The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Farouk Yahaya has ordered troops to hunt down terrorists who attacked an Abuja-Kaduna-bound train on Monday night.
The Army boss said the troops must intensify search and rescue operations, which has been ongoing for many hours.
Yahaya spoke when he visited the scene of the Kaduna–Abuja train attack, yesterday.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, said in a statement, yesterday, that the COAS, who was accompanied by some principal staff officers of the Army Headquarters and the General Officer Commanding 1 Division, on arrival at scene, assessed the security situation around the general area of the attack and inspected the attacked train, as well as the rail track to evaluate the degree of damage.
“He ordered the troops of the NA and other security agencies to intensify their search and rescue operations to ensure that the kidnapped victims are rescued unconditionally.”
“The COAS has also assured Nigerians that the troops will be undeterred and vehement in the fight against banditry and other forms of criminality.”
“He urged members of the surrounding communities and all Nigerians to continue to avail troops with credible information to enhance their operations across the country. Gen Yahaya observed that the attack reverberates the need for critical stakeholders to review the security of railways across the country in order to achieve the desired security architecture for railway transportation.”
However, following the continued attacks on communities and public facilities in Kaduna State and the country as a whole, the Senate, yesterday, asked President Muhammadu Buhari, to declare a full-scale war against terrorists, to fully secure all the nation’s territory from them in whatever guise.
The upper legislative chamber also called on the Army and the Air Force to carry out a sustained bombardment of terrorists’ enclaves with a view to flushing them out and restoring peace and stability in the country.
The resolutions followed a point of order raised, yesterday by Senator Uba Sani (APC Kaduna Central), who noted that terrorists have in recent times stepped up attacks on some communities and public facilities in Kaduna State.
He said “the latest attacks by these murderous elements took place in some communities in Giwa Local Government, namely Angwan Sarki Yahya, Tashar Shari, Bare-Bari, Tsaunin Natal, Dillalai, Durumi and Jatin Kanwa, all on Yakawada Ward.
“Other places affected include Kaya community, Mai Kyauro and Fatika. They killed 50 persons and kidnapped of 100 people. They also made strategic roads in Giwa Local Government no go areas.
“Not done with their devilish acts, they made an attempt to penetrate the Kaduna International Airport.
“Although the attack was foiled by vigilant security operatives, one person lost his life. When people were trying to come to grips with the week-long wanton destruction of lives and property, the terrorists struck again.”
He bemoaned the attacks by bandits on a Kaduna bound train carrying over 970 passengers around the Kateri – Rijana axis in Kaduna, just a few kilometres to the Rigasa Train Station in Igabi Local Government Area of the state.
“The train derailed after the first wave of attacks. Grenades and RPG were used. They rained bullets on all the coaches. Some passengers were killed, while many sustained bullet wounds,” he stressed.
Sani expressed concern that the unrelenting attacks call to question the strategies and tactics being adopted by the security forces.
He observed that the forests where the terrorists hold sway are not impregnable, adding that, “a comprehensive operational plan, executed with high sense of professionalism and responsibility, total commitment on the part of our security forces and the support and cooperation of the local communities will rid Kaduna State forests of these murderous elements.”
The lawmaker, who reiterated the call for the creation of state police, maintained that “effective gathering of intelligence and sustained security operations at the local level will make life uncomfortable for terrorists.”
Contributing, Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP Benue North East), lamented that Kaduna had become the new theatre of insecurity, saying the lingering activities of terrorists in the state makes it imperative for the appropriate authorities to take decisive action.
The lawmaker attributed the inability of the military to curtail growing incidents of terrorism to “a clear failure of leadership.”
On his part, Senator Danjuma La’ah (PDP Kaduna South) said if the security situation in the country was not nipped in the bud, political leaders would become the main targets of terrorists.
The Senate, in other resolutions, directed security agencies to always take steps to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in the future.
It also called on the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other relevant government agencies to assist the affected communities with relief materials.
Also, the House of Representatives has invited leaders of Nigeria’s security agencies to an emergency meeting over the recent attacks on the Kaduna International Airport and the Abuja-Kaduna rail line.
