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Northern CAN, Elders Disown Arewa Pastors …As PDP Chides APC, Presidency Over Procured Endorsement

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In what can be described as a double whammy, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in the 19 Northern States and Abuja, as well as members of the National Christian Elders’ Forum, NCEF, over the weekend, disowned some pastors who made a solidarity visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, last week.
Presenting themselves as members of Arewa Pastors’ Non-Denominational Initiative for Peace in Nigeria, and led by Bishop John Abu Richards, the group had paid a courtesy visit to President Buhari, urging him to continue his good works and not be distracted by nay sayers
The President thanked members of the delegation and also used the opportunity to debunk accusations in some quarters that he is biased against Christians.
But in a swift reaction, both CAN and NCEF came out strongly to lampoon the Arewa Pastors in two separate statements.
According to a statement signed by Reverend John Hayap, CAN’s publicity secretary, “these folks who described themselves as Arewa Pastors are unknown to us,” insisting that the body is not known to the Christian Association of Nigeria in the North and cannot be said to be representing Christians in the North.
“We have searched through all our chapters in the 19 Northern states and Abuja and we found out that the leader of the delegation and most of them reside in Port-Hacourt, Rivers State,” the CAN PRO stated.
He alleged that the leader of the group is from Benue State, according to findings with most of them from the South-South states.
Rev. Hayap wondered why the Christian leaders did not seize the opportunity of being with the president to draw attention to Leah Sharibu’s plight.
“Boko Haram was said to have retained Sharibu, the only Christian among more than 100 kidnapped girls who were freed recently, prompting the Northern CAN to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to obtain her release. Boko Haram refused to release Leah Nathan Sharibu, 15, because she would not renounce her faith and convert to Islam. The Northern Christian leaders are all busy praying for the safe return of Leah Sharibu, and would not engage in politics. We love the president and we pray for him daily,” he concluded
On its part, the NCEF, in a statement signed by the chairman, Elder Solomon Asemota, said “President Buhari made a veiled reference to NCEF in his speech when a group of persons purporting to be Arewa Pastors’ Non-Denominational Initiative for Peace in Nigeria led by one Bishop John Abu Richards visited him”.
According to NCEF, “this group portends danger to all Christians in Nigeria, especially when these impostors want the President to link them with the security agencies. One newspaper quoted them as saying: ‘we demand His Excellency, 1. That you support our 5,009 Arewa Pastors Peace and Unity National Delegate Prayer Congress at the Eagle Square on Thursday, April 26, 2018. We will want His Excellency to link us with the relevant security agencies in our crusade for peace and fight against hate speeches and those dark walls that separate us as we will network with our counterparts from the East and West to hand over those of our colleagues being used by the enemies of our togetherness to inject confusion and false stories into the public space resulting to the destabilization of peaceful co-existence we were enjoying in the country’”.
“This request,” NCEF pointed out in its statement, “shows clearly that these people are not Christians much less pastors. When a child of 15 years, Leah Sharibu, can defy death, they are asking for security protection”.
On the issue of Islamisation raised by the Arewa Pastors, NCEF pooh-poohed their position, saying “this statement portrays ignorance of the meaning of jihad. Muslims killed in jihads are martyrs while Christians and non-Islamists including traditional worshippers are the victims of conventional jihads. It is stealth jihad by Islamists(fundamentalists) in the establishment who have assembled impostors posing as Christian pastors to promote political Islam by discrediting responsible Nigerians in their defense of Democracy and Rule of Law.
“This explains why no Christian should speak in defense of Islamism or political Islamism because of extreme ignorance on the subject. It is clear that this body of impostors of Christianity wants protection in their crusade against democracy in the promotion of Sharia in Nigeria. The same security that did not protect Leah Sharibu, now must protect them against Sharibu’s religion. In the face of the above fact, CAN is being gradually replaced by impostors before the present administration,” NCEF chairman stated.
