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FG ready to dialogue with Boko Haram – Sambo

By Gbenga Omokhunu

“The Federal Government has reiterated its call on the militant Boko Haram sect and other aggrieved groups to ceasefire and come forward for dialogue.

The Vice President, Arc. Namadi Sambo, said this on Thursday in Abuja at the National Symposium, organized by Nasirul-Lahi-Faith Society of Nigeria (NASFAT), tagged “Islam and Peaceful Co-Existence in a Contemporary Multi Religious Society.

Sambo, who was the Special Guest of Honour at the occasion, said: “government is ready to discuss. History has proven that even wars that are fought for decades, at the end, are only concluded by dialogue.”

According to a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Umar Sani, the vice-president lamented the activities of some negative forces whose activities have portrayed Islam in a negative and evil light.

He said: “Islam is a religion of peace; it is a way of life. It cannot promote senseless killings and wanton destruction of property. I am not aware of any religion in the world that encourages unprovoked and relentless attack on other people.”

He reiterated the determination of the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to provide adequate security for the lives and property of all Nigerians and visitors.

Sambo commended the organizers of the symposium, noting its aptness, adding that it would help to educate the public on the Islamic view of peaceful co-existence and the concept of Jihad.

He used the opportunity to enumerate the strides the administration had made in achieving the objectives of the Transformation Agenda, which cut across improved electricity supply; education; agriculture, transportation system; and poverty alleviation.

The vice president stated that to deliver on government’s promise on the revitalization of the Railway system, government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with General Electric for the delivery of 200 locomotive heads and also for the location of a locomotive manufacturing plant in Nigeria, which would also serve the West African sub-region.

Similarly, he assured that the activities of militant groups would not jeopardize government’s desire to propel Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs).

In his remarks the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, called on the Muslim Ummah to champion the principle of peaceful co-existence and education.”

Source: The Nation Newspaper

Jonathan qualified to contest 2015 election – PDP

President Jonathan
President Jonathan

…Vows to reclaim Edo State

The Peoples Democratic Party said on Thursday that President Goodluck Jonathan is eminently qualified to contest the 2015 Presidential election if he is interested in vying for another term in office.

It also warned those haggling for the job of in 2015 to stop distracting him from executing his laudable programmes for the country.

The South-South National Vice Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Steven Oru, who gave the hint when he inaugurated the state executive committee of the party in the state, warned members to stop disturbing and distracting Mr. President on the issue of 2015 when the time is still far.

He said, “President Jonathan, who is just in his first tenure in office is imminently qualified to contests if he wants to.

“Mr. President is as qualified as any other person to contest in 2015”, noted Oru who added that “Mr. President is qualified to contest in 2015 because after all this is his first tenure.”

In this regard, the South-South National Vice Chairman of the party called on all well meaning Nigerians and people of Bayelsa State to rally round President Jonathan in his quest to deliver on his election promises.

“When we get to the bridge in 2015, I know we shall cross it with Mr. President”, he added and vowed that the PDP will recapture Edo State in the next governorship election.

He said the PDP won the last election at the polls but the Action Congress of Nigeria won in court.

Source: The Nation Newspaper

Senate Seeks FG, Boko Haram Dialogue

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President of the Senate, David Mark 


By Onwuka Nzeshi


The Senate Tuesday expressed concern at the recent spate of bomb attacks and the general level of insecurity across the country.


It urged the Federal Government to re-open dialogue with Boko Haram, which had claimed responsibility for the terror attacks.
President of the Senate, David Mark said the growing insecurity was unacceptable to the parliament and the generality of Nigerians. He said it was in the national interest for the country to experience peace and security particularly if the transformation agenda of government must  succeed.

In a brief remark on resumption from his medical vacation, Mark said since the members of the dreaded sect were Nigerians, government should explore the dialogue option to the resolution of the crisis. He said the activities of the group was not only a declaration of war on Nigerians but a threat to  the  unity and corporate existence of the country.

