Sahara Reporters Latest News Monday 11th February 2019

Sahara Reporters Latest News Monday 11th February 2019

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today and headlines on some of the happenings and news trend in the Country, today 11/02/19

Read also Leadership Newspapers News Today Monday 11th February 2019

‘He’s A Big Failure’ — Delta PDP Youth Boo Senator James Manager

Senator James Manager

Senator James Manager

James Manager, the senator representing Delta South district, was booed on Saturday by youth of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), over what they described as “I6 years of monumental failure” in the National Assembly.
SaharaReporters reliably gathered that Manager was on a consultation visit to the residence of George Idodo Umeh, an Isoko South PDP leader, at Olomoro, when the aggrieved PDP youth booed him.
A PDP youth from Isoko Local Government Area of Delta State, who gave his name as Gideon, narrated what happened.
He said: “James Manager is a big failure and does not deserve the support and votes of Isoko people. Immediately we got the news of Manager’s visit to Idodo Umeh’s house, we the PDP youth in Olomoro stormed the place to listen to what he has to say. As soon as it was time for him to speak, we all started booing and shouting him down. It was an event that cannot be forgotten in a hurry.
“All efforts by the host, Chief Idodo Umeh, to calm us down failed, because we overwhelmed everybody. For the past 16 years, Manager has nothing to show in Isoko. After electing him, he will run away and come back again after four years for votes. This time around, Isoko people are wiser. In fact, let me reveal our secret to you. All Isoko PDP youth have resolved before now that come this Saturday, February 16, 2019, Manager will be sent back home from the National Assembly, and he will be replaced by the immediate past Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.”
Confirming the incident, a PDP executive member in Olomoro ward, who attended the consultation visit, but preferred not to be named, said: “Senator James Manager has failed the people, especially we the Isoko people. For good 16 years, Manager can’t boast of anything in Isoko. Manager was able to buy party delegates during our primaries; will he also buy the people’s votes to win come this Saturday, February, 16, 2019?
“Forget what you see in the public. I must open up to you that all PDP members will vote out Manager and replace him with Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan. We are all tired of Senator James Manager. His case is very bad and if you watch very well, he is aware that he will fail in Isoko, hence he has decided not to campaign in Isoko nation. We the Isoko will be collectively saying ‘bye bye’ to Manager on Saturday.”
Manager did not answer calls put across to his mobile phone for comments on the issue, but one of his canvassers in Olomoro community, who preferred not to be named, simply said “The PDP youth were sponsored and that’s all I can tell you.”

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Bayelsa Governor Relaunches Security Outfit Days Before General Election

There is palpable concern in Bayelsa State over the relaunch of the state security outfit, ‘Operation Doo Akpo’, days before the general election.
A source in the state Police Command said although it was a lofty development, there were concerns as the outfit had been inactive over time.
The Police have also expressed worry about not having full control of the security outfit.
Speaking on the relaunch of the outfit in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, Seriake Dickson, Governor of the state, said the decision was as a result of the calls from concerned individuals after the outfit was suspended.
He said the body has shown that with the right equipment, support, training and supervision, it can clean up the state and even do better than colleagues in other states.
Dickson promised that his administration would continue to invest in security, just as he charged them to work towards arresting the menace of criminal activities in the state.
Fifty-five vehicles and 26 motorcycles were commissioned at the event.

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Police Confirm Arrest Of Okowa’s Former Aide Over Assault On Naked Woman In Delta

