Letter of Complaint on Suitability of Dr. Ganiyu Adeyemi Oke for Conferment Rank of SAN

June 2, 2017

Chief Registrar of Supreme Court/Secretary
Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee,
Supreme Court of Nigeria,
Three Arms Zone,
Supreme Court Complex,
Abuja.

Sir,

COMPLAINT ON THE SUITABILITY OF DR. GANIYU ADEYEMI OKE FOR THE CONFERMENT OF THE RANK OF SENIOR ADVOCATE OF NIGERIA

Organizing For Nigeria Initiative (ONI) is a civil society organization with objectives to promote good governance and integrity in the conduct of private and public life in Nigeria.

In the Public Notice/Advertorial published in The Nation newspaper of Friday, May 19, 2017 by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee, Dr. Ganiyu Adeyemi Oke (also known fondly and generally as Dr. Yemi Oke) was listed as one of the candidates who qualified to be awarded the prestigious rank of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) under the Academic Category. His name was listed as No. 1 under the category.

We write your Committee to show that by the antecedents, character, reputation and the general disposition of Dr. Yemi Oke in the way and manner he has conducted his legal practice and his dealings with the public in general, he is lacking in the requisite integrity, reputation and competence for this prestigious award.

Our position finds support in section 18 (2) and 19 (1) of the Guidelines For the Conferment of the Rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria 2013 to the effect that a candidate for the award of SAN “must be of good character and must have no pending disciplinary case or complaint relating to professional misconduct against him.” These sections also provide that a candidate who is adjudged by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee to be of bad behavior, whether in or out of court, poor temperament or propensity to insult or assault people or cause them harm or put them in state of fear of bodily harm; or who has evidence of moral depravity or other socially unacceptable behavior; or given to abuse of legal trust such as embezzlement or mismanagement of client’s funds is not eligible for the rank of SAN.

Premised on the above, we complain against the candidacy of Dr. Yemi Oke for the rank of SAN on the following grounds:
.
1. Character, Reputation and Disposition of Dr. Yemi Oke:

Dr. Yemi Oke is not a stranger to the politics of Ogun State being a card- carrying member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He served as the Legal Adviser and Executive Member of the Ogun State chapter of the PDP sometime in 2011. In the discharge of his duties as the Legal Adviser to the Chapter, he was found wanting in character, candor and professional disposition. For this reason, a panel constituted by the national leadership of the party disqualified him as an aspirant for the primaries for the Abeokuta South Federal Constituency to the House of Representatives in the following terms:

“The three contestants who were last Friday disqualified by the screening panel headed by Gen. A.B. Mamman from contesting the PDP primaries for National Assembly asprants for their alleged roles in the political crisis in Ohun State ….. Oke was also disqualified on the basis that he failed to use his superior knowledge of the law to advise the party properly, thereby orchestrating the crisis in the party, using his position as a lawyer to destabilize the party and cause disunity contrary to desirable qualities and code of conduct for party members.”

Attached and marked as Annexure I is the certified true copy of The Punch newspapers which reported the disqualification of Dr. Yemi Oke. Against the back ground of his conduct as legal practitioner which had been deprecated in a court’s ruling as would be shown shortly, we hold the view that Dr. Yemi Oke will be a burden and an embarrassment to the Inner Bar.

2. Abuse of Client’s Trust, Judicial Process and Duplicity:

In the discharge of his professional duties as a Legal Practitioner, Dr. Yemi Oke has not only abused the legal trust reposed in him by his clients, he has also encouraged parties to take steps that would ultimately result in the abuse of judicial process. He has once advised adverse parties in a case on steps and strategies, which if adopted, will frustrate his client’s case and position. In Suit No: FHC/L/CS/605/16 Chief Pegba v Otemolu vs. Independent National Electoral Commission & 3 Ors, as Counsel for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the 2nd party in the said suit, Dr. Yemi Oke, instead of pushing the case of his client, was caught advising Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, the major driver and financier of the Caretaker Committee of the PDP challenging the legality of Ali Modu Sheriff, the Acting Chairman of 2nd defendant.

The 2nd defendant became aware of the antics and unethical conduct of Dr. Yemi Oke, in a text message sent from his (Dr. Yemi Oke’s) telephone number: 08023148096 meant for Governor Ayo Fayose but which was sent in error to Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, the Acting National Chairman of PDP. This abuse of trust, betrayal and duplicity culminated in Dr. Yemi Oke being changed as counsel for PDP. Enclosed herewith is the Further Affidavit of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff in support of the Notice of Change of Counsel, marked as Annexure II, which speaks eloquently about the duplicity of Dr. Yemi Oke in the handling of his client’s case. (See paragraphs 2 – 5 thereof).

3. Unethical Conduct and/or Professional Misconduct:

Dr. Yemi Oke is on record as, a part of the gang of Legal Practitioners, who have no qualms in filing frivolous appeals which serve no purpose other than to delay proceedings and give an advantage to his clients which the judicial process does not envisage. In doing so, it does not matter to him, if the judicial process and the trial Judge are brought into disrepute.

a. In order to stall the proceedings of the 15th day of August, 2016 in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/464/2016: Dr. Ali Modu Sheriff &Ors vs. Independent National Electoral Commission &Ors, Dr. Yemi Oke, for and on behalf of one Hon. Sikirulai Ogundele, a total stranger to the proceedings, filed an application praying the trial Judge for leave to appeal against a purported ruling of the court. One Dolapo Kehinde Esq., who held his brief applied for the case to be adjourned or otherwise stood down to enable Dr. Yemi Oke, who pretended to be held up somewhere at the airport from appearing in court personally to take charge of the day’s proceedings.

b. Based on what he, Dr. Yemi Oke in his wild imagination termed a ruling of the trial Judge, in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/464/2016, an appeal was filed to the Court of Appeal. In the said appeal, which he lacked the courage to pursue to conclusion, he joined the trial Jude, Hon. Justice O. E. Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja personally as the 1st Respondent. The said Notice of Appeal is hereto attached and marked as Annexure II.

c. Just to satisfy his client and put the exalted judicial office of a Judge into disrepute, Dr. Yemi Oke did not have any qualms in accusing the trial Judge of bias and making him a party personally in his said appeal, a practice which has been roundly condemned by all, including the apex court of the land, the Supreme Court as not only unpardonable but also tantamount to gross misconduct.

d. In his Ruling in No. FHC/ABJ/CS/464/2016,the trial Judge spared no words in condemning this unethical conduct of Dr. Yemi Oke, for filing the appeal when no appealable decision had been taken, and particularly, for the more ignominious practice of joining a trial Judge, personally, as respondent in his purported appeal. The Committee is invited to read through the record of proceedings of the 15th of August hereto marked as Annexure III, pages 7 – 9, 13 – 14, and particularly, pages 27 – 31 thereof for what the trial Judge said of the antics of Dr. Yemi Oke:

“Again another counsel, Dolapo Kehinde announced appearance for Hon. Sikirulai Ogundele, a total stranger to the proceedings not being a party to the suit and filed a motion from nowhere dated 3rd day of August, 2016 praying the Court for leave to appeal against the ruling of the Court dated 28th July, 2016 on a purported findings made by the Court in that ruling that was not an appealable decision. The finding was not properly quoted from the ruling of the Court. The findings he made reference to was not related to the ruling of the Court. He relied on a purported findings allegedly made by the Court in the Court’s ruling on 28th July 2016 based on his own imagination. ….. The stranger to the proceedings even filed a notice of appeal without leave of Court and made my humble self a party to the incompetent appeal not binding (minding) the judicial immunity conferred on the Court having regard to the provisions of section 188 of the Evidence Act and also contrary to the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case NKOP VS ETUK supra to the effect that no judicial officer can be sued on the issue relating to the discharge of judicial duties.”

e. The above portion of the trial Judge’s Ruling, appropriately captures Dr. Yemi Oke, the lawyer, his practice, conduct and respect for the judicial process, and exalted positions of Judicial Officers, if any. The conclusion of the trial Judge at pages 30 – 31 of the said Ruling is quite instructive in profiling Dr. Yemi Oke and his unsuitability for the rank of SAN. According to the trial Judge:

“The said application is hereby dismissed. Heavy cost would have been awarded against Hon. Ogundele for his unholy conduct unbecoming of a person who claims to be civilized. The lawyer that assisted him in filing these frivolous processes, Dr. Yemi Oke was conscious of his unethical conduct (sic) and failed to appear in Court and rather sent a junior to Court to receive the consequences of his unethical conduct save for the intervention of Chief A. Akintola (SAN).”

f. The unethical conduct of Dr. Yemi Oke as captured by this Ruling holds him out as a person unfit to be honoured with the prestigious rank of SAN, an award designed to celebrate excellence in the legal profession. We have no doubts whatsoever that the kind of unholy and unethical conduct displayed by Dr. Yemi Oke, who knowing the enormity of his actions rather preferred to set up his junior to receive the bullets while he stays away under the pretense that he was held up on the way, is unbecoming of any lawyer who aspires to put on the silk.

g. The Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen (now CJN) of the Supreme Court in the celebrated appeals by one faction of the PDP against decision of the Court of Appeal Abuja Division to the Supreme Court to determine the party’s candidate for the governorship of Ondo State in 2016, described a SAN who joined Justices of the Court of Appeal, personally as respondents in an appeal like Dr. YemiOke in the instant case as “a disgrace to the legal profession”.
h. This unethical conduct and/or professional misconduct associated with Dr. Yemi Oke; his lack of respect and regard for the due administration of justice and judicial officers; and his willingness to abuse his position as a minister in the temple of justice if that will help him stall the course of justice and give his clients pyrrhic victory, are not qualities that commend a lawyer to be honored with the rank of SAN.

4. Dr. Yemi Oke’s Penchant for Abuses and Insulting Judges:

We need to add also that a lawyer like Dr. Yemi Oke who in his public statements have no qualms in describing judicial officers as “corrupt judges” and “paid judges”, not minding that the National Judicial Council (NJC), the only official organ with power to investigate and sanction such judges, has not condemned them is not a fit and proper person to be conferred with the rank of SAN. We attach and mark as Annexure IV, a publication of Dr. Yemi Oke on the social media entitled “UN-SENATORIAL MIS-STATEMENTS OF A MISFIT SENATOR IN THE RULING OF HC OF OGUN DATED 24/9/16” where he has deployed terrible and very demeaning appellatives in describing innocent judicial officers, including the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court. This type of conduct which we also consider unethical does not commend Dr. Yemi Oke as one worthy of any type of honour by the legal profession.

5. Pending Complaint Against Dr. YemiOke:

From the public utterances and writings of Dr. Yemi Oke who has a penchant for telling anyone who cares to know that all the pending complaints of unethical conduct and/or professional misconduct associated with his person and legal practice before the NBA Disciplinary Committee would amount to nothing, we came to know that there are unresolved complaints calling for disciplinary action against him. Our inquiry at the NBA Secretariat confirmed the pendency of several complaints against Dr. Yemi Oke, brought by lawyers and other highly-placed citizens since 2016. Most, if not all of the complaints are yet to be determined by the NBA. We are unable to attach some of the petitions and Dr. Yemi Oke’s response, as annexures herein, due to our inability to obtain copies from the NBA. But the NBA National Secretariat, as headed by the General-Secretary of the NBA, is well aware of the pending and unresolved petitions. The Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee may wish to call for such complaints and responses for and against Dr. Yemi Oke.

6. Involvement in the Panama Papers Scandal:

It is also public knowledge that Dr. Yemi Oke was named as one of the lawyers involved in the infamous Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca scandal, who was alleged to have helped incorporate shell entities to evade tax and sell secrecy in perpetration of financial fraudulent dealings. We also attach a publication of Premium Times to the effect as Annexure V.

Our Conclusion

A proper appraisal of each of the matters raised against the candidacy of Dr. Yemi Oke for the award of the rank of SAN shows that he is serially caught by the provisions of section 18 (2) and 19 (1) of the 2013 Guidelines for the said award. We therefore urge the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee to investigate these matters, all of which are in the public domain and in consequence thereof disqualify Dr. Yemi Oke from being honoured with the rank of SAN.

We are hopeful that your Committee will duly consider the matters herein raised and come to a decision that will save the inner Bar from the likes of Dr. YemiOke who, by his professional misconduct and/or unethical conduct, disposition, and dealings with the public, and unguarded utterances, does not possess the requisite character, reputation and good disposition to represent the best in the Nigerian Bar.

Accept the assurances of our best regards.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Uche Nnadozie
Executive Director (ONI)

Why Three New Faces of Socio-Political Reawakening In Igbo Land Must Not Be Found Wanting

The leaderships of Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) and Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs) have carefully appraised the goings on as they concern recent social and political developments in the Southeast Nigeria particularly as they concern Igbo socio-political reawakening and assertion of their rights to existence and ethnic identities with successes trailing last Tuesday’s sit-at-home protest voluntarily organized by IPOB and reformed MASSOB leaderships as a clear case in point.

Another reason behind this joint statement is to remind the trio of Peter Obi, Ike Ekweremadu and Nnamdi Kanu of their existing prestigious status as distinguished Igbo personalities of the year 2016.

This reminding advocacy voice is to strongly advise them to always watch their backs and refrain at all times from associating themselves with activities and conducts capable of forcing the Igbo People to look down and disrespect them.

They must not make themselves or be seen as demigods and must always be closer to the Igbo People. The concept of power drunkenness and psychology of politics must never be their portion. In other words, to whom much is given, much is expected.

We are particularly appalled and deeply worried over an allegation making the news in the web and social media (i.e. 247UReports) concerning Governor Willie Obiano’s car and cash gifts to Citizen Nnamdi Kanu.

According to the said online news report, “Nnamdi Kanu was recently handed over a cash of $50,000 and two SUV cars by Governor Willie Obiano and the gifts were gladly accepted from the giver”.

On further enquiry, a dependable and authoritative source told the coalition that “the acceptance of the gifts by Kanu from Governor Obiano was owing to the fact that Governor Obiano has been assisting Nnamdi Kanu’s father while Kanu was in prison”.