After an extensive debate on the growing insecurity in Nigeria at the plenary, yesterday, the House resolved that its leadership should meet with the heads of military and paramilitary agencies to discuss the security situation in the country.
Those to appear before the House include the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd); Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd); Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao; Director-General, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi; Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba; Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi; Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika; Director-General, NCAA, Musa Nuhu; Managing Director, FAAN, Rabiu Yadudu; Managing Director, NAMA, Mathew Pwajok; and General Manager, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon Ahmed Wase, who presided over the session, said the Committees on Aviation, National Security and Intelligence, Police Affairs, Army, Air Force, Defence and Land Transport are to work with the leadership on the probe.
“We beg that the invitation be sent as soon as possible. Hopefully, we will start the meeting from tomorrow (Wednesday),” Wase said.
The resolution was based on a motion of urgent public importance moved by the Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Hon Nnolim Nnaji, titled, ‘Urgent Need for the Federal Government to Investigate the Recent Attack at Kaduna International Airport and Reinforce Security Surveillance and Personnel in All the Nigerian Airports.’
Moving the motion, Nnaji recalled that about a year ago, bandits attacked the staff quarters of the FAAN at the Kaduna International Airport and abducted about 12 persons.
He also recalled that, last Friday, there was “a horrific” attack on the airport, leading to the death of a security guard working with NAMA.
The lawmaker expressed concern that the attacks on the airport might escalate to other airports across the country, if not prevented.
He said, “The House is worried that no one is safe to travel by air if positive steps are not taken urgently to safeguard our airports from bandits’ attacks, considering the international standards on airport security management as outlined by International Civil Aviation Organisation.”
Nnaji decried that while flights on the Kaduna route were being suspended over the attack on the airport, a train on the Abuja-Kaduna rail line was also attacked on Monday night, with the Nigerian Railway Corporation suspending train services on the route indefinitely.
The lawmaker stated, “What it means is that the only means of transportation now to Kaduna is the road. Definitely, if it happens in other places; if they start attacking our airports, the implication is that even the international airlines will stop coming to Nigeria. That is the implication.
“And the premium on our local airlines – the premium on their insurance – will go up and the implication is that (the cost of) air tickets will double. That is why I am asking that the leadership should come to our aid to see how we can solve this problem. It is not just a committee issue; it has to do with the entire House led by the leadership, to see how we can unravel this situation.”
During the debate, Hon Leke Abejide made reference to a statement allegedly made by Kaduna StateGovernor, Nasir el-Rufai, asking the Armed Forces to bombard the forests housing the terrorists and flush them out.
Abejide partly said, “I just want to know whether these bandits live in hell or they live here on earth. If they are living within Nigerian territory, how come our military cannot locate where they are?
“If you notice now, a former governor of Zamfara State was shot yesterday in the process of this attack. A lady – a medical doctor – was killed that same yesterday in the same attack. Who knows who would be the next? Most of our colleagues here depend on that train from Abuja to Kaduna every week, to visit their constituencies. How long will we continue to be talking about the same problem?”
The Majority Whip, Hon Mohammed Monguno, said, “My suggestion is that, as part of our resolution, we should call on the executive arm of government to declare a state of emergency on the security sector.”
Also speaking, Hon Ahmed Munir said, “Let us clarify something that should be clear. We should stop calling them bandits and label them for what they are, terrorists.”
He also said, “The cowardly and dastardly acts that they are currently undertaking in our nation, as we speak now, to put a human context to it, we all have within this chamber – myself and everyone – friends or colleagues that are today missing from the attack yesterday.
“We have friends, colleagues, relatives and loved ones that are missing, among them, a seven-month pregnant lady that is along the way. So, let us look at it in that context. And it is time for us to move from the theoretical to practical.”
Also, Hon Aminu Suleiman said, “I never believed that this incident really happened. It surprises me and truly troubles me as a person that this thing could happen in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This thing that happened – that truly happened – actually challenged us as a nation.
