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Posts tagged ‘Congress for Progressive Change’

Nigeria to pay N12m to each delegate at the confab; Bakare says he won’t receive allowance.


 

Serving Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has said that he will not partake of the N12m to be paid to each delegate to the three-month National Conference to be inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday (today).
Bakare, representing Ogun State at the conference, said he made the decision not to collect the money to be paid to delegates by the Federal Government in order to dispel any speculation that his motivation for accepting to take part in the conference was material.
Each of the 492 delegates to the National Conference would be paid N4m per month for the three month duration and this has been the subject of controversy with some Nigerians condemning the amount to be spent.
Announcing to his church members that he had accepted to be a delegate to the conference, Bakare told the congregation that he would be giving them weekly report as the conference progressed.
He said, “A friend of mine called me this (Sunday) morning that he heard on the radio that ‘Pastor Bakare had accepted to go, that his own fee is N12m’. Pastor Bakare will not take a kobo in the National Conference.
“I will not take a penny. It has nothing to do with others; that is by choice. We go with integrity of heart, it is not money. The God of heaven will prosper us.
“What I say here is what I will do there. I do not say others should do it, but I intend to do that so that our heart can remain pure. That does not mean the hearts of others are not pure but I don’t want anybody to think in any slight manner that the motive is this.
“This is the moment we have been waiting for, for this end I was born. Nigeria will be saved, Nigeria will be changed, and Nigeria will become great.”
Bakare explained that before he decided to be a delegate, he sought the approval of Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the man to whom the cleric was a running mate on the platform of Congress for Progressive Change in the 2011 presidential election.
He said, “Before I answered the call, before I said yes, I called General Buhari that ‘I don’t want our stands on this national conference issue to be different. The governor of Ogun State put me on his list, the Elders of South-West put me on their list. What do you say?’
“He said the All Progressives Congress might not be going, but you are free to go because you never can tell how God will help our nation. That does not mean I am in APC. People have been asking, ‘are you in APC,’ ‘are you in PDP?’ I have told you, I am on the side of God. In this season I don’t know until we fix Nigeria.”
by PUNCH
(From Biafra Galaxy)

Pot Calling The Kettle Black By Hannatu Musawa.


 

Columnist:

Hannatu Musawa

Some days back I had the bizarre experience of reading a statement made by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesman, Olisa Metuh, on the just concluded nationwide membership registration exercise by the All Progressives Congress (APC). Bizarre, because, not only did Mr. Metuh accuse the APC of a plot to disrupt the 2015 general elections using its membership registration as the platform, the premise of his allegation lay on the notion that the APC would collude with INEC in order to manipulate the electoral process.

PDP, through Mr. Metuh, alleged that the opposition party was planning to register 28 million phantom members, which it maintained the APC was planning to use as a plot, in conjunction with INEC, to claim victory in the 2015 general election and to “truncate the current democratic process”. Mr. Metuh further stated that part of the plot by the APC was to use the “fraudulent membership” registration to hype up a phantom public support, after which it would declare a particular bogus figure and create a false impression of massive public followership ahead of the 2015 general elections.

Hopefully Mr. Metuh, understanding the sheer hypocrisy of his claim will appreciate the irony of the black pot trying to call the teakettle black in this instance.

At first glance, I suspected that the statement was a cleverly disguised satirical piece; Mr. Metuh was not trying to be serious, he was trying to prove that in addition to being an eloquent and skilled orator, he is also a master of the ever-subtle art of ironic humor. For if not that, why would he speak and make suggestions to the Nigerian populace in a manner that one would address kindergarten students on their very first day in school?

The allegation he made that INEC is in collusion with the APC to rig the 2015 election is indeed so absurd and incongruous that one can’t imagine how he kept a straight face when making it. While we can come up with all sorts of punch lines for such a joke, it must be said that, on the contrary, it is believed by a large number of Nigerians that it is the PDP that has, since our nascent democratic dispensation, been in connivance with the electoral body to rig elections.

As proof for the purported connivance between INEC and APC, Mr. Metuh went ahead to present the fact that the APC registration-exercise was being conducted in INEC election centers and buildings. In reality, the INEC buildings in question are public infrastructures and public buildings, such as schools and people have the right to use these buildings legally. In fact, in various localities where the registration took place, the indigenous people recognized the right of the party to utilize these structures and, in all cases, lent their full and unwavering support to the party. Accordingly, and in a swift reaction to the allegation and claims of the PDP, INEC debunked the claims that it was aiding APC, adding that the commission has no monopoly, right or control over public structures.

To accuse the APC of planning to rig the 2015 elections is one thing, but to further allege that the APC is carrying out some covert and Machiavellian scheme, together with INEC, in order to rig the 2015 elections sounds ridiculous to the average human brain. The thought of INEC working with an opposition party in order to topple a government that it has allegedly been unfairly assisting in the past three elections is an interesting and laughable notion. But it would be very difficult for anyone to be convinced that Mr. Metuh does himself believe that INEC is unfairly working with an opposition party, against the ruling party in this day, in Nigeria. Or perhaps he believes that come the 2015 elections, Martians will descend from Uranus down into Nigeria (INEC specifically), and blow green fairy dust into the eyes of the electoral umpires which will equip them with the super power of creating a level playing ground, of which PDP will not be given an undue advantage over every other party.

Although the entirety of Mr. Metuh’s statement was laced with the usual bravado expressed by the PDP, a more intense scrutiny exposes nervousness on the part of the ruling party, which most likely was triggered by the acceptance and overwhelming support the APC has been getting and generating.