The link to the online story is here: https://247ureports.com/2017/05/27/nnamdi-kanu-receives-50000-and-two-suvs-from-obiano/. The publisher, Ikenna Ezenekwe, is a known close ally of Governor Obiano. The jeeps and cash, according to Ezenekwe’s 247UReports of 27th May 2017, “were delivered to Citizen Kanu shortly after his conditional freedom from prison by one Primus Odili, said to be Gov Obiano’s distant relative”..

It must be pointed out clearly here that there is nothing wrong in giving and receiving plain and charitable gifts from a public office holder or a wealthy philanthropist for the advancement of a nonviolent social struggle such as Biafra self determination campaigns, but a lot is morally wrong and socially abominable when such gifts are seen or perceived as politically motivated, ill conceived or evidentially and atrociously escapist.

If it is true that Governor Willie Obiano gave out such gifts to Nnamdi Kanu, valued at about N98million (i.e. N80M for the two SUV cars and N19M equivalent of $50,000), then our immediate appeal to Citizen Kanu is for such gifts to be returned to the Awka Government House with immediacy.

If it is not true, then he should direct his IPOB to respond publicly and convincingly on his behalf. The response under demand is grossly belated.

The acceptance of such gifts, if true, will spell doom to the nonviolent pro Biafra campaigns and pose a generational clog and curse for those championing the ongoing pro Biafra agitation.

The gifts, if truly given and accepted, can further evoke incurable wrath from the spirits of the 140 innocent, defenseless and unarmed Igbo citizens that were slain under Governor Obiano’s supervision and mobilization on 29th and 30th of May 2016 at Nkpor, Onitsha and Asaba.

Mortally, if it is true that such gifts were given and accepted, then the moral rectitude and competence of IPOB under Citizen Nnamdi Kanu to seek culpable and compensatory justices for the slain defenseless and unarmed citizens, numbering not less than, 140 and their beloved families may most likely have been jeopardized (only victims of 29th and 30th of May 2016 massacre at Nkpor, Onitsha and Asaba).

We have insisted and still insist that Governor Willie Obiano must make an open confession and admission of truth regarding his culpable roles and that of his government in the massacre.

He must follow it up by constituting a judicial panel or commission of enquiry, to be composed of 70% non State actors and 30% State actors to further unravel the atrocities of 29th and 30th May 2016.

The Nigerian Army in Onitsha must publicly disclose where and how they criminally buried dozens of slain innocent Igbo citizens; many of them the army was caught in camera conveying or moving them via their military trucks inside the Onitsha Army Barracks.

What shocks us the more is Governor Willie Obiano’s continued denial of death toll in the said Nkpor, Onitsha and Asaba massacre.

The Governor was authoritatively reported to have maintained this stance recently when a Nigerian Army’s kangaroo probe team visited him during which he was reported to have told the team that “nobody was killed at Nkpor and Onitsha on 29th and 30th May 2016 and if they said somebody was killed, I am not aware”. This was disclosed when the so called “army probe team” visited a certain establishment.

The so called “army probe team” never bordered to visit our coalition or the leadership of Intersociety, which thoroughly investigated the referenced massacre.

The leaderships of Intersociety and our coalition also never bordered to seek to meet the team, because we see the said army probe team as nothing but “a kangaroo army probe team”, seeking to trace and profile members and relatives of the slain families for purposes of evidence erasure, destruction and self exoneration.

For purposes of refreshing the minds of all and sundry, not less than 140 unarmed and defenseless citizens including those participating or attending church night vigils (i.e. inside St Edmunds Cath.

Church Primary School Classrooms located along Umuoji Road, Nkpor), early morning church service returnees and travelers, passers-by, street petty traders, artisans and onlookers were in the late night of 29th and morning and afternoon hours of 30th May 2016; shot and killed by members of the Anambra State Joint Security Taskforce (JTF), comprising soldiers of the Onitsha Military Barracks led by Col Abdullahi Isah Maigari and operationally commanded by Major M.I. Ibrahim of the Military Police.

Other key culprits in the massacre are the Anambra State Police Command led by then DCP OPS, now Commissioner of Police, Johnson Babatunde Kokomo and the Onitsha Area Commander and all DPOs under Onitsha Area Command; Anambra Police SARS led by CSP Bassey Annang; personnel of the Onitsha Navy Post Command, operatives of the SSS, personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, the personnel of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency and armed members of the Anambra State Vigilante Services (AVS).

It is further recalled that prior to the State Government supervised massacre, a letter of notification was sent and successfully delivered to the Governor of Anambra State through the then Commissioner of Police, now AIG Hosea Karma (AIG Zone 9, Umuahia).

The IPOB’s notification letter duly informed the Obiano Administration of its plan to hold the 2016 Igbo/Biafra Heroes Day near Eke Nkpor at a bulldozed multi plots of land temporarily let out for the event by a concerned property magnet. Following the successful and nonviolent marking of the anniversary in Umuahia and Enugu in 2014 and 2015, Anambra State was chosen as the host venue for 2016 anniversary.

The notification letter also clearly disclosed the intent of the event and solicited for security presence from the Government of Anambra State for the purpose of ensuring effective and peaceful crowd control.

Shockingly, the Governor of Anambra State and his Joint Security Taskforce used the notification letter to plan and strategize for violent crackdowns. Unknown to IPOB, Governor Willie Obiano doled out millions of naira from the meager State coffers for logistics and mobilized all the security agencies under his JTF.

Signals were sent to the 82nd Division of the Nigerian Army in Enugu for reinforcements and before the late night of 29th of May 2016, all strategic nooks and crannies of the State including all strategic entry and exit roads around Onitsha, Nkpor, Nnewi, Awka and Asaba had been violently blocked by soldiers and Police SARS.

As a result, shooting and killing spree targeted at those arriving for the anniversary commenced from 11pm of 29th May and terminated around 2pm of 30th May 2016.

At the end, field reports gathered by Intersociety evidentially showed that not less than 140 citizens were killed, out of them 110 died at Nkpor and Onitsha, while 30 others died at Asaba. Over 130 others were terminally injured: 70 in Onitsha and 60 in Asaba. Several Army Hilux vans carrying scores of dead bodies were caught in camera heading to Onitsha Army Barracks.

The bodies of the dead citizens picked by soldiers were later buried in most abominable and heartless manner inside one of the Onitsha Army Barracks’ two cemeteries (in about 15 graves with each containing at least seven shrank and acidified bodies). Their criminal burial took place on Wednesday 1st June 2016; eyewitnesses say, in the presence of one of Governor Willie Obiano’s Commissioners in charge of Public Communications.

About half of those killed in Asaba, numbering not less than 30, dumped at the Federal Medical Center including Citizen Chinedu Udoye were later on 26th June 2016 removed and buried at a certain location around Asaba Airport Road. Amnesty Int’l had in its report, disclosed that “not less than 60 citizens were killed at Nkpor and Onitsha, with at least 70 others injured”.

The Report did not include those killed and injured in Asaba. The culpable Government of Anambra and its mobilized security agencies including Nigeria Police Force and Nigerian Army not only boasted and justified the massacre, but also labeled the slain and the IPOB as “miscreants”, “violent and armed” and “armed independent people of Biafra”. Credit: Intersociety 2016/2017.

Governor Willie Obiano had also after the massacre and its allied litany of denials told by his Government made cursed offers including announcement of a N10million gift to injured victims during his crocodile tear-visit to hospitals where the wounded were being treated.

The offer was roundly rejected by IPOB and our coalition. A number of late night raids in private and public clinics and private residences were also carried out by soldiers and Police SARS leading to forceful removal of dead bodies of the slain pro Biafra activists; forcing families and relatives of other slain and injured activists to summarily whisk them out of Anambra State for safety.

Revocation of Nnamdi Kanu’s Prisoner-Of-Conscience Status: Following the conditional release of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu who was named Prisoner-Of-Conscience by our coalition in 2016, following his long detention without formal trial and several disobedience to judicial pronouncements for his freedom by his captors (Federal Government and its SSS), we hereby revoke his Prisoner-Of-Conscience status.

The trio of Bright Chimezie, Chidiebere Onwudiwe and David Nwawuisi; alongside Sheik Zaky El-Zaky and his wife-Malama Zeenatu El-Zaky are hereby renamed SBCHROs’ Prisoners-Of-Conscience.

While Sheik El-Zaky and his beloved wife, Malama Zeenatu have been held by SSS without any form of trial or court proceedings or freedom since 14th December 2015, David Nwawuisi and Chidiebere Onwudiwe have remained in detention without trial since October 2015 and June 2016 respectively for un-tried offence of conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, which is lightly bailable and attracts not more than seven years imprisonment on conviction.

Citizen Bright Chimezie’s arrest and incarceration by the Akwa Ibom State Directorate of SSS is complicated and lawless. He was arrested in Uyo by SSS on 16th September 2016 and detained without trial.

All efforts by his lawyers and family to see him proved abortive, forcing his lawyers to file a fundamental rights suit in Abuja in which the SSS filed a counter affidavit, saying that he was being held by its Uyo Directorate.

Fresh suit was filed before the Uyo Federal High Court and the Uyo SSS flouted an order of the Court and refused to produce before same; leading to the judgment of 24th May 2017, ordering for his unconditional release. Citizen Bright Chimezie has not been released by the Uyo SSS till date; thereby fueling speculations of his possible death in SSS custody.

Citizen Benjamin Madubugwu is denied a Prisoner-Of-Conscience status because of his connection with firearms found in his custody. The prisoner-of-conscience status is strictly meant for those who never used violence (pacifists) or implied as violent citizens in asserting their constitutional, regional and international human rights. In the eyes of Nigeria’s body of laws, Citizen Madubugwu is entitled to possess guns in the category of firearms (two pump action guns) found in his custody provided he operates same with lawful license.

Commendation: The following are worthy of commendation for their priceless and immeasurable roles in the human rights, humanitarian, research, documentation and media advocacy aspects of the nonviolent pro Biafra campaigns in Nigeria so far.

They are Amnesty International, SBCHROs, Intersociety, Alaigbo Development Foundation, Igbo Youth Movement, Ike Ekweremadu, Peter Obi, Joe Achuzia, US Embassy in Nigeria, Mike Akuoma, Ugochukwu Chinwuba, Ikechukwu Okoye, Clifford Iloanya, Prince Emeka Onyeso, Okechukwu Nwanguma, Aloysius Attah, Ibuchukwu Ezike, Tochukwu Ezeoke and his Igbo Ekunie group, Justus and Justine Ijeomas, Alex Olisa, Damian Ugwu, Damian Ogudike, Tools & Allied Market and its leadership, Ekwenche Group, USA, Uche Asiegbu, George Onyeibe, Samuel Kamanyoku.

Others are Isaac Umunna and his News Express Online, Daniel and Tim Elombah and their Elomba Reports, Madam Aziza Uko and her Trent Online, Emeka Odugwu and his Odogwu Blog, Chidi Opara and his Chidiopara Reports, Henry Oduenyi and his Nigerian Voice, James Ezema and his The Street Reporters, Naija.Com, Nairaland, Barrister Chioma Kate Unini and her Nigerian Lawyer Online, Mazi Odera, Uchenna Madu, Barristers Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Chuks Muoma (SAN), Emmanuel Onyejena and his Allnewsandreports.

The rest are Chinwe Umeche, Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Florence Akubilo, Ndidiamaka Bernard; the Galaxy TV and its Southeast crew, Minaj TV, Vanguard Newspaper, Innocent Anaba and his InosReport, Leonard Sobechi of Guardian Newspaper, Senator Iroegbu and Dave Eleke of This Day Newspaper, Today Online, Uncova Online, the Authority Newspaper, the Premium Times, Emmanuel Mayah, Mary Ann Onwuchekwa, Anita Foster, Tony Okafor, the Independent Newspaper, Champion Newspaper, Alphonsus Nweze, Cyprain Ebele, to mention but a few.

Why Igbo Spoke In Unisom On 30th May 2017: The massive reactions of the most Igbo People on 30th May 2017 by voluntarily shutting down their businesses across the country and beyond the shores of Nigeria for the purpose of honoring their fallen heroes and heroines killed in the 1967-70 Biafra-Nigeria Civil War and others butchered since 1945 is not only a strong message to those behind the decades long butcheries, but also a red card to those who mocked the Igbo People to the effect that Igbo People are not united and can never be united. It is also a red card to those who falsely claimed that Igbo People have no leadership or kingship.

Most importantly, this collective feat also calls for caution particularly on the part of IPOB and reformed MASSOB under Citizens Nnamdi Kanu and Uchenna Madu leadership. That is to say that such massive support must not be taken for granted. Igbo People have no leadership, kingship or oneness so long as there are no credible people in leadership positions or genuine and formidable social cause to fight or agitate for.

Once credible leaders or genuine social cause are spotted or found, unity, oneness and credible leadership commands take the centre stage among the Igbo People.

That is to say that the same way the Igbo People have hearkened to IPOB and reformed MASSOB’s recent call for a sit-at-home protest, is exactly the same the same Igbo People will turn their back permanently against the likes of IPOB and reformed MASSOB and their leaders once they are seen or perceived as deviants and conformists.

This was why we had on 11th December 2016 named the trio of Peter Obi, Ike Ekweremadu and Nnamdi Kanu as distinguished Igbo personalities for 2016. We found in them great potentials to lead and wriggle Igbo People out of their decades’ long trepidations, agonies, unprovoked attacks and butcheries.

We had then counseled them strongly to jealously guide and guard their leadership potentials and resist any attempt to get them rubbished or compromised. Till date, in Anambra State, Peter Obi’s leadership and public governance imprints are next to nothing or second to none.

The trio of Peter Obi, Ike Ekweremadu and Nnamdi Kanu still retain their prestigious distinguished personalities of 2016 status till the end of this year. With this in their hands, they must at all times not disappoint the Igbo People as “new faces of Igbo renaissance or reawakening”.

They must understand that the Igbo People are watching them all the time as per wherever they go and whatever they do. They are now like the great mgburuichi and nze-na-ozo people of the Oracular Igbo Society, who on account of their membership of the two highly revered groups; were incapable of associating themselves with evil doing or disappointing themselves and their society.

