Thursday, May 23, 2019

500 Nigerian children abused at IDP camps in four months – UN Women Country...

The UN Women, Country Representative, Ms Comfort Lamptey, on Thursday disclosed that 500 children in various Internally Displaced Camps (IDP) were abused between January and April.
She said children are being abused on daily basis at the makeshift camps.
Lamptey revealed this at an event to commemorate Day of the African Child organised by PLAN International and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Abuja. It was themed: “Leave No Child Behind for Africa’s Development”.
The Country Representative, who was represented by Mrs. Patience Ekeeba, identified need for the government to ensure protection of children right.
She said there are ongoing plans to unveil a new project to advocate protection of children right and reduce child marriage in the country.
“We need to reflect about children who are in extremely in endangered environment like the North East. I can assure you that the so many things that you hear are not even as they are, the situation is worse than it is presented.
“Also children who are still in hostage of their captors, those who are living in IDP camps, a lot of them are malnourished. There is so much happening in the camps. UN women will like to think about those that are abused as we celebrate the African Child’s Day; the situation in the camps is worse. Everyday a child is abused. I was told that between January and April, there were 500 cases of abuse reported and also those who are given out as brides and those living with disability….” She said.
Earlier, NHRC Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the National Child Protection and Enforcement Bill (2018).
Read Also: ECOWAS to partner UN Women to fight women migration
He said the Presidential assent became imperative to properly protect rights of children with disabilities, displaced children and those who are abused on daily basis.
He appealed to state governments yet to adopt the Child Rights Act to expedite action towards domesticating the law.
The ES, who decried critical human rights abuses meted to children in the nation, tasked the federal and state governments to prioritise child rights in their respective budgets in areas such as education, health, food, shelter, water as well as disability.
“We call for the speedy passage of the national child protection and enforcement agency bill 2018 which is currently awaiting Presidential assent.
“Prioritization of the rights of children living with disabilities and other vulnerable conditions in national policy and planning as well as the adoption of disability-friendly structures in the community,” Ojukwu said.
In his remarks, PLAN Country Director, Dr. Hussaini Abdu emphasised need to consider child’s right in policy formulation and implementation.
Abdu, represented by the Head of Programmes and Business Development, Dr. Orji Ogbureke, said partnering with the NHRC became necessary considering the constitutional mandate of the commision and need to help Nigerian children to learn, lead, decide and thrive.
“Nigerian Children must participate and be drivers of change. They must be protected and supported to grow and thrive,” he said.
National Children Parliament further called on the government to ensure children are protected.
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Obanikoro To Officially Defect To APC

A Former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro has said he will be officially defecting to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The politician confirmed this to Channels Television on Thursday, noting that he would be declaring his defection in Lagos at the weekend.
While he is yet to clearly state reasons for his defection, reports say Mr Obanikoro has been seen recently at gatherings of APC chieftains.
Obanikoro was a minister under the Goodluck Jonathan administration and was in the running for the Lagos state governorship seat in 2015 but lost the ticket to Jimi Agbaje.
The post Obanikoro To Officially Defect To APC appeared first on Channels Television.

PDP Convention: Governors Not Supporting One Candidate – Okowa

The Chairman of the PDP National Elective Convention Committee and Governor of Delta state, Mr Ifeanyi Okowa, has dismissed rumours that the Party’s governors have attempted to force a national chairman on the party.
According to him,”In most of the states, the convention delegates are already known” and the party will ensure it gives a level playing ground to all the aspirants.
He also expressed optimism that the party will be more united, following its upcoming convention on December 9.
He said as a result, the PDP will be a much stronger force to contend with in the 2019 presidential election.
Governor Okowa made this known on Channels Television’s Politics Today while addressing issues that have so far been raised as the convention date draws near.

