Toni Kan buries mum Dec 16th

The family of Louis Onwordi of Umudike Quarters, Isieke High Street Ibusa in Delta has announced the passing of their wife, mother, grandmother, mother-in-law and auntie, Mrs. Patricia Oyibo Onwordi nee Okonkwo.

A retired teacher, Mrs. Onwordi had a distinguished teaching career during which she rose to Head of Children section at Grace Children School, Gbagada.

She also taught at Madonna School, Surulere; St Louis, Kano; St. Augustine’s College, Ibusa and St Thomas’ College (now FGGC), Ibusa.

Mrs. Onwordi who will be buried on December 16, 2020 in her home town, Ibusa, was a trained sculptor and talented ceramicist.

She is survived by her husband, Mr. Louis Ozulonye Onwordi and five children among whom is celebrated writer and PR man, Toni Kan.

COVID-19 Test: Activist Eholor vows to sue UBTH over alleged extortion, graft

An activist, Patriot Patrick Eholor has vowed to drag the management of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, to a competent court of jurisdiction over alleged extortion and out right corruptive practices as regards Covid 19 testing procedure.

Patriot Eholor who is the founder, One Love Foundation, narrating his ordeal at the hands of staff of the Teaching Hospital on Monday said he was compelled to cough out thirty thousand Naira for the Test and another three hundred and seventy five Naira for what they termed administrative costs.

In his words ,”I will soon be traveling overseas and in strict compliance with acquisition of Covid19 certification, I went to UBTH to undertake the compulsory test only to be asked to pay thirty thousand Naira as test cost. As if that was not insulting enough because health is supposed to be free for every Nigerian, as enshrined in the Constitution, I went and paid the thirty thousand Naira”.

“On getting to the cash Registry, I was told that there is a service charge for additional three hundred and seventy five Naira. And I asked what it was for? ”

“The cashiers answered and said it was Government regulations, that the Hospital Management is partnering with some firms who process theirn forms “.

The Activist said he sees that action as “fraudulent and preposterous.

“I saw a lot of people, even children there who were helpless as they were unable to afford to pay the excess charges for the Covid 19 test.”

“So I am compelled to take them to court. I am going to sue the Hospital Management to make them explain to us why they are putting the burden on us, because I also know that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has directed that no service charge should be more than sixty five kobo in any transaction”.

“I know that over time the CBN has directed that COT and other excessive charges be reduced considerably, to abort exploitation of the public by bankers who thereafter invest the funds to buy properties in highbrow estates abroad.’

Patriot Eholor says this corruption must be stopped, while those who are partnering with Government to perpetuate this evil must be investigated as the ordinary citizens of this nation are very pained, hence he is instituting the legal process to address the issue.

He said he has briefed his lawyer, an Abuja based Legal luminary, Mr Ihensekhien, Esq. to file an action against the UBTH and CBN to explain their actions to the public why they are exploiting innocent Nigerians.

Patriot Eholor who presented copies of the payment vouchers to newsmen said it would have been very calamitous if he could not complete the process of the Covid 19 test as he did not have the extra cash on him, and he had to plead with one Miss Gladys, a complete stranger, who agreed for money to be transferred into her account at the hospital, where she then withdrew the money for him to pay for the test.

He asked if he “did not meet that lady or could not afford the cost”, would he have been allowed to suffer unjustly like others ?”

He likened the situation at the UBTH to the contract at the Lekki Epe tollgate and others where an influential elite received all the royalties and remit pittance to the Government which led to the alleged massacre during the recent #EndSarS protest.

On whether he found out from the Management of the Hospital whether the controversial charges were official, Patriot Eholor said he indeed made a lot of enquires at the Hospital and nobody said the contrary.

He said he was going to report the matter to the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, Senator representing his Constituency, Edo South Senatorial District at the Senate, Pharmacist Mathew Urhoghide and the Member House of Representatives, representing Oredo Federal Constituency, Rt Hon Ogbeide Ihama for quick intervention to prevent more people from suffering the same humiliation and deprivation.

He said he wants them to as a matter of urgent public importance look at the problem as other countries that are conducting Covid 19 test for free, emphasizing the dreaded monster was still killing people globally.

