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Classifying Nigerians As Indigenes, Non-Indigenes Is Apartheid -Osinbajo

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The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, described the classification of Nigerians as ‘indigenes’ and ’non-indigenes’ as a form of apartheid.
The Vice President stated this at the National Social Cohesion Dialogue organized by the Africa Polling Institute, at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja.
Osinbajo was speaking against the common practices of exclusion and discrimination against citizens, based on the factor of state of origin.
He said Nigerians resident in parts of the country other than their states of origin have continued to suffer discrimination from their fellow citizens as well as governments of the states of residence, perpetually denied rights to common provisions and opportunities to further their personal goals because of the indigene and non-indigene factor, thereby making them feel that their identities as a weapon against them.
He, however, noted that such practices are opposed to the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution, adding that Nigerians are a people, whose destinies have become so interlinked and inseparable, urging all Nigerians to embrace unity and cohesion.
The Vice President in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, said, “in many quarters, there are feelings of alienation and exclusion. To this point, we must recognize the ways in which we perpetuate institutional discrimination and cause people to see their identities as weapons for procuring opportunity, often at the expense of others.
“We see this whenever Nigerians are denied opportunity on the basis of their state of origin or because they are ‘non-indigenes’. We see it when a Nigerian that has been resident in a state all his life is suddenly excluded from admission into an educational institution or an employment opportunity because he is not considered an ‘indigene’.
“All Nigerians have a constitutional right to live, work and enjoy their lives in peace and safety under the law. The classification of Nigerians as ‘indigenes’ and ‘non-indigenes’ is a form of apartheid and contradicts our declared aspirations towards equality and unity.
“Our Constitution enjoins government to ‘secure full residence rights for every citizen in all parts of the Federation’ and this is an imperative that we must commit to across all tiers of government. All that should matter in evaluating ourselves is where we live and fulfill our civic obligations.
“This is why when we launched our Social Investment Programmes, the eligible beneficiaries were selected based on their states of residence and none was discriminated against on any basis. This was in keeping with the idea that the only true path to national progress lies in broadening access to opportunity for all Nigerians without qualification.
“Our destinies have become so interlinked as to be inseparable. This is why this administration is investing heavily in transportation infrastructure – road, rail, sea and river ports – to reduce the distances between our people and link localities to markets and enable trade, travel and tourism.
“Our constitution guarantees a full portfolio of civil liberties and it is the responsibility of government at all levels to give life to these provisions. For example, states should as a matter of deliberate policy ensure that the freedom of worship and provide spaces in which citizens can lawfully erect places of worship”, he said.
He noted that despite the activities of those with divisive agenda, Nigeria will prevail over her tribulations due to the resilience, faith, hope and strength of its people.
Describing Nigerians as “an unbreakable people”, the Vice President emphasized the shared interests of Nigerians across different facets of life, noting that Nigeria’s diversity can be used to drive further economic growth.
He explained, “And in the face of the challenges confronting us, we must remind ourselves of certain truths. The first is that our present challenges are neither unique nor exceptional. Various nations at various points in their histories underwent similar tribulations. It is within our power to address these issues and emerge from them even stronger as a people.
“Despite the divisive rhetoric of demagogues and the utterances of those who profit from disharmony, Nigerians do not hate each other. Every day, millions of Nigerians of different ethnicities and creeds comingle, make common cause and forge friendships across our fabled fault lines. While we have our share of such acrimony, the situation does not support the narrative that we are a nation of fragments condemned to be perpetually at each other’s throats.
“What matters is how committed we are to the constructive management of diversity and the peaceful resolution of such conflict. This is where we can and should certainly work much harder.”
