Tinubu’s mum urges Nigerians to register

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Alhaja Mogaji (left) and Mrs Tinubu…yesterday

 

PRESIDENT-General of Market Men and Women Association of Nigeria (MMWAN), Alhaja Abibat Mogaji yesterday urged Nigerians to register and vote for candidates of their choice in the forthcoming elections.

She said it was important for every Nigerian to exercise  his civic right despite the challenges.

Alhaja Mogaji spoke when the Lagos Central Senatorial candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, visited her Ikeja, Lagos home.

Madam Mogaji, who received Mrs Tinubu in the company of hundreds of market men and women,  said Nigerians could only push out those she considered “stealers of votes”; if they register and subsequently voted.

She said in Yoruba: “E lo regisita kee lo dibo” (Go and register so you can vote). 

Madam Mogaji also described Mrs Tinubu, as her daughter and not just her daughter-in-law; adding that Lagos residents should please vote for her because their votes would be in good hands.

Responding, Mrs Tinubu praised Madam Mogaji’s giant strides in the market; saying Nigeria needs more of her likes.

She said she knew that with Mama’s backing, she has nothing to fear. She also reiterated her pledge not to let the people. 

 

 

Arewa rejects Jonathan

The Nation

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Anthony Sani

AFTER a stormy meeting of its National Working Committee, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) yesterday rejected the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary, which produced President Goodluck Jonathan as the candidate.

The ACF is widely seen as the North’s voice.

In a communiqué at the end of its meeting, which members described as the “toughest” since the establishment of the ACF about 11 years ago, the Forum said it was disappointed with the conduct of the primary election of the ruling party and those of other major parties because, according to the organisation, they fell short of the expectations of Nigerians.

The communiqué, which was signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the Forum, Anthony Sani, said “the emergence of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as a presidential candidate of the PDP was legally and morally wrong”.

The socio-political group said: “The emergence of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as its presidential candidate is legally and morally wrong because it is a violation of that party’s constitution, which clearly requires that under the zoning/rotation formula, a northerner be returned as candidate in the 2011 general election. In this regard, and in the light of its principled stand on fairness and rule of law, the ACF rejects the outcome of the PDP presidential primaries.”

The communiqué said that “following an extended review of the just concluded primary elections in the country, the meeting came to the conclusion that the process within most of the major political parties fell short of the expectations of Nigerians as they were thoroughly compromised by an appalling lack of internal democracy within the parties, manipulations, intimidation and other illegalities”.

The ACF said: “These practices undermine our democracy and make it impossible for otherwise credible people to participate in the electoral process in the future … In the circumstance, ACF calls upon all Nigerians who are eligible to vote to ensure that they get registered in order that they could elect candidates in accordance with their considered judgement and conscience.

“INEC should address all serious technical problems that have bedevilled the process so far and ensure that all Nigerians who wish to register are allowed to do so by all means, including extending the time.”

The communiqué expressed concern about the growing ethnic and religious animosity among the people of the North and “noted with deep regret the current provocative sermons and preaching going on in some mosques and churches in parts of the North as well as the circulation of hate messages through text and other electronic media”.

It added: “ACF wishes to remind all northerners who are being misled into attacking fellow northerners because of differences in tribe or religion that they are working hand in gloves with evil-minded people.

“The Forum urges all northerners to recall that they are members of the same family with the same fate and destiny and should remain together in this critical period. They should deny cheap victory to those seeking to divide them in order to rule them.

“The meeting further considered the rapidly deteriorating security situation in the country, which has already led to the near total breakdown of law and order in some states. ACF urges Mr. President, as the Chief Security officer of the nation, to take stern measures to end the conflicts.

“Unwarranted delays and indecisions have allowed disturbances to fester and escalate, especially in the flashpoints of Plateau and Borno states. Failure to take timely actions in the past have made resort to the most drastic measures inevitable.

“Beyond this, ACF urges all citizens to step forward and to begin to rebuild trust, confidence and peace within their various communities. They must find a way to achieve true forgiveness and reconciliation as this is the only condition under which genuine peace and security can be sustained.”

Before the communiqué, said a source, the meeting was stormy as members rose against the Chairman, General IBM Haruna, for allegedly supporting the President against the northern consensus candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Some moved to unseat Gen. Haruna, who was attending the meeting for the first time since the Forum decided to adopt zoning.

Tempers rose immediately the meeting began at about 10.00am at the ACF’s Sokoto Road, Kaduna headquarters, with members moving a motion for the impeachment of the chairman.

The meeting was called to take a position on the next line of action, following the emergence of the President as the PDP’s candidate. Other presidential aspirants from the North were invited.

The Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Gen. Mohammadu Buhari and his Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) counterpart, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, did not attend the meeting or send representatives, All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) candidate Ibrahim Shekarau sent his Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Yakkasai, who doubles as his campaign co-ordinator.

Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo sent Ambassador Hassan Adamu. Buhari sent a solidarity message.

The Nation gathered that as soon as the meeting was convened, some aggrieved members openly challenged Gen. Haruna for what they called his anti-Arewa posture and immediately moved the motion that he should be removed from office.

The action elicited wide reactions from both pro and anti-Haruna members. The elders threw caution to the wind, shouting on top of their voices.

The former Secretary of the forum’s Political Committee, Alhaji Mohammed Abdulrahaman, defended the chairman.

Mohammed, it was learnt, that the agenda was not to discuss the Chairman’s behavour towards the Forum and his alleged anti- Arewa stance on political issues.

“It took the wisdom of some of the elders to make sure that there was no pandemonium during the meeting, and they later suspended discussion on General Haruna’s removal from office to concentrate on the issue of the day,” the source said.

