70-Year Old Nigerian Ambassador Shows Intention in C’Rivers Governorship

Nigeria’s Ambassador to Uganda, Mr. Nya Asuquo, has declared his intention to contest the governorship seat in the 2019 election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress in Cross River State.

Asuquo said he would contest the election because the current leadership in the state had failed, adding that the state had become less productive because of poor governance.

The 70-year-old envoy, who is the head of the Ikot-Offiong clan in the Odukpani Local Government Area, said he would support any youth that provides a better programme to run the state.

He said, “I am entering the race because the current leadership has failed. Cross Riverians are seen to be less productive because of visionless leadership that has refused to look for the treasures hidden in their backyards. They have resorted to depending on federal allocation.

“If a youthful candidate comes out today with a good programme, I will support him. We have had young people at the helm in the state.”

The ambassador, who is from the southern senatorial district, said the current zoning structure, which favours the northern senatorial district, should not be applicable in the 2019 election.

He also said with the current game plan, some leaders in the APC were planning to ensure that the governorship and chairmanship slots were given to the central senatorial district, adding that such would breed anarchy.

He added, “At every time there was a contest for governor, there were contenders from every zone and same thing for chairmanship position. In other words, there was no zoning in the state.

“However, zoning was defeated in APC in the last election. It was said that if the governor is coming from the North, the chairman of the party should come from the South. But suddenly the drum player in Rivers State gave the governorship to the North and the chairmanship to central. We have been saddled with that problem till date.”

Source: Punch

When Your Name is Omo-Agege by Onoshe Nwabuikwu

I was going to call this: ‘Politicians Say the Darndest Things’ based on President Muhammadu Buhari’s reported comments that he wasn’t thinking about politics but focused on security and the economy. The article was coming along nicely. I had managed to convince or intimidate those who refuse to be convinced that the President was speaking the truth, that there was no doubt his entire focus is on the economy and security. Contrary to what some naysayers would have us believe, Nigeria is reaping bountifully from these concerted efforts on economy and security.

Then the news broke that suspended APC Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, (representing Delta Central Senatorial District) had invaded the National Assembly with or without the help of thugs and taken the mace. The videos as seen in all the TV stations do show the man walking towards the mace flanked by people who looked like thugs. Then, the magic happened. However, I like that Senator Shehu Sani managed to convince his colleagues to continue sitting, first offering his belt until the spare mace was brought in.

As someone who lived in Lagos for 17 years, if anyone introduced themselves to me as Omo Agege, I’ll be a little wary of that person. It’s like being called Omo jaguda. Apologies to all the decent and law-abiding people of Agege. Now, I haven’t been to Agege in a few years; so, I’m just going with my pre-2005 Agege, where life was rugged and there were quite a few colourful characters from that part of Lagos.

What’s in a name, you ask? Well, it so happens that Ovie Omo-Agege has become extra famous. I imagine before now, he must have attracted some attention because of things like Agege bread, etc. Have you seen the memes? The man has been nicknamed The Mace Runner. This is a tailor-made Nollywood film with Mr. Ibu as lead. Just imagine Mr. Ibu running with the mace, certified blockbuster, I tell you.

Some witty person online has even managed to change the slang “Warri No Dey Carry Last” to “Warri No Dey Carry Last, Na Mace Dem Dey Carry.”

…Politicians Still Say the Darndest Things

The brouhaha from the alleged Omo-Agege stunt had hardly died down when our president released another quotable quote while addressing the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in the UK: “More than 60 per cent of the population is below 30. A lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil producing country; therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, health care, education for free.”

To tell you the truth, I have no words or the now popular phrase: I can’t deal. The best reaction has to be cartoonist, Mike Asukwo’s: “If wishes were power bikes, every jobless Nigerian youth would ride.” You can laugh/cry, if you get the joke.

President Buhari was only keeping to his modus operandi whenever he travels outside of Nigeria. It’s like something in the air abroad, the 24-hour electricity, the Boko Haram-free environment, or the absence of herdsmen. There’s something. I don’t believe it’s just because he was far from his handlers. Not to mention the fact that some of these handlers have called Nigerians worse names.

India Signs Death Penalty for Child Rape

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind has signed an ordinance that allows stringent punishments for sexual violence against children, including the death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years.

The Indian government had passed the ordinance on Saturday, facing public anger over recent cases of rape of young girls.

An 8-year-old girl was gang-raped and murdered in the state of Jammu and Kashmir while in Uttar Pradesh a 16-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped by a ruling party lawmaker, triggering nationwide outrage and protests.