A great deal of what Mr. Metuh described takes the form of a cleverly scripted, tried and tested strategy. Almost as if he was describing the kind of strategy that the PDP has been allegedly accused of applying in past elections. Call me sneering, but there just maybe some truth to the adage; “it takes one to know one!”

If, as the ruling party described, pupils and students were being lured by the APC to get the passport photographs of their parents in order to have them secretly affixed to the APC membership forms without the knowledge of the parents, then the PDP has a responsibility to expose this or any other fraud or face the accusation themselves that they know about this strategy solely because it is one that they may have used in the past.

But out of the whole statement that Mr. Metuh made, the most shocking was the claim that the APC is “currently using every foul means at its disposal to build a particular membership figure, running into tens of millions, which it intends to use as a justification to fault, dispute, reject and subsequently take to violence when it loses the 2015 general elections.” Forget the fact that Mr. Metuh used the mandatory term ‘when’ as opposed to ‘if’, giving the impression that he’s some sort of clairvoyant with the power to see that PDP has already won the 2015 election, one would hope that accompanying such a serious claim of violence would be some evidence. Or are we supposed to accept this solely on the fluffy words of Mr. Metuh? Curious however, is that despite the harsh tone and dire warning of Armageddon woven throughout his statement, Mr. Metuh ignores the fact that he has raised a very serious and dire security alarm, of which he has a duty, as a Nigerian, to report to the appropriate security department and furnish them with the evidence to support such a strong claim, especially in the present volatile atmosphere in Nigeria. If Mr. Metuh genuinely believes that the APC is already planning for violence should it lose the 2015 elections and he knows for a fact that APC will lose the election, then he really has a duty to step up and offer any information he knows to the state security so that they can investigate, first the threat of violence and second, the conspiracy to rig the 2015 election. Even if the party of which he speaks for is part of such a conspiracy and desperately wants to maintain this diversion tactic ruse, he has a patriotic duty to step up and do right by Nigeria.

Forging ahead in his bid to discredit the gains the APC has achieved within a year of its formation using the words and method that he did, what Mr. Metuh really did was expose real fear on behalf of the PDP. If anybody thought otherwise, Mr. Metuh’s statement has made it very clear that the PDP is troubled by the popularity, acceptance, and alternative Nigerians have accorded the APC. After all, in just over a year of its existence as a political party in Nigeria, it currently occupies about 58 seats in the 109 seats in the Senate, 172 seats out of the 360 seats in the House of Representatives, and 16 governors out of the 36 states in the country. These commendable figures are expected to increase tremendously after next year’s elections, as the APC is poised to upstage and unseat the ruling party in many constituencies. Maybe that would explain the real reason why Mr. Metuh is already fidgeting and representing PDP in the light of the party that cried wolf.
Despite Mr. Metuh’s accusation of an attempted declaration of a particular bogus membership figure running into tens of millions, creating a false impression of massive public followership by the APC, there is little doubt that he himself, surreptitiously also believes what most the rest of the world knows to be true: that the majority of PDP members are unceasingly abandoning the party and joining an alternative platform. For now, APC seems to be the biggest beneficiary. And as a result of that and the fact that the APC is a merger of different opposition parties — Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and part of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), APC is bound to be larger than any of the legacy parties were before. This would indeed automatically explain the increase of its membership figures, boosted by new and formerly undecided and disillusioned Nigerians who are merely looking for a way out of the confused quagmire the nation finds itself.

Instead of praising the party for its contribution so far to the democratic process by creating an atmosphere where Nigerians are interested in participating in the political development of this nation, Mr. Metuh choose to view the cup from a position where it appears to be half empty. Instead of commending the APC on its fulfillment of the requisite political plurality obtainable in other democratic climes and opening up democratic liberty so as to enable Nigerians choose whichever political party platform they so wished, PDP has resorted to cheap quibbling, crying wolf and attempting to deter optimistic Nigerians who are so desperate for change, desperate for something new.

In fact, one could say that Mr. Metuh’s rhetoric is a deliberate attempt by the ruling party to dissuade the enthusiastic teeming populace from coming out en masse in partaking and becoming members of an alternative and formidable party, the first of its kind since 1999, capable of wresting power from the ruling party.

The intended audience of Mr. Metuh’s speech was meant to be the average Nigerian but, of that audience, only those who are willing to gullibly be led down the dark alley yet again would have fully absorbed the marrow of his words. Nigerians have for too long been the naïve cheerleaders of the power brokers who have done us so wrong. But the scars from 15 years of PDP corruption and lies have left profound grooves in the minds of Nigerians who dared to hope and believe while they were so compellingly made.

Nigerians have evidently had enough. When the PDP puts out a statement saying: “We wish to remind the APC that no political party has the monopoly of mischief,” one can only laugh out loud. Because, despite the fact that PDP is the party that has allegedly thrived on mischief, guile and deceitfulness over the past 15 years, they are the ones who are unashamedly crying foul loudest in the face of a formidable adversary.

Thus, as the PDP and Mr. Metuh continues to cry foul about election malpractices, one hopes that they fully understand the sheer hypocrisy and irony of their claim. And if one was ever to look for a case of the pot calling the kettle black, then they need not look any further than this PDP’s cry wolf.

Article Written by Hannatu Musawa

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Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Nigeria Secret Police Release US-Based Medical Practitioner & Lawyer Detained Over “Online Activism”.


 

Emmanuel Fashakin
By SaharaReporters, New York

Nigeria’s secret police today arrested and later released a United States based medical practitioner, Emmanuel Fashakin on arrival at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport.