A chieftain of ACF and member of the Executive Council of the Forum, Alhaji Ahmed Hassan Alghazali, accused President Jonathan of breaking the political bond between the North and the South by, according to him, imposing himself as the PDP’s presidential candidate.

Alghazali, who is the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Federal Medical Centre, Azare said: “Against our will, we allowed Obasanjo to contest the presidency in 1999 in order to allow the rotational presidency take root. When Obasanjo misruled this country for eight years and it came to our turn and these people turned the blind eye and said ‘no’. 

“If Jonathan is voted in the next presidential election, he will not vacate power …

“We cannot continue like this because for everything there is a beginning and there is an end. This is the end of the fraud in Nigeria. The only option now is for them to extend time for the election and go back to the normal primary election system whereby members of political parties are allowed to decide candidates to vote. PDP did not have any primaries at all.”

The Emperor Has No Clothes

By Professor Buchi Chuks

When I read about the preparations made by INEC for registration of voters and the timeline involved in the delivery of the DDC computers utilized, it was obvious to me that the registration process is another disaster in the making. Anyone who has ever managed a project will outright tell you that the outlined registration cannot be successfully done even by Professor Peller (Magician).

Just like the story of the Emperor that was conned by a transient Tailor who claimed he was making the Emperor new clothes that will be invincible to stupid folks and would only be seen by intelligent folks. The Emperor, not wanting to look stupid, inspected his new (invincible) attire and praised its array of colors. The Emperor’s Advisers, not wanting to look stupid, joined in the praise of the Tailor and his choice of colors. It was only a “loud mouth” young boy on the street corner that found it strange that the Emperor was parading down the promenade with no clothes. In his shock, the young lad screamed that “the Emperor has no clothes”. The rest is for the story books.

I am sure that more than 100 million Nigerians knew ahead of time that this INEC-Jega registration project is just going to “piss away” almost one billion U.S. Dollars and will be a failed project. I read where registration machines were being delivered the week of registration of voters. What time do those (Youth Corpers) expected to use the machine have to familiarize themselves and “debug” the computer or work out “kinks” attendant in almost every new computer you deploy ? If INEC is closing down schools and working on a tight timeline, shouldn’t INEC have been ready to “hit the ground running” ?

The systemic problems in Nigeria is just beginning to manifest itself to a conscientious observer. Let me be more specific. In the mid 1980s when the petroleum industry faced daunting economic downturn, investments dried up. Universities and similar institutions deployed resources where returns were better. Schools stopped funding petroleum related programs and training. When the Industry picked up post-gulf war , there was shortage of skilled labor to fill the need and to respond to massive capital coming back into the petroleum industry. The vacuum still exists over a decade later. With this analogy as background, Nigeria has lost a generation (or more) to mediocrity due to lackadaisical attitude to maximizing her human capital. My unscientific assessment, based on my interaction, with Nigerian University graduates is that substantial percentage are “functional illiterates” who have been forced into a corner by a defective system that mandates a post-strike examination without lectures or conventional classroom education. As the parable goes, if the bird learns to fly without perching, the hunter learns to shoot without aiming. Our leaders of tomorrow have been forced to survive in a prima facie defective system. The people that should care—including our dear (University) Professor Jega has even ordered that the carcasses we label schools should be closed until he concludes his unplanned and mind-boggling ad hoc experimentation.

If those put in office to manage Nigeria’s limited resources, including the naked Emperor himself, realize how limited the resources are, then they ought to have conscience not to brazenly waste these resources. Jega may be a saint and I will even give him the benefit of the doubt that he has not kept a Kobo for himself, but his handling of the resources entrusted to him through INEC is grossly negligent and reckless. If he were to be Asian, would resign and lean on his Samurai sword. But we know such will never happen in Nigeria, instead every local government will jostle on who will give him the most remarkable chieftancy. For those who think Nigeria has money, our budget is not close to annual sales of second-tier corporations in industrialized countries with less than 20,000 employees. Yet, Nigeria could possibly be flirting with a population of 200 Million people dependent on depleting resources.

Unless we start majoring in major, instead of majoring in minor, the future is very predictable for Nigerians living in Nigeria. I will end with this example. A friend of mine owns a business in the U.S.A. He was asked by a friend to hire a Nigerian lady that just arrived with American VISA Lottery and was unemployed. Hesitantly, he hired this remarkably beautiful lady as his office receptionist. By the second week he noticed her tardiness and disregard for timeliness. The third week, a client called him on his mobile phone at about noon and said that he is outside the office and the office was still in darkness and the doors locked. The “oga” left his meeting and rushed back to take care of the client and to comply with the landlord’s requirement that all offices must be open and functional between 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. When he called the Receptionist at home to ask why she was not in the office or why she did not call-in that she would not be at work so proper arrangements could be made. The Receptionist started hailing abuses at the “oga” chastising him for not first inquiring about her welfare. She asked the “oga” how about if she was dead or unconscious in the hospital ? She told “oga” that all he cares about is his stupid job and that she would come-by whenever she has time to return the office key. “Oga” was dazed and had not recovered when he narrated his experience to me. As most people know, most owners and investors in America do not live in the city where their businesses are located. They set policies and the businesses run on auto-pilot. If you go beyond your delineated authority, you are fired and may even go to jail. So your conduct is guided accordingly. Until you have accountability, from top to bottom, our Emperors will continue to have no clothes and surround themselves with intelligent folks until a loud mouth “stupid” kid screams the word.. ..

Oh, about the Receptionist. I saw her in court six months later with a judge ordering a constable to throw-out her stuff from her apartment for owing three months in rent. Yes, people live under the bridge in America—few of them are Nigerians who carried on “business as usual” attitude in a land that practices “Rule of Law”.

