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Buhari shelves plan to address NASS on security

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  • Reps step down motion to admit President
  • Lawmakers can’t summon him – Malami

Indication emerged on Wednesday that President Muhammadu Buhari has shelved his plan to address the joint sitting of the National Assembly on Thursday on the security situation in the country.

This came as the conventional legislative practice, ‘Admittance into the Chamber’ motion, slated on the Order Paper, which should have been sponsored by Hon Garba Alhassan Ado to suspend relevant House rules, was not entertained by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The motion provides that “that the House, pursuant to Order 19, Rule 8 (1) and (2) of the Standing Orders, do admit into the Chambers, the ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the service chiefs and other dignitaries for the purpose of receiving an address by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the security situation in the country.”

Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, on Wednesday said that the National Assembly lacked the constitutional power to summon President Buhari over security matters.

The President’s change of mind, it was learnt, might not be unconnected with an alleged plot by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus to embarrass him.

The resolution for Buhari not to attend the forum was reportedly reached at a meeting held on Tuesday night which lasted into the midnight at the Conference Room 028 New Building of the House of Representatives.

Some of the governors seen at the meeting are Aminu Masari of Katsina State and Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, as well as the former FCT Minister of State, Senator James Udoedehe.

One of the principal officers in the House of Representatives, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the decision was to avoid any form of embarrassment from the members of the opposition party, PDP.

Malami, in a statement, argued that the issue of security is confidential and how the president handles it should not be for public exposure.

“The confidentiality of strategies employed by the President as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not open for public exposure in view of security implications in probable undermining of the war against terror”, he said.

He argued that Buhari had recorded tremendous success in containing the hitherto incessant bombings, colossal killings, wanton destruction of lives and property that bedeviled the country before attaining the helm of affairs of the country in 2015.

According to him national security is not about publicity and the nation’s security architecture cannot be exposed for the sake of getting publicity.

While stating that the President enjoys Constitutional privileges attached to the Office of the President including exclusivity and confidentiality investiture in security operational matters, which remains sacrosanct, he added that the National Assembly had no Constitutional Power to envisage or contemplate a situation where the President would be summoned by the National Assembly on operational use of the Armed Forces.

“The right of the President to engage the National Assembly and appear before it is inherently discretionary in the President and not at the behest of the National Assembly,” the statement added.

But immediate past Chairman, House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, Hon Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, said there was no justification for the President’s decision to turn down the invitation to brief Nigerians on the state of security.

“It was the House of Representatives of Nigeria that invited the President of Nigeria. It was not a summon; it was an invitation to bring us up to speed on the security matter in Nigeria, now that security is now topical and almost urgent.

“If he thinks to look at it legally, he may say you cannot summon because you can’t discipline. But one thing to look at is the security importance. He’s the commander in chief of all armed forces and the invitation is to tell us if there is any trouble in the security architecture so that we will know exactly what is the issue is.”

He also spoke on the reported role played by the governors to prevail on the President from honouring the House invitation.

He said, “We heard that the governors prevailed on him not to come, and it is very easy to understand why the governors said so because if he honours the invitation, the state assemblies will ask the governors to come, which is the proper thing. But because the relationship is master-servant; most parliaments in Nigeria run master-servant relationship; in that context, how can a servant order his master to come to render account?

“And if you are a governor, you owe the governed the duty to explain.”

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I have not withdrawn from presidential race – Tinubu

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  • Shares Workout Video

Presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, says he is fit to run for the office and has no intention of withdrawing from the race.

The ex-Lagos governor who shared a workout video on his Twitter handle Sunday spoke amid questions about his health status, stressing that he had withdrawn from the contest.

“Many have said I have died; others claim I have withdrawn from the presidential campaign,” the APC candidate tweeted on his verified handle.

“Well… Nope. This is the reality: I am strong; I am healthy and I am READY to serve Nigerians from Day One,” he added.

There have been concerns about the health status of Tinubu, with many Nigerians questioning his capacity for the nation’s top job.

Tinubu has not been seen in political gatherings, particularly at the signing of a peace accord by presidential candidates ahead of next year’s exercise.

While other candidates gathered at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, he sent his running mate, Kashim Shettima, to represent him. The development triggered reactions and pushed #WhereIsTinubu to the top trends on social media last Wednesday.

In August, the former Borno State governor also represented him at the NBA conference.

While reacting to comments about Tinubu’s whereabouts, a member of the APC  Presidential Campaign Council, Ayo Oyalowo, said the party’s flagbearer is resting in London.

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Just in: Wike. four other PDP govs meet in Enugu

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Five governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) met behind closed doors on Sunday in Enugu State.

Governors at the meeting are Samuel Ortom (Benue), Nyesom Wike, (Rivers), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, (Enugu), Seyi Makinde, (Oyo), and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia).