Dr. Fashakin is an older brother of Rotimi Fashakin, former spokesman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) arrived on Arik airline flight into Lagos only to be detained by the SSS.

The doctor, who is also a lawyer, is well known on Nigerian listservs for his comments on the state of affairs in Nigeria.

His lawyer, Bamidele Aturu confirmed the arrest and subsequent release an hour ago to Saharareporters, stating that he was held for several hours in the custody of the SSS both at the airport and its Kingsway road offices in Ikoyi Lagos.

The arrest of Dr. Fashakin offers evidence that the Goodluck Jonathan government is opening a new front not in the war against Nigeria’s problems of which it has become a part, but on critics of bad governance.

In his letter to the Director General of the SSS, which was copied to the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Aturu called for his client to be released immediately.

He pointed out that it is indefensible to subject a person who had been on an eleven hour non-stop flight to the physical and psychological stress of detention which cause is not divulged for hours.

The lawyer also stressed that the detention constitutes an unwarranted violation of the right of Dr. Fashakin to respect for the dignity of his person and not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment as guaranteed by section 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, Articles 4 and 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and all other International Human Rights Instruments.

“Since no reason has been advanced for the detention of our client, we want to believe that it has nothing to do with his well-known expression on the internet of opinions about how to advance democracy in Nigeria and ensure that our people are rescued from the abyss of inexplicable poverty occasioned by greed and graft,” he said.  “Whatever may be the case, we would like to make it clear the arrest and detention of our client is unacceptable and that we shall implacably seek all possible and known legal remedies on his behalf.”

Demanding that Dr. Fashakin be released within 24 hours, Mr. Aturu said he would otherwise be compelled to take all lawful and necessary steps to ensure that the rights of his client are protected, including going to court.

It would be recalled that only last week, President Jonathan threatened to sue SaharaReporters for libel for reporting on the seedy and corrupt tendencies of his government.

“As unregulated as they are, SaharaReporters and their ilk are not beyond the bounds of legal action for libel and willful defamation of the character and reputation of a President who has courageously stepped forward to serve his country,” presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said.

Nigerians believe Mr. Jonathan’s government to be the most corrupt and hypocritical in the country’s history, and even his former Internet fans who supported him in the 2011 elections continue to say so in various fora.

Do Nigerian Political Parties Have Defined Ideologies? By Abiola Solanke.


By Abiola Solanke

“Do they say they are democrats and they want to contest the next elections and they annulled June 12? We must resist and take control of our future, we must not forget history. We must go back to the basis.’’- Asiwaju Bola Tinubu- September 6, 2010

‘’ A lot of our leaders have been there before now; they have seen Nigeria largely and governed the country. We have to look for them as we plan for the future.’’- Asiwaju Bola Tinubu- November 13th, 2013

“A political party without a consistent ideological predisposition is like an individual who does not believe in anything, and that is dangerous for the country.” (Professor Charles Soludo, former CBN governor)

A Political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence or entirely control government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Ideology is a set of conscious and unconscious ideas that constitute ones goals, expectations and actions. (wikipedia). Political parties are thus the platform with which individuals obtain power and hold on to power.

Following the return to democratic rule in 1999, five political parties came into being, of these five parties, two were dominant, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD). The AD metamorphosed into the Action Congress which later became the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Early this year, the opposition parties mainly the defunct ACN, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and some section of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) merged together as the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The Merger Opposition party, All Progressives Congress came into being at a time that Nigerians desperately needed a change from the old order of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but not a few Nigerians believe it was not bound to be different from the PDP on account of the fellows who came together to constitute the party. Also historic was the fact that the party was registered about the same time that some PDP dissidents walked out on the party’s National convention and set up a parallel secretariat.

Many Nigerians hoped that the birth of the APC would give the PDP a good run for its money but unfortunately it has portrayed itself as not being different from the PDP thus shattering the hope of Nigerians for a credible alternative.

All over the world, parties are differentiated based on what they stand for in economic policies, social issues, welfare issues, etc. But in Nigeria, parties are defined based on the personalities in the party and not on any defined ideology to contemporary issues. The APC has portrayed itself as a party with no clear ideology from the PDP. Truly, a lot of Nigerians are disenchanted with the reign of the PDP in the past fourteen years. The PDP has been regarded as the Poverty Development Party, a party of rogues, criminals, thieves, corrupt fellows and all sorts of adjectives have been used to qualify the failure of the party to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.

Since PDP is just a name, it is therefore expected that the helmsmen who presided over the PDP and held offices in its name would not be found anywhere near a party which seeks to create a new order from the past but unfortunately, the opposition has now become safe haven for past PDP goons. The opposition has now become the ‘home’ for past PDPites. It is alarming that a party which seeks to displace the PDP is parading the same people who have milked the country dry and yet expect Nigerians to take it seriously!

When one takes a look at those who teamed up to form the APC, the number of ex-PDP this and that is alarming! Prominent figures like, Aminu-Bello Masari (Ex-speaker) Nasir-El Rufai (a former Minister), Audu Ogbeh (former PDP National Chairman) Hassan Lawal (former works minister), John Oyegun, George Akume et al have suddenly become ‘born-again’ and have been integrated into the party! Has that taken away the fact that they are the ones who have taken this country to the pitiable state that we are today?