Female presidential aspirant to contest under PDP

Aspiring female presidential candidate, Professor  Olufunmilayo Adesanya-Davis has said that she want her ambition to be realised under the banner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019.
The professor of Language and Communication Arts at the Rivers State University of Education, Port Harcourt, declared her presidential  ambition at the dawn of this year in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital.
The Ira – Kwara born presidential aspirant noted that good leadership with sacrificial mind and great concern for the future, is what’s lacking in the country.
While noting that leadership is an influence relationship between the leaders and the followers determined to achieve shared objectives rather than control and affluence, Adesanya- Davies said  leaders should  demonstrate certain level of intelligence, discretion, maturity and civility
She advised the electorate to concentrate on the  background, personality, integrity and credibility of the individual contestants or candidates rather than money-politics, ethic,religious, gender or even the platform as they choose their candidature.
She disclosed that in addition to her vision and passion to governance and to building Nigeria, “the decision of the federal government to make all positions open for women aspirants also boosted her interest in the race.”
“I am aspiring to be the next president of Nigeria. I am out to put laughter and joy on the faces of all Nigerians.The tension is getting too much. The agenda is almost fully mapped out. Moreover, We have paid the price in Kwara state as the “State of Harmony” and it is going to happen from the North Central by the grace and mercy of the Almighty God.
“Nigeria has constitutionally  given the opportunity to the Nigerian woman, so all women should see themselves as rescuers of their children and the entire nation. They should  be encouraged, bold, courageous to register, come out en-mass to vote and be voted for. Let all women who fear God and know their responsibilities come out to serve the nation. If all women and even our men too vote for the women folks, we all know the result. This vision will be achievable!
“Our thanks, first goes to the nation – Nigeria that says the ladies could pick our forms free politically at every level; because Nigeria is confident that the current challenges in the country can only be tackled by the women.
“My plan is an “Advanced Agenda” to restructure Nigeria when given the chance, with the teeming population of youths on my mind and the future of the upcoming and unborn generations of Nigerians.
“Restructuring has become a must in the current Nigeria and the fillers are rife and obvious with security challenges like the various communal clashes, ethnic cleansing, religious intolerance, etc. bedevilling the country and all sorts of agitations from different milieu.
“However, ” restructuring” is a complex, adventurous and highly intellectual-creative project for the academia, that needs the female’s ingenuity and creativity, we would agree. It then needs a visioneer with in-depth clarity of purpose and mind to drive the process. This is where I come in, and what l stand for.
“So ready I am, to give back to the society that produced and made me, I speak as a Nigerian – Northerner from the Middle-belt, of the Yoruba descent who had spent over three decades of my life working  in the South-south. I had obtained B.A degree at OAU Ife, M.A at Unilorin and Ph.D at Uniport. I am a Nigerian product and a proof of her ability. “
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2019 Elections: APC Asks Nigerians To Resist Desperate Politicians

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has called on Nigerians to resist desperate politicians ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The party in a statement by its Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yekini Nabena, claimed that some political parties were bent on deploying illegal, undemocratic and sinister means to manipulate elections.
It warned that the discovery was a “red flag” which security agencies must be alert to as political activities heighten in the lead-up to coming elections.
The party also reiterated the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to improve the electoral system in the country.
“We also call on all well-meaning Nigerians to support ongoing progressive efforts by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration to ensure that our elections are transparent, free, fair and credible,” the statement said.
The APC also called on the opposition to cooperate in ensuring the peoples’ votes count, adding that the will of Nigerians would “prevail in all elections.”
On the budget for the 2019 elections, the party appealed to the leadership of the National Assembly to “urgently do the needful by reconvening to consider and pass the 2019 election budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”
The post 2019 Elections: APC Asks Nigerians To Resist Desperate Politicians appeared first on Channels Television.

Aisha Buhari: Is First Lady bitter because president hasn’t granted her Aso Rock access?

Aso Villa sources tell Pulse that there’s more to Aisha Buhari’s castigation of her husband’s administration. Sources at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa have dismissed First Lady Aisha Buhari’s opposition to her husband’s administration, as a case of sour grapes.On Friday, January 19, 2018, the First Lady reposted social media video links in which two senators were taking President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to the cleaners.In one of the videos, Senator Isah Misau was saying; “It’s as if he’s not in charge. It’s as if some people are the ones in charge of this country. Even the DG NIA that we are talking about, they said some people in the cabal, they are the ones that appointed that person to be there”. In 2016, Mrs. Buhari threatened not to campaign or even vote for her husband should he decide on a re-election, because he’d allowed a faceless cabal to take over the running of his administration.No accessMrs. Buhari’s openly critical disposition toward her husband’s administration has made quite a handful of Nigerians to conclude that she knows that the Buhari government is up to no good.However, two highly placed villa sources who spoke separately to Pulse on the condition of anonymity, deny the existence of a cabal running rings round the nation’s seat of power.They also add that Mrs. Buhari is crying wolf where none exists. “There’s no cabal in Aso Rock. Buhari is the only cabal around here. First Ladies are known to be very powerful in Nigeria. What has happened is that Buhari has shut the door against his wife meddling in his government”, one source squealed.Another source added that the so called cabal in Aso Rock is only but a myth. This source would later point Pulse to a tweet posted by one Murtala; as being as close to the truth as one could possibly get.The tweet reads as follows: “Don’t get it twisted, Mrs Buhari is only trying to protect her interest and ensure she also has influence within the “cabal”. First ladies in Nigeria are known to be very powerful, in her case the inner circle have refused to let her shine”.  Mrs. Buhari’s media office wasn’t immediately available for comments.We’d however update this story with her reaction once it arrives. Aisha Buhari’s subtle and direct attacks of the APC backed Buhari administration has earned her plenty of praise from leading opposition figures.

