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10022018 - 2019 : How we'll stop Buhari - Opposition parties

Vanguard Newspaper 10 january 2018

12—SATURDAY Vanguard,

12—SATURDAY Vanguard, FEBRUARY 10, , 2018 2019: How we will stop Buhari, APC—Opposition parties Continues from pg 11 especially youths to become the architects of their future by showing more interests in the country’s political development and participate actively in the political leadership selection process. In a statement by its Executive Director, Chief SBN Nwokolo, after a meeting to review recent developments in the polity, the group noted that “sitting on the fence when things are going wrong in the nation amounts to a tacit endorsement of bad leadership and continuous rape and underdevelopment of the nation.’’ Nwokolo said: “Nigeria belongs to all her citizens. The right of citizens to participate in the governance process or selection of those that should genuinely represent their interests in leadership positions in a democratic government at all levels is guaranteed by the constitution. Standing aloof or grumbling in one’s private space o on the social media about the ills of successive governments without taking any legitimate and realistic steps at reordering the patterns of events that are contrary to the will of the people makes one complicit in the continuing failure of leadership in our land. ‘’It is imperative to note that your singular vote can make a difference in the choice of who represents you as a councillor, local government chairman, at the House of Assembly, National Assembly, governor or at the highest level, the presidency. But without a valid voter’s card, automatically you make yourself irrelevant in performing this very important constitutionally given right.” The PNI, whose objective is advocacy for transparent, purposeful leadership, ethical reorientation, peace and uplifting of humanity, therefore, called on all Nigerians of voting age, who had not yet registered as voters to take “the important step of making themselves eligible for voting in the coming elections by taking advantage of the ongoing Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, voters registration exercise, as our vote is not only our power but our life.’’ APC responds gamely However, leaders of the APC are insisting that President Buhari remains the best choice to take Nigeria out of the woods and ensure sociopolitical stability. In the last couple of weeks, the leaders have embarked on strategic measures to address the fears and concerns of Nigeria. One of them is embracing restructuring. The party raised a committee headed by Malam el-Rufai, which after touring the six geopolitical zones and getting memoranda from diverse groups recommended restructuring of the country, resource control, devolution of power and state police among others. Many groups including the Southern and Middle-Belt leaders forum, had repeatedly called for the restructuring of Nigeria and made it a condition for holding the 2019 election. On Thursday in Abuja, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who You can see that everything is falling apart showing that the centre cannot hold. And when the centre cannot hold, it is to your tent oh Israel. So definitely, this is an opportunity for PDP to show that it has really recovered •Duke represented President Buhari at a Security Summit organised by the Senate, expressed support for state and community policing to fight the scourge of insecurity ravaging many parts of the country. In response to various calls to assuage aggrieved members of the party said to have been sidelined by the presidency after helping the APC to power, President Buhari, early in the week named Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu the leader of fresh reconciliatory moves in the party. Asiwaju Tinubu is one those said to have been sidelined in the scheme of things in the party. One of the sore points was the handling of the Ondo State governorship election, in which he publicly chided the APC leadership for not following due process in the primaries. In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, President Buhari gave Tinubu’s terms of reference to include: leading consultative and reconciliatory moves aimed at rebuilding confidence in the party, resolving existing disputes among party men and women as well as between party leadership and political office holders in some states. APC jittery, wants to hoodwink Nigerians with restructuring – ECA Looking the moves, the Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, picked holes in the report of the APC committee backing restructuring of the country, and el-Rufai’s comments that President Buhari would implement restructuring if re-elected. In a statement by its Deputy Leader, Mrs. Maria Okwor and Secretary, Evang. Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, the ECA said: the ‘’APC report on restructuring is a red herring, a smoke screen and an ungodly deception designed solely to buy time, to deceive and to mislead the masses of the country into voting in, this tasteless, ruthless and unworthy cabal into the office for a second term. ‘’The deliberate effort to pretend that they are willing to restructure, designed only for the elections a year away is from the pit of hell. The designers of this evil strategy know that they have no intention to yield to the sensible clamour to •Okorie restructure Nigeria. They know, they made four attempts to grab power for only one purpose: to impose their agenda on 180 million Nigerians. That agenda is dutiful being driven by their militia wing: the Fulani herdsmen. That agenda is also glaring enough for the blind to see the nauseating nepotism in the lopsided appointments that has divided the country. ‘’Turning around to attempt to appeal to the sensibilities of Nigerians who yearn for a genuine restructuring of the polity by pretending they now believe in the same restructuring they claim not to understand what it means, is a clear sign that this ruthless cabal that has destroyed Nigeria in three years, has probably become jittery, after realizing that Nigerians have rejected them. They, therefore, foolishly hope to deceive Nigerians, by pretending they have become born again apostles of restructuring. A ploy they used successfully just before the last elections...’ ‘’Whereas, returning Nigerian to true fiscal federalism, regional autonomy and resource control, consensually affirmed through a referendum and a new constitution, remains the only way to salvage Nigeria, infantile ploys by vicious elements to continue to hold us all hostage through guile, albeit, making public a deceptive report on restructuring, which they have no intention whatsoever to implement, just so they could fool the people yet again shows how desperate the oppressive cabal destroying Nigeria today, has suddenly become.’’ How PDP will stop APC – Bwacha, Ohuabunwa SENATE Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, PDP, Taraba South, and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Primary HealthCare and Communicable Diseases, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, PDP, Abia North, in separate chats outlined how the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP intends to stop the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC at the 2019 polls. They also poohpoohed Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State over his comments that there was no alternative to President Buhari in 2019. Senator Emmanuel Bwacha said: “Our plans for 2019 appear to be already in the public domain. Nigerian citizens and Nigerian voters are planning for us because of the general disenchantment, the fear that has gripped everyone across the political landscape, fear of insecurity that our property, our lives are no longer secure. “This alone is enough to change the government. As a party, we are not unaware of where and where to improve in our shortcomings, so we are already doing that and we have gone far. We are also engaging critical players to ensure that we work out a synergy to improve on areas we have been seen to have been lacking before. Essentially, these are the things we are looking up to in the next general election.” On whether PDP will join a coalition or go into an alliance to stop APC, he said: “Because of the threat caused by the PDP in the emerging order in the country, naturally you should expect the party in government to begin to throw spanners into our works. We are aware of this, we are working round the clock, we have been able to reach out to them. There are members of PDP who offered themselves to be used. We believe they have seen the light. Like any other party, you should expect that. “Of course, this is party politics. Where we see any group that has substance, that has weight, that has the capacity, we will engage such a group because the purpose is one – to have a change of government that will put smiles on the faces of Nigerians. We will ensure that we do this within the shortest possible time. So, if we have any coalition or group that we share the same opinion, areas of disagreements can be corrected and amended and subsumed into our political party. We are not unaware of areas where we need to improve. This is exactly where we are working on and we are trusting God that we will get there. Winning election often times will depend on strategy, what are those strategies, strategy of carrying everybody along including the coalitions.” On El- Rufai’s comment that there is no alternative to Buhari in 2019, Bwacha said: “That is his personal decision. Left for him he wouldn’t mind continuing to be in power for 60 years. It is not a big deal. In fact, he could just take over from Buhari. Those are the illusions that he has been. But I think he needs to come to terms with the reality on the ground. He needs to appreciate and understand the temper and tempo of the moment, the proclivity of the time otherwise, he will be flooded, he will be carried away by the flood that is coming over Nigeria.” PDP has rediscovered itself – Ohuabaunwa On his part, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa said: “PDP has rediscovered itself. From the way we handled our convention, which was peaceful, transparent shows that we have rediscovered ourselves and prepared to make amends where necessary. One of these is to open our doors to every person to come. “Secondly, we have decided as a party to ensure no more imposition of candidates, every person must emerge through the grassroots system. And for anybody to deceive himself, to say that there is no alternative to APC come 2019 is a clear lie. How can he say no alternative? On what basis? You must base it with facts and what the people want to see is a better life, improvement in life. “You can see that everything is falling apart showing that the centre cannot hold. And when the centre cannot hold, it is to your tent oh Israel. So definitely, this is an opportunity for PDP to show that it has really recovered, I believe that Nigerians are really prepared to give PDP one more chance to see what they will do. But the good thing is that people are calling PDP, PDP is a party, 75 percent of former people who were in PDP are those who are now in APC. “What it means is that those who are causing the problem in PDP actually moved to APC, so now PDP will put its house in order and give Nigeria a better life. “We don’t believe in coalition, it is not in our constitution. We are law-abiding citizens. PDP is a law-abiding party. We believe in the constitution, the constitution is the grund norm, you can’t bring what is not in the constitution, there is nothing like coalition in the country. But constitution recognises INEC, recognises political parties as a means of seeking election. Change of power through coalition is more like civil society or labour union language, maybe military, I don’t know. It is not democratic, it could be autocratic.”