The Arewa Pastors, during their visit, had pledged loyalty to President Buhari: “Your Excellency, we the 19 Northern States pastors under the New platform called the Arewa Pastors Non-Denominational Initiative for Peace in Nigeria believe in your leadership and we are here to let you know that we are fully standing by you and your government to ensure that you succeed and peace is restored to every and corners of the country.
“And to counter those deceiving and poisoning Nigerians with fake news to destroy your good intentions for the country especially those giving the impression that you are against Christians and some ethnic groups in Nigeria which is a big lie for instance: Some Pastors using places of worship to preach hate. People using Church to preach violence”.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as “stage-managed,” the recent courtesy visit to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Arewa Pastors Non-Denominational Initiative for Peace (APNDIP), saying that the visit was aimed at procuring political endorsement for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Presidency.
The party also said the Buhari Presidency’s hiring of supposed Arewa pastors was a second attempt to orchestrate fake endorsements ahead of the 2019 elections.
PDP said both procured endorsements, which had turned out to be fake; were, to say the least, despicable, and betray the nervousness of a sinking leadership, desperately trying to save its face, having been rejected by the people.
In a statement signed by the party’s spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, the PDP said the “controversial” endorsement has called into question, the highest elective political office in the land.
“It is heartrending that because of the desperation of one man, the integrity of Nigeria’s seat of power has again been ridiculed as the world watched religious bodies and groups in the country disowning the procured band.
“The fact that this disgraceful drama came barely a week after our nation suffered an international show of shame over President Buhari’s presentation with a procured award fraudulently linked to Martin Luther King Jr, speaks volumes of this administration’s proclivity for falsehood, lies and deception.
“Having failed to gain any endorsements from reputable international figures, such as Bill Gates and the Martin Luther King Jr group, the APC and the Presidency have now shamelessly resorted to cheaper ways and means, particularly, along the unregulated and porous religious and sectional lines.
“It is now overtly manifest that the Buhari administration is ready to even stage anything, no matter how ignoble, including fake rescue missions, to deceive Nigerians,” the statement read in part.
While fingering three unnamed Presidential aides as the power behind the “endorsements”, the largest political party in the country further tasked the ruling party to brace up for its imminent defeat awaiting it in the 2019 general elections.
“These disgraceful endorsements are being coordinated by three presidential aides, a cabinet minister from the South-South and certain officials of the APC, a project for which billions of naira have been earmarked.
“This cabal is also responsible for the renting of crowds, who are usually conveyed in buses, trucks and trailers, to fill the space during President Buhari’s visits to various states of the federation, as witnessed in Benue during the last visit of Mr. President.
“That President Buhari could be begging for endorsements only points to the fact that he and his cabal have lost the support of Nigerians whom his administration has subjected to horrible economic hardships, traumatic bloodletting and a bleak future.
“If President Buhari and his dysfunctional APC had performed to the least expectations of Nigerians, even by implementing the littlest of their numerous fake campaign promises, they would have no need for mundane gimmicks of procuring awards from well known street quacks ahead of the elections.
“We charge all credible groups in the country to be at alert and resist any attempt by the Presidency and APC to induce them to compromise their integrity, as well as guide against plots to use money to infiltrate and divide their ranks.
“The APC and Buhari Presidency must admit that their time is up as Nigerians are now rallying with the repositioned PDP in the national quest to rescue our dear nation from the incompetent, failed and deceptive administration of the APC, come 2019,” the party added

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Vote Against Candidates In Support Of Naira Redesign Policy Implementation -Wike …Challenges Sekibo To Disclose Why Obasanjo Sacked Him As Minister

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has urged Nigerians not to vote for any candidate that supports the way the currency redesign policy is being implemented, in the forthcoming election.
Governor Wike spoke at Opobo Town Sandfield during the Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign flag-off rally for Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area at the weekend.
The governor, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, explained that such candidate is an enemy of Nigerians, who are already plunged into inexplicable economic hardship with nonavailability of both the old and new Naira notes to enable them buy food for their households and fuel for their cars.