We also welcome Citizen Nnamdi Kanu’s ongoing reconciliatory moves, geared towards mending fences with those in disagreements with others.

Such gesture must also be extended to key members of his group’s Directorate of State (DOS) and Coordinating Office of Coordinators (COC) as well the likes of Ekwenche Igbo group in USA.

Signed:
For: Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs)

Comrade Aloysius Attah (+2348035090548)
For: Civil Liberties Organization, Southeast Zone

Comrade Peter Onyegiri (+2347036892777)
For: Centre for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy

Comrade Samuel Njoku (+2348039444628)
For: Human Rights Organization of Nigeria

Engineer Rufus Duru (+2348037513519)
For: Global Rights & Development International

Comrade Chike Umeh ( +2348064869601)
For: Society Advocacy Watch Project

Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq. (+2348034186332)
For: Anambra Human Rights Forum

Comrade Alex Olisa(+2348034090410)
For: Southeast Good Governance Forum

Jerry Chukwuokoro, PhD (+2348035372962)
For: International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative

Mr. Tochukwu Ezeoke (+447748612933)
For: Igbo Ekunie Initiative (Pan Igbo Rights Advocacy Group)

Comrade Vincent Ezekwume (+2348171793911)
For: Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State Branch

Emeka Umeagbalasi(+2348174090052)
For: Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law

Biafra: Dried Wounds Licked For Too Long By Maxi Chidiebere Igbokwe

Memories of two personalities of Southeastern origin have etched on the psyche of Igbo nation and on the mind of an average Igbo man in Nigeria, including myself.

They are Chief Dr. Nnmadi Azikiwe, the Owelle of Onitsha and the Biafran warlord, Col. Chukwuemeka Odemegwu Ojukwu, the Ikemba of Nnewi.

But both represent two opposing phases in the transitional history of Igbo nation or our people. Also, each one of them made influential imprints on the lives of our people, irrespective of whether it was for good or bad.

A society or community remembers its own based on the extent anyone impacted positively on the lives of the people.

It is reason, in most Africa communities; personalities are canonized, deified or elevated to remarkable historical monuments. Legends sprout from such backgrounds.

The Ghanaians talk of the Great Kweme Nkrumah and South Africans endearingly worship Nelson Mandela. In Nigeria, South -westerners idolize Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Northern Nigerians have erected multiple monuments after the Sardauna of Sokoto and first Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello.

But I believe what is central to the erection of fond memories around personalities whether dead or alive is to espouse and enliven the progressive visions, ideas and legacies they embodied as source of inspiration to the upcoming generation. I consider it absurd and in fact, I have not experienced any community where a son or daughter who brought destruction on his people is immortalized. There is no community of sane people that propagates such retrogressive inclinations.

But I find my people, the Igbo nation attempting to consciously make this silly historical mistake. Yesterday, Nigerians converged in Abuja to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Biafra. Personally, I feel there is nothing wrong with such a gathering, to the extent it serves to remind us of the thorny road we once traversed.

The counsels at the forum by respected Nigerian like former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the further pursuit of the Biafran cause were witty and instructive. As a father to us all, he provided better insights into how we can actualize the Biafran dream that boots and guns could not accede to us as a people between 1967-70, during the bloody Nigerian civil war.

However, what I find disconcerting with my kinsmen is the latter-day resurrection of Biafran instincts by people I prefer to brand as over ambitious brothers and a few sisters in the fold. Perhaps, we have failed to learn from history why Ojukwu’s version of a republic of Biafra failed. And so we are prepared to repeat the same mistakes and thereafter, we begin to cry out to the world, about appalling mass genocide of our people.

I don’t think it’s enough for anyone to garb himself in war-like apron, grab a few desperate youths in the Southeast and arm them with sophisticated weapons and then begin the public march on streets and cities of the Southeast, proclaiming “life or death,” if Nigeria does not concede to our demand of a Biafran state.

If we are prepared to extract Biafran state for ourselves by the dictates of brute force as has become the end game of the Ralph Uwazuirike’s MASSOB or Nnmadi Kanu’s IPOB, then we must have made serious and covert arrangement for it. Only that can save us from the pitfalls that swallowed Ojukwu when he declared what he later discovered was a war he lacked the strength to prosecute to a victorious end.

On the reverse side, if we are adopting the stick approach, we must ensure it is grounded in the ethos of democratic civility, law and decency, the universal conventions prescribed by world bodies like the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) African Union (AU) and the lot. But it is sadly not the case with today’s agitations for secession.

We are overtly applying both the stick and carrot approach simultaneously, a sign of our confusion. I am not convinced that such would work, if a Biafran state at this phase of our history is anything worthwhile to pursue with such vehemence.

But beyond this plank of reasoning, I am tempted to ask myself again, that based on the allusions of legends I made earlier in this piece, where is Ohaneze Ndigbo heading with a Biafran state now?

Of all the two most pronounced figures, (Azikiwe and Ojukwu) whose legacies are worth emulating? Is it Ojukwu who by every nuance of assessment can be described as someone who selfishly anchored the massacre of our people and the destruction of our land, human and material resources or should it be the popular Zik of Africa, who fought to his grave to accord Igbo nation an identity in the configuration and context of unity of Nigeria?

Or is it not more sensible to copy the footsteps of Zik, our modern patriarch, whose vision developed us and deposited worthy legacies of unity and human development and the relics dots our landscape today?

We are pleaded upon to be reasonable for once. I know many would chastise me for the position I have taken. But maybe, they are yet to come face to face with the harshness of the vagaries of life and so, we feel it is easy to fetch knives, bows and arrows and guns to proclaim Biafran state on the streets.

I am sure, for many more, when they hear counselling such as “no nation survives two civil wars,” like some elements in Ndigbo are pushing, so crudely, it sounds to them like echoes of distant drums.

But I wish to use this platform to remind us of our failings as a people. Any society or community that aspires to progress downplays its retrogressive past. It is not positive thinking to continue to emulate the virtues of Ojukwu.

The respected army officer has lived his life and in his own time and passed unto eternity in blissful ease. He made mistakes, committed blunders and confined us to the fate we now face, and desperately trying to extricate ourselves. But i don’t think it is plausible for us to continue to fashion our destinies after such an idol or his visions.

What has stopped us from striving to live the more positive and progressive life of the Great Zik of Africa. Today, this great nationalist and Pan-Africanist and whatever he represented; the positive values have been buried by us.

I nearly wept when I read the motion for the establishment of Nnamdi Azikiwe Foundation by Hon. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia.

He said: “For reasons that cannot be explained, we seem to have ignored the necessity of establishing a Foundation in memory of the great Nnamdi Azikiwe. By all definitions and descriptions, Nnamdi Azikiwe is a hero, not just in Igboland, but also in Nigeria and beyond.”

These are issue that should preoccupy our minds. A foundation was coming for Nnamdi Azikiwe decades after his contemporaries in the Southwest or the North had theirs established for them by their own people. Yet he was a son who made bold marks on the sands of time. Zik was the first President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of independent Nigeria.

He was known as a Pan-Africanist; radical and irrepressible journalist, nationalist, party leader, legislator, minister, premier, senate president, and Governor-General, who lived for Igbo nation and Africans generally.

An extremely very proud descendant of the Igbo race, Azikiwe’s lifestyle influenced and propelled hundreds of Igbo graduates enlist in the public service with his support in post- independence Nigeria.

He lived and defended the Igbo self-worth. For instance, at the 13th Annual Assembly of the Ibo Union, held in Owerri Hall, Enugu on December 19, 1954, Azikiwe decried the verbal attacks on his people and berated security for their inaction.

The Zik of Africa vehemently argued for self-determination by the establishment of an Ibo state to place the Igbos on a pedestal equal to other ethnic groupings that comprise Nigeria and the Cameroons, but emphasizing the indivisibility of Nigeria.

Desirous of development and unity among his people, Azikiwe initiated and promoted Ibo unions and town unions in all the Igbo communities, which later blossomed and embarked on development projects. These unions also assisted brilliant Igbo natives to gain admissions into Nigerian and foreign universities.

When the Biafran war raged, Azikiwe delivered a speech at Oxford University on February 16, 1969, where he outlined a 14-point peace plan for implementation by a United Nations (UN) Peace Keeping Force. He made frantic efforts to resolve the conflict, though both the UN and the federal government of Nigeria rejected the proposals as unworkable. But at least, it expressed his desire for peace.

But in contrast, Ojukwu negated all that the Great Zik represented in respect of unity, peace and development of Igbo nation. But unfortunately, we are more interested in copying his legacies. The events of January 1966 putsch led by Major Kaduna Nzeogwu could not have necessarily exploded into a civil war. But unfortunately, Ojukwu exploited this incident to settle a personal score with the then Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon.

My understanding of it was more of an egoistic battle of sophistry between Col. Ojukwu and Gen. Gowon. And he had to drag his kinsmen into it to give it a broader patronage and sympathy.

Have we imagined that it could have been excusable for Ojukwu to go to war without widespread dialogue and approval of his people?

Can we excuse him for declaring a Biafran republic which he know would lead to war, without stocking himself with arms and ammunitions or consulting widely and seeking the approval of the community he wanted to protect through war? It is the same mistake we want to repeat to today.

And Col. Ojukwu sneaked away into self-exile, when it became evident he could no longer sustain the fire he ignited; while hunger and disease perished thousands of our people as a consequence of the war. I think, we need to be more circumspect today, than ever. We have licked the dried wound of Biafra for too long.

*Maxi Igbokwe writes from Lagos.

Revisiting Many Inconsistencies in Termination of Maina’s Pension Corruption Fight by Okechukwu Duru

For a long time, the former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina has been embattled and news about him had remained very sensational in the media except for a recent surprising disclosure which though interestingly shocking has been kept away from public knowledge by the media.

Without a doubt such information which undoubtedly is high quality news would have been readers’ delight especially for deconstructing a highly complex National issue but the seeming deliberate attempt to keep it under the carpet will form the focus of this discourse whilst raising queries on the sincerity the Nigerian media in news reporting.

From Maina’s feat of recovering 1.3 trillion naira stolen by pension thieves, the twisty allegations on misappropriation of 2 billion naira against him by the Senate Committee to major fallout and counter accusations of three billion naira bribery demand from him by the Senate Committee Chairman, Aloysius Etuk, and his deputy, Kabir Gaya, the narrative on Maina has no doubt been very long and complicated.

In fact, the chronicle on Maina by any credible analyst will be incomplete without recognizing how the media through very persuasive write ups incited the then Senate President, David Mark to ask the Jonathan’s Presidency for abrupt dismissal and arrest of the then Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, PRTT.

What was the major issue of contention that would warrant such deft punishment before trial, especially on a man that has accomplished unparalleled success in decimating the pension fraud cabal in Nigeria one may ask?

Simply put, it was nothing far from what was largely termed Maina’s disrespectful conduct to Senate Committee.

Even if bad as it was painted, would that have warranted the termination of a major anti-corruption vehicle that was delivering tons of stolen billions into the coffers of the Nigerian treasury?

Yes, Maina’s main crime was his poor attitude, immature approach and impunity exhibited to the Senate Committee but the twist in the story is that a little after Maina and the Senate Committee exchanged accusations, the media went bizarre with stories against Maina’s impunity with no mention of his good work as Chairman of Pension Reform Task Team.

This half-baked journalism was highly noticeable and even the much respected conservative media over looked the need to provide a balanced reporting.

On all these and more, the simple logic adduced by Maina’s sympathisers to the aggressive media trial was that it was fueled by views from mostly those that opposed to his stay as Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, PRTT and many persons still in possession of stolen pension funds.

Even though this remains an allegation with no proof, the failed attempted murder of Maina was well documented by the police and highly suggestive that some persons wanted Maina dead.

Probably, this dastardly act might have contributed to his eventual departure from public glare to avoid extermination from the face of the earth with a preferred option of fighting his legal battles from his assumed haven.

Luckily for Maina, the court not only quashed the arrest warrant on him, but also granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining the IGP from arresting him.

Besides, the conjectures on Maina’s forced exit, I think what is important is for Nigerians to first examine the role played by a section of the media in the said character assassination of Maina before trial and then the new Government of President Buhari to examine the real role Maina played in dismantling the criminal gang of pension thieves in Nigeria, then attempt a proper analysis on what seems best for National interest.

First on the media character assassination of Maina, with the recent disclosure by the then Senate Committee Deputy Chairman, Kabir Gaya that the 195 billion naira accusation against Maina was baseless as the money was deposited in banks under the TSA scheme, what it simply affirms is that many of the issues raised against Maina were downright absurd and largely conspiratorial in their undertones for his removal.

What has been made public by Senator Kabir Gaya, though an afterthought certainly quashes the Senate Committee’s earlier allegation of misappropriation of about N195 billion naira against Maina, the chairman and members of the Pension Task Team. These are definitely thought provoking.

With no attempt of getting sanctimonious on Maina, the objective reality for Nigerians herein is that it was absolutely outrageous that the referenced Senate Committee never had quality reason and evidence to engage in what they did by prompting the police to declare Maina wanted.

Unfortunately, now that these lies have been dispelled by those that initiated them, the truth is that their effects will linger because of a biased press that engages in selective reporting, otherwise why has the media maintained a deafening silence on this issue of national interest, could it be that those that never wanted Maina around are still busy suppressing important stories that will resurrect Maina’s Pension Task Team.

Today, without no basis in fact, the press has made Maina’s name contradictorily synonymous with both an achiever in pension reform and a looter even though the evidence against him were never substantiated.

This is not only shocking especially now that the accusations on Maina have been overturned but what it clearly exposes is the existence of a skewed desire of a section of the media to condemn a man guilty before investigation.

Of course, some may disagree with this position, however, it is really unfortunate that in this era of investigative journalism the media has found it unnecessary to review an earlier misinformation they offered their readers, otherwise what stopping any credible press that carried the initial falsehood from rapidly reversing the erroneous report.

The story of deception visited upon Maina is not only strange, destructive to his personal integrity but very damaging to our collective interest on anticorruption fight.