Mark admonished the group to eschew violence and seek better ways of expressing whatever grievances they may have with the government.


“In spite of all these bombings, we should not despair or be disillusioned. We shall overcome through our collective determination.

“This is the time for concerted action by all Nigerian; ethnic group, political affiliation, religious belief notwithstanding. We have a real problem on our hands and we must handle it with the seriousness it deserves and we should never politicise it,” he said.

“Divisive statements or finger pointing are not helpful. Attempts to apportion blame for failures at this time of the burgeoning terror threats will not lead to any practical and long lasting solution. The primary responsibility of tackling this challenge lies with the Government but that notwithstanding, we all have roles to play,” he said.

Mark also urged security agencies to intensify efforts geared towards improving on their operational capacities and prevent further bomb attacks.


He also challenged the standing committees of the Senate to strengthen their oversight responsibilities on government agencies to curb inefficiency and corruption in the system.

“In this regard, all Committees must submit their reports before our summer recess and as soon as we resume we shall take the Committee Reports in plenary. May I remind us that in the course of preparing our Committee Reports, we should look at the capital appropriation released for the first two quarters of the year and weigh it against the implementation of the capital projects,” he said.


Source: Thisday

#Nigeria FG to Amend Anti-terrorism Act

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Senate President, David Mark

By  Chuks Okocha   and Michael Olugbode
A n amendment to the Anti-terrorism Act, 2011, is underway to compel the trial of terror suspects, their sponsors and others suspected of aiding and abetting terror suspects under military law, THISDAY has learnt.

THISDAY gathered at the weekend that President Goodluck Jonathan would soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to amend the Act, which when passed, would preclude members of Boko Haram, their sponsors and others involved in terrorist activities in the country from being tried in regular courts.

The proposed amendment is meant to hasten the trial of suspects and prevent them from exploiting any loopholes in the existing Anti-terrorism Act and the nation’s legal system to escape justice.

Boko Haram’s attacks, which have claimed about 1,500 lives since they were launched in 2009, have increased in intensity following the 2011 general elections which Jonathan contested and won in the presidential stanza of the contest.

The death toll rose again by three yesterday when suspected terrorists and members of the Joint Task Force engaged in a gun duel at a wedding in Maiduguri.

Also, in Potiskum, Yobe State, where suspected Boko Haram members attacked a cattle market, killing about 60 people on Wednesday, the people marched on the streets yesterday in protest against soldiers whom they accused of not coming to their aid during the attack.

THISDAY learnt that apart from members of Boko Haram, the amendment to the law will ensure that all those involved in unlawful combat against the government and their sponsors would face a military trial.

Others that may be affected by the martial law are Niger Delta militants and other militant tribal groups.

The amendment bill, which is being drafted, seeks to define the term of “unlawful combatants” to include all belligerent suspects, their sponsors and Niger Delta militants who are yet to surrender and others engaged in militant activities that are not defined within the context of the “Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“The decision to ensure the invocation of full military trials or what could be described as martial law,” a presidency source explained, is that the passage of the bill “is a full declaration of war by the federal government on the unlawful combatant forces.”

According to the presidency official, “These unlawful combatant forces are engaged in various hostilities and have committed belligerent acts or have directly sponsored or supported hostilities in aid of unlawful combatant forces against the stability and security interest of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its citizens in general.”

He said the decision to adopt this measure stemmed from the fact that “Nigeria is at war against a mobile, dangerous and fanatical individual gang that has been inspired by an extremist interpretation of the Koran, and which will use the techniques of mass terror, violence and hatred to attack innocent citizens – both Christians, Muslims and otherwise minded.”

He said under the proposed amendment, the term “unlawful combatant” is defined to include, “an individual who was part of, or sponsored or supported the terrorist activities of unlawful combatant forces, or associated groups that are engaged in terrorist hostilities against the stability and security interest of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and its citizens in general.