Governor Wike said he is convinced that President Muhammadu Buhari, who may not have been properly briefed on the hardship the Naira swap is causing Nigerians, is already getting feedback on the ill advised policy and will review the implementation.
“Anybody who claims he loves Nigeria and is contesting election but is supporting this CBN policy. Will you people vote for such person? It is only the enemies of Nigeria that are supporting this anti-people policy. I believe President Muhammadu Buhari was not properly briefed about this policy”, he said.
Governor Wike insisted that the policy is being implemented to provoke the civil populace into embarking on public protests that could be used as an excuse to postpone the forthcoming election.
The governor pointed out that there is a cabal behind the policy implementation who are pushing to install an interim government, thereby prevent Nigerians from using their Permanent Voters Cards to determine their next leaders.
“The primary target of this policy is to provoke Nigerians to embark on civil disturbance which they will capitalise on to say they cannot conduct election and push for enthronement of an interim government. No matter the provocation, I urge everyone to be calm. This election must hold because nothing will stop an Opobo man to become governor”, he vowed.
Wike challenged the former Minister of Transport, Dr Abiye Sekibo, to explain why former President Olusegun Obasanjo sacked him from his cabinet.
The governor described himself as a man of integrity who served as minister under President Goodluck Jonathan and later resigned honourably to contest governorship election and won.
He also asserted that he is not among those who had caused crisis in their local governments and has blood on their hands, daring Sekibo to also make similar assertion.
Canvassing votes for the PDP governorship candidate in the state, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, Governor Wike enjoined Opobo people not to undermine the opportunity they have now to produce the next governor of the State.
He assured of signing the contract for the construction of Opobo Ring-Road, which will be completed by Fubara when he wins the election and assumes office as governor.
Governor Wike also told the electorate to deliver their votes for all PDP candidates in the state and await instructions from their leaders on the presidential candidate to cast votes for.
Sir Fubara, in his speech, restated his promise to the leadership of the party to never disappoint the confidence reposed in him to fly the party’s gubernatorial flag.
Fubara urged Opobo people to deliver their votes as an appreciation of the opportunity given to their son to become the next governor of the State.
He acknowledged the benevolence of Governor Wike in delivering road infrastructure and land reclamation projects in Opobo town, and assured that they would benefit more when he wins.
Presenting flags to PDP candidates, Chairman of the party in Rivers State, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, enjoined Opobo people to ensure that they deliver winning votes for their son and all the candidates of the party.
In his speech, Senator Adawari Pepple, expressed gratitude to Governor Wike for deeming it necessary to support their son to emerge PDP governorship candidate in the state.
Senator Pepple asserted that a true Opobo citizen is a loyal person and that Fubara will not disappoint the confidence reposed in him.
He assured that the entire Opobo people would follow Governor Wike wherever he goes and vote as he directs.
Dr. Sam Jaja acknowledged that Governor Wike has used his position to give prominence to an Ijaw son of Ibani extraction.
According to him, they have resolved that their votes will be wholesomely delivered for the PDP governorship candidate and the entire consolidation team.
Speaking on behalf of the candidates, Senator Barinada Mpegi, said the entire Rivers South East Senatorial District is fully ready to vote massively for all PDP candidates in the state.
Earlier, Governor Wike, Fubara and other PDP leaders had paid a courtesy visit to the palace of His Majesty, King (Dr.) Dandeson Douglas Jaja, Jeki V, Amanyanabo of Opobo Kingdom.
The King, in appreciation of the governor’s benevolence to the Opobo kingdom, conferred on him ‘Amafurotuo’ which means son of Opobo.

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Implementation Of New Naira Policy Is Anti-People, Wike Tells Buhari …Insists Cabal In Presidency Backing Atiku

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to reconsider the manner with which the currency redesign policy is being implemented because it is anti-people.
Governor Wike maintained that those who recommended this apparently anti-people monetary policy do not love the President and are bent on tarnishing his legacies.
The governor stated this at the Comprehensive Secondary School field, Ibaka Town, Okrika Island, during the Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Campaign Flag-off Rally for Okrika Local Government Area, last Friday.
