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Messages - cooljoe

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1
…wants NASS to make laws against violent agitators

Promoters of October 1st quit notice to the Igbos residing in the North, the Coalition of Northern Groups, rose from their review meeting to support Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s decision that promoters of hate speeches would henceforth be treated as terrorists.

The coalition in a statement signed by its spokesman, Abdul-azeez Suleiman and made available to newsmen in Kaduna on Saturday also called on National Assembly to promulgate laws that will punish all forms of hate speeches in the interest of peace and unity of the country, which has been threatened recently by various groups.

Wrote the coalition, “That we find the all-encompassing address by the Acting President to the National Executive Council highly commendable and statesmanlike and hereby concur with and support the position of the NCS in its totality.

“Specifically, we support and concur with the Acting President’s firm position that henceforth all forms of hate speeches be termed as acts of terror and be dealt with accordingly.

“Importantly too, we support the strong statement of the acting president that the silence of some community leaders in the face of incitive provocations by their kith is responsible for the escalation of the current threats to national security and integration”.

The statement further read, “It should be recalled that in subsequent correspondences, particularly with the acting president and the International community since the ‘Kaduna Declaration’, our coalition has maintained that, the conspiratorial silence of all the Igbo, especially all their political, cultural and religious leaders was responsible for emboldening the unpatriotic and violence-prone actions of the Indigenous Peoples Of Biafra (IPOB) and its leader Nnamdi Kanu.

“It is indeed the concern of the inherent consequences of that implied endorsement of IPOB’s incessant threats of war and genocide by the Igbo leaders and elders that partly informed our pre-emptive decision to include the relocation of the Igbo clause in the ‘Kaduna Declaration’.

“We are happy therefore, that the Nigerian authorities have finally come to the same conclusion and call on all well-meaning and patriotic Nigerians to support and encourage the government in its renewed resolve to deal with warmongering, hate speeches and incitement to violence in all their manifestations everywhere in the country.

“We also call on the National Assembly to initiate the promulgation of a law to criminalise all forms of hate speeches, as well as violent agitations and provide appropriate punishment thereto”, the statement added.

2
NEWS / Politics Of Buhari’s Return
« on: Today at 04:25:38 AM »
After about 103 days medical leave, President Muhammadu Buhari returned to the country yesterday, Emmanuel Oladesu, Group Political Editor, takes a look at the challenges before him as he returns.

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s return has implications far beyond his coming to take back the reins of government. It is set to alter 2019 political calculations drastically.

Some of his rivals who were already dreaming of a post-Buhari era may now have to pull the break. The anxiety over his health may begin to fizzle out for now – casting uncertainty of the plans of many ambitious politicians.

The homecoming is cheery news for him, his family and political associates. But there are some puzzles: Is the president now fit to withstand the rigour of governance? Is he permanently or temporarily back? Is it another political game to convey the impression of wellness and blot the embarrassing picture of an ‘on and off president’? Has he returned to spend few weeks and months before going back?

The president’s return may alter the calculations of presidential aspirants in the ruling and opposition parties. The dream of a vacancy in Aso Villa may become blurred. If the ambitious politicians, particularly in the ruling party, still carry on their activities, it will be in utter sensitivity to the fact that the president in back. It would appear that the coast is not clear yet. Buhari’s body language will henceforth, moderate political activities, ahead of 2019. At party level, he may plead with or compel party chieftains to stop distracting him with their antagonistic aspirations.

Already, some of the aspirants are making moves. Some are overtly campaigning on the borrowed platform of restructuring. The national question is being raised on the altar of partisanship to spite the leader who has not demonstrated commitment in that direction. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai are reportedly putting their thinking caps. Recently, there were reports in the media that the Turakin Adamawa had opened discussions with PDP elements in the National Assembly, in furtherance of his 2019 ambition. The veteran presidential aspirant is setting up structures and building new bridges. Also, it was reported that the supporters of the former Kano State governor have returned to the PDP to prepare the ground for his imminent defection. How will the president handle these scenarios?

Will he take a bow or re-contest in 2019? Time will tell. Buhari is constitutionally entitled to a second term. If he throws his hat in the ring, will the party rally round him? How united and formidable is the ruling party? The president’s influence may not have waned in the North. His support base may not be shrinking. It appears he remains popular in the region among the masses.

To these fanatical supporters, the feeling of vacancy in 2019 may be imaginary. Ultimately, it may be the undoing of the ambitious. Obviously, the North cannot on its own install a president for all Nigeria. Depending on the candidate the PDP will put forward, and the circumstances that may unfold as the gladiators warm up for 2019, it may not be difficult for the president to reactivate his partisan friendship with the Southwest progressive leaders for the purpose of re-election.

If the president does not re-contest, what next? If he steps down, the feeling is that the next APC presidential candidate will still come from the North, more so when the PDP has zoned its presidential ticket to the region. That means that the North will hold the Presidency for the 12 years.

Who among the APC aspirants will the president back if he decides not to run? Does Buhari have a succession plan? Who will emerge as the beneficiary of the plan? Who will he anoint? Will his preferred candidate be acceptable to the generality of the party?

Whether he will re-contest or not, Buhari will have to pay attention to his party. The edifice is cracking and creaking. Many observers have predicted that, unless concrete steps are taken, the platform will crumble. The leaders of the APC are not united by ideology. Their primary focus ahead of 2015 was how to displace Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s PDP and capture power.

But having clinched power, things stated to fall apart. For the centre to hold, the president should act fast. To stem defections, he must broker reconciliation among the divided blocs and centres of influence in the APC. Leaders across the six geo-political zones who worked for the president’s victory at the poll, but who now feel that they are being sidelined, should be pacified and brought into confidence.

The final critical step is for the president to liberate himself from the cabals. The APC needs a strong crisis resolution mechanism. A united ruling party is in the interest of his Presidency.

3
NEWS / The Symptomatic Charly Boy Protests
« on: Today at 04:24:50 AM »
FOR over a week, Charles ‘Charly Boy’ Oputa, a notable musician and activist, organised protests in Abuja to force the return or resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari. The president had been in London since May 7 for medical attention, the second time this year, for an undisclosed ailment. For leaving his return date open-ended until yesterday when he returned to Abuja, and perhaps too for failing to disclose what ailed him, the Charly Boy protesters took to the streets of Abuja to force a cessation to what they described as national stupidity over the matter and politics of the ailing president’s medical trip.

The protests unfortunately attracted strong-arm tactics from the police aimed at discouraging Charly Boy and his handful of protesters. Why a handful of protesters should agitate the police into taking such brazen unconstitutional measures against the ‘resume or resign’ group has not been fully explained. However, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo had, in response to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) protests in February and the BringBackOurGirls protests in April, tried to settle the confusion by drawing attention to constitutional provisions that guarantee the right to protest, as long as it is done peacefully. The police have a hard time imbibing that culture. But a day after the Abuja protests began, however, the police cleaned up their acts, permitted the protests and even tried to stand as a buffer between the sparse and peaceful Charly Boy group and other more muscular and intemperate pro-Buhari protesters who mobilised August 9 to register their displeasure and point of view, not with the public, but strangely and provocatively with the anti-Buhari protesters.

For unknown reasons, but probably to garner more support for the anti-Buhari cause and to mark the 100th day of the president’s medical trip, the Charly Boy group took their activism to the popular Wuse Market in Abuja where it turned out more people actually sympathised with the convalescing president. Unable to stomach the protesters’ derring-do, a crowd of pro-Buhari counter-protesters, allegedly mobilised by forces and persons outside the market, swooped on Charly Boy and his fellow protesters and assaulted them. The anti-Buhari group escaped serious injuries and possibly death by the skin of their teeth and have since halted all protests in Abuja, leaving the field to the pro-Buhari protesters who have been well received by the president’s aides and security services. Whether the pro-Buhari crowd is spontaneous or rented is hard to say.