Star footballer Diego Maradona dies aged 60

Football legend Diego Maradona, one of the greatest players of all time, has died at the age of 60.

The former Argentina attacking midfielder and manager suffered a heart attack at his Buenos Aires home.

He had successful surgery on a brain blood clot earlier in November and was to be treated for alcohol dependency.

Maradona was captain when Argentina won the 1986 World Cup, scoring the famous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the quarter-finals.

In a statement on social media, the Argentine Football Association expressed “its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend”, adding: “You will always be in our hearts.”

Maradona played for Barcelona and Napoli during his club career, winning two Serie A titles with the Italian side.

He scored 34 goals in 91 appearances for Argentina, representing them in four World Cups.

Maradona led his country to the 1990 final in Italy, where they were beaten by West Germany, before captaining them again in the United States in 1994, but was sent home after failing a drugs test for ephedrine.

During the second half of his career, Maradona struggled with cocaine addiction and was banned for 15 months after testing positive for the drug in 1991.

He retired from professional football in 1997, on his 37th birthday, during his second stint at Argentine giants Boca Juniors.

Having briefly managed two sides in Argentina during his playing career, Maradona was appointed head coach of the national team in 2008 and left after the 2010 World Cup, where his side were beaten by Germany in the quarter-finals.

He subsequently managed teams in the United Arab Emirates and Mexico and was in charge of Gimnasia y Esgrima in Argentina’s top flight at the time of his death.

Our continued peace is sacrosanct, the solution lies within us – Anyim

As a leader in the Nigeria political space, I have come to understand that whatever the future hold for us, it is within our power to insist on having a viable and progressive nation that can guarantee a good future for us and generations unborn.

I am of very strong conviction that any challenge being faced by Nigeria today is not beyond natural solution no matter how grieve they seem.

It is this singular optimism that has made it sacred that we must uphold our pride as a nation, live optimistic and hunger for solutions to those shortcomings that makes us humans.

At this material time in the history of Nigeria, it has become imperative that we must look inwards to find answers to our questions within ourselves.

Our Continued Peace is sacrosanct, progress and development shall be its rewards.

Omobude Agho: The Indisputable ‘Godfather’ of Civil Society Movement in Edo State

By Leftist Osazee Edigin

A lot of persons have given the wrong meaning, interpretation and impression about the word ‘godfather’ in Nigeria probably they have refused to look up the dictionary for it or because they have acquired half education just to follow whatever trend that comes their way.

There are certain persons who will pass through the planet earth and leave behind indelible marks to be remembered for many years to come owing primarily to their selfless contributions to their generations and the ones thereafter. One of such persons is Leftist Omobude Agho, the immediate past Coordinator General of Edo Civil Society Organisations.

It will be important we consult the Oxford English dictionary first to be able to know what the meaning of godfather is.

GODFATHER: Noun

1. A man who presents a child at baptism and promises to take responsibility for their religious education.
“he is godfather to her son”

2. A man who is influential or pioneering in a movement or organization.
“the godfather of alternative comedy”

Leftist Omobude Agho is more than qualify to be called a godfather in the civil rights movement in Edo state. He has over the years maintained consistency and resilience in building a formidable movement that has thrown up thousands of godchildren across the world through his mentorship disposition.

It’s very unfortunate, in Nigeria we have demonized the word godfather and what it depicts due to the type of politics we do here. There are godfathers in every sphere of life including the church where it presupposes the word emanated from, looking through the dictionary meaning of it. Godfathers are enablers to growing enthusiasts who become mentee before they could stand on their own.

What Omobude had succeeded in achieving over the years is to redefine what a godfather stands for not the type of political godfathers a lot of Nigerians are familiar with.

As a godfather of the movement, he has stood on the front line with his leutenants that he had groomed confronting societal ills that tends to muscle the masses to a state of hopelessness. He has led many battles for and on behalf of the masses without a single compromise on his part.

He doesn’t enjoy monthly salary or allocation to stay afloat, neither does he place demands on any of his numerous godchildren like the political godfathers do. He has maintained a fair family size from residue and passive incomes from his private ventures unknown to many. He hasn’t touched the organisation’s Kobo as a leader.

