TUKUR Buratai, chief of army staff, on Monday, stated that the Defence Headquarters, DHQ, did not declare the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB a terrorist organization in the country. The Army Chief made the denial in Abakaliki during the official launch of Operation Python Dance II, he argued that what the Defence Headquarters did was a pronouncement on IPOB added that the statement of the military gave room for the right steps to be taken on the matter. According to Buratai, the action of the Federal government concerning IPOB was right and that the military did not over step its bound towards the protection of lives and properties in the country. “You have to get it very clear. First of all, what the Defence Headquarters did was to make pronouncement. It wasn’t a declaration per se. But this has given room for the right step to be taken. I think the government is doing the right thing. “It is not that we are overstepping our bounds. We are still within the limits. And I ensure you that what the military said was to set the ball rolling and to bring the awareness to the public that this is what this organization is all about. I’m happy that the government has done the right thing right now. The Chief of Army staff, General Tukur Buratai further assured the people of the Southeast that the Army will abide by the rule of law and rules of engagement in carrying out the Exercise Egwu Eke II which kicked off on Saturday in the region. Also in a courtesy to Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, the Chief of Army Staff noted that the exercise was targeted at improving the security situation of the zone which according to him, was very strategic to the security of the country. According to him the exercise will help to bring about the much needed peace and security and also be used to train the Military in basic internal security. “They army have taken into cognizance the security of the people in deployment of it’s personnel for the operation”. He said the army in carrying out the operation will liaise and work with other security agencies in the region. “The army is very sensitive to the cultural norms of the people and will abide by all the rules of engagement and code of conduct that have been laid down which is quite in tandem with the Constitution”. According to him, some of the activities of the exercise will include Patrols, indoor battle exercises, Civil-Military cooperation activities like medical outreach, sanitation, donation of books to schools etc. He therefore appealed for understanding.View items...
Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has attacked his former party, the All Progressives Congress, describing it as the ‘enemy’ of his new found love, Peoples Democratic Party and the people of Nigeria. In a statement by Atiku Media Office, the former vice President asked for unity amongst members of the PDP, following the election of the party’s executive at its National Convention on Saturday. He congratulated Prince Uche Secondus as the new national chairman of the PDP and other elected officials of the exco. He said the immediate challenge before the newly elected national officials of the PDP is to run an all-inclusive administration where the various interests within the party can find accommodation. Atiku reminded that Nigerians are looking up to the Peoples Democratic Party for unity in the party, “because it takes a united and coherent PDP to sack the APC government in 2019″. The full statement reads: “Our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party is, again, at the threshold of an historical moment. Just as we mobilized to put an end to prolonged military rule in 1999, the people of Nigeria at this moment look up to us to rescue the country from the mis-government of the APC. “Arising from our elective congress, there should be no victor and no vanquished. Our paramount attention should be focused at sacking a government that deceived the people of Nigeria into power by promising our youths three million jobs annually, only to deliver three million job lodses annually; a government that is repeatedly living in denial of its commitment to restructuring. We must be united to take power back to where it belongs: the Nigerian people. “As members of the PDP, we must take pride in being able to hold a national convention and in so doing live up to the bill of being a truly democratic political party. Our major opponent has not been able to achieve this feat and I join millions of our party members to congratulate the Ahmed Makarfi-led national caretaker committee. “I understand that there are complaints and grievances from many o
Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, says it is critical for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members to be united and secure the trust of Nigerians ahead of 2019 elections. He said this on Saturday in Abuja while addressing delegates and members of the party at its national convention. Atiku returned to the PDP on Nov. 24, few days after announcing his resignation from the All Progressives Congress (APC), citing lack of good relationship with the party`s leadership, among other issues for the decision. “It is great to be home and I believe in one Nigeria where all our people have equal opportunities and share a common goal. “This belief stirred me and other compatriots to form the PDP; I am proud to say that I have returned home to our party, a party that gave the country the first successful transition,’’ he said. The former vice president maintained that he had never abandoned the party`s principle, but had stayed through with it even while in the APC. He said that he had always stood for constitutionalism and the enthronement of good governance in the country in the interest of all. According to him, the APC which I was a member until recently, has not delivered on its campaign promises and has failed the country. Atiku maintained that although the PDP had made some mistakes in the past, leading to the loss of the 2015 Presidential election, it remained the best option for Nigerians. “We made mistakes because we are human beings; we did not favour states that voted for us during election. The PDP is the party that will restructure and develop Nigeria,’’ he assured. He said that PDP members and leaders must work to earn the trust of Nigerians again ahead of 2019 election. Atiku also said that if the PDP was stronger together, Nigerians would be stronger, adding that the party must be one that embodied the Nigerian vision. He called on the delegates to elect leaders who understood the urgency of restructuring and devolution of power, among other things. “Let the PDP get winning again so that we can get Nigeria working again,’’ he stressed. In his remarks, Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Eweremadu, assured Nigerians that the PDP would enthrone good governance if elected into power in 2019.
