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Northern Elders Forum hits Kukah for seeking Buhari’s removal

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THE Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has criticised Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah for suggesting that President Muhammadu Buhari be removed through an undemocratic process.

The Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese in his Christmas message accused the President of nepotism.

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has also faulted Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, for accusing Bishop Kukah of plotting President Buhari’s removal.

The minister had asked religious leaders to “refrain from stoking the embers of hatred and disunity”.

Although the forum said though it could not agree less with Bishop Kukah that the Buhari administration lacks respect for inclusiveness, it is irresponsible to search for undemocratic solutions.

Its Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said the country was paying a heavy price for mediocrity and ineffectiveness in key areas of decision-making under President Buhari.

He, however, said the forum would not encourage any other form of government than democracy.

He said, “The Northern Elders Forum will not encourage even contemplation of any other form of government other than one that emerges democratically.

“There are many grounds to question the competence and sensitivity of President Buhari’s administration.

“Even his most ardent supporters, if he has any, will wish he has shown greater respect for inclusion and accountability of those he chooses to trust with power.

“The nation is paying a heavy price for mediocrity and ineffectiveness in key areas of decision-making under President Buhari.

“There is, however, a judicial recourse for abuse of constitutional provisions for federal character in all matters of governance.

“Nigerians who feel there are sufficient grounds to challenge the administration should take advantage of that provision.

“The Forum believes that it is irresponsible to search for solutions to President Buhari’s poor governance outside the democratic process.”

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) also faulted Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, for accusing Bishop Kukah of plotting President Buhari’s removal.

The minister had asked religious leaders to “refrain from stoking the embers of hatred and disunity”.

HURIWA said the minister was economical with the truth and went on the voyage of discovery when he misinterpreted Kukah.

The group said Kukah did not in any way advocate any violent overthrow of a democratically constituted government.

National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, said even some northerners including the erstwhile member of the Federal House of Representatives in the second Republic Alhaji Junaid Mohammed had condemned President Buhari’s appointments.

HURIWA said in a statement: “All around the country, it is increasingly difficult for Nigerians to move freely because of the reign of terrorists and armed kidnappers.

“So, is this Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, operating from the moon that he never read nor was told about the persistent violence and bloodshed that his paymaster has totally lost control and cannot provide any meaningful solution to?

“Can this Lai Mohammed drive himself unaccompanied by a security detail from Lagos to Ibadan or from Abuja to Ilorin in Kwara State without being kidnapped or attacked?”

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Ondo gov poll: Tribunal dismisses Jegede petition

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The Ondo Election Petitions Tribunal in Akure on Tuesday threw out the petition challenging the victory of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu in last year’s governorship election for want of jurisdiction.

Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Eyitayo Jegede, had filed the petition seeking to be declared winner of the election on the grounds that Governor Akeredolu was not properly nominated by the All Progressives Congress.

Justice Abubakar Umar, who delivered the judgment, said Jegede had no justification to interfere in the internal affairs of the APC.

He said, “Issue raised therein in this petition are settled issue of internal affairs and Management of a political party which this Tribunal has no Jurisdiction.”

He dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.

The tribunal declared Akeredolu and his Deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, as duly elected in the October 10 governorship election.

Governor Akeredolu hailed Ondo residents for the confidence reposed in his administration and urged Jegede to join him in developing the state, saying there was no need for further litigation.

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Why northern governors opposed Jonathan’s second term bid – Babangida Aliyu

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Former governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has said northern governors rose against former President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid in 2015 because of the perceived threat of his victory to the North.

Aliyu said in Minna on Friday that the northern governors felt at the time that their part of the country stood in a disadvantaged position and would be shortchanged should Jonathan win a re-election.

He claimed that Jonathan had earlier reached an agreement with the north to complete what was left of the tenure of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and then run for only one term.

He said the ex-president’s insistence on going for another term in 2015 was against the agreement he had with the northern governors.

“Following the sudden passage of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on May 5, 2010, the leadership of the then governing Peoples Democratic Party along with the state governors under the flagship of the party had series of meetings on the presidency and the future of our great party,” he said.

The ex-governor also said, “All the governors in the North under the PDP supported the then Vice President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to complete the remaining years of Yar’Adua’s tenure and to contest the next presidential election as a sole candidate of our great party.

“However, midway, President Goodluck Jonathan insisted to run for the office in 2015 against the grain of our earlier agreement.

“Since this was against the grain of our earlier agreement in the party, and which we the governors in the north felt the North would have been shortchanged if Jonathan had succeeded, we rose stoutly to insist on the agreement we all had.

“On that premise, we opposed Jonathan. But all along, Goodluck Jonathan had enjoyed every support from the governors in the north and the entire region.”

The former governor said it was wrong for anyone to say that he opposed Goodluck Jonathan.

He added that as the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum then, it was his responsibility to tell the people about the stand of the governors.

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Makinde’s candidate, Arapaja, emerges PDP South-West chairman

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Former Oyo State Deputy Governor, Taofeek Arapaja, has been declared the South-West chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He was pronounced winner of the hotly contested poll by chairman of the region’s congress and Benue Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu.

Arapaja, backed by Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, polled 343 votes to defeat Dr Eddy Olafeso, who scored 330.

Olafeso is of the camp of former Ekiti Governor Ago Fayose.

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