Afenifere, PANDEF Others Tackle Buhari, Insist On Restructuring
President Muhammadu Buhari has come under heavy criticism for describing as ignorant, advocates of restructuring of the country.
The pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, and Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) strongly took exception to the comment of the president, saying it was an affront to the popular wish of Nigerians.
Represented by the Executive Secretary of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Alhaji Mohammed Bello Shehu, at the launch of the Kudirat Abiola Sabon Gari Peace Foundation held at Congo Conference Hotel in Zaria at the weekend, Buhari maintained that advocates of restructuring were ignorant of the processes for the amendment of the constitution.
He further noted that having been vested with power through an election, no one holding an elective office would cede powers to those not entrusted with the mandate to govern the people.
While reacting, the Secretary General of Afenifere, Chief Sola Ebiseni, noted that the majority from all geopolitical zones of the country supported the call for the restructuring. The Afenifere secretary said it was unfortunate that the position of the Federal Government or even the president would have to be deduced from some officials.
Ebiseni noted that the majority from all geopolitical zones of the country supported the call for the restructuring of the country and expressed concerns over some government officials going against the restructuring of the country.
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“From what I read in the papers, the fellow to whom this statement is credited is one Executive Secretary, Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Alhaji Mohammed Bello Shehu, who presides over the sharing of the revenue of the federation to which his state probably contributes nothing. How else can he impress his principal than tell him what would soothe his sectional and sectarian ego?
“The elected governors of the constituent states of the federation, the leaders of the entrenched federating ethnic nationalities, former leaders, presidents and knowledgeable personalities are all calling for the restructuring of the political architecture to reinvent the foundational federal principles of the polity and here you find an opportunistic official heading an office which has no place in a true federal state, talking down on the nation.
“It is my submission that the statement could not be the opinion of General Buhari, who is already seeking restructuring of the current land use under the 1999 Constitution to reopen grazing routes under a law made pursuant to the 1963 constitution.
“We are at a critical stage where children, particularly in states with the highest population of children out of school in the world, can no longer go to school at all for fear of being kidnapped for ransom.
“State governments are demanding the powers to establish state police to deal with insecurity and prominent traditional rulers, especially emirs, have called on their people to rise in their own defence and some uninformed government officials are threatening us with war if we seek restructuring or self-determination. It is so nauseating.
“In any event, restructuring of the political architecture of the country in the interest of the people, their security and general wellbeing is not going to be at the pleasure of the president or the whims and caprices of his uncouth officials,” the Afenifere secretary declared.
Similarly, the national chairman of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Senator Emmanuel Ibokessien, insisted that only restructuring would address the complex challenges threatening the unity of the country.
Ibokessien said: “What is it that we are ignorant about: restructuring?” He explained that only true federalism anchored on devolution of powers to the component states remains the sure way towards reinventing Nigeria for the common good of all.
“The position of PANDEF is that Nigeria must be restructured along the path of true federalism.
“Powers must be devolved to states and resources controlled with percentage shared to the centre. Anything outside that is a total misnomer because, as I always say, if we fail to restructure now, Nigeria will restructure itself later,” he stated.
He likened restructuring to pus, which if not burst in good time, would burst itself for the content to forcefully spill out.
A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Ghali Na’Abba, was not comfortable with the view expressed by the president.
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Waxing philosophically, Na’Abba said: “From time to time, we sweep our rooms because they get dirty. So, it is with social systems.”
Piqued by the outburst of the President, the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) stated that the president appeared misguided on the issue of restructuring. The president of the forum, Dr Bitrus Pogu said no amount of threats would stop genuine agitations and what was right for the country.
“Mr President’s threat cannot stop what is right; many things are wrong in this country. The government is becoming more and more autocratic. Things that are supposed to be handled by states are being handledbby the federal government. There’s confusion everywhere. The directive by the president on the cattle routes, which were done by the colonial and the northern regional government is another confusion we are talking about. If there’s anyone that is confused, I think he is the one not those clamouring for restructuring and devolution of power.
“Those clamouring for the restructuring of the country, devolution of power which is part of the component of restructuring, are people who love Nigeria; people who want the country to work; people who want agitation for secession to stop; who want transparency in governance; people who want electoral processes devoid of rigging.
“If he thinks people who are advocating restructuring are confused, I think he is the one that is confused because Nigeria cannot remain the same. The way it is now can lead to its dismemberment,” he claimed.
He averred that the way forward on the issue of restructuring was dialogue and discussion with various stakeholders in the country.
“Without restructuring and devolution of power, also without good governance where everybody will have a sense of belonging, all the agitations in the country will not stop and Mr. President may end up supervising the disintegration of Nigeria,” he warned.
Also, the leader of the South Peoples Assembly (SPA) and former provost marshal of the Nigerian Army, Brig-Gen. Idada Ikponmwen (retd) said the opposition of President Buhari to restructuring was worrisome and showed that the government was insincere and unserious. He said that the president’s stance was against the belief of most Nigerians that the only way out of the present quagmire was restructuring.