• The writer is a lawyer and a Part-time Professor of Law© 2011

My Suffering Is Worse Than Yours

By Okey Ndibe

Little worries me more about the state of affairs in Nigeria than the rise of a relativist sensibility as a response to the nation’s malaise. Many Nigerians – too many, if you ask me – have become acclimated to the idea that their lives, of necessity, must be woebegone. They have developed a sad habit of announcing that their problems are worse than yours, that they have suffered infinitely more than you have, and (by some perverse logic) that they are more authentically Nigerian.

Put differently, it’s as if many of us have come to embrace suffering as the defining gift of Nigerian citizenship. It’s as if we insist that, for one to prove one’s mettle as a Nigerian – one’s Nigerianness – then one must show the rest that one’s suffering is worse than theirs. The gradient of woes is, for many of us, a measure of the authenticity of our identity as Nigerians. The contention goes something like this: If you can’t prove that you have suffered mightily – in other words, that you have suffered more than I – then, my friend, you must shut up!

I was always aware of this troubling acceptance of suffering as a national value and bequest. I once told a Nigerian civil servant that it was wrong that a state governor had not paid salaries for two months. Her response? “The man is trying,” she cried, as if the non-payment of her entitlement was some kind of brilliant statecraft on the governor’s part. Then she reminded me about a previous governor who had owed workers more than ten months in unpaid salaries.

On a different occasion, a man told how police officers at a checkpoint had dealt him a merciless beating with batons and butts. His crime was to complain aloud that there were too many police roadblocks. Without pausing to digest the man’s narrative, one of his listeners blithely said, “You’re lucky and you should thank your God.” Then he told the victim about a driver and his conductor, both brothers, who had been shot dead for refusing to “settle” the police with twenty naira.

The haste to compare travails is becoming reflexive. Tell some Nigerians that you lost all your money to armed robbers, and they’d say, “Ah, you’re blessed! I know somebody who gave all his money – and yet the robbers killed him.”

Lately, I have encountered this predilection for measuring suffering in a more personal way. Many Nigerians were upset to learn that the Nigerian government has me on a list of “enemies” to be stopped at airports and taken to the offices of the State Security Service (SSS). But some other Nigerians – apologists for state power as well as “suffering” relativists – have sought to make light of my experience. These apologists, fed by hate for the messenger or some sinister notion of real suffering, have focused on the fact that I wasn’t beaten, detained for weeks, or “tortured.”

They have brought up such names as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and Gani Fawehinmi – crusaders who suffered multiple detentions and other privations – to question my experience. Their perverse contention: Unless and until you have suffered as these [two] men suffered, you may not speak. They can’t seem to grasp that, in accepting the small abuses, we fertilize the bloodier ones. They are unable to see that an innocent citizen should neither be detained for a minute nor locked up for weeks. They don’t realize that the point is – must be – to achieve a nation where criminals alone, not those who flay crime, should be subjected to arrest, detention or other restrictions.

Some of these apostles of “real” and “unreal” suffering are consistent. They speak out of that pernicious idea that to be a Nigerian is to demonstrate a capacity for being a “sufferhead.” They believe it is unNigerian to raise your voice in protest when your suffering is far from the harshest, your fate less than the cruelest. Don’t speak about a mere headache when there are people with migraine in the room; and don’t mention migraine, either, if there’s somebody racked by cancer around.

But there are others, it seems, who are driven by more personal impulses. They can’t stand the noise about the brief detention of a mere columnist and teacher! Since I had made a career of being a public critic, why, the state reserved the right to put me in my place. Some have even censured me for refusing to heed the dictate of the director-general of the SSS – to write a formal petition pleading for the removal of my name from the list of “enemies.” They miss the point: that, in the end, it’s not about whether my name’s on the list or not. It’s about whether a state should maintain a punitive list of those who have broken no laws – unless it’s a crime to insist that one’s country can, and must, rise to realize its potential.

Those who misrule Nigeria thrive on the witting and unwitting collaboration of unthinking citizens who believe that suffering is validated only when it’s established itself as the utmost. These misrulers get away with ineptitude because some Nigerians are content to point to a more inept misruler. Let me illustrate.

During his eight years in office, former President Olusegun Obasanjo accumulated a huge personal fortune while frittering away Nigeria’s. He acquired a huge stake in Transcorp, and then sold some of the country’s most prized assets to that corporation. He collected billions of naira in the name of his library from a coterie he’d enriched from public funds. Though financially wretched at the time he took office in 1999, he’s since built himself a hilltop mansion to rival that of his “competitor,” Ibrahim Babangida. And he’s become so loaded with cash that he recently donated a church to his god!

In a society that treasures the principle of accountability, Mr. Obasanjo would be compelled to answer for the source of his stupendous cash. Instead, his apologists remind us that he’s not the most corrupt ex-president (they tag Babangida as the champion). And they also contend that he’s not the worst performing (they name Umaru Yar’Adua as the leader in this category, forgetting that Yar’Adua was elected not by Nigerians but a “doing-or-dying” Obasanjo). Instead of making excuses for Obasanjo, why don’t we insist that he and Babangida as well as other public office holders account for their assets?

Another illustration. I was in Nigeria when most of the political parties held so-called primaries. With little exception, the events were farcical. A delegate who attended the ruling party’s presidential primaries in Abuja confided that it was a dollar-fest. Each delegate, he said, came away with close to $20,000 in cash. “My brother, we voted for the highest giver,” he said cheerily. The story was much the same with other political parties. In the Action Congress of Nigeria, one or two “chieftains” basically handed out tickets to their favorites – disdaining the wishes of the membership. In Anambra State, a longtime member of APGA told me that two or three men, including the state governor, decided who got the tickets. And that there was no room for principled dissent.