APC Crisis: Buhari Meets With Oyegun After Tinubu’s Letter

File photo: President Buhari and Mr Oyegun
President Muhammadu Buhari has met with the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr John Oyegun, behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Mr Oyegun declined to brief State House correspondents on his mission to the President but some of those who saw him said he walked briskly out of the Villa on Friday.
The APC Chairman’s visit may not be unconnected to the letter written to him by one of the party leaders, Senator Bola Tinubu, who accused him of sabotaging his reconciliation assignment in the party.
READ ALSO: Buhari Appoints Tinubu To Lead APC Reconciliation
President Buhari, as well as the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki; and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, Mr Tinubu, were copied in the letter.
The President had appointed Mr Tinubu on February 6 to resolve disagreements among APC members, party leadership and political office holders in the country.
The APC Governors’ Forum had also commended the appointment, saying it was a welcome development that would help to strengthen the party.
Tinubu, however, claimed that Oyegun has personal qualms with him and accused him of seeking to undermine his mandate by engaging in dilatory tactics.
The letter read in part: “My position was and is that we can only restore the party by resolving its current deficiencies in an unbiased, neutral manner that allows us to strengthen our internal democracy by annealing those internal institutions and processes vital to such internal fairness. I stated this position then and still hold to it with all sincerity.
“Yet, disappointment greeted me when I discovered out that you had swiftly acted in contravention of the spirit of our discussions. Instead of being a bulwark of support as promised, you positioned yourself in active opposition to the goal of resuscitating the progressive and democratic nature of the APC. As a party, we have strived to be the best, present hope for the nation…
“In our discussion, you personally mentioned Kogi, Kaduna, Kano and Adamawa States as places afflicted by serious party issues. Given your assessment, these were states where I believed cooperation between you and I should have been intense and detailed. Instead, you have taken it as your personal mission to thwart my presidential assignment in these key states.”
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2019: Only Eight Parties Have Submitted Candidates’ Lists, 24 Hours To Deadline – INEC

Twenty-four hours to the deadline for the submission of names of candidates for the 2019 general elections, only eight political parties have forwarded their nomination lists to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Wednesday at a quarterly dialogue session with the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room in Abuja.
Professor Yakubu did not mention the names of the parties that have submitted their lists to INEC.
Lamenting the delay in submission of candidates’ names and the anticipated last-minute rush, the INEC chairman said 89 political parties had submitted notices to the commission that they will field candidates for the 2019 general elections.
He said, “Tomorrow, we will officially close the submission of nominations for the Presidential and National Assembly. Eighty-nine political parties submitted notices for the conduct of primaries. So, we expect submissions from the 89 political parties. At the close of business yesterday (Tuesday), filed nominations.”
Professor Yakubu who said more lists were expected on Wednesday, stressed that the situation meant 81 parties had limited time to submit their lists.
“I guess they will all come before midnight on the 18th – even though we have given ample time for the conduct of primaries and the submission of nominations.,” he said.
Based on INEC’s schedule of activities for the 2019 general elections, the last day for political parties to submit their nomination lists for presidential and National Assembly elections is October 18.
The parties have till November 2 for the submission of lists for governorship and house of assembly elections.
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Nigerians in Diaspora seek Buhari’s intervention on voting right

Nigerians in the Diaspora have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to look into the possibility of including them to vote during elections in the country.
Mr Obed Monago, the continental Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora (NIDO) , stated this at an interactive session between the president and the Nigerians in Diaspora in America, on the sideline of the ongoing 73rd UN General Assembly in New York.
The meeting was convened by the Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
Monago also called on the Independent Electoral Commission and the National Assembly to facilitate the amendment of the relevant sections of the Electoral Act to accommodate people living outside the country in the electoral process.
He said that Nigerians in Diaspora should be given opportunity to exercise their franchise wherever they lived for a number of reasons.
He said that Nigerians living outside the country should have the right to vote because they were citizens of Nigeria interested in the affairs of their own country.
He said: “The Diaspora should be allowed to vote because they make considerable contribution to the economy through huge financial inflow.’
Read Also: 2019: Buhari assures Nigerians in diaspora
According to him, there is a sizable amount of Nigerian citizens living outside the country; and Diaspora voting is consistent with global best practices.
In an interview with newsmen, the Chairman, NIDOA U.S., Mrs Patience Key, urged all Nigerians in the U.S. to join efforts to improve Nigeria’s economy.
We have seen it all in America so we can replicate such development in our homeland, Nigeria,” she said..
She stated that many Nigerians in the U.S. were successful individually but not collectively.
Key advised that working collectively was vital for nation building, development and transformation
She noted that individual successes were good but collective effort could not be undermined as it produced more outstanding results.

2019: What will Tambuwal do?

