tools, and the use of increasingly advanced machinery in steam-powered factories. Innovations rapidly expanded into Chemicals, Cement, Gas lighting, rail transportation, paper machine and glass making.

Then entered the new stage of development in the change trajectory, which some people have made attempts to fit into a different stage of industrial revolution. Some have given it different names but for the purpose of this essay, I have chosen to call it the ‘disruptive technology phase of human development’. This phase relates to the use of technology to disrupt earlier held beliefs and thinking and render not only many products useless but also many people around the world jobless. I am talking of the brave new world of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing and Electric Vehicles. 

I have chosen to limit this discussion to Electric Vehicles (EVs) because this disruption is one among the various others, that is bound to hit us very hard as a country in a very short time. EVs were first produced in the UK in 1884 by Thomas Parker but it made very little impact at that time. One of the most popular brands of EVs, Tesla was launched by a South African called Elon Musk, who lives in California. 

Musk is a maverick engineer and tech whiz kid. After obtaining degrees in Physics and Economics, in the USA, he commenced a doctorate degree programme which he gave up on almost immediately and plunged into the world of Information technology. His meteoric rise in the world of Hi Tech began when he founded an online financial services and email payment system X.com in 1999. Subsequently, he turned it into an online payment platform, Paypal which he eventually sold in 2002. Since then, Musk has founded many other companies including SpaceX – Space Exploration Technologies Corporation and Tesla Motors in 2008.

Of all of Musk’s companies and technological forays, it is clear that Tesla Motors is the one that would mark him out as one of the leading scientific minds of this generation and probably, of all times. The simple value proposition of Tesla Motors is to produce cars that are powered by alternative energy sources other than fossil fuels. The dream of functional EVs had been around for quite some time. The concept had made a giant leap from the fertile imagination of science fiction writers a long time ago to the research laboratories of engineers and finally now, the factory floor. As a matter of fact, many automobile companies were already engaged in advanced research on it, and some prototypes had already been manufactured. But a broad range of issues conspired to militate against mainstreaming the concept and making the EV a viable mass market product. High production costs and low battery performance ranked high among such challenges. It is to the credit of Musk’s bulldog tenacity, technological prowess and vision that have altered the equation and provided a lift for the EV concept to gain traction. Today, the EV as a mass market consumer product has become an imminent reality. Its rise raises the spectre of the inevitable end of another age, one which we are all used to – the age of the combustion engine. It will bring into full bloom what I call the technologies of the new age. These technologies, which will impact not only the automobile industry, include - Artificial intelligence, Robotics, Virtual and Enhanced Reality, block chain and several others. The use of alternative (renewable) energy sources to power automobiles is the final frontier in this generation’s journey of discovery in transportation.

Informed analysts project that it is the catalyst that will recreate the world and reshape it into innovative and wondrous forms. As industrial revolutions go, this one promises to be even more disruptive than the Industrial Revolution. In fact, I shudder to think of the full dimensions of its impact. My instinct is that unless the processes are well managed, the overall impact may be cataclysmic and explosive, especially for our country in particular and Africa, generally.

Understandably, there are many, among them even those who ought to know who are still in denial about the reality of the EV and its inexorable rise and dominance. Their plight is understandable, even if sadly. They still luxuriate in the comfort zone where fossil fuel is king. But the allure of low costs which have been the main advantage of fossil fuel, has worn dry. Advances in production technology, especially  in the area of battery costs and life span, is rapidly narrowing the cost gap between EVs and gasoline powered automobiles. Tesla’s mid range Model 3 which it launched in July 2017 has a factory price of about $45,000. Battery performances have also improved remarkably. A fully charged battery can now drive for up to  399km (highway) and 430km (city). Bringing it home, it means that a fully charged Tesla Model 3 can travel from Lagos to Port Harcourt or from Abuja to Kano without needing to be recharged. These advances have boosted the appeal of the EV’s. Accordingly, demand has spiked across the globe, apart from Africa. By 2014, 700,000 EV’s were sold worldwide. But last year, about 4 million EV’s were sold worldwide. Bloomberg projects that by 2025, EVs may become cheaper than gasoline cars. When that happens, then the disruption will be complete. According to projections, EVs will then dominate the automobile market and all new car sales. Certainly, there are other factors driving the exponential growth of the EV revolution. The growing international awareness of the need for climate control has prompted a rash of policies by various governments in different parts of the world, targeted at ensuring cleaner energy and climate control. The concerted efforts of environmental activists and public policies have finally forced the hands of automakers. In different countries, governments have enacted legislation prohibiting the manufacture of gasoline vehicles. Many countries have set targets for stopping the production of gasoline-powered vehicles. For instance, Norway has set a target of 2025, while India, Netherlands, Israel and Japan, amongst some others, have set a 2030 date. China has set up a policy team to study the whole phenomenon of EVs. As a result of all these, it is now estimated that 11 million EVs will be sold annually by 2035, with half of that number in China which is currently the largest car market in the world. Industry experts are predicting that about 50m EVs will be manufactured globally by 2040.

To many people, especially in the developed world, this is cheery news. But to many others, especially we in Africa, it is certainly not. The question to ask is: what preparations are we making at the official, corporate and personal levels? More specifically, what is our governments at the various levels doing, to prepare for the enormous changes which are inevitable?

Since oil emerged as Nigeria’s primary foreign exchange earner, it has remained the soul of our national life. Over 70% of the nation’s foreign exchange revenue comes from the export of crude. Obviously, the decline of gasoline powered automobile and the emergence of alternative sources of energy would spell the doom of fossil fuel. In a recent study by Bloomberg, it emerged that countries that are heavy crude oil importers are also in the forefront of the move to legislate against gasoline automobiles. The implication of that is quite obvious. The demand for crude oil is declining globally. So the elementary question which arises is, “If Nigeria can no longer sell crude oil, how can it earn foreign exchange to finance her imports?” For long, the need to diversify the Nigerian economy was quite compelling. Sadly, our policy makers chose to fiddle like Nero while Rome was in flames. So successive governments squandered tons of dollars and with it the opportunity to recreate our country and ensure a meaningful life for our children and posterity. So while other societies transited into more focussed and knowledge based economies, we dawdled and clung to narrow, primordial worldviews often no different from the primitive superstitious narratives of our forefathers. We abandoned education and skill development. We did not improve or increase our infrastructure stock. Now the chickens have come home to roost and our date with history may just be around the corner. What then are our options?

