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Obasanjo’s Letter

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There is this African adage that says, “A dancer does not see his back”. This assertion is apt as it is the spectators that judge the dancing skills of a dancer and could, when asked to make a comment, point out the mistakes the dancer makes.
In essence, dance steps follow a drum beat or musical beat and when a dancer performs well, follows the correct rhythm, he or she is commended for a job well done. Also, in the political realm, the accolades or criticisms follow the same pattern as it takes only the professional to see the fault in any political setup and offers good advice to those at the helm of affairs.
Just this week, former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo sent an open letter to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari on the state of the nation where he expressed worry over the security situation and other lapses of the administration. This is not the first time Chief Obasanjo has done so. During the presidency of the late Alhaji Shehu Shagari, he counselled the former President and hauled abuses and condemnation at him. Under Ibrahim Babangida, he did same and the reaction was not different under Yar Adua and Dr Goodluck Jonathan. His pen danced and danced and the reward he got was not different.
Chief Obasanjo two years back also wrote a letter to the same President Buhari on his handling of the ship of the nation but was criticised not minding the fact that it was the same Obasanjo that Buhari met to seek his support for the office of the Presidency in 2015.
That notwithstanding, advice is never a curse. That is why those who really want to succeed in life brook criticisms and never hits back at those who give them useful advice. But to say Chief Obasanjo who fought in Nigerian Civil War and even saw to the surrender of Biafra is an unpatriotic person is really ludicrous and laughable.
Obasanjo has paid his dues and most of his observations are done without malice and it is only a dumb-witted person, people who don’t love the country that will see nothing good in his observations and advice.
The issue is not that Obasanjo is a saint or knows it all, but the stark reality is that Nigerians are in trouble and probably have entered what motor park touts call a ‘one chance journey.”
Of all the points or observations made by the former president which really touch the fabric of the country’s future is the issue of Nigerians gradually losing confidence in the ability of the Buhari administration to fight criminality perpetrated by herdsmen, Boko Haram and kidnappers in virtually every part of the country.
Today, even the wealthy in the cities and the poor in the rural areas are afraid for their lives, our houses have become fortresses and our streets in the urban areas are now gated. There is no week that we don’t hear of killings and kidnapping on our waterways and highways which have become death traps to travellers’ and commuters. In short, no place is safe anymore in the country.
Basically, Obasanjo’s letter raises about 11 salient points which include the need for a national dialogue to discuss the way forward and suggested that all former presidents, heads of state, heads of security , governors (both present and past) and other major stakeholders in the country, including council chairmen be invited to deliberate on the issues confronting the country.
Another point he raised was that the government must be an inclusive one. This observation is quite apt because of serious lopsidedness in the composition of the country’s security structure and other critical appointments which show that they favour only one section of the country and people of a similar religious affiliation.
This to some Nigerians shows that the present administration is the most sectionally -minded government Nigeria has ever had. That even after the end of the Civil War under General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria was a better place in terms of appointment of people to positions of trust.
The advice did not come as a surprise to all who have been following the trend in the country and for Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to use his pen once again to sound a note of caution on the nation’s march into the future calls for concern. According to him, it seems Nigeria has been handed over to a bunch of criminals that even the Chief of Army Staff seems confused and is blaming the spate of insecurity on sabotage and lack of commitment by personnel of the Armed Forces. Is it not the same government that said it has crushed Boko Haram? How come this confession that it is fighting the war against criminality suddenly overwhelming it?
For Obasanjo to say the security issue is hitting the very foundation of our existence is not far from the truth as herdsmen have become a threat to the corporate existence of the country, and if left unchecked, might eventually result in massive inter-tribal war on a national scale as acts of retributive justice may lead to ethnic cleansing as it happened in Rwanda in 1994. So to curb any upheaval of such nature, the president must start thinking of solution and stop living in a cocoon where he sees nothing, hears nothing and is not even aware that his security chiefs are also doing nothing.
It is quite sad that in Nigeria, we are never always truthful to those who occupy the office of the president or governor. That is why according to the late music maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, “Nigeria is a big blind country”. A country where advice is seen as a crime with those who render good advice hounded, called nasty names and even threatened with arrest or even arrested for disturbing the peace of the nation. To be truthful, President Muhammadu Buhari has failed in all facets of governance. Under his watch between June 2018 to May 2019, over 7,253 Nigerians have been killed. The figure released by Nigeria Security Trackers (NST), a project of the Council on Foreign Relations Africa, consists of those killed by Boko Haram and Islamic State in the Northern part of the country, herdsmen and extra-judicial killings by the military.
During the time frame according to the report, Borno and Zamfara recorded the highest number of killings, contributing to 49% of the total deaths within the last one year. Borno recorded 2,384 killings while 1, 157 people were killed in Zamfara. Other states that make up the most affected states are Kaduna, 540, Benue 330, Adamawa 303, Yobe 264, Taraba 176, Plateau 166, Rivers 160 and Katsina, the President home state, with 127 deaths.
One of the factors that ensured President Buhari’s success in the 2015 election was the issue of insecurity and most Nigerians thoughts that with his military background he would do a better job in the fight against criminality, but today, the tale is different as things are worse. States which never experienced bandits before are now bearing the brunt of banditry, robbery and kidnapping. States like Sokoto, Kebbi in the north and Ekiti, Oyo and Kogi axis are now seeing people killed on the highways, homes and farms. Not just there alone, farmers both in the South-South and South-East regions are even not faring better.
The situation is so bad that even elderly women are reportedly raped in their farms, killed or maimed and yet nothing is done to arrest and prosecute the culprits.
To Obasanjo, this is due to poor management of or mismanagement of our diversity, and when the silence by the victims becomes too much, something might set up a spark which might result in unforeseen circumstance. The earlier we tackle this malady, the better for the future of the country. And the only way forward is for President Muhammadu Buhari to be presidential in his actions by abiding by his oath of office to ensure the safety of lives and property of Nigerians and obey the constitution.
A country can survive one civil war but might not survive a second one which also involves ethno-religious differences.

