Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, has insisted that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has failed.
According to him, the problems confronting Nigeria were beyond Buhari.
Soyinka stated this while playing host to students who paid him a visit on his 85th birthday.
The literary icon made it clear that while state governments differ in success rates, “central government has failed”.
“The problems of this nation are beyond the solution that can be offered by this government, that’s the first admission; they have to stop thinking in partisan government.
“There has always been a major problem with successive governments. It’s easier on the state level to say that a particular state is definitely doing better than another state. But the central government has failed, that’s my view in the main.
“There is a minimal level which any government which has been elected to power must achieve to be considered a true representative of the people.
“Look at what’s happening today with the cattle all over the place, that’s a security issue which should never have reached this level. That singular act has resulted in hundreds of people being killed, farms were taken over; it has wiped away a lot of the positive achievements of the government.
“They need to confront this nation as a habitation of human beings where very serious issues like economy, security, health, even threats of secession come up every day and convoke at the same time, a national conference, what I call an Indaba across all section which we will all meet and debate everything, including the economy of this nation,” Soyinka said.
Meanwhile, the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson Supo Ayokunle has condemned the murder of Mrs Funke Olakunri, daughter of the leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, in strong terms.
He called on the Buhari government to urgently step up the security system in the country with a view to stopping the unending killings.
A statement yesterday by his spokesman, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, said killings in Nigeria had become too alarming.
“Is the government totally overwhelmed? What is the essence of government? Is it not first of all to protect lives and properties. The stories we are hearing are neither exaggerated nor politicised”, he noted.
“This killing is a big dent on the government of the day! Today, it is Mrs. Olakunri, no one knows who the next person could be! We are seriously concerned and are weeping for our beloved country Nigeria.
“Why have things become like this? The bad image these acts are giving us as a nation daily is totally shameful. Can’t the government act better for us?
“Once again, we call on the federal government to overhaul the security architecture of the country which appears to have collapsed.
“Nowhere is safe again due to the criminal activities of men of the underworld who are manifesting as terrorists, killer herdsmen, kidnappers, ritual killers, armed bandits, religious fundamentalists (Boko Haram) and armed robbers.
“People are being kidnapped with impunity and ransom is being paid to get their captives released. For how long will these things continue to go on?
“Our hearts go out to the chief mourner of this murderous act, Pa Reuben Fasoranti. There is no one who can comfort you but God, our Comforter and He will console and comfort you Sir on all sides.
“We call on the Police and other security agencies to wake up from their slumber and fish out those responsible for this crime and other killings in the country,” he said.
Similarly, the Christian Reformed Church-Nigeria has said the suspended RUGA project was aimed at grabbing lands belonging to sacked communities across the country for herdsmen to occupy.
This was contained in a communique issued at the end of the church’s 117th General Church Council meeting held at the CRC-N N01 Takum, in Taraba State.
The church, which condemned in strong terms the situation where the Federal Government watched herdsmen sack some communities only for them to come out with the contentious RUGA project, described the move as flagrant miscarriage of justice.
This is even as the church also condemned the rift between the Jukun and the Tiv in Wukari Local Government Area, and warned the youths on the consequences of continuous attacks and looting in the area.
On the menace of armed banditry, kidnapping and herdsmen invasion of communities to disposes them of their lands, the church called on the Taraba and Benue states’ governments to ensure security of lives and property of their citizens.
The communique also directed the Peace and Relief Committee of the church to come out with strategies to forestall and mitigate the negative impact of climate change, environmental hazards and other disaster that might befall the church.
Part of the communique read “On the threat of mental health, council expressed concern over the report that over 60 million Nigerians were mentally disoriented due to drugs and trauma from sundry social conditions.
“The church hereby directs the management of Veenstra Theological Seminary, Donga, to strengthen curricula to include Psychology, Guidance and Counselling, Peace and Conflict Studies to equip graduates with relevant skills to provide support to their host communities.”
While congratulating the President of CRC-N, Rev. Caleb Ahima on his recent election as the CAN National Vice President, the church called for prayers as the church prepares for the election of new officials.
Similarly, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo has requested that Nigeria summons an emergency national security conference to discuss ways out of the escalated insecurity in different parts of the country that has resulted in different manners of killings.
The apex Igbo body made the call as part of matters arising from the killing by suspected Fulani herdsmen of Mrs. Funke Olukunri; daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, on her way from Ekiti Etate to Lagos.
President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Dr Nnia Nwodo on behalf of the Igbo nation offered Pa Fasoranti and the entire Yoruba their heartfelt sympathies on the mindless killing.
