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?”
I will turn Bayelsa into an industrial hub – Tinubu
Bayelsa State residents yesterday defied the heavy downpour to receive the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential campaign train, led by its candidate, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, in Yenagoa, the state capital.
He said Bayelsa will attain its potential as one of the country’s largest producers of oil. Tinubu said Bayelsa would not be what it is today, if oil was not first discovered in the state.
Tinubu commended former President Goodluck Jonathan, who hails from Bayelsa, for ensuring a smooth transition of power in 2015 after the APC won the presidential election.
He said: “On behalf of the entire nation, may I say thank you Bayelsa for all that you have done for Nigeria.
“You have played a critical and leading role in the development of our national economy.
“Now, I am a man of fairplay. I believe a person, a state and even a nation should be repaid for the good and positive things they have done.
“It is high time that Bayelsa was duly acknowledged for its role in national development and even more fairly paid back in kind for that positive role.
“The entire world knows that Bayelsa is rich in oil and is among Nigeria’s largest producing states. The revenue from these things has been the backbone of government income and foreign exchange earnings.
“But what the world often forgets is that Bayelsa is more than just pipelines and oil installations. It is a community of decent and good people, proud of the culture and traditions, yet hopeful of what the future holds.
“You are fishermen and boat operators of great skill and reputation. You are farmers, businessmen, market women, teachers, students and professionals in all fields.
“If you vote for me and my team, that unfair day will surely end. We will reconstruct and maintain vital federal roadways such as the Mbiama-Yenagoa-Nembe-Brass highway. We will work with willing and capable private sector partners to build a comprehensive network of swamp bridges that connect swamp settlements with upland areas and the wider world.”
Tinubu said his government would make the safety and security of the people of the state its priority.
He said he would take the necessary measures to address security challenges on the waterways by winning the fight against kidnapping, oil theft and piracy in the Niger Delta region.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said Tinubu would sweep the state.
He described Tinubu as a great personality, who has a good track record of achievement that nobody could beat.
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Sylva, who is the leader of the party in the state, added: “Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has a track record that nobody can beat. And today when they ask me why I am so sure that Tinubu will win and is going to be the next president, I ask them, who is contesting with him because I don’t know anybody that is contesting with him.
“And then they say it is Peter Obi that is contesting with him. I say ehh, and then they say there is an Atiku that is contesting with him, and I say it is very clear that those people are no match for our candidate because we have to look at the record of a candidate.
“What did Obi do in Anambra State? Anambra State is a great state, a technological miracle waiting to happen. Obi was there for eight years and Anambra State is in no way an extraordinary state. But we can say after eight years of our presidential candidate in Lagos State, we have Lagos that is extraordinary.
“Obi prides himself as a frugal man who saves money, that he doesn’t spend money; he prides himself that he is a stingy man. But governance is not about stinginess, it is also not only about prudence. It is about creating the opportunity for you the youths.
“Today, Nigeria has a youth population that is largely unemployed. Who is going to produce those opportunities? Who is going to expand the economy to be able to accommodate these people that we are producing everyday?
“Today, our population is about over 200 million. In 2025, our population is going to be about 250 million people and in 2050, the projection is that our population is going to be about 400 million people. It is not only about prudence, it is about creating opportunities. And if you read the Bible very well, it is very clear about creating opportunities and also about prudence. In the parable of the Talents, it said 10 talents were given to one; five were given to another and one talent was given to another.
“The man that was given the five talent increased the opportunity, invested it and created more opportunities and doubled the talents, so, when the master came back, the master was very happy with him that he had doubled the opportunity.
“The second man also doubled the opportunity and the master was also happy with him and the third man called Obi, buried his own talent and said he was a very prudent man and that he buried it because he did not want to lose it. He brought it out and gave to the master and the master said you are a very wicked man. You can see that it goes beyond prudence; it goes beyond not spending shishi.
“As for Atiku, his only mission, according to him, is that he wants to sell NNPC. He sold others before and he discovered he did not sell the NNPC. So, all he wants is to sell the NNPC. That is why he is saying doesn’t even want more than one tenure. So, why are we going to vote for people like that?