Governor Wike, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, urged President Buhari to take a critical look at the socio-economic chaos and hardship that the exercise has caused, and revisit the policy in order to curb the pains of Nigerians.
According to him, “This policy is anti-people. The new Naira note is not there. Even though I have money in my account, I cannot get N10,000. I cannot go and buy fuel. Who is losing? Is it not the masses? Is it not the people?”
He advised the President to stop listening to those who advise him on this monetary policy under the guise that it will curb vote buying, saying those advisors do not mean well for Nigerians and cannot feel their sufferings.
Governor Wike also dismissed the claim that the policy is being implemented to fight politicians and corruption, and wondered if such goals can be achieved within the remaining three months of President Buhari’s administration.
“You’re merely fighting against the poor people. Mr President, I know the pressure, but please since two of us are going the same time, this policy, it has nothing to fight corruption at all. It has nothing to fight politicians.
“This policy is aimed to suffer the people who elected us to govern over them. Our business is not to make the people to suffer. We all know how to fight corruption. We all know how to fight politicians. This particular one, it does not come in at all”, he insisted.
Governor Wike expressed dismay that people were prevented from accessing money lodged in their bank accounts while small scale commercial activities were grounded for lack of cash.
According to him, there is reduced cash flow in circulation and even the redesigned Naira notes are hardly available to the citizenry.
“I know Mr President has good intention, but there are these people who believe they know more than everybody, they go and put the country in total chaos and that is what we are suffering now”, Wike said.
He stressed the futility of presenting credit cards to pay for food items bought from an elderly woman who depends on daily sales to raise money in the rural areas with prevailing illiteracy.
According to the governor, there is no where in the world where such currency change has been done conclusively within six months.
He said, “I have never seen anywhere in this world where you change money within six months and say no more use of old money. It doesn’t work. It takes time and you have to prepare. Look at our economy, look at the rural areas, the level of illiteracy in the country.”
Governor Wike urged President Buhari to avert aggravating the security challenge across the country and pushing Nigerians deeper into economic hardship.
“Can you imagine the problem you’re causing for us. As we are here, the level of insecurity will increase. We can’t get security agencies money any longer for them to use and pay those who are in the field. Even the CIA they carry cash for operation. Even NIA, they carry cash for operation. But here, we can’t even give our security One Million Naira.”
Speaking further, Governor Wike said recent events had vindicated him over his initial public statement that the PDP presidential candidate and his supporters boasted that they do not need the G-5 governors to win election because they had been assured of victory by a cabal in the presidency.
“I said they have been given assurance, but this election is not going to be based on that cabal assurance. It is on the people’s assurance”, he said.
Governor Wike, however, insisted that any party that does not need Rivers State will lose the election.
According to him, “whether you like it or not, you must need Rivers State. If you don’t need Rivers State you must fail. If you say you don’t want us, you’ll fail. There is no two ways about it.”
Soliciting votes for the PDP governorship candidate in the state, Sir Siminialayi Fubara and other PDP candidates, Governor Wike urged the people to vote overwhelmingly for the PDP.
He disclosed that the contract for the Okrika sandfilling project has been re-awarded because the former contractor who is their son has failed to finish the project.
Governor Wike also announced the upgrading to first class traditional stool status, confirmation and recognition of King Nelson Atubo Oputibeya as the Amanyanabo of Koniju.
Sir Fubara, in his address, said his administration, when elected as governor, would work to sustain the existing peace in Okrika, complete any ongoing project it may inherit, and provide more development projects to them.
Rivers State Chairman of the PDP, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, who presented the party’s flags to the various candidates in the area, urged Okrika people to vote massively for the party’s candidates.
Speaking on behalf of other candidates, the Rivers East Senatorial candidate, Chief Allwell Onyesoh, thanked the leadership and members of the party for the privilege given to them to fly the party’s flag, pledging that they will provide quality representation when elected.