The Charly Boy protests and the reaction by both the police and pro-Buhari protesters are clearly but depressingly symptomatic of the terrible pass Nigeria has found itself. While it is true that in the past Charly Boy politically romanced the government of Goodluck Jonathan, it is incomprehensible that that should deter or preclude him from disputing the methods and measures of the Buhari presidency. He has the constitutional right to make up his mind one way or the other, now and again as he may be inspired to do, on any issue that thematically or chronologically agrees with his worldview. If he chooses to support Dr. Jonathan yesterday and President Buhari today, or selects certain attributes in them to lionise, he is at liberty to indicate his choice in a manner that does not undermine the constitution, regardless of any fickleness ascribed to him.

The police first manhandled Charly Boy and his fellow protesters before hired or self-driven thugs beat them up. The police have not shown any indication a time would come soon when they would not resort to mindless assault on the rights and liberties of citizens. They would always be unreservedly pro-government, even if it means sometimes violating the constitution. And as for the rampaging crowd that assaulted the anti-Buhari protesters, they showed very disturbingly, without sensible arguments, that they were willing conspirators with many faceless others in the violation of the constitution, and that at all times, especially when their heroes are involved, there can only be one way of enforcing the law. They show how easy it is to foolishly promote and encourage authoritarian governments, brutalise nonconformists, and herd the country senselessly into one political or even religious cesspit.

All the nonsense, however, began with the government. Those who rule Nigeria must make up their minds, if they are capable of any vision at all, what kind of country they envision: one where the constitution must remain unassailable; or one where the constitution can be bargained away on the altar of expediency. With the police assaulting Charly Boy and his fellow protesters, and presidential aides falling over one another to welcome the pro-Buhari groups, is it surprising that the culture of intolerance in the country is deep-seated and flourishing? After all, the presidency itself has a culture of pronouncing guilt on non-conformists even before they are tried. Ask Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his Shiite sect.

4
NEWS / Obasanjo, National Assembly And Moral Guilt
« on: Today at 04:24:09 AM »
EX-PRESIDENT Olusegun Obasanjo is probably the most ubiquitous former office holder in Nigeria today. He is constantly in the news, often for very controversial and sanctimonious reasons. To build and nurture his public persona, he covets and honours every invitation, whether book launch, seminar or even the smallest gathering where hosts and invited guests talk mundane shop. Nothing is too high or too low for him to attend. And no topic too arcane or simple. All he does is seize every occasion to sound off, lubricate his ego, tell everyone off, and try to leave Nigeria in no doubt who the special one is. And when seminars and book launches are not forthcoming in torrents, he sometimes contrives mild-mannered or, if occasions demand, acerbic letters to his foes; but if his foes are depleted on account of age and death, or have become indifferent to his rage, then to his long-suffering friends.

At 80 years, he has boundless energy, seemingly ready to go on and on, privately and publicly mummifying under the glare of national publicity. A few days ago, in a letter he wrote to Olisa Agbakoba, the former Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) president who needlessly asked him to help facilitate a generational shift in leadership, Chief Obasanjo ladled out boiling oil on young aspiring leaders. Said he to Mr Agbakoba: “You should know that some of these young people, whose interest we canvass, have, in the recent past, been a complete disappointment and failure in their various appointed or elected positions…Some of these young people, in public and private sectors, have frittered (away) the prospect of being at the vanguard of sustainable development of what some of us, the earlier generation of leaders, pioneered, on the altar of their crass materialism, self-centredness and opportunism.” Sadly, the former president was self-righteous but right.

And turning to the National Assembly, the object of his lasting animosity after that institution dealt his third term hopes a mortal blow, Chief Obasanjo, indulging his expansive wit at a book launch in Ibadan, scowled: “But an agreement is an agreement (on ASUU) whoever the agent is that signed that agreement on your behalf, you are bound by it. You may now have to renegotiate to have a new agreement but the agreement earlier signed remains an agreement. When the university teachers go on strike, there is an agreement; and when doctors go on strike, there will be a special agreement. And when the universities teachers see that the agreement reached with the doctors is different from theirs, they go on strike and this is bad for our economy… Ninety per cent of revenue is used to pay overheads, allowances, salaries and not much is left for capital development…It is even worse for the National Assembly. They will abuse me again, but I will never stop talking about them. They are a bunch of unarmed robbers. They are one of the highest paid in the world where we have 75 per cent of our people living in abject poverty. They will abuse me tomorrow and if they don’t, maybe they are sleeping.”

As accurate as Chief Obasanjo’s observations are, he always fails to admit that in nearly all the crises plaguing Nigeria, he is complicit. He should ask himself, as he continues to play god, why all the men he backed to the presidency turned out woefully. That will be a good starting point.

5
The leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has described the message accredited to the leader of the group and Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, as false and mischievous.

Recall there were reports in circulation that Kanu had retracted his earlier comments that election would not hold in Anambra in November which has caused confusion amongst his followers.

Efforts to reach the Spokesman and Abia Coordinator of the group, Emma Powerful and Ikechukwu failed, but Celestine Ohajianya, Abia South Coordinator of IPOB in a telephone conversation with newsmen dismissed such reports.

Ohajianya, who disclosed that the group was in a meeting at press time, described the report as malicious and one coming from their detractors.

According to him, the statement made by Kanu that election won’t hold in Anambra State come November still stands.

He stated that the position of Nnamdi was that it is either that the federal government of Nigeria holds referendum or should forget about holding election in Anambra or any part of the southeast.

6
The police in Bayelsa State are on the trail of six suspects in connection with the bloody attack on the secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that killed two persons and injured many others during the inauguration of the acting state chairman of the party, Joseph Fafi.

The thugs, said to be hired, wielding weapons and guns, stormed the secretariat along the Melford Okilo Road, Yenagoa, yesterday and attempted to stop the inauguration.

They were, however, confronted by security operatives, who engaged them in a shoot out, causing pandemonium, leading to the death of two persons and injuries to many others, including journalists.

Commissioner of Police, Amba Asuquo, who was jolted by the incident, ordered full-scale investigations to unmask the identities of the thugs and their sponsors.

Already, the police investigative team was said to have identified six persons behind the dastardly act.

It was gathered the team in its preliminary examination discovered and impounded the vehicle that conveyed the invaders.

The police were said to have found the vehicle bore the plate number of the Bayelsa State Government House.

On closer inquiry, the police team further discovered the particulars of the vehicle bore the name of a famous ex-militant leader from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.

When contacted, the command’s Spokesman, Asinim Butswat, said when policemen searched the vehicle, they discovered some arms and ammunition.

Butswat confirmed that the police identified names of six persons in connection with the attack, adding that efforts were ongoing to arrest the suspects

He said: ‘’After the incident, the hoodlums abandoned a Hiace bus with number-plate BYGH 335.

“The hoodlums on sighting policemen at Bay Bridge area, about 200 metres from the APC secretariat on Melford Okilo Road, Kpansia, abandoned the vehicle and took to their heels.

‘’The vehicle was searched and one live ammunition 9MT Shell of 7.62mm ammunition was recovered.

“We have also identified about six names (which I would not want to mention for security reasons). Efforts are ongoing to arrest those six persons.”

Though Asinim declined knowledge of the owner of the bus, a police source, who spoke in confidence, confirmed the team during a search recovered the particulars of the vehicle’s owner.

He said the particulars belonged to an ex-militant leader from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.

‘’We have yet to establish the nexus between the number plate and the particulars of the owners. Our investigation showed that the hoodlums might have used the number-plate for the attack,” he said.

But the Bayelsa State Government expressed serious concerns over regular violence and insecurity during activities of the APC.

Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Jonathan Obuebite, in a statement, described the incident as a serious breach of the existing peace in the state, barbaric and against all democratic and acceptable norms.

The statement said: “The APC has failed to conduct its affairs peacefully since its inception in the state.

“It is a very sad commentary the APC in Bayelsa State has turned itself to a lawless and violent organisation where its leaders and supporters resort to violence at every slight provocation, even for internal matters of the party that ought to have been handled with maturity and reasonable level of understanding.”