The first order of business is fostering credible and effective leadership. In fact, history has shown that it is leadership that has made the difference in all the societies that have made quantum leaps in progress. Providentially, this is an election season. We now hold our fate in our own hands. We have before us  the opportunity to begin a process of saving ourselves, and it is not as arduous as some people think. All it takes is for you to make time out and cast your vote, or you will be one of those who moan about how things are going wrong, but who are not willing to bring about the required change.
It is imperative that we choose the right leadership at every level; visionary, intelligent and knowledgeable leaders. The era of mediocrity should be over. The tasks in hand are rather urgent and compelling. Nigerians should eschew the narrow sentiments that often determine electoral choices and take a bold stand for the common good. The world is changing rapidly. The new world cannot wait for Nigeria.

Email:alexottiofr@gmail.com

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Lack Of Vehicles Prevents Police From Intervening As 'Up To 100' Herdsmen Attack Adamawa Community

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 13:45


File Photo

A Catholic Seminary in Bare, Numan Local Government Area of Adamawa State, was burnt down on Saturday night by suspected herdsmen.

The Police in the state said the attackers "destroyed several houses, although, no life was lost".

Othman Abubakar, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), added that the Police were yet to determine the identity of the attackers.

Stephen Dami Mamza, Catholic Bishop of Yola Diocese, confirmed the destruction of the Catholic Seminary in Daso, and lamented the security situation in the area.

He said the attackers, who razed down the community based on the report he got, came in their droves and "operated unhindered for several hours".

Mamza, who doubles as Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the state, further lamented that "the soldiers when contacted while the attack was going on complained of not having vehicles to promptly intervene".

"They had no vehicles for God’s sake and there were only four policemen stationed in that place and the attackers were up to 100," Mamza lamented. "Our Reverend Father's house was burnt and there’s no house around that area that is standing now. They have burnt all the houses; all my parishioners have left and nobody can live there."

Bare has come under repeated attacks from suspected herdsmen following clashes with the farming community over grazing land.

In October 2018, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bare Ward was killed by suspected herdsmen on his farm in the presence of his wife.

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POLL RESULT: 75% Of Nigerians Will Collect Cash From Politicians Before Voting At The Elections

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 13:30

A SaharaReporters poll seeking to find out how Nigerians intend to treat politicians who offer them cash in exchange for votes during the 2019 general election has finally come to an end.

The poll, which was conducted on the SaharaReporters Twitter page, ran for a full week and came to an end on Thursday January 17.

It was divided into three segments through a thread with the following questions:

1. Will you collect money and vote for the candidate who pays the highest?

2. Will you collect money but vote only according to your conscience?

3. Will you reject money no matter how much?

A total of 14,026 votes were recorded in the online poll.

While 83% (4,250.43 votes) out of 5,121 said ‘no’ when asked if they would collect money and vote for the candidate who pays the highest, 17% (870.57) of 5,121 said ‘yes’.

When asked if they would collect money but vote only according to their conscience, 75% (3,819) of 5,092 voters said ‘yes’, while 25% (1273) said ‘no’.

On whether or not they’ll reject money no matter how much, 42% (1,601.46) of 3,813 voters in this segment said ’yes’, while 58% (2,211.54) of the voters said ‘no’.

The 2019 presidential election holds on February 16, 2019, while those for governorship as well as state and federal legislature hold two weeks later.

Under Nigeria’s electoral laws, vote buying attracts “a maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for 12 months or both”.

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Really, Who Needs Medical Attention Between Buhari And Obasanjo? By Fredrick Nwabufo

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 11:15


Fredrick Nwabufo

The synopsis of President Buhari’s response to Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter likening his administration to the brutal Abacha regime is that the former president is “sick or psychologically challenged”. But I think the riposte is like that of a blind man mocking another man who uses recommended glasses.

Who really needs medical attention between Buhari and Obasanjo?

Over the years, Obasanjo has shown keenness of mind and body. For a man of his age, that is rare. He has been consistent in his delivery of cutting missives since President Jonathan’s administration. His “letter-bombs” to Jonathan were much celebrated by those who now insult him for his accustomed choice of weapon, and the target of this hit.

Obasanjo has not given anyone a reason to question his state of mind.  In fact, on Sunday, he held a press conference where he spoke clearly, intelligently and coherently. Could the same be said of President Buhari?

Watching Buhari disoriented and lost at the APC presidential rally in Delta state, where he “surrendered” his candidature to Great Ogboru, flagellates speculations about his state of mind.  

His bizarre display, chronic incoherence and befuddlement at the town-hall meeting with Kadaria Ahmed accentuate the same concerns. And not to forget his “sit-slump” at the rally in Kaduna; it appears the president is in a rapture of oblivion.

But I think Buhari is a victim.

I said it before, if the president says he is not aware of an issue or situation, he should be believed. I was not making an attempt at comedy when I said that.

He is really not aware. I know there are "principalities in high places" at work.

I think Buhari has a vanishing taste for power, and he is more conscious of his health and managing the vagaries and frailty of old age.

I like Buhari. But the 2019 election is not about him. It is about the sons of Nebuchadnezzar holding the country down and using every means to keep it down.

The election is between these forces and Nigerians. Aisha Buhari, wife of the president, had given us a hint of these vandals.

Really, I can only express compassion for the president. We should understand Buhari's predicament to appreciate the tenuous situation.

He is a victim of these forces, but sadly, it is a case of where a rape victim is in love with his abusers or unaware he is being violated.

A vote against Buhari could be a way of saving him. It could be a way of setting him free without paying a heavy ransom to his “keepers”.