Friday Eluro

Friday Eluro

The Delta State Police Command has confirmed the arrest of Friday Eluro, a former security aide to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, over allegations of ordering the assault of a naked woman in the state.
A group, the United Patriots of Nigeria, had published a video on Twitter on Saturday, where a naked woman was being assaulted by some men, while tied up.
One of the series of tweets read: “The attention of United Patriots of Nigeria has been drawn to a video footage that showed a group of thugs, acting on orders of one dishonorable Friday Eluro, an Aide of Gov @IfeanyiOkowa of Delta State, publicly assaulting and dehumanising one Miss Dada of Delta State.”
Confirming the arrest of Eluro to SaharaReporters on Sunday via telephone, Andrew Aniamaka, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), said the case is being handled by the anti-kidnapping unit and would not want to speak further on it until investigation is concluded.
“Yes, we are on the case; the anti-kidnapping unit has taken over the case. When the information got to us through social media, we swung into action. The suspect has been arrested. We cannot speak further on it until investigations are concluded,” Aniamaka said.
On Friday, Okowa had sacked Friday Eluro as his security aide, and directed full investigation into the incident.
A statement signed by Charles Aniagwu, the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, noted that having watched the video of the assault on the woman, directed that Eluro’s appointment as security aide be terminated forthwith to serve as deterrent to others.
“In the last three and a half years, our administration has worked so hard to entrench enduring peace in our state, and we will not sit back and fold our hands to watch appointees of government or any other person, no matter how highly placed in society, take laws into their hands,” the statement read.
According to Aniagwu, the governor frowned at the unwarranted assault on the woman, especially from an appointee of government, who ought to ensure that rule of law is observed in all situations, just as he warned government appointees to be of good behaviour and always remember that they are ambassadors of government, and are supposed to be role models in the society.
In the same vein, on Saturday, the Obi of Owa kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Emmanuel Efeizomor, announced the withdrawal of the ‘Onyewebudan, son of Owa’ chieftaincy title from Eluro over the assault.
A statement personally signed by the Owa traditional ruler and obtained by SaharaReporters, read: “My attention has been drawn to the circulating video recording, evidencing the unjustifiable dehumanizing act of Chief of Owa Kingdom named as ‘Mr Friday Eluro’ known as ‘Onye Webudan son of Owa’ on a helpless woman within the precincts of Owa Kingdom by the Owa community council.
“Sequel to the above, I call on all security agencies to act swiftly, in a bid to restore the confidence and human dignity of the said woman. The chieftaincy title of ‘Onye Webudan son of Owa’ is hereby withdrawn from ‘Mr Friday Eluro’ with immediate effect. All customary privileges attached to the chieftaincy title to hereby withdrawn.”

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LIVE: Sowore, Moghalu, Donald Duke, Durotoye Go Head-To-Head On ‘The People’s Debate’

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Falana Petitions Finance Ministry Over ‘Criminal Diversion Of Public Funds’ By Interior Ministry

The Ministry of Interior has been accused of criminal diversion of public funds into a dedicated account, in contradiction to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the Nigerian Government.
According to a petition filed by Falana and Falana’s Chambers, the Ministry of Interior unilaterally increased the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC) fee to $2,000 from the initial $1,000 without recourse to the extant law of the land.
The petition, personally signed by Femi Falana, human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), dated January 29, 2019, and exclusively made available to SaharaReporters, was entitled: ‘Criminal Diversion of Public Funds and Wrongful Enrichment of a Foreign Consultant by the Ministry of Interior Through Extortion of Foreigners Resident in Nigeria in Gross Violation of the Central Bank Act Presidential Executive Order No 5 2018 and Federal Government Policy in Treasury Single Account.’
The firm also alleged that only 30 per cent of the $2,000 collect by the consultant, Continental Transfert Technique, owned by an Indian national, was paid to the coffers of the Federal Government at the official rate of N306 per dollar, while foreign consultants were allowed to pocket the remaining 70 per cent.
The firm purported further that the foreign consultants had been directed by the Minister of Interior to pay the said 30 per cent into a dedicated account in a commercial bank, insisting that this was in a flagrant contravention of the Federal Government’s policy on TSA, which unified government accounts to enable the Federal Ministry of Finance to maintain oversight of government cash flow.
Falana noted that the fees payable by foreigners resident in Nigeria is $1,000 annually, but the Ministry of Interior increased it by 100 per cent after being advised to do so by the foreign consultants.
    
The petition noted that the increase, which had made Nigeria’s figure the highest in the world, was surprisingly implemented within 48 hours of the recommendation by the Indian firm.
The petition added: “Apart from the fact that the huge amount of revenue realised from the increase of the CERPAC fee is not captured in the Appropriation Act 2018, the engagement of foreign consultants to collect it is a contravention of the Presidential Executive Order No 5 of 2018, which has prohibited the engagement of foreigners to perform services, which can be provided locally for Nigerian citizens.
“Furthermore, all foreigners resident in Nigeria are made to pay the CERPAC fee of the exchange rate of N370 per dollar contrary to the provisions of Section 15 and 20 of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Act, which stipulates that the unit of currency in Nigeria shall be divided into one hundred kobo and that the currency rate issued by the Central Bank shall be the legal tender for the payment of any amount. It is therefore illegal to order that the CERPAC fee be paid in a foreign currency in Nigeria.”
The chambers urged Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, to use her good offices to stop the illegal increase of the fee and also direct that the Naira equivalent of the approved $1,000 be paid directly into the account of the Nigerian government, in line with the TSA policy, while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should be directed to recover the funds that had been “criminally derived through the foreign consultants engaged by the ministry.”
Falana threatened that if the requests were not granted, he would not hesitate to institute legal proceedings at the Federal High Court for the recovery of the funds that had been “criminally diverted” since January 1, 2019 by “some highly placed officials of the Ministry of Interior and their foreign collaborators”.

