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Election Petition Prompts Court To Adjourn Trial of El-Zakzaky, Wife Indefinitely

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-03-25 15:30


Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife.

A Kaduna State High Court sitting in Kaduna on Monday indefinitely adjourned the trial of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shi'ites, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife Zinat.

El-Zakzaky and Zinat are standing trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, and disruption of public peace, among others.

Presiding judge, Justice Gideon Kurada, said the indefinite adjournment is "following his appointment to serve as the judge in the Presidential and National Assembly Elections Petitions Tribunal in Yobe".

Femi Falana, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and lead counsel to the defendants, said aside the absence of the trial judge, his clients were in dire need of medical attention, the reason they could not appear in court.

Falana potested that his clients had not been given adequate medical care since December 14, 2015 when they were detained.

“So, the court has adjourned sine die, meaning, indefinitely," he said.

On January 22, the court had ordered the Kaduna State Government to avail the IMN leader and his wife access to medical care.

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BREAKING: Another Building Collapses On Lagos Island — The Third In Two Weeks

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-03-25 15:16

Another building has collapsed on Lagos Island, bringing to three the number of building collapses witnessed in that section of Lagos in the last two weeks.

According to a Lagos Island resident who spoke with SaharaReporters, Monday's collapse, which occurred on Kakawa Street, is a residential building.

As of press time, SaharaReporters had not yet confirmed if people were trapped in the rubble or how many they were.

On March 13, a building had collapsed at Ita Faji, Lagos Island, killing 20 persons, including school children, while more than 40 people sustained injuries.

Five days later, another building collapsed on 57, Egerton Square, Oke Arin, Lagos — but this was because the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) had engaged the services of quacks to bring down houses marked for demolition in the wake of the Ita Faji building collapse.

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Renowned Bayelsa Poet Gabriel Okara Dies Four Weeks Before 98th Birthday

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-03-25 14:57


Gabriel Imomotimi Gbaingbain Okara, a poet, novelist and playwright, has died at 97 years — four weeks before his 98th birthday.

He died on Monday in his sleep at his residence at Okaka Estate in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, after a brief illness.

Okara made a mark on the African literary scene as one of the major pacesetters. Reported to be the first renowned English Language black African poet and the first African modernist writer, Okara is widely published in influential national and international journals.

Born on April 24, 1921 in his hometown Bomoundi in the present-day Bayelsa State of Nigeria, Dr. Okara attended the famous Government College Umuahia in the 1930s and 40s where he got exposed to and was inspired by the writings of Williams Shakespeare and others. He went on to attend Yaba Higher College and Northwestern University, USA.

He has in his collections several back-to-back hit poems and novels. 'Piano and Drums', 'You Laughed and Laughed and Laughed', 'Once Upon a Time', 'The Fisherman's Invocation' and 'The Voice' and concatenation of several other linked short stories and plays come highly recommended for post-primary, undergraduate and graduate studies. The vintage of his classics find expression in the leitmotif: reminding Africans of their true identity as expressed in culture, folklore and thought pattern in a world of rapidly penetrating western culture.

An all-encompassing writer, his thoughts and works appear to be greatly influenced by his immediate environment. Okara is home and dry in all genres of literature but conveys his message in the genre which will be more expressive and relevant to the thematic discuss.

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BREAKING: Court Voids APC's Governorship, State Assembly Primaries In Zamfara

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-03-25 13:40


The Court of Appeal sitting in Sokoto State, led by Justice Tom Yakubu, on Monday struck out the judgement of a Zamfara High Court on the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election that produced the party’s candidates for the governorship, national and state assembly elections.

The court nullified an earlier judgment by the Zamfara High Court allowing the party to present candidates in the 2019 election.

Senator Kabiru Marafa, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), and 129 others had filed an appeal to the high court's judgement through his counsel, Mr Mike Ozheokome (SAN).

Joined as respondents in the suit were Kabiru Liman-Danalhaji and 139 others represented by Mr Mahmud Magaji SAN as lead Counsel.

The appellants had approached the appeal court challenging the decision on the ground that the Sokoto State High Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit, among others.

Justice Yakubu, who delivered the judgement, which was adopted by two other Justices Tijjani Abubakar and Jamilu Tukur, decided that the lower court failed in its duty to properly evaluate the evidence before it.

“I am convinced that the lower court has failed to evaluate the evidence before reaching the decision" Yakubu said.

"The Appeal Court has power in law to access pieces of evidence on appeal, which we have done. Based on available facts, the respondents did not contradict the INEC evidence on conducting the said primary election."

Justice Yakubu said that the plaintiffs, being card-carrying party members and aspirants in the said primary election, have legal capacity to institute the suit.

The panel of judges described the case as a "bitter lesson” for political parties who are contemplating bypassing the due process in the future

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AT A GLANCE: Winners And Losers Of The Supplementary Governorship Elections

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-03-25 13:23


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted supplementary elections in five states on Saturday March 23, and winners have already been declared in four.

The declaration of the winner in the fifth state, Bauchi, has been held back by a lawsuit from Mohammed Abubakar, Governor of the state, challening the decision of INEC to colate and announce the result of Tafawa Balewa Local Government.

That lawsuit was dismissed a few hours, though, meaning we're poised to have a Bauchi Governor-Elect soon.

But until then, here's a table of the winners and losers of Saturday's supplementary governorship elections.

TABLE: Ganduje, Ortom, Tambuwal, Lalong... Winners And Losers Of The Governorship Supplementary Election (function(){ var scribd_doc = scribd.Document.getDocFromUrl('http://saharareporters.com/sites/default/files/Supplementary%20election%20table%201_0.pdf', 'pub-38756116719609018964'); var onDocReady = function(e){}; scribd_doc.addParam('jsapi_version', 2); scribd_doc.addParam('public', true); scribd_doc.addParam('allow_share', true); scribd_doc.addEventListener('docReady', onDocReady); scribd_doc.write('embedded_doc_76972'); })(); TABLE: Ganduje, Ortom, Tambuwal, Lalong... Winners And Losers Of The Governorship Supplementary Election

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For Airing Campaign Messages Hours To Election, NBC Slams N1m Fine on Ondo Govt-Owned Stations

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-03-25 13:15


The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined the Ondo State government-owned broadcasting stations for violating the broadcasting code.

The stations are Ondo State Ravio-Vision Corporation (OSRC) and the Orange 94.1FM, both based in the state capital, Akure. 

The broadcast stations were fined N1million (N500,000 each) , according to separate letters to the heads of the stations.

Both stations were fined for airing an interview with Clement Faboye, the embattled Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State, where he was filmed "praise-singing" the government of Rotimi Akeredolu in areas of developmental projects.

The video interview generated wide condemnation in the camp of the opposition and the critics of Akeredolu's government.

In the video interview, which later went viral, Faboyede said: "On road construction, we have been saying it, the PDP in Ondo State has been saying it that we appreciate him on what he is doing on road construction. Let him finish it up. Let him complete his tenure. 

"We are not after his impeachment, intimidation and harassment. Our assembly members will support him; we will not intimidate him. By this time next year, we are already electioneering for governorship."

The interview of the PDP Chairman in Ondo State was aired a few hours to the house of assembly election in the state.

In seperate letters issued to the stations, Henry Asagba, Zonal Director of NBC in Benin, said they aired a campaign statement on March 8, 2019, a few hours to the state house of assembly election.

Asagba noted that the campaign statement was a breach of the NBC code.

The letter read: "Please recall our letters to you on stated date October 8, 2018, to attend NBC workshop on political broadcast and October 10, 2018, which was a reminder on the 2019 general election. In spite of these, monitoring reports revealed that your station breached the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code on political broadcast.