 

Fredrick is media personality.

Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo, Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo

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Buhari Has Proven To Be A Big Disappointment, Says Shettima

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 11:10


Yerima Shettima, National President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), says President Muhammadu Buhari is a "big disappointment".

In an interview with the New Telegraph, Shettima stated that there was so much expectation from Buhari that he has failed to live up to.

Speaking on the performance of the current president, he said: "There was so much expectation from Buhari. Everybody thought he would perform but surprisingly, the reverse has been the case.

“Buhari has proven to be a big disappointment. He has not lived up to expectation, and that is why people like Obasanjo, Ango Abdullahi who were his initial supporters decided to start speaking out the truth.”
Noting that Buhari and his supporters turned down developmental advice from well-meaning Nigerians, he stated that Obasanjo ought to have been receiving praises and commendations from Buhari, instead, Buhari and his supporters chose to hurl abusive words on the former president of the country.

He continued: “It is very sad that Buhari’s supporters and his aides have been abusing Obasanjo rather than appreciating him for giving Buhari the right advice. 

“Obasanjo is a patriot who believes in one Nigeria. By advising Buhari on how to succeed, that means he doesn’t want Buhari to fail but his good intention is not being appreciated.”

Shettima stated that the 2019 elections provide Nigerians with an opportunity to save the country and move it forward to where it is supposed to be, adding that the electorate will be held responsible for any wrong choice they make.

“It is either Nigerians decide they want a proper change on how to move the country forward or continue like this. As you can see, the country is dead completely. We either move forward or remain where we are so that in the end, the country would collapse on our hands. At that stage, we cannot hold anybody responsible but blame ourselves. With this election, we have another opportunity to do it right," he added.

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Nigerian Govt Must Pay N50billion Before We Can Suspend Strike, Says ASUU

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 11:05


The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said the strike would continue until the Nigerian government made the payment of N50billion as demanded by the union.

Biodun Ogunyemi, the ASUU President, disclosed this while addressing journalists on Sunday.

His words: “We want them to pay immediately N50billion as a sign of commitment this quarter and for the next three quarters, the government can pay N50billion in each quarter.

“So, our members have rejected the N20billion proposed by the government, which it promised to spread over two quarters in 2019.

“Our members have insisted on the release of at least N50billion in relation to earned academic allowances which the government has an outstanding of N105billion.

“Our members are saying that even if the government is releasing N20billion, let it be stated clearly that it is only for ASUU members. And the balances, which you promised to pay in four instalments, attach timelines to the balance and figures.”

Ogunyemi stated that the elite in the country do not prioritise educating the masses, but seek to degrade the education system further by creating private tertiary institutions that do not meet the needs of the Nigerian student.

The president of the union also berated the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for going back on its promise of mainstreaming academic allowance into the budget of the federation.

“In 2017, this government promised to mainstream the earned academic allowances into the budget so that we won’t be coming to talk about arrears. If the government had done that and included it into the 2018 Budget we would not be talking about arrears now," he added.

He urged the government to immediately take steps to mainstream academic allowances into the 2019 budget, noting that it can still be done because the appropriation bill is yet to be passed by the National Assembly.

ASUU is expected to meet the government soon on the matter.

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Borno Govt Declares Monday Work-Free For APC/Buhari Campaign

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 11:01


The Borno State government has declared Monday, January 21, 2019, as a work-free day for residents to attend President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign rally visit to the state.

This was contained in a statement by the Commissioner of Information, Mohammed Bulama.

Bulama noted that the holiday is to give all the people of Borno that opportunity to welcome Buhari to the state.

The statement read: "This is to notify the general public that due to the one-day visit of His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to Maiduguri, the state capital, Monday, 21st January 2019, is hereby declared a public holiday in the entire state.

“This is to enable all the good people of Borno State, including workers in both the public and private sectors, as well as students to, as usual, troop out in large numbers to welcome Mr. President to the state.”

The state government noted that work resumes with full force on Tuesday, January 22, 2019.

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'Get Well Soon' — Buhari Says 90-Year-Old 'Liar' Obasanjo Needs A Doctor

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 10:41


Olusegun Obasanjo

For his list of accusations against the presidency delivered in his 'State of the Nation' address on Sunday, the presidency of Muhammadu Buhari has branded former President Olusegun Obasanjo as a "90-year-old liar" who needs "a good doctor for good treatment".

This was contained in a statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), issued on Sunday night.

According to the presidency, Obasanjo's campaign against Buhari is premised on jealousy because "Buhari has more esteem" than him.

Earlier on Sunday, Obasanjo had addressed the nation in a broadcast from his Abeokuta base. In his speech, he had berated the present administration on various issues cutting across plans to rig the 2019 elections, assault on the judiciary reference in the trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the "idiotic" Trader Mini scheme, among others. See Also Elections VIDEO: We'd Be Fools If We Let Buhari Deceive Us The Second Time, Says Obasanjo 0 Comments 3 Days Ago

In response, the presidency's statement read: "The sixteen-page letter the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari and released this afternoon is the last push by desperate politicians who can’t handle the President politically and have resorted to subterfuge.

"Our first message to the former President is that he needs a good doctor for good treatment and to say to him, 'Get well soon'. As repeatedly said of him, since Chief Obasanjo left office in 1979, he never let every succeeding leader of the country function freely, and this included the one he personally handpicked against all known rules drawn up by the party that put him in the office of the President. But Chief Obasanjo is jealous because President Buhari has more esteem than him and the sooner he learns to respect him the better.

"It is a notorious fact that in dealing with any leader that he failed to control, he resorted to these puerile attacks. As the grand patron, more correctly the grandfather of corruption as described by the National Assembly, Chief Obasanjo released today’s letter purely for the reason of rescuing his thriving corruption establishment."

Shehu restated the commitment of the present administration to conducting free and fair elections, "as promised the nation and the international community".

Targeting the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the statement continued: "What Chief Obasanjo and his co-travelers in the PDP should expect is that from the outcome, we will teach them a political lesson that they will never forget. This margin will be much bigger than we had in 2015.