A man largely loved by his numerous godchildren and distance admirers. His presence is a threat to the oppressors in the society. He has over the years built what is called Study Centres across Edo state. These are community based educational classes where locals are equipped with the requisite information to be able to stand and defend their rights even without formal education.

Omobude Agho has faced several challenges in life by denying himself opportunities before him. Not to mention several accidents that has threatened his life. He is currently bedridden from a ghastly motor accident he had on his way back from Edo central where he went to setup four study centres at a swipe. In one of the accidents he had, a commercial bus driver rammed into his old Mercedes Benz V-boot and destroyed it beyond repairs, due to his compassionate life, he forgave the driver.

Much love was to be shown to him thereafter by members of EDOCSO who realised how he has used his personal car to do interventions in pushing the interested of the masses passionately and with fierce commitment, reasoned amongst themselves and collectively bought and donated a vehicle to him. While that was ongoing, another person from nowhere donated a Toyota Hilux to him which he had the recent accident with. He only drove the vehicle donated to him by members of EDOCSO for a while and gifted it away to a much needy person.

A major internal battle he has always had is the attempt by the political class to hijack EDOCSO which he led to an enviable height. This they have made attempts to do over the years by themselves or through their sponsored proxies. Even while still bedridden and no longer a Coordinator General of EDOCSO, there have been attacks on his pedigree. Thank God for the godchildren he has imparted on, who have stood firmly to repel any of such demonic attacks adequately.

Omobude Agho is a great motivator and bold. Many of his godchildren refer to him as the ‘oduma’ of civil society. ‘Oduma’ means lion in Edo language. I think the proper qualification should be the ‘godfather’ of civil society in Edo state. Who in his right senses wouldn’t want to have a selfless, committed, passionate and altruistic godfather like Omobude Agho. He is getting up soon to join his godchildren in energizing the struggle. The love and support thus far from the people have adequately been responsible for his medical expenses. They are well appreciated.

OMOBUDE AGHO, YOU ARE THE INDISPUTABLE ‘GODFATHER’ OF THE LEFT MOVEMENT. WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU!

Governors, People of South-South Demand Restructuring, Fiscal Federalism

Governors and people of the South-South geopolitical zone have demanded for restructuring in line with the principle of true federalism, to guarantee peace, security and stability of Nigeria.

The governors , observed that the country is not at peace with itself and not working as it should, particularly, for the people of the South-South region.

Chairman of the South-South Governors forum and Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa stated this as the position of the zone during the regional stakeholders meeting with presidential delegation led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

Governor Okowa, explained the people of the South-South are committed to restructuring of Nigeria in a way that guarantees true federalism and devolution of powers to the states to create and manage their own police and security architecture under a federal structure.

“True federalism guided by the principle of derivation, revenue sharing and control of resources by each State of the federation as it was the case in the first republic.”

He said the kind of federation the South-South geopolitical desires, is one where federating units are constitutionally empowered to create their own structures like Local Government Areas, manage their elections and control their judiciary.

“We are all aware of the huge endowment of this country. As such, it is imperative to stress that with a little bit of efforts, imagination, hard work, sacrifice and leadership, every state of the Federation as of today, has the ability and capability to contribute to the national purse. This should be encouraged rather than the whole country depending substantially on a region of the country.

“What is worse and even more painful in this ugly situation is the deliberate lack of understanding, empathy and the uncompromising attitudes of some Nigerians, who have refused to understand the challenges of the South-South region of the country especially, the degradation of the environment and our waters. As a result, most of the demands of the region have remained unattended to while the resources of the region have been used continually to develop other parts of the country”.

The governors reiterated the call for the relocation of the headquarters of major oil companies, NNPC subsidiaries from Lagos and Abuja to the South-South region.

Governor Okowa requested for immediate implementation of the consent judgment entered in the Supreme Court Suit No: SC/964/2016 to enable the South-South region get its share of $55billion shortfall of collection on deep offshore and inland basin production sharing contracts.