"On Friday March 8, 2019, between 3:59pm and 4:04pm, your station aired the Chairman of the PDP in Ondo State making campaign statements. This breaches sections 5.2.12 and 5.6.6 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, which states that all partisan political broadcast campaign, jingles, announcement and the use of all forms of partisan political parties identifications or symbols on air shall end not later than twenty-four hours before polling day.

"In view of the above, your station has been fined the sum of five hundred thousand naira (500,000). You are requested to pay the fine within two (2) weeks from the date of receipt of the letter to avoid further sanction(s)."

The letter to the television arm of the broadcast station read: "On Friday, March 8, 2019, between 2:58pm and 4:31pm, your station aired the state chairman of the PDP, who on the screen appeared wearing a face cap with inscription 'ATIKU', an insignia of PDP against the code.

"In view of the above your station has been fined the sum of five hundred thousand naira (500,000)."

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Rethinking Africa, Challenging The Norm: The Pius Adesanmi Example​ By Kennedy Emetulu​

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-03-25 12:48


Kennedy Emetulu

There’s something pleasantly elusive about greatness, the greatness of an individual. Like the elephant in the blind men’s imagination, we all come at it from different perspectives and yet we still each conceive enough of it to be differently credible.

Professor Pius Oota Adebola Adesanmi was a great African who lived life in hurried brilliance and who when he was done flew away home and left us with many questions, all of which we can never fully answer. Adesanmi, the revolutionary teacher, political activist, satirist, literary theorist and stylist, polymath and storyteller extraordinaire died in active service to Africa. He was on a mission for the African Union when his plane crashed. He died in Ethiopia, the only African country that was never colonized. He died free.

Pius Adesanmi was born into greatness, not because his parents were born great, but because they prepared him for greatness even before he was born. They brought him into a world of knowledge and nurtured him there till the end. His father, Joshua Adesanmi, was an old school principal who was Pius Adesanmi’s ultimate hero. The older Adesanmi’s expansive library at home in Isanlu was Pius’s playground and it was to be his most important inheritance from the man. From very early, Pa Adesanmi took Pius through Plato to Samora Machel in equal dose with Catholic discipline. His mother, Lois Adesanmi, whose sacrifice for his education is the stuff of legend, was his muse. Pius expressed the wish to be buried with a copy of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o’s Petals of Bloodbought for him by his mum. His desire was not a tribute to Ngũgĩ, a writer he adored immensely; it was a tribute to his mum who had to pawn her precious jewels to buy him the book. Today, the world is announcing the passing of Pius loudly and we are here only as part of that beautiful cacophony. But who will find Elijah’s body to make his wish come true? We pray….

As a public intellectual, Pius reminds me of two great scholars of the past – the Nigerian thinker Professor Claude Ake who also died in a Boeing 727 plane crash in 1996 at the age of 57 and the Italian, Antonio Gramsci, who like Pius died relatively young at the age of 46 in 1937, a prisoner of Benito Mussolini. In the days following Adesanmi’s passing, my brother and friend, the English Language puritan, Charles Iyoha, while sharing his thoughts on Adesanmi with me, pleasantly surprised me by making a comparison of Adesanmi to Ake. He said Adesanmi, like Ake was “fecund and peripatetic” and that both “made us see the place of rigorous thinking in the whole matrix.” It was a Facebook inbox chat and at that point, I wanted to respond with an epistle! But I was too drained emotionally. All I could muster by way of a response was to say both were true public intellectuals who were “curious, honest, rigorous and dutiful.” But I was deeply happy that someone else sees Pius in the same light I see Ake.

Ake was not blessed with Pius’s charisma, wit or gift for brilliant satirization, but like Pius he was concerned about the condition of African scholarship and he went out to do something about it with the establishment of Centre for Advanced Social Science in Port Harcourt. Like Pius, he spoke truth to power. He was a member the Steering Committee of the Niger Delta Environmental Survey, but he resigned to protest the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa along with eight other Ogoni activists in 1995.

Anyway, here is not the place to make a detailed comparison between the works and thoughts of Ake, Gramsci and Adesanmi, but suffice to say these men were original thinkers who challenged the norm and pushed boundaries with innovative and clear thinking on subjects that had been looked at with a certain kind of orthodoxy before their arrival. For instance, Ake’s challenge of Western social science theories and Gramsci’s theory of bourgeoisie cultural hegemony parallel Adesanmi’s rambunctious take on the role of the ‘African Big Man’ (in the public and private sector) as the core distortive influence in African development. Of course, Adesanmi was not the first to rage against political, economic, religious and social leaders in Africa; but he was one of the very few persons who are theorizing about this before his passing.

Indeed, from the moment Adesanmi burst into public consciousness as a public intellectual in the mid-2000s, he never looked back. He talked education, politics, innovation and everything in-between, publishing prodigiously as he crisscrossed the planet, especially Africa, developing a new kind of Africa-West cooperative scholarship as he led capacity building missions to universities in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa with collaborations with international organizations thrown in as well. Pius operated as though he had more than 24 hours in a day and while some of us marvel at his productive capacity, he frequently complained he was not doing enough! Pius was an intellectual Iron Man; his energy was near superhuman!

To understand Pius as a pan-Africanist and an original thinker, we don’t have to trawl through all his talks, lectures, articles, publications or even some private exchanges he had with friends. Deliberately or inadvertently, Pius always left his revolutionary face in every serious thing he wrote or in every serious lecture or talk he had. If you really want to capture the whole essence of Pius as an African and his hopes and aspirations for the continent, just go watch his TEDxEuston talk of 2014. In that talk, you’ll find his humour, his cultural grounding in African oral tradition, his education, erudition and story-telling wizardry, his magnetism and consummate humanity. In typical Adesanmian puzzle, Pius’s talk was titled: “Should Africa Face Forward?” He came to the podium after the apparently well-heeled and well-informed audience had been fed a diet of rich contributions from others about Africa and its place in our world and where it should be going and all that. Adesanmi jocularly complained that it was kind of unfair that he, “a university professor whose task is to traffic in boring literary theory,” was chosen to close such an event after the more brilliant and more electrifying ones had spoken.

Adesanmi started by talking about his paternal grandmother who had died in February that year at the ripe old age of 98. Pius said this got him thinking about some of the things she’d taught him and some of the stories she told him growing up because she sort of co-raised him with the parents who were often absent due to study commitments. They were a Catholic family, but for grandma, Catholicism didn’t stand in the way of her traditional beliefs. Pius talked about how in his parents’ absence, grandma would ensure that he “insures” her grandson with African charms, passed into him through various incisions called gbẹrẹ. She would then recite incantations as she rubbed these in and end with “l’orukọ Jesu!” Such syncretism was normal with grandma.

But on this occasion, what Adesanmi wanted the audience to hear was one of his grandma’s stories. Pius prided himself as part of the last generation that enjoyed oral tradition passed down through stories by elders. One story grandma told him was about this African who had gone to consult the Ifa oracle about his future and who was then asked to bring a pure white chicken as sacrifice to propitiate the gods and find this great way forward for the future.

The fellow looked everywhere for this pure white chicken, but found none. However, after a long period of frustration, one day he found a chicken that looked all white and he thought his problem was solved. But just at that time he thought he had the right chicken, on close examination, he found a single black or brown plumage under the chicken’s breast. After agonizing a bit about his misfortune, “the African in him kicks in.” He put his hand on the fowl’s breast and plucked out the offending feather and the sacrifice was done and he was on his way.

The grandma used the story to illustrate something, which in Yoruba cosmology is the use of one’s hands to create your fortune or prepare your future. This Pius described as the relevance or supremacy of human agency. Adesanmi said this directly related to his talk on that day.

“Human agency is fundamental so that in this culture, in this worldview, everything you do is supposed to enhance the instrumentality, the life, reinforce it, you know, the centrality of human agency. So, when we are talking of these African concepts - Ubuntu, togetherness, community and all that, fundamentally - we are talking about human agency. And that is why at this critical moment when there appears to be a crisis of identity in terms of where our friends here in the West are going with human innovation, human genius, science and technology and all that, then you begin to think critically what’s also happening with Africa because science, technology, invention, innovation, moving forward, cutting edge, all the language, everything is there.