Earlier, Governor Wike had inaugurated a 100-Bed Mother and Child Hospital in Okrika, which was built under the auspices of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the office of the presidency.
The project was nominated and attracted to the area by Hon. Bright Gogo, the House of Representatives member for Okrika and Ogu/Bolo federal constituency.
While commending Princess Adejoke Adefulire, the Senior Special Assistants on SDGs to President Buhari, for ensuring the building and equipping of the hospital, Governor Wike noted that Hon. Gogo has distinguished himself for attracting and realising the project in his constituency unlike other federal lawmakers from the state who attracted no projects.

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Rivers Electorate’ll Punish PDP National Leadership -Wike

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Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike says Rivers electorates will use the forthcoming election to punish the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for abandoning them during the October and November 2022 flooding incidence.
Governor Wike made the remark yesterday at the Community Secondary School in Akinima Town during the Rivers State PDP Campaign Flag-off Rally at Ahoada West Local Government Area.
The governor explained that the flooding situation was devastating in some communities of Abua/ Odual, Ahoada West and Ahoada East Local Government Areas with houses submerged, the people displaced, and their socioeconomic life disrupted.
Wike recalled that while the period lasted, the national leadership of PDP refused to visit those communities as a way of identifying with Rivers people when it mattered most.
Governor Wike emphasised that even though the PDP national leadership refused to identify with Rivers communities, they gladly visited flood impacted communities in other States, and identified with them, which can now be interpreted that they hate Rivers State.
He said in retaliation of the hatred, and the mindset that Rivers State does not matter, the electorates will use the power of their permanent voters cards (PVCs) to “pepper” the PDP national leadership in the forthcoming election.
“You had a problem, a major problem. Ahoada West, Ahoada East, Abua-Odual, had a major flooding problem. After they’ll say we are in the same party. Is there anybody from the national of our party that came to visit Ahoada West, Ahoada East, and Abua?
“But they went to other states, which means that they don’t like us. If somebody says he doesn’t like you, will you force yourself on them?”
Speaking further, Governor Wike reassured the people of Ahoada West Local Government that his administration would deliver to them a fully reconstructed Government Secondary School, Okarki.
Governor Wike told them that the contract for the project was awarded long time ago and paid for in full, but their sons who got the contract failed to deliver on schedule.
He assured that the contract would be re-awarded and completed before his tenure ends on May 29.
Governor Wike urged the people not to allow ballot box snatchers in the area to outsmart them anymore particularly, now that the elections will be conducted electronically.
He harped on the need for massive mobilisation of the people per electoral unit, so that the voters will be aware of who to cast their votes for, and to make sure that PDP wins all the election for governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly.
“What I want to advise you this time is, don’t allow those ballot box snatchers in APC to try it again. Luckily, this election is not election of snatching ballot boxes or paper. It is election that will be done electronically and transmitted electronically. All we need from you is to mobilise your people unit to unit.”
In his address, Rivers State governorship candidate of the PDP, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, noted that because of the massive development projects delivered in the area by the PDP controlled State government, the party has first right of winning the election.
Fubara, therefore, urged the people to go and collect the remainder of their PVCs at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said with the PVCs, they can confidently vote into power the PDP consolidation team that will continue to deliver to them more development projects, education infrastructure and to sustain the security experienced in the area.
Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, who presented party’s flags to candidates contesting for the various elective positions, charged the people to ensure bulk delivery of winning votes to PDP.
Rivers State Deputy governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, who is contesting for Rivers West Senatorial District slot, spoke on behalf of the candidates and said sequel to excellent performance of Governor Wike in office, it is given that Ahoada West is faithful supporter of PDP.
She promised that when elected, they would commit to upholding the interest of their constituents and the State at large.
Before going to the campaign venue, Governor Wike had paid a courtesy visit to the Ahoada West Local Government Traditional Rulers Council under the chairmanship of Chief Moore Maclean Ubuo, the king of Engenni kingdom, to first introduce and secure royal blessings for Sir Siminialayi Fubara, as the incoming governor of the State.

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