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Effective Democracy: A Matter Of Voter Right Or Right Voter? By Chido Ahumibe

Events around the world and here at home lead me to continuously ponder the absurdities of modern society. In particular, I wonder about the neo rights we have fashioned for ourselves and how they came to be. What logical defence there is for them and how universal they really are, are not or should be.
The near-instantaneous, unpleasant aftermath of Brexit for Britons got me questioning the truth behind the sentiment of the right to vote. Is there really such a right and should there be? What actually is the nature of this right as compared to other fundamental rights? Who is the creator of this right?
Deciding the fate of a nation by whatever means is a solemn task with grave consequences for all. In effect, such a task should be accorded all the seriousness it deserves to ensure the best outcome in the end. A similar level of seriousness attends the task of decision making for corporations as well. And since such decisions can also have far-reaching consequences for all who are dependent on the corporation, this task, to my mind, is usually not left to the generality of staff with the facility of the vote as the instrument of decision making. What obtains in the life of corporations is that you have a select team of individuals, with vast experience and wide-ranging knowledge of industry, that presides over decision making on behalf of everyone. This responsibility at once makes it quite possible to hold this body to account, in the event that its decision backfires.
There currently appears to be a cycle of vote, regret, and vote again making the rounds across the globe. From Brexit that sought to pull the UK out of Europe to the American elections that brought President Trump to the White House, and the Nigerian elections that swept away a much-maligned President Jonathan and enthroned in his stead, President Buhari, who is at the moment in the eye of a major political storm. The one common element that trailes all of these voting events is widespread voter dissatisfaction to the extent that one is compelled to wonder, in view of the spread of disenchantment with the outcomes, just who did the voting since democracy, it is said, is a game of the minority having their say while the majority have their way.
With Brexit, the conclusion – in the light of present realities – could only possibly be that the vast majority of voters in the referendum had absolutely no clue what it was they were voting for. They were merely exercising their right to vote. This then raises the question of whether the right to vote is sufficient qualification for actually casting a vote.
The mantra here in Nigeria is usually one-man-one-vote and I think this is a classic case of ruthless egalitarianism resulting in passive injustice: it may be fair to give every man the vote; it certainly isn’t fair to give every man a vote. The reason for this is simple. We don’t all hold equal stakes in the life of the nation. It is therefore illogical that we hold equal vote. 
The man who owns a multi-billion-naira business and employs a significant number of citizens and pays huge sums into government coffers in personal income and corporate tax, for instance, certainly holds a greater stake than, say, a professional bootlegger with no one but self to worry about and who pays no tax at all to the government. When it comes to elections, the tycoon is less likely to be influenced by parochial considerations or ‘stomach infrastructure’ and is better positioned to make an informed judgement on who to vote. One-man-one-vote however ensures that such well-reasoned positions matter little as the tycoon is by no means the majority. And so the cycle of electoral gloom continues.
This was probably the reason the founding fathers of America established that ingenious democratic invention called the electoral college. But not even that seems to have helped the American electorate much in the present. Perhaps this is because, again, voter right has taken precedence over right voter. American comedian, Chris Rock, once joked in the run up to the Obama/McCain elections that when you asked a certain section of American society why they would vote for who, they said, ‘He spoke to my issues.’ The other section merely said, ‘He black!’ 
To determine which students are eligible to attend which colleges we conduct standardised tests; to determine which individuals are fit to practise which professions, we conduct professional certifications; to recruit football players for national teams or club sides, we conduct trials: never mind that none of these activities has as far-reaching implications for our collective welfare as determining which individual is fit to lead a nation as president. Yet when it comes to the latter, at least in the Nigerian situation, all that seems to be necessary is the right of individuals to vote, encapsulated in the possession of a piece of plastic obtained without the least screening for eligibility to possess it or to use it. Still we wonder why democracy has a knack for throwing up wrong leaders.
The casting of a vote is a duty and not a right. Bundled with that duty is the responsibility to enlighten oneself on the ramifications of the vote, failing which the noble thing to do would probably be to abstain from voting, in order not to voice a telling opinion in a matter on which one is ill informed.