Ikponmwen argued that though former President Goodluck Jonathan appeared to have failed to implement the 2014 National Conference report for some personal reasons, successive governments ought not to have thrown the baby away with the bath water, as there were a lot of recommendations therein that would solve Nigeria’s problem if implemented.
He said that the attitude of Buhari to the derivative principle did not augur well for the unity of the country as the people of the resource-rich but impoverished Niger Delta region were being denied access to their God-given resources. The ex-provost marshal noted that injustice in the South-South, particularly in Niger Delta area, was glaring as the government turned a blind eye on the people of Jigawa and Zamfara who were allowed to mine their gold and sell to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), while the same government sat on the oil and gas resources of the Niger Delta.
He insisted: “That is simply an unjustifiable dichotomy amounting to grave injustice which no well-meaning government should encourage. Having said all that, the main point I am driving home is that there are so many things that are inhibiting good governance, security and egalitarian society in Nigeria.”
But elder statesman, Mallam Tanko Yakassai, backed the president on the latter’s opposition to restructuring, saying Buhari was right on his submission.
He said: “I have never seen any country where elected people surrendered their mandate. Those who believe in restructuring and have been agitating for it, I have been saying that they should come out with their blue print. We have over 200 ethnic groups, so who will do the restructuring? Only the elected people have the mandate.
“The president himself has no mandate on his own to change the constitution; it is only the national and state Houses Assembly. Those in elective offices have contested elections and won. So, anybody who wants the Constitution changed should use the National Assembly; the only other way is through military coup but military interventions never moved Nigeria forward.”
Also commenting, a former general secretary of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Anthony Z. Sani said Buhari “merely echoed what many of us have been saying, to wit, that 1999 Constitution is a clone of that of 1979 that was democratically sired.” The elder statesman said since the country had been restructured many times be it geopolitically, by way of a form of government and through economic models, what was needed as a panacea was a cultural renaissance for positive social order.
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BREAKING: Obi Speaks On Joining Tinubu’s Unity Government
Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, has given insight into what his position will be if he is invited to join Bola Tinubu’s Government of National Unity.
Tinubu, the president-elect and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been taken to court by Obi over the outcome of the February 25 election.
The camp of the APC candidate had hinted that the former Lagos Governor would form an all-inclusive government to carry all his opponents along in his government.
While featuring on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, Obi was asked what he would do if he was called upon to be a member of Tinubu’s Government of National Unity.
In his response, Obi said he was still challenging the process of the election and the declaration.
According to him, the process of the election should be put right first before anyone could talk of the Government of National Unity.
“The first thing I want to see is that the process is right. The process through which you achieve anything is far more fundamental than what you do thereafter. Let us go back first, I am challenging the process and the declaration.
“Until we get it right, then we can talk about a government of national unity. Otherwise, we would go and sit down and say that those who stopped a train and kidnapped people can call us to discuss peace when they have people in captivity. Until things are done rightly, we will be encouraging what we don’t need to encourage,” he said.
When he was asked whether or not he would accept the outcome if it is not in his favour, Obi said he would be shocked if the court upholds Tinubu’s election.
His words: “Issues about the election will be sorted out in court. I will be shocked if this country goes on with that situation. It will then stand that it is a corporate criminalised country. We can’t allow it. We need to start unbundling this criminality.
“When people were talking about structure, it is this fraud and criminality that we witnessed that they were talking about, and we want to unbundle it for the sake of our children.”
The former Anambra State governor said he believes the judiciary would do the right thing.
LP Chieftain Flays Return Of 1999 PDP as Ibori, Henchmen Seek Political Relevance In Delta APC
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State is gradually taking on the colouration of 1999 PDP with all of former Governor James Ibori’s ‘boys’ now leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in droves and finding a new home in APC to swell its ranks ahead of the guber elections on Saturday, March 18, 2023, according to a chieftain of Labour Party (LP), Chief Delly Ajufo.
Ajufo described the development as “a gathering of vultures to consume the soul of Delta State,” noting that Ibori, who has suffered a pariah status under Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s 8-year administration, now has a chance to reclaim his “godfather or grand commander” position over his godson, guber candidate of APC and Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
According to him, Ibori looks to resume his godfather position as Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos State, a position that slipped out of his hands since his stint in the UK prison.
Ajufo said Deltans needed to be wary of Senator Omo-Agege’s governorship bid, and see it as a backdoor for Ibori to re-take control of the management of the state’s resources in a manner likely to be worse than the 1999 – 2007 era when he was governor. He warned that Deltans could not have forgotten how Ibori raped the fortunes of the state in his eight-year administration by corruptly enriching himself and his cronies (including Sen. Omo-Agege) that earned him a UK prison sentence. He described the APC as PDP-2 trying to upstage Okowa’s PDP-1 from power, saying Deltans should reward both of them with electoral defeat since both parties have run the country (APC – 8 years) and Delta State (PDP – 24 years) badly.