President Donald Trump's recent decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem has ignited Arabs fury over Jerusalem,who have denounced it as a slap in the face, The move has been described as a tectonic shift in US policy for the past decades. In a speech at the White House, Trump said his administration would begin a process of moving the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is expected to take years. The status of Jerusalem — home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions — is one of the thorniest obstacles to reaching a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. “I have determined that it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said. “While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.” Israel considers the city its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there. Palestinians want the capital of an independent Palestinian state to be in the city’s eastern sector, which Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed in a move never recognized internationally. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Trump’s announcement as a “historic landmark” and urged other countries also to move their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem. In the Arab world, the decision was roundly condemned. Trump had phoned allies in the Middle East late on Tuesday to tell them the United States would acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday and prepare to move its embassy there. “It incites feelings of anger among all Muslims and threatens world peace,” said Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar mosque, one of Islam’s most important institutions. “The gates of hell will be opened in the West before the East,” he added, warning of the possible reaction. Israel’s sovereignty over East Jerusalem, which it seized in the 1967 war, is not recognized internationally, and under the U.S.-brokered Oslo accords of 1993 the city’s status was to be decided in negotiations with Palestinians. Arab governments issued statements of concern or condemnation and emergency meetings of both the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation have been called. But the U.S. decision has been taken. In a bitterly divided region, backing for Palestinians is often seen as a unifying position, but it is also often a source of internal recriminations over the extent of that support. A cartoon in al-Arabi al-Jadeed, a London-based Arabic news website, showed Trump raising a hand against an Arab as if to slap him, wearing a large glove marked with the Israeli flag. In Lebanon, the Daily Star newspaper ran a full page photograph of Jerusalem on its cover with the headline “No offense Mr. President, Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine”. Around the Arab world – including Egypt and Jordan, its only two countries to recognize Israel – and across the bitter divide between allies of regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, people denounced the move. “Neither I nor my children nor my children’s children will give up our right to Palestine and Jerusalem,” said Hilmi Aqel, a Palestinian refugee born in Jordan’s al-Baqaa camp after his family fled the fighting that accompanied Israel’s creation. “America does what it wants because it’s powerful and thinks it won’t feel the consequences … Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine, not of Israel. It never can be,” said Nada Saeed, 24, a property broker in Cairo. “This is a provocation for the Arabs,” said Mahdi Msheikh, 43, a taxi driver in Beirut’s Hamra district. However, few people Reuters interviewed on Wednesday expected their governments to take any real action. “What saddens me most about this is that Palestine in the past was an ultimate rights cause for us as Syrians and Arabs … Palestine has retreated from our priorities,” said a lecturer at Damascus university, who asked not to be named. Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, pushed a plan in 2002 offering Israel peace with all Arab countries in return for a Palestinian state including east Jerusalem. But a recent newspaper report suggested it was willing to compromise on several areas that are regarded by Palestinians and some other Arab countries as red lines. Riyadh has denied that and called on Trump not to move the embassy. “The current events on the world stage and especially in the Gulf help Trump take this step because the most important thing is that Saudi Arabia is not against it,” said Adnan, a 52-year-old trader in Beirut. The kingdom’s top clergy issued a mild statement saying Saudi Arabia supported Jerusalem, but did not explicitly denounce Trump’s move. Many Saudi Twitter users posting under the hashtag “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine”, shared a film clip of the late King Faisal, who launched the 1973 Arab oil embargo against the West, pledging never to accept Israel. But one Twitter user posting with a common Saudi family name said that while Muslims and Arabs would be provoked by the move, its top royals would not be. Instead, they would “suppress any move or call to jihad against the Zionist enemy”, he wrote. REFUGEES In Cairo, Khaled Abdelkhalik, a lawyer, said: “We paraded Trump as an ally of the Arabs, but he turned out dirtier than his predecessors.” Jordan, which agreed peace with Israel in 1994 while the peace process with the Palestinians still seemed on track, held a special session of parliament. “I call on my colleagues to tear up the treaty of humiliation and shame,” said MP Yahya Saoud, referring to the peace deal. Jordan, like Lebanon, is home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees. “This is a conspiracy that is denying us our rights, the first of which is to return. They think we are a branch of thorns that they can step on and break,” said Fadia, a social worker with two daughters in Lebanon’s Burj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp. “But we are a bomb. If they step on it, it explodes,” she said. In Israel, analysts said that despite such warnings, they expected little violence or opposition. “The moderate camp in the Arab world needs the United States as well as Israel in order to face their main threat, which is Iran,” said Efraim Inbar, president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies. “We may see some public announcements maybe denouncing the American decision, but in substantive terms I don’t think much will change.” *Reuters
Two Chairmanship aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Raymond Dokpesi and Prof. Tunde Adeniran have rejected the outcome of the party’s national convention and the process that led to the emergence of the key officers. The aspirants announced their positions in separate interviews with newsmen at the venue of the convention, on Saturday in Abuja. Dokpesi, the media magnate said he rejected the elections following alleged distribution of a so-called unity list to delegates, describing it as a charade that may destroy the party. Dokpesi said that the process of voting had been rigged, following the distribution of a unity list containing names of candidates believed to have won elections into various National leadership positions in the party. He explained that the 21 names of candidates contained in the list appeared on the ballot papers as number one and in the voting boots as number one. He said complaints were lodged to the chairman of the PDP electoral committee Gabriel Suswam who confirmed that he had seen the list with some delegates but he was overwhelmed. Dokpesi said it was unfortunate that a party which was just getting out of a major leadership crisis would be involved in acts of impunity and election malpractice. He called on the party leadership to urgently rectify the anomaly before it becomes another major challenge in the party, ahead of the 2019 general elections. Similarly, Taiwo Akeju, Director, Media and Publicity of the Adeniran Campaign, called for the cancellation of the entire exercise. He accused Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers and Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti of being the masterminds of the unity list distributed to the delegates. “We reject the entire electoral process. The election has been grossly compromised to achieve a predetermined end. “The illegal unity list is prepared by governors Wike and Ayodele Fayose to foist on the entire delegates” he said. He, however, called on the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the party to takeover the affairs of the party until proper election would be conducted, since the National Caretaker Committee has been dissolved. The rejection of the unity list by the frontline chairmanship candidates, was done before the final collation of the elections results.