Nwodo flayed the continuous rampaging, plunder, rape, kidnapping and murder of innocent Nigerians by armed Fulani herdsmen, which he noted has climbed to a most worrisome crescendo.
He also said it was regrettable, the inability of Nigeria Security Forces to disarm and prosecute the criminals, stating that the attitude of the security agencies give credibility to a growing story of collusion.
In a statement issue by Ohanaeze, yesterday, Nwodo noted that recently, the British High Commission in an advisory to British citizens in Nigeria declared twenty four of our states unsafe.
He further regretted that in the midst of the killings, the parent organisation of the suspected criminals had the effrontery to give ultimatum to President Muhammadu Buhari, to rescind his unpopular suspension, instead of cancellation of the RUGA development policy.
“Such inciting, provocative and treasonable outbursts have only been greeted by an advice that they (the suspected criminal parent body) should respect the Presidency and an unrelenting resolve to force Nigerians to accommodate such murderers in their homes under a policy that violates our Constitution and all laws and court judgments relating to Land Use Act administration.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo warns that this latest murder is capable of throwing our country into uncontrollable break down of law and order. The hasty conclusion by the Federal Government that she (Mrs. Funke Olukunri) was killed by armed robbers and not the suspected herdsmen who are known to have laid siege on all parts of the country perpetrating acts of banditry and killings further exacerbates the already tense situation.
“We call on eminent leaders of this nation in spite of their political persuasion to come together in an urgent National Security Conference to discuss measures that will arrest the extant drift to lawlessness,” Nwodo said.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s immediate past deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, and President-General of Pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr John Nnia Nwodo are among special guests expected to add colour to the second annual Igbo Cultural Festival in Germany.
The forthcoming 2019 Annual Igbo Cultural Festival and Convention in Germany, organised by Ndi-Igbo Germany (N.I.G), the apex body of all Igbos living and working in the Federal Republic of Germany scheduled to hold at Löwensaal am Tier Garten, Schmausenbruck Str. 166, 90480 Nürnberg, Germany on August 17, is primarily aimed to reawaken the Igbo spirit in the 21st century which will also have the blessings of the Nigeria Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar as the chief host.
In a release to this effect, the organisers stated; “This gathering will provide a forum for Ndi-Igbo Diasporans and other stakeholders to network and consult on issues of economic importance and enable an atmosphere of better, broader cooperation between the German-Nigerian business communities with the aim of boosting investors’ interest and facilitating pragmatic exchange of expertise and transfer of technology to Nigeria.
“The event is part of our initiatives to expedite the integration of Nigerians in Germany into national development, by synchronising the activities of our Diaspora groups with home-based organisations”, the NIG Coordinator, Oge Ozofor, and the Event Committee Chairman and NIG Deputy Coordinator, Joe-Blaise Nnaemeka Akanazu, said on behalf of NIG.
“It is also an opportunity to demonstrate our unity, showcase the richness of our culture, our resilient and adaptable spirit, our unanimity in identifying with the high standard of our forebears and heroes of past,” the organisers added.
The statement said Ndi-Igbo Germany (N.I.G) would also use the opportunity to host and honour distinguished sons and daughters of Nigeria who, in spite of all odds, have distinguished themselves in their various fields of endeavour.
Also expected at the event are the Nigerian Consul-General in Frankfurt, Suleiman Dauda Umar; wife of the late Gburugburu Ndi Igbo and IkembaNnewi, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Bianca Ojukwu; CEO of Innoson Group of Companies, Innocent Chukwuma; and Eze Akajiofo Igbo, Eze Chukwuemeka Eri.
Others are former governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife; Prof Mazi Ojiaku, former Nigerian IGP, Mike Okiro; Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Ahaejiagamba Ndigbo; former Nigerian Consul-General in Frankfurt, John C. Ejinaka; governors of the five South-Eastern states, among others.
2019 Rivers Guber Poll Tribunal: PDP Tenders Polling Units’ Results To Affirm Wike’s Victory …Election Held In Substantial Compliance With Electoral Act -Counsel …Conduct Of Poll Peaceful, Lawful, Akawor Affirms
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, yesterday, tendered strategic polling units’ results from different local government areas to the Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal to justify the re-election of Governor Nyesom Wike.
The polling units’ results were tendered in respect of the petition filed against the election of Wike by the Governorship Candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Mr Victor Fingesi.
Tendering the polling units’ results from the Bar, counsel to the PDP, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN) said the polling results were from 356 polling units.