“It used to be that technology, the West understood that, you know, somewhere along the line, man was central and so you invented gadgetry to make his life easier, to make his work easier, to make everything easier, make life easier for man - human agency. But at some point, somewhere along the line, we got into a post-human dispensation. You know, you take man out of it and so you have all these gadgets. Amazon is getting dangerously close to eliminating man. Now, the robots are picking out the books, the drones are mailing it to you. At some point, there will be drones replacing you in your house to collect the something…. The other day on CNN, they interviewed a guy who was getting ahead of himself, from Silicon Valley, oh in 20 years time, in medical sciences, there’ll be no need for doctors, robots will do everything and all that. And I was thinking, maybe there’ll be no need for patients. You put a robot operating on... (laughter from the audience) and all that. That is because science has changed from the fundamental philosophy of enhancing and making the life of man easier to replacing man and taking man out of the picture.

“But Africa says science, innovation, creation, all that must reckon with human agency because history affords us with no example of any technology that…. Look, we are undertakers…. So there is a turn, a post-humanist turn in the direction of science, technology and innovation and Africa seems to be insisting on a different path. We want in on this, we want to be part of this 21st century, 22nd century futuristic world of innovation and creativity, but, hey, man - human agency.”

(At this point in the lecture, Pius points to the board where there is a picture of a cassette with a pencil stuck in one end)

“This was innovation, this was science; this was cutting edge!”

(Audience laughs)

“We presided over its funeral! Man will always preside over the funeral of any piece of technology that pretends to replace him and that’s what Africa understands so well. So, the philosophy guiding and driving science, technology, innovation and progress in Africa we got to understand it’s not the same thing; it could be the same gadgets, it’s not the same thing. And there’s no such thing as science, technology, innovation, gadgets that’s produced outside of the context of thinking, of philosophizing. So, we have to understand that. And so, the question is because Africa is insisting on that hand, that I want gadgets that will make it easier for my hand to reach the breast of that chicken, not chop off my hand and give me a robot chicken! Because Africa gets that critical message, we have to ask the question. And I ask you: Should Africa face forward?

(There was some timid murmur from the audience, but Pius coaxed them by saying they should answer him boldly)

Pius: Should Africa face forward?

Audience: Yes!

Pius: Should Africa face forward?

Audience: Yes!

Pius: Should Africa face forward?

Audience: Yes!

Pius: The answer is no (a tinge of mock disappointment on his face). It is no because she understands…. You know, the other day, in Air France I was reading an inflight magazine and they were talking about smart roads, technological road of the future. So we have smart cars, driverless cars that are being… you know, I don’t know at what stage. So, the human is taken out of it, gadgetry and all that. Now, this smart car is going to be communicating with computerized smart roads and God knows what else…. I was reading and thinking about these things…. Well, we understand that there would be man to preside over the ruins and the funeral of even the most futuristic gadgets and because Africa understands that I don’t think she needs to face forward. When I was in secondary school, we’d say: “Africa, face forward!” Tautology! Tautology! No, she doesn’t have to as long as she insists on the humanity that all the speakers today have in various ways (because that is what it comes down to - human agency)…all these speeches, that’s what connects them. So long as that continent understands that the insistence on human agency is not at variance with progress, with innovation, with science, with moving forward, she doesn’t have to because the answer is Africa is the forward that the rest of humanity must face.”

In that hall, the audience felt the full power of an Adesanmi talk. Of course, the dramatic moment when the audience repeatedly responded yes to his question as to whether Africa should face forward was telling. It revealed the power of Adesanmi as a teacher. It revealed one of those moments he was often ahead when taking his audience on a journey of knowledge. It took time for the information to sink in because of the novelty of it. An audience already fed on the quotidian acceptance of forward as positive unanimously responded in the affirmative because they still had not processed fully the revolutionary import of the argument he was making. They are used to Africa being encouraged to face forward, copy Europe, copy America and so on, so they never conceived of anyone telling them that it’s the rest of the world that’s got it wrong, especially when we are talking science and technology. This was Adesanmi preaching responsible education, responsible research and development. It did not occur to some who would tear down Joseph Conrad that they were in effect endorsing Conrad’s view of Africa. One could hear Chinua Achebe shrieking from the grave and wagging his finger at the lot! Pius said no. While it might have looked ironic that even after talking them patiently through his thinking, feeding them a little morsel after a little morsel, this same audience still gave that sort of response to his question, it is a tribute to Adesanmi’s power as a teacher and storyteller that they were still entranced in their old notion of Africa until he delivered the shock therapy. The drama he brought into it is a testament to the drama that is Africa, a drama even its intellectual class cannot escape!

Adesanmi’s vision of Africa’s development is one that can only be achieved if the continent leaves its prostate position. It’s one it must achieve with confidence and bloody single-mindedness. Exactly three years ago, in a lecture he delivered at the 5th Innovation Series of Verdant Zeal Group at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Adesanmi laid it bare. The theme of the talk was “The Next Big Thing – Identifying Africa’s Untapped Potential”. Adesanmi entitled his own talk belligerently, “Iyalaya Anybody: Pencils, Nigerian Innovation, and Africa’s Path to the 21st Century.” Apologizing in advance for the “discomfiture” his “obscene” title might have caused anyone, Adesanmi unapologetically broke down his thesis thus: In the face of the United Nations Sustainable Developmental Goals, which contain seventeen sustainable steps that must be undertaken to fundamentally change the world by 2030, the African Union has rightly taken its fate by its own hands by setting a 2063 agenda for Africa. 

Agenda 2063 is Africa realizing that it’s got the human and material resources and that all it needs to do is prepare to play a central role in global growth and development “driven almost exclusively by competitive knowledge economies and economies of competitive knowledge.” Adesanmi detected in the omniscient narrative voice talking about Africa’s Agenda 2063 a defiant determination to not let Europe and the West determine “the nature and the order of things in the next fifty years” as they’ve done in the past five hundred years. “To the extent that the race to the second half of the 21st century and beyond is going to be powered by genius, innovation, invention, and knowledge, and not by slave ships, Gatling guns, natural resources, and colonial punitive expeditions, I, Africa, have all it takes to be an agent and a central stakeholder in the said race”. This was what Adesanmi heard his new Africa say. These were indeed the things he was working on with the AU before his death. That explains his confidence when he said “the Africa Union’s Agenda 2063 seems to be beating its chest and saying “iyalaya anybody” to all the other agenda-setting texts and literature from Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East.” The singular reason for Pius’s optimism about Africa’s future is its youth population and he spent considerable time making this clear in his writing.

In a lecture titled “Da Most Incredible Out of Naija” delivered at a colloquium convened by the Nigerian Advancement Institute, Edmonton, Canada on April 2 2011, Pius leveraged on a song by the Nigerian artiste, 9ice, to define the artiste’s generation as “the impala generation.” The lecture was a tribute to this generation that Pius considered to be the generation after his. These are Nigerians at the age of thirty-five or twenty-five and below (as at 2011). His analysis of the 9ice song from which he got the lecture’s title was that these were lyrics that “ask us to understand the social contract as a one-way lane in which his generation must snatch success, citizenship, subjecthood, and the very ability to be human in the most minimal sense, from the jaws of an adversarial social and political environment that has denied that generation even the right to be young.” Pius said they were denied “everything a state owes to its young population” such as role models, the right to dream of a future, guaranteeing the wherewithal to pursue that dream, the right to pursue happiness on a level playing field and so on.

