The Chairman of the Patriots, Ben Nwabueze has rubbished the President Muhammadu Buhari-led anti-graft war, saying it is a strategic plot to Islamise Nigeria.
He made the claim while faulting the appointment of Northerners as heads of all major security agencies and other strategic positions in the country.
Nwabueze stressed that old age was affecting Buhari’s mobilisation of Nigerians to support the eradication of corruption.
He stated this in a statement he signed entitled, “Whether the eradication of corruption is the motivating object of the on going war against it.”
The statement reads in part, “Given that President Buhari was initially acclaimed, hailed and idolised by the people as an uncompromising spear-head of a crusade against corruption – taking crusade to mean, not just a war, but a war fought with great passion and zeal – it is significant that, in less than two years, the acclaim is giving way to cynicism about the President’s sincerity in the prosecution of the war.
“Is he really the uncompromising crusader that the public had been led to believe? There is reason to suppose that the public cynicism is the by-product of the President’s Northernisation Agenda, as it is being carried into effect by his lopsided strategic appointments which are so manifestly skewed in favour of the North and against the South.
“Viewed from the standpoint of the war against corruption, it is significant that all the key officials involved, even if it be indirectly, in the prosecution of the war are northerners appointed by President Buhari since his inauguration as President on 29 May, 2015. A list of such appointees shows this assertion to be an incontrovertible fact.
“Babachir Lawal, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF); appointed in preference to a hotly tipped candidate from the South-East; after his removal following allegation of diversion of funds meant for persons displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, he was replaced by another northerner, Boss Mustapha, again in preference to a rumoured candidate from the South-East.
“National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj-Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd), replaced Col Sambo Dasuki under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari, replaced Brig-Gen Jones Oladehinde (rtd), the holder of the office under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“Ibrahim Idris, IGP, appointed over the heads of some southern officers senior to him. The IGP is heading a Police Force, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), in which 15 out of the 22 Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs), who exercise much of the function of the operational control of the Force, are northerners, while three are from the South-West and two from the South-East.
“These blatantly lopsided appointments, all of which were made since the inception of the Buhari administration, portray the NPF as an army of occupation deliberately designed to carry into effect President Buhari’s Northernisation Aganda in furtherance of the dream of the Sardauna to reduce the South to a conquered territory and thereby prevented from having control over its future.
“The President’s implacable opposition to re-structuring which envisages the establishment of State Police should not, therefore, surprise us. He wants to be able to continue to exercise control over the internal security of the Southern States and to continue to hold them hostage. It caricatures true federalism that a constituent state in a Federation should be under the control and yoke of the Federal Government in the matter of its internal security.
“Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, replacing Ita Ekpenyong; apart from the DG, the directors are mostly northerners. The control of the NPF and DSS by northerners must be taken together with the fact that the Minister of Interior and the Permanent Secretary of the ministry are northerners; that the Army and Air Force are headed by northerners; and, above all that President Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner, is the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, and has the power under the Constitution to direct the operational use of the NPF for the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order; his power to direct the operational use of the DSS is even more plenary.
“The implication of the control of security by northerners is that the security of Nigeria and Nigerians is an exclusively northern affair, thereby putting the rest of us at their mercy.
“Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF), Abubakar Malami SAN, a young SAN, who was raised to the rank in 2008, i.e. seven years before his appointment as AGF.
“Lt-Gen Abdulrahman Danbazau (rtd), Minister of Interior viii: Magaji Abubakar, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior; he has publicly admitted to have wrongfully sidetracked the Head of Service (HoS), Mrs Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, a southerner, in the reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina, and has apologized to her accordingly.
“Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, still kept in office in an acting capacity since 9 November, 2015 because of repeated refusal by the Senate to confirm his appointment.
“Controller-General, Nigerian Customs Services, Hamed Ibrahim Ali, is the underbelly of corruption in Nigeria.
“Controller-General Nigerian Immigration Services, Mohammad Babandede, immigration stands implicated in Maina’s escape out of Nigeria after his sack from the civil service and his subsequent re-entry into it.