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“We must vote for the man that will create opportunities for our youths, we must vote for the man that will create work for you, we must vote for the man that knows the way.”
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong and Director-General of APC Presidential Campaign Council, said Tinubu will rescue the country.
He said: “Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the only way. Tinubu understands the problem of Nigeria. All we are saying is that with Tinubu, we have a renewed hope in Nigeria. Everywhere we go, the song is that Tinubu is a winner and he will win.”
The Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said Tinubu is a tested and trusted man who deserved to be President of Nigeria.
He said: “Tinubu has religious tolerance. He has developed men and women of consequence and deserves our votes. No other man deserves our votes. He is a man to vote for. The cap fits him and he should be the one to wear it.
“I am suggesting that those who we running should run on their records unless of course they have no record to run on. This is a consequential time in Nigeria and we need somebody who has a good track record of achievement and that person is Tinubu.”
Former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, said: “Our Presidential candidate will be the next president and Commander-in-Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces. Let me appreciate his running mate, a man who in the face of all challenges still brought hope to the great people of Borneo State.
“This election is particularly crucial to the people of Bayelsa State. I have hope and I know it to be the truth because when I was the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, I came to Bayelsa and saw how farmers’ farms were destroyed, how fisherman can no longer fish, how you dry your clothes outside and because of pollution, it changes colour.
“For you the people of Bayelsa, the issue of restructuring is important for you? Let it not be said that you are the proverbial fish who is in the river, but cannot drink the water because the river is polluted and poisonous.
“Our presidential candidate has the capacity and potential to deliver the country. Tinubu is insisting that Nigeria should not be run like a unitary system of government. He has courage to insist that in a true federal system, states, not Federal Government should be responsible for the creation of local governments. He didn’t just say it, he went ahead and created new local government areas in Lagos State. And what happened, he was punished by the PDP.”
On arrival in Yenagoa, Tinubu and his entourage paid a courtesy call on the Ibenanaowei of Ikpetiama Kingdom and Chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers in the state, King Bubaraye Dakolo Agada 1V.
The traditional ruler reeled out a lot of demands, including the construction of major roads linking the state capital, revamping of Peeremabiri Rice Farm, of Aggeii Deep Sea Port and Brass LNG.
The APC presidential candidate promised to uplift the state as a major oil producer.
But he told the royal fathers to urge their people to vote APC. Alluding to a Yoruba proverb, Tinubu said: “a woman that has not experienced a second husband will not know the difference between the two.”
The Wife of the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and chairman of the Tinubu/Shettima Women Presidential Campaign Team, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has said that the former governor of Lagos State will promise the welfare of Nigeria if elected in next year’s elections.
She urged eligible voters, especially women and youths, to vote for APC candidates.
Senator Tinubu gave the assurance at the flag off of the North-West rally of the Tinubu/Shettima Women Presidential Campaign, at the People’s Square, Katsina, Katsina State capital.
A statement by the Media Office of the Campaign Team in Abuja said the rally was attended by Hajiya Nana Shettima, the Minister, Hajiya Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed and Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, wife of the Kebbi State Governor and North-West Coordinator of the Tinubu/Shettima Women Campaign Team; the first ladies of Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Zamfara and Lagos states.
Also at the rally were Asabe Vilita Bashir, national coordinator of the APC Women Campaign Team and her deputy, Lauretta Onochie, who has recently been nominated as chairman of the board of the Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Also present were Zahra Buhari-Indimi and Hanan Buhari, daughters of the First Lady and grand patron of the APC Women Campaign Team, Dr Aisha Buhari.
On arrival in Katsina, the delegation paid a courtesy call to the Emir of Katsina, and the Governor Aminu Bello Masari.
Crisis hits Labour Party as Okupe, 11 others expelled
The Ogun State Executive Council of the Labour Party on Thursday expelled the Director-General of Peter Obi- Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Dr Doyin Okupe, and 11 others for refusing to pay their membership dues.
According to the SEC, which made the pronouncement after a meeting in Abeokuta, said the action was a violation to the party’s constitution.