Advocating for unity despite sundry differences, the VP warned against “polarising identity politics”.
He said, “The truth is that Nigeria has evolved beyond the sort of easy balkanization that is proposed by some separatists. Politicians who continue to traffic in division and discord are behind the times and have failed to take note of how much more integrated our society has become.”
Noting that the fair, swift and equitable dispensation of justice to address both everyday grievances and long-suffered wrongs is essential for fostering social cohesion, the Vice President added that, “we must strengthen institutions which at every level can deliver justice, inclusion and mutual security.”
According to the Vice President, “an abiding feature of being a Nigerian is our optimism… Our capacity for hope is a creative optimism… Every day, millions of our people armed with their faith, skills, determination and wits take their destinies into their hands, working hard to forge a better life for themselves and their families.
“Nigerians of this ilk are everywhere repairing, healing, building, trading and doing business. They believe that tomorrow will yield a greater harvest than that of today and that as long as they have breath in them they can change their material conditions. It is this capacity for hope that makes us resilient in the face of incredible odds and even in the teeth of adversity. This is who we are as a people and it is why I believe that we will prevail over today’s tribulations.”
He further noted that even as the Federal Government continues to ramp up efforts in tackling the nation’s security challenges, a united citizenry would further help, especially in local policing strategies.
He said, “As we address the challenge of insecurity and the profusion of threats to public safety, we are increasingly turning to multilevel policing strategies that are consonant with our federal architecture. It is important that the localized security mechanisms being established by sub-national authorities are constituted in an inclusive manner and reflect the true diversity of those that live in local communities. No truly sustainable security umbrella can be built on the basis of exclusion.”
According to the Vice President, criminal elements should not be generalized as representation of ethnic or religious groups.
However, he noted that, “we must ensure that we see it for what it is – a criminal act which must be punished according to the law and not an ethnic conflict. Criminals must not be seen or treated as anything other than criminals and certainly not as representatives of any ethnic or religious group.
“We will not defeat crime by dividing ourselves. We can only overcome it by uniting against our common enemy – the criminals who terrorize our people.”
The Vice President further said that nation-building was hard work and an inter-generational endeavour.
He urged that all Nigerians “must renew the social contract and deepen the meaning and durability of our citizenship.”
The Vice President further highlighted the significance of unity in diversity in driving economic and social inclusion, stating that “Nigeria has what it takes to operate favourably in this world.”
The VP added, “Nigeria will be a great loser if we were to break up; when we see the greatest economic advantage to our size about to come to life. In short, staying together as a collective affords each of our communities far more opportunities for prosperity than they would have if they went their separate ways. We have all that it takes to be truly more than the sum of our parts.
“It is our responsibility to harness and consolidate these assets for the common good of all Nigerians. We will continue to work hard to create an umbrella of inclusive prosperity over our people. This is the defining task of our generation.”
He also highlighted examples that showed the power of unity over division, including that of 83-year-old Islamic cleric, Mallam Abdullahi Abubakar, who saved the lives of hundreds of Christians from terrorists in Barkin Ladi, Plateau State in 2018; as well as the reported ethnic conflict between Hausas and Yorubas in Shasha market, Ibadan, in 2021, where the VP stated that “members of both groups protected and shielded each other from harm.”
“Our resilience as a nation owes a great deal to this truth – that Nigerians are a deeply warm, peace-loving, humane people and they are capable of great courage and compassion. Our task is to strengthen and transform our institutions so that they better reflect these values,” Osinbajo stated.
The Vice President commended the Africa Polling Institute for organizing the event, which he noted was a significant work or social research that will help drive a more informed and constructive debate about Nigeria’s present and future.