“I think these bandits have taken these deliberate killings to the sovereignty of this country, far beyond what we can comprehend. So, we must accept collective failure.”
The lawmaker urged the House to “present a very formidable front” to prevent a recurrence of such attacks. “And for it not to happen, somebody somewhere must be held responsible,” he stated.
Suleiman also noted that, “It couldn’t have just been ordinary, that these people drive through the cities and challenge the security of our airport. It is not only reprehensible but also a display of general ineptitude on the part of the security (agencies) responsible for security in our airports.
“My vote is available for any action that will be taken or needs to be taken. We need to act very patriotically and ensure that somebody is held responsible and punished severely for this incident to serve as a deterrent.
“The road is almost becoming impassable. Rail is being threatened. Only a few of us go by road now – the comrades in the country; my colleagues and others fly. Therefore, if the air is also not safe, ordinarily I would have jubilated that they are coming to join us but we need them to be alive.”
In his submission, Hon Onofiok Luke stated that Nigerians must be safe before they can elect a new government.
Luke said, “It is saddening that we can witness a security breach to a point of infraction in the airport. It is quite saddening! We have had our train and our rail affected just a few hours ago. We seem to be involved in so much political activities as of present but there are critical issues affecting the lives of Nigerians. We seem to be involved in 2023 (general election).
“My call this morning is for every one of us, from the executive to the Legislature, from the federal to the state and local governments, to come together for us to proffer solutions and provide security for Nigerians, which is the primary objective of the government.
“Those who used to go to Kaduna by road became challenged because of kidnappings on the Abuja-Kaduna road. Then, the railway and trains came but they are being challenged today. The Nigerian Railway Corporation had issued a statement that it was going to suspend the activities along that line.
“We were challenged some few days ago, for us to have an infraction at the airport, which means no way is safe. If our roads are not safe; if our rails are not safe; if our airports are not safe, then it calls for us to suspend everything political to begin to address the critical needs of Nigerians.”
The lawmaker stated, “If we don’t have Nigeria, we might not be having elections. If we don’t improve the lives of the people who we are seeking to govern, then we would have totally failed.”
The Deputy Minority Leader, Hon Toby Okechukwu, decried that Kaduna had witnessed a series of attacks despite the establishment of various security bases in the state.
Okechukwu said, “As pointed out, this time actually is not the time to play politics or opposition or try to say you are in government. This is an existential threat to all Nigerians. It means Nigerians are on the run. It used to be cars that were attacked and (occupants) kidnapped by bandits. Now, they have attacked our airport. They started about a year ago; they attacked the NDA and a few hours back, they attacked our rail line.
“Nigeria is haemorrhaging; we are under a serious challenge. It means that if they had anything to use against the aircraft, they would have used it. I believe we are under a serious threat. What else will happen for us to know that there is a serious threat to the existence of this country?
“If we can be overrun by bandits, what else is remaining? The trains cannot move. The aircraft cannot move. Vehicles cannot move. Are we prisoners in our country and we will not be able to do anything?”
Contributing, Hon Garba Datti-Muhammad decried that the issue of incessant attacks had become a recurring decimal, particularly within the Abuja-Kaduna area.
“If you look at the trend, you will find out that these bandits gradually are becoming more emboldened; they are moving from one stage to another,” he said.
The lawmaker noted that within a week, two key sectors in transportation were attacked.
He said, “I am so worried. It is surprising that this thing is happening in Kaduna because Kaduna is a garrison town that houses most of our security agencies – the Nigerian Defence Academy, Command and Staff College Jaji, Nigerian Air Force, Nigeria Police Force, Military Police. All the security agencies are there and this thing is happening continuously. Nobody is safe.”
In his remarks, Hon Lawan Ali partly said, “What has been happening across the country is really disheartening, really unfortunate. In a well-established nation, citizens are being held to ransom by just a few bandits in the bush. I think we need to tell ourselves the truth.
“The issue of curtailing this insecurity problem in this nation really needs a very aggressive and offensive approach. It is not until the worst has happened that we will be running helter-skelter, placing blames and counter-blames on one another. I think it is a very unfortunate situation.”