"Claims that President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have embarked on the president's 'self- succession project, by recruiting collation officers who are already awarding results based on their projects to actualise the perpetuation agenda, in which the people will not matter and the votes will not count' is not only utterly false, but a copious note from the book on the failed third term agenda of President Obasanjo.

"The man, President Buhari who has taken Nigeria’s reputation to a higher level internationally and is working hard to improve on the records of elections he found in place cannot descend to the level that Obasanjo has himself sunk. As for his attacks of the administration’s records in fighting corruption, what the former President said is no more than evidence that President Buhari’s war against corruption is succeeding. They thought it is all a joke.

"A leader who took USD 16 billion 'upfront' to supply electric power yet failed to add a single megawatt to the national grid and to date, there is no trace of the money is jittery that he will be called to account. He is a coward.

"Chief Obasanjo, manifesting a confused state of mind blames President Buhari for the fall of Libya into a failed state and the unholy alliance between the Boko Haram terrorists and the ISIS, while at the same time calling it an African problem, saying 'the struggle must be for all West African, Central African, North African and most East African States,' which really does not amount to saying anything new."
Shehu further debunked the allegations of plans to rig the elections.

He added: "Nigerians looked up to him as a role model and a ray of hope to ethical and clean leadership until President Yar’Adua called him out to explain what happened to the sixteen billion dollars of taxpayer’s money. It is clear that with him sitting on top of the heap of corruption, he is no different from the crowd he leads.

"This language of his 16-page letter, likening President Buhari to General Sani Abacha, a man he dreaded and the one who jailed him under military laws, is most unfitting from a former President of Nigeria.

"The claim that President Buhari has put in place rigging machinery is both outlandish and outrageous. We are unable to get the words to describe a 90-year old liar, except to say that by the publication of this tissue of lies against the President, he Obasanjo, not the President will fall from everyone's esteem."
 

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Atiku Names 30 Corrupt People Working With Buhari

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 10:40


Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has listed 30 "corrupt" persons working with President Muhammadu Buhari.

The list was released on Sunday, by Phrank Shaibu, Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communications.

He noted that while most are members of the party, others ran to the party to seek refuge from anti-graft agencies.

He named prominent members of the APC like Bola Tinubu, former Lagos State Governor and National Leader of the APC; Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari; Adams Oshiomhole, former Governor of Edo State and National Chairman of the APC; Abdullahi Adamu, a serving senator and former Governor of Nasarawa State; Babachir Lawal, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF); Folarin Coker, Lagos socialite and Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC); Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information.

The list also featured Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff; Senator Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation (Aviation); Aisha Buhari, wife of the President; Adedayo Thomas, the Executive Director, National Film and Video Censors Board; Adamu Muazu,  former Governor of Bauchi State; Iyiola Omisore, former Osun State Deputy Governor; Abdulrasheed Maina, former Pensions Board boss; Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, former Minister of State for Defence, and Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia State.

The statement also listed Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State; Senator Godswill Akpabio; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State; Alhaji Seminu Turaki, a two-term former Governor of Jigawa State; Alhaji Junaid Abdullahi, Buhari's in-law who is also the Executive Secretary, Border Communities Development Agency (BDCA); Alhaji Aliyu Wammako, a former Governor, who is currently in charge of Buhari’s campaign in Sokoto State; Hope Uzodinma, the APC governorship candidate in Imo State; Rotimi Amaechi, serving Minister of Transportation and Director-General of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, and Alhaji Abdul'aziz Yari, Governor of Zamfara State.

Others are Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and Ayodele Oke, the suspended Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

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The Debaters, Buhari’s Middle Finger And Atiku’s Own Goal By ‘Fisayo Soyombo

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-01-21 10:31

Oby Ezekwesili, Kingsley Moghalu and Fela Durotoye must have woken up on Sunday morning feeling a measure of resentment towards Nigerians. Quite thanklessly for them, these are the same Nigerians whose votes they seek.

At Saturday night’s presidential debate, Ezekwesili spoke about her determination to lift 80 million Nigerians out of poverty. She talked about removing barriers in the way of service-sector operators, as well as disrupting the current patterns of Nigerian politics and breaking the country’s perpetual cycle of leadership deficit. Moghalu harped on the importance of focusing on a holistic strategy for expanding small business and employment opportunities in the rural areas, and of electing a President who understands the economy. With the exception of “I want a Nigeria where the son of nobody can become somebody without the help of anybody”, which made him sound like a motivational speaker rather than a presidential material, Durotoye made some interesting propositions, too, such as creating 30 millions jobs by investing heavily in agriculture, housing and road construction.

Yet, more than 24 hours after the debate, the major conversations have been about the absentees — President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar — rather than the performance of the trio. How riled Ezekwesili, Moghalu and Durotoye must be — even if they won’t admit it — that their presence at the debate is being undermined by the relentless talk about the absentees. This development has clear implications; I will come back to that.

On the back of an error-strewn showing at APC campaign rallies all week, we have to extol the political innocence of anyone who expected Buhari to turn up at Saturday’s debate. In Kogi on Wednesday, Buhari slipped; were it not for the vigilant hands of his entourage, we might have had to deal with the ugly sight of our President sprawling on the floor. Apart from physically slipping, Buhari also made a slip of the tongue, claiming to have assumed office on May 19, 2015 whereas it was May 29. In Kaduna on Friday, he tripped; had a chair not be somewhere in sight, the President might have ended up on the deck. On Thursday in Delta, Buhari bizarrely described Great Ogboru, the APC governorship candidate, as the “governortorial candidate” — a phenomenal linguistic invention he made after first calling Ogboru “presidential candidate” and subsequently “senatorial candidate”. The same day, he also mixed up the dates he was Petroleum Minister, giving it as 1978-79 instead of 1976-78. Put in the mix his underwhelming showing at Wednesday’s town-hall interaction during which Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was largely his saving grace, and there was no way Buhari would be debating. His advisers who shielded him from the debate did their job well. Their selfish gain, though, is Nigeria’s loss. We will come back to this, too.