“Amb Muhammed Dauda, was appointed acting Director-General National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to replace Ayo Oke, a southerner; after he was sacked, following the discovery in the NIA offices in the Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, of the sum of $43million, £27,800 and N23 million. Just two days ago, Buhari approved Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar as substantive DG of the agency.
“Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Amed Idris, replaced Jonah Ogunniyi Otunla, a southerner. Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maitanti Baru, replaced Ibe Kachukwu, a southerner, who, as Minister of State for Petroleum and Chairman, NNPC Board, was sidelined by Baru in the process for the award of some NNPC contracts; earlier he has been downgraded from Minister of Petroleum to Minister of State for Petroleum, with the President taking over as his own Petroleum Minister.
“Abdulrasheed Maina, chairman, Presidential Task Force on Pension Reform; although his initial appointment took place before the Buhari Administration, his reinstatement after he was sacked occurred during that administration, with the President’s approval as the evidence shows.
“There are of course other lopsided strategic appointments, such as the appointment of Prof Mahmood Yakubu as chairman, Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), and Hadiza Bala-Usman as Head of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). The listed appointments raise critical issues as to the intention or design behind them.
“They look like a swoop on the South, a jihad designed to foist Northern domination, or even subjugation, on the South in pursuance of the Sarduana’s agenda, announced as far back as 1960, to subjugate the South and reduce it to a conquered territory, with the object of preventing it from having control over its future,” an agenda which President Buhari, in a speech in May 2015 as President-elect, re-echoed and vowed to carry to a finish.
“What other reason could there be for concentrating in the North the appointments to all the positions vital to the effective prosecution of the war against corruption? We need to be told. One hopes that the order for the purchase of war planes from the U.S., ostensibly to fight Boko Haram terrorism, is not connected with the hidden agenda for a jihad.”
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in Adamawa State, has accused the Adamawa State government of tactically supporting Fulani herdsmen.
CAN, which made the allegation, yesterday, decried the attitude of the state Governor, Jubirila Bindow, and condemned alleged comments by Secretary to the State Government, Umar Bindir, that Fulani herdsmen don’t carry firearms.
In a statement, last Wednesday, in Yola, Chairman of the association, Bishop Dami Mamza, said the government was insensitive to the ongoing killings.
“We wish to call on the state government in particular to caution it’s officials on unguarded utterances during and after conflicts, as it has come to CAN’s notice that the secretary to the Adamawa state government has propounded a new firearms narrative which seeks to justify the use of firearms by Fulani in the country”, he said.
“This is dangerous and reprehensible as the law of the country does not allow any civilian the possession of illegal firearms whether Herdsmen or farmers.
“CAN condemns the silence of the state governor who has failed to rebuke or dissociate himself from the SSG’s position.
“CAN wishes to state in unequivocal terms that violent elements are easily embolden and fuelled to terror killings by such reckless and unguarded utterances.
“We are saddened by the death of over 50 people killed in the repeated attacks carried out by herdsmen in Koh Village of Girei.
“This has happened after Lawaru, Dong, Kodomti, Shafaron, Plum, Kikan, Bilachi, Bang and Nzoruwe villages of Fufore, Numan and Demsa fell to the exploit of the same herdsmen and their expatriate mercenaries killing close to 150 people, injuring several hundreds and destroying properties worth millions of naira before the start of Christmas festivities.
“It on record that less than one week ago, no fewer than 20 innocent Christian farmers were killed in separate attacks in and around Tambo.
“Luru village in particular saw its worst days when Herdsmen wielding sophisticated firearms stormed the area killing 15 people.
“Within the period under review, not less than 10 churches were burnt down and in some instances worshippers killed.
“On the basis of these, we stand to believe that the ongoing carnage is an attempt to discourage Christianity and to silence Christians from free religious practice.
“We make bold to reject this attempt and ask the government to stop the unfortunate development.
“Extremism seems to taken persecution to a new dimension with armed herdsmen burning down churches, especially the recent attacks two days ago in Sagal community in Maiha where four of our churches were burnt to ashes and properties destroyed.”