As the preparation for 2019 General Election gathers momentum in All Progressives Congress, following the threat posed by the R-APC and the recent alliance, there is confusion in Sokoto State over Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s next political move, reports Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan
FOLLOWING the emergence of the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC), peopled by some members of the defunct nPDP block in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and  its participation in a coalition of political parties and groups, led by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as part of efforts to stop the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, the political future of a number of APC chieftains is now shrouded in uncertainty.
While a good number of the R-APC chieftains have made it clear that they are headed out of the ruling party, strong indications continue to emerge that some leaders of the nPDP might not leave the APC, contrary to expectations. Many reasons, ranging from the ongoing effort by the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led National Reconciliation Committee, to personal and group political considerations, among others, have been adduced for this.
Not surprisingly, one of the nPDP leaders whose political future remains uncertain is the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal. Leaders of the APC in Sokoto State, as well as the governor’s crowd of supporters and political associates are anxiously waiting for him to give an inkling of what he is planning to do as regards the R-APC and its defection plan as the 2019 general election draws nearer.
Aside the R-APC issue, the people of Sokoto State are also uncertain about the next political aspiration of their current governor. While many gubernatorial aspirants, especially within the opposition parties, are currently traversing the length and breadth of the state in preparation for the next governorship election in the northwestern state, the people are daily inundated with talks of Tambuwal being interested in either the governorship of the state or the presidency of the country in 2019.
While there have been speculations that Tambuwal intends to defect to the PDP where he would vie for that party’s presidential ticket and possibly mount a challenge against President Buhari and the APC in 2019, many of his close political associates back home in Sokoto State have declared his intention to stay put in the APC come what may. A good number of them are even optimistic that Tambuwal will remain in the APC and seek reelection as governor.
Those expressing confidence that the former House of Representatives Speaker is on his way out of the ruling party have been analyzing some perceived political moves of his, like the visit last year to Delta State where he met with Governors Okowa (Delta) and Nyesom Wike (Rivers); a similar visit to Abia, another PDP state, as well as the most recent visit to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in company of Senate Presdient Bukola Saraki.
Tambuwal described Wike as “Ekwueme” (promise-keeper) of Rivers State and said, “it only takes a leader with vision, passion and commitment to come up with this idea and implement it”. He said Wike’s projects were tailored to the needs of the people and in accordance with modern governance. Expectedly, reports had it that the Sokoto Governor had endorsed Wike, a PDP chieftain, for second term as governor.
These dalliances and romances with the opposition, so close to a general election, coupled with the fact that unlike some of his APC colleagues like Abdulai Ganduje (Kano), Nasir El-rufai (Kaduna) and Aminu Masari (Katsina), he is not very visible in the ongoing nationwide political stampede to declare Buhari as the only credible candidate the APC can put forward in 2019, are reasons why Tambuwal’s supporters in Sokoto are uncertain about what to expect from him.
Pulling the lid off the confusion that currently pervades the political firmament of the state, a group of politicians within the ruling party, had few weeks back, given the governor a 48-hour ultimatum to declare his stand on President Buhari’s 2019 ambition and also tell members of the party whether he will be seeking re-election as governor in 2019 or not.
The Adalci Buhari Saka group said Tambuwal must declare whether he is with President Buhari or not. The group also threatened further actions against the governor if his intention on the matter is not made known within the given time. Leaders and members of the group, who are also APC chieftains, had also accused the governor of anti-party activities.
“We don’t understand his romance with the leading members of the opposition PDP which was widely publicized. He has a strong relationship with Governor Wike who is the perceived leader of the modern PDP and the national chairman of the party. He visits them and they come and visit him in Sokoto as well. We will do all that is necessary if Tambuwal does not state his position within the slated ultimatum,” spokesperson of the group, Bashar Lawal, said.
On the contrary, arguing that he would stay put in the ruling party, the state chapter of the APC allayed whatever fear the people of the state, especially supporters of the governor and the ruling party, might be nursing in a recent press statement that assured all and sundry that Tambuwal remains the only person to be supported by the party for the governorship seat in 2019.
While insisting no contender can match Tambuwal in 2019, the APC said with the governor as its candidate, it will take out other parties in Sokoto State before the next general election. The new chairman of the party in the state, Isa Sadiq Achida, said there was no political party in Sokoto other than the ruling APC and that if there was any it would be eliminated before the election. He said the party is still intact and waxing stronger , adding that they would win all elective positions in the state.
According to the party boss, a former Commissioner in Tambuwal’s administration and one of his closest aides, APC will field the governor again as no candidate could match his quality in the next election because of his outstanding achievements. He said the governor had cleared liabilities amounting to billions of naira. “He settled gratuities and pensions of retired civil servants and severe allowances of local government employees,” he said.