Though Pius constantly agonized over the younger generation and the fact that the Nigerian state isn’t giving them any institutional support, he saw them as the real controllers of their own fortune and he bet on them to be the face of real positive change in the future. He said so far they’ve produced Nollywood, which he described as Nigeria’s “greatest cultural ambassador in the 21st century.” He also talked about how they used their music to run Western music out of our dance halls. Pius eulogized those amongst them actually coming out to engage publicly and rally their generation behind politics. Indeed, Pius was the biggest cheerleader of this generation and the way they’re going about things, despite criticisms from a section of the older generation.

Of course, Pius Adesanmi was a professor of literature and African studies and there are published literary works to his credit. But for Pius, his work as a teacher and writer of literature remains art for art sake. His political and education activism did not necessarily germinate from his art; rather, these are just choices he made because he simply couldn’t stand injustice and mediocrity.

There are a number of critics who think Pius Adesanmi’s political activism was governed by a desire to get a government appointment. Nothing can be further from the truth. I’ve had many chats with him about this and while he never ruled out the possibility that one day he could be in government, he was emphatic in stating that the political system in Nigeria at present is not conducive for him to accept any such appointment because the system is programmed to fail and he did not see any prospective appointer accepting his conditions of service. Pius understands that it is a patriotic duty to serve one’s country, but not the nature of service Nigerian politicians and political appointees are presently engaged in. He also has a very healthy distrust of professors in the public service in Nigeria precisely because of the way he described their Ibrahim Babangida-conditioned fate in his article, “Professing Dangerously: An African Professoriate In the Eyes of a Country Boy.” He classified them complete with named examples as Professor Errand Boy, Professor House Nigga and Professor Nutin Spoil. Pius Adesanmi was too proud to see himself in any of that category.

It was also for the above reason that Adesanmi’s real activist passion was in education, in mentoring a new breed of African academics that take pride in teaching and advancing the frontiers of knowledge. That was the reason he set up the African Doctoral Lounge to mentor African doctorate and prospective doctorate students. Adesanmi believed that knowledge is the key to national development and he was keen on spreading it with all his strength. Our duty is to ensure that we take his dream forward. No better legacy for such an avatar than to see young men and women leaving graduate schools as Pius Adesanmi scholars. That is why I’m happy to note that Carleton University (where he was the Director of their African Institute) has set up a scholarship in his name and I know that many more academic and scholarly efforts would be pursued in our mission to immortalize him.

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Onnoghen To Face Fresh Criminal Charges... New Details Of EFCC Petition To NJC Emerge

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-03-25 12:42


Regardless of the outcome of the ongoing Code of Conduct Tribunal trial of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, fresh criminal charges besides those already levelled at the tribunal would be made in the High Court against the embattled Justice.

A top government official who pleaded anonymity said on Sunday night that while there is a lot of focus on the CCT case, there are actually three aspects to the Onnoghen trial.

According to the source, “when President Muhammadu Buhari decided to suspend Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen on the 25th of January, 2019, it was in response to serious allegations of irregularities, illegalities and criminal conduct contained in petitions submitted against the top judicial officer, and indeed some findings of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which not only substantiated those petitions but threw up even more damning facts. Since then, there have been several public revelations and judicial proceedings which are sometimes confusing to members of the general public."

Continuing, the source added that “for clarity, there are two different cases currently ongoing before constituted panels, plus a separate ethical issue in the public domain". The source, who is familiar with government’s plan over the matter, then went ahead to list the three aspects thus:

A: CASE BEFORE THE CODE OF CONDUCT TRIBUNAL

The first point of focus has been the failure of the Chief Judge to declare his assets immediately after taking office and every four years thereafter, as required by the 1999 Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, and the Code of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. This particular illegality has been admitted in writing by the Chief Justice himself and is a matter for criminal prosecution now before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

But we must note that because of its specialized nature, CCT has a narrow jurisdiction and the case before it is confined to the issues of asset declaration, failure to declare assets as required by law and false declaration of assets. That is what the CCT had been hearing since charges were first filed against the CJN on the 10th of January, 2019. The prosecution recently closed its case and lawyers to the suspended CJN are now to open the defence or make a no case submission. Just for clarity, it is worth emphasizing that the CCT will only treat issues relating assets declaration.

B. CASE BEFORE THE NATIONAL JUDICIAL COUNCIL

The more interesting aspect of the suspended CJN’s dilemma involves allegations of several breaches of the criminal and anti-corruption laws, including money laundering, bribery and tax evasion.

It is alleged, for instance, that the suspended CJN is the owner of some domiciliary accounts primarily funded through US dollar cash deposits made by himself. More disturbing is the pattern of deposits which, according to EFCC, were made in a manner inconsistent with financial transparency and the code of conduct for public officials. These include instances of repeated cash deposits of $10,000 US dollars each, totalling close to $2million.

These serious allegations would ordinarily have gone to the High Court for prosecution, but for a case precedent which stipulates that such allegations against a judicial officer should first be presented to the National Judicial Council, more or less an internal disciplinary panel for erring judicial officers, before being prosecuted in a criminal court.

The allegations of unexplained wealth, huge cash deposits being made into the suspended CJ’s naira, dollar and pound sterling accounts directly from the court and well beyond his estacode and other allowances; unexplained payments into the suspended CJN’s account by lawyers who at the same time were appearing before him for adjudication, etc, are currently being handled by the NJC and would be filed in court after the NJC has made its decision on them.

The source addded: “We must not miss the point that EFCC is also a petitioner against the suspended CJN. After carrying out an extensive investigation, some of the findings submitted by the Commission are truly shocking. For instance, there are findings to the effect that the CJN received a Mercedes Benz car and dollar cash deposits from a certain Joe Agi, appearing as a Senior Advocate before the Supreme Court in high profile cases.

"Worse still, the CJN is shown to have received cash gifts directly into his bank accounts from several other senior advocates, one of whom is currently the President of the Bar Association. These implicating cash transactions were going on, in dollar and naira, even up to 2017 and 2018.

“Even as the world eagerly awaits the decision of NJC on these matters, it is pertinent to emphasize that the conclusion of the cases before the CCT and NJC is not likely to be the end of the matter. Criminal charges are still to be filed in court.

C. THE ETHICS ISSUE AND THRESHOLD OF PERMISSIBLE JUDICIAL CONDUCT

The source explained further: “Beside the two streams of ongoing legal action against the suspended CJN, is the big ethical question. For good reason, it is often said that it is not enough for a judge to be above board. He must indeed be seen to be above board at all times. Thus, the traditional standard by which judicial officers are measured goes beyond the ordinary.

“The question boils down to what kind of judicial officers we wish to have. For instance, should a judicial officer who has admitted to the breach of a fundamental constitutional provision, with the explanation that he ‘forgot’ his duty to declare his assets correctly, be allowed to continue to function in his judicial office? Should forgetfulness therefore be admitted to the class of legal defences?

“Certain other questions also arise. When, having failed to declare his assets as required by law, the highest judicial officer files two inconsistent asset declarations on the same day, omitting to mention in the first one cash in bank, which he already had on the relevant dates, should he continue to sit in judgment over others while the mess is being sorted out? Where the asset declarations are made, but vital omissions are shown to exist in them, should the relevant judicial officer remain in office, whether or not technically culpable?

"What moral justification would such a judicial officer have, sitting in judgment over cases of other Nigerians whose alleged violations are akin to or even less than the violations he so openly and categorically admitted to? Wouldn’t Nigeria be a laughing stock in the comity of nations when we shout and scream “we stand against corruption?” Wouldn’t condonation of such behaviour in judicial officers vitiate any claim we lay to being a civilised nation?"

Concluding, the source said: “These are the questions all Nigerians must consider and provide answers to, in trying to make sense of the suspended Chief Justice’s case.”
 

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BREAKING: Court Clears The Way For INEC To Announce Bauchi Governorship Election Result

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-03-25 12:18

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed a suit challenging the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conclude, collate and announce the governorship election result from Tafawa Balewa Local Government in Bauch State.