CAN further lamented, “The inaction of security operatives” to prevent the killings in, noting that in all the attacks, there have been sufficient alarms raised long before the actual carnages were done.
“With the incessant and spreading attacks, we feel the land is under siege and therefore calls for serious concerns from all well-meaning individuals and organisations to support any course that will restore lasting peace in the land as against sponsoring and equipping of the said herdsmen by their sponsors.
The Christian body called on the state government to, “Work around the current committee set-up on those matters that their work is objectively done and timely, and ensure that previous reports on farmers/herdsmen conflicts are implemented and that Nigerian’s land borders are protected at all costs to keep none Nigerian herdsmen from flowing into the country,” it added.
North Can Live Without VAT Accruals, NEF Boasts …Backs Wike, Southern Govs On Fiscal Federalism, Restructuring
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has boasted that the North was a rich region, and can survive on its resources without the “billions” accruing to Southern states.
The NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, made this known, yesterday, when he featured on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show’ breakfast programme.
He was reacting to the tussle between states and the Federal Government on the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT).
VAT is a consumption tax paid when goods are purchased and services are rendered, and charged at a rate of 7.5 per cent.
Although Rivers and Lagos states have started the process of collecting VAT within their territories, the Court of Appeal, in a ruling on September 10, ordered that status quo be maintained pending the determination of an appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt.
Apart from Lagos and Rivers states, Ogun State has also started the process of passing a bill on VAT in its House of Assembly.
At the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in Enugu, last Thursday, the 17 governors insisted that they have the constitutional mandate to collect VAT, and vowed to ensure that the rule of law prevails in the matter.
While some northern governors like Aminu Masari (Katsina), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), amongst others, had kicked against the move, the 17 Southern Governors led by Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) had unanimously supported the position that “the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the states.”
Speaking, yesterday, during the television programme, Baba-Ahmed said, “I will advise that we wait to hear what the court says. However, even the fact that it has become an issue suggests that we really do need to address the fundamentals and the manner in which the federation works.
“We have always supported restructuring. We have always asked that a major and genuine shift initiative either by groups or the National Assembly so that matters like this be addressed properly.
“If we don’t do that now, then, we should get a leader that would do that in 2023. This administration appears not to understand the importance of restructuring; we do in the North, we recognise the fact that we need to change the manner in which we generate wealth and allocate (it).
“The thing is: the North wants restructuring; the North wants fiscal federalism. We are a rich region, and we can live on what we have, even if we don’t have the billions that accrue to others states. Our poverty is not a kind of problem that we would break this country over.”
According to him, the VAT war is a wake-up call to northern governors who need to recognise the fact that VAT or no VAT, they need to develop their resources and develop the human capital of the North.
The NEF spokesman added, “North, you said you have many people but you are under-developing your own people – the biggest liability of the North is that we have a huge population that is under-developed. You need to develop the human capital that you have.
“We need leaders; the current governors don’t recognise this. Otherwise, they won’t be involved in this argument; allow the court to decide.
“But for goodness sake, (they should) begin to think — what else can we do if the court decides now that Rivers State is right, Lagos State is right, and the Southern states are right, and they won’t be getting all these billions coming in from VAT? What happens?”
Baba-Ahmed said the Northern governors at this stage should not be sleeping, noting that the North is “sitting on wealth, we have massive resources in this country, we have to fight insecurity first, and the Federal Government has to help us, we need to clear the bushes, the forests and all the criminals that are there, and we need to go back to farming.
“Agriculture is a major asset; we have land, we have water, we have livestock, we have minerals that are literally begging to be picked from the ground but our governors are too focused on the pittance that they are getting. This is wrong”, he argued.
Boxing: Joshua Facing Toughest Test In Usyk?
Boxing champion, Anthony Joshua could face his toughest test yet when he fights Oleksandr Usyk in London on Saturday, says ex-world champion George Groves.
Joshua, 31, puts his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO world heavyweight titles on the line against Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight world champion.
The 34-year-old Ukrainian has won all 18 professional fights, beating Tony Bellew and Derek Chisora on that run.