“This shall include any person or persons who commits a belligerent act or has directly aided, abetted, or is perceived to have sponsored or supported hostilities in aid of unlawful combatant forces.”

The presidency source added that “the bill would endeavour to curb the excesses of some lawyers, whose deliberate use of legal tactics stall the trial and prosecution of those connected with unlawful combats.”

The bill will empower the Nigerian government to collaborate with countries that have successfully dealt with terrorist organisations like Israel, the United States of America and the United Kingdom which have a vested interest in combating global terrorism.
This, the source said, was to ensure that Nigeria is not a safe haven for terrorism or for its promoters.

In Maiduguri, a wedding ceremony became a theatre of war when members of Boko Haram and JTF personnel exchanged gunfire.

When the battle subsided, three people were killed in the crossfire and eight persons were arrested.

It was gathered that the military invaded the wedding, said to have been organised by a man suspected to have links to the sect at Sabon Layi, Gwange, following a tip-off that notable members of the sect, who are on a wanted list, would be in attendance.
On sighting the soldiers, the terrorists at the wedding were said to have immediately opened fire on them.
The guests at the ceremony scampered to safety as the members of JTF and Boko Haram engaged in a deadly gun battle.

It was gathered that most of the members of the sect in attendance shot their way out of the venue without being captured as they were conversant with the area.

JTF spokesman, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, in a statement, confirmed the clash between the parties, saying three civilians were killed and four others, including two soldiers, were wounded.

He added that an AK47 rifle, 20 rounds of ammunition and a vehicle used by the terrorists were recovered.

Similarly, there was a breakdown of law and order in Potiskum, the commercial nerve centre in Yobe State, yesterday as residents challenged the authority of the soldiers deployed to the town at the peak of the Boko Haram crisis.

Irked and still mourning the killings of about 60 persons by suspected Boko Haram members, the people accused the soldiers of not coming to their rescue when it mattered.
It was gathered that problem started when the people accused the soldiers of manhandling some residents.

A source from the town told THISDAY that the soldiers are in the habit of beating up people at will.

He said the people, still incensed by the Wednesday attack, challenged the soldiers and demanded that they leave the town.

He said more people later joined the protest and went to drive away the soldiers from checkpoints in the town.

“Of what use are these soldiers anyway? They keep harassing innocent residents of the town but when the occasion presented itself last Wednesday to show the merit of having them around, they chickened out,” a resident said.

Attempts to get the military authorities in the state to comment on the issue proved abortive as calls to the phone lines of the officials failed to connect last night.
Also, the state police spokesman, Toyin Gbadegesin, could not be reached.

Source: Thisday


A Nation Under Fire – Dele Momodu

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“Everything continues in its state of rest or uniform motion
Except an external force acts on it”
– Isaac Newton, First Law of Motion