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Make Laws To Advance Nigeria, Not Selves, Fubara Tells NASS …Seeks Concerns Of Women, Issues In Difficult Terrains Addressed

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has challenged the National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters to focus on amendments that contribute to improving the electoral process in the country for good of society and not to advance individual gains.
The Governor maintained that any legislation targeting to empower or undo particular individual(s) is misplaced, and urged the lawmakers never to pay attention to identified problems it promoted.
Governor Fubara gave the charge when he hosted a delegation of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters, led by its Chairman, Senator Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli and co-Chair, Hon Adebayo Balogun, on courtesy visit to Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The Governor said: “You are still working on your electoral amendment. I wouldn’t say much on that until when we see your proposal and conduct public hearing where we will make our inputs.
“But, legislate in such a way and manner, knowing full well that tomorrow, you will also sit here (executive). So, don’t do it because you are on the other side. And you say, maybe, let it be at the disadvantage of the people sitting here.
“Do your legislation in such a way and manner that when you sit here, those laws that are made can also apply to you, and you will sit and say, yes, I did the right thing.”
Governor Fubara noted that Nigeria is in a very trying time, and needed to be careful not to make costly mistakes that would erase any good work that has been done in the minds of the people to necessitate a fresh start.
The Governor explained that the level of political awareness and the drive among the people to be involved in the political process is higher now than it was about 20 years ago, and urged the lawmakers to be more sensitive to the realities of the times.
Governor Fubara said: “Everybody now understands that political involvement is the key to a better and developed state. Everybody wants to be part of the system, from the local government to the state and to the Federal Government.
“So, I am happy that we are doing this at this time; and not just doing this but taking the most critical aspect of the election: women. If we are talking about election, it is not the men, the true votes that are counted in elections are women and youths.
“So, taking up this very delicate and sensitive subject to addressing the situation at this time, I think the National Assembly is trying to understand and to feel the pulse of our people.”
Governor Fubara particularly noted how difficult it is to conduct elections in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, and Ondo states because most of the communities are riverine and could take more than two days journey to access them on sea amidst the scare of being kidnapped or suffer boat mishap.
Governor Fubara applauded the committee for the courage to take on such sensitive task of embarking on sensitisation of the people and engaging with them on best way to ensure that they enjoyed greater safety during elections.
He said, “I believe that after this committee’s sensitization programme that you are doing, it is going to help us have a framework that will help us get an amendment that will protect the interest of the women, protect elections in difficult terrains.
“Because most times, when elections are conducted, we will wait two days or more before results from different areas will come in. And when they come, at times, these results decide the total picture of the election.
“Considering this now, I believe that you will come out, work out something that will help us solve this difficult problem.
“But, most importantly, to encourage women, give them opportunity more than the 35 percent Affirmative Action, and something that will give them assurance that they should be part of this process.”
Governor Fubara said his administration understands the importance of opportunities when given and what it means to give people opportunities to actualise their aspirations.
The Governor, therefore, assured that whatever the recommendations they make, if they make it public, the Rivers State will be one of the states that will first implement them.
He added, “But, most importantly, we want you to be our ambassadors. You are a visitor to Rivers State today. You have seen us. When you go back, you should also tell them that it is not really those things that you are hearing. Tell them that Rivers State is organised. Tell them that Rivers State is focused, and the leadership is purposeful for the people.”
In his address, the Chairman, National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters, Senator Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli, said they are in the State for what he described as the second in the series of zonal engagements of the people on the proposed amendment to the Electoral Act, 2022.
Senator Alli stated that there is no doubting the fact that Nigeria has never had an Electoral Act that is as good as the one of 2022, but noted that as soon as the 2023 elections were over, flaws were noticed that needed to be addressed.
He said, “And, I must say without being inmodest, that this is the first time this is happening in the history of the National Assembly. Because we felt that for us, for our people to have confidence in the electoral process, they should be involved in the lawmaking process, and we have decided to go round.”
Senator Alli further said: “About two months ago, we were at Ibadan to talk to the youths and the traditional institutions. Today, we came in here, and it is continuing tomorrow to talk about the issues of legislation: the women and elections in difficult terrains.
“We put this because, apart from the issues of the women and the youths; the South-South, because of the topography of the place (region), it is one of the most difficult terrains we are having difficulties in conducting elections in Nigeria.
“And we need to let the people tell us how the challenges they are facing during elections could be ameliorated in the lawmaking process, hence our coming here,” he added.
He solicited the support of the Government and people of the State and the zone in efforts to fashion a workable electoral amendment that would address the concerns of majority, if not all Nigerians.