In his reaction, Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha condemned the incident.

Okorocha, who is also chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, cautioned members of the party against following bad examples of other political parties in the country, especially those known for thuggery.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, Okorocha said: “Going by the name and philosophies of the party, it is believed that the members should be progressive-minded fellows who should not in any way see the desire for political position as a do or die affair.

“The ugly culture of political thuggery should remain totally divorced from APC”.

He also maintained: “The APC as a party and the members must do things differently to show the political light and exemplary political character by not engaging in actions and inaction that would run counter with the ideals of the party”.

7
NEWS / A Medical Mystery
« on: Today at 04:21:47 AM »
Sunday Oguntola takes a look at the cloak of mystery surrounding the president’s ailment.

WHAT exactly is wrong with President Muhammadu Buhari’s health? That is the nagging question agitating the minds of Nigerians. The President, who returned yesterday from a 103-day medical vacation in London, has refused to disclose any hint on his medical condition.

The closest he went was in March after he returned from a 54-day medical treatment. Speaking at his first Federal Executive Council meeting on arrival in Abuja, Buhari said: “There were also blood transfusions, going to the laboratories, and so on and so forth…

“I couldn’t recall when last I had blood transfusions I couldn’t recall honestly I can say in my seventy years.

“I cannot remember this drug that Nigerians take so much, a very common drug; all the same I think one of our terrible thing is self-medication.

“We have to trust our doctors more and trust ourselves more, I realised they take drugs when it is absolutely necessary. They don’t just swallow anything.”

The President didn’t offer much more hints. He only admitted to have been a victim of self-medication and undergone blood transfusions while away in London. Based on these, a renowned professor of medicine, Femi Williams, who graduated from Trinity College University of Dublin in 1961, said President Buhari was suffering from anaemia.

Williams, a certified physician in Anatomic Pathology from London and Ireland, categorically declared: “We now have a pretty good idea of diagnosis, which is now comprehensive or good enough to say that the diagnosis of President Buhari’s illness is anaemia.”

He further explained: “The clinical history given by Mr. President that for the past 18 months he had been lethargic and feeling tired prior to his vacation is consistent with tiredness due to anaemia.

“Regaining his strength after transfusions that facilitated his return home suggests that the anaemia had been corrected successfully.

“There is therefore a preliminary diagnosis of anaemia meaning insufficient blood in the circulation.

“When this happen many organs including the brain, heart, liver, kidneys and lungs are starved of oxygen that is carried by blood to all parts of the body for efficient functioning of the person.

“Sudden loss of blood as in road traffic accidents could be fatal. In this case the anaemia has been insidious and gradual over time.”

The Presidency neither confirmed nor denied the clinical diagnosis of the reputable Professor of Medicine. If anything, it maintained only Buhari can disclose his medical status.

His Special Adviser on Media, Femi Adesina, told reporters: “It is within his prerogative to do that. Nobody can do it for him. Not even the doctors treating him can do it for him.

“Under the Hippocratic Oath, nobody can do it except the patient. Nobody; under the Hippocratic Oath, it says that even the doctor has no right to reveal the health status of his patient to anybody.

“So, it’s only Mr President that can say what exactly is wrong with him. So, the prerogative is his to disclose and if he wants to disclose, he will.

“But nobody should be asking him to do it. That would be an infringement on his right.

“If anybody has put himself in suspense, he’s just doing it for himself because it’s not necessary. The law does not compel a president to reveal what is wrong with him. It does not.”

Many disagree with Adesina that Buhari is under no obligation whatsoever to disclose his health status. The President, they said, is a public servant whose health should not be shrouded in secrecy. That is what obtains in developed democracies, they point out.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo also insisted only Buhari can disclose his status. “I think that the health status of Mr President is an issue that only Mr President would discuss at the appropriate time.

“Again he is running tests and all of that. Before you determine your health status, you must be able to run the necessary tests, and do what doctors have asked to be done, and await the outcome of that before one can talk about any kind of health status,” he declared.

Well, Buhari has promised to address Nigerians in a broadcast tomorrow. Maybe he will, for once, tell them what is wrong with him medically and resolve the biggest mystery of his Presidency.

8
NEWS / A Nation’s Hope Fulfilled, Says Tinubu
« on: Today at 04:21:02 AM »
All Progressives Congress (APC) national stalwart, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, last night expressed joy at the return of President Muhammadu Buhari to the country after his medical vacation in the United Kingdom.

He described the president’s return as a nation’s hope fulfilled.

In a statement by his Media Office, Asiwaju Tinubu, who is at present abroad, said President Buhari had always been a man of moral fortitude, discipline, strength and dedication.

These attributes, according to him helped Buhari battled medical challenges and “will lead him to success in surmounting our national challenges.”

He said: “President Buhari”s return home is our prayers answered. President Buhari has always been a man of moral fortitude, discipline, strength and dedication. These attributes have helped him battle medical challenges. These same attributes will lead him to success in surmounting our national challenges.

“President Buhari has demonstrated time and again his devotion to this nation and its great causes.  His love of country and the realization that he has a mission to fulfil so that Nigeria may realize its better self by providing security and prosperity to all Nigerians has compelled him home.

“Just as we gathered to pray for his health and his return, we must remain united in spirit to support President Buhari as he pursues the progressive agenda for which he was elected and that promises us all a better day.

“Our nation is strong but must overcome many challenges. We can do so with President Buhari at the helm and with the rest of the nation in active support.

“Thus, the president’s return home is both real and symbolic. We all must renew our faith in our collective purpose  and rededicate ourselves to a nation indivisible and united in reconstructing our political economy so that it provides a decent and good life to all our people.

“It has been a heartening thing to see that our nation has matured to the point where governance continued in a meaningful, seamless manner during the president’s absence.  This again was a sign of the harmony between President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

“On this day, it is even more heartening to think of the things that can now be achieved with President Buhari back to lead the nation. Today is a glad and happy one for those who wish Nigeria well.

“While we rejoice the President’s return, we also must quickly turn to the hard and heavy work at hand.

“We must do everything possible to help President Buhari and his government accomplish those things we all seek – economic growth, prosperity, justice, security and peace. May we do our best to become our best.

“Welcome home, Mr. President. Welcome home.”

9
NEWS / One Dies As Chidoka Emerges UPP Candidate
« on: Today at 04:20:23 AM »
One person was yesterday confirmed dead in the primary election of the United Progressives Party (UPP) in Anambra State.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Nkeiru Nwode, confirmed the incident.

She said the man slumped and died following a fracas that ensued during the primary.

She said some people came to the venue of the exercise to foment trouble but they were refused entry into the venue.

“Some people came to the venue to cause trouble but they were locked out. I think the man slumped and died as a result of the stampede that ensued,” Nwode stated.

But another version said the victim died after inhaling tear-gas fume from the Police when they attempted to disperse the crowd.

The victim, whose name was simply given as Uwakwe, was identified as a delegate for Owelle Ezunaka Ward 1 and the chairman of the party in the ward.

The primary election was between a former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka and ex-member of the House of Representatives, Chudi Offodile.

But Offodile announced his withdrawal from the race at about 11am while delegates were being accredited for the polls.

Chidoka emerged the candidate of UPP for the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State.

10
NEWS / While The President Was Away
« on: Today at 04:17:54 AM »
In this report, Dapo Olufade takes a look at what happened while the president was on medical leave.

RUMOUR. Controversy. Threats. Countermands. Emotion. Fury. Theatrics.

None was in short supply in the country in the 103 days President Muhammadu Buhari spent in London, attending to his health.

Dutifully dispensing them at measured intervals were the politicians, political jobbers and mischief makers.

Once a controversy appeared to have served its course and began to wear out, another would suddenly pop-up, sending the populace into a fresh frenzy.

First was the storm over his Eid el Fitri message on the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on June 25.

How dare he address Nigerians in Hausa, many charged, after demanding that he should say something, just anything, to assure the nation that what they were hearing about him was not true.