Fellow Nigerians, it must be miserably obvious to everyone by now, except the incurable optimists, that Armageddon is here. You don’t have to be a prophet of doom to foretell the apocalypse that has enraptured our embattled nation. If we ever thought otherwise, those who should know more than the rest of us have succeeded in jolting us out of our somnambulism.  And it has been a rude awakening from a deep slumber that could only have been an act of the almighty.
First, came the bombshell from no less a personage than our National Security Adviser, General Andrew Owoye Azazi. The occasion was an innocuous event tagged The South South Economic Summit, which had been a gathering of distinguished speakers, eminent personalities and assorted spectators, from far and near.  No one had anticipated any more volcanic eruption after the volatile delivery by the one and only Kongi of Africa, Professor Wole Soyinka. In fact, my belief was that everything was going to be an anti-climax after listening to the Nobel Laureate in what must have been one of his best performances in recent times. General Owoye Azazi put paid to my prejudice.
When the former Chief of Defence Staff took the podium, I was looking forward to one of those government rigmaroles, or a pot-pourri of lies that would wake up the dead in Bethlehem. But General Azazi turned out to be a born again preacher who sneaked into our consciousness unannounced. He was expected to speak on the state of security in Nigeria and address how it affects the South South, the region that currently lays Nigeria’s golden eggs. Thanks to Channels Television, I was glued to my screen and watched as General Azazi waltzed his way through a most delicate and sensitive topic.
He had started on a calm note and built his thesis, slowly but surely, to a resounding crescendo. His famous moment came when he suddenly exploded like an Iraqi bomb and placed the blame for the general insecurity in Nigeria at the doorsteps of no other than the ruling party, PDP, thereby committing an unprecedented heresy that would haunt him and the government he represents. The appreciative crowd had nudged him on with a thunderous ovation as he fired the first salvo. As if that was the tonic he badly needed, he paused to acknowledge their cheers, before firing more bullets from his well-oiled cylinders.
General Azazi was not just saying what many of us had always known or suspected, he said it with a straight poker face. He was eloquent and magisterial. But he had chosen to hold the tiger by the tail. I knew that the PDP hawks were going to come after him with a vengeance and try to shoot him down with the efficacy of American drones. It is in the character of these rascally guys to maul down anyone of their own whoever goes against the commandments. None of their members has ever been prosecuted for corruption until he falls out of favour with the Party’s political godfathers and warlords.
But I doubt if General Azazi was not aware of the unwritten codes or he just chose to challenge fate and secure his own future. His speech was a veritable distraction that President Goodluck Jonathan did not need. He had suffered enough nightmares in the last couple of months and could do without more. But his most trusted ally and kinsman had chosen to tell in public what he had probably told him privately without any useful impact. If nothing ever moved our dear President in the past, this act was guaranteed to move mountains and elicit some shock waves in high places. And it did.
A devastated Jonathan was visibly embarrassed to the extent that he had to offer a tenuous excuse that his National Security Adviser must have been misquoted; a perfect alibi for a bruised ego. As I write this piece, the storm is still raging and its eventual destination is not yet known. What is most certain is that things are no longer at ease and the centre may no longer hold.
As if that was not bad enough, Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma came out to tell it in his characteristic manner that Nigeria was under fire and may be heading for the atrocious way of Somalia. For those who have studied the life of Lt. General Danjuma, he’s not someone who’s given to frivolities. On a regular day, Danjuma’s taciturnity is legendary while on a special day his words are few and carefully chosen. He minds his own business, and he is very astute at it. Love him or loathe him, General Danjuma has demonstrated that there’s life outside power, and that army retirees can run businesses successfully without waiting for hand-outs from their successors. He’s one of our most respected retired Generals at home and abroad, and when he speaks, he’s the voice of the military fraternity. He’s fearless just as he’s feared by his contemporaries and subordinates.
I know for a fact that General Danjuma only comes out once in a blue moon to intervene in public discourse. When such a man speaks, we must listen. A few days ago, he spoke like the oracle that he is. It is not a mere coincidence that two army Generals who literally walk in the corridor of power spoke the minds of millions of Nigerians within one week. What they are telling us in very few words is that when a handshake goes beyond the elbow, something has gone terribly wrong. The situation in Nigeria has become totally dangerous with the entire citizenry going neurotic. Everywhere we turn, the story is bad news and unmitigated disaster. The Somalisation of Nigeria, as Danjuma describes our precarious situation, would certainly spell doom for Nigeria and ultimately the whole of the Africa sub-region, and indeed beyond. It is one major reason why the interventions of these experienced, retired army Generals should not be dismissed with the usual lackadaisical attitude of the ruling government.  This is not the best time to bury our heads in the sand like the ostrich and pretend that all is well with us. If we don’t know where we are going, we should at least remember where we are coming from. Only fools travel, the way we do in these parts, without having a map of our direction.