“Technically, Usyk is brilliant,” said Groves . “He showed that in unifying the cruiserweight division in great fights and I believe he could be Joshua’s toughest test to date. This is the first fight when I wouldn’t be surprised if Joshua got beaten.
“Joshua has fought [Wladimir] Klitschko and been in with Joseph Parker and also been beaten [by Andy Ruiz] and the only question mark for Usyk Is he big enough to compete with AJ?
“If Usyk keeps a high pace and makes Joshua miss with a lot of shots, that will work to Usyk’s advantage as he has probably got a better engine.
“Joshua is a phenomenal athlete with tremendous punching power and strength but has a tendency to tire out if the pace is uncomfortable for him.”
A crowd of more than 60,000 is expected and it will be the largest attendance Joshua has fought in front of since his win over Alexander Povetkin with 80,000 at Wembley Stadium in September, 2018.
Since then, Joshua has lost to Ruiz in New York before winning the rematch in Saudi Arabia and gained a ninth-round victory over Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena last December, with only 1,000 fans attending because of Coronavirus restrictions.
Both Joshua and Usyk won gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics, at super-heavyweight and heavyweight respectively, with the Briton going on to win 24 of his 25 professional fights, including 22 inside the distance.
Meanwhile, Dillian Whyte, who lost to Joshua in 2015 and is pushing for a rematch with him or a shot at WBC champion, Tyson Fury, believes the key to beating Usyk on Saturday is to adopt an attacking strategy.
“I think it’s a great fight and Joshua will stop him in the first six or seven rounds,” Whyte told Tidesports source.
“Usyk will start fast and Joshua should be cagey as Usyk is a bit lighter. Joshua can sometimes lack confidence but hopefully he goes back to the old him, starts pressing, being the bigger, stronger guy and gets the job done early.
“If Joshua sets the pace, he can get an early knockout and if he is strong, confident and walks him down, then I don’t see Usyk’s punches troubling Joshua.”
Groves, who held the WBA Super-Middleweight belt in 2017 and 2018, added: “If I was Joshua, I would take control of the ring and try to dominate and bully off the front foot.
“Usyk will want to be off the back foot for the first couple of rounds, then try to pepper Joshua.
“If I was in the Joshua camp, I would say: You want to keep this guy in his box. You don’t want Usyk having any confidence, so hit him hard and early.
“In the first three rounds, you want to land something big on him.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn also suggested Joshua could get an early victory.
Hearn said: “I’m always nervous for an Anthony Joshua fight, especially when you’re fighting someone that really believes he is going to win”.
2022 AFCON: ‘Cameroon On Track’
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Patrice Motsepe, has said that Cameroon is “on track” to successfully host the Africa Cup of Nations early next year after visiting Olembe Stadium in Yaounde last weekend.
The venue will host the opening match and final of the AFCON in January and February of 2022.
A CAF delegation, including President Motsepe and General Secretary, Veron Mosengo-Omba, were joined by Cameroon’s Sports Minister, Professor Narcisse Mouelle Kombi in inspecting progress made at the Olembe Stadium and various other facilities in the capital city.
“I’m very satisfied with the briefing I got and what I saw. I saw the Olembe Stadium and it is world class; we should all be proud as people of Cameroon and as Africans,” said Motsepe, as quoted by CAF’s website.
“We must applaud Cameroon [for] building such infrastructure. In partnership with the Government, the Minister of Sports, LOC, FECAFOOT President and CAF administration under Veron [Mosengo-Omba], I’m certain that in January next year, the rest of the world will be impressed. I’m very satisfied with what I have seen. We are on track.”
Motsepe continued: “The quality of football that will be played here will once again show the world that Africa has the quality to one day win the FIFA World Cup, that is the ultimate goal. The AFCON is special and I think it is important for us to set the tone in Cameroon.”
Mosengo-Omba also heaped praises on Olembe Stadium: “The infrastructure and architecture of the stadium is world class and can be compared to many other famous stadiums globally. In Cameroon, we have six beautiful match venues. Our job now is to ensure that we are ready with everything else.”
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