Reacting, President Muhammadu Buhari said that like many Nigerians, he was deeply pained by the sad development.
Buhari, who said the latest incident would be the second of such attacks, noted that a directive has been issued to security chiefs to hunt down the terrorists and rescue those abducted.
They were over 900 passengers on board the ill-fated train fell victims, with a medical doctor and the Secretary-General of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Musa Lawal confirmed dead from the attacks.
In the reaction, Buhari said he has directed the immediate conclusion of all the processes for the implementation of the integrated security surveillance and monitoring solution for the Abuja to Kaduna railway line and that it should be extended to cover the Lagos-Ibadan railway line.
The presidency also directed the Nigerian Railway Corporation management to speedily repair the damaged lines and resume normal service without delay.
These directives came shortly after the president received briefs from the service chiefs led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor; with the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Farouk Yahaya; the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao; the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba; as well as the Chief of Defence Intelligence,Major General Samuel Adebayo;and the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi in the State House, Abuja.
Buhari also tasked the law enforcement chiefs to bring back all passengers kidnapped and ensure that each of the callous terrorists are hunted down and made to face justice for their heinous acts as no one or group should be allowed to make the country prostrate.
“The military must deal ruthlessly with terrorists; they should be more decisive and not spare anyone unlawfully wielding the AK-47 weapon.
“No one should be allowed to hold the country to ransom,” the president stated through his media aide, Garba Shehu.
Buhari also condemned the bombing of the passenger train, describing it as a “matter of grave concern.
“Like most Nigerians, I am deeply pained by its occurrence, the second of its type, which has resulted in the death of a yet to be determined number of passengers and others who suffered injuries.
“The attack on the train, a safe means of transport to many, is callous; and our thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers for the injured,” he said.
Als reacting, the Kaduna State Government, yesterday, condemned the terrorist attack on the Kaduna-Abuja train.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media & Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, in a statement, yesterday, disclosed that Malam Nasir el-Rufai and Deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, visited the injured in hospitals.
He said the governor prayed for the peaceful repose of the souls of the deceased persons, and wishes the injured persons a speedy recovery.
While sympathising with all the passengers, the government extended its condolence to the families of those who died in the attack.
It said since the evacuation of passengers from the scene of the attack has been completed, efforts are still being made to account for all the passengers, crew and security officers that were on the train.
According to the statement, the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency has issued a contact number for inquiries and information from family members of the passengers.
It appealed to all citizens to uphold law and order, and promote peace and harmony in our communities.
He said the state government continues to liaise with the Federal Government and security agencies to protect people, defeat terrorists and other criminals.
“It is imperative to stand together against those who threaten civilised order”,it said.
Meanwhile, a former campaign spokesman for ex-Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Kassim Afegbua, yesterday, said with Monday’s train attack in Kaduna State, President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime has lost “its compass and leadership roadmap”.
According to him, once a government is unable to execute and fulfill its responsibility of ensuring welfare and security of lives and property, such a government has no business being in contention.
Reacting to the incident in a statement, yesterday, Afegbua, who was commissioner for information during the administration of former Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said it was time Buhari tender his resignation for failing to protect Nigerians.
In the statement titled, ‘Kaduna train attack: President Buhari should resign’, Afegbua described the attack as “the height of crass incompetence and failure of government to pursue its statutory responsibilities”.
The statement read in part, “The Kaduna bound train attack is one bare-faced example of a presidency that has lost its compass and leadership roadmap. It is inhuman, agonisingly pulsating, and markedly wicked to continue to render condolence messages when the opportunity to arrest the situation is right within the purview of government.
“The train attack is the height of crass incompetence and failure of government to pursue its statutory responsibilities as encapsulated in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Once a government is unable to execute and fulfil its responsibility of ensuring welfare and security to lives and property, such a government has no business being in contention.
“In saner climes, such a president would ordinarily resign his position and apologise to Nigerians for failing to live up to its expectations. A failed president has no business in government.