Now that bombs are flying undetected like UFOs, the time has come to accept our helplessness in handling the Boko Haram issue in particular. It is obvious that those who want Nigeria destroyed at all costs are more powerful and determined than those saddled with the responsibility of protecting our nation. Even the league of senior Christians seems to have lost all hope in a man they fervently supported only this time last year. They are no longer in doubt that their man lacks the capacity to combat a crisis of this magnitude while Boko Haram has left no one in doubt of its incredible capabilities. I will not get tired of pleading with our wonderful government to face brass tacks and firstly admit its gross inability to deal with common criminals and not tell us it can handle the highest form of terrorism ever known to many shores.
Someone should tell us how many Nigerian lives need to be wasted before our government owns up to its abject ineptitude and abysmal failure in protecting their lives and securing their properties. All we hear daily are empty promises that are never matched by any concrete action. As a matter of fact, presidential reaction has come in mere clichés. As someone noted on Twitter days ago, there seems to be a template for these releases and government only inserts the location of each new act of terror. This is because the words used are predictably similar and never good enough. Too many lives have already been wasted and those lives are too precious to their families if not the government. We cannot continue to hinge our hopes and faith in mere words of a failed leadership in a failed state.
If the President must know, I can tell him for free that his aides are not helping matters. They are too reckless and fatalistic. Their combative nature has made it impossible for them to listen to any voice of reason or wisdom. The added fact that they are completely paranoid and see the President’s enemies in even natural disaster is an invitation to more chaos. I suggest they purge themselves of the arrogance of “this is our time and we shall do what we like till the next election comes; we will battle you with more than enough money to win a second term mandate, and let the heavens fall” because this may turn out to be a fallacy and a misplaced delusion of grandeur.
Rather, what the Presidential aides need to do urgently is fight less and put on their thinking caps before our ship of state sinks like The Titanic. It costs nothing to be humble in power. Heating up the polity the way they are doing can only spell doom of unprecedented proportions.
Without being simplistic it is apparent that the major cause of the unbridled unrest in the Country is the extreme poverty in the land.  Poverty of self, education, ideas, development and the State itself have hands in our matter. Poverty is not always economic.  Government must take urgent steps to correct these anomalies which can only cause untold damage to our collective psyche.
Where do we go from here? A few tips will suffice for now. Government must begin to show some seriousness in handling the affairs of state by declaring visible austerity measures on itself. It would be useful to learn from our neighbours in West Africa how they have moved from penury to prosperity. Our education, for example, and other key areas begging for attention, will never improve if politicians continue to spend recklessly on themselves while neglecting their primary responsibilities to the people. Our President must find the courage and charms to gather all politicians and ignite a new vista of hope. He would succeed in doing this only if he can lead by example. The people under him are watching his expensive style of governance and would never agree to downgrade theirs. He needs to get experts to look at how politicians can be forced to cut down on the waste and drain of our resources, starting from the very top.
President Jonathan must urgently water down the powers, responsibilities and functions of the Federal Government by divesting government interests in many businesses, agencies and corporations. It is obvious to all reasonable Nigerians that central government has not been able to fix any of our problems despite the trillions that we have been pumping into various so-called projects of developmental value. This calls for a redirection of how we conduct business in Abuja.  These powers and functions must be transferred to the energetic private sector.  That is the major way in which our country can truly develop. Of course it is also necessary for true federalism to be practised so that the allure of the centre which is also majorly responsible for the crisis we are embroiled in can take on much less significance.
If our present style has failed to yield desired results, it is only pertinent to try something new and effective. Until we stop the rot in government and offer succour to the citizenry, we shall continue to build a community of frustrated and desperate people who are willing and ready to make life uncomfortable for the rest of society.
I can only hope that someone, somewhere, is reading and would be willing to act before it is too late.