The governors further called for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the region’s major seaports in Port Harcourt, Calabar, Warri in order to enhance the economic development of the South-South region.

In addition, they demanded that the two refineries in Port Harcourt and one in Warri that have continued to bleed the country’s resources in the name of turn around maintenance, should be privatised. According to him: “Enough is enough. Let us now privatise them and in doing so however, allow the States and the region among others, considerable equity in the name of fairness and justice”.

Concerned about the rot in the NDDC, the governors observed that one of the major failures of the intervention agency is its refusal to forge and foster synergy, consultation and cooperation with the state governments especially, on project location, development and execution.

“We have resolved and we, as the State governments will no longer allow NDDC to execute any project (s) in any state of the region without it consulting State governments. Frankly, enough is enough and we have a court judgment to back our position.”

In his remark, the Chief of Staff to the President, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari, said the stakeholders meeting was at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, to the presidential delegation comprising of all the Ministers from the region to visit and consult with representatives of the people regarding the recent EndSARS protest.

Gambari, noted that reports indicated that there were instances , where breakdown of law and order was reported across various locations in the South-South states. He lauded the governors of the South-South States for their quick response and actions in addressing the EndSARS crisis.

Beyond the EndSARS issue, he said, the President acknowledges that the citizens in the region have also been dealing with other concerns that are particular to the region such as the degradation of environment due to decades of mishandling and adherence to environmental standards.

The chief of Staff said he will convey the demands of the region to the President

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, said excuse of insecurity by the multinationals for not relocating to the South-South region is not tenable.

He stressed that the relocation of the multinationals oil companies to the region will help stem restiveness.

He urged the Minister of state for Petroleum to make history by ensuring the oil companies relocate to the region during his reign in office.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege, urged the leaders of the region to avail themselves of the on going review of the 1999 Constitution by the National Assembly since most of the issues contained in their demands are constitutional matters.

The Director General of Department of State Services, DSS, Yusuf Magaji Bichi, lauded Governor Nyeson Ezenwo Wike, for his stance against the outlawed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) which hijacked the EndSARS protest and killed 10 security operatives, torched stations and court buildings in Oyigbo.

The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, said fake news gave impetus to the nationwide EndSARS that culminated in the death of civilians, police personnel and their assets.

Adamu alleged that intelligence has confirmed that the EndSARS protest was funded from within and outside the country. He further added that one of the primary objective of the protest was to effect a regime change.

Present at the meeting were: Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State; Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River; Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akw Ibom; Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State; and Godwin Obaseki of Edo State.

Others are: Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta; Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum; Goddy Jedy Agba ,Minister of State, Power; Festus Keyamo, Minister of State, for Niger Delta; Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammad. The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi was however , absent.

Other eminent persons present included: the National Chairman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, rtd; former President, Nigerian Bar Association, Onueze Okocha (SAN); among others.

Kelvin Ebiri
Special Assistant (Media) Rivers State Governor

24 November, 2020

Picture:

R-L His Excellency Ifeany Okowa Governor of Delta State, His Excellency Nyesom Ezenwo Wike Governor of Rivers state, Amb.Ibrahim Dambari Chief of staff to president of Nigeria, Sen. Obasiri Ovie Omo-Agege Deputy Senate President and Mohammed Adamu Inspector General of Police. During the South- South Presidential meeting in port Harcourt.

Before the 2nd wave: Humanitarian ministry and Nigeria’s Covid-19 response

By Dapo Bruce

As the year draws to a close with ministries and MDAs auditing past performance and defending their 2021 draft budgets it has become expedient to look at how effective the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development was in its covid-19 response vis a vis its presidential charge as well as its unique position as Nigeria’s midwife of social safety nets for building resilience among the poor and vulnerable.

Nigeria’s Corona Virus index case was discovered on February 27, 2020 about three months after the emergence of what scientists called the novel Coronavirus in Wuhan China.

The news was made public the next day on February 28th 2020 and since that time the country has not been the same. The index case was an Italian man who arrived the country on a Turkish airways flight on February 27th.

With the disease in-country and no thanks to its viral nature and ease of infection, the disease soon grew legs among the Nigerian populace.