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2019 General Polls: APGA Gears For Big Surprises, Upsets By Law Mefor

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With the coming general elections, history beckons again on the resurgent and rebranding All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) under the creative leadership of its national chairman, Dr. Ozomkpu Victor Oye. It is yet another opportunity for the Party to extend dominance in its traditional forte, the South East, and to impact further round the country as the Party continues to make surprising inroads.
Proving most bookmakers wrong while asserting itself as a National Party, unlike regional parties that have risen in the present dispensation, APGA has won various seats in many unexpected States in the country – all over the South East(as expected) and in the Niger Delta, Lagos, Niger, Zamfara, FCT and in some others. That is the stuff national political parties are made of. Posterity beckons yet again with the forthcoming general polls, which holds the promise that the Party would impress even more with the new opportunity.
In past elections, with its modest but widespread electoral victories, APGA has fairly and commendably commanded national appeal to emerge today as the 3rd force in the nation’s democracy. At the (first) legislative elections that the Party ever participated in, held on 12th April, 2003, APGA won only 1.4% of popular votes and 2 of 360 seats in the House of Representatives and no seats in the Senate. But progressively, in the 2011 legislative election, the Party won a seat in Senate with Chris Anyanwu and more recently, Chief Victor Umeh also won as Senator on the platform of APGA. The Party however now parades many more House of Reps members and numerous members of States’ Houses of Assembly. The Party also has in its kitty Local Government chairmen and Councilors of the entire 21 LGs of Anambra State, one in FCT (Gwagwarada Area Council), elective positions in Lagos, Niger, Zamfara and in many other places.
Since its formation in 2002, APGA has steadied itself as the 3rd Force in the nation’s democracy by improving on its strings of successes in every election. It has won the Anambra governorship upon entry into the election contest fray in 2003 with Peter Obi, and since then, has held sway in the State, retaining the governorship in all successive elections despite determined onslaughts by opposition Parties in the State to dislodge the Party. APGA won the Imo State governorship as well with Owelle Rochas Okorocha who later decamped to APC 5 years ago when the legacy Parties coalesced as APC to wrest power from Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP.
APGA adherents in Imo know that this is another opportunity to reclaim the Douglas Douglas. The Party is heading to this epic battle with Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, a political battle-toughened veteran who has played the big turf and has the requisite capacity. Though pitted with gladiators like Senator Hope Uzodinma of the APC, former Deputy Speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP and not forgetting the incumbent Governor’s protégé, the governorship candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) Uche Nwosu; Ararume is believed to have an edge, riding on the wave of his own time-honoured pedigree and APGA as an indomitable brand in Imo and the South East.
Since he left the Senate in 2003, Ifeanyi Ararume has had his sight set on governing Imo State. There is something quite fundamentally different between one who prepared himself for a job and another who is being driven by forces without. Ararume is truly prepared for the job and Imo people know this! There is time for everything under the sun; Ararume’s time seems to have come in Imo State.
One other big gun flying the APGA flag for Orlu Senatorial District is Senator Osita Izunaso, the immediate past National Organizing Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Senator Izunaso is a candidate to beat.
Looking at Anambra State too where the Party is also occupying the Government House, the chances of APGA is really bright since Governor Willie Obiano, himself a consummate fighter, will be leading the battle personally. Though he is not contesting, it is still a proxy political war. He would likely attempt to repeat the 21/21 landslide feat of his reelection a year ago in the coming polls.APGA has great candidates in Anambra too. For the Senate, Senator Victor Umeh who became an instant hit when he joined the Senate is one of them. Though Victor Umeh joined the Senate barely 6 months ago, he has pushed at least 3 intervention motions in the Senate where many more Senators who have been warming seats for years have no single motion or Bill to their credit. Return of Victor Umeh would have been fairly easy were it not for the candidacies of Senator Uche Ekwunife who Umeh displaced in the Senate, following her ouster by the courts. Uche Ekwunife of the PDP is such a formidable opponent that one only ignores to his own peril! There is yet another no mean contender, Barr. Tony Chukwuelue, once the senior legislative aide to Senator Annie Okonkwo. Chukwuelue of the SDP was recently adopted by some key stakeholders in the Anambra Central, thus throwing him up as a major contender. Despite the threats of these two gladiators, Victor Umeh still appear to have an edge.