The most worrisome part of it all is that the allegations that a section of the Nigerian press were motivated to embrace falsehoods by routinely categorizing Maina as thief without basis in order to halt the good work of the Pension Reform Task Team, PRTT might even be true especially given that Maina’s primary accusers have made public apologies and reversed themselves.

Sadly, like a well-rehearsed plot, this was rarely reported in the media and even where reported, it received minimal media coverage.

From all fair and objective intents, it may not be wrong to conclude that characterization of Maina as a criminal by the media is divorced from truth and actuality because the initial failure of the media to conduct proper investigation on such an issue as raised by the Senate Committee raises the very important question of the real role of journalists in the fight against corruption.

This is why it may be necessary for the sake of common good to open up conversation to probe why Maina’s accusers conjured phony statistics and stories, yet allowed to successfully terminate a tested and proven strategy that would allowed Nigeria recover more trillions naira in the private coffers of some pension thieves.

In fact, the reward for the termination of Maina’s Pension Task Team only favours those who are threatened by Maina’s claims that over six trillion naira can still be recovered from the 97 uninvestigated institutions.

Certainly, this is huge loss for the Nigerian nation especially under the Buhari led administration that needs to enhance its revenue especially in a recessed economy.

Another objective reality for Nigerians is that the Maina matter will for a long time be a major reference on challenges that confront corruption fight in the developing world and it is a clear instance of how corruption fight is killed and corruption fighters battled.

The fact is that what is happening to Maina is somewhat terrifying and it really does suggest that the fight against corruption and the belief that corruption fights back those that battle it are not just matters of illusion but reality.

The ready question herein is would President Buhari allow the battle against Maina be another triumph of evil over good?

This where we need a sane public conversation on Maina that will counter the earlier media treatment of Maina which is far from been sober and reasonable.

Otherwise, on the termination of Maina’s fight against corruption, the nation will be the big loser.

Now that a contrary conclusion has emerged on Maina, what next? Will his suspension be reversed? Will the previous Senate Committee’s report that has been revealed to be plagued by so many irregularities and inconsistencies be reversed or an apology offered to Maina?

Will a National Award be appropriate? Will Maina ever find courage to work again for his country under similar circumstances and inherent risks?

However, the truth is that Maina would earn much if he decides to sell his story to the International news media and publishers on how the corruption he fought, found a way to fight him back.

*Dr. Okechukwu Duru is a Public Affairs Analyst and Sub Sahara Co-ordinator, Advocates for Improved Africa. He wrote from Area 10, Garki, Abuja.

X-raying General Buhari’s certificate scandal

The recent media report credited to Alhaji Lia Mohammed, the publicity secretary of All Progressive Congress, to the effect that the ongoing efforts being made by some concerned Nigerians in the Court of Law by seeking an incontrovertible clarifications on sundry issues pertaining to Major General Mohammadu Buhari’s certificate controversy amounted to an attempt to scuttle our fledgling democracy, is, to say the least, completely misplaced.

This is because in any democratic setting or any society that is sincerely committed to upholding the principles of rule of law, the Court of Law remains the orthodox channel through which aggrieved citizenry are meant to ventilate their disaffection and dissatisfaction to the fullness, as opposed to taking recourse to violence for same purpose.

Little wonder that the Law Court is often regarded to be the last hope of a common man.

Incidentally, there is clearly nothing wrong for concerned Nigerians to drag General Muhammadu Buhari to the court of law over his questionable and contradictory claims pertaining to his seemingly nonexistent Cambridge University WASC, and neither is there anything sinister about the intention of litigants on the matter as being hallucinated and fussed about by Alhaji Lia Muhammed the APC spokesman.

After all, it is a well established position of the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act that Nigerians who feel dissatisfied with any contestant’s information/documents as attached in INEC’s contest form should do what some litigants are currently doing on the issue concerning General Buhari’s certificate scandal.

Needless to say that with this approach, our democracy is not only gaining consolidation but also has begun to ensure that those who offer themselves for the service of Nigerians do so with a sense of rectitude and self assurance.

To this end, there is an urgent need for Lia Mohamed and his ilk to desist from utterances capable of undermining the spirit, the validity and the good intentions of our laws.

Also read: PDP supporters campaign for Buhari in Jonathan’s presence
No doubt, as it were, only a competent Court of Law is at the moment apparently positioned to either validate of vitiate whatever claims that Major General Mohammadu Buhari and all interested litigants are currently holding on to over the former’s certificate saga.

However, based on the prima facia inconsistencies arising from Buhari’s certificate scandal so far and upon which barefaced lies have thus emerged, nothing could be further from the truth.

To begin with, Buhari’s averment under oath that his credentials were with the Nigeria Military Board, a copy of which he reportedly submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in wrong fulfillment of the provisions of the Electoral Act, remains a controversial issue that needs to be sorted.

On the other hand, the subsequent refutation of this Buhari’s bogus claim by the Nigeria Army Authority is yet another matter that has brought to the fore the abysmal level of integrity bankruptcy of General Mohammadu Buhari.

Probably speaking with a pang of malice, this may even help to explicate the real rationale behind his disposition towards the issue of restructuring the army.

But beyond this refutation, it smacks of immense curiosity that at a time, in 1961 to be precise, that Mohammadu Buhari claimed in his 199A form (ie in his Army recruitment form) that he had credits in English language, Geography, Health Science, Hausa and a pass in English literature, the principal of his Provincial Secondary School, Katsina,“in recommending Buhari for commissioning as an officer, said I recommend him for military commissioning; I consider that Mohammadu Buhari will pass the West African School Certificate in English, Maths and three other subjects”.

But like many Nigerians would want to ask: at what point then did the young Buhari credit the foregoing subjects?

Could it be in the same 1961 when he applied to be recruited into the Nigeria Army and following which he sought and obtained the foregoing recommendation from his principal at the time?

Or could it be after he had been commissioned as an officer in the Nigerian Army? These and more are all questions of abiding interests.

Meanwhile, as these puzzles linger, it is important to note that no sooner did the Army speak out in swift denial of General Buhari’s baseless claim about the custody of his credentials than the General helplessly recanted, blurting out a gaffe like a child aroused from a nightmarish slumber.

Thus on 20 January, 2015, General Buhari publicly announced to the chagrin of many Nigerians and his supporters alike – while addressing a press conference in Kano State over his Secondary School Certificate – that “I had assumed all along that all my records were in the custody of the military Secretary of Nigeria Army.

“Much to my surprise, we are now told that although a record of the result is available, there are no copies of the certificates in my personal file”.

To say the least, this is really an aberration. How could a man reputed to have served as one time secretary to the Nigeria Military Board be wallowing in the world of assumption?

Or is this assumption in any way devoid of the legal offence of perjury.

Or could ignorance in the prevailing circumstance constitute sufficient grounds or plea for the breach of law as relates to lying under oath? Or is Nigerian law going to be construed to suit and accommodate General Bahari’s ignorance with impunity?

If that is so, would that be in tandem with the universal concept of rule of law and the government’s propensity to philosophise about it?

Anyway, as the date of the Presidential election draws closer Nigerians and the world are keenly watching and awaiting the judicial interpretation on this matter at the earliest.

Moreover, on the recent statement reportedly released by the incumbent principal of Buhari’s Provincial Secondary School (now Government College) Katsina, it is crystal clear that Buhari’s futile attempt so far to improvise a Cambridge University WASC for himself has only ended up breeding more lies.

For one, unlike the initial report of having made credit in mathematics as contained in his personal file with the Nigerian Army, the same Buhari reportedly scored F (failure) in the same subject as evidenced in the said statement of result recently released.

Similarly questionable is the emerging twist associated with Buhari’s name.

Curiously, while Buhari had always been known and addressed over time as “Mohammadu”which is evidently attested to by both the letter of recommendation on him issued by his School Principal in 1961 and the name in his personal service file with the Nigeria Army, his emerging novel name “Mohamed” as contained in the recent Statement of result released by the current principal of Government College (aka Provincial Secondary School) Katsina, leaves much to be desired.

In fact, in no small extent, it bugles one’s mind how these names -“Mahammadu” and “Mohamed” – and their respective spellings could now be considered same and as appropriately belonging and referring to one and the same man who had never effected any change of name ab intio or, at least, publicly confessed otherwise.

Viewed from all ramifications, therefore, it is embarrassing that up till now General Mahammadu Buhari has not deemed it timely, essential and imperative to show Nigerians and the world at large the authentic copy of his West African School Certificate, if at all he possesses one.

Also, it is a pity that all General Buhari has been telling us and doing all this while concerning the barrage of questions about his so-called Cambridge University WASC has mainly bordered on attempts at whipping up irrelevant sentiments and striving in the process to usher in unnecessary diversion of attention from the vexed issue.

Even more ignominious on the whole is the crass remark often heard from Buhari’s supporters and fellow party men, especially from certain supposedly educated minds amongst them, to the effect that it does not matter whether or not the retired General has lied under oath about his credentials or indulged in the outright forgery of his Cambridge University WASC.

According to their thinking, even if it is a marriage certificate that General Buhari is able to produce in the long run as an evidence of his secondary school education, that of course should be accepted rather than rejected or be used as a basis for disqualifying him for not abiding by the stipulations of the laws of Nigeria.

Funny enough, this line of thought is similarly and shamelessly being echoed and propagated by no less a person than Alhaji Lia Mohammed, the publicity secretary of All Progressive Congress (APC).

In an interview with Saturday Tribune Newspaper of January 31, 2015, Alhaji Lia Mohammed contends that “I think what Nigerians are saying is that even if all he (Buhari) has to show is a NEPA bill, they will vote for him”.

Hmm! Wonders shall never cease! Just imagine a nation in this 21ist century mortgaging its sovereignty and feature to a man whose qualification for desiring the authority to govern derives validity from the notion that he possesses his electricity bill (?).

This is utterly ridiculous. And it is high time Alhaji Lia Mohammed and his ilk desisted from making Nigerians and Nigeria a laughing stock.

All said, as far as democracy is concerned, General Mahammadu Buhari must adhere to the dictates of our laws and there is no other time than now.

The fact that the issue about his secondary school education result was not emphasised in his previous Presidential contests is no excuse to ward off or suppress the clamour for it now.

If the allegation by Alhaji Lia Mohammed that the current and commendable efforts of some patriotic Nigerians in the court of law aimed at compelling General Muhammadu Buhari to produce an authentic copy of his so-called Cambridge University West African School Certificate (WASC) is conceived by the All Progressive Congress as an attempt to scuttle our democracy, then it may not be out of place to submit that the APC is totally bereft of the culture of democracy.

Of course stopping Major General Buhari from participating in the forthcoming Presidential election on whatever legitimate grounds by a competent court of law is never tantamount to an attempt to scuttle our democracy.

After all, General Buhari is only one out of other Presidential aspirants in the current race for the Presidency.

And nobody, man or woman, is forcing any of these Presidential aspirants not to tell lies about anything, but if they must do that, such must be done under the circumstances of our laws which must be justified.

(MyNews24)

Send your stories, releases, feedback or additional information by Email: alutanews@gmail.com or
BBM: Pin:2226ED42 or
Call: +2348175047979

Jonathan’s Successor: My Advise To Northern Nigeria By Ahmadu Ali

The Director General of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Organisation, Ahmadu Ali says the Fulani socio-cultural group – Miyyetti Allah, the Yoruba socio cultural groups – Afenifere, and Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) have all endorsed the re-election bid of President Jonathan.

Ali said this at the campaign rally of the PDP on Saturday in Kaduna.

“We should tell ourselves the truth, Miyetti Allah, Afenifere and OPC have endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election”.

He said the North should start grooming a non-dictatorial leader who is between the ages of 40-50 to take over from President Jonathan in 2019.

“I want to tell my fellow Northerners to start grooming a 40-50 year-old candidate that President Goodluck Jonathan will hand over power to in 2019 and not a dictatorial leader who attempted to kidnap my friend late Umaru Dikko. Is that the person you want to vote for? God forbid!” Ali said.

Ahmed Makarfi, a serving Senator, in his remarks said the PDP “will use our power of persuasion to ensure that, PDP is voted on the 14th and 28th of this month.

“I assure you that by this persuasion and consultations by the Vice President, the governor, many stakeholders and I will deliver Kaduna state to PDP,” he added.

Send your stories, releases, feedback or additional information by Email: alutanews@gmail.com or
BBM: Pin:2226ED42 or
Call: +2348175047979

Presidential Debate: APC Shields Buhari’s Intellectual Laziness, Says Jonathan *Charges APC ‘Prove You’re a Party of Progressive Intellectuals At Debate’

The Presidential Campaign Organisation of President Goodluck Jonathan has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of stopping its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari from participating in a presidential debate being organised by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) as a means of shielding the intellectual laziness and inability of the former military dictator to constructively engage contemporary national issues in a live television and radio debate from Nigerians and the international audience.

Jonathan who spoke through the Director of Media and Publicity of his Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, stated that the APC knows that General Buhari will flunk it if he is subjected to the rigours of debate on national issues relating to governance and development.

Jonathan’s Campaign body said it was aware that the APC had already expressed its concerns, when approached by an international news channel for a debate, about the intellectual acumen of General Buhari, and had assured the news channel that it was only comfortable with its vice presidential candidate, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who has capacity to feature brilliantly on the programme.

“We have just read a report in the media credited to the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation that the party would not allow its candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, to participate in the radio and television presidential debate organised by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON).

“The APC accused the organisers of the debate of unhidden bias and campaign of calumny by some key organisers of the programme against the corporate political interest of the party and its candidates.

“Whilst we will not bother ourselves with the many reasons adduced by the APC, we wish to state that we see the APC decision as an attempt to shield its presidential candidate from displaying his intellectual laziness and inability to constructively engage contemporary national issues in a live television and radio debate.

“We had envisaged that the APC would be reluctant to expose General Buhari to the rigours of a live television debate because the opposition party knows that its candidate will flunk it.

“If the APC truly believes that it is ‘a party of progressive intellectuals’, as it claims it should allow General Buhari to prove that at the debate.

“Should the APC fail to participate in the debate, it would also show the disdain both the party and its candidate have for the Nigerian people, denying them the opportunity to make informed choices on the basis of what each candidate will articulate as propositions on issues that will be raised.