SATURDAY Vanguard, FEBRUARY 10, 2018—13 Disquieting time for Amnesty Coordinator as ex-militants demand his sack •Brigadier General Paul Boroh (retd.) •Ex-agitat ator ors s allege powerful northerner therners‘ve hijacked Amnesty Programme •Those calling for Boroh’s oh’s sack‘re funded by y angry politicians- Egbesu Fighter ers, Red Scorpion Warrior arriors By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South BEFORE now, the Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (retd.) had managed to navigate the affairs of the amnesty programme in spite of the hurly-burly from some ex-agitators, but lately, the reverberations from the creeks against his leadership have become more alarming. Saturday Vanguard learned that Boroh, who is also the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta has more than any other time since his appointment, in the last few days, reached out to some Niger Delta leaders and youth leaders in the region to calm the raging storm, but the boys seemed adamant, accusing him of mortgaging their future. Siege to East-West Road On Wednesday, protesting youths demanding his removal provisionally grounded vehicular movement and commercial activities at Opokuma Junction axis of East –West Road and Igbogene gateway, in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, alleging hijack of the amnesty programme by northerners, lack of consultation, nonperformance and diversion of funds meant for the implementation of the programme by officials. While scores of youths gathered at the Igbogene gateway to Yenagoa, the state capital, seeking Boroh’s sack, hundreds of others who belonged to the first, second and third phases of amnesty beneficiaries, under the aegis of Niger Deltans for Accountability and Good Governance, converged on the Opokuma Junction of the East -West Road, calling for the Her Excellency, Dame Edith Okowa who has made it her lifelong mission to lend a helping hand to the poor and needy. It is a conscious effort to preach the gospel in words and deeds. It is not enough to hear the word but to be doers of the word removal of the amnesty boss. Armed with placards, some of which read: “Buhari sack Boroh now,” “Boroh must go,” “EFCC submit your report on Boroh,” the protesters called on President Muhammadu Buhari to consider the fact that as 80 per cent of the amnesty beneficiaries and kinsmen of the amnesty boss, “We have reviewed his performance and found out that he is a failure and his non-performance is encouraging renewed hostilities and militancy. Some leaders of the protesting groups, including Mr Samuel Sogulu, “Commander” Rawlings Ezetu, “Commander” Ebilo of Third Phase and Opukeme Orubo, insisted that the amnesty programme under the administration of Boroh had become an avenue for political aides and staff of the amnesty office to amass wealth at the expense of the peace in the region. PANDEF to meet FG The Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, led by elder statesman and former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, had also raised a special committee to confer with the Federal Government on issues pertaining to the programme and its continuation. PANDEF committee is cochaired by two former governors, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd.) of Akwa Ibom state and Prof Oserheimen Osunbor of Edo state. Protesters hired by politicians – Akpobubakaye Head of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, Niger-Delta Office, Kaiama, Bayelsa , Engr. Jude Akpobubakaye, who spoke to Saturday Vanguard on phone, said those protesting against the Amnesty Coordinator were paid by politicians eyeing the office. Akpobubakaye, who stated that he was a product of the Amnesty Programme, disclosed that when the Amnesty Office got intelligence information about the planned protests, the Coordinator set up a peace team headed by a respected Niger Delta leader, Elder T. K Ogoriba, to mediate, but the boys said they had collected money and would , therefore, not back down. According to him, “First, I can tell you that the PAP under Boroh has opened a 24- hour call centre manned by a very senior officer and whenever complaints and observations come, the issues are taken directly to the respective departments. It was after this that the Niger Delta office, which I am the head, was opened.” “We are on ground, we are all part of the struggle, and my numbers are known to the ex-agitators, the PAP delegation led by Ogoriba, which