Obla told the tribunal that the result sheets were from some of the polling units in Obio/Akpor, Khana, Ogu/Bolo, Bonny, Akuku-Toru, Ahoada East, Opobo/Nkoro and others.
He informed the tribunal that the PDP resolved to tender results to prove that elections held across the state at the polling units and declarations made under very peaceful atmosphere.
The counsel added that since INEC and Wike have called witnesses to prove that the Governorship Election was conducted in line with the Electoral Act, the PDP chose to prove the conduct of the elections through documentary evidence.
Addressing journalists after closing the PDP defence, Godwin Obla said that from documentary evidence and oral testimonies of witnesses, it was clear that the 2019 Governorship Election in Rivers State was held in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act and that Wike emerged victorious.
He said: “This morning on behalf of the 3rd respondent, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), we tendered a total of 356 exhibits in support of our case. We feel satisfied that the requirements of the law required of us, have been fully met and that is why we decided to close our case today.
“Don’t forget that the 1st respondent, INEC, called witnesses, the 2nd respondent, Governor Nyesom Wike, who is the candidate of the 3rd respondent, PDP, also called witnesses and tendered a lot of documents that relate to this same subject matter. The interests of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents are actually the same”.
Also speaking, counsel to ADP, Mr Dolapo-Telle Attoni, said “The PDP presented from the Bar a bundle of electoral documents they claimed INEC used in conducting the governorship election. They tendered about 356 alleged polling units’ results. We had asked for few minutes to study these same documents, and also obtain Certified True Copy of the said documents which was not complied with by INEC”.
Following the PDP closing its case, the Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has adjourned till September 16, 2019 for the adoption of addresses by parties in the petition filed by Action Democratic Party and its governorship candidate, Mr Victor Fingesi.
Earlier, the Director-General of Rivers State PDP Campaign Council, Amb. Desmond Akawor, had said that the 2019 Governorship Election held throughout the state with Governor Nyesom Wike emerging victorious.
Testifying at the Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, last Wednesday, as the last witness for Wike in a petition filed by the candidate of Action Democratic Party (ADP), Mr Victor Fingesi, Akawor said that the governor won the election by the lawful votes cast on March 9, 2019.
The former Nigerian Ambassador to South Korea told the tribunal that he received his party’s duplicate certified copies of election result sheets for all the units, wards and the 23 local government areas.
Responding to a question by counsel to the ADP governorship candidate on why the state government set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the 2019 Elections, Akawor said that the commission of inquiry was established to find out what happened at the collation centres, because voting took place peacefully at all polling units.
However, after closing his case on cross-examination of DW31 (Akawor), the ADP counsel sought to tender an application which is a certified copy of The Tide Newspaper of April 29 in respect of the commission of inquiry.
But Counsel to the governor, Emmanuel Ukala (SAN) urged the court to refuse the application, arguing that the petitioner voluntarily closed his matter on July 16 with 23 witnesses.
Ukala noted that in accordance with the rules of the tribunal, each witness was cross-examined within the time given; adding that conduct of proceedings was guided by truth and not by sympathy.
Ruling on the application after hearing arguments from the counsels, Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Orjiako, stated that “this application in our view cannot be allowed, the implication being that it should have been tendered within the time allocated to him, therefore, the application is overruled and refused”.
Justice Orjiako had adjourned the matter till yesterday for further cross examination.
In an interview, counsel for Governor Nyesom Wike, Emmanuel Ukala, explained that the ADP application was refused as a result of improper filing.
He said, “The 2nd respondent (Governor Wike) called all together 20 witnesses, and we closed our case. So, it is left to the PDP, if they wish to call any other witness. They may call, and thereafter, we will all address the court”.
Stop Deducting Money From Rivers Statutory Allocation, Court Orders FG
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to comply with the judgment of the Supreme Court in respect of OML112 offshore and stop the deduction of the sum of N502, 298,943.03 or any sum whatsoever, forming the proprietary rights of the Rivers State Government.
The presiding Judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, also ordered the defendants to make full refund of the accruable 13 per cent derivation illegally denied the plaintiff from crude oil and gas production within OML 112 and sale from September, 2018 till the determination of the suit; and thereafter.
The judge equally ordered the Attorney General of the Federation, the Accountant General of the Federation and the RMAFC to pay monthly interests at the various commercial rates at no less than 15 per cent per annum on the illegally deducted 13 per cent derivation due to the plaintiff from OML 112 until the liquidation of all outstanding and accruing debt.