According to a statement by the Enugu State Government, the governors held a “crucial meeting in the Enugu Government House to discuss matters of public interest”.

The meeting that lasted for several hours came amid a crisis in the party over calls for the party’s national chairman Iyorchia Ayu to step down.

The five governors were also absent at the inauguration of the PDP presidential campaign council, which held on September 28.

Allies of Wike have insisted that they will not work for the party in the 2023 presidential election if Ayu fails to resign as chairman.

The calls for the resignation of Ayu is said to be on the grounds that the party chairman and presidential candidate cannot be from the same region.

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South-East leaders blast Atiku over Igbo president, demand apology

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South-East leaders have taken a swipe at the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, over a statement credited to him that Ndigbo should wait until after his tenure as President to have a shot at the presidency.

They also demanded an apology from him as they described Atiku’s comment as an insult to the collective sensibilities of the entire Igbo race.

The former vice president last Tuesday during the PDP South-East Zonal Stakeholders’ Meeting in Enugu said he would actualise the Igbo presidency if elected in 2023.

“So, why do you say I will not give Igbos a fair chance to lead the country after my tenure as president? I did that in 2019 when I brought Obi and another Obi in 2011 and for 2023, I chose Ifeanyi Okowa, another Igbo man as my running mate, even when Ohaneze said no Igbo should contest for Presidency under PDP”, he had stated.

However, the comment by the PDP’s standard bearer did not go well with many Igbo leaders who berated him for being insensitive to the political marginalisation of Ndigbo.

Recall that Chief Raymond Dokpesi had, in January 2022, during a consultation parley with the PDP leaders in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, said Atiku would only do a single term and hand over to an Igbo person.

Dokpesi, who was then the leader of the Technical Committee for Atiku Abubakar’s Presidential Campaign, assured that if Atiku was elected for a single four-year term, it would pave the way for the South East to produce the president in 2027.

Recall also that similar promises were made to Ndigbo by the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, during the electioneering for the 2019 general elections.

In December 2018, the Secretary to the Federal Government, SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, restated APC’s resolve that President Muhammadu Buhari would hand over power to an Igbo person in 2023.

Mustapha, while speaking in Umuahia, at the inauguration of the South East chapter of the Presidential Support Committee, PSC, assured Ndigbo that the shortest route to producing a president of Igbo extraction was by supporting and voting for APC in 2019.

Note that since the return of democracy in 1999, the gentleman agreement was that power would be rotating between the North and the South. In that order, the South got the first shot at the presidency with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, from the Southwest. After him, the presidency went to the North with Umaru Musa Ya’adua emerging as the president. Unfortunately, Ya’adua died on the seat and his vice, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan from the South-South filled in as acting president and then substantive president.

Going forward, the presidency returned to the North with Buhari almost rounding up his second tenure. Therefore, by the gentleman agreement operational, the presidency ought to return to the South once again.

But since the Dokpesi statement of January 2022 that Atiku will do a single term if elected in 2023 is not a direct commitment from the PDP presidential candidate, it can then mean that Igbo will have to wait till 2031 to be President if he decides to seek re-election in 2027 and succeeds.

The Igbo leaders argued that out of the three geopolitical zones, namely, South-West, South-East and South-South, the South-South and South-West have had their time at the presidency, leaving the South-East.

They believed that if equity, justice, fair play, and most importantly, owing to the tenets of the gentleman agreement which is in tandem with the federal character principles, the geo-political zone should have been supported by the other southern blocks who already have had their take at the presidency, but it became a tug of war, one which has generated a lot of bad blood.

Those who spoke to Sunday Vanguard noted that Atiku, who is at the centre of the problem, rather than supporting a candidate from the South-East, threw his hat in the ring to be allowed to succeed a fellow northerner who just did two tenures.

According to them, it is ironic that Atiku is now the one telling Igbos to support him becoming the president so that he would assist the region to get their turn at the presidency.

The implication of Atiku’s promise, the South-East leaders noted, is that if the ex-VP wins the 2023 presidential election and decides to go for a second term, the Igbos will have to wait until 2031 to have a shot at the presidency.

Atiku can’t be trusted – OYC

Reacting, the National President of Ohanaeze Youth Council, OYC, Comrade Igboayaka O. Igboayaka, regarded Atiku’s statement as a mere political chorus.

He said the PDP’s presidential candidate cannot be trusted. “We know politicians that can keep to their words and Atiku is not one of them. So what he’s doing is just to manoeuvre to get the opportunity to become the president of this country and continue his private and personal agenda.

“Again, nobody that is reasonable will ask Ndigbo or South East to support them to get power in 2031, no. It’s an insult to Ndigbo and unacceptable. I blame some so-called Igbo stakeholders in PDP that stood there and watched him making such a caricature statement against Ndigbo.