I was part of, went round before the current protests started. We first went to Bayelsa state, Ughelli, Warri and other areas and we met with them. We also met with the leadership of the Ijaw Youth Council, western zone. “Even the leaders of the Bayelsa protest in Bayelsa state, we met them, we told them to put their grievances in writing and should not carry out any protests because we would take their grievances to the boss, Boroh, and surely their complaints will be addressed. But they told us categorically that they would not stop the planned protests for the reason that they had been paid by some politician to carry out the protests. Ughelli, Warri refused to join protest “At Ughelli, the boys were even more angry that those in Bayelsa, but after they listened to us, it seemed they saw the reason not to sabotage the programme. We went to Warri, and met with various groups and communities on the need to maintain the peace. “We assured them we were going to take their observations to Boroh and Monday, we went to Abuja. On Tuesday, we were meeting with Boroh to brief him on our assignment when the boys commenced protest in Bayelsa state, you can imagine, but the boys in Ughelli and Warri declined to join the protest,” he said. Amnesty programme not hijacked by northerners – Kiyaramo Liaison Officer, PAP, Niger Delta, Mr. Piriye Kiyaramo, who corroborated his assertion, stated: “It is not true that the Amnesty programme has been hijacked, let those alleging that it has been hijacked prove their claim. I can tell you that no northerner has been appointed as head of PAP, it is headed by a Niger Deltan from Bayelsa.” He, however, noted: “The office of the PAP Coordinator is a sensitive office, which many politicians are eyeing because they think it is what they can use in an election time to sway things to their favour. There are consultants and civil servants in the place and if among the civil servants, there are some northerners, I do not see anything wrong with that.” Boroh not a puppet His words: “The truth, however, is that Boroh is not a stooge of any northerner or any other person for that matter. Are you telling me that because President Muhammadu Buhari appointed somebody a Minister in his cabinet, then, that person is his stooge? I am the liaison officer for Niger Delta, I am on ground, I have gone round the nine states of the region and met with the leading ex-agitators, they know me, I have told them, if you have complaints, put them in writing, document them, it will be filed and followed up, not carrying placards and staging protests along the East –West Road. “We have told them to go beyond this mentality, which is why there is Niger Delta office at Kaima. There is a 24-hour call service in the Amnesty Office even if they want to call Abuja at any time, but this idea of letting some politicians to influence them will not help anybody. I hope you know who Elder Ogoriba is in the Niger Delta struggle, the Amnesty Office foresaw what is playing out and he and others were brought on board to explain the true situation of things to the boys. They did this, we were all part of it, yet, they went ahead to protest because they have been paid. It is wrong, that is what we are saying,” he said. Kiyaramo said some of the ex-agitators want immediate benefits and gratifications, but pointed out that under the present programme, it was difficult for Boroh to give anybody gratification or the kind of benefit they were expecting from him, otherwise, he would be in trouble. He said: “However, I am not surprised that they are behaving like this because we are approaching an election year and politicians want to use them to achieve their desired objectives, but I can tell you that the Amnesty programme under Boroh is focused.” Northerners purportedly hijack amnesty program The call for his removal has, however, split the ex-agitators with a group describing those opposed to him as “enemies of the region.” Leaders of Amnesty Phase II, Lord Agbuke and Lucky Otete, in a statement, claimed that under Brig Gen Boroh, some powerful northern politicians have hijacked the Amnesty Office, shortchanging Niger Delta beneficiaries of the programme at training institutions, while Boroh took directives from them. “What we are seeing in the Presidential Amnesty Program under the watch of Brig Gen Paul Boroh is something we do not understand, specifically in the Educational department .It is sad to mention that Paul Continues on pg 14