In three months, Nigerians will go to the polls again. Everybody I spoke to – in Lagos, Asaba, Awka, Enugu and Abuja – was certain that fraudulent elections could spell lasting doom this time around. Yet, after witnessing the impunity that passed for party primaries, it’s difficult to be hopeful in the prospects of credible elections in April. My fear is that it won’t be enough to say that the rigging under Attahiru Jega is not as bad as Maurice Iwu’s.

And there’s another terrible prospect. What if Mr. Jega goes down in history as the man who gave Nigeria its worst election ever? What then?

 

 

Time To Amalgamate Northern And Southern Nigeria

By Gomiluk Otokwala

January 1, 2014 – about three years from today – will mark one hundred years since the Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria were amalgamated to form what is today the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Sadly, almost a century after that merger, Nigeria still remains essentially two separate countries welded precariously into one. In this short piece, I argue that unless steps are taken to perfect that amalgamation, the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as currently configured) can hardly make any meaningful progress.

To be sure, there are at least three hundred ethnic nationalities in Nigeria almost evenly spread across the landmass of the country. In the old Northern Region dominated by the Hausa/Fulani, very many ethnic minorities exist, many of whom do not as much as understand the Hausa language. The same is true of the old Eastern and Western regions, both of which constitute the former Southern Protectorate. Across the country, many of these ethnic groups are as similar to each other as the French are to the Chinese. However, as divided as Nigeria is by virtue of its breathtaking plurality, there is no other dimension of division as strong as the North-South dichotomy.

This sense of dichotomy is not a recent phenomenon. History books document that when in 1953 the late Anthony Enahoro moved the historic motion for Nigeria’s self-governance, it was widely supported by the southern parliamentarians (the Western and Eastern Regions) and opposed largely by the North. The January 15, 1966 coup, which swept away the First Republic, was also perceived as a southern (particularly eastern) ploy against the north. The counter-coup that followed was essentially motivated by a desire to get even. And to a large extent, an undercurrent of liberation from repression may have fanned the dastardly Civil War, which started one year later. In recent times, the north-south dichotomy has one of its clearest expressions in the clamor for the exclusive right of the North to produce the next president. And the division is not about to abate.
What is particularly disturbing is how little Nigerians from either side of the divide relate with or know about the other part of the country. For example, on Facebook, most Nigerians’ friend lists are stuffed overwhelmingly with people from only one half of the country. Most young people from the South think of all northerners as Hausas (generally called “mallams” or “aboki”).

Many Hausas think of everyone from the old Eastern Region as Igbo, even when you insist you are not. Many people from each side have not crossed to the other side of the divide, in some cases out of paranoia. Many grow old and die without doing so. For a child growing up in the south, the first contact with the north is likely to be with shoe cobblers, nail trimmers, water vendors, herdsmen and petty road-side shop keepers. That is, apart from the very wealthy babariga-brandishing politicians on TV. It is so easy then to grow up in the south with the image of a poverty-stricken north etched in one’s brain. And many young ordinary northern kids, I imagine, are most likely to have had their first ‘southern’ contact with the ubiquitous Igbo trader and his family, and TV images from Nollywood full of America-fond mostly-southern movie stars.
When confronted with a little more exposure we realize how much ignorance we’ve been wallowing in. A friend of mine recently got posted to Katsina for the mandatory youth service. She is so full of admiration for the simple ways of her hosts, the very clean streets and the more humane existence than she experienced in Lagos and some parts of the East. Another friend from Kaduna impressed me terribly by his eloquence and brilliance when we met at the Nigerian Law School. Though he’s not Hausa, most of us branded him one because he had to be if he hailed from Kaduna. Another one from Bauchi, with whom I later studied is one of the most brilliant young Nigerian minds I have met. And the list is endless. Fortunately, I hail from the South-South, studied in the East and the North, and worked in the Southwest. Because not many young Nigerians follow a similar trajectory, many remain in the regional closet by no fault of theirs. This should not be so.

There is a lot the government can do to weld the two “Nigerias” into one and create the much-needed common sense of nationhood in all of us. The National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC), before it was terribly abused, was one such scheme. It enabled (and I mean the past tense seriously) people from one region to do community service in a region different from theirs, mostly across the north-south divide. Unfortunately, these days, only those who are thoroughly helpless or who, though powerful, do not mind, get posted to undesirable places. Also, because violence of all kinds has virtually become a recurring decimal in some parts of the country, fewer people are willing to go on national adventures. Even worse, there are concerns about the employment advantages the service year gives to people from otherwise arid locations. For example, by the time a Port Harcourt resident returns home from national service in a remote village close to the border, the “corpers” who served in the oil companies have already stayed back to take up the few available spaces. All of these have defeated the NYSC’s objectives.

The actual amalgamation of northern and southern Nigeria requires conscious effort on the part of the federal government. One good step might be to require federal schools to retain a certain quota for student applicants and lecturers from the other half of the country. That way, I would not study law for five years in a class of over 400 with only three Yoruba’s and no Hausa, simply because the school is located in the South-East.

Similarly, as widely condemned as it is, the NYSC could be restructured and put to better uses. One way to do it might be to make the service year part of undergraduate training, but one year before graduation. That way, the competitive disadvantages that people suffer because of where they served should disappear. Of course that also assumes the government would take bolder steps against religious bigotry and mindless killings in some parts of the country. Also, the curriculum especially at secondary and primary school levels should be overhauled to teach more about other parts of Nigeria. And all schools could be encouraged to organize trips to, and exchange programs with, the other half of the country. One more thing: can we think more seriously about conferring benefits accruing to “indigenes” at state level primarily on the basis of where one is born or has lived instead of just where your great-grandparents migrated from.