“We are convinced that General Buhari does not have what it takes to sustain a coherent argument on germane issues of governance and development.

“We challenge General Buhari to a debate on any national and international medium of mass communication and our candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan will be ready to participate.

“On the other hand, President Jonathan’s running mate, Vice President Namadi Sambo, is also ready to participate in the debate and any other debate.

“Our presidential candidate and his running mate will not raise flimsy and escapist excuses such as “unhidden bias” and the like, since we believe that they are well-rounded intellectuals who have been prepared by their experience in office to answer any question under the sun on the governance of our nation.”, Jonathan Campaign group noted.

Send your stories, releases, feedback or additional information by Email: alutanews@gmail.com or
BBM: Pin:2226ED42 or
Call: +2348175047979

Boko Haram: Arrested General Ransome-Kuti, Other Officers May Be Court Martialed Over Baga Attack

Nigerian military authorities have come down heavily on suspected senior military officers sabotaging counter-terrorism operations in the country as over 10 senior officers, including a Brigadier-General, have been arrested and are currently telling the military hierarchy what they know about a recent attack carried out by the Islamic insurgent group, Boko Haram.

The officers may be charged before a military tribunal as soon as investigation into their complicity or otherwise is completed.

According to the Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade, the investigation of senior army officers follows alleged shirking their responsibilities during the attack by the militants on Baga.

Those arrested so far include Brigadier-General Enitan Ransome-Kuti, his Chief of Staff Lt. Colonel G.A Suru, the Commanding Officer of 134 and 174 battalions, Lt. Colonel Haruna and one Major aliyu.

The two Nigerian Army battalions are under the Multi-National Task Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in Baga, attacked by the insurgents.

Speaking on the arrest, General Olukolade said that the arrested officers were being investigated because at the time of the attack on the multinational headquarters in Baga, Brigadier-General Ransome-Kuti and his men were fully in charge of the military formation.

He said it was disappointing that the attack on Baga was not repelled by both battalions, despite having the necessary weapons to carry out the necessary operations.

On January 3, 2015, suspected members of Boko Haram attacked the base of the Multinational Task Force in Baga, Borno State, dislodging the soldiers there.

Reports say the troops were warned to be on alert following intelligence reports that terrorists would strike between January 22 and January 25.

Eyewitnesses, Channels Tv reports, said that the attack started around 5am when residents started hearing gunshots as the insurgents tried to gain entrance into the MNJTF premises.

Send your stories, releases, feedback or additional information by Email: alutanews@gmail.com or
BBM: Pin:2226ED42 or
Call: +2348175047979

APC Candidate Says Ekiti Gov Abused Bible Verse, Insulted Muslims as Buhari Attacks Punch, SUN newspapers Over Fayose’s Frontpage Adverts

Sample Photo of The Advert
Sample Photo of The Advert
Governor Ayodele Fayose has come under fire from the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), over a front page advert the Ekiti State governor paid for in The Punch and Daily Sun newspapers on Monday morning.

Buhari, in a Facebook post, accused Mr. Fayose of abusing a Bible verse and insulting Muslims, especially Northerners.

*General Muhammadu Buhari, sick like late Yar'Adua?
*General Muhammadu Buhari, sick like late Yar’Adua?

The governor had paid for front page adverts in the national dailies, depicting three former Heads of State from the North, who are Muslims and died in office, together with the APC presidential candidate, suggesting that what happened to them may happen to Buhari.

Fayose, in the advert urging Nigerians to “vote wisely” by casting their votes for President Goodluck Jonathan, said “NIGERIA…‘I have set before thee LIFE & DEATH. Therefore, choose LIFE that both thee and thy seed may LIVE (emphasis not ours)’”.

The advert, which has attracted reactions of Nigerians on the social media, was described by Buhari as a breach of the peace pact signed last week by leading presidential candidates, including President Goodluck Jonathan.

“First, it is totally unprofessional and abusive to Ethical codes of Journalism for Punch and Sun Newspapers to publish such content. Punch and Sun Newspapers must revoke the advert immediately and apologize to the people of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari and the APC for such folly.

“Second, if till now, there is no denouncement of the post from PDP and GEJ (Goodluck Ebele Jonathan), it means that they support it because Fayose is a stakeholder of the party, and a front man for GEJ’s campaign.

“GEJ signed a peace pact last week against election violence and he, through the insensitivity of this advert, is the first to break that pact.

“The Jonathan administration is cruising on lies and propaganda. It is bent on amassing votes to siphon more public funds and has no interest of Nigerians at heart. It is bound to fail”.

The Facebook post reiterated Buhari’s commitment to peace and urged Nigerians to get their Permanent Voters Cards and “vote these bigots out of power come February 14”.

“Encourage your neighbors, let them know that GEJ has nothing to offer them but lies and empty promises”, it added.

#NigeriaDecides 2015: US Top Think-tank, Brookings, Tips Jonathan to Win, say APC is a Fragile Anti-Jonathan Setup

Brookings, the World’s most influential think-tank based in the United States, have projected a President Jonathan victory over the opposition candidate’s General Buhari in the 2015 Elections which it suggests would be keenly contested.
President-Obama-Delivers-Speech-Economy-Brookings
The analysis, context and rationale of the think-tank’s projections is contained in the Brookings publication titled: Foresight Africa – Top Priorities for the continent (January 2015).

“Though the election is expected to be very competitive, the odds still favor President Jonathan.’

According to Brookings, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a fragile anti-jonathan establishment with a sole purpose to return power to the north.
goodluck-jonathan
“The party is, however, a fragile one that seems united only in its quest to wrest the presidency from Jonathan or to have power “returned” to the north”

“The APC gets much of its strength from tap- ping into anti-Jonathan sentiments in the Muslim north and grievances among the Yoruba who feel that the Jonathan administration has ignored them in key political appointments.”

The Report also indicated that the APC’s strategy is hinged on a combination of popular votes from the North West, North East and “the battleground SouthWest” but also hinted at the possibility of Bola Ahmed Tinubu not delivering the region contrary to speculations.

“What remains to be seen, however, is whether Bola Tinubu—a former governor of Lagos State who played a pivotal role in the formation of the APC and is considered to be the party’s strongest mobilizer in the southwest—will be very enthusiastic in delivering the battleground southwest to the APC during the elections.”

“Tinubu indicated his interest in being the party’s vice presidential candidate but being a Muslim like Buhari, the party’s strategists felt that a Muslim-Muslim ticket might offend Christians and cement the PDP’s labeling of the APC as an Islamic party.”

On President Jonathan’s performance: “despite Boko Haram—the country is thriving: The economy continues to grow and—with the re- basing of its GDP—became the largest economy in Africa and the 26th largest in the world. Jonathan’s supporters also point to his success in containing the Ebola virus, which earned him commendations from countries and institutions around the world.”

The Brookings Report also identified factors such as incumbency and numerical control of States where PDP has 21 States and APC only 14 as giving PDP an edge.

“The greatest strength of the ruling PDP is its “power of incumbency,” and all the institutional support that goes with it. Not only does it have federal resources to use as patronage, it also controls key institutions”

The report advised that all efforts should be deployed to ensure a free, fair and transparent elections and to avoid a meltdown as post-election violence seems very likely.

“Post-election violence is therefore likely in the north if the APC loses while renewed militancy in the restive Niger Delta is likely if Jonathan does.” the report noted.

(THEWILL)

#NigeriaDecides: Buhari is Clueless About How To Revive Economy, Can’t Remember His Phone Number, Says Jonathan

So Clueless? Can you imagine?

Pa Buhari can’t remember his phone number –Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday during a rally in Enugu said that the All Progressives Congress candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd), cannot remember his own mobile phone number.

Jonathan, whose unscripted address was mostly a response to previous statements made by Buhari, accused the APC presidential candidate of deceiving Nigerians by promising to revive the economy without explaining how he would achieve the feat.

The President wondered how Buhari would develop the country’s economy, a feat he could not achieve while he was in office as head of state between 1983 and 1985.

“Is it now that Buhari cannot even remember his own phone number that he can change the economy of the country.” Jonathan asked.

The Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate said that although he did not like to “go personal during campaigns,” “sometimes circumstances demand that certain things must be said.”

Jonathan said that Buhari belonged to the medieval age, adding that he (the APC candidate) intended to run the Federal Government as a medieval king.

He said, “We cannot run the government as if we are in the medieval age; we cannot run a government where somebody said he would throw people into jail.

“You are not a medieval king – a medieval king can throw you into jail but we have to follow the rule of law because we cannot go back to the old days.”

Jonathan, however, read the speech made by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.) after overthrowing Buhari’s regime through a military coup on August 27, 1985 to justify his claim that the APC candidate does not keep his promises.

Babangida, in the portions of the address read by Jonathan, justified Buhari’s overthrow by pointing out that the latter did not live up to the promises he made to Nigerians when he ousted a democratically elected civilian government headed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari in a military coup.

Noting that Buhari “deceived Nigerians” from 1983 to 1985, Jonathan quoted Babangida as saying, “The initial objectives of Buhari’s intervention were betrayed as there was a general deterioration of standard of living in the country.”

The PDP candidate also pointed out that Babangida accused Buhari of being “too rigid in his attitude to national issues” and “became alienated from the people” in the course of his stay in power.

He, therefore, challenged Buhari to tell Nigerians how he intends to revive the economy.

Jonathan said, “They are telling young Nigerians that they are going to change the economy but they have not told us how they want to manage the economy more than us.

“If they say they want to change agriculture, they should tell us the weak links in the agriculture value chain and what they want to do about it.

“I said in Lagos that I want to work with young people, not to deceive people.

“I am not going to run the government based on my habits, I am going to run the government according to global best practices.”

Jonathan also insisted that he was committed to the campaign against corruption.

“There is no government that has fought corruption more than we do,” he said, noting that some previous administrations pretended to be fighting corruption while oppressing their enemies.

He recalled that Buhari jailed some prominent Igbo politicians while in office as head of state, including former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme and former governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo.

Stressing that Buhari jailed politicians on trumped up charges, Jonathan said, “You can no longer carry people and put them in prison for 301 years.”

The President equally accused Buhari of having a wrong idea of corruption.

According to him, Buhari believes that every wealthy Nigerian is corrupt.

He said, “If a Nigerian businessman has a private jet, then you are corrupt but if a South African has a private jet then you commend him.

“If you have a good house, then you are corrupt, if you have a good car then you are corrupt – that is his definition of corruption.”

Jonathan accused his opponent of making spurious claims against him.

The President said, “They are saying that government is corrupt but they are not telling us what they are going to do to stop corruption. Let them go back to their consultants to coach them, then I will listen to them.

“They should tell us how they are going to manage the economy better than we do.

“They are saying we stole foreign reserves, nobody can steal foreign reserves – spurious allegations.”

He also reiterated his claim that Buhari did not equip the military while he was the head of state.

Jonathan said that he had done more than his predecessors to shore up the country’s defence.

“For 30 years, we had only one frigate, now we have four additional frigates,” he said.

In the same vein, he pointed out that Buhari did not find any woman worthy enough for appointment when he was the military head of state.

The President asked Nigerians to assess him and Buhari by looking at how they performed during their respective periods in office.

He said, “They have deceived us before and they want to deceive us again.

“Go and find out whether these people are deceiving you or are telling you the truth.

“People are assessing me because I have run this country for some years – they have run this country for two years.

“They came with promises but immediately they came in, what they did was to jail Jim Nwobodo for 201 years.”

PUNCH

Send your stories, releases, feedback or additional information by Email: alutanews@gmail.com or
BBM: Pin:2226ED42 or
Call: 0802 371 8949

2015: PDP Endorses Jonathan as Sole Candidate, as Nigerian President Promises Not to Let Citizens Down

In what seems to be a major twist in political calculations in in Nigeria’s ruling party ahead of its presidential primaries scheduled for December 6, 2014, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has adopted President Goodluck Jonathan as its sole candidate for the 2015 election.
goodluck-jonathan
The National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party took the decision Thursday at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.

The position follows a similar decision by the PDP governors’ forum and the party’s Board of Trustees, BOT. The two organs had earlier endorsed the president on Wednesday.

President Jonathan, his deputy, Namadi Sambo; Senate President, David Mark; his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha were among those present at the meeting.

It was also attended by majority of the governors, including the Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, a governor believed to be nursing presidential ambition in 2015.

The decision means no candidate, except Mr. Jonathan, can seek to contest the 2015 presidential election on the platform of the PDP.

At Thursday’s meeting, the governor of Niger state, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, who was first to speak, told the meeting that all PDP governors had in their meeting on Wednesday “unanimously without any reservation decided to endorse the sole candidature of President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 election”.

Mr. Aliyu also called on the Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, to stand up and recognise the decision of the governors.

Lamido was said to have stood up and nodded his head in agreement with his Niger State colleague. The decision to endorse Jonathan as its sole candidate ahead of next year’s presidential election seems to have put paid to the Jigawa State governor’s ambition.

A spokesperson of the BoT, Shuaibu Oyedokun, also informed the NEC that the board, regarded as the conscience of the party, has also unanimously adopted Mr. Jonathan as the PDP’s sole candidate.

In a brief remark, the Senate President, David Mark, informed the gathering that if there is any arm of government that is interested in continuity, it is the legislature.

“At the PDP Caucus of the National Assembly, we have decided that a sitting and performing president should be given a chance to continue to perform even better‎,” Mr. Mark said.

The motion for the adoption of Mr. Jonathan was moved by the former national chairman of the party, Bello Haliru.

In his speech, Mr. Haliru said the PDP had an important decision to take, arguing that “we have never taken a wrong decision before”.

“We cannot change a winning formula that has been working for us since 1999,” he said. “In PDP we have a tradition of queuing up behind our leaders. President Jonathan has performed creditably well‎ as attested to by all the organs of the party.

“Therefore, for the good of Nigeria and for the good work that the PDP is doing for the country, I move that the NEC endorse the candidature of President Goodluck Jonathan as the party’s candidate in the 2015 election,” Mr. Haliru said.