The Sallah message broadcast was preceded by a statement issued by his media team.

The presidency only released the audio in an apparent response to distrustful Nigerians who had not heard from Buhari for nearly two months.

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State categorically declared the audio message a fraud.

Buhari, according to him, could not have spoken the words contained in the tape because he had it “on good authority” that the President had been “on life support since June 6.”

He told reporters at a so called ‘world press conference’ in Ado Ekiti that he had in his possession 11 photographs  of the President on life support in a London hospital, and would release them to the public ‘soon’.

He said: “The audio message does not represent the truth as our President does not only have voice impairment; he has been on life support since June 6, 2017 at a West-End, London Hospital.

“Of a fact, our First Lady, Mrs. Aisah Buhari was not allowed to see her husband during her last visit to the United Kingdom if only she will be courageous enough to admit.

“Only three Nigerians who are of the President’s cabal are allowed access to the President. I will keep their identities for now.”

As if taking a cue from Fayose, an online publication ran its own account of Buhari’s “bad condition.”

He was not allowed to see “his wife (Aisha) during her recent visit to the United Kingdom,” it said quoting presidency sources.

It also said Buhari had “not spoken to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo for several weeks following his departure from Abuja for a second round of medical treatment.

“The sources gave the example of Wednesday last week when members of Buhari’s cabal called the Acting President and asked him to await a call from the ailing President, pointing out that no such call was received except one that was just a few seconds of hellos before the person hung up the phone.”

In a follow up story on Osinbajo’s visit to Buhari in London in early July, the online publication reported that the meeting “lasted for five minutes only according to Presidency officials in the know of what transpired between the two leaders at the Abuja House in London.”

It also said Buhari “has a major difficulty speaking audibly as his treatment continues.”

A few days later, the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and Governors Umaru Al-Makura (Nasarawa), Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), and Yahaya Bello (Kogi), visited Buhari in London in a bid to put a lie to speculations about the President’s health.

Former Aviation minister and PDP member, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode refused to be persuaded by the photographs of the meeting that went into circulation.

Like Fayose before him, he said they were manipulated.

His ‘sources’, he claimed had told him that the photographs were old ones, taken when Buhari was breaking the fast with the people seen in the photographs.

He had another evidence of the ‘deception’: drinks on the dining table were Nigerian products.

He said: “I have been reliably informed that the picture was taken in Abuja some time back and not yesterday in London.

“Quite apart from that, even though the picture was meant to have been taken in London curiously all the drinks on the table are Nigerian products and Nigerian-made.

“Did the Governors take all those drinks along with them to London when they went to see the President?

“What was the purpose and point of this fake photo-shoot and this strange breakfast meeting? What was the purpose and objective of this monumental fraud and deceit?

“Whatever the answers may be to these questions the curtain must be brought down on what can only be described as a puerile and nauseating conspiracy.

“For those who still believe that the meeting actually took place there are some nagging questions that need to be answered.

“For example why were the Nigerian and foreign media not allowed to cover the proceedings and participate in this celebrated photo-shoot and merry London feast?

“Why did the Villa press corps not take one of their own camera men to London and make a short video of the event?

“Why was the whole event shrouded in so much secrecy? Why is it that only one picture was taken? Why were more pictures not taken? Why was Buhari not put on audio tape and recorded talking to his guests?”

The answer soon came when a delegation of APC and PDP governors left for London to visit Buhari.

Others,  including the Archbishop of Canterbury, members of Buhari’s Media team, Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara and the General Overseer Worldwide of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Adejare Adeboye took turns to bid Buhari get well soon.

In early July, the Senate sparked a controversy of its own when some members moved to make Senate President Bukola Saraki Acting President of the country.

The Red Chamber had, on resumption from a three week recess, received a letter from Osinbajo seeking the confirmation of Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila, as Director General of National Lottery Regulatory Commission.

Incidentally, Osinbajo was briefly out of the country that day, prompting Senator Eyinanya Abaribe (Abia South), to say the country had no President or Acting President at that moment.

Saraki appeared to have read the mood of the majority of senators and of the nation and tactically ruled him out of order before the situation could degenerate

The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and some Northern youths would not allow the politicians monopolize the limelight.

Kanu, in utter violation of his bail conditions, addressed rally after rally in the South East, insisting that he and the Igbo must get out of Nigeria.

He shut down major towns in the South East on May 30 to mark Biafra day and vowed to stop the November 18 governorship election in Anambra, unless there is a referendum on the future of ‘Biafra’.

In early June, 16 northern youth groups emerging from a joint meeting in Kaduna gave Igbo residing in North up to October 1, 2017 to vacate the region.

In no time, fresh agitation for Nigeria’s restructuring swept through the country.

Even, the North which many Nigerians see as being afraid of restructuring told everyone who cared to listen that it is ready for it.

The Governors of the Northern states and the traditional rulers met in Kaduna and resolved to set up a committee to harmonize the views of the people for action at the appropriate time.

But the hatred sparked by the quit notice has been a little difficult to suppress.

Acting President Osinbajo met with leaders from the North and the South to douse the tension, only for some hate songs to emerge in parts of the country.

There was also a threat by Niger Delta militants to resume hostilities by the end of September if the federal government failed to fulfil its promises to the region.

A similar threat by Niger Delta elders to pull out of further talks with government prompted a peace meeting in Abuja with Osinbajo leading the government delegation.

Agreements were reached, compromises made, and peace returned.

For now, the sticking point in the social sector is the ASUU strike launched last week.

Government has admitted responsibility for failing to meet its part of the agreement earlier reached with the lecturers and now hopes that the teachers will return to the classrooms this week when all the issues in contention will have been sorted out.

11
NEWS / Buhari’s In-Tray: The 10 Critical Challenges
« on: Today at 04:16:22 AM »
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday returned home to settle down for business. In this piece, Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation explores 10 key challenges he must address urgently.

Typical of his military background which emphasizes the element of surprise, President Muhammadu Buhari took Nigerians unawares by his “sudden” return to the country after 103 days in London for medical treatment.  None of his last three guests at Nigeria House in West London (Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara and RCCG Leader, Pastor Enoch Adeboye) had any inkling of his return.

With the drama and secrecy shrouding his London stay out of the way, attention shifts to the tons of problems waiting for him in his In-tray. The following are areas Nigerians would be looking at – expecting the promised change.

INCREASING THE PERFORMANCE PACE OF HIS ADMINISTRATION

According to Buharimeter Mid-Term Report, which was compiled by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and sponsored by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Open Society Initiative for Western Africa (OSIWA), the President’s performance was put at 57 per cent in two years. The report, which was signed by the Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan, was based on the 222 pledges made by the President. The 222 election pledges were carefully sourced from (1) APC Manifesto: An Honest Contract with Nigeria;( 2) My Covenant with Nigeria released by the Campaign Team of the APC Presidential Candidate, Muhammadu Buhari; and (3) Un-refuted media reports including national newspaper reports and electronic media reports (television and radio) on election promises made by the President during campaign tours across the country.

The report said: “The Buharimeter Perception Survey reveals that 57% of surveyed Nigerians approve of the job performance of President Buhari, while 40% do not approve of his job performance. “Significantly, the 57% job approval has a regional dimension, with those from the northern region viewing Buhari more favourably.

“ While respondents from the North West (85%) and North -East (66%) constitute the majority of those who approve of his performance, respondents from the South-East (72%) and South-South (60%) make up those who do not approve of his performance.”

The presidency now has less than two years left to the next general elections and his government would need to increase its pace of delivery to go into that contest with positive public perceptions.

REVVING UP THE ECONOMY

At the non-elective National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last Saturday in Abuja, the alleged slow or poor economic performance of the Buhari administration became the butt of attacks by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and the party’s National Chairman, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi. The nation was bewildered as Jonathan woke up from his slumber to lambast this government. The ex-President met a match in the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu and the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, who has been a die-hard loyalist of Buhari. Those in charge of the facts and figures on the economy were yet to talk as at press time. But the internationally recognized report of the CDD gave a verdict that Buhari ought to do more on the economy.