Anambra South Senatorial District has littered 4 upbeat billionaires and top political heavyweights, namely: Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah of Young People Party, the incumbent, Senator Andy Uba, his brother Chief Chris Uba of the PDP, and the APGA candidate and veteran, Evangelist Nicholas Ukachukwu. Any of the 4 has the capacity to spring surprises in that order though the backing of the Governor is an additional factor weighing heavily for Ukachukwu. In Anambra North, APGA is more assured, the senatorial district being the home of the Governor and the Party’s candidate, Chinedu Emeka, a onetime Minister of the Federal Republic, equally has his name to flex but the incumbent Senator Stella Odua of the PDP to contend with.
Most seats for the House of Reps in Anambra House of Assembly and House of Reps too are likely to be clinched by APGA and quite a chunk also in the whole of the South East. The likes of Hon. Ifeanyi Ibezi running to represent Idemili North and South Federal Constituency in Anambra State do not have many challenges. Hon. Ibezi, an incredible grassroots and strategic politician, is up against a lackluster incumbent, Hon. Obinna Chidoka and a former rep for the constituency, Hon. Charles Odedo. Another hopeful is: Rt. Hon. Anayo Nnebe, member representing Awka North and South Federal Constituency in the House of Reps. The former speaker of Anambra House of Assembly is the candidate of APGA, also only waiting for the coronation party.
In Enugu State, Enugu West is quite settled with the reputation of Senator Ike Ekweremadu and the determination of his people who purchased his nomination form to return the Cicero to the Senate though the APGA candidate, a veteran in his own right, Gbazueagu Nweke Gbazueagu, is rearing for an upset.
Enugu East presents another surprising scenario where the former Governor Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani of the Ebeano fame is pitted against the much younger APGA  National Vice Chairman (South East) and Party’s candidate Chief Uche Nwegbo. The odds appear to be tilting towards APGA candidate’s favour. The youths and a wide spectrum of the Senatorial District are routing for the younger candidate. Their argument is that Chimaroke has had his time in the sun, including going to the 6th Senate where he was practically lost in the shuffles and achieved nothing. To them, therefore, time to give the younger, more vibrant candidate a chance is now and the young turk, Uche Nwegbo is primed to upstage the former governor for good reason! They have sworn not to reinforce failure by voting Chimaroke the second time. 
In Nasarawa State, the APGA National Secretary, who was former Deputy Governor of the State and former Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, is also looking good for an upset in the governorship election in the State. Lagos State is equally looking so great for the APGA candidates in the State and National Assembly elections.
Despite the emergence of SDP and ADC and the inroads being made by the Presidential Candidate of the Young People’s Party, Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, Maj. General John Gbor(rtd.) is likely to finish a strong 3rd in the Presidential Election ahead of the three. Displacing incumbent President Muhamadu Buhari and PDP’s Atiku Abubakar is such a tall order. Lack of requisite structures and logistics, as admitted by General Gbor himself, is not likely to allow him finish stronger than the duo.
Though APGA as a national Party is in the best position to articulate and advance South East regional and minority interests across Nigeria, the problem remains that Ndigbo have not been able to fully translate their love for the Party into maximum electoral support. This is another opportunity to right this wrong.Justifiably, many have expected that APGA would produce the governors of at least the 5 South East States by now. Here is an opportunity.
The APGA brand must be sustained for the survival and political advancement of Ndigbo and minorities in Nigeria. APGA has to be kept alive even for the sake of Emeka Ojukwu who was its face and soul. The inimitable Emeka Ojukwu, barely 33 then, led Ndigbo and the old South East to resist extermination already being delivered to them in installments in pogroms repeatedly visited on them before the genocidal Nigeria-Biafra Civil War that claimed millions.
The 2 most germane issues to Ndigbo and minorities in Nigeria are Restructuring and Nigeria’s President of Igbo extraction. The people need a political platform where they can determine outcomes to push these 2 noble agendas and APGA is that political Party hence its members often acclaim: ‘APGA bu nke anyi’ (APGA is our own).
Ikemba Emeka Ojukwu rounded off his live and defence of Ndigbo in APGA and made a last wish before he took his glorious bow out of earthly life, when he said: “Vote for APGA, this is my last wish”. We are reminded; keep APGA alive and growing, that it may be well for Ndigbo and minorities in Nigeria’s checkered political turf. Dissenting members should please bury the hatchet and join forces in keeping both the APGA dream and Ojukwu’s last wish alive.
• Dr. Law Mefor, is a concerned APGA member; Tel.: +234-803-787-2893; email:drlawmefor@gmail.com