Justice Taiwo further restrained the defendants, their agents, assigns, representatives, privies or howsoever called from disregarding the finality of the Supreme Court judgment delivered on March 18, 2011 in Suit No: SC/27/2010, between: Attorney General of Rivers State and Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State & Anor as it relates to the proprietary rights of the plaintiff in respect of OML 112.
The suit was instituted by the Attorney General of Rivers State to challenge the deduction of the sum of N502, 298,943.03 accruing from OML 112 from the statutory allocation of the state by the defendants.
Biafra: Fresh Questions Over Future Of Campaign
Just as the recent physical attack on former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu in faraway Germany is trending globally for the bizarre affront it represents, so many questions are raging over the integrity and future of the campaign for the actualisation of the Biafra secessionist agenda. It is no more news that Ekweremadu was ambushed and attacked during his visit to Germany to participate as a guest speaker at a traditional Igbo ‘New Yam’ festival. The trailing reactions not only captured the wide divide between the proponents and the opponents of the ‘Biafra’ agenda across the world. It also betrayed and reinforced a more profound aspect being the unmasked, hysteric xenophobic mindset to which the most ardent proponents of the Biafra agenda subscribe to. Primary among these is the endorsement of the outrage of the assailants by Nnamdi Kanu, the now exiled leader of the IPOB, which is just one of the active groups canvassing for the actualisation of the Biafra dream.
From the now trending video clips of the incident,the aggrieved assailants could be heard lamenting about the killing of their kit and kin in the ‘Operation Python Dance’ military assaults on Iboland, at the peak of the IPOB domestic activism phase. Until that point, the German assault on Ekweremadu could easily have passed as a result of the bereaved lamenting and perhaps, over-reacting over the death of their loved ones at home. However, the intervention of IPOB especially with the claim that responsibility for the attack fell on its members changed the entire narrative. First of all, information in the public domain did not specifically mention that the occasion was organised by IPOB. Hence, the intervention of the organisation by persons later identified as IPOB operatives captures the event as having been hijacked by the IPOB for reasons strange to the organisers. Now, the blame or whatever ascription from the event goes to all Ibos, just as the proverb that when a finger picks up oil, it soon spreads it to all the other fingers.
And this is where the various stakeholders of the Biafra agenda, comprising the Igbo represented by the OhanaezeNdigbo, the Eastern minorities and even the entire country need to take the Ekweremadu attack with appropriate discretion. Whatever circumstances that will instigate members of a political pressure group to leave the shores of its home country and brazenly attack a home government official in public glare and in a foreign country, deserves more than a slap on the wrist. The situation calls for renewed discretion especially by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo which can be credited with the misfortune of living in a hut on which roof a snake has climbed. That is putting it in classical Igbo metaphor.
For anybody especially the leadership of the Ibos to see the situation otherwise, is to indulge in a mis-read of the festering situation, and expose Ndigbo to a future of miasma in the politics of Iboland as well as that between Ndigbo and the rest of the country. IPOB may remain a most divisive factor in the political calculus of the Ndigbo both at home and abroad as has been dramatically demonstrated in the German attack on Ike Ekweremadu, both for now and in the unknown future. And against the backdrop that not all Ibos and even Ohanaeze are members of IPOB, the need for the group to tread with care becomes most acute. Most Ibos simply want to be left alone to pursue their legitimate businesses in which they are already excelling, and do not want to be bothered by a pie in the sky called Biafra. After all, was it not the great novelist, Chinua Achebe who cited the Ibo proverb that all lizards lie on the ground making it difficult to know which one has stomach pain.
As for the Eastern minorities whose youth especially are being enamoured with flashes of paradise in the Biafra dream, all that needs to be said is that they should go and study the history of the previous Biafra, which occurred before they were even born. They will find out not only why it failed, but also why the mainstream of Ibo intelligentsia is not supporting the campaign – at least spiritedly. Fortunately for them, there are still some survivors of that failed exercise who can provide them valuable insights, to lead them aright. On a cautionary basis, let it be stated here that a child found toying with the very strain of mushrooms that killed his or her parents, is asking for nothing better than the very fate that befell the parents.
As structured today, the Nigerian federation cannot be restructured along secessionist lines without elaborate dialogue and negotiations, in place of a full scale war, no matter the grievances of its component ethnic parts. Meanwhile, IPOB has not demonstrated willingness or capacity for negotiations and the rest of the country is not ready for war. Until further notice therefore, Biafra and all it represents remain hanging in the balance.
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