The CDD report said: “There is no doubt that restoring Nigeria’s economy is a priority for the administration. However, its inability to translate several monetary and fiscal policies to economic growth and development in the last two years raises some concerns.

“Even the interest rate regime in the monetary market has not made any meaningful impact on the all-time inflation rate. As revealed in the Buharimeter Survey report, in spite of the government’s efforts to tackle the economic recession, most Nigerians do not believe these approaches are effective.

12
NEWS / Senate Bars Pencom, CBB, ICPC Bosses From Resumption
« on: Today at 04:15:09 AM »
THE Senate yesterday warned nominees into the headship of three Federal Government institutions whose names were recently announced not to resume work until their nominations are confirmed in accordance with the provision of the Constitution.
The nominees affected by the Senate directive are Alhaji Ali Usman who has been nominated to become the Director General of the Pension Commission (PenCom), Dr. Mohammed Isah nominated as chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CBB) and Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, the chairman nominee of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
In a statement by its spokesperson, Aliyu Abdullahi, the Senate noted that: “The leadership of the Senate has been inundated by enquiries from individuals from across the country who want to know whether the statement from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to the effect that the nominees into the headship of PenCom, Code of Conduct Bureau and ICPC should resume work immediately pending their confirmation by the Senate was as a result of an understanding between the executive and the legislature.
“We will like to advise the Acting President who was quoted to have given the directive for the resumption of the nominees that the directive was illegal and not right. The Senate will not support any action that is not in line with the law.
“We advise the nominees to hold on until they are cleared by the Senate as required by the law before resuming in their respective offices. We do not want anything that will cause any problem between the executive and the legislature.”

13
NEWS / Excitement As Buhari Returns
« on: Today at 04:14:02 AM »
The 105 word statement was the most awaited news in the land. And when it broke early yesterday, it was only a matter of minutes before it swept across the country and even beyond: President Muhammadu Buhari was on his way back home. A hundred and three days after departing these shores for medical treatment in London.

The social media burst into life, lapping unto Femi Adesina’s (the President’s spokesperson’s) statement.

Abuja, usually sleepy at weekends, went agog. The mobilization to welcome back the President home had begun in earnest.

The road to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport suddenly got busy as people started moving, in twos, threes and bigger numbers, in the direction of the airport.

The story was not different at the Presidential Villa where preparation to receive the President was in full swing.

As early as 8:45 am, a luxury bus belonging to the Guards Brigade had begun dropping off soldiers at various points in the Villa.

Policemen and personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) and Federal Road Safety Corps were also deployed in various parts of Abuja.

By 9am members of a Mobile Police unit were seen rounding off a parade rehearsal close to the Presidential Villa’s gate.

By 3pm, the vicinity of the airport was practically filled up with people.

People lined the streets and the perimeter of the Presidential Wing of the airport for the welcome party.

Providing entertainment on the sideline were cultural dancers.

Some admirers of the President carried placards welcoming him back home. Some of the inscriptions on the placards were: “Sai Baba”, “Welcome Back Home.”

Excitement filled the air.

The crowd went ecstatic once they sighted the presidential plane in the sky.

The Nigerian Air Force Plane 001 finally landed at 4:35 pm.

Buhari, wearing a brown kaftan stepped out, and walked down the aisle to be received by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, leading a team of senior government officials.

They shook hands warmly.

The rendition of the National anthem followed.

That over, he proceeded to shake hands with state governors, ministers and other government officials who had waited all day to receive him.

Each of the dignitaries had been given sanitizer to clean their hands before shaking the president.

Among state governors at the airport were Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara).

Cabinet members at the airport included Information Minister Lai Mohammed, Defence Minister Mansur Dan-Ali, FCT Minister Mohammed Bello, and Women Affairs Minister Aisha Alhassan.

Also there were the president’s Chief of Staff Abba Kyari, National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, and the Service Chiefs.

The President then walked towards the airport VIP lounge entrance, and then entered a waiting vehicle that took him to the Presidential Villa.

He is scheduled to make a radio and television broadcast to the nation tomorrow.

As the crowd awaited the president’s arrival, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said that Buhari’s return had nothing to do with the protests by some people that he should return home or resign.

“The return of the President has nothing to do with the protest. It is about continuing with the work he started,” he said.

Governor Yari of Zamfara State who doubles as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum described the President’s arrival as the moment Nigerians “have been waiting for, for over 90 days.”

He added: “We, as governors that paid him a visit, what we saw the first time, we reported to Nigerians and said Nigerians would see for themselves.

“We pray to God to give the President good health and for him to continue to manage the economy.”

Governor Ganduje said Nigerians “are happy and we are happy.”

“We did say when we visited that he was doing better and would soon return. His return will impact on the socio economic activities in the country because now that the number one decision maker is around.

“He and his deputy will take decisions together and we will see improvement. There were certain decisions the Acting President would have to communicate to him but now that he is back that would no longer be necessary.”

14
NEWS / MOSOP Suspends Three Youths Over Alleged Attack On President
« on: August 19, 2017, 10:02:48 AM »
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People has suspended three youth leaders who are members of its youth wing, the National Youth Council of Ogoni People.

The youths, identified as Dr. Young Npkah, Barinuazor Emmanuel and Eric Peekate, were suspended indefinitely for allegedly taking actions that were inimical to the well-being of Ogoni people, including their alleged involvement in the attack on MOSOP President, Mr. Legborsi Pyagbara.

Pyagbara was said to have been attacked by some Ogoni youths on January 31, 2017.

A statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of NYCOP, Mr. Fegalo Nsuke, indicated that replacements had been made for the suspended youth leaders.

A committee had been set up by MOSOP to investigate the attack on Pyagbara by some NYCOP members.

The statement read, “The MOSOP Central Committee approved the indefinite suspension of erring officials of the National Youth Council of Ogoni People on the recommendations of the MOSOP Disciplinary Committee. The suspended officials include Dr. Young Npkah, Barinuazor Emmanuel and Eric Peekate.

“The committee approved the appointment of the following persons to replace the suspended NYCOP officials in acting capacity: Norteh Meebari (President), Gbene Lekue Zini (Deputy President) and Lemii Petaba (Secretary).”

MOSOP, however, commended the Ogoni people for their massive turnout during the anti-Shell/NPDC protest held recently, calling on the government to immediately commence the reconstruction of the Port Harcourt-Ogoni axis of the East-West road to address the pains, hardship and deaths on the road.

“MOSOP call on Shell/Nigerian Petroleum Development Company to vacate Ogoniland immediately and to stop holding nocturnal meetings with some Ogonis or face the consequence,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has recalled the sacked local government chairmen of Akuku-Toru and Ogu/Bolo Council Areas.

A statement by the Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, added that the governor had directed the reinstated caretaker chairmen to resume their duty posts.

15
NEWS / Potable Water: Akeredolu Seeks FG, Donors’ Support
« on: August 19, 2017, 10:01:08 AM »
Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), on Friday called for the support of the Federal Government and donor agencies in providing potable water supply for the people of the state.

He described water as important to people, adding that that fact had informed his administration’s commitment to ensure adequate provision of potable water to his people.

Akeredolu, who spoke at the 24th meeting of the National Council on Water Resources in Akure, noted that the lack of access to potable water by the people in rural areas had become a source of concern to his administration.

He said, “Lack of access to potable water makes the people cry and this makes them resort to getting water from private sources, some of which are not hygienic.

“I am made to understand that the Federal Government is saddled with constructing dams and making raw materials available. This is a good policy and I want to plead that it is fully extended to Ondo State.

“At the moment, most of our major urban water supply schemes, some of which were inherited from the defunct Western Nigeria, have become old and inadequate in their capacities to meet the ever increasing population and water demand. Some of the dams have virtually collapsed while others are in a terrible state of disrepair.”