Arab countries have a tradition of slavery dating back to centuries. This has persisted despite the existence of international conventions and legal frameworks classifying slavery as a crime against humanity. The current situation in Libya, involving slavery and human trafficking, has been brought to global attention because we now live in the age of communication where nothing good or bad can be hidden forever. But the situation is far worse than has been depicted. The Nigerians who have been brought back from Libya have told heart-rending stories of woe and misery: how they were sold into slavery by the Arabs and by their own Nigerian brothers and sisters, how they were subjected to all forms of indignity including rape, extortion, and torture, and how living in Libya is now the equivalent of a trip to hell. Quite a number of issues deserve closer interrogation to enable us appreciate the depth of this crisis. The Libyan story today is a sorry advertisement for the abuse of NATO and the failure of the American foreign policy process. The multinational coalition that intervened in the Libyan civil war in 2011 and made the removal of Libyan strongman Muammar Ghadaffi its primary objective must by now be full of regrets. It is instructive that former US President Barack Obama has described the failure to think through the consequences of that intervention as the “worst mistake” of his Presidency. The character of that mistake lies in the fact that NATO and other forces despite the division among the global powers on the question of Libya, saw the internal crisis in Libya as an opportunity to deal with a man who had been labeled at various times as the “mad dog of the Middle East”, and who was gradually expressing “imperialist ambitions” – “the king of kings of Africa” with a pan-African vision. NATO’s intervention was an act of vendetta, an orchestrated punishment for a man who had been declared guilty of dictatorship. It was most convenient for the multinational coalition, with its eyes fixed on Libya’s oil, to support the rebels. The result is the mayhem that has overtaken Libya since the fall of Ghadaffi. Under Ghadaffi’s watch, Libya was a stable, organized society. Following the bloodless coup that led to the flight into exile of King Idris 1 in 1969, the new leader, Muammar Ghadaffi, not only abolished the monarchy, he embarked on a mission of unifying the various clans under the umbrella of Libyan nationalism. He seized control of the country’s oil infrastructure from Western interests and redistributed wealth by creating a welfare system. The average Libyan had access to free housing, free medical care, and free education. The government provided infrastructure, and although Ghadaffi soon became a practical dictator, he managed to grow a sense of Libyan identity and unity. Seeing himself as a pan-Africanist, he encouraged closer relations with other African nations. Many Africans from Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria and other African countries lived and worked in Libya, even if many of them took the menial jobs that an average Libyan would not touch – at that time. The country’s foreign reserve was about $200 billion. Its life expectancy and literacy rates were among the highest in Africa and the Arab world. The average Libyan enjoyed many opportunities except the freedom to be different or query the government and the Constitution. Those who removed and killed Ghadaffi didn’t realize how much of a potentially divided country Libya was, and the extent of Ghadaffi’s efforts in managing the centrifugal tendencies. After Ghadaffi, Libya imploded. Anything is possible in Libya today because there is no responsible government in charge. People are resorting to self-help. Anybody that is armed exercises authority and does anything to make money. The welfare state has collapsed, criminality is widespread: kidnapping, slavery, violence, the economy is in shambles. Clannish and sectarian differences now predominate. The country is drifting. Most of the people are like prisoners, including those who are gainfully employed. In the absence of a government, the international community appears helpless. This is the setting for the chaos and the humanitarian crisis that has overtaken that country. Libya remains nonetheless, a major transit point and exit route for many Africans seeking to escape illegally into Europe. Libya, a country whose land area is almost twice the size of Nigeria, has over 2,000 kilometres of Mediterranean coastline from the Egyptian border to the Tunisian border. Frustrated by the objective conditions in their own countries, in the form of crippling poverty, misgovernance, unemployment and the difficulty of getting a visa or being able to buy a ticket to Europe, many Africans, particularly West Africans opt for the cheaper, albeit illegal option of sneaking into Europe through the desert and across the Mediterranean sea, with Libya and Algeria as the most popular exit points. This has always been a risky venture, but the traffic continues to grow. It is also an organized criminal operation involving gangs at home, and along the route. Nigerians constitute the majority of these illegal migrants. Organized by a criminal gang at home, they usually travel through Niger, which is a contiguous, ECOWAS country. In Niger, another gang of human traffickers, mostly Touaregs take over from their Nigerian partners to take the illegal migrants across the desert to Libya. Only about 60-70% eventually make it to Libya. Many die along the way because of the harsh desert conditions and they are buried in the sand. Those who eventually make it to Libya are not necessarily lucky. They may be kidnapped at the border by rampaging Arab militants, turned into slaves, and asked to contact their families back home to pay ransom. The men are