But another chieftain of the APC in the state, Alhaji Dahiru Yusuf Yabo, insisted that Tambuwal has some games up his sleeves ahead of the 2019 general election. According to the 2011 governorship aspirant of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the state, the governor is currently working against the interest of President Buhari and the APC.
“We know him as a governor under the platform of APC but it has been reported widely that he is romancing some personalities from outside his party, particularly those in PDP. There are speculations that he (Tambuwal) was among the people who funded the new leadership of PDP and his frequent visit to Rivers State, which is literally the PDP headquarters and where the party national chairman comes from.
“We are also aware about his deep and close relationship with the governor of Rivers State. Being old folks in politics, we can read along the lines and understand the movements of any politician, especially toward an election time. With what is happening now at the National Assembly, one can see clearly too that there are a lot of apprehensions.  “Also, knowing the relationship of Governor Tambuwal with the Speaker of the House of Representatives who everybody knows he galvanised support for, to become the Speaker, we knew he must have an influence on the current happenings in the National Assembly. All these things put together, we felt we are even helping him to clear the air on some public misconceptions about his personality and political moves toward 2019,” he said.
Face off with Wammako?
To further compound the uncertainty surrounding Tambuwal’s next political action, there are talks about a rift between him and his political godfather and former governor of the state, Senator Aliyu Wamakko. Sources within the state even claimed the crisis between the two associates may have led to the recent dissolution of the State Executive Council (SEC).
The dissolved cabinet, according to party sources, comprised of supporters of both Tambuwal and Wammako supporters. Tambuwal sacked all members of the cabinet after two weeks of alleged political brickbats between him and his predecessor. Though the rift has been on for a while now, it allegedly blew open at the national convention of the APC where Abubakar Makama Mainasara, a known ally of Wammako’s ran against Inuwa Abdulkadir, an ally of the governor.
Few days after the face-off at the convention the two camps traded words over an rally held in the state capital by party members to protest against Wammako. While the Senator’s people alleged that the rally was sponsored by the state government to embarrass the former governor, Tambuwal’s camp denied any hand in it and accused those making the allegations of whipping up crisis within the party.
Announcing the sack of the cabinet, a statement by the Director–General, Media and Public Affairs, to the Governor, Mallam Abubakar Abu Shekara, said: “The Governor of Sokoto State,  Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has dissolved the Sokoto State Executive Council with immediate effect. The dissolution is aimed at restructuring and re-strategising the cabinet for optimum efficiency and service delivery to the good people of Sokoto State.
“While thanking members of the Council for the dedication, sacrifice and loyalty to the administration, the governor  expressed appreciation to the people for cooperating with and supporting the outgoing members of the council towards achieving the successes recorded. The commissioners would hand over the affairs of their respective ministries to the Permanent Secretaries.”
But sources within the party claimed the dissolution is aimed at easing out Wammako’s men from the government as Tambuwal prepares to dump the APC for the PDP in the coming weeks. “The dissolution is just the first step in a number of moves that will end with the defection of the governor and his men to the PDP. Even the leadership of the party will go with them.
“Or why do you think he ensured the emergence of this aide as the chairman of the party in the state? Leaders of the party are very much aware of what is going on and we are working round the clock to prepare ourselves for the inevitable. But one thing you can all see is that we made more than enough sacrifice to prevail on the governor not to leave the party,” our source, a former Commissioner in the state, said.
However, the new Publicity Secretary of the party, Honourable Yusuf Ilaris, said there is nothing in the story that claims the governor and his predecessor are at war. According to him, the APC in the state is united and stronger. He accused mischief makers of trying to create crisis for the ruling party at all cost so as to satisfy some pre-planned evil intentions.
Ilaris added Tambuwal and Senator Wamakko,  leaders of the party in the state, were not only united but working tirelessly for the success of the party in the coming elections at all levels. He insisted that with the leaders united and the party more popular in the state than ever before, Tambuwal will easily win reelection in 2019 on the platform of the party.
Before the national convention, Wamakko had also cautioned those who he said are ceaselessly trying to sow seeds of discord between him and his successor. “Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and I are one and the same, contrary to the machinations of some doubting Thomases. The respect my younger brother, the governor is according me is unparalleled. I am truly and sincerely very grateful to him for this and I am highly cherishing his enviable gestures,” he said back then.
But observers of the politics of the state say it is not clear if Wammako will say the same of his relationship with the Sokoto governor today. Many are even recalling a recent statement credited to the former governor that he will not be dumping the APC like some other nPDP chieftains to mean that he has parted ways with Tambuwal, who, up till this moment, is yet to denounce the defection plot. The question for now is still, “what will Tambuwal do?
The post 2019: What will Tambuwal do? appeared first on The Nation Nigeria.