Conversely, Atiku’s 59th-minute-of-the-eleventh-hour withdrawal is a spectacular own goal — not so much because of the missed opportunity but because of the unintended exposure of the egotistical agenda oiling the electioneering machinery. Perhaps Atiku didn’t realise it, he didn’t necessarily need Buhari at that debate. The President may be his biggest obstacle to the presidency but the debate was no referendum on the Buhari administration. It was a forum for him to sell himself to the Nigerian electorate — to again defend himself against his popular perception as corrupt, his US trip and, more importantly, his plans for creating jobs, revitalising the economy and restructuring the country, three important anchors of his campaign. Anyone who has ever heard Atiku speak extempore will agree that he has never been found wanting in communicating his agenda for Nigeria. On Saturday, he proved even he had underestimated himself. Big, big missed opportunity.

Atiku’s explanation of the walkout has left a bitter taste in all our mouths. His explanation of coming for a “presidential debate, not a candidacy debate”, and his allusions to Buhari’s unavailability to defend himself, is self-damaging. Apparently, Atiku came for a presidency debate, not a presidential debate. Atiku considers Buhari’s absence “a slight on ALL of us and our democracy” but doesn’t think his own absence carries exactly the same significance? In any case, it is hypocritical of him to censure Buhari for giving us the middle finger on debate day. Olusegun Obasanjo, whose running mate he was, did not debate in 1999. Atiku is not on record anywhere to have publicly condemned it, or to have persuaded him otherwise in private. Buhari refused to debate in 2015 yet Atiku was one of his biggest backers; had Buhari given him front-line recognition in his government after his ascent to power, perhaps Atiku would be here today defending a debate-shy Buhari for 2019. But karma can be vicious, and Atiku can have no complaints.

Atiku has since clarified that his only condition for attending a debate is Buhari’s attendance. There is no denying that Atiku has always wanted to be President. He tried in 1992 without luck; he has tried again every election season since 2007. But his current attempt is evidently laced with vendetta; it is his chance to avenge his consignment to political oblivion by a man whose presidency he immensely contributed to securing. Vendetta and ego are two of the potentially numerous unedifying sub-themes of the Atiku presidential aspiration. 

Coming back to Buhari, this isn’t the first time an incumbent President will be shunning the debate. Umaru Musa Yar’Adua skipped it in 2007; Goodluck Jonathan skipped the first of the two major debates in 2011 (leaving the contenders to boycott the second, which he participated in alone). But this is the time we must be most worried — because Buhari’s absence wasn’t completely occasioned by arrogance, but also by senility and the necessity to avoid a calamity. A President who can’t sit at a two-hour debate without embarrassing himself cannot last another four years without shaming us all. 

The presidential candidates of the alternate political parties, with whom I kicked off this conversation, must be wondering why their performances have assumed lesser significance to the absence of ‘Butiku’, as coined by Ezekwesili. The answer is simple: 2019 is still about PDP and APC. It won’t continue forever, hopefully, but they have a say in how quickly the PDP-APC hegemony will be broken. May 29, 2019 may not witness the swearing in of a Moghalu, Ezekwesili or Durotoye as President, but not long after, we will know if they’re opportunistic presidential aspirants or they’re truly here to stay. We will know if, by 2023, these alternate parties would have recognised the need to fuse into a third force to be represented by only one but supported by all of them. We will see if they dismember their campaign teams or expand them over the next four years to build that structure that will count against them at the polls next month.

I have said it before and I will restate it: 2019 is already a lost opportunity for Nigeria. A second Buhari presidency is very likely, Yet Buhari, no matter how well-intentioned he is, is no longer in charge of even his own cabinet, much less the country. His coming back, if it happens, will be catastrophic. An Atiku presidency remains a probability; if it happens, the PDP looters already hovering over him will spearhead it. One potential consequence is that our treasury will be afflicted by kwashiorkor. And the alternate parties? Their debate can’t even overshadow the absentees — how do they hope to win?


Soyombo, former Editor of the TheCable and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), tweets @fisayosoyombo

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APC Campaign Likens Atiku's US Trip To 'Yahoo Yahoo' Boys Scamming Their Victims

Sahara Reporters - Sun, 2019-01-20 23:04


The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council says the visit of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to the United States of America “smacks of things local ‘yahoo yahoo’ boys do to scam their victims”.

For the first time after more than a decade, Atiku stepped foot in the US on January 17, 2019. See Also Breaking News VIDEO: Atiku Arrives In US All Smiles In Saraki's Company 0 Comments 6 Days Ago

There had been speculations that Atiku stayed away from the US allegedly due to the belief he would be arrested over allegations of corruption, including one by US congressman Williams Jefferson that part of the $100,000 cash found in his refrigerator was intended as bribe for Atiku for his role in helping American firm iGate secure a contract to expand broadband in Nigeria.

In a statement by Festus Keyamo, spokesman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, issued on Sunday, APC said the visit was a "non-event", and “nothing but a downright catastrophe because rather than dispel the fact of indictments hanging over his head, it further confirms and reinforces those facts”.

The statement read: “In our press release issued on Sunday, December 30, 2018, titled ‘When the Thief is Shouting Thief: The Case of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’, we correctly predicted as follows: ‘By running for President of Nigeria, Atiku intends to get some immunity from prosecution. Already he is hoping to obtain a visa to visit the US, as a guest of the State department, a concession that the US will grant to a Presidential candidate of Africa’s biggest Nation’.

“Therefore, we were not surprised by his visit to the U.S. For us, this visit is really a non-event considering the issues involved in the forthcoming election. However, we have bad news for those who think this is a momentous event for Atiku Abubakar: the visit was nothing but a downright catastrophe because rather than dispel the fact of indictments hanging over his head, it further confirms and reinforces those facts for the following reasons:

“The visit had all the trappings of a fugitive sneaking into America under a ‘special diplomatic waiver’. For the candidate of the major opposition party in Nigeria, it is an absolute disaster that the visit was not announced ahead of time in Nigeria, with his programmes and itinerary clearly spelt out, the decent and customary minimum standard of such visits. This culminated in his close aides issuing conflicting statements about the visit when he was already on his way there. In fact, one of them called Paul Ibe actually spoke to the Press that his principal was nowhere near America! Such was the secrecy of the planning and execution of that visit.