beaten; the women are raped. The images that we have seen from Libyan slave camps are sad. Arab racism has been an issue and violence towards foreigners is not necessarily new in Libya, but it is getting worse because now the issue is not strictly racism but the people’s desperation for survival in a state that failed. It is estimated that about 500, 000 – 700, 000 Nigerians are trapped in Libya. The Obasanjo government once had to repatriate over 17, 000 Nigerians from that country. In the light of recent developments, the Buhari government has also repatriated over 1, 000 Nigerians from Libya in 2017 alone, but there is no hope that all of them can be brought back home. Many will like to return home, but they don’t even have the means to transport themselves to the evacuation points. Those that are not enslaved are still hoping to make enough money to be able to cross to Europe. They wash cars, work as farm hands or as security guards, or prostitutes, and they get exposed to all the dangers imaginable. The few who manage to make the final journey to Europe are not always lucky either: they could perish in the sea like the 26 Nigerian girls who recently drowned while trying to cross into Italy. Libya is indeed now a jungle in the hands of armed militants, the Islamic State, tribal gangs, and an interim leadership authority. The jungle is a dangerous place: which is why it is surprising that more Nigerians would prefer to abandon their own country and go to the jungle. The saddest part of it all is that Nigerians are also involved in the trafficking and dehumanization of their own compatriots. In a shocking account by one Sunday Anyaegbunam, a Libyan returnee, who left Nigeria in April 2017, with his wife, we are told that: “The Nigerians selling people in Libya are more wicked than many of the Arabs. I have never seen people so heartless as the Nigerians who bought and sold me. There are many of them in Agadez and Sabha, who are making so much money from selling their own people. But there are other West Africans doing the business too. When you approach them and say “please, my brother, help me”. They would tell you: “No brother in the jungle”. Libya is indeed now a jungle in the hands of armed militants, the Islamic State, tribal gangs, and an interim leadership authority. The jungle is a dangerous place: which is why it is surprising that more Nigerians would prefer to abandon their own country and go to the jungle. About 70% of the Libyan returnees are reportedly from Edo State, and in general most of them are from Edo, Delta, Imo, Anambra and Rivers states. But this is not enough reason for this problem to be treated as Southern Nigerian or Christian. This should not be about North or South, or Christian vs Muslim. It is unacceptable for every Nigerian issue to be reduced to this kind of division, the same way some Nigerians tend to dismiss Boko Haram as a Northern problem. This is a crisis that affects all of us. It is embarrassing that Nigerians are deserting their own country and flocking to Europe in droves despite the risks of illegal migration. In the 70s, many Nigerians were proud and happy to live at home, but since the introduction of austerity measures in the 80s and the gradual collapse of the Nigerian economy, a new kind of economy has since developed around dangerous choices. The consequences are not limited to the tales from Libya. There are Nigerians in jail or on the death row across the world, in China, Thailand and the Middle East. We need to have a strong policy in place to check illegal migration. Massive enlightenment campaigns should be organized to educate the populace about the associated dangers. There is an assignment here for the National Orientation Agency (NOA), a strategic agency, which has been relatively sleepy since 2015. Our youths should be told that there is no safe route to Europe through the desert or a boat ride. Everybody should wake up – government, civil society, and all the people who have abdicated their responsibilities at the level of the family unit. The human trafficking gangs in the country especially in the identified major centres should be tracked, identified and sanctioned. Government should create a conducive environment for our youths to make a living at home. Government has a constitutional responsibility to empower all Nigerians and to guarantee their security and welfare. Nigeria should also engage the government of Niger. What can we do to prevent illegal migration through Niger? This has to be a joint responsibility between Nigeria and Niger. Although Chad is not in ECOWAS, quite a number of Nigerians also travel through that route. Joint border patrol and exchange of useful intelligence between Nigeria and her neighbors would be advisable. The Federal Government of Nigeria and its agencies, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Edo State Government and the International Organization on Migration, CNN, Pastor Temitope Joshua’s The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) and every other group or agency that has responded decently and responsibly to the plight of the Nigerians from Libya, and the evil of slavery in Libya, deserve to be commended. In spite of the deviousness of a minority who earn a living by dehumanizing their fellow human beings, it is enheartening to see that warm blood still flows in the heart of mankind. The Edo State government has put in place perhaps the most comprehensive rehabilitation programme for the Libya returnees: counseling, accommodation, vocational training, and take off grants after training. These are worthy steps, but they are at best short-term. The long-term measures for all governments should be good governance, public enlightenment and concerted international action against slavery and all forms of cruelty and inhumanity.
The Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has been under attack since the appointment of his sister Mrs Ogechi Oloo(nee Okorocha) as the Commissioner for Happiness.But in a swift reaction, the Commissioner appointee has made some outburst to justify why she was appointed as the Commissioner for Happiness. Mrs Ololo said "I am truly surprised by the outbursts of young Nigerians on his excellency; Dr Rochas Okorocha. If you don't understand something, keep quite, read and research. Make good use of your senses" She cited United Arab Emirates, which she said has a minister of happiness.. The Commissioner said the mandate of her office includes ensuring citizens of Imo state remain happy despite the economic meltdown and Biafran fiasco. Others include ensuring couples in Imo state have a reduced divorce rate and better fulfilled marriages and cater to welfare for the average Imo indigene. “In a time when divorce is at an all time high, I will use my good office to ensure couples in Imo will be fulfilled and serve as an example to the world”, she said. Okorocha has also stoutly defended his decision to establish a Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfillment. He said the aim was to erase his observation of bitterness rampant among the people of the state, according to a statement on Tuesday. He also defended his decision to appoint his sister as the commissioner of the new ministry. “The real essence of life is to be happy and to fulfill one’s purpose in life. Government officials are elected to address this.This is the very reason people elect their leaders to guarantee their happiness and purpose fulfillment.” “There is no activity of mankind that is not geared towards providing happiness. “Unfortunately, this vital element of our social lives has not been properly addressed. Governments at different levels have created several ministries and departments to achieve this, yet people are bitter, angry with hate speeches which lead to crisis, war and even terrorism. “In today’s world, especially in our country, millions of people are not fulfilling their purpose in life because of lack of mentorship and guidance. There is complete talent abuse as people no longer engage in life activities suitable to their talents. “Sometimes in university environments, students are meant to study courses they ordinarily would like to do. “This has given rise to why we have people who are favored, do work against their natural will just to survive. “Happiness and Purpose Ministry therefore, is established for the lost time to correct the policy framework to guide Ministries and Department son what they must do to guarantee the citizens happiness and contribute better to the society,” he said. His Chief Press Secretary, Mr Sam Onwuemeodo issued the statement. “The choice of Mrs Ogechi Ololo; a Masters Degree Holder in Computer Science, USA who has been the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor on Domestic Matters and Food Security can be described as a round peg in a round hole. Before her appointment as the supervisory commissioner, She was charged with the responsibility of Liaising with the Federal Government on N-Power Project, CBN Anchor project& BOI, Empowerment Projects,” the governor added.