Source :Thisday

#Nigeria Jonathan’s 2015 ambition fuelling insecurity – Speaker

President Goodluck Jonathan

Ekiti State House of Assembly Speaker, Dr. Adewale Omirin, has blamed the rising security in the country on President Goodluck Jonathan’s alleged plan to seek a second term in 2015.

Omirin said this in an interview with journalists in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday.

The speaker, who lamented the violence in some parts of the country, particularly the wave of bombings in the North, alleged that tensions had grown increasingly since Jonathan said his first term would end in 2015.

Omiri said, “African leaders are not honest. If somebody who begged for a term is now seeking a second term, there is no honesty in that. It is not that the Peoples Democratic Party is popular.

Nigerians are tired of the PDP, they are still in power because they are the one who organised elections in the country but I hope by next election we are going to have a more credible election that would automatically reduce the number of PDP governors in the states. The PDP cannot win more than 10 states if a credible election is conducted.”

On the claim by the National Security Adviser, Gen. Owoye Azazi (retd), that the zoning formula of the PDP was the cause of the crisis in the country, the lawmaker said the NSA being an insider could not be wrong.

The speaker feared Nigeria might disintegrate if a solution was not found to the problem of terrorism ravaging the country.

He said the security challenges facing the country had reached an alarming rate, urging Jonathan to find a permanent solution.

According to him, Nigerians have yet to see any improvement in the security situation in the country, despite the assurances given by the President in his numerous condolence messages.

Omirin said, “Security should be the first in any society. The security situation in the country is cause for concern because bombs are being thrown everyday and lives and property are being destroyed.

“Whatever the problem of those throwing the bombs is, dialogue is the solution. They should consider dialogue, the Federal Government should also be ready to dialogue with them. If they continue this way, it may be the end of Nigeria.”

Anxiety grips ministers as Jonathan plans shake-up

Dr. Jonathan
Dr. Jonathan


THE President may drop some ministers in a proposed cabinet shake-up, it was learnt last night.

The reshuffle may take place after the first anniversary of the administration on May 29.

A list of would-be ministers is being compiled and security checks are being carried out on them, according to sources.

President Goodluck Jonathan is said to be unhappy with the performance of about 17 ministers in his 42-man cabinet. But a senior government official, who confirmed the imminent shake-up last night, said: “Yes; it is likely, but it won’t be that massive.”

Besides security reports and random assessment of the ministers, the President has taken “a deep interest in the submissions of ministers” at the ongoing stewardship programme organised by the Federal Ministry of Information.

It was learnt that Jonathan is disappointed that some of his ministers could not give account of their performance so far.

Another source, who spoke in confidence, said: “I think there might be a cabinet reshuffle either a week before May 29 or a week after it.

“As I am talking to you, at least 17 of the ministers may be shown the way out. These ministers have not performed up to the benchmark set by the President. “

The fuel subsidy probe is believed to have shown to the President some of the challenges in some of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

At the ongoing stewardship platform of the Federal Ministry of Information, some of the ministers could not list their achievements, The Nation learnt.

The President is said to be unhappy with the pace of development in one of the ministries, considering the huge budgetary allocation to it last year.

A team was sent from the Presidency to conduct an appraisal of developments in the ministry and the verdict was not “encouraging”.

Jonathan, it was said, was shocked that the New Maitama Extension District in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was named after him. “He has decided to reject it because he does not want any minister to personalise governance,” it was said.

Said the source: “There was also a particular incident abroad when a minister did not live up to expectations of a public officer. There is no rationale for retaining such a minister.”

Responding to a question, the source said: “What the President is after is for ministers to be able to say exactly how many roads have been constructed; significant steps in the provision of housing; access to basic needs, such as water and electricity; and a situation where ministers in strategic ministries would have impacted on the lives of Nigerians.”

Pressed to give more insight into the imminent shake-up, the source identified some of the ministers. Some are said to have got hints of plans to drop them and have started lobbying to be retained.

Many people are making a strong case for the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqqayyat Rufai, who was able to stave off the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) crisis and initiate reforms.

The source said: “Although going by the assessment report before the President, the Minister of State for Education, Nyisom Wike, is rated higher in performance than Prof. Rufai, some forces are pushing for the retention of Rufai, in view of the synergy between the two ministers.