Mohammed Abubakar, incumbent Governor of the state and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had challenged INEC’s decision to collate the results.

However, on Monday, the Presiding Judge, Justice Iyang Ekwo, ruled that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

After the March 9 governorship election, Kyari Mohammed, INEC's Returning Officer, had rejected the result of Tafawa Balewa Local Government because it was not documented in the original sheet, which according to the Collation Officer, had been hijacked by thugs.

INEC declared the election inconclusive and fixed the date for a supplementary election. However, a committee it instituted to review the election recommended resumption of result collation.

That ought to have taken place on Wednesday  March 20, but Abubakar challenged the process in court, prompting INEC not to announce a winner despite conducting supplementary election three days later.

Dismissing the suit, Justice Ekwo, said: There is no debate that the issues of election are completely handled exclusively by the tribunal... “I make an order dismissing this case. The defendant (INEC) should be allowed to continue its constitutional duty."

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After Supplementary Elections, PDP Snatches Majority Control At Adamawa Assembly From APC

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-03-25 12:07

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) controls majority seats in the Adamawa State House of Assembly, SaharaReporters can report.

This follows the party's sweeping victory during the rescheduled and supplementary state assembly elections of Saturday March 23, 2019. 

Before the supplementary elections, APC maintained a stranglehold on the assembly, boasting 22 members while PDP had two and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) had one. 

However, on Saturday, PDP picked the last two outstanding seats in rescheduled state assembly polls in Nasarawo/Binyeri and Uba/Gaya constituencies.

A fresh election was conducted in Nasarawo/Binyeri constituency following the death of Adamu Kwanate, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), just a week to the March 9, 2019 election. INEC rescheduled the election by giving the APC time to produce another candidate.

In UBA/GAYA constituency, the election was declared inconclusive due to cancellation of elections in three units, which were concluded on Saturday.

Results as announced show that Nashion Gubi of PDP clinched the Nasarawo/Binyeri seat after polling 10,733 votes to defeat his closest rival, Mahmood Dabo, candidate of the ruling APC who scored 7,184.

Similarly, in a keenly contested Uba/Gaya Constituency seat, Aminu Iya-Abbas of the PDP polled 7,251 to floor the incumbent member, Mohammed Hayatu Atiku of APC, who trailed with 7,238.

With this outcome, PDP has now established dominance in the House with 13 members as against APC's 11, just as its chances of producing the next Speaker has been boosted with this clear lead. The African Democratic Party (ADC) also has one.

Full List of Elected Members And Their Political Parties

1. Raymond Kate (PDP) Demsa Constituency

2. Shuaibu Babas (APC) Furore/Gurin Constituency

3. Abdullahi Yapak (APC) Fufore/Verre Constituency

4. Alhassan Hamman Joda (APC) Ganye Constituency

5. Mohammed Mutawalli Alhaji (APC) Girei Constituency

6. Kefas Japhet (PDP) Gombi Constituency

7. Donglok Adawa (PDP) Guyuk Constituency

8. Aminu Iya-Abbas (PDP) Uba/Gaya Constituency

9. Wesley Barthiya (PDP) Hong Constituency

10. Abdullahi Ahmadu (APC) Leko/Koma Constituency

11. Yuttisori Hamman-Tukur (PDP) Jada/Mbulo Constituency

12.Myandasa Bauna (PDP) Lamurde Constituency

13. Haruna Jkan Tikiri (PDP) Madagali Constituency

14. Isa Yahaya (APC) Maiha Constituency

15. Nashion Umar Gubi (PDP) Nasarawo/Binyeri Constituency

16. Ibrahim Musa (ADC) Mayo-Belwa Constituency

17. Kwada Joseph Ayuba (PDP) Michika Constituency

18. Shuaibu Musa (APC) 28,271 Mubi North Constituency

19. Musa Umar Bororo (APC) Mubi South CConstituency

20. Mackondo Pwamakeno (PDP) Numan Constituency

21. Abubakar Isa (APC) Shelleng Constituency

22. Simon Isa (PDP) Song Constituency

23. Abdullahi Umar (APC) Toungo Constituency

24. Sajo Hamidu A. (PDP) Yola North

25. Kabiru Mijinyawa (APC) Yola South

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Yoruba Elders Set Agenda For Buhari

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-03-25 11:47


The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) has drawn up a list of their expectations from the second-term administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Dr. Kunle Olajide, the YCE Secretary General, told NAN that Buhari needs to evolve ways to ensure revenue generation, rather than sharing of allocation.

He also urged the President to consider restructuring the country.

His words: “I have written a congratulatory letter to the President on his re-election and assured him of YCE’s support for his administration towards achieving a greater Nigeria.

“In the letter, I told him that his victory carries enormous responsibilities among which were the need to ensure national unity and a revisit of the el-Rufai's committee report on restructuring.
 
“The President has replied the letter, appreciating it and the in-depth suggestions. He assured me that the suggestions will be given adequate cognizance.

“We have to gradually move back to the period of generating revenue and not sharing revenue. Each federating unit should be allowed to exploit and explore its resources.

“They should then pay an agreed percentage to maintain few essential services in the centre such as Defence, Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Custom services."

In his remarks on the 14 items on the exclusive list in the First Republic, while noting that the rest were residual for the states, he continued: “Today, there are 66 items on the exclusive list. The intervention of the military in 1966 truncated the march to true federalism.

“So, in the next four years, Buhari should be able to finish the process, foundation and implementation of the el-Rufai's committee recommendations. I think it is very essential that the report is implemented as a first step to entrench a true federal system of government.

“The President should ensure that his appointments reflect the diversity of Nigeria and in line with the Federal Character Principle enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution. We must ensure that people think of Nigeria before anything else, irrespective of tribe and religious affiliation. The President must ensure that he bequeaths a legacy of a united Nigeria.

“He must ensure that the people remained the centre of all their decisions, including security of lives and properties.”

On the 2019 elections, he added: “Let me confess. I am very proud of the Yoruba race. The outcome of the election gladdens my heart considerably because the political temperature was very high during the campaign season. Everybody was anxious and worried that there might be widespread violence. Yes, there were violence and skirmishes here and there, but not to the extent envisaged.

“Looking at the conduct of the election by itself, I think we have made progress. We are not yet there, but we are far better than where we were before in Yorubaland."

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'Nigeria Will Continue To Feel The Weight Of Igbo Votes Until We Achieve Restructuring'

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-03-25 11:35


Igbo leaders have restated their commitment to restructuring, stating that Nigeria will continue to "feel the weight of Igbo votes", until the agenda to restructure the country becomes a reality.

This was disclosed at a meeting of Igbo leaders and Chief Nnia Nwodo, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in Enugu State, on Sunday.

They commended their people for active participation during the elections, as well as the efforts of Nwodo to lead the organisation.

Senator Ben Obi, who led the delegation, was accompanied by former Governors Achike Udenwa and Okwesilieze Nwodo, Senator Azu Agboti, first chairman, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, former Minister Dubem Onyia, and Professor Alphonsus Nwosu.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Nwosu said: “The delegation was proud that the principled stand of Ndigbo on restructuring was galvanised by Ohanaeze Ndigbo, under the very capable leadership of the President General and this resulted in the massive turnout of Ndigbo at the last general elections, not only in the South-East, but throughout Nigeria, and vowed to assist the president general to ensure that Nigeria shall continue to feel the weight of Igbo votes until restructuring is accomplished, and those who continued to ignore Igbo votes in Nigeria do so at their risk.

“The delegation pleaded with the President General to ignore the activities by a few Ndigbo, to sabotage the collective Igbo view since the Igbo votes strongly endorsed his position, but frowned seriously at the sell-out of Ohanaeze Ndigbo by the Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and urged that he should be strongly sanctioned.
 