Eight donkeys have spent four days in an Indian jail for eating expensive plants. They did not go for trial. They were summarily incarcerated as the illegal eating took place near a prison. It all happened in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The animals were arrested after eating up “expensive” plants just outside the compound of the main jail in the state’s Jalaun district, over 200 km from capital Lucknow. “Various types of saplings were planted in the jail premises for beautification. Those were damaged by the donkeys. Hence, I rounded them up,” jail chief Sita Ram Sharma told the media. The donkeys were freed on Monday after a local politician of the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) intervened in the wake of a plea by the owner of the donkeys. “For two days, I could not find my horses and donkeys. When I came to know that they are in jail, I sought the help from local BJP leaders to secure their release,” owner Kamlesh S. said. *Reported by Xinhua
President Muhammadu Buhari has launched his bid for re-election in 2018 in far-away Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire when he solicited for votes from the Nigerian community during an interactive session late Tuesday night. The president is currently attending a two-day European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit in the West African country. After apologising for coming late to the session, President Buhari told the gathering that he had to wait for the two governors on his entourage to accompany him to the meeting so that they will convince their people to vote for him in the future. “First I want to apologise for keeping you for too long sitting, this is because I insisted on the governors attending this meeting. “This is why I came along with them so that when we are going to meet you, when you are going to meet the rest of Nigerians, if you tell them that their governors were in the company of the president, I think that will be another vote for me in the future. I’m very pleased that they were able to turn up,” Buhari stated. The president also reiterated a line in his inaugural speech on May 29, 2015 when he stated he will be for everybody and not for nobody. He said this was the reason for supporting Akinwumi Adesina to emerge as the President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, despite serving as a minister in a PDP-led administration. Buhari was reacting to Adesina’s remark earlier expressing gratitude to the president for the support he received in his bid to emerge as the AfDB president. “The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), who forgot to mention that he was serving in the PDP government as minister but all the same I picked him and recommended him for AfDB. “I think it emphasised what I said during my swearing in that I am for everybody and I am for nobody. As long as you are a Nigerian, be prepared to be on the receiving end from me,” Buhari said. President Buhari also told the gathering that he just received “a beautiful piece of information” from the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu which he was never aware of. He thanked Tinubu for the information which he did not disclosed. “I also thank our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He has brought me a very beautiful piece of information, which I was not aware of it until I sat down and read it this evening (Tuesday night). Thank you very much for your hard work and I will discuss that paper with you,” he said. The AfDB president in his speech revealed that the the Nigerian economy picked up soon after Buhari’s health challenges appeared over, adding that “so it seems there is a correlation between the President’s health and the improved economy.” “I want to thank you immensely. I want to thank God for your health because I must say that for all of us that has been a big concern. But seeing you fit as a fiddle and seeing you back in action, we thank God for that and may God continue to give you great strength. “Mr. President as you must have noticed, there is a very strong correlation between your health and the economy and when you came back the economy picked up after that. So we wish you great health so that the the economy can continue to pick. “I also want to congratulate you for the economic growth and recovery plan that you have put in place and the incredible plan that you have put in place to bring the economy out of recession and also in terms of the fact that Nigeria has moved up in the World Bank ease of doing business index. “It is to your leadership, vision and commitment that we want to from the African Development Bank commend you, Mr. President, and to assure you of our strong support behind you and your government for the efforts to try and move Nigeria forward. We are solidly behind you, you can count on that. “I also want to thank you for your leadership on the Boko Haram issue because to draw investments into Nigeria, you absolutely have to have security. “I think that securing our borders is very very important, thanks to your leadership for that. I also thank you for all the efforts you have made in the Lake Chad Basin Area. “I was with you in Paris where you led the efforts in reviving the Lake Chad Basin. As you know Mr. President, the bank is very strongly behind that. We put in $250 million to support the North-east of Nigeria rebuilding. I know you were criticized for rebuilding but I don’t see anything wrong, if things get destroyed they have to be rebuilt and the African Development Bank has contributed $250 million towards that,” Adesina disclosed