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Goodbye To Illusions By Sylvester Odion Akhaine

In the course of the 2015 general elections, I travelled through the peril of bad roads to Ekpoma to cast my vote in the presidential election. Truly, I voted for Buhari. Despite the irregularities of the process, he won though with an implicit Carter clause, which is that though there were obvious irregularities, they were not enough to warrant an annulment. Many of us who were impatient with President Jonathan and the contradictions of his administration felt change was indeed required. One singular reason that made me vote for Buhari was the thinking that he would be anti-imperialist and exercise national autonomy in key policies.
Today, it has turned out that that I made a mistake. I apologise. The very reason for voting for him was the first casualty. For him to be president he had to be sold to the Americans who bought his candidacy and who subsequently asked him to open the economy for foreign investment, a euphemism for external control. Christine Lagarde, the Empress of IMF visited and gave the administration a cocktail of slave driving tools to further impoverish Nigerians struggling to eke out a bare living. Her recipes were subsidy removal, flexible currency, increased value added tax and stamp duty among others.
Truly, the state of the nation pre-2015 was saddening and Nigerians truly deserved a lease from the overwhelming national problems. Jonathan Administration inherited a paralysed state structure even though he was the vice president to President Yar’adua. The business of state took the backstage as a result of the illness of the president and its politicization. Jonathan did not understand the historical forces that shaped events in the country. He felt obligated to the cabal of retired military generals whom he credited with ushering in democracy. Overwhelmed by the problem of governance, he ran his government through committees read as being a product of cluelessness than an act of inclusivity. He was unable to tame the oil cabal and oil subsidy became a national scandal warranting a major inquisition by the National Assembly. Petroleum products were short in supply and its prices were jerked up from N65 to N141 thereby deepening the misery of the people, notwithstanding the subsequent reversals. Boko Haram intensified their activities and much of the north-east was under sect’s occupation. While his government was engaged with the insurgents and with mercenaries to boot, the war itself spawned an armament profiteers who reportedly bought second rate weapons for the soldiers in ways that the war became an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Money ostensibly meant for purchase of arms was seized in far away South Africa. The president was seen by the impatient public as slow and weak. He did not help matters when he said he was not a general thereby eliciting the question of who he was— a Goliath or David?  Nonetheless, his administration rebased the national economy upping the country to the status of the biggest economy in the continent. Although, he privatised the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, he did not resolve the electricity problem and the country remained world importer of power generating set. Corruption was widespread with varied free riders dotting his administration. His government embarked on various infrastructure rehabilitation projects including airports and railway. To his credit, he fulfilled aspect of the electoral reform and brought credibility to the electoral umpire. He secured the lid on the Niger–Delta militants and ensured steady export of crude. He, however, squandered a historical opportunity of restructuring the country after organizing a National Conference in 2014 by neglecting to action aspects of the report to unbundle the over-centralised state. He did the unimaginable in a continent in which incumbents do not organise elections to lose (apologies to Pascal Lissouba of Congo Brazzaville).  He handed over power to a successor and accepting the results of the presidential election before the final tally.
Under the watch of President Buhari, economic misfortune is continuing under the slavish economic policies of neoliberalism—those economic principles that privilege the market and its integral privatisation programme through divestment of the public sector.  There are no economic laws that say that the private sector is superior to public sector. This is not borne by historical records. Its current version being pursued by the Nigerian government is Medium Term Economic Framework (MTEF). It is being implemented outside the rule book because the minders of the Nigerian state don’t understand it and naturally it can’t work in country that is badly divided without a common national creed. It is least surprising that the policies therefrom are hardly being contested despite their deleterious effect on the national wellbeing. Indeed, they have become normalised. Besides, economic mismanagement has led to a rapidly increasing debt burden. The country is already thrown back to pre-2006 era of debt overhang with external debt hovering around $22 billion. As though nothing is amiss, the state actors are still comforting themselves with an elusive debt-to GDP ratio of 21 percent and a credit threshold of about 51 percent. They forgot that the country does not have a patriotic and discipline elite that can utilise credit facilities for the purpose they are meant for.  The naira, its currency, weighted against that of many developing countries is worthless.