“It is shameful that a presidential candidate of a major opposition party in Africa’s most populous country would visit America, and the international press was kept in the dark: There was NO SINGLE press conference with the array of international media and correspondents required for such ‘high-profile’ visit. Atiku knows he has no moral stamina to withstand the avalanche of hard questions bordering on his sordid past in America. In fact, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar claims he visited the Voice of America (VOA) but only did two carefully-packaged interviews with the Hausa service and the English to Africa program - platforms that have always been available to him back home. How strange! In fact, both the Twitter handle (@VOANews) and official website of VOA did not mention any such visit of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to their station. For news hounds, you would agree with us that such an ‘important personality’ cannot walk into a news premises without reporters swooping on him. Whatever he went to do in the premises of the VOA must have been a carefully-arranged private visit for the photo-ops, which was intended to scam Nigerians. What more evidence do we need of a “sneak-in-sneak-out” arrangement than this?”

Targeting in particular the ‘Get Nigeria Working Again’ mantra of the PDP, APC berated Atiku on various claims, including that of meeting US government officials. According to Keyamo, Atiku only met with someone who is the equivalent of a House of Representatives member, noting that the visit has done nothing but to “expose him for the questionable character he is”.

The statement continued: “For a candidate who claims he wants to ‘get Nigeria working again’ (a meaningless phrase) to sneak into America without meeting major players in private businesses is a curiosity and an indication that we are dealing with a candidate with a dodgy and questionable character. He claims he went to the US Chamber of Commerce, which is supposed to be a business federation. Again, the Twitter handle (@USChamber) and the website of the organization make no mention of the visit of such an ‘important personality’ to them. Maybe their famous American lobbyist on a salary of N9million per month can help them ‘do something’ about this after this press statement.

“It is also an anomaly that the candidate of the major opposition party in Nigeria sneaked into America and did not meet large sections of political leaders of similar ideologies and persuasions towards which he claims to be inclined. For all his claim to be going to America to meet ‘US Government officials’, he only succeeded in meeting a certain ‘Congressman Smith’, who is the equivalent of a member of the House of Representatives in Nigeria. You would agree with us that as dignified and respected as the office of a Member of the House of Representatives is, an important personality cannot come to Nigeria on an official visit and claim he has met the ‘Nigerian government officials’ after he pays a private visit to that Member. For all we know, the Congressman Smith may just be a private friend of Dr. Bukola Saraki or Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. That reminds us of Atiku’s famous legislator friend he threw under the bus, Williams Jefferson, who taught us how to hide laundered money (which was meant for Atiku Abubakar) in the deep freezer when the cops came knocking on his door!

“In all, it is very obvious now that the so-called American trip was a desperate trip for photo-ops. Throughout the trip, Atiku Abubakar looked cagey, frightened and on edge. We note the close support always provided by Senate President Bukola Saraki like a comforting guardian angel. The visit and arrangements smack of things local yahoo yahoo boys do to scam their victims. It is utterly disgusting and puerile that it has been brought into a serious political contest.

“Rather than being the highpoint of his campaign, the American visit is indeed the lowest watermark of Atiku Abubakar’s campaign. It was a political and P.R disaster. The statements he released from there only to the Nigerian Press back home that he intends to alienate other countries and do business with the U.S is actually the antithesis to our policy of non-alignment.

“For the information of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his handlers, Nigerians know that Nigeria is already working again for everyone and not for a few. As confirmed by him in a town-hall meeting a few days before his disastrous trip to the U.S, he said he wants to “get Nigeria working again” only for few of his friends who he claims he wants to make rich. If he cannot get them rich now from his private businesses, it is obvious that he is referring to the use of public funds to make his friends rich. Nigerians should judge for themselves whether this is the type of President they want.

“Finally, whoever advised Atiku Abubakar to undertake that trip to America just destroyed his entire campaign and exposed him for who he is – a questionable character who has continued to leave huge questions over his suitability for the highest office of the land and as such cannot be trusted by the Nigerian people.”

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More Fake News Here By Bunmi Makinwa

Sahara Reporters - Sun, 2019-01-20 21:44


Can one avoid fake news? It is highly unlikely.

Anyone who uses social media, also called social networking services, will receive fake news. The more frequently one uses social media, the more fake news one receives. The challenge is to identify and ultimately avoid spreading fake news as the personal and social impact can be damaging. In fact, it may also have legal implications.

The growth of technology, media technology in particular, in combination with the ease of creating one’s information through cheap mobile telephony, has democratised “news” both for good and bad uses.

An active user of social media receives information many times each day from friends, families, casual acquaintances, and unknown people. It has become easier than ever to generate and spread information. It can be about anything. In several formats, including text, video, photo and voice,anyone can use just a smart telephone to express views, ideas, wishes and news that can reach numerous people across the world in rapid time.

Such shared information may be fake news which contains mis-information and inaccuracies. The information may be designed purposefully to deceive or mislead the receiver. Or it may be used to inform, or promote a viewpoint, sale, generate interest in an issue, or perhaps to entertain. Most people re-post information quickly and hardly spend time to verify its authenticity.

Fake news varies in appearances and implications. As Nigeria’s 2019 elections for president, governors and other offices draw nearer, fake news will increase in frequency and sophistication.

The relevance of newspapers, radio and television notwithstanding, social network services are very effective means of communication. Their impact on political discourse and communication is significant in Nigeria.

According to available statistics, Nigeria’s active users of social media increased from only 52 million in 2013 to about 90 million users in 2017. With a huge population of young people, the country will most likely surpass its hitherto growth rate of about three percent for active users. Especially if the costs of mobile telephony decreases and the economy picks up in the near future, more young people will use the Internet with social media as primary means of communication. The mobile telephony subscription in the country rose from 1.6 million in 2002, to 87.4 million in 2010, and it is now at about 154 million.