“A president that has led the country to the precipice, rendering its citizenry comatose, killing productivity, and appearing helpless to solving the multiplicity of problems confronting it, has no business being in government. A train attack with several deaths, is a further confirmation that the country has gone bunkers.
“The failure of government has become monumental, but sycophants, renters, and professional coupon clippers, would rather praise-sing in very patronising tone to gain the attention of Mr. President. No sector in the country seems to be working; power sector is down, economy is in shambles, insecurity has gotten to almost irredeemable proportion, while unemployment and job losses have become the visible tell-tales of a system that is eternally dysfunctional.
“Instead of rising to the occasion, what we hear from presidency’s publicists are often weather-beaten rhetoric, scare-mongering, blame game and false accusation of opposition parties with subject-matters that are exclusively within the confines of governmental responsibility. As a government that ought to be on top of its game, the APC-led Federal Government has shown its urge for injustice and politics of exclusion.
“The level of hypocrisy of this Buhari-led presidency is also not helping matters. The presidency has not been able to get its rhythms right. Its political optics is wrong-headed, installing corruption proven leadership at its helms, and dubiously pursuing an agenda of consensus to further implement its imposition strategy. When a government cannot get its politics and governance structure right, it leaves gaping hole in the hearts of its citizenry.
“That Nigeria has degenerated to this mindless bubble, unable to do things differently to mitigate our present predicament, is the more reason why President Buhari should resign. I say this with all due sense of responsibility as a citizen of a country that is apparently lost in the wilderness of ideas to ignite the right rhythms for collective participation. I am utterly ashamed of being led by a leadership that is weak, incompetent, sleeping on duty, reclusive, and consistently failing in its assigned responsibilities. Big shame!.”
In the same development, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has mourned the death of a medical doctor,Dr. Chinelo Nwando, who was shot by terrorists during the attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train on Monday night.
The association, in a statement signed by its President, Prof Innocent Ujah, also decried the worsening state of insecurity in the country.
Chinelo had tweeted a cry for help on her personal Twitter handle on Monday night.
The statement of the NMA partly reads, “The President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Prof Innocent Ujah, and indeed, all Medical and Dental Practitioners under the auspices of NMA, are deeply saddened by the tragic, horrific and preventable death of one of our members, Dr Chinelo Megafu Nwando, who is reported to have lost her life from injuries sustained from gunshots when the train she travelled in from Abuja to Kaduna was attacked by suspected bandits.
“As an association, we vehemently decry the worsening insecurity in the country which has made all of us and Nigerians as a whole vulnerable to violent attacks by hoodlums, bandits, kidnappers and terrorists who are currently having a field day causing us deep sorrows and severe pains.
“The untimely death of the young, promising Chinelo, who served at the Kaduna State Dental Centre and worked with St. Gerrard’s Hospital, Kakuri, while striving to earn a honest living is one other death too many. The association notes that needless bloodletting and senseless loss of lives is fast becoming a recurrent decimal in our country, thus worsening the alarming effects of brain drain, which in many instances have been attributable to the worsening security situation in the country.
“The Association hereby calls on the security agencies to urgently reorganise the security architecture in the country with focus on intelligence gathering in order to avoid these carnages across the country.
“The association also recommends that the Federal Government gives strong consideration to the establishment of state police to further complement the efforts of the Nigeria Police Force.
“The recruitment of more security personnel and the provision of modern security gadgets and ammunition for them can’t be overemphasised.
“Lastly, the association prays God to grant the families of Dr Chinelo and all other victims of the very unfortunate incidence, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss”.
The Nigerian Railway Corporation has suspended train operations along the Abuja-Kaduna route indefinitely.
The NRC made this known in a post via its official Twitter handle @Official_NRC, yesterday morning.
In a terse statement, the NRC stated that the suspension was due to unforeseen circumstances.
“Dear passengers, due to unforeseen circumstances, Train operations along the Abuja-Kaduna route has been temporarily suspended. Further communication would be given in due course.”