One worrying dimension to this clear lack of distinction between the PDP and the APC is the attempt by the leadership of the APC to woo the G-7 governors of the PDP to their side. The G-7 governors have been having a running battle with the PDP leadership and have therefore been meeting to fashion out their next move. It was thus shameful to see APC leaders mounting the podium and referring to the ‘rebel governors’ as men of courage, bastions of democracy and all sorts of dubious appellations all in a bid to make them join their party!. These Governors who were elected on the platform of the PDP and have run their states with so much impunity have suddenly become men of ‘strong character’ overnight in the view of the APC!. It is on record that before now, the ACN has severely lampooned these PDP governors either for not developing their states, not constructing roads, corruption, intimidating opposition and all sorts but all that does not matter now as long as the APC needs their clouts, money, influence and followers to develop itself!

Perhaps, more shameful was the visit of these so-called progressives to the number one enemy of anything called democracy in Nigeria, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB). The self styled ‘evil-genius’ is anything but democratic, he should not be associated with anything democracy after all the atrocities he wrecked on Nigeria in and out of office. One will not be surprised therefore to see the so called Progressives re-christen people like Bode George, Alao-Akala , Depriye Alamesiegha and co, wash their ‘sins’ and term them ‘heroes of democracy’ all in the name of seeking for membership!

It is shameful that a party which seeks to convince Nigerians that it is different from the old order is hobnobbing with the same man who is one of those responsible for the sorry state of the Nation today. These unholy frolicking has exposed the party as a party with no clear ideology from the PDP and thus not in anyway different from them. It is obvious that the party would do anything to have the ‘bad guys’ in its midst and thereafter portray them to be saints.

The APC have always told us that nothing good can come out of the PDP, how come the party is now absorbing the ‘remains’ of the same party they have severely vilified?. How come its leaders can conveniently sit in the same seat with those who have looted our collective wealth? How come its leaders are not uncomfortable dining in the same table with those who have destroyed our economy, looted our treasury and have divided us along ethnic and religious lines.

The APC has only told us not to take it serious when next it lampoons any PDP official because he/she may ‘repent’ and be made ‘clean’ in the hands of the ‘progressives’.

That a man defects from the PDP and teams up with the APC do not make him a saint overnight. In fact if people find it easy to cross carpet from one political party to another in our political system, it only means there are no clear-cut and defined ideologies and this makes them all the same.

Political parties in the US and UK are defined by their ideologies on managing the economy, solving unemployment, fighting crime etc. That is why it is almost impossible to see the politicians defect anyhow. There are clear-cut ideologies which the party is built upon but this is absent in our Political space. There is an urgent need for our political parties to define their ideologies.

This has once again made it imperative to have independent candidates contest elections. I think it is high time the senate reviews the electoral act to make space for independent candidacy. That is the way to go for individuals who do not believe in the current political arrangement. As it stands today, Nigerians can now make their choice on where they want to align to, the Original PDP or its photocopy (popularly called APC) or choose to remain indifferent.

Abiola Solanke, writes from Abeokuta, Ogun State and can be reached viaabinistyy@yahoo.com or follow me on Twitter, @abinistyy

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

North doesn’t care where president comes from – Senator Kanti Bello.


kanti-bello

In the Sixth National Assembly, Katsina State-born senator, Alhaji Kanti Bello, represented Katsina North. He was not only the Chief Whip of the Senate but also an outspoken member of the assembly. He would be remembered as the man, who spear-headed the campaign against confirming Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as acting president, in the absence of late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua, who was in hospital abroad.

Now a chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bello, in this interview, has accused the government of being responsible for insecurity in the country. He insists that Major-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari is not only the answer to corruption in the country, but also the person, who could sanitise the nation.

Senator Bello said that President Jonathan has failed Nigerians and would be kicked out of office in 2015. He speaks of system collapse, how some northern politicians sold out and betrayed him and the entire North in 2011, for their selfish interests, why he left the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) for APC and the

General Ibrahim Babangida connection.

Most Nigerians only know you as a former senator. Could you tell us other things about you that may interest Nigerians?

I was born in Ingawa Local Government Area of Katsina State. I’m a graduate of Engineering from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Kaduna State. I was born 67 years ago. I have worked in various capacities from Project Manager, in the then North Central State to Project Manager and coordinator of construction and mining of Katsina Rolling Mill. I was the first Managing Director of the Katsina Rolling Mill under the Federal Ministry of Mines, Power and Steel. I later left for business.

In 1989, the late Major-Gen Shehu Musa Yar’Adua invited me to join politics and I was the first Chairman of Peoples Front (PF) in Katsina State and the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was my secretary. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua tried to register PF, but Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (IBB) banned it and created his ‘little to the left and a little to the right’ Social Democratic Party (SDP) and National Republican Convention (NRC). I was elected senator in 1992 during the era of what the late Chief Bola Ige (SAN) called the five lSeprous fingers from 1997-98 on the platform of the Democratic Peoples Movement (DPM), before we were kicked out by the late Gen. Sani Abacha and co. In 1999, I wasn’t keen to seek elective post, but I came back to the Senate in 2003, on the platform of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP).

In 2007, I was re-elected senator on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). I left PDP 12 months ago because I realised that PDP is a party that has many problems. There is no way I will be in a party and my conscience would be bothering me and I will remain there. Every morning you wake-up, you will hear that the PDP-led government has spent billions of naira on projects and you won’t see what they spent the money on. The next day it’s either oil subsidy or pension scam. Having seen what is happening and the high level of corruption in government, I had no option but to leave the PDP, with the aim of joining a party that can move Nigeria higher and together we will save the country. It is obvious that the country is sinking. Nigeria is in an unfortunate situation and we must salvage it from insecurity, corruption and economic backwardness. The system has collapsed.