A day after the announcement by the honourable Minister of Health, worldwide infection figures, according to data sourced from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), the country’s apex public health body, stood at 85,403 confirmed cases with 95.5% of those in China. 2,924 deaths had been recorded. By that time, the disease had affected just 49 countries and three of those countries were in Africa: namely Egypt, Algeria and Nigeria.

Nine months later on November 17, 2020, confirmed cases on the global scale now stand at 54,558,120 with 1,320,148 confirmed fatalities according to data reported by WHO.

The novel Coronavirus was given an official name Covid-19 on February 11, 2020 then upgraded to a pandemic on March 11, 2020 by the WHO.

Unlike with the Ebola outbreak during which the Federal Government was caught largely flat footed with the Lagos state government of Babatunde Raji Fashola taking charge, the Covid-19 response has been better coordinated with four major players driving the actions: the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and The Presidential Task Force, an adhoc task force set up to coordinate.

The PTF, which was set up on March 9, 2020 by the president, had an express mandate to coordinate a multi-stakeholder response to the pandemic by providing technical and material support at the national and sub national levels in order to manage the outbreak.

It was also charged with advising and recommending actions to the president on threat levels while providing updates to the media and general public. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) was named chairman while Sani Aliyu was appointed national coordinator.

In 2016 when the Ebola crisis ravaged the world, the NCDC as well as the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development did not exist. The Bill for an Act to establish NCDC was signed into law in November 2018, by President Muhammadu Buhari while the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development was established on August 21, 2019 as a special intervention ministry for humanitarian affairs, management of disasters and social interventions.

So, when Covid-19 hit, the government was well prepared on the levels of strategy and execution to respond to the pandemic.

Following advice from the PTF, the president imposed a lockdown on Lagos, Ogun and Kano states on March 30, 2020. The lockdown was soon extended and other measures taken. They included shut down of schools, offices and recreational facilities as well as bans on interstate travel and sporting activities.

While the PTF focused on its coordinating function, the NCDC and Ministry of Health were the arrow heads of the health based response. The ministry of Humanitarian Affairs was tasked with implementing many non-health and non-pharmaceutical interventions and palliative measures across the country.

The president was clear in his charge to the Humanitarian ministry – extend a 3 month repayment moratorium on Trader Moni, Farmer Moni and Market Moni loans; pay 2 months Conditional Cash Transfer in advance to help the most vulnerable while IDPs would get 2 months food rations in advance.

The president also directed that the Ministry, working with state governments, should evolve strategies on how to sustain the school feeding programme for children while at home during the lockdown.
How well did the Sadiya Umar Farouq ministry carry out the president’s directive?

To concentrate efforts in tackling Covid-19, the ministry inaugurated its Technical Working Group (TWG) on the 27th March, 2020. The TWG was set up to complement efforts of the PTF. The mandate of the TWG was 4 fold – Social Interventions, Humanitarian Interventions, Advocacy and Sensitisation, as well as Monitoring & Evaluation.

The TWG has worked in close alignment with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to implement the National Response plan and provide leadership on the PTF- Covid 19 Security, Logistics and Mass care.

In compliance with the Presidential directive, the ministry facilitated a 3-month moratorium to 1,794,633 Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) beneficiaries while 12,000 beneficiaries in Abuja and Lagos received Trader Moni and Market Moni loans.

The minister also initiated the Conditional Cash Transfer to 453,744 poor and vulnerable households in 24 states plus the FCT beginning April 1, 2020.

In further compliance, the ministry expanded the National Social Register from 2.6 to 3.6m and using the extant Register, made up of 2,644,495 poor and vulnerable households the ministry impacted in excess of 11,045,537 individuals.

Under the modified home grown school feeding programme, the ministry working with state governments impacted 127,589 families in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states who received Take Home Rations valued at N4,200 and made up of 5 kg Bag of Rice, 5 kg Bag of Beans, 500 ml Vegetable Oil, 750 ml Palm Oil, 500 mg Salt, 15 pcs of eggs, 140gm Tomato Paste.

With the eggs sourced from local poultry farmers, the intervention provided much needed income to farmers from whom the ministry bought over 46,979,565 eggs to implement the programme.