The ordinance was signed into law by President Kovind and an official notification to the effect was published on the government gazette on Sunday. It will be valid for six months, during which it has to be ratified by the parliament.

The new law introduces the maximum punishment of the death penalty for those who rape children under 12 years. Under the earlier law, the maximum punishment for child rape was life in prison. The minimum punishment is a 20-year jail term or life imprisonment.

Minimum prison sentences for rape against girls under the age of 16 and women have also been raised. The government has also laid down measures for speedy investigation of rape, stipulating that probes have to be completed within two months.

Several thousand people joined rallies and demonstrations in India in the recent days, protesting the cases of rape of young girls. Four more rapes and murders of young girls were reported from Indian cities last week adding to the public anger.

DPA

Mischief Makers Open Fake Zahra Buhari Facebook Account

Femi Adesina, the president’s media adviser said the cloned account was the handiwork of mischief makers, who have taken the antics against the First Family to another level.

“Merchants of mischief have taken their antics against the first family further by creating a fake Facebook account in the name of Zahra, President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter.

The fake account, conspicuously different from the authentic one, was used to post a message on April 17, 2018, at 9.07 a.m.

“A picture of President Buhari, with snowflakes all over him, and being welcomed to a foreign country was used, alongside this message:

“Children of God, here is a 75 years old man walking in the snow without cardigan just to rescue the battered economic status of Nigeria and some of you senseless people feel he travels too much, as if he travels for partying or merry making.

“God bless Nigeria. Please share…”

“The Presidency hereby repudiates the Facebook account, as it does not belong to Zahra. Members of the public are urged to be wary, and see through the intentions of those behind the fakery. They seek to attract odium to the first family, and also do not mean well for our country.”

Zahra married last year to Muhammed Indimi.

Senate President Urges Nigeria to Guard Democracy

The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, on Friday urged Nigerians to guard the country’s democracy jealously and shun acts that could truncate it.

He gave the advice in Lagos while speaking at the 4th Anniversary Lecture of The Niche Newspapers.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the lecture is: “Development Reporting and Hysteria Journalism in Nigeria”.

Represented by Sen. Ben Murray-Bruce, Saraki said democracy was the best form of government and urged citizens to preserve it at all costs.

The Senate President pointed out that though the system was yet to be perfect, democracy was still the best way to realise the country’s development aspirations.

“We must preserve democracy at all costs. It is the duty of everyone, all the citizens of the country.

“No matter the problems we are facing, democracy is still the best form of government to guarantee development “, he said.

Saraki said the media had contributed to the survival of democracy in the country through agenda setting and playing the role of a watchdog.

He urged the media not to relent on its efforts at promoting the country’s development and making Nigeria a better place.

The Senate President described Wednesday’s invasion of the Senate and snatching of the mace by hoodlums as primitive and disgraceful.

He said the incident was an assault on the legislature and a threat to democracy and security.

Saraki, however, thanked the media for rising to the occasion by reporting the incident in real time, saying the intervention helped to highlight the threat.

The Saraki said media had a big role to play in leadership and urged it to always play its role to improve the Democratic process.

In his speech, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Mr Kingsley Moghalu described the media as an essential component of the country’s development.

He, however, expressed the regret that the media had not been sufficiently playing the role of promoting development.

Moghalu said a good number of outlets focused on hysteria journalism which highlighted sensationalism rather than development.

Moghalu, who had a stint at Newswatch Magazine, said most media houses had deviated from development issues for political patronage.

He lamented that investigative journalism was dying in the country, saying that was not good for the country’s development.

“One of the major ways in which the media can play the role of a catalyst in social transformation is through investigative journalism.

“By uncovering evidence of malfeasance and shedding light on social olds, journalists can influence public discourse in a major way.

“There is so much that is wrong with our country today and a vibrant tradition of investigative reporting can help change this “, he said.

He decried the focus of media organisations on sports and entertainment and said there was the need to do more on real news for development.

Moghalu acknowledged that the media was challenged in many ways but still urged it not to abdicate its responsibilities owing to challenges.

In a brief remark, a legal luminary, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, said citizens’ participation was essentially to strengthen democracy.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to participate actively in the 2019 elections to elect leaders of their choice.

A former presidential aspirant of the KOWA party, Prof. Remi Sonaiya, commended the media for its role in national development.

She, however, said the media was not doing enough in giving balanced coverage for aspirants for elective offices.

She said the media focused more on the candidates of the major parties during the 2015 elections and did not bother about others.

“The media should give everyone equal coverage. That is the only way to present different options to the Nigerian people “.she said.

The President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mrs Funke Egbemode said the media industry was facing a lot of crisis at the moment.