Some of us, especially in the area I come from, the North, want to do something to rescue the nation. This is some of the reasons I left the PDP for Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). I wanted to be part of a mega-party that can confront the PDP, hence, the reason for the merger of major opposition parties (APC), all for the sake of saving Nigeria from disintegrating. We want to do this by the coming together of patriotic Nigerians, to do something to salvage the situation we find ourselves. This is the summary of where I am today.

Alhaji Mohammed Abba-Gana, former minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), recently told the North to forget the presidency in 2015 and wait for 2019. His reason is that the North has no popular candidate that can defeat President Jonathan. What is your take on this?

People, like Alhaji Abba-Gana, are entitled to their opinions, but let me explain some points Abba-Gana seems not to know. I don’t care whether the president comes from the North, East, West or South. What I’m saying is that we need somebody and people who can bring about change. I believe Abba-Gana is from Borno State and I’m sure that today, he cannot visit his state. He is here in Abuja talking nonsense. It is a pity that a man of Abba-Gana’s standing had the guts to say that the North should forget the presidency in 2015. This shows that he is a sycophant. He cannot visit his state, because of insecurity, yet he wants a government that cannot provide him security to continue. He is not a true northerner. Maybe he is not aware what’s happening in the area I come from, the North. Before 1999, for instance, Kaduna and Kano states had over 400 industries, but from 1999 till date, all these companies have almost closed down. Before 1999, they were in operation. Unfortunately, this moment I’m talking to you, we have less than six industries working in Kano hence; millions of people have lost their jobs.

For me, I feel touched by this situation. If you go to Kaduna, which was my former state capital before the creation of Kastina State, all the textile industries that employed thousands of Nigerians are dead. It is funny that since PDP came into power, billions of naira had been spent in trying to provide electricity for the nation and to power our industries; yet, power generation since 1999 has not gone beyond 3,000 mega watts. If not because of corruption, we should be talking about 30,000 mega watts. However, up till now, the nation produces less than 3, 000mw of electricity and every time government tells us that it’s planning to improve on power, but all are lies. Now, government has succeeded in selling Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and I can assure you that there is no hope because the same persons have bought it. I don’t see any solution to power problem under the present government. This government has no direction.

So, for Abba-Gana to say that this government should continue, I would say because he can’t go to Maiduguri, as he is comfortable in Abuja, he wants the present administration to continue. He doesn’t know what is happening at home. He cannot visit his place, that is why he says the government that is shares in the blame for insecurity should continue. It is not a question of North producing the president; the truth is that, the ruling PDP has to go if we want this country to be great. PDP, as a system, must be kicked out and only patriotic Nigerians can do this. It is not a question of grooming somebody. Who groomed Jonathan? President Jonathan started as Deputy Governor and ended up as President. As I speak with you, I cannot drive from Abuja to my state, Katsina, without fear of being killed. That is the situation we find ourselves in Nigeria under this administration. We sleep with one eye open because of insecurity and someone is saying that this should continue. The same government under whose regime all our industries died. We are a nation of over 160 million people that cannot boast of one solid industry that can employ a good number of Nigerians. The cloths you and I and every Nigerian are putting on are imported from China because there is no electricity to drive our economy. A good number of Nigerians cannot afford a square meal and somebody wants this government to continue because of sectional reason. Who said the North is insisting on a northern president. We are insisting on the best to govern Nigeria, no matter the zone, tribe or religion. That is the point we are trying to make.

But you knew all these before you left ANPP for PDP. What is your reason for joining the ruling party?

Thank you very much. Between 2003 and 2007 I was in the Senate under the umbrellas of ANPP and PDP. It is on record that I was in the forefront to ensure that democracy was sustained through my contributions, the bills I sponsored and the motions I moved. The records are there. Well, after we stopped (Olusegun) Obasanjo’s third term, my party entered into unfortunate situation. I called it unfortunate because in ANPP there were certain forces that were liars, hence the constitution of the party stipulated that the outgoing executive officers should nominate a caretaker committee before a congress was held to elect a new exco. Gen. (Muhammadu) Buhari, is my mentor. He was my head boy in school and I was one of those who encouraged him to go into politics. I respect him not because he is General and former head of state, but because he is not corrupt and can salvage the country. However, some party members, after the outgoing nominated the caretaker committee, went and sold some dummy and lies to Buhari. Some of these people are still in the Senate. Unfortunately, Buhari made a mistake by believing them, even though I did what I did for the interest of the party because I had no ulterior motive.

There was one serving senator from my state. He was good at making mischief. They went and told Buhari that the outgoing exco should not be dissolved, even though it was against the party’s constitution. Remember, I told you that former President Yar’Adua was my secretary in PF. We started politics together, and we were members of one big family. If there is anybody I respect so much, that person is Buhari. So, I respect him not because he was a head of state, but because he is not corrupt. Unfortunately, he acted just like every other human being by supporting an unconstitutional act. He was misinformed by liars. When this happened, I was not happy. So, the late President Yar’Adua, then governor of Kastina State, who had been my friend, asked me to come over to PDP and help him. He explained to me that he was eyeing the presidency. He told me that he would be a good president and I believed him because he was not corrupt too and with the quarrel in ANPP, I agreed to assist him.