“The team work in the Ministry of Education between the two ministers has been fairly better than the case in the past.

“A strong case is also being made for the retention of the Minister of Works Mike Onolememen who has succeeded in fixing some roads, which had been written off. Some forces believe that Onolememen has performed better than most of his predecessors. But the President does not like a situation where some vital roads are about 40-52 per cent completed.”

Some of those who may join the cabinet, if there are favourable security checks on them, are a former Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund(PTDF), Hamisu Mai Rago;  the immediate past acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Kawu Baraje;  former Deputy Governor of Imo State Ada Okwuonu; former National Chairman Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo; ex-Governor Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former PDP National Organising Secretary Uche Secondus; former PDP National Publicity Secretary Prof. Rufai Alkali;  former PDP National Legal Adviser Olusola Oke; Senator Abba Aji and some of the aspirants who withdrew for the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, at the last National Convention.

But another source added that some members of the President’s kitchen cabinet are opposed to bringing “deadwoods” to the cabinet. The source said: “There are fears that some of the names being peddled may not add value to the cabinet.

“So, in the next few weeks there will be more amendments to the list of new hands to be injected into the cabinet.”

-The Nation

Ekiti PDP elders call for removal of secretary as crisis deepens

By Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

The crisis in the Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) deepened at the weekend, with party leaders  in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area calling for  Secretary Dr Tope Aluko’s expulsion.

Aluko allegedly stormed the venue of a meeting of the party at Igede-Ekiti and shot into the air to disperse the people.

Three persons were reportedly injured in the melee as people scampered for safety. They are said to be hospitalised.

The party leaders accused Aluko of some offences, saying his activities were dangerous.

Aluko was elected on March 18 during the state congress.

The leaders also called for the expulsion of Mr. Dapo Olagunju and Mr. Deji Aluko, two leaders of the party in the community, for allegedly fueling the crisis in the party.

A leader of the party in the area, Evang. Gbenga Adekunle Moses, described the action of the trio as having “the potentials to permanently castrate the party in the state”.

Moses urged President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamangar Tukur, to suspend Aluko “pending conclusion of investigations into the matter”.

He said the party has petitioned Police Commissioner Ibrahim Maishanu, adding that Aluko, who is a friend of former Governor Ayodele Fayose, has been invited for questioning on the matter.

Moses said: “We were in the meeting when, suddenly, the man, who claimed to be the PDP Secretary, emerged in a Peugeot 406 car and fired a gunshot into our midst.

“In fact, some of our members had to escape through the windows and fled for their lives. Many people were injured. This community is one of the strongholds of the PDP in Ekiti State. In the last election, we recorded about 4,000 votes while Aluko could only record 300 votes in Iyin-Ekiti for the PDP.

“This is an unfortunate incident for a man of his calibre. We want him expelled from our party for dragging the name of the party into the mud.”

Since the March state congress, where candidates loyal to Fayose won the key positions, members loyal to the former Governor Segun Oni have formed a parallel exco.

Aluko denied the allegation. He said the group stormed Liberty Hotel in Igede-Ekiti and attacked a former council Chairman, Mr Toba Daramola, and Chief Femi Akomolafe.

The party secretary said the former council chief had called a meeting to resolve some issues when about 200 youths stormed the venue.

According to him, the two party leaders denied Igede-Ekiti the position of Secretary.

Aluko said: “The hotel was damaged by the gun-wielding hoodlums. It is there for you to see.”

Aluko added: “When Akomolafe and Daramola were attacked, they called on me. I had to go there as a party leader. As soon as they sighted me, they started attacking my car. I fled the scene immediately and called the DPO, who later intervened.”

Insecurity: El Rufai cautions FG


FORMER Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, yesterday, warned the Federal Government to review its stance on the security situation in the country,  but if it fails, “they will not be in government for too long”.