‎The motion was seconded by a former governor of old Anambra state, Jim Nwobodo.
Thereafter, the national Chairman of the party, Adamu Muazu, put the question to members who unanimously agreed ‎that the Mr. Jonathan be retained as the sole candidate of the party for the 2015 election.

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has accepted the decision of his party leaders, saying he was humbled by the endorsement as the sole candidate by all the organs of the PDP.

Reacting to the development, Jonathan who expressed his joy, promised not to disappoint the party, his supporters and Nigerians in general.

His words: “Let me really say that the events of yesterday, starting with BoT meeting last night and what has just happened today, with the various motions adopting me as sole candidate of the party has really humbled me.
“Let me specially thank our governors that initiated that action, let me thank members of BoT, let me thank the Senate President and members of the National Assembly, let me appreciate the PDP women for their position and the NEC, because no matter whatever anybody does, if not the NEC, you will be on your own.
”Adopting me as the sole candidate of the party has humbled me; I am totally overwhelmed. When the governors came up in a jointly signed paper, though House of Representatives started it, governors’ intervention was like an atomic bomb, I commend all departments of the NEC.

“I am so overwhelmed that I lack words to express myself. I leave it for another day. For today, for you to have that kind of confidence, I am extremely challenged. It means that whatever we had done in the past three years, we triple it. That is the only way Nigerians will appreciate it. I promise I will not disappoint you”.

Remarks by President Jonathan While Receiving of the 2014 National Conference Report

Full Text of Remarks by His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, on the Occasion of the Submission of the National Conference Report on Thursday 21st August, 2014.

President Jonathan receiving the Report of the 2014 National Conference from Justice Idris Kutigi today in Abuja
President Jonathan receiving the Report of the 2014 National Conference from Justice Idris Kutigi today in Abuja

PROTOCOLS

1. Mr Chairman, very distinguished delegates, it is with all gladness that I address you this day. After nearly five months endeavour to find the appropriate verb for the noun of our country within the syntax of human experience, you have brought to a grateful Nation, thereport of the 2014 National Conference.

2. I want to congratulate the Chairman and his able team, the Delegates, all Nigerians and indeed everyone who has contributed one way or the other to the successful convocation and conclusion of the Conference.

3. I also congratulate the Presidential Advisory Committee which developed the framework for the Conference after travelling around the country. We cannot afford to take for granted the efforts and commitment that the delegates and the leaders put into the Conference to make it a success. The patriotic zeal was evident in the inputs of the delegates into the dialogue and how these have now formed the basis of the report.

4. On behalf of all Nigerians, let me thank you most sincerely for your hard work. Your tireless efforts aimed at coming up with recommendations to chart a path of peaceful coexistence, sustainable development, justice and progress as we march into our second centenary shall not be in vain.

5. To my mind, one of the main reasons for which the Conference was convoked was fully achieved: that is, to create a platform for a genuine and sincere dialogue among Nigerians. Even in moments when things seemed ready to boil over, it was evident that the Delegates were only disagreeing to agree.

6. It is now very clear that as Nigerians, we have devised a way of addressing and resolving our differences amicably: we dialogue and dialogue until we agree! This is most heart-warming indeed!

7. My dear brothers and sisters, I am not unmindful that there were delegates who were in this hall when I inaugurated this conference who today are not part of this closing event as the cold hands of death have snatched them. I pray that Almighty God will grant eternal repose to the souls of our departed patriots and protect all the families they have left behind. They would be proud of what you, their living colleagues, have done to end what we started together.

8. On the occasion of the 53rd Independence Anniversary of Nigeria last year, I made a promise to set aNational Conversation in motion in order to advance the course of nation-building. The agitation had been there for a while and we could no longer ignore it or delay the process. I was motivated by a genuine desire to make our country a better place where we can build consensus in the evolution of a New Nigeria.

9. When I was inaugurating the Presidential Advisory Committee in December last year, I made it very clear to the committee that it was a sincere and fundamental undertaking, aimed at realistically examining and genuinely resolving, longstanding impediments to our cohesion and harmonious development as a truly united Nation.

10. At the inauguration of the National Conference in March, I told you the Delegates our expectations. I did say that I expected participants to patriotically articulate and synthesize our people’s thoughts, views and recommendations for a stronger, more united, peaceful and politically stable Nigeria.

11. I urged the participants to forge the broadest possible national consensus in the process. I also warned that we should not to be under any illusions about the task ahead because we would be confronted with complex and emotive issues.

12. I am very satisfied that the Delegates navigated these obstacles in a very mature manner. There were those who set out to input ulterior motives to our modest efforts at reshaping and strengthening the foundations of our nationhood to deliver better political cohesion and greater development agenda. The naysayers raised false alarms over some phantom hidden agenda and called to question our sincerity and did everything possible to derail this noble project.

13. The success of this conference has proved the cynics wrong in many respects. Those who dismissed the entire conference ab initio as a “diversion” have been proved wrong as what you achieved has contrary to their forecast diverted our country only from the wrong road to the right direction.

14. They said the conference would end in a deadlock as Nigeria had reached a point where the constituent parts could no longer agree on any issue. We exploded that myth by suggesting that you should arrive at your decisions by consensus or 75% majority threshold.

15. That was the first challenge you had at this conference when it appeared you were going to break up. There were suggestions that we should intervene as government to “save” the conference at that dicey moment but I insisted that beyond the inauguration we were not going to intrude into the conference in any manner. We kept our promise.

16. One of the many reasons for our non-interference is this: we have at the conference, 492 delegates and six conference officials who all in their individual rights are qualified to lead our great country and if they were unable to agree on how to take decisions, we would be in real trouble! Acknowledging the quality and patriotic content of the delegates, I was confident, the right thing will be done.

17. I understand, there were a few outstanding issues yet. That you did not agree on all issues shows the sincerity of the discourse. Nobody was at the Conference to be politically correct. People spoke passionately and argued strongly in favour of what they genuinely believed in. As a result, there were bound to be strong disagreements.

18. If everybody agreed on every issue, the debate would not only be lacking in quality and passion, it would also be said to have been stage-managed. What we should worry about now is not that there were disagreements in one or two items, but how to manage these disagreements such that nobody walks away feeling short-changed and bitter. It is a major challenge in nation-building as experienced by the biggest democracies in the world. You managed them well and came out tall, fellow citizens.

19. I must congratulate you! You not only worked out a compromise but you never had to divide the house to take over 600 resolutions which I understand you passed at this conference. You have indeed built a new architecture of negotiation based on trustful give-and-take that is going to be a permanent reference point in our national life.

20. There were many other moments of anxiety at the conference with avalanche of headlines about possible “walkouts” and “show-downs”. However with your sense of maturity and abiding presence of God who put this country together, what we have today is a walk-in and a show-up!

21. In my inauguration speech on March 17, 2014, I enjoined you as follows:

“We need a new mind and a new spirit of oneness and national unity. The time has come to stop seeing Nigeria as a country of many groups and regions. We have been divinely brought together under one roof. We must begin to see ourselves as one community. We are joined together by similar hopes and dreams as well as similar problems and challenges. What affects one part of the community affects the other.”

22. I’m greatly delighted that you worked that out in practical terms by your patriotic demonstration of the truism that “though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand”.

23. The result of the conference has shown that we are not enemies, neither are we antagonists, no matter our religion, region, state, and tongue. This Conference has reinforced what I have always believed: that Nigeria is here for our collective good.

24. Mr Chairman, distinguished delegates, there is awisdom saying that if two siblings went to the inner recess to dialogue and they are grinning from ear-to-ear when they are done, truth must have been in short supply in their discussions. However, no matter the bitter truth they shared behind closed doors, holding hands when they emerge and not disowning each other is the hallmark of blood being thicker than water.

25. This dialogue reflects the current issues in the light of the socio-political evolution of the world. I did say before that we cannot proffer yesterday’s solutions to today’s Nigeria’s problems. The challenges we faced at Independence or even at the beginning of this democratic experience in 1999 are not the same challenges we face today.

26. The discourse reflected our latest challenges. We shall send the relevant aspects of your recommendations to theCouncil of State and the National Assembly for incorporation into the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. On our part, we shall act on those aspects required of us in the Executive.

27. Let me reaffirm this: Nobody has a monopoly of knowledge. We who are in government need to feed from the thoughts of those who elected us into power. You have done your patriotic duty, we the elected, must now do ours.

28. As I receive the report of your painstaking deliberations, let me assure that your work is not going be a waste of time and resources. We shall do all we can to ensure the implementation of your recommendations which have come out of consensus and not by divisions.

29. In this regard I appeal to all arms of government and the people of Nigeria to be ready to play the different roles that the volumes of reports you have produced would assign to you. It is my hope that with what you have done, our country is on the right road to getting the job of nation building done.

30. The report of the National Conference, coming 100 years after the Amalgamation, promises to be a landmark in our history. I have always believed that dialogue is a better way of driving change in the community and I am happy that this dialogue has gone very well. With the far-reaching recommendations touching on several areas of our national life, I am convinced that this will be a major turning point for Nigeria.

31. We have gone through many challenges in our first centenary, now is the time to hit the track and take our proper lane for the race of progress. Our moment for national rebirth is here. We have to rekindle hope not only within our country but in the entire African continent where collectively our leadership is acknowledged.

32. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, in every governance index, we are making progress. In 2009, our life expectancy was forty seven years, it has now risen to fifty-two. We were spending over a trillion naira importing food four years ago, it is now down to a little over six hundred billion naira and still falling! The size of our economy has grown.

33. We are improving on our infrastructure and now well on our way to self-sufficiency in energy security. We are focussing on education with a view to banishing illiteracy from our country. We have revived our railways and our airports are undergoing massive repositioning. Our sports men and women are now hungrier for laurels and we are recalibrating our security forces to meet the challenges of newer security threat that was brought to us!

34. Very distinguished delegates, this administration has made the sanctity of the ballot a cardinal focus. Our successes in polls in different states in recent past have shown we are making substantial progress in the direction of making the polls attractive to all categories of citizens in our land so that our best and brightest would not continue to shun the electoral process. Our goal is that Nigeria must quickly arrive at the point where every vote is not only counted but counts. It is free, fair and credible elections that we crave.

35. Now is the time that we put behind us all the drawbacks that have inhibited us from fulfilling our manifest destiny and realizing our full potentials. We must steadily arrive at the juncture where strife, conflicts and mistrusts would become distant echoes of our past. We must make every inch of our country a space for joyous habitation. Our country must enter a new season of harmony, prosperity and happiness with justice abiding in every hamlet, community and our country. It is the dawn of a new day in Nigeria and the new nation is at the door accompanied by its great men and women, young and old.

36. All those who have predicted the disintegration of our country at the end of our first centenary would wish they chose another country when the possibilities of the new vision for Nigeria are actualised. In place of disintegration we shall have integration. In place of bitterness and spilling of blood, we shall have sweetness and healing in our land. Henceforth, our country shall become like a running water that approaches a rock, rather than stopping it takes a curve and flows on.

37. Mr Chairman, we arrived at this point with praise to God and gladness in our hearts. I once again congratulate you and your wonderful team and all of you the distinguished delegates, for the great job that you have done in these five months. I would like to implore you all to continue to make yourselves available for service to the nation as that is the hallmark of every patriot.

38. We are grateful!

39. On this note, I hereby accept the report and declare the 2014 National Conference closed to the glory of our Almighty God.

40. I thank you all.

Speech by Hon. Justice Kutigi, Chairman National Conference at the Submission of 2014 National Conference Report

SPEECH BY HON. JUSTICE IDRIS LEGBO KUTIGI, GCON, FNIALS, FCIArb, FNJI, (FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE OF NIGERIA) CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL CONFERENCE AT THE SUBMISSION OF 2014 NATIONAL CONFERENCE REPORT HELD IN ABUJA, NIGERIA, 21 August, 2014

GEJ-Kutigi
Protocol

Mr. President, when you inaugurated the 2014 National Conference on 17 March, 2014, we knew that we were taking on a tough assignment. If truth be told, most Nigerians did not believe that this whole enterprise was going to last this long or come to a successful conclusion.

2. Yet, Mr. President, here we are five months later at a ceremony to mark the successful execution of our mandate.

3. It is not that we lasted this long that is newsworthy; but that we overcame all the obstacles in our way.

4. Mr. President, when 494 Nigerians are assembled to address the fears, disappointments, aspirations and hopes which have accumulated over one hundred years, it is only to be expected that the debates would be robust; and indeed the debates were robust. It was only to be expected that tempers would fly; and tempers did fly.

5. Mr. President, we did not try to ignore or bury our differences. We addressed these differences while respecting the dignity of those holding these differences and sought to construct solutions which would become building blocks for a just and stable nation.

6. Mr. President, we approved over 600 resolutions; some dealing with issues of law, issues of policy and issues of constitutional amendments. These resolutions did not deal with frivolous or inconsequential issues. We showed courage in tackling substantial and fundamental issues.

7. Mr. President, time will not permit me to list all the critical and fundamental resolutions adopted. But let me emphasize this: all our resolutions were adopted by consensus. Not once did we have to vote or come to a division. This is a message that we wish the world to hear loud and clear. Nigerians are capable of not only discussing their differences but are also capable to coming up with solutions to these difficulties.

8. Mr. President, the magnitude of what we have done is reflected in our Report and Annexures of 22 volumes of approximately 10,335 (ten thousand, three hundred and thirty-five) pages. Mr. President, the official Report of the 2014 National Conference was also adopted unanimously.

9. In the post-independence history of Nigeria, there have been four Conferences, including this 2014 National Conference. However, Mr. President, our own task has been the most arduous. The following statistics graphically illustrates this. The 1978 Constituent Assembly had a membership of 230 people and met for 9 months. The 1995 National Constitutional Conference had a membership of 371 people and met for twelve (12) months. The 2005 National Political Reform Conference was made up of 400 delegates and met for 5 months. We are 494 in membership and you made us do all this work in 4½ months.

10. Lasting Impression:

On behalf of the delegates to the 2014 National Conference, I thank you for your courage in summoning this Conference. We have finally laid to rest the apprehension that a National Conference will lead to the disintegration of Nigeria. We have held a National Conference and we are more united today than ever.