Those that were expelled alongside with Okupe are Abayomi Collins, Hon. Abel Olaleye, Jagun Lookman, Olori Oluwabukola Soyoye, Mr. Gbadebo Fesomade, (former State Treasurer) and Mr. Abdulmalik Olaleye (former State Youth Leader).
Others are Mr. Jide Amusan( former State Publicity Secretary) Mr. Adeshina Wasiu Shojobi (former Asst State Youth Leader), Miss Deborah Adewale, (former Senatorial Women Leader Ogun East) and Mr. Olatunde Abolade (former Asst State Secretary).
Addressing newsmen in Abeokuta, the State Chairman; Michael Ashade and Feyisola Michael; State Secretary, alleged that Okupe and others had refused to pay their membership dues, despite repeated reminder that they should validate their membership by updating their financial status.
He asked Okupe to provide evidence of any payment in respect of membership dues prior to December 1, 2022 into any bank account of the LP.
He asked the National Chairman of the party, Barr. Julius Abure and the party Presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, to obey the party’s Constitution by relieving Okupe of his position as DG of PCC immediately and appoint another DG for the body, who should come from the North to reflect federal characters and political balance.
Ashade hinged the action on article 9(3)xi of the party’s constitution providing that “only fully registered and financially up to date members of the party shall have the right to vie for office in the Ward Executive, Local Government Area Executive, State Executive Councils and the National Working Committee of the Party or be a delegate to the Congresses and the National Convention.”
He said, “Article 9(3) iii of our Party’s Constitution states as follows: ‘only members who pay their monthly membership dues at rates prescribed shall be deemed to be bonafide members of the party. Arrears of dues of up to six months shall lead to forfeiture of membership.’’
“Despite repeated demand from various meetings I had with Dr. Doyin Okupe in respect of his mandatory constitutional requirements to fulfill membership status, he has failed woefully in this regards with some others to flagrantly disobey the Constitution of Labour party.
“In line with article 19(3) of the Labour Party constitutional provision, we declare that Dr. Doyin Okupe, having failed in the payment of his membership dues for the last six months of joining the party, has forfeited his membership of the party and no longer fit and competent to continue to act as the DG of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC).
“We hereby notify our National Chairman, Bar Julius Abure and Labour Party Presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, that it’s expedient to obey the Constitution of the party by immediately appoint another DG for the PCC and that should come from the North to reflect Federal Characters and political balance.”
He warned that any further act of disobedience by any of the affected former party members would be resisted through lawful means of enforcement in the Court of competent jurisdiction, stressing that the SEC of the party was committed to party supremacy as enshrined in Labour Party constitution.
He further warned that legal action would taken against the National Chairman, Barr. Abure and the presidential candidate, Peter Obi, if they failed or foot drag to relieve Doyin Okupe of his position in the party’s campaign council.
To fill the positions of those whose membership of LP were terminated, the State Executive Council approved their replacement in acting capacity.
The council therefore appointed Mr. Theo Igbozuruike as Acting Publicity Secretary, Mrs. Oladimeji Elizabeth Temidayo, Ag.State Women Leader, Babaseun Ogunyemi, Ag.Dep. State Chairman II, Mr. Adebiyi Adekunle, Ag.State Youth Leader and Mr. Olaniyi Shobajo, Acting State Treasurer.
Court jails A’Ibom YPP gov candidate 42 years for corruption
The Akwa Ibom State governorship candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Bassey Albert, has been jailed 42 years for fraud.
Justice Agatha Okeke of a federal court in Akwa Ibom sentenced Albert on Thursday.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2019 arraigned Albert on six counts of allegedly taking possession of six vehicles worth N204 million when he was finance commissioner in the state.
He was said to have collected one of the vehicles from Jide Omokore, an associate of Diezani Alison Madueke, former minister of petroleum.
Omokore reportedly had dealings with the state when he offered Albert the vehicles.
Delivering judgment Justice Okeke, the presiding judge, found the senator guilty of the offences.
He was sentenced to Ikot Ekpene prison to serve his jail term.
Albert, a serving senator representing Akwa Ibom North-East district, used to be a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He defected to the YPP in July, where he secured the party’s ticket for the 2023 governorship election.
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