“The Igbo leaders reiterated that the task of restructuring Nigeria into a nation that works for all its citizens and not just for only a section of its citizens, remains the top priority agenda of Ndigbo in Nigeria, and, as the Igbo adage says; ‘The jaws do not rest until what is being chewed is finished.’ The President General must ensure that this burning desire of Ndigbo, for the restructuring of Nigeria, continues to remain on the front burner of Nigerian politics.”

Commending the Igbo for turning out during the 2019 elections, he added: “The icing on the cake for Ndigbo was the election of Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State, which clearly showed that Ndigbo are resolved to start redressing the wrongs of the last few years from inside Igboland.

“It was clear that Ndigbo are not afraid and will not be afraid in Nigeria; whether in Owerri, Lagos, Kano, Abuja, Aba, Enugu, Warri or Asaba, to express their full citizenship rights and their dissatisfaction with the way they are being treated politically in Nigeria."

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Ortom Won Through Vote Buying, Violence, Falsification Of Results, Says APC's Jime

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-03-25 11:25


Emmanuel Jime, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State, has vowed to recover his "stolen mandate” from Samuel Ortom, incumbent Governor of the state, who won the election.

Ortom, who recently defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), defeated Jime after polling 434,473 votes. Jime got 345,155 votes.

However, a statement by Professor Eugene Aliegba, Secretary of Jime's campaign organisation, noted that the result was unacceptable. 

He said: "Because the results announced in favour of Governor Ortom and the PDP are a direct product of brutal violence, vote-buying, ballot-stuffing, result-falsification, non-usage of the card reader and a range of other irregularities that have no place in our electoral laws, we are making it unequivocally clear that the Benue APC will explore all constitutional and legal options available to ensure the votes of the people count.

“In simple terms, we will make a case before the Election Petitions Tribunal to subject the Benue governorship election results to an integrity test.”

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Ajimobi Awarded N30bn Last-minute Contracts In One Day, Says Seyi Makinde

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-03-25 11:09


Seyi Makinde, Governor-elect of Oyo State, has accused Abiola Ajimobi, outgoing Governor of the state, of awarding contracts worth N30billion in one day.

Berating the move, he, however, promised to review all contracts awarded in the state.

He made this known via a statement issued on Sunday by Dotun Oyelade, his spokesman.

He said: “Events of the past two weeks have shown characteristics of targeted contract awards that were compiled in a haste and randomly awarded to empty government purse before the May 29 swearing-in date.

“While the government remains in place till May 28, awarding a N30bn new set of contracts in one day as was the case during last Wednesday’s executive meeting was curious and an aberration, especially when debts, as old as 2011 are left unpaid.”

According to Makinde, civil servants found culpable in illegal dealings would face justice.

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PDP's Useni Vows To Challenge Lalong's Victory

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-03-25 11:02


Jeremiah Useni, governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State, says he will challenge the outcome of the governorship election in the state.

Simon Lalong, incumbent Governor of Plateau State and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after the supplementary elections held on March 23, 2019.

Lalong polled 595,582 votes to defeat Useni, who came a close second with 546,813 votes.

Speaking after the declaration of the result, Useni said the election outcome was unacceptable.

He said: “We have every reason to believe that justice has not been done to our people in this election because there was massive rigging and electoral shortcomings. After due consultation, I hereby state that the results announced by INEC is not acceptable to us.

“Consequently, we have requested our legal team to activate all the due processes to reclaim our cherished mandate.

"I give you my word that we will pursue this matter diligently, and by the grace of God, we will overturn and recover the people’s mandate."

He appreciated his supporters for their efforts, and assured them that their efforts would not be in vain.
 

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I'll Reclaim My Mandate To Govern Ogun State, Says Akinlade

Sahara Reporters - Mon, 2019-03-25 10:50


Adekunle Akinlade

Adekunle Akinlade

Adekunle Akinlade, governorship candidate of the Allied People's Movement (APM) in Ogun State, has expressed confidence that he will reclaim his mandate to govern Ogun State.

Speaking at an inaugural lecture of the Forum of Ogun West Concerned Citizens Summit, which held in Ota, Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area, Ogun State, he said he had faith in the Election Tribunal.

He also appreciated the support of Ibikunle Amosun, the outgoing Governor of Ogun State.

Akinlade, although backed by Amosun, had lost the election to Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

His words: “Some people might think our chance to be governor has gone off like a candle in the wind, but, rather, our chance is like sun that is covered by a cloudy weather. It will surely clear and the sun will shine just as Ogun West will rise very soon, because I don’t have any doubt in my mind that I, Akinlade, will emerge victorious and govern this state at the end, by God’s grace.

“Governor Amosun is a loyal mentor who will never waiver in his support. He has been abused and humiliated, yet, he remains steadfast in his support for Ogun West for governor. He believes so much in us, and I’ll forever be grateful to him. 

“Our mandate will be reclaimed at the tribunal and I don’t want to comment on that, but, I can assure you we have the best legal team, and we’ll triumph at the end, by God’s grace."

Soji Odedina, convener of the summit, noted that the group was behind Akinlade, and would work with him to ensure he wins at the Election Tribunal.
 

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BREAKING: Over 1million Votes Not Enough For PDP As Ganduje Wins Controversial Kano Gov Election

Sahara Reporters - Sun, 2019-03-24 20:17


Abdullahi Ganduje, incumbent Governor of Kano State, has secured a second term in office as winner of the governorship election.

Ganduje, who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), won with a margin of more than 9,000 votes after the collation of figures for the supplementary elections held on March 23, 2019.

Two local government areas had delayed the final collation till now: Kibiya and Nasarawa LGAs. However, the results for the LGAs in supplementary elections were declared on Sunday evening, the results for both LGAs were announced. For Kibiya LGA, Abba Yusuf, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 228 votes, while the All Progressives Congress (APC) polled 371 votes. For Nasarawa LGA, APC secured a whopping 10,536 votes against 3,409 votes secured by the PDP.

There was mild drama during the announcement as the INEC Returning Officer told the Collation Officer for Nasarawa LGA to check his figures as they did not tally, and showed evidence of over-voting. After checks by the returning officer, valid votes stood at 14,048; rejected votes were 376, while total votes cast were 14,424.

So, at the end of the supplementary elections held in 28 LGAs on March 23, PDP polled a total of 10,239 votes against 45,876 votes secured by APC.

Before the elections were declared inconclusive after the March 9 governorship election, PDP was leading with 1,014,474 votes, while APC had secured 987,819 votes.

However, after the March 23 governorship election, the total figures for APC stood at 1,033,695 votes against 1,024,713 votes secured by PDP, meaning Ganduje won with a margin of 8,982 votes. 

Four polling units were cancelled in Gama Ward in Nasarawa LGA due to incidents of over voting and violence. A total of 2,639 votes were cancelled.

The Kano governorship election is arguably one of the most controversial governorship elections, and unarguably the most controversial of the supplementary elections, as it was marred by incidents of violence and voter intimidation.

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President Bouteflika, Dehors! By SOC Okenwa

Sahara Reporters - Sun, 2019-03-24 20:10


SOC Okenwa

SOC Okenwa


Like Nigeria Algeria is rich in both human and natural resources (especially the black gold). Its population is estimated at more than 42 million souls. An Arab country in the northern edge of Africa it is reputed as the richest in the Maghrebian countries that comprise Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. A close society with a semblance od democracy run by a ruthless gang led by the indisposed 82-year old President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The country is rich but Blacks are detested and treated like animals whereever and whenever they are found within her territory. Though President Bouteflika was born in Morocco his presidency's diplomatic relationship with the equally rich Kingdom of Morocco is far from cordial.