Akeredolu said Owena-Ondo Water Supply Scheme could no longer provide potable water to Akure, Ondo, Ile-Oluji and Idanre because its dam had collapsed.

He said, “Similarly, Ose Dam, which was constructed in 1961, has problems of heavy siltation and leakage and can no longer supply water to Owo and the surrounding villages.”

The governor said his administration had proposed having Awara/Oyinmo Water Supply Project at Ikare, which would supply four local government areas in Akokoland.

Akeredolu said he had also proposed having River Oluwa Water Supply Project in Okitipupa to serve Okitipupa and Odigbo local government areas of the state.

He, therefore, urged experts in the water supply industry, donor agencies, academics and investors, and others to collaborate with his administration’s efforts to improve water supply to the rural populace.

16
NEWS / Akeredolu Advises Youths
« on: August 19, 2017, 10:00:00 AM »
The Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, has declared his support for the youth in the country in their quest for ‘ Not too young to run’ advocacy, saying the youth are greatly needed in governance and decision making in the country.

He, however, said if the youth were ready for governance, they should prepare to make sacrifices, face the challenge of leadership and give impetus to the machinery of governance.

Akeredolu stated this at the 2017 International Youth Day celebration held at the Cultural Centre, Akure, the state capital.

Represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Olugbenga Ale, the governor decried the high level of youth unemployment in the country but noted that his administration was making efforts to engage youths in the state in agriculture in order to tackle unemployment and also for the youth to be independent.

He said, “It is rather unfortunate that despite the abundant natural and human resources available in our environment, our youths are still caught in the web of social vices. To our administration, this is a worrisome trend for our country and it is not acceptable to us.”

17
NEWS / Oshiomhole, Dangote Eulogise Late S’ Court Justice, Obaseki
« on: August 19, 2017, 09:59:19 AM »
Former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, and business magnate, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, on Friday described the late Supreme Court Justice, Andrews Obaseki,  as a fair and humble man, who stood for the truth.

The duo spoke at a funeral reception held in honour of the deceased in Benin.

Oshiomhole said the late Obaseki gave his all to the legal profession, the state and the nation.

“He is an example of the embodiment of culture, tradition, humility and commitment to justice.

“What matters is your impression here on earth, and he gave his all and we wish him eternal rest in heaven,” Oshiomhole said.

Dangote described the late Obaseki as a great leader and a legal icon.

“He died at 91 years. It is not easy to live up to that age but we thank God for his life; he has played his part and written his name in the sands of time,” he said. The remains of the former acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, was laid to rest in Benin on Friday.

The late jurist who is an uncle to the State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, died on July 13 at the age of 91.

He was buried beside the grave of his late father, Chief Gaius Obaseki, at his Benin residence on Idahosa Street.

Earlier, family and friends gathered at the St. Peter’s Anglican Church on Lagos Street for his funeral service, which was presided over by the Bishop of Benin Diocese, Rt. Rev. Peter Imasuen. In his sermon, Imasuen described the deceased as a legal icon who lived a life worthy of emulation.

The first son of the deceased, Edosa, said that his late father would be missed as he left at a time when he had a lot to offer.

He said, “I will miss that well-known smile of yours, listening to your stories and hearing your words of wisdom. I am happy that I was able to tell you that your legacies of love for family, humility and personal integrity are priceless.”

18
NEWS / Five Million Boko Haram Victims Need Food In N/East – Red Cross
« on: August 19, 2017, 09:58:27 AM »
The International Committee of the Red Cross has said that more than five million victims of the Boko Haram terrorism in the North-East are in dire need of food.

The ICRC, which stated this on Friday in its first half of the year report (January-June 2017), pointed out that about two million residents had also been displaced by the insurgency.

In a release by the ICRC spokesperson, Aleksandra Matijevic, the agency said it was searching for more than 10,000 persons, who had been separated from their families by the conflict.

The report said, “In Nigeria’s North-East, people continue to suffer the severe consequences of a protracted conflict between the government and the armed opposition.

“More than five million people in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states are in dire need of food, while an estimated two million persons have been displaced from their homes in these places.

“The situation is further compounded by the steady flow of returnees from neighbouring countries of the Lake Chad Basin who took refuge there during the peak of the armed conflict in Nigeria.

19
NEWS / Two Killed, Five Injured As Hoodlums Attack APC Secretariat
« on: August 19, 2017, 09:55:33 AM »
Two persons were on Friday confirmed dead and five others injured following an attack on the secretariat of the Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress.

The secretariat, which is located on the Yenagoa-Mbiama Road, Yenezue-Gene area of Yenagoa, was reportedly attacked at about 11am by suspected armed thugs.

The assailants were allegedly hired to disrupt the inauguration of the acting chairman of the party, Joseph Fafi.

The national body of the party had appointed Fafi to the position following the expulsion of the former chairman, Chief Tiwei Orunimighe; his deputy, Eddy Julius; and the party’s secretary, Marlin Daniel, over alleged anti-party activities.

One of the persons killed in the violence was said to be a member of the APC from Sagbama Local Government Area, while the other victim was said to have been a passerby caught in the crossfire.

It was learnt that trouble started when a group loyal to Orunimighe allegedly went to the secretariat to protest against the change in leadership.

But it was gathered that while they were at the gate, chanting songs, another group loyal to the state’s party leader and former governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, confronted them. A clash between the two groups reportedly followed.

Some journalists at the event, including a reporter for the Silverbird Television/Rhythm FM station, Jesse Ese, were injured while trying to scale the barbed wire fence of the party’s secretariat during the ensuing melee.

Ese lost most of his valuables as a crowd of persons stepped on him while running to escape from the violence.

As the shootings lasted, the entire area was thrown into pandemonium with business owners closing their shops and scampering for their safety.

Most persons within the APC secretariat jumped over the barbed wire fence out of panic and landed in swamps.

Security operatives deployed in the scene were said to have engaged the armed thugs and later repelled them.

The inauguration, however, proceeded as scheduled after peace returned to the secretariat.

Speaking on the development, the only APC member in the State House of Assembly, Mr. Isreal Sunny-Igoli, accused Orunimighe and an ex-militant leader of hiring thugs to attack the party.

Sylva described the attack on the party secretariat as cowardly and wicked and apologised to members, saying the perpetrators were too small to stop an APC event in the state.

But Oruminighe, who spoke via the telephone, said he was not a party to the violence, blaming it on the desperation of Sylva and the Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, to depose him.

Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant on Politics to Governor Seriake Dickson, Miriki Ebikibina, has described the event as unfortunate, regrettable and totally unacceptable.

Ebikibina said, “The violence and the pandemonium caused are regrettable because they are coming a day after the meeting of the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, with the state governors and security officers on hate speech and insecurity.”

20
NEWS / Ibadan To Get 32 New Monarchs –Chieftaincy Commission
« on: August 19, 2017, 09:53:41 AM »
The Judicial Commission of Inquiry for the review of the existing 1957 Declaration of Olubadan of Ibadanland and other related chieftaincies in Ibadanland, set up by Governor Abiola Ajimobi, has recommended 32 beaded kings for Ibadan, while the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, will maintain his status as the paramount ruler of the city.

In the recommendation submitted to the governor on Friday, the commission said that in order to reduce the length of years it takes a potential Olubadan to get to the pinnacle of the two chieftaincy lines producing the Olubadan on rotational basis, the steps must be reduced to 11 on the Otun line from the existing 22, while the Balogun line was reduced to 12 from the existing 23 rungs.

The implication of the recommendation is that the Ikolaba chieftaincy will now become the entry point for a potential high chief, instead of Jagun chieftaincy as it currently stands.

The commission, which has Justice Akintunde Boade (retd.) as its chairman, submitted its report to the governor with members of the Olubadan-in-Council, led by the Otun Olubadan, High Chief Lekan Balogun, and Balogun of Ibadanland, High Chief Owolabi Olakulehin, present.

Other personalities present at the presentation were members of Ibadan Council of Elders, representatives of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes, all the local government chairmen from Ibadanland and other eminent personalities of Ibadan extraction.