“Ndigbo have waited for more than 57 years to have a position of the number one citizen of this country. No person from South East has become the president of this country. So when you ask our people to wait, it is an insult to us.

”So the South East is politically marginalized and this is part of the things that are fueling the agitation in the old Eastern region. So it’s morally, socially, and justifiably the time for South East to produce the next president of this country. It is non-negotiable, we cannot negotiate it for any reason”, Igboayaka stated.

Also speaking, a socio-political analyst and convener, Ikoro Ndigbo Assembly, Ugochimereze Chinedu Asuzu, cautioned Atiku not to denigrate the Igbo race further, by such an “insulting and patronizing statement, as the presidency is not his to give.”

Asuzu said: “While Atiku is at liberty to say whatever he wants to say because there’s freedom of speech, I’ll only advise that he shouldn’t for any reason whatsoever, denigrate the Igbo race further, by such insulting and patronizing statement. The presidency is not Atiku’s to give to anyone, therefore, giving a promise that obviously is above his actualization is only being unnecessarily mischievous.

“This same patronizing statement we heard before the advent of the present occupier of the office of the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari. It was part of their campaign statements during the period of the campaigns, and it’s been observed in the breach already because the APC ticket has been ceded to a southwesterner already.

“Therefore, it’s becoming increasingly a pattern of a sort that the sensibilities of the Igbos are continually being insulted by politicians of other ethnicities who believe dangling such carrots at the faces of the Igbos will earn them votes.

Unwritten Code

“We say enough of the insults because the Igbos aren’t second-class citizens or is it that we aren’t aborigines of Nigeria that we’re being placarded in that manner? Will the heavens fall if an Igbo person rules Nigeria, or is there an unwritten or hidden code that forbid the Igbos from becoming president?

“Therefore, all these fire brigades’ promises to the Igbos during campaigns of supporting them next time to be president should stop, because it’s glaring becoming utterly nonsensical and demeaning. We have our people in contention too who are qualified to be president now. So we won’t wait for that beggarly presidency Atiku will give to us, because Nigeria is not his to give to anyone, and he’s not more qualified than our people who already offered themselves for that position which if following logically, morally, ethically and otherwise, it’s the rightful time for a president of Nigeria of Igbo extraction to become a reality, and that is where we stand now.”

I pity Igbos supporting Atiku – Nwodo

Former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Dr Nnia Nwodo, while contributing, said that he pities any Igbo political elite supporting the presidential candidate of the PDP at a time many Nigerians from other tribes are supporting the candidacy of Mr Peter Obi, an illustrious Igbo son.

According to Nwodo, “Atiku has been there as vice president and has contested for the presidency severally and he thinks we should wait after several times the North has occupied that position. I don’t support that statement by Atiku. I also pity those of them who had earlier supported the struggle for the Igbo presidency and now saying another thing. I don’t know what will be going through their minds.”

Continuing, he wondered why the Igbo political elite would not sacrifice political correctness and party interest on the altar of regional interest.

The former Information Minister said that apart from the fact that Obi hails from the South East that should by equity and justice be allowed to produce the president in 2023, the former Anambra governor towers higher above other presidential contenders.

“All I feel for those Igbo, including my state governor and my brother, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, now supporting Atiku to be president after eight years of the presidency of another Fulani man when entire Nigeria is saying that Peter Obi who happens to be Igbo is the best candidate in the race, is a pity. But they are entitled to their opinion.”

Total Insult

Also reacting, the President of Igbo National Council, INC, Chilos Godsent, said the group was sad about Atiku’s statement and viewed it “as a total insult to the Igbo nation.”

He called on the PDP’s presidential candidate “to endeavour to study history as that may help guide his utterances in this electioneering period.”

“Consequent upon the above, the INC, therefore, request Atiku to immediately apologize to the Igbo nation for that reckless and unguided statement or we shall declare a political fatwa on him and the PDP state governors in the Igbo land”, Godsent warned.

Igbos still unhappy with PDP
Adding his voice, the leader of the Coalition of Southeast Youth Leaders, COSEYL, Goodluck Ibem, expressed disappointment over the statement by Atiku especially, at a time when Ndigbo were still unhappy about the outcome of the PDP presidential primary election.
He said, “It is very wrong for Atiku to make such a statement in Enugu when the people of South East are still unhappy with the outcome of the PDP presidential primaries that failed to zone her presidential ticket to South East after many years of unalloyed support to the party.
“Whoever may have advised him to make such statement in Enugu did not advise him rightly. Enugu remains the capital of Ndigbo and it is not complementary for him to have made such a comment there.”

– Vanguard story, apart from headline and intro

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