11. Let me state here categorically and with the fear of Almighty Allah in my heart, that not once did you interfere or dictate to us in the course of this Conference. The only time we tried to consult the President during the conflict over voting percentages at the very beginning of the Conference we were told that the issue was for us to resolve. At no time after that did you meet with us or speak to us.

12. I also wish to thank my fellow members of the Conference Management and Conference delegates for the vibrant, even if at times turbulent, cooperation in ensuring a successful Conference.

13. I thank especially the former and present Administrator of the National Judicial Institute and their staff for their contribution to the success of this 2014 National Conference. Mr. President, let it be on record that all these facilities were turned over to us with less than 12hrs notice.

14. I thank all of you who have responded positively by accepting our invitation to attend this closing ceremony. Your presence has added gravitas to this ceremony.

15. At this juncture, I want to convey to the National Assembly, the greatest respect of all members of the 2014 National Conference. We accept that the National Assembly has a pivotal role to play in ensuing that the Conference Report translates into law.

16. Mr. President, please permit me to pay tribute to four of our delegates who died during the pendency of the Conference. Barrister Hamma Misau who died on March 27; Dr. Mohammad Jumare who died on May 5; Professor Dora Akunyili, on June 7; and Professor Mohammad Nur Alkali, on August 1, 2014. May their souls rest in peace.

17. Finally, Mr. President, let me on behalf of all of us thank the Secretary to Government, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, GCON, who went beyond the call of duty in virtually turning over all the facilities of Government to assist this Conference.

18. And now on behalf of the 2014 National Conference and the people of Nigeria, I hereby present to your Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 21 Volumes of the Report of the 2014 National Conference. Here, Mr. President is the Main Report and on that table are the remaining 19 Volumes of supporting documents.

Thank you.

Hon. Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, GCON,FNIALS,FCIrb,FNJI

(Former Chief Justice of Nigeria)

Chairman, National Conference – 2014

August 21, 2014.

Ebola Virus Kills One Dies in Lagos, As Health Minister Calms Nerves, Gives Out Contact Numbers, Email

Federal Health Minister Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu

Federal Health Minister Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu

After several speculations and enlightenment regarding possible outbreak of Ebola disease in the Nigeria, one death resulting from the virus occurred on Friday in Lagos, compelling the Federal Government to embark on frantic efforts to calm the nerves of Nigerians.

The victim was said to be travelling from Monrovia, Liberia to Nigeria with Asky Airline via Lome to Lagos.

According to officials, “the passenger, a 40 year old man” who showed symptoms of “fever, vomiting and diarrhea on arrival at the airport” was “quickly isolated and transported straight to the hospitals” by officials of the Federal Ministry of Health.

Addressing journalists Friday in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu alongside the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku said the “patient was subjected to thorough medical evaluation where laboratory investigations were also carried out.”

He was said to have died in a private hospital.

Meanwhile, the Minister has urged all Nigerians not to panic, while pleading that citizens should be at alert and be conscious of their hygiene.

The Minister also said that contacts have been made with the airline and passengers that travelled with the victim for proper monitoring to avoid spread of the virus.

The Ministry has also made phone numbers available for the public to call in case of emergencies.

Ebola virus currently has no vaccine. The deadly virus which can claim a life within two days if contracted, is believed to be transmitted by bats and primates like monkeys and chimpanzees.

However, don’t hesitate to call the following numbers if you suspect any Ebola case: 08023210923, 08097979595 and 07067352220, others are: 08033086660, 08055281442, 08023169485, 08033065303, 08055329229 or email: ebolainfo@health.gov.ng

For updates, tips, follow on Twitter @alutamedia #PrayForOurLeaders

Send your stories, releases, feedback or additional information by Email: alutanews@gmail.com or
BBM: Pin:2226ED42 or
Call: 080 9815 9815

BOI Seeks $5bn to Drive FG’s Industrial Revolution

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, BOI, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, BOI, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa

The management of the Bank of Industry (BOI) has said it would require about $5 billion over the next two years to make an impact in the implementation of the federal government’s National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, BOI, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa, explained that the bank has become a national strategic imperative, especially in view of the NIRP and the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) recently launched by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Olaoluwa in his maiden press briefing added that the bank is confident about its shareholders, the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) support for equity injection, taking cognisance of the huge demands on government resources.

According to him, BOI would be exploring alternative modes of funding such as continuation of sector specific intervention funds by the CBN, ministries of agriculture, solid minerals, managed funds from various state governments and High Networth Individuals (HNIs) and foundations.

Others are long term loans at very low interest rates from multilateral and international development institutions; ‎domestic and international bond issuance and other sustainable annuity sources that may become statutorily imperative in the medium-long term.

He said, going forward to execute the foregoing funding programme, BOI must adopt global best practices maintaining that it would also be greatly engaged in good corporate governance, sharp ‎focus on its core mandate, sound risk management and compliance and venture capital investments.

The BOI boss also added that it would engage in partnerships and collaborations, customer service and responsiveness and create linkage between innovation and industry.

He pointed out that financing the nation’s development agenda is a huge task and therefore called on Nigerians with creative ideas to partner BOI to brainstorm way forward in providing creative ideas that BOI can explore.

“To this end, we have created a contact email address: ideas@boinigeria.com. We welcome submissions not more than two pages.

“We undertake to consider all the ideas and act on those considered feasible,” he said.

He said BOI has so far granted a total of N692 billion both directly and through intervention funds,creating close to a million jobs in the process.

“Although BOI has become more active in recent past, there is still a long way to go when compared to similar development finance institutions in the developing and emerging world,” he said.

He stated that the recent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rebasing exercise, further underscores the need for BOI to continue to take the lead especially when compared to similar institutions in South Africa, Egypt, Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia and the likes.

‎He noted that since his resumption of duties as the Managing Director of BOI, he has engaged with several other stakeholders in its development finance journey.

In his words, “I have also engaged with relevant agencies of government such as the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), the National Automotive Council (NAC), the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).”

(This Day)

Send your stories, releases, feedback or additional information by Email: alutanews@gmail.com or
BBM: Pin:2226ED42 or
Call: 080 9815 9815

2015 Presidency: Leadership Newspaper Publisher, Nda-Isaiah Consults Pastor Adeboye

The founder of LEADERSHIP Newspapers Group Limited, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah, yesterday took his presidential campaign train to the Redeemed Camp, along Lagos-Ibadan expressway, where he met the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye.

*Sam-Nda-Isaiah
*Sam-Nda-Isaiah
Mr. Nda-Isaiah, whose LEADERSHIP Newspaper titles have been very critical of President Goodluck Jonathan administration, has declared his interest in the 2015 presidential race, is currently seeking to clinch the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The presidential aspirant met with the highly respected cleric behind closed doors and after the meeting, disclosed that he was at the RCCG camp to pay homage and consult with Pastor Adeboye over his ambition.

He stated: “As part of my consultations, I am still going round seeing the leaders of the country to tell them why I want to lead the country, and, of course, this is one of such right places, and that is why I am here. I have come to discuss with Pastor Enoch Adeboye as you saw.

“It was a very private meeting. This is just consultation and we know the place of Pastor Adeboye in Nigeria. Even Time magazine has mentioned him as one of the most influential people in the world. So it should not be surprising that this is one of the places that I must come to. That is why I have come”.

The publisher said though he sits atop a conglomerate that pays legitimately more than the Presidency, the desire to reposition the country formed the basis for his interest in the presidential race.

Nda-Isaiah said: “Right now, nothing is being done right in Nigeria; everything is being done wrongly. As we speak now, the most elementary duty of government which is to provide security for its people – in fact, that one is not in manifestoes because it is beyond politics – is not being achieved.

“The whole nation is in disarray. As we stand here now, we are afraid of going to the churches, we are all afraid of going to the mosques, we are not to go to the market or send our children to school. Nigeria is technically a failed state. Like I keep saying, we are just lucky that with our size and resources both human material and natural we can reverse it now. We shouldn’t wait to get to a point when it is no longer reversible.

“Nigeria is in a state of emergency now and we need to rescue it. That is why I am in the race”.

Looking forward, he explained, “our campaign will stand on two legs. First, we are going to unite this country as quickly as possible to form a nation because we are not a nation. I have never seen a nation so divided and hopes to make progress”.

The founder of LEADERSHIP continued: “We must, as a matter of urgency, come together to form one strong united Nigeria, and that is very possible. The reason we are not united is lack of justice, fairness. And the way we are led will always lead to divisions. A leader that wants to unite a country can do it easily: You do not need a budget to do that; all you need to do is be sincere.

“You have to ensure that there is justice, fairness and charity. If you treat members of the country, the whole nation, the way you treat your family as the head of the family, everybody will be fine. That is the first thing”.

He said the second priority will be to quickly stabilize the country and bring order to the nation, noting that the country is in total disarray.

“Not just in the north-east; recently we heard that an uncle to the president was kidnapped, because of the kidnapping in south-south and south-east parts of the country, nobody wants to go there.

“I have friends in the south-south and south-east who do not go home for holidays. They prefer to stay in Abuja. Even in Abuja now, people are afraid to stay there because of what has been happening”.

When given the opportunity by Nigerians, he said, he and his team will run a government of big ideas: “It is only big ideas that will change the course of history and that will transmit Nigeria from a Third World country to a First World country. That is possible”.

Nda-Isaiah lamented that a group of thugs under the guise of Boko Haram sect was able to overrun the nation’s security apparatus because of the high level of corruption, stealing and mismanagement of public funds in the country.

Nigeria Police Uncover Plot to Bomb Abuja Transport Network

Nigerian police have uncovered a plot to bomb the Abuja transport network, they said on Saturday, using suicide bombers and devices concealed in luggage at major bus stations.

Abuja has increasingly been targeted by Islamist group Boko Haram, with three deadly bombings since April, including one in a bus park on its outskirts that killed at least 75 people.

“Credible intelligence … indicates that terrorists have perfected a plot to carry out attacks on the Abuja transport sector … intended to cause panic amongst Abuja residents and visitors,” police spokesman Frank Mba said in a statement.

(Reuters)

Send your stories, releases, feedback or additional information by Email: alutanews@gmail.com or
BBM: Pin:2226ED42 or
Call: 080 9815 9815

219 Schoolgirls Confirmed Missing as Presidential Committee on Chibok Abduction Submits Report

The Chairperson of the Presidential Fact Finding Committee on abducted Chibok schoolgirls, Ibrahim Sabo, has revealed that a total of 219 girls are still missing.

Mr. Sabo, a retired brigadier general, disclosed this at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while presenting the report of the committee to President Goodluck Jonathan.

Mr. Sabo, who disclosed that a total of 276 girls were abducted by members of the Boko Haram Sect, said 57 of the girls escaped while 219 were still unaccounted for.

President Jonathan had set up the fact finding committee on May 2 to gather information surrounding the abduction and to ascertain the exact number of students abducted amongst other terms of references.

“Mr. President, the committee here wishes to lay to rest any residual doubt whether or not any student was abducted at Chibok,” he said.

“As most Nigerians already know, there were some persons who doubted whether in fact any student was abducted from Government Secondary School, Chibok. On the other hand, for those who believed that there was an abduction, there were lingering doubts as to how such a number of kidnap victims were conveyed, considering also that information was sparse as to how the raiding insurgents evacuated the victims.”

“During the siege on the school, 119 students escaped from the school premises, before the insurgents took away their classmates.

“A total of 276 students were thus abducted. As of today, 57 of the abducted students have been reunited with their families after escaping along zig-zag transport route taken by the insurgents or by bolting to safety when the insurgents laid for a rest. Sadly 219 students remain unaccounted for,” he said.

Mr. Sabo also revealed that in the committee’s interactions with four of the girls who regained their freedom and their families, the girls were hesitant to discuss the full details of their experience, citing the fear of possible reprisals from Boko Haram elements.

He noted, however, that the committee received the full cooperation of the people and interacted with different stakeholders considered relevant to the fact finding mandate but with an exception.

“The singular exception was a senator from Borno, who after agreeing to an appointment with the Committee, turned around to avoid the meeting on the excuse that he had another appointment and would thereafter be unavailable for one month or so.

“Not that his non-appearance has materially or in any way affected the outcome of the committee’s findings, but the senator’s avoidance of an interface with the committee may well speak to a motive not too difficult to discern,” he said.

The chairman also noted that though Nigerians and the rest of the world have been galvanised to drum up support for the freedom of the Chibok schoolgirls, little could be achieved through finger-pointing.

“Getting the girls out and safely, too, is by far more important than the publicity generated by the blame game that has tended to becloud the issue,” he said.

He said that the committee had begun the process of mobilising the communities, but it was still an unfinished business. He said to achieve a more worthwhile outcome, more time and a more compact team would be required.

The committee also advised that in order not to jeopardise the on-going rescue efforts and also the possibility of compromising national security matters, the report should be treated with utmost confidentiality.

Mr. Sabo noted that this, however, did not preclude government from releasing information that may be useful for a better public understanding of issues surrounding the abduction saga.

In response, the President, who promised that the report would not be shelved, also urged owners of boarding schools in the country, especially those in the North East, to provide at least some basic security for their students.

He noted that the insurgents were able to operate unhindered because there was no security arrangement at the Government Girls Secondary School, GGSS, where the girls were kidnapped on April 14.

“Let me charge everybody, whether corporate bodies, federal and state governments or individuals that own especially in the north east, that if we must keep students in hostels there must be some basic security that should be provided,” he said.

CRACK IN APC: Full Text of Chief Tom Ikimi’s Official Reaction To Just Concluded APC National Convention

CHIEF TOM IKIMI
ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC) CONVENTION 13TH JUNE 2014

1. On 1st of May 2014, I wrote to the then APC National Interim Executive Council Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande reporting to him the overwhelming unfavorable report I had received from across the Country on the status of our Party. I informed him that I had spoken to Party members and leaders across the country and that the feeling was unanimous regarding the downward trend of things. I emphasized that the latest problem arose from the Congresses, which were very poorly managed nationwide and suggested to him that the National Interim Executive Council meeting be immediately convened to address the problem. My letter was dispatched to him by email and copied to about twenty-five key leaders across the country. There was a delay in convening the IEC meeting that I requested and during the period of delay my letter got leaked to the press by someone from Ogun State. It was this alarm that I raised that forced the convening by the Governors of a Leadership Caucus meeting and eventually a National Executive Council Meeting that decided on the hosting of an elective Convention. I have since become aware that in initiating the call for an elective convention, a secret plot by some individuals to retain the status quo leadership headed by Chief Bisi Akande in pursuit of some personal agendas had been jolted.