This write-up is based on the assumption that there is a national consensus to keep Nigeria as one indivisible and indissoluble nation. I believe we are better off as one large, diverse and resource-endowed country. Some disagree. True, some northerners are “so different” from most southerners, but so too are many southern peoples from one another. The present generation of Nigerians will have to erase the mentality of a north-south divide. Of course there will always be the need to strike some kind of balance in a plural system such as ours. However, any crusade hinged on “North versus South” only keeps alive the ghost of Lord Lugard and pushes further away the Nigeria of our dreams. Even worse, it keeps us from pursuing a merit-driven agenda for the common good.

Gomiluk may be reached at: [email protected]

Atiku is a businessman with a mind in politics, says Bisi Akande

By Bamigbola Michael
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The national chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Adebisi Akande, speaks on the party’s controversial consensus method of picking its candidates, its chances on the national level and the choice of Nuhu Ribadu as its presidential candidate.
The choice of Nuhu Ribadu as the consensus presidential candidate of the party
In August last year, our party decided to migrate from using the old hands and resolved to make use of the youth. That was why we encouraged the youth to pick our forms for elections. We felt that the youth of this country have been denied the opportunity to be in the forefront in the political life. So we wanted them to be able to come forward and showcase their stuff. So our party is determined to create opportunity for the youth to partake in elections and governance. As a result of this, we allocate enough space for the youth in our party. It is our desire to see the youth operating while we are still alive and we are trying to accomplice that. Therefore, because Ribadu falls within that bracket, he was able to get our ticket for the presidential election. I need to tell you that among the three persons that were presidential aspirants on the platform of ACN, there was unanimous decision that Ribadu should be the candidate. We thought there was going to be an election by the delegates to elect one of the aspirants, but when the three of them spoke, they came up with a decision that Ribadu should be the candidate. So, none of the remaining two, Bafarawa and Malami is aggrieved over Ribadu’s emergence.
The chances of an opposition party defeating the PDP at the national level
Honestly, we are very optimistic that we can win the presidential election in the forthcoming April poll. When we felt that our party may not be able to do it alone, we are trying to form alliance with other parties of like minds. We are discussing with CPC and ANPP and we hope that with such people in those parties, can easily strengthen the opposition and defeat the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party. The discussion is really progressing and I want Nigerians to be very assured that we are going to chase the PDP out of the presidential villa in Abuja this year.
Conduct of the general election

Considering the leadership of the INEC, I think one can say the election will be free and fair but we are not sure of the role that the police will play yet. The inspector general of police needs to come out with his agenda and convince Nigerians on his own commitment to ensure free and fair election.

Protests within ACN over imposition of candidates
We are in a democracy. So, what do you mean by imposition? It is the same democracy that is being practiced in England and Canada as well as India. The style they are using there is the style ACN is using here. It is only in America that they use primary election in choosing candidates. You cannot tell me that the American democracy is superior to that of the British. Such style practiced in America has the tendency of splitting the party into pieces. The British democracy is the oldest in the world and you cannot see political parties there conducting primary elections before choosing their candidates. They do it by picking competent hands that are trustworthy in the judgment of the party. So, we believe that election under a democratic setting is when we are contesting with other political party during polls. If election within our party is what you are trying to describe as internal democracy, then we reject such ideas. Nobody should accuse ACN of imposition because that is our style.
Anyone that is not comfortable with that should go and contest in another political party. So if you see anyone carrying placard around, he is wasting his time. We know the efforts we made before the party became what it is today and where were they when we were making the efforts. It is when they saw that the party was popular that they were attracted to it and we don’t expect them to come and hijack the party because of their dirty money. We don’t allow anyone to hijack our party and that is why we take the decisions in the interest of the party.
Possible return of Atiku to the ACN camp
Atiku is a businessman with a mind in politics. He thinks politics could be played the way business can be managed. If he is not careful, he will soon become a rolling stone that gathers no moss. The earlier he realizes this, the better for him. However, if he wants to come back to ACN, he is welcome. If Atiku comes back to our party, we will remind him, had you know, you would not have gone back to PDP again. So, anybody can join our party from their wards in their local governments and no one can prevent them.
His long romance with politics
I will die in politics. It is not possible for me to quit. Even when I become older that I cannot move around again, my soul will keep playing politics. Don’t forget that politics is ordained by God and it is through politics that you will be able to help other people in the society to be better. When you are in politics, you are an apostle of a kind. Oh! I love politics very much. I’m not going to quit.
Salary of lawmakers and political office holders
The nation’s constitution does not allow legislators to regulate their earnings and emoluments, but it is a lawless act coming from sheer impunity which is the major characteristic of the PDP government. As far as I’m concerned, it is looting. My party does not support such a thing. Instead of benefiting the generality of people of this country, they are busy enriching themselves with public fund. That is what we call self aggrandizement and it is naked stealing which is not acceptable to our own political party. That is the reason why our party is striving to make sure that those who will serve the public through our platform must listen to the party leadership. We are trying to make sure that those elected on our party’s platform don’t misbehave or steal. We are making them to realize that the party is superior, irrespective of the power that their offices give that after the elections. So, they must listen to the party. That is why you see governance in Lagos and Edo, because we don’t allow the governor to put themselves above the people.
Monitoring ACN lawmakers in the national assembly
It will be a little bit difficult. We cannot give such instruction because it will provoke crises within our party. Our representatives in the National Assembly know our attitude on this matter and they know that we are not comfortable as far as the issue of jumbo pay is concerned, but our lawmakers are helpless. They are human beings and it may be difficult for them not to take the money when their colleagues from other political parties are collecting theirs. We can stop that aberration when our party takes over the presidency through the next election. The emolument for members of the national assembly would be fixed by using what the labour wage and in consideration of the revenue that is generated by the country.
PDP unhappiness with ACN of Osun
I don’t think the judiciary did anything wrong by taking away the stolen mandate from the election riggers and return it to the rightful owner, Aregbesola. When the same judiciary gave it to PDP in Ogun and Oyo state, Omisore did not complain. However, I don’t blame him. The young man is frustrated. As you can see, he was very ambitious and his ambition just crashed. So, he is overwhelmed by the development and he was saying rubbish because he was confused. Choosing between Obasanjo and Tinubu Obasanjo is confused, while Tinubu is a focused party manager. Tinubu has some people he listens to while Obasanjo has nobody to fear.

