The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has threatened to pull out of the 2019 general elections if the electoral umpire and security agencies fail to demonstrate sufficient level of impartiality expected from them by Nigerians.
National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus stated this at the party’s national secretariat, yesterday while playing host to a combined delegation of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
Secondus, who lamented what he called the manipulation of vote figures by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the recently concluded Ekiti governorship election in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC), also accused the Nigerian Police of chasing away PDP agents from various polling centres particularly areas known to be its strongholds.
“We are still contemplating on whether we will participate in the 2019 elections or not. We are yet to take a decision on this.
“We are not sure that the security agencies and INEC would be impartial and transparent. In the Ekiti elections, there were instances our party agents’ tags were removed and given to the APC agents.
“There were clear cases of manipulation, ballot snatching and harassment of our party agents,” Secondus said.
However, a frontline PDP presidential aspirant, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, SAN, has said that the war against terror in the country has remained intractable because the current APC-led administration has failed to embrace global best practices of carrot and stick.
Speaking at a news conference in Minna, the Niger State capital, yesterday, Turaki, who was the chairman, Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North-East during the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration, explained that they were able to push Boko Haram insurgents to the fringes of the country and also conducted the 2015 elections in the frontline states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa by adopting the time-tested practices.
He said: “Unfortunately, the APC-led government failed to continue the battle from where the PDP left off, and worse still, the government abandoned the all-inclusive recommendations left behind for it. Hence, the reversal in fortunes in spite of the claim to have ‘technically’ degraded the Boko Haram.”
“There is nowhere in the history of nations that fought terror,” he said, “where terrorism was fought decisively and squarely based on open and direct or indirect confrontation between insurgents and the military.”
He noted that when terrorism is based on a dogma as in the case of Boko Haram, whether misguided or not, there was need he said, to take the dogma out of the minds of insurgents who have surrendered because when you win the battle, you have to win the war.
Furthermore, he said, you need to engage such insurgents in a serious re-orientation. You need also to ensure that they learn skills to become productive members of the society, in addition to making conscious efforts to re-integrate them into the society, he added.
Unfortunately, these are not options which this government is pursuing and that is why they are failing, he noted.
The presidential aspirant who recalled that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the U.S.. were allegedly attributed to institutional rivalry noted that the Nigerian case is even worse, as the security agencies are working at cross-purposes as earlier revealed by a senior official of government before a National Assembly Committee.
“How then can they take advantage of each agency’s comparative advantage in intelligence gathering, analyzing and implementing the information collated?” he asked.
Worse still, he said, there had been no leadership capable of taking decisive decisions to put an end to the rivalry, thereby putting the protection of lives and property in jeopardy.
“This certainly shall not be tolerated if Nigerians give me the mandate to lead,” he said.
Turaki also stressed that the Nigerian Project must not be allowed to fail.
Speaking at the formal presentation of his Letter of Intent to contest the PDP presidential primary to the party’s Board of Trustees in Abuja, Turaki said that if the Nigerian Project is allowed to fail, God forbids, its disastrous consequences on Africa would be better imagined than experienced.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria noted that the maladministration of the APC is threatening the fabrics of the National as indivisible and indissoluble entity under God.
He regretted that the APC government is misusing its understanding of the dynamics, complexities and intricacies of power to oppress Nigerians in its desperation to hold on to power at all costs.
Turaki said: “For the first time, everybody is dissatisfied with the Nigerian Project. Today, the economy is in doldrums. Nigerians have never been so divided. Today, we have a government that discriminates while Nigerians are not only hungry, but angry because of poverty, hunger and killings. Never in the history of this nation had there been this trenchant agitation for self-determination.”
He condemned the situation where security agencies were working at cross-purposes with the leadership lacking the capacity to call them to order.
“I have the capacity,” he said, “to provide a more reliable, safe and workable security architecture because security is key to attracting investment.”
The aspirant promised to strengthen the bond between the Executive and the Legislature, accord the Judiciary its due and respect the rule of law, in sharp contrast to the distasteful disposition of the APC to constitutional governance.
He decried the situation where for the first time, a government has failed to appoint either an Economic Adviser or have an Economic Team, and promised to appoint seasoned economic experts backed by robust policies to take the country out of the economic quagmire that the APC’s clueless administration had foisted on the people.
Turaki restated his belief in the principle of restructuring from the perspectives of devolution of power, true federalism, resource control, true fiscal federalism, statism and state police, noting that the report of the 2014 National Conference of which he was a member had the answers to these problems, but that the APC dumped it.
He said that the PDP has a historic mission to elect a well-educated, intelligent, young, dynamic and courageous candidate to defeat the APC’s candidate in 2019 to rekindle hope in Nigerians so that they can have confidence in themselves and the country, and also have trust in the leadership.
Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, Alhaji Walid Jibrin, who described the aspirant as an able and reliable member, announced that a 12-member committee would be set up to interact with all presidential aspirants because the party wants to avoid mistakes by choosing a candidate acceptable to Nigerians.
Acting Secretary of the board and former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, who noted that ‘Turaki seemed to be up to the task’ considering his awesome knowledge and solutions proffered to Nigeria’s problems, however, urged the party to avoid imposition and impunity in the selection of its candidates.
GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations
Against the backdrop of renewed piracy and hostage-taking incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and his Ghanaian counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, have commenced a security engagement aimed at joint security initiatives to tackle the situation.
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.
Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has ordered the destruction of all criminal hideouts in Ahoada, Elele, Eleme and Onne to prevent attempt to undermine security of the state.
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.
Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers
The Nigerian Army, 6 Division, has announced that it would commence its annual range classification exercise from yesterday to Sunday, June 27.
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.
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