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Jonathan, Mark Blast Maku Over Defection …President Rules Out Sambo As Successor

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President Goodluck Jonathan; Senate President, David Mark; and a former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmadu Ali, yesterday expressed anger at the way the former Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, dumped the PDP for the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) without exhausting all avenues for dialogue within the party.
While Jonathan described Maku’s action as anti-party, Mark said the former minister was a liar while Ali described him as an ingrate. They spoke at the Lafia Township Stadium during the PDP presidential rally, yesterday.
The President said he could not be involved in anti-party activities, adding that he did not at any time have any discussion or encourage Maku to join another party.
Mark on his part said Maku has to apologise and retrace his steps, before he could be accepted back to the party.
The Senate president said the North Central was solidly behind Jonathan, and will vote for him because he has brought democracy dividends to bear on the region.
Ali also described Maku as an ingrate, saying that despite using the platform of the party to rise to stardom, he jumped the ship because of greed.
He said the president had never asked anybody to join any party to canvass for him, ýsaying Maku’s intention is to smear the image of Jonathan and portray him as a religious bigot.
He accused Maku of dropping the name of the president in his bid to realise his ambition, which he insisted, will never happen because he lacks the required integrity.
However, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday tacitly ruled out having Vice President Namadi Sambo as his successor, saying the next Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president must be below 60 years of age.
Addressing a large crowd at the Lafia Township stadium during his presidential campaign tour to Nasarawa State, Mr. Jonathan said his administration believes in the youth and will do everything possible to support the younger generation.
“Obasanjo was president at 70, Yar’Adua at 60 and me close to 60 so the next president must be younger than me,”  Jonathan said.
Vice president Namadi Sambo is already 60 years old. If Mr. Jonathan wins re-election on February 14 and leaves office in 2019, his remarks means he would not support Mr. Sambo to succeed him as the vice president would have turned 64.
Jonathan said the PDP administration will invest in the younger generation and ensure that a space is made available for them in the future.
He explained that his administration has taken keen interest in educational development which is a yardstick for developing the younger generation.
He laid emphasis on youth empowerment which he said will be cardinal principle of his government if re-elected.
President Jonathan said the Doma Dam in Doma Local Government Area of the state will be completed to pave way for agricultural development that will create development for the youth.
He added that the PDP administration will work to integrate Nasarawa within the Federal Capital Territory in the next 25 years.
Earlier, the National chairman of the PDP, Ahmadu Muazu, reiterated the party’s concern for the next generation and promised that the party will continue with policies that will develop the youth.

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Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity

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Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.

The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).

Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.

It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.

Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.

Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.

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Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments

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President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.

The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.

According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.

He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.

Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.

The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.

He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.

On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.

He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.

“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.

“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.

“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.

”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.

“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.

“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.

On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.

On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.

According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.

The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”

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Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari

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Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.

The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.

Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.

He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.

He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.

“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.

“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.

“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”

He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.

This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.

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