Okunnu: ‘Nigeria has not acquitted itself well’

Alhaji Femi Okunnu, 85, is a lawyer and a former Federal Commissioner for Works and Housing. The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) was a member of both the ad hoc constitutional conference of 1966 and the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) of 1977. In this interview with Deputy Political Editor RAYMOND MORDI, he speaks passionately about Nigeria’s 58 years of independence, pointing out where the country got it wrong and how she can surmount her numerous challenges.
Five-eight years after independence, would you say Nigeria has acquitted itself well?
Capital no! Nigeria has gone down the drain over the past 58 years. The aspirations of her founding fathers has been dashed; more importantly the dreams of those of us who were young persons at the time of independence. I was at the Race Course when the British flag was lowered and the Nigerian flag was hoisted on October 1, 1960. My personal dreams of Nigeria as a leading nation in the world, as a leader in Africa, politically and economically have also been dashed over the years. So, we are not doing well; we are retrogressing and we have been doing so for the past 30 years.
Looking back, where did Nigeria go wrong?
The major problem, in my latest analysis of the situation and the latest study, is constitutional. I took part in the London constitutional conference that led to the 1960 independence constitution. I was also a member of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) that gave rise to the 1979 constitution. I was leader of the Lagos delegation at the Abuja conference called by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005. I was also nominated as the leader of the Lagos State delegation at the 2014 National Conference convened by former President Goodluck Jonathan, but I refused to participate, because I felt it was going to be a waste of time. Having studied the situation in the last couple of years, beginning from the Richards Constitution which was enacted when I was a school boy down the line, I have come to the conclusion that the Federal Republic of Nigeria had a stroke, a major stroke, in 1979. The 1979 Constitution, which is more or less the same thing as the 1999 Constitution in many respects, was where the nation derailed. Let me say straight away that fiscal federalism died with the promulgation of the 1979 Constitution. But that was not what the CDC recommended to the Constituent Assembly and the Obasanjo military regime in 1979. We advised that the CDC should to follow the revenue allocation set down in the 1960 Constitution, which was repeated in the Republican Constitution of 1963 and which General Yakubu Gowon adopted in his regime from 1966 to 1975 before a coup toppled his government. But the 1979 Constitution handed down by General Obasanjo removed that revenue sharing formula. In the revenue sharing formula that had subsisted before 1979, 50 per cent were retained by the regions that produce the minerals – largely crude oil – while the Federal Government got 20 per cent. The remaining 30 per cent went into the distributive pool, which was shared as follows: 40 per cent to the Northern Region, 30 per cent to the Eastern Region, 24 per cent to the Western Region. But when the Western Region was split into two, it received 18 per cent, while the Midwest Region got six per cent. The remaining six per cent was allocated to ecology and other related matters. We recommended that that formula should continue. In fairness, the Obasanjo regime itself continued with that formula, but it was the 1979 Constitution that he handed over that removed it. That put an end to fiscal federalism as it was then. So, from a situation in which federal has only 20 per cent, its share has gone up to 52/54 per cent, without a proportional increase in its function. This is disproportionate; it has made the states to be poorer. That is why state governments now go to Abuja every month with begging bowls. They don’t have enough money to pay salaries, enough money to run schools and primary health. In addition, a good number of the governors have not done well in the area of internal revenue generation. So, everybody depends on federal purse.
Some people are calling for restructuring, saying once the country is restructured everything will fall into place. Others say the biggest problem facing Nigeria is corruption. In your view, what is the way forward?
There are many problems facing Nigeria, corruption is one of them. Insecurity is another. These are problems that require a holistic solution. Now, even changes in the constitution itself may not be enough to stem this downward trend. We need Nigerians to govern Nigeria; we don’t need Yorubas to govern Nigeria; we don’t need Hausas/Fulanis, Igbos or Efiks to govern Nigeria. We need patriotic people and we are lagging behind in this area. We need people who are committed to the Nigerian project. Many of the people in the political arena today are not Nigerians. Let me say this about the socio-cultural groups like Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Arewa and the like, they should get out of party politics. They should confine themselves to promoting the language and culture of their people; they should stop dabbling into politics, because they are causing a lot of problems, dividing Nigerians into Hausas, Fulanis, Igbos, Yorubas and so on. They should do what Zik and Awolowo did in their time. Zik didn’t win election as a member of the Lagos Legislative Assembly in 1946 as an Igbo person. I was a young boy at that time, aged 14. I was preparing to go to secondary school then and I have been very politically aware since primary school. It was not Igbo vote that took Zik to the legislative council under the defunct Richards Constitution; it was Yoruba vote. Zik was largely perceived as an African leader, not just a Nigerian leader. He mentored people like Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and others. He was number one in Africa at that time. So, Afenifere, Ohaneze should copy the activities of the Igbo township unions of those days: promoting the language and culture of their people. My friends who are running these ethnic organisations should play their role in the political parties. That’s one part of the problem. Another part of the problem, as I said earlier, is lack of patriotism. Awolowo had his own programme or manifesto, which he implemented in the defunct Western Region. The NCNC and the NPC had their own manifestoes, which they implemented in their regions. The present crop of political parties does not have programmes. They should tell the people want they want to do when they get to government. I will suggest that the various parties, at least the major parties, should commit themselves to going back to the 1963 Constitution, with fiscal federalism. The Federal Government has no business with land; it has no land or territory; it should not concern itself with primary or secondary education or primary healthcare, it has no business there. It should only support the states to shoulder these responsibilities. So, instead of doling out money to local governments, the monies should be given to states; the Federal Government has no business with local governments. So, each party should commit itself to restructuring. We need to go back to what sustained Nigeria for many years after independence, in terms of fiscal federalism. In addition, the quest for creation of states has also contributed to the country’s problem. It has jacked up the cost of governance, with governors having up to 30, 40 special advisers, aside from commissioners. The parties should commit themselves to reducing the cost of governance. The government should also do more in the area of protection of lives and properties of citizens. Herdsmen should disappear. To me, the system they are practicing is feudalism. Now that we are having fast trains, they can bring their cows from Maiduguri, Sokoto or wherever down to the south with trains. Rather than taking them from state to state on foot, destroying peoples’ farmlands and taking peoples’ lives. You can’t come into my land and eat up my crops, which I have nurtured and watered to grow. So, the Federal Government should end this criminality by abolishing the system. Any state which volunteers land for ranches, fine. If they want to transport the cattle to other parts of the country, they can use the rail system. These herdsmen should go to school, so that they can work in the ranches, not on the roads or the farms. These are some of the areas the political parties must commit themselves.
In other words, some sort of restructuring is required. But is it necessary to go back to the regions?                                         
It would be difficult to go back to the 12-state structure, which to me is the ideal structure. The 12-states created by Gowon answered some basic questions. For instance, six states were created in the Northern Region, which is twice as big as the entire South. Six states were also created out of the Southern Protectorate and the Lagos Colony. What we witnessed during the 2014 National Conference shows that the quest for creation of states in insatiable. That conference recommended almost 60 states; that makes no sense.
What is your assessment of the three and half years of the Buhari administration?
In the area of security, it tried with regards to Boko Haram. But it created another security challenge with the rise of the herdsmen. So, it tried in tackling Boko Haram, but it can do better, because they still occupy some part of the country. Corruption, he is trying, but he can still do better, because corruption is not only in the PDP, but also in the APC. He could also move faster with bringing people to justice, but he does not need to detain people indefinitely, particularly when the court says free them. There is rule of law; he has to obey the law. This idea of detaining for the sake of public interest is arrant nonsense. As one of the greatest British thinkers in last century once said, ‘however high you may be, the law is above you’. The rule of law is above public interest. In other areas, to me, there has been one problem or the other. This gerrymandering or the musical chairs of moving from one party to the other must stop. It is corruption at its highest level. It creates instability. It shows that most of our political leaders are not honest and are not sincere with themselves and the public. You must have an ideology you want to follow, you must have a programme you want to pursue, so you stay put; you don’t jump from one party to the other to achieve this. It creates so much havoc in the political space; it should be condemned and it should stop. In those days, those who belonged to the Action Group (AG) did not move to the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC). Today, there is no ideological difference among the various political parties. The only thing they have in common is the craze for public office.
What are the prospects for Nigeria in the next 10 to 15 years?
If we want to survive, we have to restructure; go back to 1963 Constitution. We have to speed up the trials of those suspected of corruption in system. Those who run fowl of the law like herdsmen must be dealt with. It is not enough to say they come from outside the country. Wherever they come from, the government must deal with them.