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Spain Puts Forward 11 Stadia To Host World Cup 2030

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The Spanish FA are reportedly set to confirm the 11 venues that will make up their end of the 2030 World Cup.
The game’s global showcase will take place in Spain, Portugal and Morocco in six years’ time with the final set to take place at Santiago Bernabéu.
But 10 more stadia are set to be put forward by RFEF by the deadline set by FIFA, according to our sources.
Games will take place in: Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, San Sebastian, La Coruña, Zaragoza, Seville, Malaga and Gran Canaria, the Madrid-based sources claimed.
Neither Vigo nor Valencia, as initially planned, will be present amongst the host cities.
Madrid and Barcelona will both have two stadia present with the Santiago Bernabéu and Civitas Metropolitano in the capital and Camp Nou and Stage Front Stadium in Barcelona.
Meanwhile, FIFA has announced their summer update to the men’s world ranking list with some significant movers.
Argentina’s Copa América victory sees them keep hold of top spot, while France’s disappointing European Championship isn’t enough to dislodge them from second.
Spain are the biggest movers near the summit, rising five places to third, while Belgium drop down to sixth and Colombia enter the top 10 as a result of their run to the Copa final.
Elsewhere, Türkiye have shot up 16 places to 26th due to their Euros showing and Venezuela move from 54th to 37th as a result of their recent showings, making them the biggest overall movers.

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Tinubu Tasks Ambassadors On Enhancement Of Economic Value

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President Bola Tinubu received some ambassadors at the Presidential Villa yesterday.
President Tinubu in Abuja called for the enhancement of the economic value of bilateral relations between Nigeria and partner nations.
The president spoke when he received Letters of Credence from the Ambassadors of Portugal, Jorge Adao Martins Dos Santos; the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Biu Quoc Hung; and the State of Kuwait, Salim Khalifa Mohammed Almuzayen, at the Presidential Villa.
Tinubu expressed his appreciation for Nigeria’s long-standing relations with Portugal and the shared interest in the areas of trade and culture, as well as partnership in oil and gas, which had translated into gains for both countries.
“It is good to have you in Nigeria. I am happy you are familiar with Nigeria and the environment.
“I believe that with your presence, our bilateral relations will be further improved. I am happy you are also present in other West African countries.
“I have been informed of your economic interest in Nigeria. We need to work together for more localised productions as regards mineral deposits.
“I have an open-door policy, and you can always reach me through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and my Chief of Staff, Right Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila,” the president said.
To the Ambassador of Vietnam, President Tinubu said the manufacturing sector in Nigeria was ready to benefit from the automating skills and technology of the Asian country.
“Thank you for coming to work in Nigeria. We share a lot with Vietnam in terms of diversity and values.
“We really value our bilateral agreements with your country, Vietnam, especially in the area of technology. We look forward to adding more value to the partnership with you in terms of collaboration for development,” he said.
President Tinubu also thanked the ambassador of Kuwait for his country’s long-standing good relations with Nigeria and extended his appreciation to the Emir and the Crown Prince.
“I am glad we are pulling strings to enhance the value of our relationship. We are both committed to the development of our people and will explore opportunities for economic ties. I have an open-door policy so you can always reach me,” the president said.
In his response, the Ambassador of Portugal said investors from his country had a keen interest in Nigeria, and that the trade with Nigeria on gas predated the war between Russia and Ukraine, and would be sustained.
“I will work on our agreements on improving economic relations. There is no shortage of interest in the areas of development where we can be partners.
“We are one of the highest buyers of gas from Nigeria, and we remain grateful for the supplies.
“Portuguese companies are also handling the rail line construction from Kano to Niger Republic. It will be ready in two years,” the Portuguese Ambassador said.
His Vietnamese counterpart said: “Under your leadership, I see Nigeria overcoming most of her challenges and taking its place among the happiest people in the world.”
Hung added that he was in the country to strengthen relations and improve economic ties.
The Ambassador of Kuwait assured President Tinubu that he would do his best to strengthen bilateral ties for the mutual benefit of both countries.

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