He also disabused the minds of many Nigerians that the insurgence of the sect was the handiwork of some Northern leaders to make the nation ungovernable for President Goodluck Jonathan.

Specifically, he exonerated the former military rulers, General Ibrahim Babangida and Muhammad Buhari from the bloody confrontations of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram which have led to the death of more than a thousand people since its emergence.

The ex-minister who was the guest speaker at the 2012 annual May Day lecture organized by the Silver Knights, Lead City University spoke on the topic entitled “Between Terrorism and Corruption: Implications for Nigeria.”

While ruling out the use of force to silence the aggrieved sect, el Rufai said: “There is nowhere insurgencies like Boko Haram have been defeated purely through military force and occupation. Those who are saying “crush them” should know that recent history of the war on terror is not on their side. We want a country that works for everyone, and this senseless loss of lives must end soon. The government that has the responsibility for our security must bend over backwards to deliver it. If they continue to fail in this regard, they will not be in government for too long”.

Explaining the reason why he exonerated the former military leaders from the activities of the sect, he said the insurgence of the sect started when the late President, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, who was a northerner and a muslim was at the helms of the affair and that there was nothing like Boko Haram during the tenure of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who is a Christian and a Southerner.

He said: “Those who are saying crush Boko Haram have not got the true picture of the situation. You can only kill and crush those you know. Give me the roadmap of where it was done anywhere in the world. I am not an apologist for Boko Haram.”

In addition to reviewing what he described as failed military strategy now in place and scaling back what has become militarization of the North, he called on the government to  “work with community leaders in Borno, Yobe, Plateau, Kano and Kaduna States to identify interlocutors that would enable honest discussions with Boko Haram to establish what they really want.”

I don’t think that anybody really knows what they want. The government knows what they want, but they do not want us to know”.

The former government officer who said at the beginning of the speech that he was not representing his political party-Congress for Progressive Change(CPC) but would speak from his own personal view further noted, “Terrorism is a harder nut to crack. I am of the view that a multi-track approach is necessary to increase the chances of its success. First, the prevailing narrative in the in the Jonathan camp must be discarded. This narrative is what the national security adviser tried to communicate at the Asaba summit of South-South leaders, but he was misunderstood by the media. Jonathan and his inner circle believe that Boko Haram is a Northern conspiracy to prevent Jonathan enjoying his presidency. And Northern political leaders like IBB and General Buhari aare the sponsors and financiers of Boko Haram”.

This narrative, he added, was the belief of most Niger Delta leaders because of their own experience in organizing, training and arming the militants and providing funding for Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta(MEND) during the period of resource control agitations of the Obasanjo administration. Because theirs was a conspiracy of the political elite, they think the North must be doing the same and they also feel that Boko Haram largely kills northerners or “parasites” as one presidential aide allegedly tweeted.

He traced the genesis of the insurgence of the sect to rewarding those who take up arms against the state with the cash hand-outs called amnesty programme has to be reviewed.

Any society, he continued, that rewards bad behavior with cash creates a moral hazard that may consume that society. “Those giving out the cash should know  that they are doing no favours to anyone. Indeed, they are fostering an entitlement culture that would be ultimately be the undoing of that part of the country. Boko Haram does not appear to be motivated by money, so those thinking of an amnesty-like program may need to go back to the drawing board.

According to him, there are four variants of Boko Haram. He clarified that there are normal Boko Haram members who operate in the North East and North West of the country, this group, he said, is very few.

He second variant, he said, is the criminal Boko Haram who mainly attack banks and the third one is the political Boko Haram which the politicians use to attack perceived opponents and the fourth, he noted, is the security Boko Haram who are being sponsored by the fifth columnist.

“But, each time, we hear of bombings, people say they are Boko Haram. But, those of us who keep records know that not all of them are Boko Haram. There are bombings that Boko Haram disclaimed, but the media keep saying it is Boko Haram even when the sect did not claim responsibility, we overlook that”, he noted.

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