Dickson: Political thugs threaten Bayelsa Governor’s aides, disrupt PDP meeting

The thugs reportedly threw chairs into the air to disrupt the meeting and threatened to kill some individuals present at the meeting. Political thugs reportedly invaded a stakeholders’ meeting of the members of the Peoples Democratic Party and threatened two aides of Bayelsa State, Governor Seriake Dickson.In a report by Punch Newspaper, the Governor’s aides are Special Adviser on Tertiary Education, Godswill Ziriki and the Chairman of the Local Government Service Commission, Adolphus Ofongo.The political thugs reportedly invaded the stakeholders’ meeting on Wednesday, August 15, 2018, and disrupted the gathering after threatening the two aides.The PDP stakeholders meetingAccording to the report, the political meeting was organised by the state’s ruling party for candidates aspiring to represent Southern Ijaw Local Government Area at the Bayelsa State House of Assembly aspirants. Convened by the Acting Chairman of the local government area, Kia Nigeria, the meeting had reportedly commenced one hour before the political thugs emerged to threaten the governor’s aides in the presence and disrupt the entire process.ALSO READ: Dickson urges PDP leaders to focus on 2019The meeting, it was also reported, was convened to interact with over 14 state aspirants eyeing the seat of Constituency 3 at the state’s Assembly.The thugs reportedly threw chairs into the air to disrupt the meeting and threatened to kill some individuals present at the meeting.In furtherance, some of the stakeholders at the meeting reportedly claimed the thugs targeted the two governor’s aides. The meeting, it was reported, held at the Latik Hotel on INEC Road, Yenagoa.Suspected culpritPunch reported that an incumbent member of the state’s House of Assembly was responsible for the thugs’ actions.It was also reported that the planned return of a member of House of Assembly had been criticised by several aspirants when thugs disrupted the meeting and threatened to kill people.