When I joined PDP, Yar’Adua asked me what I wanted? He asked whether I would run for governor or he should make me a minister. I told him that since he asked me to come and assist him, I would want to go back to the Senate, not for selfish interest, but to help formulate good legislation that would assist him give Nigerians quality leadership and dividends of democracy. Yar’Adua said, no problem. So, I ran for Senate and won. When I got there, even though I came from the same state with President Yar’Adua, I was made the Chief Whip on merit, a position I held for four years. So, the reason I left PDP for APC is because a lot of liars are in the ruling party. There is one senator from my state who is good at sowing discord among party members. He is still in the Senate. I’m surprised at his attitude to life.

Since the North presided over the affairs of the nation more than other zones, many believed that system failure started under Northern leaders in government. What do you think?

Why are you people always referring to this? It is not public opinion but misrepresentation of statistics. When Northerners presided over the affairs of this nation we made progress. You people have forgotten that the South has ruled Nigeria more than the North under democratic rule. For instance, there was an election in 1960 and Alhaji Tafawa Balewa won and ruled Nigeria from 1960 to 1966; that is six years. Then, there was a military coup, Gen Aguiyi-Ironsi ruled for six months and Gen. Yakubu Gowon toppled him and ruled for nine years. Remember, nobody elected General Aguiyi-Ironsi and Gowon. Nigerians did not elect them. Why are you people always saying the North has ruled Nigeria more than the South? Gowon was not elected but ruled for nine years. After Gowon, Gen Murtala Muhammed ruled for six months and Obasanjo took over and ruled for 42 months. Obasanjo is a Southerner.

Now let’s do the calculation, Obasanjo did 42 months. Shagari came and did four years before Buhari came and did two years and was toppled by his colleague, Babangida, who did eight years. Chief Ernest Shonekan did three months. Then, Gen. Sani Abacha toppled him and ruled for five years and six months of Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar. Obasanjo was elected President in 1999 to 2007. Again, he did eight years. Yar’Adua did two years. If you put all this together, you discovered that Balewa, Shagari and Yar’Adua were the only elected leaders from the North and they did a total of 12 years. How many years did Obasanjo do? He did eight years and if you plus it with President Jonathan’s six years you will discover that the North has done a total of 12 years under elected government, while the South has done 14. Therefore, the South has ruled Nigeria two years more than the North.

If you talk about leaders and the number of years they spent, the South has ruled Nigeria more than the North. Those military leaders, who came to power through the barrel of the gun, did not come with the mandate of the people, hence you cannot take that to mean that the North has ruled Nigeria more than the South. The question is, under what manifesto or constitution did these military leaders preside over the nation? They were soldiers and it was pure military affair. But under democratically elected government, the South is likely going to rule for 16 years if Jonathan completes his tenure, while the North has done 12 years. But this is not the issue. The issue is: we don’t care about where the president comes from in 2015. He or she can come from the North, South- West, South-East or South-South, but he or she must be a Nigerian who can do the job. The only reason we are talking about the North is because we have somebody who can do the job and that person is Gen. Buhari. He is not corrupt. The cancer we have in this country is corruption and we need a political surgeon to remove that cancer and the person that can remove it is somebody who is not corrupt. It has been proved that Buhari is not corrupt. Therefore, if Nigerians want to remove this cancer, they should elect him not because he is a northerner but because he has the tools and capacity to do the job. Buhari is Nigeria’s Nelson Mandela.

Many believed that your inability to return to the Senate was as a result of your role in Jonathan’s presidency?

Yes, it is true.

So, PDP refused you a ticket?

I was sabotaged by my governor and PDP because of my stand that Jonathan should allow the North complete its two terms of eight years. Do you know that there was a rumour that I was dead during the 2011 elections and the people cried and tore their voters’ cards? The Department of Security Service (DSS) was aware and those behind it were not arrested, as government was aware of it too. They didn’t want me to come back to the Senate. I did my best through the media to say I was alive at least for the people to hear my voice but they told the people that it wasn’t my voice. In spite of that, there were top shots in the state. For instance, Keita. He actually came out openly to campaign and voted against me and he was involved in anti-party activities against me and at the end, the governor compensated him by giving the son an appointment. Today, the same Keita is criticising the Jonathan administration. I don’t know what he sees now that he did not see before, that made him got involved in anti party activities against me. Let me make it clear. I have nothing against Jonathan, but my problem with him is the way he emerged as PDP candidate. I’m a conservative. Do you know why? I’m somebody who sticks to the rule and I want people to stick to the rule.

I told you earlier why I had problem with the ANPP, because they broke the rules and because I wanted the rules to be followed. They frustrated me out of the party. PDP, the South and Jonathan as a leader, are expected to uphold that principle in PDP constitution and allow the North complete its tenure, but they went ahead to reverse it. That is the issues the North has with Jonathan. Even the National Assembly discarded that aspect of the constitution and Obasanjo, who is supposed, as an elderly statesman, to oppose illegality followed suit, but I thank God today; he and Jonathan are having issues of distrust and betrayal. They can no longer agree. So, I came out boldly to say this was unconstitutional and I left to assist Babangida, who I believed would have been a better president, hence, I accepted to be the Deputy Director of his campaign organisation and I have no regret doing so. It is not something personal or that I don’t like Jonathan, but I want the system to work and the game should be played according to the rules. Democracy cannot work without following the rules and that is the problem we face in our democracy.

Some people believed that I hate Jonathan. That is why sycophants made sure I did not return to the Senate. One quality I have, which nobody can take away from me, is that I always obey the rules and principles. I’m a strict person and I cannot be bent to do injustice. I worked so hard for Governor Ibrahim Shema to win the governorship of my state. I did it because I had not left PDP. If I want to fight you, I will come out openly. I’m not the kind person who pretends to like you while in my mind I don’t like you.