 

Tonye Ikiroma-Owiye

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Rivers PDP Reaffirms Support For Wike

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The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State has said it would continue to support Governor Nyesom Wike to enable him succeed by delivering the dividends of democracy to the people.
The state PDP Publicity Secretary, Darlington Orji, who stated this during a live Radio programme monitored by The Tide in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, noted that the governor has performed well going forward.
On speculations in some quarters that the state PDP is divided because of who succeeds Wike in 2023, Orji said it was too early in the day to talk about 2023, insisting that there was no division in the party’s fold.
He stated that election was over and that it is time to govern, saying, the governor himself has said that he was elected to solve problems and address issues in the state.
“I have told those who care to know that the time of election is over. It is time for governance now. The governor of Rivers State himself has said it very clear that he was elected to solve problems and proffer solution to issues and not to complain and for us as a political party, we are giving him all the support that he needs.”
“It is barely three months old and we are talking of 2023. There is no disunity in PDP, Rivers State. We are aware that the only instrument we have to win election in Rivers State is to give the dividends of democracy to the people.
“These are the weapons we have otherwise in the 2019 general elections, the level of militarisation, intimidation and harassment we saw here but the people stood their ground and the party won the election,” he stated.
“So, for us in PDP we will continue to say that we are now in governance and we are supporting the administration of Governor Wike to make him succeed and deliver all the goodies he promised the people and to ensure that the dividends of democracy are delivered to the people,” Orji said
On some of the achievements of the Wike- led government, he said, “It is on record that in the first leg of this administration, several primary schools were upgraded and renovated and put into proper use in several local government areas across the state.
“The Eleme General Hospital in Nchia, was constructed by this administration, completed and commissioned. Government Secondary School, Onne is also in Eleme local government and it was built by this administration.
“The Eleme/Oyigbo road is constructed and about 90 per cent completed amongst other projects that have been executed by this government. Yes, every local government/individual has the right to complain or ask for more but it should also appreciate the man that has done a little before asking for more,” he stated.

 

Dennis Naku

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Bayelsa Guber Poll: PDP Warns INEC Against Inconclusive Poll

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to wake up and put their acts together as to avoid any inconclusive election in Bayelse states governorship election this year.
Bayelsa state governorship election comes up in November this year and INEC said it is on top of the election matters.
Speaking with our correspondent in Port Harcourt recently, the national Vice Chairman of the PDP, South- South, Chief Emmanuel Ogidi warned INEC to ensure that no stone was left unturned in their efforts to conduct a free, fair and credible election as to avoid any inconclusive election in the state.
Ogidi said his party was not satisfied with the INEC preparations so far for the election and was therefore weary and fed up with the electoral umpire which he said had always ended up with inconclusive election and court cases.
According to him,” INEC is always saying they were ready for all the elections but the elections would end up as failures with their new name” inconclusive election” and marathon court cases”.
“The new name for the Nigeria’s electoral empire should be changed from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be known as the Inconclusive Election Commission (IEC)”, he stated.
The national vice chairman further warned that the PDP would not accept any heat up in the polity, especially in the South- South that would cause disaffection and rejection of election results across the region.
Chief Ogidi described the present INEC in the country as the worst when compared with the previous ones the nation had.
“Yes, we thought that the Professor Jega’s INEC was bad enough but we have discovered that the present INEC is the worst thing to happen to a nation”.

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Don’t Rely On Party Leaders For PDP Guber Ticket -Secondus

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised its members seeking the party’s nod to contest the Kogi and Bayelsa State governorship elections against relying on the party’s leaders for the ticket.
The National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus gave the advice on Tuesday in Abuja, at the presentation of clearance certificates to the aspirants.
“Work on the delegates; don’t rely on any party leader. Even members of the National Working Committee (NWC) cannot help you,” he said.
He assured the aspirants of a level playing ground, adding that the party had no preferred aspirant.
“Go and work on the delegates. They are the ones that will elect you as candidate; no one else, not even members of the NWC can help you.
“All I can assure you is that we are going to conduct free, fair and transparent primaries in Kogi and Bayelsa States,” he said.
Certificates were issued to the cleared aspirants from the two states.
Among them were former Governor of Kogi, State Idris Wada, Senator. Dino Melaye, Abubakar Ibrahim, a son of former Governor, Ibrahim Idris, and 10 others.
Those cleared for Bayelsa State include the Deputy Governor, John Jonah, the Secretary to the State Government , Kemela Okara, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe.
Also on the Bayelsa list are Ambassador Godknows, Senator. Douye Diri and 16 others.

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