In line with its humanitarian mandate the ministry convened the Zero Hunger roundtable in conjunction with the World Food Programme and leading lights of the organized private sector.

Aligned with SDG 2, the roundtable is to come up with short, medium and long terms solutions during and post Covid-19.

Following the FG’s approval of the release of 70,000 metric tons of grain from the Strategic Grains Reserve, the ministry facilitated the deployment of the grains to 13 front line states based on reported cases of COVID 19, population and density using the existing structure provided by NEMA. Recipient states include Lagos, Abuja, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Kano, Cross River, Enugu, Borno, Edo, Bauchi, FCT and Adamawa.

The Nigerian Customs Service also released 112 trucks of rice (67,200 bags of rice) to the Ministry. The rice has been distributed to 35 states and the FCT except Rivers.
Working with the NEDC, the ministry constructed both a 14-bed and 21-bed facility, each close to a large IDP Camp in Maiduguri to serve as COVID-19 Isolation Centres in the North-East using pre-fabrication technology.

It has also impacted on the poor, the elderly, the disabled as well as women and children with the provision of sundry food items as well as masks, Personal Protective Equipment, ventilators, masks, infra-red thermometer, hand gloves & sanitisers in its continuing effort to help cushion the effects of the pandemic and build resilience for the future.

Dapo Bruce, a public commentator writes from Ogun State.

2023: Dr Goodluck Jonathan not Qualified to Contest

By Law Mefor

A political thinker posited that politics is a concentric circle of conspiracies. It is such a conspiratorial game that while statesmen worry about development to cater for the present and coming generations, politicians are busy scheming how to retain power, return to power, or gain power.

Nigerian politicians could pass as the worst hue to be found anywhere. They bend the rules and violate the laws with impunity just to attain this stated private objectives.

For about a year now, the name of the former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has been popping up here and there whenever the successor of the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, is being discussed. Some say it is in the best interest of the North to hand power back to Jonathan and take it back in 4 years in line with principle of rotation of presidential power ruling the current democratic dispensation.

This argument is tenable since Jonathan is statutorily barred from contesting more than one term if he becomes the President of Nigeria in 2023. Some also say that the push for the return of Jonathan is to put a wedge to the aspiration of the South East to produce the nation’s next President. The proponents of this school of thought believe the Hausa-Fulani who hold the aces now are still weary of supporting an Igbo man to become the President of Nigerian. The reason often given is just the civil war and the issues that led to it, and the lingering bitterness and unpreparedness to forgive and let go on both sides.

The poppers of Jonathan in this regard think the former President should be able to take the wind off the sail of the South East agitation for the office of the President, and get the zone to join his Presidency one more time instead and dump their aspiration even if it means doing so grudgingly.

For a fact, South East was the backbone of the Goodluck Jonathan Presidency and supported his re-election with over 85% of their votes in the 2015 Presidential Election and has continued to suffer marginalization and exclusion as a consequence and got branded 5% voters of the Buhari Presidency. The calculation of those angling for the return of Jonathan is that it is only him that can pull the rug off the feet of the push for Nigerian President of South East extraction and offer the Igbo man a sort of dream deferred.

This permutation aims to kill two birds with one stone: stopping the South East and getting power to stay in the South in this season for just one term. It would have been a masterstroke were it not for the eligibility question hanging over Goodluck Jonathan in contesting the 2023 Presidential Election.

Apart from the morality of becoming the major obstacle to the South East aspiration (ordinarily, the South East is counting on the solid support of the South South which they gave their all) there are serious legal issues surrounding the qualification or rather the eligibility of Jonathan to contest the office of the President. (He is however qualified to contest for any other office in the land, ranging from Councilor to Vice President.)

The law in question is: “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (4th Alteration No 16) Act, 2017)”. This new constitutional amendment may have been contemplated following the rancor occasioned by the same Jonathan contesting the 2015 Presidential Election. Recall that the Northern segment of the country believed Jonathan was not qualified based on rotation of presidential power between North and South Nigeria and power ought to have shifted North in that season. There was also a gentlemanly agreement, which was reached with him (Jonathan) to go for only one term before he contested the 2011 Presidential Election. He reneged to inspire a groundswell of the behemoth opposition – the APC – that swept him from power.