She listed the problems of the industry as poor patronage, declining advertising revenues and high operating costs and declining professionalism.

Egbemode said most organisations were just struggling to survive and that that had affected the capacity of the industry to function as efficiently as expected.

“It is bad news that there are even worse days ahead for the industry’ ’she said.

She said the hysteria journalism being practised was as a result of the problems in the society.

The media practitioner said the news people read was a reflection of the society, adding the media should not be blamed for that.

Speaking the Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos, Mr Joe Igbokwe said the media was key to the development of the nation.

He, however, urged the media to respond to the trends in the industry in order to remain relevant.

On the looters list released by the APC, he said the action was taken to discourage corruption.

He said those who looted the country were going about with bold faces, saying there was the need to let them know they had a price to pay.

“You can take our money and go about with a bold face. The list is, therefore, to discourage and reduce corruption “, he said.

He urged Nigerians of all regions not to look down on one another, saying reciprocal respect for peoples across region was good for unity.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari has acquitted himself well as leader of the country.

In his welcome address, the Editor in Chief of the Niche Newspaper, Mr Ikechukwu Ameachi, said the lecture was organised annually to discuss issues that affect the country with a view to proffering solutions.

Police, Shiite Protesters Clash For Second Day

Nigerian police fired teargas for a second day Tuesday at protesters demanding the release of Shiite leader Ibrahim Zakzaky, who has been in jail without charge since December 2015.

Scores of protesters were also arrested by armed police wearing bulletproof vests and gas masks during clashes in Abuja, the national capital.

“We’ve come under serious attack today,” said Deji Adeyanju of Concerned Nigerians, a civil society group involved in the demonstration.

“The more they attack the more (we) come out,” Deji said. “We want to defy tyranny and a dictatorship.”

The police did not immediately comment.

Zakzaky, head of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), has been in government custody since troops clashed with his followers in the northern city of Zaria in December 2015 despite court orders that he should be freed.

More than 350 IMN followers were killed in the 2015 clashes. Zakzaky was shot and injured leaving him partly paralysed and blind in one eye.

The Shiite leader has repeatedly been imprisoned for alleged incitement and subversion.

IMN has been in conflict with the Nigerian government for years, seeking to foment an Iranian-style Islamic revolution in the country’s Sunni Muslim-majority north.

Zakzaky’s followers on Monday had clashed with the police in Abuja’s Maitama area and police made at least 115 arrests.

AFP.

I was Brought up to Stand for the Truth- Aisha Buhari

The wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha Buhari, was honoured with an award as the Vanguard Personality of the Year 2017.

In her speech which was delivered by one of her daughters, Halima, she made the clarification in a message she sent to the 2017 Vanguard Awards where she was honoured as Vanguard Personality of the Year 2017.

Mrs. Buhari said she was brought up to stand by the truth and that was how she has been living her life.

She said Nigerians elected her husband based on the trust and confidence they have in him and she felt the administration must serve Nigeria to the best of its ability.

The President’s wife said, “I wish to thank the management of Vanguard Media Limited for this unexpected award, in recognition of my humanitarian efforts towards improving the health and welfare of Nigerians particularly women, children and less privileged.

“One of the reasons adduced for honouring me was the interview I granted which some people saw as criticism to a government that I am part of.

“I need to state that my position was a result of my sense of justice and not confrontation or disrespect. I was brought up to stand by the truth and this is how I have always been.

“As we are all aware, Nigerians elected this administration based on the trust and confidence they have on my husband; I, therefore, feel that we are here to serve Nigeria to the best of our ability.

“Let me use this opportunity to state that I support my husband in this call to service and will continue to do so.

“On this note, I hereby dedicate this award to the people of Nigeria, especially women. Thank you sincerely for this award.”

Mrs. Buhari had in the 2016 interview with BBC warned her husband that she might not back him at the 2019 election unless he shakes up his government.

She has claimed that the President did not know most of the top officials he appointed.

She had said, “The President does not know 45 out of 50, for example, of the people he appointed and I don’t know them either, despite being his wife of 27 years.

“Some people are sitting down in their homes folding their arms only for them to be called to come and head an agency or a ministerial position.”

In the BBC interview, the Mrs. Buhari refused to name those who had hijacked the government, saying, “You will know them if you watch television.”

On whether the President was in charge, she said, “That is left for the people to decide.”

Mrs. Buhari had also said her husband had not told her whether he would contest the 2019 election as of the time of the interview.

She had said, “He is yet to tell me but I have decided, as his wife, that if things continue like this up to 2019, I will not go out and campaign again and ask any woman to vote like I did before. I will never do it again.”