2. I confirm my status as a bona fide member of the All Progressive Congress, a member of the now defunct National Interim Executive Council leader of the Party in Edo State as well as the South South zone and by any stretch of the imagination one of the foremost leaders of the Party nationally. I am compelled to make this statement at this time so as to clarify some issues pertaining to my person as it relates to the APC generally and the recent APC National Convention in particular. I want to correct some information deliberately distorted and misconstrued to the public through deliberate falsehood orchestrated by a section of the press particularly the Nation Newspaper. Finally I want to explain to all our members and sympathizers nationwide the reason for my boycott of the convention.

3. In the build up to the Convention, the Interim National Executive Council approved a National Convention Committee under the chairmanship of Governor Aliyu Wamako of Sokoto State as well as the venue to be Abuja. By this decision a proposal of another Convention Chairman as well as Lagos for the Venue that was preferred by a South West leader was defeated. Hostile reactions towards me as well as hostile comments indicated to me that by my initiating the hosting of a Convention in order to replace the status quo leadership, following up to spearhead the establishment of a neutral Convention Committee leadership and securing Abuja as venue of the event I had no doubt invited the wrath of a powerful group. The National Interim Executive Council was never convened again to approve any of the arrangements before the convention and was never even accorded the courtesy of a valedictory session. All that transpired thereafter leading to the convention happened mostly in secret meetings and caucuses some of which I have since become aware were convened in Europe. The Party was now run as a private property.

4. Former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu operated as the core of one of these caucuses whose membership varied from time to time within the realms of his whims and caprice. The other known caucus was the APC Governor’s forum. These two groups hijacked power from the National Interim Executive Council, which is the body known to INEC. However, it was from these two caucuses that the idea of zoning the party positions emerged. Zoning is a principle alien to our Party Constitution but if at all it had to be employed at some stage and the process democratically agreed, to assure the equitable distribution of key offices in the Party and Government to the different geo-political zones in the country it was my considered view that the process should be open and transparent and should be approved by the Interim National Executive Council of the Party. Chief Bisi Akande cannot produce any such approval. In addition and in my opinion, I felt strongly that if we were bound to proceed on the basis of zoning that both Party offices as well as key offices in Government such as President, Vice President etc should be put on the table and zoned at the same time. My suggestion was motivated by strong information I had received of plots being hatched to steam role a Muslim Muslim Presidential and Vice Presidential ticket for the APC in the 2015 elections and with specific individuals in mind as the beneficiaries.

5. I have been bewildered by this turn of events that run counter to the vision of our Party. My own vision of creating an alternative Political platform other than the PDP for the Nigerian people which was shared by the 89 of us who worked assiduously on this project for six months, towards establishing a balanced two Party democracy was very well articulated and enunciated in the build up process of unifying the major opposition Political Parties through the unique merger of former ACN, ANPP, CPC and part of APGA. Looking back now and noting that in over ten years several similar attempts had failed, I am proud of the central role I played in that process. Indeed it was my face and that of a number of my faithful colleagues that was associated with the Merger Process and not those of a handful, some of whom never gave us a chance that have since seized the project.

6. I recall that in the terms of reference which I prepared to the Constitution drafting Committee we insisted among other things that the Constitution must design a transparent method of Congresses and Convention which will be in line with our commitment to sound internal Democratic ideals. In that regard I drew experience from my time as National Chairman of the defunct NRC twenty-three years ago and the excellent flawless performance I displayed in January 2003 when I chaired the Presidential Primaries of the PDP. Internal Party Democracy was key to our quest for CHANGE in our Nation’s democracy and our proclamation that we would imbibe that principle was one of the cardinal reasons that endeared us to the waiting public.

7. That is why in the very early days of the National Interim Executive Council, I had expressed strong reservations over any tendency of ceding authority of the Party to Governors. While I hold in the highest respect all who are Governors both past and present and acknowledging the immense contributions they are destined to make in any political party in which they are members, I am nonetheless a strong believer in the Supremacy of the Party Authority which should have power to operate freely and fairly in the affairs of the party at all times in order to assure fairness to all its members no matter how low or high, rich or poor. This view which was hotly debated at the Interim EXCO meeting with some of our Governors present, prior to the arrival of the “new PDP” Governors, I am sure dimmed to some extent my relationship with a few of the Governors. However I have since been vindicated noting how difficult it became to establish State Interim Executive Committees and where they were eventually established how difficult it was for them to operate freely. Some Governors who are now in the tail end of their tenure will appreciate my point when they descend from the throne no matter how elaborate their pension may be. With the arrival of the “new PDP” Governors, the group of 16 APC Governors formed perhaps the strongest caucus in the party.

8. However, both the Governors and the Tinubu groups decided on a zoning process that was limited only to Party offices as well as the choice of individuals to fill them. They proceeded in a manner that was neither open nor transparent. Most undemocratic and bizarre procedures then prevailed. The Governors initiated a zoning plan that allocated the National Chairman to the South South. This proposal was reluctantly accepted by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, whose well known preferred option had been to retain Chief Bisi Akande as Chairman forever. Nevertheless he in the circumstance proceeded to draw up a list of his cronies for the entire National Executive all by himself. Very strange as this may sound, it was the reality. Some interested persons who could make contact with him prevailed on him to agree to a negotiation which ended up basically of sharing the offices with the Governors group. Nothing was ever referred to the National Interim Executive Council for approval or even information.

9. This rather illegal and most undemocratic process ended up ceding the position of National Chairman as well as a number of other key offices to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to nominate the beneficiaries. I am now aware of the back ground horse trading that occurred within the ranks of the Governors that resulted in the National Chairmanship being zoned to the South South, The Governor of Rivers State who secured the position for the South South as he explained in a press interview a few days ago, that it was as compensation for breach of some “agreement” between him and those who lured him into the party. In the end he was not able to install his candidate, Sam Sam Jaja as he had intended. His quest for support from Gov Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, to implement the Sam Sam Jaja option produced very unclear responses. Unaware of this background mess at the time, I naturally emerged as front-runner from my State being endorsed unanimously by the Edo State APC Party leadership. All the same, Bola Tinubu convened a meeting of his secret caucus where he announced his choice of Chief John Oyegun on behalf of Edo State. He threatened fire and brimstone if his choice were to be challenged.

10. I am informed that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is not comfortable with my independent mindedness and he holds the view that I cannot be controlled. He prefers someone that he believes will do his biddings and as they openly declared the preferred person should have links with the defunct NADECO as well as the defunct SDP. That I was formerly in PDP is an argument, which is both foolish and mischievous. For those who may not know, I was one of the two persons who in 2006 created the now defunct AC (Action Congress) party. The core members of that party were basically a strong breakaway group from the then PDP, including HE Atiku Abubakar, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Late Abubakar Rimi, Alhaji Gali Naaba, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, Alhaji Musa Gwadabe, Ambassador Kwande, Otunba Fashawe, Alhaji Shuaibu Oyedokun, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu, Ms Funke Adedoyin, Sen Ben Obi, Chief Dubem Onyia, Chief Tom Ikimi etc and a break away from AD including all former AD Governors who lost out to PDP in the 2003 General Elections. As Bola Tinubu was the only sitting Governor in the South West at the time he became for them their rallying point. Today we have “new PDP” Governors among us . Are they going to suffer such prejudices too because they came from the PDP? Therefore those who are either mischievous or do not know should be informed that I was in the core of the creation of AC (Action Congress), ACN (Action Congress of Nigeria) and APC created in my Abuja residence. I did NOT go to join APC. In which case those who are suggesting that I return to the PDP must equally ask Bola Tinubu to return to AD.

11. I have nothing personal against Chief John Oyegun who is now 75 same age as Chief Bisi Akande. I recall admitting him into the APP in 1999 and recently into the ACN in Benin City after his problems with the ANPP. Nevertheless I believe strongly that all the thirty-six states as well as the six geopolitical zones should be left to assume their own destiny. We in Edo State, core of the former Midwestern Nigeria and Bendel will not forget the history of our creation that by popular vote in a plebiscite conducted in 1963 our people overwhelmingly voted for self determination to depart from Western Nigeria and take our destiny in our own hands. Today we are proud members of the South South zone. I cannot be party to any arrangement 51 years later that a purported leader of the South West zone, Bola Tinubu would arrogate to himself the right to decide for us. We never chose for him any of the candidates in the South West zone nor did we interfere in the outcome in any of the other zones.

12. I have read in some News Papers, notably in the Nation, descriptions of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the Leader of the APC sometimes owner of the APC. That is ridiculous as no such position exists in the party and no one has been so coronated. Those who claim they are wealthy and wish to contribute to political parties must await their compensation in the Party’s roll of honor. My idea of raising Party finances is to receive fair contributions from all our members nationwide who in turn must have equal rights in the Party.
Flying across the country with an entourage of a few chosen individuals and proclaiming yourself leader of the party has been one of the major drawbacks of the APC. Some have therefore tried to justify his unilateral appointment of Chief John Oyegun as National Chairman as a concession done to him as the Leader. I am amazed by this development.

13. At the successful ending of the Merger talks, when I announced the birth of APC, among other things, I said ” At no other time in our National life has radical change become more urgent and to meet the challenge of that change we the following Progressive Parties, namely ACN, ANPP, CPC and part of APGA have resolved to merge forthwith and become the All Progressive Congress and offer our beleaguered people a recipe for prosperity.” I emphasized on behalf of the 89 of us who had met continuously for six months in my house in Abuja to put together the Merger that our Party the APC would derive its power from sound democratic ideals, which will deepen our Nation’s democracy as we were determined to ensure a thriving Internal Party Democracy. Regrettably, all that has transpired recently leading up to and including the first National Convention of the APC runs counter to this commitment. Let me in this statement and circumstances extend my warmest felicitations to all those 89 delegates for their dedication and hard work.

14. Those hired writers and hatchet men who for paltry fees have launched a campaign of calumny against me should find something better to do. The often-made reference to late Gen Sani Abacha’s government is now a non-issue. I only wish the man like his other colleagues, was around to answer for himself. My first achievement in that Government was to initiate the creation of the highly successful Petroleum Trust Fund -PTF. Former head of State General Muhamadu Buhari headed the fund also successfully. I believe that his performance in the PTF and Abacha Government has not diminished his status. Those who are still deaf and have not heard the true situation regarding my tenure as Foreign Minister as it does not in any way relate to the unfortunate occurrences regarding Ken Saro Wiwa are advised to watch my 70th birthday documentary still being run on the AIT television. I am prepared to donate free copies.

15. I have strongly opposed the option of a Muslim Muslim or Christian Christian Presidential ticket for our party in the 2015 elections. I am a proud Roman Catholic Christian who has a lot of respect for our Muslim countrymen. I studied Architecture for five years at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and am known to have a lot of committed personal friends who are muslims. But we must not ignore the realities of the moment or be insensitive to the Religious question in our country. In any case both Christians and Muslims abound in both Northern and Southern Nigeria who can contest the Presidency. In fact the choice of Presidential Candidate should be open to the whole country. Those who imagine that the now notorious secret caucus would succeed in producing a Muslim Muslim Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates for APC for the 2015 election and if that is why this mess of owning the National Executive Council is all about they must be living in cuckoo land.

16. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu may recall that mostly for the same reasons I opposed his desire to run as Vice Presidential Candidate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar under the AC Action Congress banner in 2007. We settled for Sen Ben Obi from Eastern Nigeria. I know he nurses a grudge against me for the position I took which was strongly supported by leaders from five zones apart from the South West. I have no regrets whatsoever for my courage to stand up against oppression or dictatorship. No matter what any one might say against the PDP, no individual claims ownership of that party. They in their wisdom may bestow on any sitting President leader of their party. A wise President in those circumstances who chooses competent aides and advisers will surely succeed. Two balanced and strong political parties APC and PDP do not in any way signal a call to arms and war between two dangerous enemies. We are all Nigerians! As National Chairman of the NRC I had excellent relations with the National Chairman of the SDP Amb. Babagana Kingibe. We are friends to this day. Today I hold in the highest regard and respect personal friends who are eminent leaders of the PDP such as Dr Samuel Ogbemudia, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, Senator Ben Obi, Amb. Hassan Adamu, Chief Stephen Lawani, Dr Doyin Okupe etc. We on our part have not yet gained National power so we cannot say for certain what we will do should we win the Presidency but in my projection from current experiences indicate a rather frightening prospect. May the Good Lord spare us the regime of any tyrant!!

17. In conclusion. I did not attend nor participate in the charade of a Convention. I paid N250, 000 for the forms to contest for the National Chairmanship on the basis of the overwhelming support I received from my State – Edo State. The forms are still with me, which I will return and ask for a refund of my money. I did NOT step down for anybody. When it became clear to me and many others including my supporters that the outcome of the contest would not be determined by a free and fair vote at the convention most of the delegates tired and weary after waiting for more than twenty four hours for accreditation and all day at Eagle Square departed. The venue was now over run by all manner of people who broke through the barriers.
If the procedures of admitting delegates were properly organized and was free and fair, accreditation done on time, the National Interim Executive Council left to run the event unfettered, the arena well secured to hold only statutory delegates, the independence of States and the Six Geopolitical Zones respected I would have participated leaving my fate then to the judgment of the people. I understand one of the leaders was moving from stand to stand with a so-called agreed list as well as cash to the delegates. What a Shame!! I was the only Independent candidate in the chairmanship contest running on my own credentials. I was not a Governor cartel candidate or the lapdog of any “Leader”. The APC needed a strong and fearless independent mind to lead it at this time. That is what I was offering. I am now reflecting on the situation and consulting widely on my next line of action. Meanwhile I have read fictitious reports particularly by the Nation Newspaper of actions they allege I am now contemplating or taking.

Chief Tom Ikimi