Aregbesola, Alao-Akala Trade Words over LAUTECH

Aregbesola, Alao-Akala Trade Words over LAUTECH

This Day

23 Jan 2011

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Mr. Rauf Aregbesola

Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has called on his Oyo State counterpart, Otunba Adebayo Alao Akala, to desist from giving out illegal directives to staff of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) College of Health Sciences and its Teaching Hospital, currently sited in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.

Speaking at a press conference in Osogbo, Aregbesola said the warning became necessary following what he called reckless issuance of directive to staff of the institution by Oyo State Government.

It would be recalled that Oyo State Government gave a directive to staff of LAUTECH College of Health Sciences and Teaching Hospital to report in Ogbomosho by last Wednesday.

But Aregbesola, who maintained that LAUTECH  and its Teaching Hospital are jointly owned by Osun and Oyo states said, “It is regrettable that Governor Alao-Akala has been acting as if LAUTECH  was established on whims and caprices rather than by charters of law.”

Aregbesola, whose text was read by Professor Sola Adeyeye, said most recently, Lautech College of Health Sciences and its Teaching Hospital are being taken hostage by the reckless impunity with which the Oyo State Government has undermined the running of these institutions.

“Faculty and staff have been illegally transferred to Ogbomosho despite the fact that the College of Health Sciences and Teaching Hospital were cited in Osogbo by an act of law,” he said.

The governor, while alerting Nigerians that neither LAUTECH  College of Health Sciences nor its Teaching Hospital has been ceded from Osun to Oyo State, maintained that “buildings per se constitute neither LAUTECH  College of Health Sciences nor a Teaching Hospital.

Aregbesola said the institution still belonged to Oyo and Osun states and “neither Oyo State Government nor the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria can disposses Osun of the medical school and teaching hospital… Neither has the authority under the law to alter the location of these institutions without the consent of the people of Osun and its elected government.” The governor said since the National Universities Commission (NUC) recognised that LAUTECH College of Health Sciences and its Teaching Hospital were located in Osogbo, other approving authorities should steer clear of its illegal relocation.

CPC/ACN Alliance: The Last straw to break PDP’s back?

CPC/ACN Alliance: The Last straw to break PDP’s back?

 

By: Maikudi Abubakar Zukogi

At the close of count and the declaration of the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan as the flag bearer of the PDP in the April polls last Thursday January 13, 2011, it became clear to the opposition political parties that they will need to brace up for a gargantuan fight. The scenario is clear and not any different from 2003 when Atiku, the man who challenged Jonathan to a distant second position, shouted himself hoarse all over the country to install his former boss Obasanjo for a second time in power. PDP, it would be recalled, through the voice of Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, its deposed former chairman, vowed to rule the country for the next sixty years. Also, as in 2003, Chief Tony Anenih, former chairman of BOT of PDP sounded a similar warning recently in Asaba that there is no vacancy in Aso Rock in 2011. He followed this statement with an even more stringent warning to the southern delegates never to vote for any candidate beside their own, President Goodluck Jonathan. Therefore, if the ruling party detest internal democracy to create space for other contestants within its fold, how do we trust, in spite of the rhetoric, that it will allow for a level playing field and deliver a free and credible election in April, 2011?

With this haunting reality steering the opposition political parties in the face, it is certain that the road is already laced with mines, and the only way out is for the parties to look inwards and bend backwards to come up with an acceptable and formidable alliance to wrestle power from PDP. It is with this in mind that I see great prospect for achieving this seemingly impossible task in the proposed CPC/ACN alliance. Although not holding power in any state and barely one year old, CPC has created positive impact and sympathy in the minds of multitude of Nigerians, especially across the stretch of the north and beyond. The ANPP under whose flag General Muhammadu Buhari contested the 2003 and 2007 massively rigged presidential elections no longer seemed a trusted platform to carry on the struggle of delivering the Nigerian people from the suffocating shackles of PDP, having immersed itself into the PDP government in the bare deceit called government of national unity. Therefore, it is not unexpected that as soon as Buhari left the party, his sympathisers and supporters left with him to pitch their tents with CPC. Indeed, it is as a result of the party’s association with General Muhammadu Buhari, who has been given a unanimous nod to fly the party’s flag in the presidential election that CPC has incredibly prospered in so short a time. Buhari’s support has remain phenomenal and is well received everywhere across the country especially among the mass of Nigerian people who have been deprived, pauperized and completely denied the means of decent living as a result of twelve years of PDP misrule. Buhari, for the truly deprived masses of Nigeria, has come to represent the symbol of hope and a beacon of honesty, integrity, transparency, accountability, equality and social justice; virtues which are absent in the polity today. By every standard of measurement, Buhari has had a fair share of opportunity in life, beginning with military command postings, through to his appointment as governor, minister, and finally as Head of State. In all these, he has distinguished himself as a selfless, hardworking, principled and incorruptible leader. His most recent land mark achievement remains the PTF, which story and contribution is still being felt till today. It is thus not surprising that in politically active states of the north such as Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Bauchi, Niger and Nassarawa, CPC has become a household name and its support is increasing by the day.