From the capital city of Algiers to Constantine, Blida to Oran down to other major cities and towns the anti-Blacks sentiment is national and total. Many black Africans (especially from West Africa) that have had cause to visit the country on transit en route to Europe by sea or in search of elusive greener pastures had had harrowing experiences to narrate about how the Algerian security forces maltreated them. In a dehumanizing manner some of these adventurers had been killed or gone missing while others are still languishing in prisons! And worse of it all, the overzealous law-enforcement agents are doing all these abuses with glaring impunity.

President Bouteflika came to power in 1999. After the Algerian independence in 1962 Bouteflika was appointed Minister for Youth, Sports, and Tourism. And a year later he was made the Foreign Minister. A shrewd politician whose domineering methods and tactics are shrouded in mystery he remains till today, even on a wheel-chair, a strongman who laboured hard to bring stability and economic prosperity to his country and people. 

During the Arab Spring uprising some years ago some entrenched dictators in neighbouring countries were swept away but  Bouteflika survived it as Algeria was spared the revolutionary trend. In Tunisia, Egypt and later Libya ferocious tyrants bit the dust and some fled to exile, others cooled their executive heels in prison and others were simply killed like rats on the streets. Ben Ali, Hosni Mubarak, the late Muammar Ghadaffi -- do you still remember them and their rise and fall from power?

Like the Nigerian 're-elected' President Muhammadu Buhari President Bouteflika is battling with presidential infirmity. He had suffered a devastating stroke way back in 2013 and since then he has been confined to a wheel-chair unable to stand on his feet or even communicate easily. Yet he rules! Like Buhari he often undergoes medical tourism abroad with little or no explanation as to his real health status. The latest of such medical sojourns overseas had seen him recently in Geneva, Switzerland, where he spent weeks taking good care of his fragile health.

His fourth mandate, ordinarily, would be elapsing next month of April. But even while on a hospital bed obviously oblivious of happenings around the world Bouteflika had, through one of his cronies, deposited his candidacy for a fifth consecutive term! However, this time, majority of the hitherto silent and docile Algerians have had enough. And they have been demonstrating, week after week, in their millions, on the streets, for a system change in the country. They are united in their vociferous 'No' to a fifth inordinate term for an old, sick and tired man on a wheel-chair.

As the unprecedented spontaneous pressure mounted on the streets in many towns and cities (including the hitherto impregnable Algiers) Bouteflika came back home from Geneva recently and announced that he would no longer be going for a fifth term annulling the presidential election scheduled for next month and decreeing that a National consultative Conference, one charged with the onerous task of writing a new constitution and proposing a new way forward for the country, would be inaugurated in due course. 

Meanwhile as these proposed events are taking place the status quo would be maintained! That is, in other words, saying no to a fifth mandate but prolonging the current fourth indefinitely. The opposition on the streets had summarily rejected the presidential offer as a ruse and piled up the pressure last Friday with a monstrous show of force on the streets. Of course the embattled presidency had tried to buy time and suffocate the mass movement that could well metamorphose into a revolution.

For the past two decades Bouteflika has ruled Algeria like a glorified monarch with little or no opposition. Though the country is never a kingdom like Morocco the man had deftly used a network of mafians, crooks, goons and family to maintain a strong hold on the country. A veteran venerated politician with a sordid past Bouteflika was seen as a patriot by a majority of his compatriots before now. He brooked no internal or external interference in his country's affairs even as his country, like China, is not interested in the national affairs of other countries.

A Francophone country that speaks more Arab than French Algerians are very proud of their national heritage. They hardly travel out. An acquaintance from Togo who spent about three years in the country once told me that of all the years he spent there he never one day witnessed rain falling! Algeria is indeed a 'special' nation in some ways including drought year in year out!

The people-power echoes on the streets of Algiers and other cities indicated that 'King' Bouteflika's days in power are numbered. Ex-dictators Ben Ali, Mubarak and the late Ghaddafi tried to quell the nascent revolution on the streets of Tunis, Cairo and Benghazi respectively but the people's power triumphed over entrenched dictatorships. Today it is no longer a question of if President  Bouteflika would survive the 'assault' by the masses out to effect a popular revolutionary civil 'coup' against the establishment but when his army of gerontocrats, killers and corrupt coterie of businessmen would surrender power on the masses' terms.

From the look of things Algeria has changed for good. The years, months and days of state terror and/or terrorism have devolved. Today even the military tanks and the secret police in a police state that served as intimidatory state ruling tools could no longer be relied upon to contain the explosive situation. We hope that the news from Algiers would serve as a lesson to the despots in sub-Saharan Africa -- the Paul Biyas, Idris Derby Itnos, Sassou Nguessos and Obiang Mbasogos. Democracy in its unadulterated form must prevail in Algiers, Yaounde, N'djamena, Brazzaville and Malabo.

A video image of the mass protests online revealed an organized pattern, pacific processions spanning kilometres with almost every Algerian involved! Men, women, boys, girls, the old and young, all united by one objective: toppling peacefully the current old order and installing a new one in its stead. We express our social solidarity with the Algerians and urge all men of goodwill around the world to help see through the change being popularly demanded on the streets. 

The Algerian people are fed up with Bouteflika and his gang. And all they wanted for now is a regime change. The cabal running the Algerian national affair on behalf of the indisposed near-senile Bouteflika must be made to beat a hasty retreat for peace to continue reigning. Otherwise a bloody revolution is inevitable sooner than later.

As the mass protests hit back the streets last weekend the people of all ages were overheard chanting in unison: Bouteflika, dehors! (Bouteflika, Out!) We join them in announcing the imminent arrival of a new dawn in Algiers and elsewhere in Algeria.

SOC Okenwa
soco_abj_2006_rci@hotmail.fr

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Prof Adesegun Banjo: A Nigerian Academic In The US Who Tried To Overthrow General Abacha Is Dead

Sahara Reporters - Sun, 2019-03-24 19:50

He died with a bundle of untold history

The reporter begins the story on a painful, personal note. I knew Prof Adesegun Banjo. I met him around 1996. He was in exile in Ghana. My first meeting with him was dramatic. The late Sanni Abacha’s government had placed a bounty on his head. He was wanted dead or alive. His offence was treason. Prof Adebanjo had truly planted to overthrow the government of Sani Abacha following the ancient axiom that disobedience to an illegitimate order is just. I can only remember a handful of Nigerians that made the sacrifices this Professor of Human Anatomy made to the campaign against totalitarian rule in Nigeria.

The crusade started in the United States, (US) where he had worked as a surgeon. He had saved some 4million dollars through dint of hard work, Spartan discipline, self-denial of the good things of life and support from his charming wife. He then went into the open market. He purchased 3000 rifles, several sub-machine guns, thousands of medical equipment and kits. He even bought machines that could make several bullets. He bought medical equipment for the soldiers he planned to recruit in case they sustained injuries. How successfully beat the security operatives in Europe and America where he may have sourced the weapons.

 His calculation followed three years of planning and several reconnaissance home visits. He took his time to study the barracks and the locations of the sentry.  At Dodan Barracks, Ikeja and Ojo Cantonments, he took special interests with the hope of seizing them and converting them to his command posts.

He had a near perfect plan. He would bring in the weapons through the sea and land, launch a blitzkrieg of military assaults on important military installations. He would then launch a grand attack beginning from a rural community. From his calculation, he needed few men to start to be tripled after taking over the radio stations and making announcements for more to join the rebellion.

He kept his masterplan to his chest. With his calculation, he would take Lagos in days, followed by Ibadan and then he would move to Abuja. He already had field men in the Niger-Delta and in the Middle Belt and in some parts of the North. The effort was to be coordinated by him.  Prof Banjo felt the military had to be overthrown by all means. He raised personal funds, recruited American soldiers including a Vietnamese Major who first trained him in Guerilla warfare. He wanted to build a small, swift and mobile army that would, within the shortest time storm Nigeria and destabilize the military high command.