Fubara Summons Support To Sustain Wike’s Legacy
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) guber candidate, Hon Siminialayi Fubara, has sued for support towards sustaining Governor Nyesom Wike’s legacy in Rivers State.
Fubara made the assertion during his acceptance speech after the party’s primaries in which he emerged landslide winner at Obi Wali Conference Centre in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
The PDP guber flagbearer said his emergence was divine, hence the need for the party to give total support for victory in next year’s elections.
“We will work together to sustain the good things Governor Nyesom Wike has done”, Fubara declared.
Commending the sportsmanship displayed by his fellow aspirants, Fubara praised their zeal but reminded them that, “this is not victory for Fubara; but victory for the party and moving the state forward.”
The PDP flagbearer urged the aspirants to work with him to ensure the party’s victory next year.
On his part, the Governor Nyesom Wike said the victory of Fubara was the decision of the party members who voted, “this is how Almighty God has willed it.”
In his speech, the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike thanked the aspirants in the primaries for abiding by the peoples’ decision, reminding them that, “loyalty is not easy but with what we have achieved, it’s difficult for the PDP to lose election in this state.”
The governor pleaded with all members to join forces to win the elections now that a candidate has emerged.
In the coming weeks, the governor hinted that a committee would be constituted towards uniting and mobilising for victory in the 2023 elections.
By: Kevin Nengia
NYCN Hails Fubara’s Choice As Rivers PDP Guber Candidate
The leadership of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) has hailed the emergence of Hon Siminialaye Joseph Fubara as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the governorship election in Rivers State.
In a statement in Port Harcourt, Chairman, NYCN, Chijioke Ihunwo congratulated Sim Fubara on his emergence as the candidate of PDP in Rivers State.
The statement read, “His Youthfulness, AmbIhunwo Chijioke, the chairman of National Youth Council of Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter and South-South zone, has congratulated, Mr. Sim Fubara, on his victory as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship candidate in Rivers State, for the forthcoming Governorship election.
“The youth leader of Rivers State stated that the victory of Mr. Sim Fubara is a significant indication that the delegates of People’s Democratic Party appreciate his efforts in the party and trust that he has the capacity to unite and continue in the awesome works of the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike.”
According to the youth chairman, “Mr. Sim Fubara’s victory is a resounding vote of confidence in his ability and leadership skills, which he has demonstrated while serving as the Accountant General of Rivers State, and also signifies that the People’s Democratic Party are committed to a democratic process.”
The number one youth leader, however, noted that “other aspirants and leaders of the party should unite and rally round Mr. Sim Fubara in the task of winning the Governorship election come 2023.
“Additionally, the chairman commended the leader of the party, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, for giving all aspirants a level playing ground and other leaders of the party for their efforts in making the primary election a peaceful one.
“The apex youth leader assured Mr. Sim Fubara that Rivers State youths, under his leadership will give him the needed support for him to emerge as the Executive Governor of the state”, the statement signed on his behalf by his Senior Special Assistant to the Chairman on (Media & Publicity), Amadi Eze, last Wednesday, indicated.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
2023: Obuah Assures Fubara, PDP Of Total Support
The former Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Bro Felix Obuah, has congratulated the winner of the party’s governorship primary in the state, Hon Siminialaye Joseph Fubara for his emergence, describing his victory as the only clear choice of PDP in the state.
Obuah, who gave the assurance in a statement he personally signed, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, also expressed his readiness to do all within his powers to ensure the emergence of Governor NyesomWike as the PDP Presidential flagbearer for the 2023 elections.
He said, “May I also use this singular opportunity to congratulate our party governorship flagbearer, my brother and friend, Hon. Siminialaye Fubara on your historic election. I wish you all the best and pledge my full support to ensure that our party again makes history by winning the governorship election in the state for three consecutive terms.
“As we celebrate the peaceful and successful governorship primary in Rivers State, we pray the good Lord also grant our mentor, leader, courageous and pragmatic Governor, Chief NyesomWike victory at the presidential primary.