The other party which is equally receiving large following as CPC is ACN. By the last count, the party now has four states-Lagos, Edo, Ekiti and Osun- under its control, no thanks to the political acumen and sagacity of one of its founding father, Chief Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos state. Tinubu has proved himself over time as a consistent and principled politician whose contribution to the improvement of the human and critical infrastructures of Lagos is a point of reference. He fought epic battles with President Obasanjo as an active opposition state governor over several issues including the withheld Lagos local government funds. His many recent successes which include the takeover of Ekiti and Osun states from PDP, shows Tinubu as a dogged fighter and the emerging political leader of south west Nigeria, edging out the duo of Bode George and Obasanjo. Although its impact is restricted formerly to the south western states, ACN is gradually making in-roads into northern states by the day, with a legion of politicians vying for various elective positions under its banner.

In the coming days, it will be increasingly clear the extent the ruling party can go to consolidate its hold on power. The just concluded PDP presidential primary is a clear signal that the incumbency factor cannot be wished away. In fact, for the serious opposition political parties, the fear of the incumbency factor should be the beginning of wisdom. The opposition parties must take the assurances of the provision of a level playing field and the conduct of a free, fair and credible election with a pinch of salt. They must go the extra mile to demonstrate that they will not accept anything short of these assurances. But do they have the muscle to do this when many of them seemed like age grade or community associations than political parties? Have they thought over the gargantuan task of wrestling power from an incumbent government that is not willing to wish the power away? Whether or not they think of these, Nigerians are desperately looking for a glimmer of hope, a distant help to come and break this vicious circle of hopelessness, poverty, insecurity, unemployment, extreme plenty in the midst of extreme want. In the coming days, we look forward to the formalisation of alliance between CPC and ACN- these two parties sure hold the ace to the much awaited emancipation of the Nigerian people from the inhibiting, even debilitating chains which ties them down these past twelve mournful years. CPC/ACN alliance is the much awaited change that Nigerians have been waiting for. History beckons these two great parties to be flexible on certain points and to come out and announce their blossoming into that truly mega party to put back smiles on the faces of Nigerians, north, south, west and east.

Truth is the ruling party fears this alliance and will do everything possible to scuttle its realisation. The two parties share so many things in common compared to other parties. Both parties are gaining more supporters in droves who genuinely believe in the principles and philosophy guiding them. Both parties are people oriented- have the mass of the Nigerian people as its target for comprehensive social welfare programme and the entrenchment of social justice. Both parties have nominated two great Nigerians- Buhari and Ribadu- to fly its flags in the April presidential elections. For these political parties to believe in these two great Nigerians who don’t have millions of naira and dollars to spend on delegates goes to show that they have set out to demonstrate a difference, a change and truly, a breath of fresh air in the way politics is played in Nigeria. So, these two parties have so many things in common than they have against each other. Nigerians are waiting patiently, obstinately to this unmistakably divine alliance. In this alliance will emerge the leader not ruler, the servant not master, the Noah who will steer the Nigerian ship to safety from where it is precariously held?

Maikudi Abubakar Zukogi can be reached at [email protected]

Culled from: NVS

Fashola Carpets INEC

Fashola Carpets INEC

Leadership Ime Akpan, Lagos
Saturday, 22 January 2011 02:10

The Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, has said he is unimpresed by INEC because of complaints about the commission. He challenged the commission, to ensure that the entire state is covered in the ongoing voter registration which enters its second week today.
Governor Fashola, who spoke yesterday at the presidential wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, said he had received complaints that there were no Direct Data Capture, DDC, machines in some densely-populated areas like Mushin, Alimosho, Ikorodu, Ayobo and Ajegunle, among others.
He also said that many of the new estates in Ojokoro, Ifako Ijaye, Ibeju-Lekki, were not covered in the exercise.
“INEC has to do more to impress me and this is based on the daily complaints that we are getting. Particularly, many of the new estates that are springing up are not even identified to create polling units there. So, one queries the kind of data and distribution of polling centres. Is it being suggested that no new settlement has been created in Lagos in the last four years? That cannot be the case. We have built several hundreds of housing units and people have moved in and construction work is going on. So you can’t leave those people behind; we are collating and tabulating the complaints,” he stated.
He added that the DDC machines had broken down in some places thus making it difficult for a large number of people to be registered.
“In some places like Coker Aguda, eight machines broke down; they have taken them away and they haven’t brought them back; In wards D and E in Badagry, they are having problems with 11 machines. The problem cuts across; if we really want a free and fair election, we can’t disenfranchise people,” said Fashola.
Besides, the governor said there was also the problem of people not getting the right document after registration.
“In some places, some of the reports we have got is that some people are being issued with duplicate copies of the print out. What is happening to the original? These are issues that INEC must also speak on, so that there are consistent policies and the citizens are aware. If citizens have information, they will be emboldened to participate in the process and ask legitimate questions and also insist on their rights. If they are entitled to have the original copies at all cost, then they will demand and take it and will not settle for a duplicate,” he stressed.

Aregbesola defies Senate president

The disagreement between the governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, and the Senate president, David Mark, deepened on Wednesday with Mr. Aregbesola describing Mr. Mark as “a loud noise maker”.

Reacting to statements credited to the senator, where he demanded an apology from Mr. Aregbesola and advised him to “behave like a governor and not like an area boy”, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) leader in Osun State disclosed that he is out to make history in the country.

“It is not my business joining issues with them for I have told Nigerians what I’ve found out about them; let him deny or affirm what I have said. Name calling is unbecoming of any statesman. All I know is that I am making history. He is making a loud noise,” said Mr. Aregbesola during a brief interview with reporters at the presidential wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos.