Some fake news can be sighted from a mile off. Especially by astute communication and media professionals. A casual observation will show if the name of the purported media organization is wrongly portrayed, or if there are wrong spellings, unusual language or style of presentation. In some cases the hyperlink used as source of the news or information does not exist. Or the statements made are simply doubtful.

Yet, fake news can be cleverly done. It is possible to use modern innovations to modify photos, voices, images and scenes, and combine them to look credible. In such cases, it is difficult to spot the manipulations.  More advanced analysis or technology is required.

Recently, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka spoke of a fake website that had his identity all over it. He succeeded to trace the originator but the person has not taken the website down.

Many wealthy people, celebrities, well-known persons, leading brands and organisations have fake information about them and attributed to them on the social media. Facebook, Twitters, websites and blogs, WhatsApp and Instagram are popular in Nigeria, and they contain a lot of fake news despite deliberate efforts by the platforms to identify and eliminate fake news and their creators.

Whilst there is general agreement that fake news should be discouraged and stopped, there is little common position on how it can be done. Current libel laws may be already adequate. Others ask for special policies and laws to counter fake news, whilst some countries place special taxes on use of social media. There have been several instances where national authorities closed down access to the Internet.

Just as one does in daily lives, one must apply common sense to determine what is fair, right or wrong. There are no better ways than to question claims and appearances.

For ease of doing things, you may want to consider the following ten points for social media messaging (text, voice, video, cartoon, photo and other materials). I call them my intuitive 10 laws of social media scams. They are particularly relevant in Nigeria as the political space heats up with ongoing campaigns.

  1. All freebies on social media are scam. If the freebies are actually free, everyone and too many people have already taken whatever was available before I get to know.
  2. If it sounds like fantastic news, a truly phenomenal happening, I hesitate. If it sounds untrue, it most probably is untrue.
  3. Who said it? The same liar. He/she lied about things in the past. Forget it.
  4. Oh, this story is credited to a well-known person, a public figure etc. If it is really true then I should find it on websites of the relevant major media, including newspapers, radio and TV. Is it there?
  5. This does not sound like the same person I knew as a public figure. He or she would never do it, or say such a thing.
  6. Does this quoted person have the qualification or experience to speak with authority on the issue? Can I find his background information or depth of knowledge through a regular Internet search?
  7. Alright, this item quotes a reputable major news organization. Let us check it on the website or in the information area of the news media.
  8. The fact that it is written does not make it true. Anybody can write anything about anybody at any place at any time for any reasons. Where else can I check the truth of it? Who should know?
  9. Allegations of corruption and abuse of office stated about every top politician is likely to be true. But proof is hard to come by. Choose which ones to accept and act upon. Avoid the ones that may lead to a libel case.
  10. Buhari does not hate Atiku. And Atiku does not hate Buhari. They are friends, and will remain friends after the elections. Please, do not send me these hate stories.

Bunmi Makinwa is the Chief Executive Officer of AUNIQUEI Communication for Leadership.

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APC: The Cases Against Atiku Are There... If The US Decides Not To Pursue It, That Is Not Our Problem

Sahara Reporters - Sun, 2019-01-20 21:01


Lanre Isaa-Onilu, APC National Publicity Secretary (middle), addressing journalists in Abuja on Sunday.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) says Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), returned to the country like a "fugitive".

Mallam Lanre Isaa-Onilu, the APC National Publicity Secretary, stated this on Sunday in Abuja while addressing a press conference.

According to Issa-Onilu, Atiku hurriedly left the United States of America (USA) and "landed like a fugitive and refused to address any international media". He added that the cases against Atiku are in the open should the US government chose to puruse.

"If he visited yesterday or tomorrow, it doesn't matter. What made him not go for 12 years points to the fact that something that has to do with corruption. The cases are there in the US If the US decides to pursue it or not, that is not our problem, but the facts are there that corroborate the fact we already know. If a thief is walking freely on the street, it does not make him not a thief anymore," he stated.

Onilu also criticised Atiku for walking out of the presidential debate organised by the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), which held on Saturday night, stating that the former vice-president "has nothing to offer". See Also Breaking News BREAKING: Atiku Walks Out On Presidential Debate After Buhari's Absence 0 Comments 4 Days Ago

He stressed that Atiku cannot be trusted, particularly with his statement that he would sell off the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to his friends.

Urging Nigerians "not to take him seriously", the APC spokesman said Atiku would "compromise the system to favour himself and his friends if voted into power".

In his response to the allegation by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) plans to rig the election in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari, Onilu said: "Obasanjo is being haunted by his past and it is high time he adjusted to the reality of the imminent defeat that is starring him in the face".

Denying the accusation on rigging the election, he noted that it is time for Obasanjo to "smell the coffee and wake up from his slumber".

"This election will come and it will be free and fair. APC has no reason to rig it. You have seen all the rallies we have done. The same party PDP that said our president is going to campaign by proxy, is the party that is showing concern nobody needs from them that our president is doing too much in terms of the rallies he has been attending," he added.

He asked Obasanjo to adjust himself to the reality that after February 16, "he would realise that he is not God".

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'The Son Of Nobody Can Become Somebody Without Anybody' And Other Deductions From The Presidential Debate

Sahara Reporters - Sun, 2019-01-20 20:29


The presidential debate organised by the Nigeria elections Debate Group (NEDG) and Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) at Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja on Saturda was quite revealing and indicting while it lasted. Touted as the ‘mother’ of all debates and expected to be so by most Nigerians, people from all walks of life took time out of their busy schedule to stay glued to their televisions.

Five out of the 72 candidates vying for the presidential post were invited for the debate: Fela Durotoye of Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) , Kingsley Moghalu of Young Progressive Party (YPP), Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Obiageli Ezekwesili of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN). Four of these invited candidates ‘came’ for the debate. However, minutes before the commencement of the debate, Atiku walked out.