Ajimobi said no effort would be spared to ensure that the recommendations were implemented as early as next month.

According to him, his administration’s resolve to carry out a comprehensive review of the Olubadan chieftaincy was in response to the requests by the Olubadan-in-Council, Ibadan elders, members of CCII and others.

He insisted that the exercise was not new, making reference to previous administrations that had reviewed the chieftaincy declaration, but which could not muster the political will to implement their respective reports.

Ajimobi said, “It is not everybody that will agree with us but once we have the majority who are in support, we are not bothered. As it is customary, some people will disagree with any policy the government wants to implement, only for them to commend such policy in future.

“So, we really don’t mind those who are abusing us for taking this action. It only makes us happy and realise that we are doing the right thing.”

21
NEWS / IPOB May Reverse No-Election Order In Anambra
« on: August 19, 2017, 09:52:25 AM »
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, may reverse the no-election order he issued in Anambra State, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.

Kanu, who met with the leadership of Ala Igbo Development Foundation in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Friday, over the boycott order issued by IPOB on the Anambra State election, said the decision to reverse the order would be considered by the entire IPOB members not himself.

He said he had honoured the invitation based on the respect he had for Igbo elders.

He insisted that his agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra was based on justice, equity and fairness.

 “I came because of my respect for elders. IPOB is not a violent group. We are law abiding citizens of the society.

“What we discussed here today will guide us on the issue of Anambra election. I will go and meet with the leadership of IPOB,” he said.

The President of Ala Igbo Development Foundation, Prof. Uzodimma Nwala, said that the meeting was to find a way of bringing lasting peace in Anambra State over the forthcoming election in the state.

Nwala said, “You can see our brother, Nnamdi Kanu, in our midst. We have come to discuss the issue of mutual concern, especially on the Anambra election. We are happy he is here with us.

“We are glad he has explained to us the reason the boycott order was issued and that it was not his personal decision but that of the IPOB leadership. We are meeting for the first time and will still meet again. No decision has been taken (yet).”

22
NEWS / Adeboye Visits Ailing Buhari In London
« on: August 19, 2017, 09:51:39 AM »
The General Overseer Worldwide, Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, on Friday visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Abuja House, London.

Buhari has been receiving medical attention in the British capital since May 7, 2017.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, posted two photographs taken during Adeboye’s visit on his Facebook page.

In one of the pictures, Buhari and his visitor were seated on a sofa while the President appeared to be scanning through a book, suspected to be a gift from the religious leader.

A bag, which appeared to have been used to take the book to the President, was placed between Buhari and Adeboye.

In the second picture, the President and his guest were shaking hands.

Adesina captioned the photographs with: “President Buhari receives General Overseer Worldwide, Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, at the Abuja House, London on 18th Aug, 2017.”

Buhari, later on his Twitter handle, @Buhari, thanked the religious leader for his prayers and good wishes.

“I thank Pastor Adeboye for visiting today, and for his prayers and good wishes. May God continue to bless him and his work,” the President wrote.

Adeboye visited the President about 24 hours after the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, had paid him a similar visit.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, had earlier paid a similar visit to the President.

Meanwhile, Saraki on Thursday said that he and Dogara had discussed the 2017 budget and steps to be taken in the preparation of the 2018 budget with the President in London.

Saraki said this in a series of tweets on his official Twitter handle.

The Senate President said they also discussed the virement request of the Presidency, which is currently before the National Assembly.

Saraki described the meeting as a “meeting of substance”, where important matters of state were discussed, including the 2017 budget.

He added, “In particular, we talked about the virement request by the Presidency, which is before the National Assembly. We then considered the steps to be taken in the preparation of the 2018 budget to ensure its early passage.

“Mr. President exhibited remarkable recovery and was very conversant with all the political happenings home and across the continent.

“International issues were also discussed and Mr. President informed us that he has conveyed his sympathies to the people of Sierra Leone.”

23
Some Nigerians in the United Kingdom on Friday concluded arrangement to hold an all-night protest against President Muhammadu Buhari’s long absence from Nigeria at the Abuja House in London.

The protest was scheduled to take place between 5 pm on Friday and 9 am on Saturday (today).

The #ResumeOrResign protesters asked Buhari, who had spent 104 days outside the country to receive medical treatment, to either return to Nigeria to resume work or resign so as to allow a more capable person to lead the country.

Similar #ResumeOrResign protests by the #OurMumuDonDo movement, led by popular Nigerian entertainer, Charly Boy, had taken place in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja for several days until August 15 when the group was attacked and wounded by pro-Buhari protesters at the Wuse market.

In a Facebook post on Friday, a UK-based Nigerian and Convener of Hope for Nigeria, Chidi Cali, announced that the British police operating in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea had given them permission to hold the protest in front of the Abuja House, London.

Cali also said the police promised to provide the protesters’ security while their sit-down protest lasted.

Calling on Nigerians living in London to join the protest, Cali expressed delight that the British Police and the Kensington and Chelsea Council allowed their protest, which would be a candlelight vigil and procession, to hold.

A sticker showing the permission of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for the protest to hold was seen notifying London motorists to avoid the Abuja House while the protest lasted.

As of 8pm on Friday, Cali posted some pictures of the protesters setting the stage, decorated with the Nigerian flag and carrying posters with inscriptions such as “Resume or resign,” “Enough is enough” and “We must know Buhari’s health status.”

Some British police officers were also seen standing in front of the Abuja House to protect the protesters.

Meanwhile, the So...t Party of Nigeria has condemned the attack on the #ResumeOrResign protesters by Buhari’s supporters at the Wuse Market on Tuesday in Abuja.

The party said even though it did not necessarily agree with the proposition of the Charly Boy-led group that the resignation of President Buhari and replacement by acting President Yemi Osinbajo would resolve any of the socio-economic problems afflicting the working and toiling people of this country, the attack on him and the other protesters was condemnable.

A statement on Friday by the party’s National Secretary, Chinedu Bosah, said the attack was a clear indication that the ruling All Progressives Congress had the intention of repressing criticisms of the Buhari administration with extreme measures.

The statement partly read, “We call on the labour movement and the people to also speak up and condemn the attack because it portends grave dangers for the struggles of the working people in general.

“This attack raises fears about how fast Nigeria is being turned into a banana republic where any criticism of the ruling party and the administration of President Buhari are considered as a crime punishable by complete character assassination, blackmail or death.

“As far as we are concerned, citizens have a right to ask questions, not just about government policies but also about the conducts, actions and the health conditions of political office holders, including that of President Buhari whose medical bill in London is being footed by taxpayers.”

The party added that the APC and the Buhari government should be held responsible for the attack.

24
NEWS / Lawyers, Opposition Slam Osinbajo For Slow Response
« on: August 19, 2017, 09:49:55 AM »
Lawyers and opposition parties have slammed Acting President Yemi Osinbajo for failing to address national issues — such as calls for restructuring, quit notices from different ethnic groups and threat by the Indigenous People of Biafra — with promptness.

Describing his handling of the issues as sluggish, they said his poor response was unbecoming to his office, considering the swiftness with which he addressed similar issues when he was acting president during President Muhammadu Buhari’s earlier medical trip to London between January 19 and March 10, 2017.

During this period, Osinbajo had garnered commendations from the public due to the attention he gave to pressing issues in Buhari’s absence.

For instance, at the height of Nigeria’s recession, Osinbajo had on January 27, 2017, eight days after Buhari left, held a meeting with the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, Ms. Ertharin Cousin, to find a way to tackle the problem of hunger in the land.

He had also presided over the Federal Executive Council meeting on February 1 and mandated the Presidential Task Force on Food Security to look for ways of reducing the prices of food items in the country.

On agitations by Niger Delta militants, Osinbajo had visited the region between February 10 and 13, making interactive engagements with people in oil-producing communities in the area.

He had thereafter gone to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to meet with stakeholders of the oil-producing communities. During the meeting, he rolled out the framework for the clean-up of Ogoniland.