Add up. The consequence of a disarticulated economy is the acceleration of social vices, namely, kidnapping, ritually killings, 419, armed robbery, killings by security forces, bribe–taking, misappropriation of resources, subsidy scam, vending of fake products, prostitution and illegal migration across the Sahara desert to Libya enroute to Europe. These combined with structural violence such as the hike in prices of petroleum products, multiple taxes and attacks on the rule of of law have aggravated the misery of the Nigerian people.
Blood-letting has become the order of the day. The entire Middle-belt has become the open killing field of land-grabbing Fulani herdsmen whose murderous activities are countenanced by current wielders of state power. We are all living witnesses to the spectacle of mass burial in Benue state and plateau. Historians say it is a repetition of the massacres of the Tivs in the riots of the early 1960s. The statistics are chilling and simultaneously infuriating. Figures from Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) put the number of persons killed by Fulani militias in the Middle Belt in the first quarter of 2018 at 1,061. In its survey, Amnesty International put the number of deaths across 17 states since the beginning of the 2018 at 1, 8143. In a summing up covering June 2015- to date, US Council on Foreign Relations earlier put the figure of those killed  at 19, 890. About   54,595 lives were lost due to the activities of the insurgents between 2011 and 2018. These figures don’t tell the whole story. Add the gory tales of Fulani herdsmen activities in your respective states; you have a sense of scale.  These killings earned the country a non-enviable third place ranking in the 2018 Global Index on Terrorism (GIT).  Any one not disgusted by the shedding of innocent blood cross the country most probably has lost his or her humanity. These days, the perception outside the country which is the truth is that Nigeria is a war zone.
In about 2000, at the turn of the century, the economist of London observed that, Nigeria was badly divided as a country. It noted further that the football team, the only entity that momentarily unites the people, despite the talent of individual player; do not play as a team.  If that was the perception in 2000, now the unity does not exist, as the incumbent administration has completely eroded it mainstreaming the domination of a tiny migrant community over the rest component parts of the country. Happy with its temporal hegemony, it is impervious to the logic of restructuring the country.  Indeed, we are at the crossroads reached by the makers of July 1966 counter-coup with the conclusion that there is no basis for unity.
Under the current administration whose leadership the insurgents were ready to choose as a mediator while he was yet to be elected into office is unable to handle the insurgents that have now grown into a hydra-headed monster. The daring attacks on national security formations are debilitating. Need we search for the logic of reversal? The security forces of the country are not cohesive as it is divided by ethnic appointments in which of over 75 percent of leadership positions are occupied by a single ethnic nationality in a multinational country; deployment of men to frontline is also ethnically skewed while there is a loud absence of a coordinating national security agency where intelligence is sieved for the benefit of national wellbeing. This is as a result of unbridled incompetence and hegemonic delusion. In a rather intriguing way, the country is being encircled by insurgents. Carnage is on-going in Zamfara; Sokoto was breached by jihadists labeled by the outgone Inspector General of Police as Malian herdsmen. This is certainly not the country of our dream.
The above problems require solutions. On the contrary, President Buhari and his team have reinforced them weaving into the complex a benumbing hopelessness. The litany is endless and saddening: 87 million living in extreme poverty (Brookings institution, 2018) and 13.2 million out of school, highest globally.
Clearly, the resolution of these sundry crises of the Nigerian state is beyond the current president. Weakened by ill-health, devoid of vision and intellectual capacity to navigate the wide field of our national problems, he cannot provide solutions. However, the president has failed to read the national mood and understand the lie of the state. Browbeating his party into nominating him as the presidential candidate instead of paving way for a brand new candidate within his party reeks of ego and spiritual poverty. I can only wish Mr President good luck. I should note that it is his right as a Nigerian citizen to vote and be voted for.  But what the presidential chat has revealed is that country is drifting and the extant leadership can only endure in a banana republic which Nigeria has become. Should he force himself on Nigerians through a corrupt use of the security forces and manipulation of the electoral process, a reality already being foreshadowed by signals from these vital institutions of state, it will be unacceptable. Indeed the leadership of the country has become a major contradiction to be resolved at least for now through the ballot. Nigerians may be slow in acting, but they can never be taken for granted. I refuse to be a bondsman in my fatherland. For me, my choice is clear: it is goodbye to illusions.
Akhaine, an Associate Professor with the Lagos State University is a Visiting member of the Guardian Editorial Board.