Nigerians Hail VP’s Spokeman

Mr. Laolu Akande is the latest target in the seemingly determined fight back of the defenders of our national commonwealth.

He is no slouch in media matters, being an accomplished reporter and leading journalist who became a national editor way back in 1997 before his 30th birthday. His last reportorial assignment was at the US where he represented The Guardian newspaper including reporting from the White House and the UN. Since he left the paper is yet to fill the vacuum he filled for very many years before returning to Nigeria in 2015. Laolu Akande’s journalism credential is sterling and he has brought this to bear in the way he relates with reporters and media practitioners on his present job.

If one newspaper reporter chooses to isolate himself when most media practitioners have always commended his way of handling thorny media issues, then it’s unfortunate and shows something else including bad belle is at play here.

The art of information management requires that synergy exists between reporters/media and the government. It does not necessarily imply that a frosty relationship must exist between the media and government. The basic knowledge we acquire in mass communication class is the need to communicate so that the society will continue to develop and not to use the power of the pen to destroy. This does not obviate the watchdog role of the media.

To the best of my knowledge, Laolu Akande has in the course of his duties passed the integrity test and indeed surpassed the expectations of many Nigerians in his job performance. In discharging his assigned duties he has always been calm and collected. His human relations has remained a source of pride to many of his colleagues in the journalism profession.

A close contact with Mr. Laolu Akande will prove to any discerning mind that his humility is disarming and sense of judgement inspiring. For many people Laolu Akande has utilised any available opportunity to mix well with his colleagues and he does not have a record of begrudging people, even his adversaries.

In the estimation of many Nigerians Mr. Akande’s decision to leave America and return to serve in the present administration is a mark of patriotism and it is only deserving that we avail him of our support as he continues to serve the nation in his present capacity.

Nigeria is at a stage when all hands must be on deck to support the Buhari administration in its efforts to reposition the country, and this can only be realised with the cooperation of all Nigerians including the media. It does not augur well for practitioners in a strategic sector like the media to be pulling apart when they can work together for the interest of the ordinary Nigerian.

As a proof of the impression most Nigerians have about the Vice President’s spokesman Mr Laolu Akande, here are some of the reactions on social media:
” I am interested in knowing Laolu Akande, the man; quietly being an indispensable figure at the villa, for good reasons” – Alexander Nochie Onukwe (@nochieonukwe).
” When you are good, you are good! Laolu Akande, Welldone Sir….” – Siraj (@sirajabdsamiu).
” I can’t but admire the candour with which Laolu Akande is reporting the activities of the Acting President” Son of David (@osy_suave).
The above randomly selected quotes aptly speak for themselves about the person of Laolu Akande and his job rating. I rest my case.

Buhari Finds Reason Behind Chibok Girls’ Abduction

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said the remaining girls abducted by terrorists from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, four years ago were still in captivity because of some setbacks in the negotiation between the Federal Government and the Boko Haram sect.

He attributed the setbacks to what he described as internal disagreement among the abductors.

Buhari said this in a statement made available to journalists by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

The President said, “We are concerned and aware that it is taking longer to bring the rest of our daughters back home, but be assured that this administration is doing its very best to free the girls from their captors.

“Unfortunately, the negotiations between the government and Boko Haram suffered some unexpected setbacks, owing mainly to a lack of agreement among their abductors, whose internal differences have led to a divergence of voices regarding the outcome of the talks.

“We know that this is not the news parents want to hear after four whole years of waiting, but we want to be as honest as possible with you.

“However, this government is not relenting. We will continue to persist, and the parents should please not give up. Don’t give up hope of seeing our daughters back home again. Don’t lose faith in this government’s ability to fulfil our promise of reuniting you with your daughters.

“Don’t imagine for a moment that we have forgotten about our daughters or that we consider their freedom a lost cause.”

Buhari gave the assurance Nigerians that as long as he remained the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the Chibok girls would never be forgotten and everything would be done to reunite them with their families. He also assured the parents of the schoolgirls that “their daughters will never be forgotten or abandoned to their fate, despite four long years since they were taken away by terrorists.’’

Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund has disclosed that more than 1,000 children have been abducted by Boko Haram in the North-East since 2013, including 276 Chibok schoolgirls taken from their school on April 14, 2014.

The UN agency noted that four years on, more than 100 of the Chibok girls had yet to be returned to their families. It restated its calls for the release of all hostages in Boko Haram custody.

The UNICEF in a statement on Thursday by its representative in Nigeria, Mohammed Fall, disclosed that 2,295 teachers had been killed and more than 1,400 schools destroyed in nine years by the insurgents, noting that most of the schools had not been re-opened.