Politically, the North is no longer united because the Middle Belt was behind Jonathan during the 2011 elections and it is still with him. What’s the fate of the core North?

My friend, there’s nothing like the Middle Belt is with Jonathan. Who told you that the North is no longer united? Wait till 2015; we will know whether the North is united politically or not. The result of last presidential election shows that Buhari won in Niger State and Niger is in the Middle Belt. There were split of votes in Nasarawa that, also is in the North Central. Of course, he did not win in Kwara, Kogi, Plateau and Benue states. But he had substantial votes in these states. So, in the Middle Belt it’s 50-50 between Buhari and Jonathan. That is why I hate what is going on in the country. They are trying to incite Christians against Muslims in the Middle Belt to kill each other. Let’s call a spade a spade. The religious disharmony in the North is created by government. I have no grudges against Christians, but all I’m saying is that anybody who tries to differentiate Middle Belt from the rest of the North should forget it because in 2015, the North will speak with one voice. I repeat, I don’t care which part of the country the next president comes from; all I want is a Nigerian president. The votes that will make Buhari the President will come across the country. Insecurity in the North-East should be handled with care because the zone represents 40 percent of the nation’s population. We must be careful, so that the insurgency does not extend to other zones. This country belongs to all of us.

Many believed Boko Haram is the creation of some Northern politicians. Before the emergence of Jonathan as president some leaders from the region said they would make the country ungovernable if he won. What is your take?

That is propaganda. It is not true. How can a few people make Nigeria ungovernable? Is it the fault of the North that our industries are not functioning and there’s youth restiveness because of unemployment? Is it the region that made the power sector not to work? Obasanjo and Jonathan’s administrations had spent trillions of naira on power; yet only 3,000mw of electricity could be generated? Is it our fault that the nation could not generate enough electricity to drive her industrial sector? Are we the one making the nation ungovernable? Why do people blame the North for Jonathan’s failure? The reality is that the people are hungry; poverty rate is higher than before; no jobs for our youths to do. So, blame Jonathan for insecurity in Nigeria.

Having lost thrice to become president, Buhari is warming up again, under APC. Do you think he will win this time?

My friend, Gen. Buhari is making sacrifice to save Nigeria from total collapse. Do you agree with me that Buhari is not corrupt? He owns no house anywhere in the country, including Abuja. Take a look at his colleagues, who were heads of state. They have lots of houses and investments all over the world. So, we need somebody who is not corrupt to help sanitise Nigeria and cure this cancer called corruption. There is no need pretending. The system has collapse. In most states, local government election has not been conducted for eight years and government is not bothered, hence, the reason there is no development in the rural areas. The constitution did not envisage this. The local government system and agriculture have collapsed and nobody is doing anything about it. People are busy stealing money.

So, we need one who can help us salvage the situation. Yes, I want Buhari to run for the presidency again and I’m sure this time, he will win, by the grace of God. It is not a question of APC; it is about you and I; it is about Nigerians, including the press, to help put an end to corruption and the only way we can do it is, by electing Buhari.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Rufai Hanga-Led CPC Faction Joins PDM.


 

By SaharaReporters, New York

A faction of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) led by its pioneer chairman, Senator Rufai Hanga, has merged with the newly registered Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) in Abuja, Nigeria‘s capital.

 

CPC had been embroiled in leadership tussle which had resulted in the emergence of two factions, with Mr. Tony Momoh leading one faction and Senator Hanga leading the other. The Momoh faction which had been recognised by Nigeria‘s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had fused with the All Progressives Congress (APC).

 

Speaking at the declaration of the merger with PDM Tuesday, Senator Hanga said their decision to become members of the PDM was based on the fact that the party has a track record of democracy and organisational discipline, adding that they believe in the party’s manifesto.

 

Hanga, who said his faction had experienced impunity and dictatorship at the highest level in CPC, pointed out that there is no other party in Nigeria at present that abides by the values of justice and equal treatment for all its members.

“Above all, we have confidence in the party’s leadership; its commitment to do justice to all as well as its pledge to treat all party members equally without discrimination of any kind. There is no other party in Nigeria today which abides by these values and there is no other party which is likely to do so, as far as we know,” he said.

According to him, their legal struggle still continues, adding that they have decided to join the PDM regardless of the outcome of the court ruling which is expected next Monday.

“This is a decision over which we had no control, although we have already undertaken extensive consultations and arrived at a decision on the course of action to take whichever way it goes.

“The pace of political events in Nigeria is moving at the speed of light. We do not want to play into the hands of the same destructive and undemocratic forces whose actions compelled us to seek redress in court. In the first place, by allowing political developments to pass us by while they organize to foist another fraudulent agenda on the nation we cherish so much. Doing so will be a great disservice,” he said.

 

Speaking to SaharaReporters on the merger, the National Chairman of PDM, Mallam Basher Ibrahim, said the declaration by Hanga’s faction of the CPC is a welcome development.

 

He said, “It is not a surprise that they have merged with us because we have been talking with them and their joining the PDM is the outcome of our discussions with them. They are welcomed and their joining us will add value to PDM.”

Now That The APC Is Licensed* By Sonala Olumhense.


Columnist:

Sonala Olumhense

I warmly welcome Nigeria’s newest political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

As constituted on February 6, 2013, the APC comprises the former All Progressive Grand Alliance, the Action Congress of Nigeria, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, and the Congress for Progressive Change.