He argued that none of them deserves to occupy the seat of power in Asaba come May 29, 2023.
The Labour Party chieftain also said the gathering of Ibori’s political family under APC is dark and ominous for the state, and urged the electorate to reject both ‘PDAPC’ at the polls on Saturday, and vote for Labour Party (LP) as the only political breath of fresh air that Delta people need now.
“We must sever our links with the people from both parties that have collectively ruined the fortunes of this oil-rich state by running it aground since 1999,” he noted.
Ajulo added that Ibori trying to reclaim his faded godfather position, using APC as his new launch pad was tantamount to vultures gathering to feast on the carcass of a dying animal, a situation that Deltans should not wait to see but to halt it in its tracks outright.
“This is a gathering of vultures and it does not augur well for our beloved Delta State,” said Ajufo.
“Ibori wants to use the APC backdoor to reclaim his faded godfather status since all his allies are dumping PDP in droves and moving over to APC. The signs are not good for Deltans who have been pauperised for so many years in spite of the huge oil wealth that comes to the state monthly. I urge Deltans to see through the evil that’s about to befall them if they elect Ovie Omo-Agege. Of course, PDP is dead, going by February 25, 2023 election. There is no need to bother about it. Deltans will bury whatever remains of it in the guber elections.
“The nightmare we must all now resist is APC taking over. Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege was SSG and Commissioner under Ibori’s eight-year reign of wasted resources in Delta from 1999 – 2007. A vote for Omo-Agege is a vote for the return of Ibori into Delta’s mainstream, with his baggage of corruption and mismanagement of state resources. Delta is tired of another Tinubu returning to pillage the coffers of the state for his selfish interests. We cannot afford to ‘carry last’ on this matter.”
The chief urged Deltans to do for Labour Party what they did on February 25 when they massively voted for Labour Party and Peter Obi, saying they should do the same for the party’s governorship candidate, Deacon Ken Pela and all House of Assembly candidates. He called on all women to look the way of Labour Party’s candidate, Dcn Ken Pela for the governorship election, adding, “We also call on women to rally their own fellow woman, an educationist and erudite scholar, Prof. Nwabogo-Umukoro, to represent and champion women’s causes in government at the highest decision-making level.”
Fayose Quits PDP, Reveals How Ayu Led Atiku To Golgotha
A former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, has disclosed how the national chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party ( PDP) Iyorchia Ayu led the presidential candidate of the party Atiku Abubakar to what he called Golgotha.
Fayose spoke while announcing his resignation from the main opposition party, PDP.
Fayose announced his resignation from the PDP yesterday while appearing as a guest on a programme on ARISE News. Fayose served as Governor of Ekiti State from 2003 to 2007 and 2011 to 2015 on PDP’s ticket.
However, his decision to quit the party appears to be connected with perceived irreconcilable differences in the PDP, which according to him, has fractured the party.
He said: “Let me say this, from today(yesterday) I stay off PDP. In party politics there are certain facts you must be able to speak. I am 62 and I can’t, at this age, begin lying. When something is wrong with your family, confess.”
The former governor, who claimed to have fought for the interest of the party over the years, blamed the loss of the PDP in the presidential election on the leadership of the party.
According to him, PDP was already fractured before the election, with so many aggrieved aspirants whom were allegedly swindled by the leadership of the party on one hand and the inability of the presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar to reach an agreement with the G-5 governors.
Fayose traced the problem of the PDP to the North-west zonal congress which he said was rigged against Rabiu Kwankwaso in favour of Aminu Tambuwal that led to the latter leaving theparty.
“I warned Atiku that the problem will consume PDP. I told him there was danger ahead,” he said, adding that the G-5 governors demanded that Atiku make a official announcement to run for only one term and hand over to any member in the south but “Ayu was leading Atiku to Golgotha.”
Fayose warned Labour Party’s candidate and second runner up in the presidential polls, Peter Obi to “run away from the PDP” as the current ovation for the opposition has nothing to do with the PDP.
According to him, if the PDP had believed in Obi, they should have given him the party’s ticket.
He saluted Obi’s courage for being able to defeat the likes of Tinubu in Lagos, describing him as “A phenomenon” and “the man of the moment”, stressing that Obi’s victory in Lagos has proved that things are no longer the same.
He argued that for Obi to win in Lagos shows the process was so transparent and as such the outcome of the election should be accepted by all.
Fayose attributed the credibility of the polls to the use of the BVAS which, according to him, is responsible for a realistic number of voters compared to the past when over a million votes were churned out from some states in the Northern part of the country.
He, however, faulted some of the protesters, calling for the cancellation of the polls, describing them as paid agents of the PDP.
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