Here are the deductions from the debate.

Atiku, Buhari Gave Nigerians the Middle Finger

Muhammadu Buhari, the incumbent President, hinged his absence on his participation in a twon-hall debate on Wednesday and his ‘hectic schedule’. Atiku, who had earlier travelled back from the United States Of America (USA), where he went for his two-day 'vindication journey', passed his note of non-participation to the umpire just in the nick of time. He cited the absence of his only match among the candidates from the ring of debate. Atiku showed up but could not step up and enter the ring for contest of ideas. But why did the former Vice-President waste hours and resources in formulating his Atiku Plan when he is unwilling to speak to Nigerians? Why did he travel 10,661km all the way from the United States when he knew he would not debate and sell his ideas to Nigerians?

Deduction: The former  Vice-President’s excuse seems implausible and ridiculous considering the fact that he has always attacked the same Buhari on the pages of newspaper and on Internet on matters ranging from the profound to the petty. Perhaps Atiku and Buhari —  both septuagenarians —  are bent on entrenching GERONTOCRACY in Nigeria. They arrogantly think the election is a two-horse race. Atiku knew that in the absence of his fellow septuagenarian, who is his main target, the younger candidates will turn him to their target and make a mincemeat of him. So he fled the scene of intellectual battle.

KINGSLEY MOGHALU

Moghalu’s opening salvo was a pointed question: Are we a nation? This is a question that borders on identification. Has the place we refer to as Nigeria evolved into a nation? Is it a mere geographical expression (apologies of Obafemi Awolowo)? Is Nigeria a mere notion striving to transform into a nation or an amalgam of disparate ethnicities cobbled together by its colonial masters for selfish gain?

Deduction: Since Moghalu is from the eastern part of the country and there has been vociferous clamour for secession from the current contraption by people from that part of the country, he should have been asked what he thinks of a secessionist state of Biafra.

Moghalu Took A Swipe At Buhari

Without wasting words, the presidential candidate of YPP promised not to relegate women to oblivion  in the administration. He said “they [women] will have a seat at the table”. Taking a swipe at Buhari who had said the influence of her wife is confined to the kitchen and the “other room” —  a subtle way of strengthening patriarchy — Moghalu promised to destroy patriarchy and allow and all-inclusive government.

Deduction: It seems Moghalu is sincerely committed to  giving women equal participation in his administration. He chose 37-year-old Umman Getso as his running mate and sometime last year he said: “I restate my target of 50:50 gender parity in the composition of my cabinet as President of Nigeria in 2019”. Women may find a worthy ally and advocate in Moghalu

Moghalu on Reduction Of Recurrent Expenditure

He promised to reduce recurrent expenditure by 50%. His method will be through political will and this will be achieved within two years.

Deduction: Perhaps the YPP’s presidential candidate forgot in the heat of the debate that we are in a democracy and he will have the National Assembly to deal with for the ratification of most of his actions before they become implementable. He might not have supporters in the office even if he wins the elections considering the fact that he is from a fringe party.

Moghalu On Atiku And Buhari’s Absence

Moghalu believed their absence is the beginning of Nigerians’ emancipation from the shackles of bad leadership and their absence is a reflection of their emptiness. His words: “They are not here because they cannot answer the intricate questions of the economy”.

Deduction: Moghalu’s ideas and answers looked smart on paper but how implementable are his policies. This is because they seem theoretical.

FELA DUROTOYE

On Economy

Durotoye promised that his government would focus on three sectors: agriculture , housing and road  construction.

On Reduction Of Cost Of Government

Durotoye promised that there would be penalties for not paying taxes. He also promised to be riding in a bus that carries other ministers. We just hope this won’t turn out to be an empty promise from Durotoye because Nigerians don’t forget. The incumbent president promised not to travel abroad for medical treatment but….  By the way, when was the last time Durotoye rode in a bus?

On The Absence Of Atiku and Buhari’s Absence 

The ANN presidential candidate believes that old things have passed away and leadership is truly about people who respect people .

On Security

Durotoye said there will be heavy investment on drones to monitor our borders On Education

He said the Nigerian Educational System has been churning certificated graduates and not qualified and truly educated ones. He promised to make our educational system to focus more on qualifiacation and not certification. He also said he would ensure that all citizens have access to fundamental education.

Deduction On Durotoye’s Answers To National Issues:

Though his thoughts were well-coordinated and presented, oftentimes in the debate his answers looked like string of clichés . They often seemed perfunctory and regurgitated, a kind of straight-from-the-book stuff. Like when he said “I want a Nigeria where the son of nobody can become somebody without the help of anybody”. This starts as lofty as it looks on the surface sounds glib!

OBY EZEKWESILI

The former minister of education sole claim to competence is her experience at the National  level as a minister. She said “ I bring with me  a track record of  being able to fix problems”

Oby On Poverty

She promised to liberate 80 million Nigerians from the shackles of poverty.

Deduction: How realisable is this? 'Madam Due Process' did not specify when she targets to achieve this in the course of her administration.

On Atiku, Buhari’s Absence

She said “I am not surprised they are not here. They have just simply announced their exit from governance.”

Deduction: But for her activism in recent years, some would have tied her with the same brush with the likes of Obasanjo and Atiku who happened to be her bosses when she served as a Minister.

On Security

Oby said: “Number one is to send signal that there is a new sheriff in town. We will set up  a SWOT team made up of the best brains in the country.”

Deduction: This sounds too banal and somewhat heroic, especially when one considers Oby’s years of  activism when it comes to national issues. She’s been in the vanguard of the 'Bring Back of Girls Movement'. One expected an in-depth analysis of our security challenges and “provision” of sound and workable solutions to the problem of insecurity.

Even her submission on education looks vague. She said “we will focus on technical and innovative education”. For somebody who once served as Education Minister, her response to education was below par.

However, the three presidential candidates were on their mettle yesterday and proved that they hold the electorate in high regard and ready to play a ping-pong of ideas, unlike the other two candidates who chickened out.   

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