As I understand it, the merger is to advance the best interests of Nigeria through correcting the lapses in our polity identified since 1999.

It is widely-known that those lapses are symbolized by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has wielded power at the centre since that time.

Now, the sins of the PDP are many.  So are its sinners.

But Nigeria’s sinners are not only in the PDP.  The PDP has become the symbol of Nigeria’s decay only because of its carnage in the center, but none of the parties that have held power in the States in the past 14 years are innocent.

In other words, the real issue is not the PDP; it is the Nigerian politician.  The question is whether the Nigerian politician of the APC is different, or will be.

It is known that the immediate objective of the APC is to unseat the PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.

Mr. Jonathan has not confirmed he will run.  If he does, that would indicate an unrepentant PDP.

It will also be good news for the APC because Jonathan ought to be pretty easy to defeat.   In my view, Jonathan’s biggest opponent in 2015 will be Jonathan, not a party or a presidential candidate.

In 2011, he never debated anyone but himself; in 2015, he will.  Since 2011, he has put in the most atrocious shift a Nigerian ruler ever has, and failed to honour his promises and pledges.  In Jonathan’s care, Nigeria is worse than an open sewage.

Jonathan is Jonathan’s biggest weakness because his presidency has been but a broadcast of his limitations.  The Jonathan that has emerged since 2010 is, even by PDP standards, not a marketable one.  Unless Nigerians are such fools that that they will again mistake “clueless” for “shoeless,” it is unlikely he will make it past his own party’s primaries.

In other words, in the 2015 elections, the APC will have more than a fair chance to wipe the slate clean.

But the task is not just removing the PDP; it is putting in, and putting first, Nigeria.   To do that, the APC must demonstrate the capacity, not just the rhetoric, for democracy.  It is an age-old challenge: many proclaim it, but few are strong enough to understand its implications.

The question is whether, in practice, the replacement party is cut from the same cloth as the PDP.  Since you cannot get yam from cocoyam, will the men and women offered by the APC be achievers and people of character?

The new party has outlined its priorities to include agricultural development, jobs, free education, affordable healthcare, infrastructural development, adequate power supply, eradication of poverty and corruption, and rapid technological advancement and industrialisation.

That is all very good, but it is also just an overloaded shopping basket.  Any political party, especially a new one, can tender such a shopping cart at the checkout counter.   Does the APC have the political and patriotic capital to pay for it?

I certainly hope so, but the new party may be looking at the microscope from the wrong end.  Regrettably, that is the same exhaust pipe from which the PDP has always looked at the country, and it is the end from which Nigeria has been sold the most rotten goods.

The correct and sensible place to start is for the ACP to assume the character of a party that seeks power not for the sake of power, but for service.

How is the APC to be seen to be programmed to serve, and not simply to serve its members?

My answer is that the new party must set clear standards, and demonstrate that those standards are higher than partisan politics and the APC itself.  Before contesting for power, it should show that it is serious about things being done, and done right.

In this regard, I challenge the APC to set such standards into a code of conduct and of obligations, and publish it.  This will demonstrate that the party understands the quality of the challenge that is before our nation, and that it intends to subordinate itself to it.

The APC must understand that it will be held to a higher standard than the PDP because, by its nature, it has proclaimed itself to be the superior of the two.

Is it?

Beyond any doubt, Nigeria’s failures stem from a dearth of men and of institutions, and it will require the most courageous and patriotic of Nigerians to commence the rectification of this problem.

Is the APC the right batch of men, or are they simply taking advantage of the moment?  Let the new party define its character by publicly setting the lowest limits of its aspirations at the level of the most essential reforms that Nigeria needs.

In this respect, the first, most desirable, and lowest-hanging fruit is our electoral system.  A system where the party in power, through the president, defines elections through the pivotal ability to appoint the electoral boss is a joke and cannot guarantee decent elections or attract decent candidates.  The ACP should therefore pick the Uwais Report, which contains all the answers, off the floor, and labour to make it the basis of true electoral reform.  There is no reason to start over.

Think about it: so we have an “Independent” National Electoral Commission (INEC)?   If so, exactly what is INEC independent of?  It is certainly not independent of the ruling party or the president.

Here is proof: In 2010, Attahiru Jega, the current INEC chairman, loudly announced that the new electoral register had captured many well-known multiple-registering politicians.  Jega was effusive that he would make an example of the offenders by prosecuting them.  Two and a half years later, he has done no such thing.  The reason is simple: most of them belong to his employers: the PDP.  If we implement the recommendations of the Justice Uwais panel, we will be spared these hypocrisies.

Second, the APC should put into play, without delay, a nationwide voter-education plan that will not only consolidate it as a political party, but will demonstrate a grassroots machinery of education and voter-registration.  That is how you broaden party membership and develop national presence.

Three: a true anti-corruption response.  If the APC considers itself to be ready for prime-time, it must tell Nigerians how it intends to combat corruption.  Without a dogged and determined anti-corruption plan, the APC will simply become the PDP in another name.

Nigerians know that the current “anti-corruption” scheme is a ruse.  A true war will have many of the current anti-corruption leaders in jail within one month, and stripped of their loot.

The same regime will also put proponents of the ACP on trial and separate them from both their loot and their hypocrisies.  The APC must demonstrate that it is willing, ready and capable of assuming this challenge.  Nigeria does not lack resources for development; what we lack are men who will retrieve the resources from our many thieves and plough them into development.

The PDP must go.  But the APC must prove that it is the answer.

*First Published As “Welcoming the APC,” February 17, 2013

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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