He was a man of martial intrigues. In the days of his campaign, he suspected everything human; flying objects and creeping things. He was a man driven by suspicion and he had the habit of looking at his quest from one corner of his eyes as if suspecting you were holding a gun or that he had a pistol hidden under his trademark French suit. In Ghana, I had an extensive interview with him. A stocky and strongly built man by all standards, he wore the fierce mien of a revolutionary and the daring eyeballs of a prowling lion.

On that day I met him in Ghana at the Teachers House, through another radical journalist, Bunmi Aborisade, I had waited for about two hours before he stormed into the room, sweating. I thought he was coming from Kumasi, some hundreds of miles away. After the meeting, he left bile on my lips. Nothing can be as devastating as a journalist holding on to an exclusive story but with the instruction never to publish.

I was in The Guardian Newspaper. His fears were genuine. The newspaper had just been closed down and then reopened. He didn’t want the newspaper to be closed again, he explained, adding that more importantly, he was not in a safe place in Ghana. Later, I saw a tainted old Renault pulled up. The driver, a short man with a chest the size of a little bulldozer opened the door for him. He jumped inside. I watched the red, tail light disappeared into the corner of Accra street, far away from the balcony where I stood in awe. It took about 10 years later for me to know that he actually came to meet me from the room next to where I had met him.

Prof Banjo endured an extraordinary punishment for his rebellion against injustice. The weapons he procured were, by accident, sighted by Beninoise Gendarmes. Initially, the security operatives praised him, promising that since the weapons were meant to fight Abacha, they would assist him. At Benin Republic, he bribed the officials to the tune of 1.5million. He was almost entering Nigeria when he got a call from Copenhagen asking him to pay some 5000 dollars. He left to raise the money but felt he should offload the goods first. It was in the process than one of the Benin Gendarmes noticed the protruding butt of a gun in the container. He raised the alarm. Banjo was picked up. At first, the officials said they would allow him to go. But information had reached Abacha.

So, the second day, the country was flooded with Nigerian top military echelon including Col Frank Omenka of the Directorate of Military Intelligence, (DMI). Local authorities told him Abacha had passed on 100 million dollars to some Beninese officials. That was how he was detained at the Port Prison. He spent 10 days amidst diplomatic manoeuvres by Nigeria to repatriate their most priced fugitive.  He planned to escape with a small knife with 26-hydra heads, cutting the protective fence.

But somehow, a spy was in the midst who hinted Abuja. Within the shortest time, top security officials later told Banjo that the sum of 100million dollars was dispatched to the Benin Republic to oil the hands of officials who had sold him. But it was not going to be easy for Abacha as foreign countries were already alerted many of who did not want him killed. Banjo was bundled into a toilet, his wife separated from him. He spent 10 days in the septic tank relying on the keyhole to sniff some fresh air.  He made an attempt to escape, through a jackknife he had kept in his kitty. An alarm was raised, he retreated. Thus began his ordeal. He was taken to court in the Benin Republic. He relied on the ECOWAS treaty that goods in transit must not be questioned. The judge being a Yoruba was moved by his story, especially the courage displayed by his Igbo wife who refused Amnesty offered by President Nicephore Soglo, so that she could go, leaving her husband. The Judge set them free. This was after more than one year in very harsh and dehumanizing cells. But as he walked away from the Court, a call came in from the Beninese President believed to have acted on Abacha’s prompting that he should be detained again. He and his wife were locked in a primitive toilet with constant heaps of faeces.  His wife developed pterygoid plexus, an infection of the base of the brain. They spent 14 months in detention before a compassionate female judge freed them again. The two escaped to Ghana through the assistance of a Nigerian journalist, Mr Moshood Fayemiwo who paid dearly for this. Abacha’s agents later kidnapped Fayemiwo who was brought to Nigeria and detained at the office of Directorate of Military Intelligence, (DMI).

 When he died peacefully penultimate Wednesday, after protracted struggle with cancer, a bundle of history untold, died with him. The family is yet to make official announcements. Many of his friends and colleagues are yet to be informed. He lay in the mortuary as at press time, but family sources say he will be buried in May this year.

“I had 120 young men stationed at the Nigerian Ports Authority. They were waiting for my weapons. My plan was that if the customs found the weapons by chance, the battle would start right at the seaport”, he had told me in Ghana before he left the country after Abacha had sent a chartered aircraft to plead with him, pick him up and pay him off. When that effort failed, the government of Abacha sent two Nigerian journalists accompanied by one of Abacha’s own son. The assignment was to poison him. They feigned media practitioners who had come to interview him. Prof  Banjo awed them when he stormed the venue of the interview with some 15 armed men in Accra. “I was hinted of their plans. So, I prepared for them. Throughout the interview, they were shaking like a lily,” he had told me. He said after his escape from Ghana, the Nigerian military had rounded up many of his local supporters-but some were innocent-and dumped them in the high sea, stones on their necks, no fewer than 100 of them.

One of the emissaries sent by Abacha died in mysterious circumstances in Lagos a few years after Abacha himself had kicked the bucket.    History may find it difficult to record another Nigerian academic who stood so fiercely for justice through armed struggle against the military like Banjo. After consistent attempts to kill him in Ghana he had escaped to Uganda. Luckily he knew President Yoweri Museveni. They had met at Makerere University years back.  But he could not help him. This forced him to run to Zimbabwe. Abacha had also secured the services of mercenaries, mostly from Saudi Arabia charged to kill or kidnap and bring him to Nigeria. His network in the international intelligence community, mostly of Yoruba stock hinted him in advance.

  Unfortunately, when he returned to Nigeria in 2001, life and people became unkind to him, except the love and affection of his immediate family. He tried, but never got a good job. The government and politicians ignored him and treated him like a leper. His efforts to sustain his cancer treatment through medications did not succeed because of funds. He needed only 5 million naira to treat his kind of blood cancer which had a cure, but he could not raise a penny. But one thing is certain, Banjo, who was the immediate junior brother of the late Col Victor Banjo of the Biafra fame,  is now totally free from the affliction of a society he tried so much to salvage but that never gave him recognition, not even a wreath after his last breath.  His efforts, though aborted, also remain the most striking high-level radical collaborative political efforts between two arch rivals, Yoruba and the Igbo nation.

Before he died, he told me one of his regrets was that the remains of his late brother, Col Banjo lay in an unknown shallow grave, yet to be honoured, even though his covert investigations had revealed the spot is somewhere in Enugu, known only to the late Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu and his few lieutenants. 
 

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All Our Officials Are Insured Against Mishap, Says INEC

Sahara Reporters - Sun, 2019-03-24 18:18


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says all its workers are insured against “mishap”.

This was contained in a message by the commission in response to the incident involving Professor (Mrs.) C.D. Tulen, the collation officer for Gboko Local Government Area (LGA), who was shot on Saturday.

Tulen is currently receiving treatment at the hospital.

According to the commission, ad hoc staff as well as permanent staff of the commission have been insured against such incidents, just as all medical expenses would be covered by INEC.

A tweet on INEC’s official handle on Sunday, read: “Breaking News: 1. @inecnigeria can confirm that its Governorship election collation officer for Gboko LGA Benue State, Prof. (Mrs.) C.D TULUEN was shot at and injured on her way to Makurdi with the LGA collated result sheet. She is presently receiving treatment in hospital.

“2. While wishing her a speedy recovery, @inecnigeria wishes to point out that all its ad-hoc and permanent staff are insured against such mishaps and the Commission is responsible for all hospital bills and medical expenses of all such injured staff.

“3. The incident has been reported to the law enforcement officers and we will closely monitor the investigation.”

Breaking News:
1. @inecnigeria can confirm that its Governorship election collation officer for Gboko LGA Benue State, Prof. (Mrs.) C.D TULUEN was shot at and injured on her way to Makurdi with the LGA collated result sheet. She is presently receiving treatment in hospital.

— INEC Nigeria (@inecnigeria) March 24, 2019

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