Retired Maj.-Gen. Ike Nwachukwu on Saturday re-echoed the need for the Federal Government to implement the 2014 National Conference report, saying it addressed issues of restructuring in the country. He made this known at the retreat of Southern Senators’ Forum in Calabar on Saturday. Nwachukwu said it would be injustice to Nigeria not to have recommendations of the report implemented in view of its relevance to the call for restructuring. “I had the privilege in 2005 of serving as a member of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Political Reform Conference and it rolled into 2014 National Conference. “I will dare to say that the amount of work put into the 2014 conference, of course, building on the outcome of the 2005 conference, produced a fantastic report. “It will be total injustice to Nigeria if the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference are jettisoned. `Most of what we are talking about today were raised there, and after several weeks of grinding discussions, the report was drafted. “I recommend it to the Nigerian legislature to take a look at and use in finding solution to our present problems,’’ Nwachukwu urged President Muhammadu Buhari to make history by heeding to the call of the people to implement the report. “I want to say to my senior colleague, President Muhammadu Buhari, that he has a fantastic opportunity in history. “He has the privilege to call a meeting of well-meaning Nigerians to take a look at the report to be able to set our country on a new path of unity, trust and better understanding. “We have a country with less ethnicism, less religiousity and we can build a country we all will want to live in. “I often wonder that if I get called by God, what I would say that I have bequeathed to Nigeria. “Here is the opportunity to bequeath to the generation coming after us a country on the path of unity, better understanding and love for one another,’’ he said. While recalling the contributions of the military to the unity of country, the elder statesman said the narrative had changed and there was a need to address some issues. He said that the military did what it did believing that that was the right thing to do to keep the country from falling apart. Nwachukwu, a member of the 2014 confab, stressed that while decrees were put in place and a new constitution written in the quest to building one united country, it had been a long time and things had changed. He pointed out that events had proven that though those intentions had kept our country united, it could no longer sustain the yearnings of the people. He said that unless “we set a new path that we will work to ensuring that we are truly our brothers’ keepers, no amount of military or writing of constitution will make us a one united country’’
It has been revealed why Mr Emeka Ojukwu, son of late Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, joined the All Progressives Congress (APC). According him he joined APC to ensure that the South-East occupied its rightful place in the national governance. He stated this on Wednesday in Abuja after he was formally welcomed into APC by its National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. He said that his decision to join the APC was also driven by the belief that the South-East region should be in the country`s political decision making process. Ojukwu had made his declaration to join the party in Awka at a rally for Mr Tony Nwoye, APC’s candidate for the just concluded Anambra governorship election. “I decided to lead by example. I have been talking about this for a while and I decided it was time to take the step forward. “It is a challenge, there are some people that will not be happy about that, but you have to be bold, take a step, and let people understand where you are coming from. “People have to understand why you are doing what you are doing, APC have been seen in our part of the country as the ‘other’. “And I believe we are now showing that the APC is a party that can contend equally with any other party in the South-East and do just as well,“ he said. Ojukwu added that his defection to the APC, was a pointer that “Igbos“ were part of the party. Speaking about his father and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, he said; “we shouldn’t take our history and our past to be shackles that hold us in one place“. According to him, history should be a stepping stone and building block for moving towards the future. He noted that when his father came back from exile, he had the option to join an ethnic-based party but opted to move to the centre for a reason. “You need to be at the table where decisions are being made, if you are not there, you will always get the short end of the stick; you will be marginalised. “That is the message I want to help to propagate, this is a much bigger party than the one I came from. So I put myself at your service to help us achieve our dreams. “For me, anyway that I can help to push this message forward, I am ready,“ he stressed. Odigie-Oyegun, while receiving Ojukwu, said his entry to the party would be a major asset in its ongoing drive to mainstream the South-East into national governance and political decision making process. “I thank you for choosing the APC, a family that is practical in its political orientation.” He said despite losing the recent Anambra governorship election, the APC`s performance clearly showed that progress was being made in terms of its appeal and inroads in the South-East. According to him, the APC has made a lot of gains in spite of not winning the just Anambra election. He said the party was not resting on this, adding that it had set up a team to study the elections and resolve all challenges that obstructed it’s victory. “I truly welcome you, there is no question at all that your name is an asset, what you stand for is an asset. “We hope that in the next few months you will be much more closely integrated within the party structure at national level and in the South-East,“ he said. Odigie-Oyegun added that for people to join the APC at this time, was a clear indication that they understood what was going. He further added that it also showed that people were ready to put their names, reputation, energies and resources behind the party`s effort to rebuild the country and be part of the process of change. “This is a struggle that we must win, the nation cannot afford to lose, because greatness beckons and unless we get our act right, we are not going to get there, “ the APC national chairman said.