“The fourth anniversary of the Chibok abduction reminds us that children in northeastern Nigeria continue to come under attack on a shocking scale. They are consistently targeted and exposed to brutal violence in their homes, schools and public places,” it said.

In a similar vein, ActionAid Nigeria has expressed solidarity with the families, friends and the Chibok community over the remaining Chibok schoolgirls in Boko Haram captivity.

The Country Director of AAN, Ene Obi, said in a statement, “The FG and the military should adopt intelligence, power and negotiation as deployed for the release of the Dapchi girls, to bring back the remaining 113 missing Chibok girls and the remaining Dapchi girl, Leah Shuaibu.”

Trump Gets Reactions for Syria Blast

U.S. President Donald Trump will not find things easy for now as Congressional Democrats have attacked him for not seeking Congress authorisation before striking Syria on Friday.

While the Democrats call the strikes “unconstitutional” and questioning the strategy, many Republicans, applauded the president’s move.

Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, who has pushed Congress to pass a new authorisation for the use of military force, deemed the president’s action “illegal” because he proceeded without approval from lawmakers.

“President Trump’s decision to launch airstrikes against the Syrian government without Congress’s approval is illegal and — absent a broader strategy — it’s reckless,” Kaine, the 2016 Democratic vice presidential nominee, said in a statement.

“Today, it’s a strike on Syria — what’s going to stop him from bombing Iran or North Korea next? The last thing Congress should be doing is giving this president a blank check to wage war against anyone, anywhere.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat representing San Francisco, California, said in a statement that the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons attack was a “brutally inhumane war crime that demands a strong, smart and calculated response.” However, she said Trump must present a more comprehensive strategy on Syria to Congress and seek lawmakers’ approval.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, also representing part of California, tweeted that it was the same as when Trump struck Syria last year without congressional approval.

“What changed? Zero,” Swalwell tweeted. “They’re still using chemical weapons. This is the result of a failure to have a strategy and engage Middle East countries to solve this problem.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, from New York, said “A pinpointed, limited action to punish and hopefully deter Assad from doing this again is appropriate, but the administration has to be careful about not getting us into a greater and more involved war in Syria.”

The president announced in an address to the nation from the White House that U.S. airstrikes, in tandem with the United Kingdom and France, were underway in Syria, in response to an alleged chemical attack near Damascus last weekend.

At a later Pentagon briefing, Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the president had the authority to launch the strikes under Article II of the Constitution because Mattis said Trump was defending U.S. interests.

Key Republicans on Capitol Hill said Friday night that they supported Trump’s decision.

“The United States has taken decisive action in coordination with our allies,” said Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican representing Wisconsin.

Ryan had said at his weekly news conference Thursday that he believed that Trump had authority to act against Syria with any new congressional approval.

“We are united in our resolve that Assad’s barbaric use of chemical weapons cannot go unanswered. His regime’s unconscionable brutality against innocent civilians cannot be tolerated.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican Senator from Kentucky, said he supports “both the action and the objective.”

Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican Senator who is also the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said “I applaud the president for taking military action against the Assad regime for its latest use of chemical weapons, and for signaling his resolve to do so again if these heinous attacks continue.”

Of note was Florida Democrat Senator Bill Nelson, who faces a tough re-election fight against Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott, and who backed Trump’s response to Syria, tweeting, “I support the attack because Assad must be held accountable for the use of chemical weapons.”

Tijjaniya Leader Urges Members to Obtain PVC

The Leader of Darikar Tijjaniya Movement in Nigeria, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, has urged his followers to register and obtain their Permanent Voter Cards ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Sheikh Dahiru gave the directive at the 42nd Annual Maulud and Special Prayers for Nigeria which was attended by the former governor of Kano state and presidential hopeful, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, on Saturday in Abuja.

According to Bauchi, the PVC is the most sophisticated weapon that could be used by the electorate to choose whoever they want to lead the affairs of the country.

He called on his followers to use their PVC wisely and vote for people who had credible record and ability to satisfy their yearnings and aspirations.

He said the voter registration was the right of all eligible citizens and also one of the cornerstones of democracy.

Speaking earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari, commended leaders of Darikar Tijjaniya for their contributions to Islamic scholarship and prayers for the enhancement of peace and harmony in the country.

Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said truly Niyass had contributed greatly to the development of Islam in Africa, Asia and in Europe through his write-up.

The president also gave the assurance that the Federal Government would continue to support the activities of the movement for ensuring peace in the country.

He, however, appealed to the leaders and follower of the movement to intensify prayers for the progress and development of the country.