His consultations with people in the Niger Delta had led to a reduction in attacks against oil facilities in the region, thereby increasing oil production.

Buhari had earlier planned to go to the region, but cancelled his plan after threats by ex-militants in the area that they would kill him if he visited.

Osinbajo had on February 16 addressed the foreign exchange crisis when he presided over the first National Economic Council meeting of the year and directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to review the foreign exchange policy and inject fresh $250m into the Sovereign Wealth Fund. The decisions taken at the meeting were said to have led to the strengthening of the naira at that period.

Also, on February 17, Osinbajo had signed seven bills into law, including the Oaths (Amendment) Act 2017; the Defence Space Administration Act 2017; and the Veterinary Surgeons (Amendment) Act 2017.

That same day, he had paid an unscheduled visit to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, as part of the 60-day action plan for business reforms in the country.

Less than 24 hours after his unscheduled visit to the Lagos airport, the Federal Government announced the sacking of 10 directors of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

Also, the acting President, had on February 7, sent the name of Justice Walter Onnoghen to the Senate for confirmation as Chief Justice of Nigeria after a prolonged delay.

On road contracts, Osinbajo had, on February 8, approved N21bn for the construction of Section 1 of the Ilorin-Omu Aran-Kabba Road. A week later, he approved the award of N126bn road projects spread across Kano, Bauchi, Adamawa, Kwara, Gombe, Enugu and Kaduna states.

However, 104 days after Buhari left again for medical treatment in London, lawyers and members of opposition parties have criticised Osinbajo for being slow in his response to national issues that have come up, including multiple quit notices by ethnic groups, IPOB threat and his silence on the investigation into corruption allegations against the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, and the embattled Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke.

The opposition also pointed out that it had taken an “order” from Buhari on June 12 for the acting president to sign the 2017 appropriation bill into law, a month after it was passed by the National Assembly.

It had also taken Osinbajo 22 days to assign portfolios to two new ministers – Stephen Ocheni (Kogi) and Suleiman Hassan (Gombe) – after their inauguration.

The Peoples Democratic Party had recently called Osinbajo a figurehead, saying his actions or inaction had shown that Buhari was still calling the shots from London.

Speaking to Saturday PUNCH, a human rights lawyer, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, averred that the President never intended to transmit power to Osinbajo, which prompted the idea of referring to the latter as the “coordinator” of the economy.

“And exactly, that is what he has restricted him to,” Adegboruwa said, adding that Buhari had been superimposing his personality by giving the impression that he would soon return to the country every other day.

Adegboruwa said Osinbajo had been “caged by the cabal” since Buhari left the country on May 7.

“With due respect, the acting president is just a figurehead and that you can see in how long it took him to give portfolios to the ministers who were screened by the Senate,” he said.

Adegboruwa suggested that the current scenario had led to the issue of “double loyalty”, as most members of the cabinet were unwilling to transfer their loyalty to the acting president “since there is the impression that the President would soon come back.”

He added, “So, it is not that things are slower; the acting President is being caged by certain forces.”

The National Chairman of the Action Alliance, who is also the spokesperson for the Coalition for New Nigeria, Mr. Kenneth Udeze, said history would judge Osinbajo whether he decides to use or fails to use his power to act at this period.

He said, “Maybe the acting President is trying to consider the moral aspect of the constitution because legally, he has power to take decisions without consulting Buhari.

“There are pending dangerous issues such as quit notices here and there and the IPOB threat that we’re expecting the acting President to take actions on, but it’s unfortunate nothing is being done.

“His job [this time around] shows that nothing is working; everything has come to a standstill. People are hungry, nothing is happening, nothing is working. History will judge him if he acts at this time or not.

“His consideration of the moral aspect of his leadership has to stay aside; he needs to take bold steps, he needs to act.”

The President, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Mr. Malachy Ugwummadu, said the commendations Osinbajo got during Buhari’s previous absence could be the source of his current predicament.

He said, “He (Osinbajo) must have created some enemies then, people who were uncomfortable with his success because of their loyalty to Buhari. Now he (Osinbajo) has to contend with the cabal. This situation must be tying his hands. I think Osinbajo is also conscious of the situation he’s in and aware that he’s not yet a substantive President.

“But no matter the circumstance he’s in, by virtue of Section 145(1) of the Constitution, power has been devolved to him and he needs not look left or right before taking decisions.”

Another lawyer and political analyst, Mr. Liborous Oshoma, said it was clear that Osinbajo’s current performance as acting President was less impressive than the previous time he acted in that capacity.

Oshoma said there were indications that Osinbajo had been taking instructions from Buhari in London this time around on a daily basis, thereby hampering him from moving fast.

   He said, “If you look at the body language of the President’s handlers and advisers, it is contrary to the general belief that the acting President is in charge. The issue of swearing-in of ministerial nominees showed that truly, the acting President was waiting for instructions from London. What that tells us is that probably Osinbajo will not be able to move as he wants to because the President is still calling the shots from his hospital bed in London.

“When the budget was passed by the National Assembly, even the Minister of Information (Lai Mohammed) could not categorically say who would sign the budget. It shows that somebody somewhere was calling the shots. And even after it was signed, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said it was the President who instructed Osinbajo to sign it.

“Osinbajo is like an ambassador posted to represent his country and is unable to take decisions without getting a “yes” or “no” answer from his country. During the last Sallah, Osinbajo could not issue a Sallah message to the country because there was already a Hausa message from the President all the way from London.”

The National Chairman of the Labour Party, Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, said he agreed with the PDP, which recently described Osinbajo as a mere figurehead.

He said, “We agree with the PDP that Osinbajo is a figurehead. He’s not acting. Look at it, for a long time; he couldn’t assign portfolios to the two inaugurated ministers.”

However, the Convener, Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, said Osinbajo should not be expected to move fast, considering the prevailing circumstances.

He said, “In the system we are operating, the acting President knows very well he wasn’t the one who was elected. So whatever side arguments are presented or invocations we make of the constitution, the fact remains that the acting President is politically untested and did not win his own election.

“He (Osinbajo) wasn’t a very senior member of the party, so anybody who is asking him to run before he could walk is not being fair to him and to the country. If for whatever reason Buhari vacates the seat on his own volition on health grounds or any other thing, then, of course, I expect the first order of business for Osinbajo to be the reshuffling of the cabinet and consulting widely with the party.”

Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, said contrary to people’s opinions, Osinbajo was fully in charge of the country in the absence of President Buhari.

He said all presidential aides report to Osinbajo after Buhari handed over power to him (Osinbajo) in accordance with the constitution.

He said, “The acting President has the full authority and as you can see, he is wielding it as and when due. He is free of any hindrance and the President made it clear in word and deed that Osinbajo is fully in charge.

“All presidential aides report to the acting President. This report is a distraction. The acting President is signing executive orders, signing bills into law, making appointments, swearing in ministers and permanent secretaries and assigning them portfolios.

“He takes his constitutional role seriously as he has always done and will always do whether as acting President or vice-president.”

25
NEWS / ASUU Strike’ll Increase Prostitution, Sex Workers Tell FG
« on: August 19, 2017, 09:48:49 AM »
The Nigerian Sex Workers Association says the ongoing strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, which has led to the closure of public universities, will increase prostitution among female students.

The national coordinator of the association, Amaka Enemo, said this during an interview with our correspondent on Friday.

Enemo said, even without the strike, many female students had been engaging in ‘runs’, a euphemism for offering sex for cash or other valuables.

She said if the strike was not called off soon, idle students would embrace sex work.

Enemo said, “Even without the strike, a lot of the students were doing ‘runs’, which is exchanging money for sex. But with the strike, just like a holiday, the rate of sex work will double.

“In this job, strike or holiday period is like a peak period. So, I urge them to stay safe because we cannot kick them off the streets. They should be safe and use condoms.

“The government needs to ensure that the strike is called off because if the students are left idle due to the closure of schools, it means the government is indirectly telling them to go to the streets.”

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