No apology
President of the Senate, Mr. Mark, through his chief press secretary, Paul Mumeh, on Tuesday requested for an apology from the Osun State governor over allegations of plans to destabilise the state.

Media reports had quoted Mr. Aregbesola as saying that prominent Nigerians including the country’s vice president, Nemadi Sambo, and the president of the Senate, David Mark, were involved in a scheme to raise funds of up to N1 billion aimed at destabilising his new administration.

The Osun State governor further argued that in due course, the Nigerian public will decide who among the warring factions is a man of honest report.

“My response again is this; we will be making history while they will be making the noise, and it is left to you gentlemen of the press to decide who is the man of honour and integrity and who is not decent, honourable, and a man of civil disposition,” he said.

Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, the 2007 governorship candidate on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, was last month proclaimed winner of the Osun State elections, putting an end to the seven-year government of the former governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

ACPP Condemns Mark-Omisore Plot To Impeach Aregbesola

The Alliance of Collaborating Political Parties (ACPP) has condemned the alleged attempt to instigate the impeachment of the Osun state governor, Engr. Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola by some self serving individuals who mistakenly found their ways in to the country’s political democratic space as leaders.

In a statement issued by the Chairman and Secretary respectively, Alhaji Waheed Lawal and Comrade Rufus Oyatoro stated that it is rather sad that those who emerged great losers in the recent judicial earthquake that shoved the illegal and illegitimate Oyinlola led PDP government out are planning so early to use the impeachment on the Governor Aregbesola who was yet to spent a month in office after his victory.

They declared that the alleged step amounts to treason as such is capable of disrupting the democratic growth and the emerging courageous judiciary, thus urge the president to direct the security agencies to thoroughly investigate it and recommend the culprits, if found culpable, for required punishment.

According to Lawal and Oyatoro, it is rather offensive to God, general human reasoning and the integrity of the people of Osun state that some people are already thinking of impeaching a governor whose only action yet was taking briefings on the status of things inside of government.

Lawal and Oyatoro said it is certain that the architects of this unholy contrivance intends to manipulate the system, through blackmail and or financial inducements of the state legislature and follow it up with “do-or-die politics” that has come to be the basis of existence and sustenance of the evil behemoth called the PDP.

The Chairman and Secretary noted that it was not surprising that the trio of Iyiola Omisore, David Mark and Namadi Sambo are the ones said to be behind the treacherous plot as they purely anti people and anti democracy in all of their past and are always interested in their selfish interests alone.

They said they could not blame the devilish trio for contriving the evil plan against democratically elected government because they have never believed in genuine democratic governance and had been beneficiaries of the electoral heists that had been foisted on the country since 2003 by the PDP godfather and initiator of “do-or-die politics”.

“None of them had won any free and fair election before. Omisore had managed to ride on the name of Afenifere to be Deputy Governor, David Mark and Namadi Sambo had enjoyed the manipulative electoral culture of PDP to be elected. Nigerians are witnesses to the judicial manipulations which had benefited Iyiola Omisore in the case of Uncle Bola Ige’s murder, David Mark’s appeal tribunal which confirmed him Senator even when he lost seven out of nine local governments that constitute his Senatorial district while Namadi Sambo was fingered in the Ekiti tribunal debacle that wrongly awarded victory to illegitimate Oni administration.”

“It is obvious that these anti democratic selfish individuals who information said tried everything to compromise the appeal tribunal got disappointed that they decided to be courageously upright and declare the genuine winner of April 14, 2007 election in Osun state which left in comatose for one month and in deep desperation, thus thought of the extreme solution impeachment proposal.”

“These democratically outlawed individuals should be called to order by the President, Goodluck Jonathan whom we observe is interested in entrenching acceptable democratic practices in Nigeria and deserves the support of all men of goodwill to succeed. Charlatans such as David Mark who once said Nigerians are too poor to use telephone, Iyiola Omisore who was alleged to be perfidious to his boss as deputy governor and Namadi Sambo who was equally alleged to be treacherous to his predecessor are unfit for Nigeria’s nascent democracy and ACPP wants everything done to get rid of them.”

The ACPP leaders also called on the members of the Osun State House of Assembly who are representative of the people and had been said to the instrument to be used for the evil plot, to be wary of these democratic quacks and extremely selfish human beings with huge empty ego, and reject their evil wish and contrivance which is capable of destabilizing Osun state and possibly Nigeria.

Lawal and Oyatoro noted that the recent uncovering of the evil plot by the desperate trio give credence to the contention that the initial spate of series of petty crimes unprovoked attacks and some serial robberies that occurred immediately after the inauguration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola were the handiwork of the evil men in PDP and may have had the evil trio as the backbone as sponsors since they have the means to promote emergency rule which would have been the result of the security lapse and the crisis that could follow.

They stressed that the people of Osun state, despite the deliberately planned armed robberies and unprovoked attacks surreptitiously carried out on the people and some PDP stalwarts by PDP thugs in the name of revenge by ACN party members, have found peace since the inauguration of Gov Rauf Aregbesola about a month ago and would not want to be returned to the dark days of Oyinlola led PDP government when people were sent to jail for pasting posters and for protesting against allegation of corruption pasted on the clearly compromised Naron tribunal.

Lawal and Oyatoro said they were sure that the trio and the canon-fodders they intend to use for the ungodly job should think twice as the people of Osun state, who patiently but resolutely waited for three and a half years will not watch and allow some power mongers who have nothing to offer them to be killjoys to their newly rescued hope of good governance.

ALHAJI WAHEED LAWAL, COMRADE RUFUS OYATORO,

CHAIRMAN. SECRETARY.