Not Too Young To Run: Democratic victory for Nigerian youths – PDP

PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, on Thursday in Abuja, urged youths to immediately take the advantage of the new law. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the ‘Not Too Young to Run Bill’, signed into law on Thursday by President Muhammadu Buhari as victory for Nigeria youths.PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, on Thursday in Abuja, urged youths to immediately take the advantage of the new law.“The party also commended the sponsor of the bill, Hon. Tony Nwulu (PDP, Lagos) and other legislators who supported the processes to reality.“We also commend the resilience of the Nigerian youths in getting the initiative through, in line with the vision of the PDP to allow younger Nigerians to actively participate in elective positions in governance at all levels, he said.Ologbondiyan said that before the passage of the bill, the PDP had since launched its ‘Generation Next Movement.According to him, the movement has already put younger Nigerians at advantage positions to participate in elective positions ahead of the 2019 general elections.“In line with the ‘Generation Next Movement’, the rebranded PDP, among other pro-youth incentives, had approved certain critical clauses and waivers so that the young people will actively vie for positions in the 2019 general elections.“In line with our dream of providing enabling environment for youth participation in elections and governance, the PDP, after winning in 2019, will further lower the age qualification to entrench our vision that ‘whoever can vote can be voted for’, which is a global standard.“The PDP, therefore, urged the Nigerian youths to immediately take advantage of the Generation Next platform and incentives already established by the repositioned PDP to actively participate in the collective quest to rescue our nation from the APC,” he said.Ologbondiyan advised President Buhari and the APC not to attempt to present themselves as the architects of the Act because the bill was sponsored and pursued by the PDP members in the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly.According to Ologbondiyan, the APC-led government did not show any support or enthusiasm towards the initiative.He added that President Buhari signed the bill because the bill had already found an easy passage to the crucibles of the required approval of two-third of states in the federation.

APC Congratulates Obasanjo At 81

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has congratulated the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, on the occasion of his 81st birthday.
In a statement by the APC through their National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi, “Our party joins family, friends, well-wishers and associates in celebrating the retired general who has emerged as a bastion of democracy, good governance and development in Nigeria and beyond.
“Chief Obasanjo has inspired a generation of Nigerians notably in the area of entrepreneurship, leadership and education, especially through his non-profit initiatives, the Africa Leadership Forum (ALF) and the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library.
“His legacy as President has continued to inspire good governance on the continent even after so many years and he remains an influential voice in different facets of our national life. As a true Nigerian patriot and statesman, Chief Obasanjo has over the years built solid bridges across political divides in the country, on the African continent and the world at large.
“Our prayer is that Chief Obasanjo continues to age in health and wisdom as he contributes to the unending task of nation-building”.
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Fayemi: Ado Ekiti stands still for APC Mega rally

Vice -President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said  the All Progressives Congress, (APC) remains the only party capable of liberating the people of Ekiti state from their current challenges.The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that Osinbajo spoke in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital, at a mega campaign rally organised to garner support for the party in the  governorship election on 14 July.Also the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said the the people of the state have no  better choice than to vote-in the ruling party at the centre for them to get liberated from the pangs of poverty.Oyegun, who said he was shocked by the magnitude of people that trooped out to witness the event, said the development was a clear signal that the Ekiti people were ready to effect change.The  APC  boss urged the people to replicate the same affection for the party on July 14, 2018 by voting massively for the APC candidate, Kayode Fayemi, who was the former governor and later minister of Mines and Steel.NAN reports that the Vice-President who led scores of party leaders from across the country to the venue, said there was no  better alternative to APC in terms of good governance.He urged persons of voting age in the state to obtain their Permanent Voter’s  Cards, (PVC’s), and vote for  Kayode Fayemi,  who he described as reliable and trustworthy.” I can assure you all that Fayemi will bring the prosperity that Ekiti is in need of”, he said.Other key leaders, such as  Asiwaju Bola Amed Tinubu, National Chairman, Chief Segun Oni, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, former governor Adams Oshiomhole, and governors Simon Lalong, Ibikunle Amosun, Abiola Ajimobi, Rauf Aregbesola, Rotimi Akeredolu, Yahaya Bello, Abdulaziz Yari and Abdulfatai Ahmed who also spoke, canvassed support for the APC candidate, describing him as the best alternative.While Tinubu urged the crowd to prove their loyalty by obtaining their Voter’s  Cards and consequently voting out the PDP government in the state come July 14, , another top speaker and former governor Niyi Adebayo declared that the federal government would deploy both armed soldiers and mobile policemen for the election, whether or not the ruling PDP government in the state liked it or not.Others party leaders present included  Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF), Boss Mustapha, former minister of state for works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye.NAN reports that the  high point of the event included presentation of the APC flag to Fayemi  and formal welcome of former Minister of State for Works and one-time National Publicity Secretary of PDP,  Adeyeye who recently switched loyalty from PDP into the APC.ALSO READ: APC will be disgraced in Ekiti, Fayose tells BuhariOther bigwigs of the party present were  Chief Bisi Akande, Senator  Olorunnimbe Mamora and Mr. Bamidele Olumilua.NAN reports that the 14,000-capacity Oluyemi Kayode stadium had been filled to capacity as early as 12 noon, long before  the Vice-President arrived the state at about 2:39pm.Masqueraders and musicians, led by Adewale Ayuba entertained the crowd.In an interview, Fayemi said he was convinced that God would deliver the state to him on the election day, saying his decision to seek re-election was not for selfish reasons.He enjoined all his supporters not to be distracted but remain focused  in their resolve to bring about change in the state.NAN reports that the Vice president, in company of  the National Chairman of the party, John Oyegun later presented the party’s  flag to Fayemi at the rally.