In law, express mention of one thing is said to be an express exclusion of another. The constitutional amendment assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari on 4th June, 2018, does not permit former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to contest in 2023 unless repealed. The extant section barring Jonathan states in its explanatory note…”The act alters the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to disqualify a person who was sworn in as President or Governor to complete the term of an elected President or Governor from being elected to the same office for more than a single term.”

To give effect to the disqualification of any person who has been sworn-in to complete the term of a President or a Governor from contesting more than one term, sections 137 and 182 of the 1999 Constitution were amended to ensure same.

Then the question: is Dr. Goodluck Jonathan qualified to contest the 2023 Presidential Election? Where does this leave off Jonathan in view of his speculated return in 2023? Going by the express provisions of the said amendment on tenure, Jonathan is not qualified unless this extant law, which is now deemed a constitutional provision, is repealed and set aside.

In the light of this constitutional provision barring Dr. Goodluck Jonathan from contesting in 2023, those prompting him to throw his hat into the ring are either ignorant of this law or are being mischievous. Yes, mischievous in the sense that they would want to ridicule the statesman and cause bad blood between the South East and the South South whose relationship has been waxing cozy since the present dispensation.

In the light of this too, Dr. Jonathan should be advised to be guided by the quoted law and distance himself from the whispering clamor for his return in 2023. As alluring as it may appear, he should know that those who spearheaded that new law are the same vanguard now asking him to contest.

As a patriot and statesman who handed over power when he had reasons not to, rightly or wrongly, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan should help the rotation of presidential power to the South East. He ought to be in the vanguard for Nigerian President of South East extraction in reciprocation of their unalloyed support for the Jonathan Presidency. Even yours sincerely is a Jonathanian and was in the trenches for him in 2015. One good turn, they say, deserves another.

Dr. Law Mefor, a Forensic/Social Psychologist and Journalist, writes from Abuja. Tel.: +234- 905 642 4375 E-mail: drlawmefor@gmail.com; follow me on tweeter:@LawMefor1

MASSOB blasts Arewa Youths over attacks on Enyinnaya Abaribe

The leadership of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) have blasted the Alhaji Yerima Shettima led Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF) to shut up their mouths forthwith, especially as regards attacks on Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe.

MASSOB said AYCF did not have the honour to speak in the presence of Abaribe, as their only goals in life is destruction and confusion.

Uchenna Madu, MASSOB leader said this in a Press Release it made available to Jungle Journalist Media Ltd.

It said; “AYCF’s stinking vomit against Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe is an expression of sadistic and tribalistic ethnic group in Nigeria. The northern Youths are always willing tools of destruction in the hands of their primitive leaders.

“Senator Abaribe’s stand as surety to Nnamdi Kanu was totally different from the one Senator Ali Ndume stood for Maina Abdulrasheed. Maina was a corrupt criminal that shamelessly looted public fund when he was the chairman of the defunct National Pension Task Team. He laundered money mearnt for aged pensioners. He can never be compared with Nnamdi kanu of IPOB.

“Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe’s standing as surety for Nnamdi kanu was a unanimous decision of Ndigbo, it was not a personal venture. The baseless treasonable and felonious court case against Nnamdi Kanu is closed because Nigeria government knows they have no evidence against Kanu. Any attempt or arrest on Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe will be resisted by Ndigbo.

“MASSOB warns Alhaji Yerima Shettima led Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF) to stop their systematic and calculated plan to blackmail the personality of Enyinnaya Abaribe, Nigeria’s most distinguished Senator in the Red Chambers. MASSOB will never allow Arewa people to play their hypocritical game of pulling down the best leaders of Ndigbo because of politics.”

The Rambunctious Brouhaha called Igbo Presidency; a misplaced priority?

The arguments for or against Igbo Presidency has been such that no Nigerian can feign ignorance or deny the import, albeit, the continued unity and possible existence of Nigeria as a nation which many pundits have reasons to believe that Nigeria is sitting on keg of a gun powder because of the way this sensitive issue have been handled all along and if nothing is done about it, may not last for much longer.