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Sylvester Odion Akhaine

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BREAKING: Dozens Slump At Atiku’s Overcrowded Campaign Rally In Kano

Dozens of people have collapsed at the ongoing presidential rally of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kano State.
It was a sea of red-capped individuals, as thousands of party faithful converged on the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano.
The stadium is filled beyond capacity, and some persons have fainted as a result of suffocation.
At the time of this report, Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate and other party leaders, were still on their way to the stadium.

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Osinbajo: In The Eye Of The Storm By Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa

“I am so pleased and happy, and I believe that the Almighty God has a plan for our nation by putting us in strategic positions in politics, business and everywhere”- Prof. Yemi Osinbajo 

The office of the Vice President since the office became known to the Nigerian constitution has been more of a  ceremonial position with its core requirements being to appear at events the President does not consider important or deserving of his personal presence. The redefinition of this office to becoming more visible, more influential and more vocal is one of the noticeable things in the present administration. Previous Vice Presidents such as Alex Ekueme, Atiku Abubakar, Goodluck Jonathan and Nnamadi Sambo were downgraded to appearing at the commissioning of minor projects celebrated with little fanfare or press attention and on some occasions appearing near the President at more dignified occasions with little of the Vice Presidents input visible in the eventual decisions and outcome of governance.
The visibility of Prof. Osinbajo in comparison to former occupiers of his office may be attributable to the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari by virtue of age is constrained and no longer physically mobile with his 800m walk last Salah being a record achievement touted all over the media by his press team. The President’s health has also raised cause for concern in the past and explains  the present visibility of the Vice President  being more due to a need to fill the void that the President’s age and health unavoidably creates than due to the reason of Prof. Osinbajo’s relative individual brilliance, academic achievements, career achievements and impressive track records in public service spanning far back into the 1980’s as a lecturer in a public University and a Legal Adviser to the Attorney General Bola Ajibola.Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has gained visibility to be seen everywhere in the markets, campaign grounds and rallies, ceremonies and it is quite certain that he has the most tight schedule in Nigeria at the moment. He is always pictured everyday at a different state of the Federation and one who has followed the campaigns cannot but notice his wide spread. He is in the University of Ibadan in the weekend for a wedding, he is with the Alaafin the next Monday, he is in Modakeke, Osun State few days later. Again, he is pictured with his barber having a cut and then again he is pictured in the middle of the market surrounded by traders or by a throng of people happy to see him.Beyond and within the political arena, he has become the best thing to happen to the Buhari administration and the quest of the same administration to retain power. He has been complementary in every way to the President and has filled almost every deficiency of the President. His energy has made up for that of Buhari who can only attend few events in order to conserve his strength. His intelligence and brilliance have also become the bailout for various gaffes of the administration and he has also been brilliant with handling initiatives such as Tradermoni.He had to be cautioned by Kadari Ahmed to refrain in order to allow the President speak for himself. Prof. Yemi Osinbajo would have effectively handled the same interview session as he did quite brilliantly at the Vice Presidential debate. Without that refrain from Kadaria, he might just have been able to effectively cover up for the President’s lack of oratorical gifting.One moment when you stare at Buhari and notice a particular weakness, you stare again at Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and see how he makes up for it exactly. I doubt any other President and Vice President have been so complementary as Buhari/Osinbajo. One moment the opposition call President Buhari an Islamic religious fanatic and the next moment you stare at his Vice President and see a Pastor of one of Nigeria’s largest churches who has risen far high in the church hierarchy. One moment you say President Buhari is not educated and the next you see a Professor of Law and a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science as his Vice President . You cannot find a flaw in Buhari and not find this as a strength in Osinbajo. It is thus amazing and would always be a subject for political thought what sort of democracy can merge two sharp contrasts into a team.The complexities of the Nigerian state and the politics within it ensures that such great difference in personality and intellectual exposure can occur between a President and his Vice President. The question of who is acceptable to what ethnicity, whose turn it is to govern the nation and other such matter more than qualifications in the electoral voting patterns of Nigerians. The background of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as a Professor of Law and former Attorney General of Lagos State has been called into question severally after various incidences with frequent reference to the fact that he is a lawyer(a Senior Advocate of Nigeria at that) and thus the government should perform better in regards to adherence to due process by virtue of this. As soon as a supposed violation of the constitution occurs, Twitter Nigeria becomes awash with “where is the Professor of Law?”.Prof. Osinbajo lived up to his legal background by often providing clear legal arguments for the actions of government even though many of it still remains controversial. He has also alongside Festus Keyamo SAN provided a legal front to douse concerns of Buhari’s dictatorship with Festus Keyamo proving more lethal in assuaging concerns of Buhari dictatorship because of his background as an activist. Both men are perharps the most important factors in sustaining the acceptance of the ruling party among educated people.There would have been found no better running mate than ‘Starboy PYO’ for President Muhammadu Buhari who despite his several gaffes and errors manages to remain acceptable beyond the poor illiterate mass who are his natural followers especially from his previous attempts at election to also become capable of having some acceptance among the enlightened members of the Nigerian populace.Despite severe economic conditions, despite fears and concerns for the health of the President, despite his errors such as raising the hands of the wrong people in rallies and saying he got to office in 2005 or even introducing the same candidate thrice for three different offices. A large chunk of the voters who would still be voting Buhari despite these flaws are doing it just so because they see a force of hope and trust in Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and this extends also to even members of the opposition who share the same sentiment for him. Having survived an helicopter crash recently, he has come out unstained white with an even higher popularity rating that has soared across the roof. Religious Nigerians already have begun to interprete this crash survival as some divine endorsement. Since a lot of Nigerians are religious, he has again brought massive acceptance to the ruling party especially with his leadership composure following the crash.Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has so far proven to be a good running mate and has been able to plug almost all leaks of the Buhari regime.The questions would continue to linger and they are  that of why his individual quality and impressive track records only fit to be second fiddle. Also, the question that raises concerns towards his ambition to contest or not for the Presidency in 2023.  It is too early to speculate as a lot of factors presently visible and those which may later occur have to be put in consideration. However, as it stands today among Nigerians belonging to all tribes, ethnicity, religious appeal, age and educational background. Osinbajo has gained sufficient visibility and is gaining sufficient political popularity to attempt something of his own.Koye-Ladele Mofehintoluwa is a Law student in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He writes news and opinion pieces for several reputable  media. He has a passion for Economics, Activism, and Human Rights. He is Director of Field Work, Center for Human Rights, Obafemi Awolowo University. He can be contacted on koyetolu@gmail.com and on Twitter @koye_tolu

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