“Once again, I pray that the good Lord will grant us the grace to forge on together as one united indivisible team and help us actualise our individual and collective aspirations under the leadership of our great party, PDP, irrespective of who occupies the driver’s seat”.
The statement read in full, “For some months now, we have witnessed a tense political atmosphere as our country, Nigeria plans to go through another transition in our democratic experiment which is hoped to come to a head with the 2023 general election.
“Consequently, there have been clamours among individuals and groups for certain persons including my humble self to come out as a prospective governorship aspirant in the state under the canopy of our great Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); somebody who has the capacity to sustain the great works and quality leadership of our brave and visionary Governor, Chief NyesomWike.
“The newspapers, the electronic and social media were all awash with such calls from all the nooks and crannies of the state, beckoning on me to just declare my interest.
“After some deep thought and wide consultations, I wholeheartedly accepted to run for the office of governor of Rivers State on the platform of PDP and also went ahead to obtain the nomination and interest forms in line with our party’s guidelines.
“This singular expression of interest gladdened the hearts of many of you, my ardent supporters within and outside the state.
“Even without my consent, many of you went on to campaign for me through the various sections of the mass media and other fora just for my sake.
“Sadly, that hope, that faith and joy may appear to have been dashed. This is the reason for this special message of hope and appreciation to all of you, my dearest friends, my supporters and my people.
“Let me first assure you that no hope is lost. The choice of who succeeds our dear governor is an exclusive party affair. This is what party loyalty is all about. It is not a personal affair.
“On Wednesday, May 25, 2022, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rivers State Chapter has spoken and a governorship candidate has emerged.
“As a faithful, loyal and committed party man, and the immediate state chairman of the party under whose watch by the grace of God, the party won the governorship election in the state back to back in 2015 and 2019, respectively, I must abide by the decisions of the party at all times even when the decisions are at variance with my personal convictions.
“Accordingly, I decided to withdraw and not contest the governorship primary election in the interest of the party.
“I hereby submit and surrender to the decision of the party. Election is not, and should not be a do-or-die-affair. Moreso, power comes from God. I cannot be a party to anything that may obstruct the course of victory for our party both at the state and national levels, or cause disaffection among our party leadership and members.
“I, therefore, enjoin my faithful supporters across the state not to be dismayed or lose hope for where there is a will, there must be a way.
“I sincerely appeal to you to take every development about the governorship primary in the state in good faith. A renowned writer once said, ‘When hope is lost, when faith dies, the man is dead’.
“As long as we remain alive and trust in God, surely, there are better days ahead.
“I am a peacemaker and according to Matthew 5:9, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God’.
“I, once again, call for peace in the PDP and amongst my teeming supporters. United we stand, divided we fall. I thank you all for all your support my social media friends, journalists, Northern groups, Indigenes without Borders, youth groups, churches, Christian organizations, my own people of Omoku, Orashi region, all members of the PDP family across the state, my supporters outside the state, Team Felix Obuah in the 23 LGAs, Go-Round TV, Bro Felix Obuah (BFO) groups, Goround 23, Youth Earnestly Ask For Obuah, ONELGA Political Forum, OtuOzimini Age Grade of Ogba Kingdom, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, Rivers State, and many others.
“I am extremely grateful to the Oba of Ogbaland and Council of Chiefs, my stewards/cooks, drivers, my lovely wife and children for their understanding.
“I am also extending my appreciation to all those who signed my nomination form, management and staff of National Network newspaper, Goround Revolution Group, Rivers Women, Rivers Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), women and youths, my personal aides, my Special Adviser on Media and Publicity and others too numerous to mention.
“I also thank you for complying with my appeal to all my supporters via a press statement on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 ahead of the Governorship primary scheduled for Wednesday, May 25, 2022.
“Following an insight, I was compelled to sue for calm amongst my numerous supporters across the state.
“That press statement, which was widely circulated, published on the electronic and print media as well as the social media was timely as it doused tension and pacified those who were already agitated.
“I also did mention in the statement that the party is supreme in all matters and I would stand by the decision of the party”, Obuah said.
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