The topic is so complex and complicated that one cannot just delve into all aspects thereof, but I will try as much as possible to stay on the course of the question of the much discussed topic of “Igbo Presidency”, I therefore crave your indulgence to be patient and read to comprehend this school of thought, the ideas driving it, and the inevitability thereof, as the panacea of a United Nigeria.

The term “rambunctious” as used in this context is tilted towards the two conditions the word can represent, either “negative” or “positive”, but in this case, both can righting be said to be in parallel to the argument either against or in favour of this quest for “Igbo Presidency” in Nigeria after over 60 years of independence and 30 years of a bad civil war that almost ended Nigeria.

The quest for Igbo Presidency is a direct product of marginalization, disenfranchisement, and lack of respect for Federal Character in the administration of a multi-ethnic union like Nigeria. Other attendant aftermath of this lopsided and systemic twist includes the much heated quest for self determination, referendum through plebiscite, restructuring and incessant call for total balkanization of Nigeria. Therefore this realities cannot be overlooked or wished away as they have come to stay with us.

Then question then becomes: Is this call a misplaced priority?

To address this question, I must foremost xray what the problem had been and juxtapose how Igbo Presidency might not be the solution to the Nigeria question. Then again, I’ll crave your indulgence of patience.

According to history, Nnamdi Azikiwe was one of the champions of an independent Nigeria and he became the first President of Nigeria, after them, we have had other leaders who played one role or the other to get Nigeria to wherever we found ourselves now, but on a more secondary position. But the fact remains that no Igbo after Zik had been given the chance again because somehow, many people from the Northern part are still living with the mindset that the Nigeria Civil war is not over and so Igbos must never be trusted for attempting to break out of Nigeria and must be made to continue to pay the ultimate price of a united Nigeria. But these school of thought forget that the generation being punished now were not privy to what happened between 1967-70 which makes it a more dangerous keg of gun powder as witnessed in the suppressed EndSARS protests that rocked Nigeria.

As a matter of priority, to avoid sounding as if the call for Igbo Presidency is misplaced. We must begin to look inwards to ask pertinent questions like trying to know why the status had been set against the Igbos in the first place, what informed it, why are other tribes apprehensive of this idea and what can be done to douse this apprehension to pave way for a calm and collected agreement for a paradigm shift to exploit other possibilities available to us as Nigerians.

We watched with trepidation when Major General Muhammadu Buhari fought tooth and nail for Hausa Presidency, he got it in 2015 and created the 97% to 5% philosophy. But to the chagrin of the both percenters, the suffering and maladministration is with equal measure. Therefore I am not an advocate of Igbo Presidency but a supporter of “Nigerian President of Igbo extraction”.

My position is that notwithstanding the economic disadvantage of the Igbo race in Nigeria occasioned by obnoxious policies aimed at strangulation, they have proved to be innovators and good administrators, creating survival out of nothing. The Hausas has proved to be knowledgeable in politics while the Yourbas are rooted in academic. A situation where management harnesses politics that is exported by intellectualism, we will have a progressive nation unlike the present setting where only the North are happily running everybody aground.

I am a supporter of “Nigerian President of Igbo extraction” because a lot of solution to Nigeria problems lies within it. We don’t need an Igbo President that may end up further dividing Nigeria like Buhari.

We must set the priorities right by identifying the sickness of Nigeria and applying every possible options, including but not limited to producing “Nigerian President of Igbo extraction”. That way, we would’ve solved the problem of agitation and call for balkanization among other simple challenges we are faced as a Nation.

The problem of Nigeria is never the masses, it is never the question of Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba. Our problem is the reality of elitist group of people that have continued to devide the masses along these fault line to continue to hold them in perpetuity because only by so doing will they be able to continue exploiting them for their pleasure and betterment of their generations.

Nigeria President of Igbo extraction is the priority now. The South East must be allowed to lead to keep the unity of Nigeria.

Comr Amos Kalu writes from Abuja, Nigeria.

NEWS UNBRANDED!

%d bloggers like this: