Vanguard Newspaper 10 january 2018
14—SATURDAY Vanguard, FEBRUARY 10, 2018 The problem with Boroh – Kingsley Muturu, ex-militant leader Emma Amaize and Chancel Sunday Bomadi C HAIRMAN, Phase 2 Ex- Agitators, Delta State, Mr. Kingsley Muturu, said the present rumbling in the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, was largely because the Chairman, PAP, and Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Brig Gen Paul Boroh (retd.), had failed to bring about a forum for him and ex-militant leaders to thrash out troubling issues. Muturu in an interview with Saturday Vanguard, however, said that those calling for his sack do not have the interest of the programme at heart. According to him, the immediate cause of the current hoopla was the infiltration of the programme by strangers and apparent refusal of the Amnesty Office to address the anomaly. “We, ex-militants have been in the programme before Boroh’s appointment, and to be sincere, we, ex-militant leaders, have a lot of issues to share with him regarding the running of the programme. But, unfortunately he had never created the forum to enable us meet with him unlike his predecessors, who actually did. “Those calling for Boroh’s removal in the Facebook and other social media platforms do not have the interest of beneficiaries of the programme at heart. I believe such groups of people are not even part of the programme and they are doing so with personal There is indeed need for the federal government to find out if the programme is running accordingly to avoid backlash interests. I advise them to desist from it,” he said. Unwholesome developments in the programme The peace ambassador said: “A lot of unwholesome things are going on in the running of the programme. For example, trainees from my group were sent back home from their training ground without concrete reasons given by the contractor, who also refused to explain what really happened. They were trained for just one month at the Agricultural College, Iguoriakhi, Edo state, and were asked by the contractor, Hon Austin Ehi, to go back home without any explanation.” “When the boys called him on phone to know the position of things, he answered them by saying that they should do whatever they could, suggesting that their training process has been thwarted. “That is where the problem lies. Personally, I have made frantic efforts by informing the Amnesty Office over this and other issues, but there had never been any headway. Imagine that there are also other vexing issues to discuss with the office, but Boroh seemed not disposed to it,” he asserted. Strangers invade Presidential Amnesty Programme The ex-militant leader asserted: “We have been seeing strange faces among beneficiaries in the schools and training centres under the programme. Go to Novena University, Felix Ibru •Kingsley Muturu University, Benson Idahosa University and you see non-Niger Deltans as beneficiaries of the programme. I tasked Boroh to take these complaints very seriously as there seems to be high profile corruption in the education and training department in the office. I also believe that politicians are dictating for Boroh on what and what to do without considering the interests of Niger Deltans,” he said. According to him, “We, ex-militant leaders discovered that Boroh is being controlled by those who projected him into the office, and that is why he is apparently dancing to their tune rather than heed the complaints and anomalies arising in the running of the programme.” “We, therefore, call on such politicians to leave the programme alone, as we have seen that they are managing the programme themselves. We are vehemently against their activities,” he added. Muturu stated: “We have seen that it is Boroh’s inaction and reluctance that led to the infiltration of strange faces into the programme as beneficiaries in the schools and training centres. This is indeed baffling, as even our boys call us on daily basis to inform us of these strangers under the programme.” “We are also not pleased with his new introduction of aptitude tests on students as recently conducted in Port- Harcourt, River State, which was alien to beneficiaries since inception of the programme. “We, ex-militant leaders, hereby charge him to take charge of the programme or we may read his inaction on crucial issues as incapability to handle the programme. He has already lost touch with leaders of various groups, whereby information sharing between the office and leaders had also been lost,” the ex-militant leader asserted. Recommendation Asked to advice the Special Adviser on how best to handle the imbroglio, he said: “I advise Boroh to take the issues raised in the education and training of beneficiaries very seriously. He should look into the department handling beneficiaries’ training and education and take the necessary action to avoid failure of the programme.” “I also call on President Buhari to look into the programme to appraise its wellness. There is indeed need for the federal government to find out if the programme is running accordingly to avoid backlash.” The peace ambassador commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to the success of the amnesty programme, saying: “Yes, I believe he is committed because the President pledged to implement the good aspects of the amnesty programme in his inaugural speech. Education and training as well as engagement of beneficiaries are good aspects of the programme, I think Buhari will not deviate from this commitment.” Disquieting time for Amnesty Coordinator as ex-militants demand his sack Continues on pg 13 Boroh, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta was recommended to President Muhamadu Buhari by some politicians. These northern politicians have hijacked the office of the chairman. Paul Boroh is just a ceremonial head. He only endorses memos while they take decisions. “It might interest the general public to know that the Educational department is influenced by those persons in such a manner that the original beneficiaries from the region, who submitted arms and were captured and received monthly stipends, are being short-changed with Hausa/Fulani names as benefactors during training institutions of the program. “People, who ordinarily cannot afford to see the walls of the university have been short changed by some unknown persons from the northern and eastern parts of the country, perhaps sold our chances to those persons we cannot tell. We have made series of applications, which have been sent to the office for approval for our boys to go to school, yet to no avail. “But when you make a visit to schools like Novena University, Igbinedion University, Benson Idahosa University and the likes, you will see strange faces and names as Niger Delta beneficiaries of the Amnesty programme, who are not members of the program that were captured by the former administration,” they alleged. Warning Their words: “We have evidence to back our allegation. We are calling on Niger Delta leaders, who are in the APC administration to prevail on the Special Adviser to Mr. President to take a visit to the educational departments mentioned and correct the injustices in the department for proper and effective administration because if no proper scrutiny is made to correct the anomalies in the amnesty programme, our boys will be permanently shortchanged forever without justice.” They warned: “If justice is not done, our boys who have been short changed may have problem with us, the leaders, for not protecting them in the amnesty programme, so we call on President Buhari and Paul Boroh to look into the matter. We are also calling on the security agencies to investigate that department because there is a serious fraud there.” “Boroh does not understand how they are running that office, we will let him know how things are done .We, the leaders and the boys understand what is going on, he does not consult us before doing things, especially in the area of training. He should always consult the leaders before any directive is taken to avoid similar errors in the future,” the militant leaders cautioned. Discontented, fraudulent politicians after Boroh – Opukeme, Freeman But the leaders of Niger Delta Supreme Egbesu Freedom Fighters and Niger Delta Red Scorpion Warriors, “General” Obus Opukeme and “General” Odudu Freeman, said those calling for Boroh’s sack were sponsored by disgruntled politicians to derail the programme. They urged the nonexistent groups and compromised youths “to retrace their steps or be prepared to face the wrath of militants as their identities are known to us.” Throwing their weight behind Boroh for his “transparent leadership and repositioning the Amnesty Programme”, the two groups said: “General Paul Boroh has made tireless efforts to the sustained peace process that the country is currently enjoying in the region, hence should be appreciated by all genuine stakeholders from the region.” They added: “General Boroh had steadily used his good office to engage various genuine agitating militant groups, traditional rulers and well-meaning stakeholders in the region to foster peace, stability, progress and attract development under the President Muhammadu Buhari- led APC government than the previous miserable PDP government.” “General Paul Boroh had risked his life to visit the entire length and breadth of the creek of the Niger Delta to calm frayed nerves in the wake of the destruction of oil pipelines and oil facilities in 2016. He brought several empowerment programmes through the Amnesty Programme by engaging various militant groups in agriculture while transparency and accountability has been his watch word, which can be attested to by the regular payment of monthly stipends to ex-agitators and militants undergoing training,” the People, who ordinarily cannot afford to see the walls of the university have been short changed by some unknown persons from the northern and eastern parts of the country groups asserted. According to them, “General Boroh also contributed immensely to the ceasefire agreement in 2016 that led to increase in the crude oil production to 2.2million barrels, which contributed to the nation’s economic recovery.” Further describing those calling for his sack as “evil and desperate people, who have lost touch with the reality on ground,” they urged President Buhari to ignore calls for the removal of Boroh, saying, “the calls are coming from corrupt personalities desperate and bent on sponsoring nonexistent militant groups to forge baseless stories.” Appeal to Finance minister on release of stipends “We use this opportunity to urge the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun , not to delay the release of funds for the payment of monthly stipends to ex militants in order to sustain the existing peace in the creeks of Niger Delta. “And if the federal government and the security agencies refuse to call this evil plotters and disgruntled elements sponsoring various groups that are calling for the removal of Paul Boroh to order, then, we will be left with no option than to declare another war in the creek of Niger Delta and whatever shall be the outcome, we should not be held responsible,” they warned.
SATURDAY Vanguard, FEBRUARY 10, 2018—15 APC NWC in fury over Tinubu’s appointment He is our best man for the job – presidency source BY OMEIZA AJAYI President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to lead the reconciliation process in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has jolted some leaders of the party who have commenced a quiet move to cage the former Lagos State governor. When the National Working Committee, NWC met last Wednesday, a day after Tinubu’s troubleshooting role was made, members were said to have mandated the national chairman, Chief John Odigie- Oyegun to meet with the president to clarify the issues about Tinubu’s appointment. Despite the public adulation by some of the national officers, Saturday Vanguard learnt that the NWC members were shocked by Tinubu’s choice as a peace envoy. They were also displeased with the president’s lack of consultation on the issue. The party executives particularly fumed that the appointment disregarded what they claimed as Tinubu’s contribution to some of the major crises in the party. They particularly cited the crisis that led to the trial of the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki on multiple issues and the crises in the Kogi and Ondo State chapters of the party. The national chairman, Chief Odigie-Oyegun who had a very public falling out with Tinubu in September 2016 was in the Presidential Villa on Thursday. Saturday Vanguard could not confirm if Odigie-Oyegun, a Roman Catholic who was present when President Buhari received the delegation of Catholic bishops that Thursday had the opportunity of a oneon-one with the president on the issue. The opposition of the NWC members nonetheless, some of Tinubu’s associates on their part have not been particularly excited by the new role the president has given to the famed political navigator. As at press time Tinubu who marshaled the political alliance that transformed Buhari from a threetime election loser to a success story was yet to get into the job, a •Tinubu source said. It was learnt that he had not been fully briefed on his job specification. His associates were particularly concerned that the president may be taking advantage of Tinubu having not brought him into the inner circle of his administration after his inauguration in 2015. “Asiwaju is the soul of the party even though those in power may not want to agree with it because he helped to forge the kind of alliance that helped to bring down a ruling party and after that, they left him. “For me what they did was that after helping the party they have come back to him when the party is almost having a heart attack for him to help revive it, let’s see how it can be done,” a Lagos based associate of the political leader disclosed. The NWC’s discomfiture with Tinubu’s appointment nonetheless, the presidency is apparently not likely to be moved, a senior presidency official disclosed. Citing the confidence President Buhari has in Tinubu to patch up the cracks in the party, the source was quick to dismiss the seeming opposition of the NWC as he told Saturday Vanguard that the president had greater confidence in Tinubu over •Oyegun the Odigie-Oyegun led executive. The presidency official said that Tinubu’s first job could be mediating in the brewing face-off between the legislative and executive branches of government over the amendment of the Electoral Act that has led to the reversal of the schedule of elections. A very bitter party official speaking on the condition of anonymity at the national secretariat said on Thursday: “How can the president appoint Tinubu to head a reconciliation committee when he (Tinubu) played a central role in some of the topical crises like the National Assembly crisis and the crises in the Kogi and Ondo state chapters of the party?” “I understand the need for the president to bring Tinubu closer because of his desire to seek reelection in 2019 and off course get South West votes, but there are better strategic ways of doing things. The president’s decision is ill-thought, meddlesome, and vexatious and portrays the party leadership in bad light. If indeed the president is genuinely interested in true reconciliation among the party ranks, he should urgently address the lopsided and hijacked reward system; the Senate President’s obviously political-motivated trial and the funding challenges the party faces,” the NWC source disclosed. He added: “While we back the president for a second term, the president should not take our endorsement for granted. Truth be said, the president nonchalance and aloofness on party matters has been another reason for the crisis among the party ranks and the general weakening of the party.” The relationship between Tinubu and Chief Odigie-Oyegun got to a low in September 2016 when Tinubu’s Media Office issued a statement denouncing the role of the national chairman in the conduct of the party’s governorship primaries in Ondo State. In blasting Odigie-Oyegun who he backed for the office of national chairman against the aspiration of Chief Tom Ikimi in 2014, Tinubu said: “The party was supposed to buttress APC members elected to government at all levels. Because of Oyegun’s conduct of our affairs, the party is rapidly becoming an albatross to those it was meant to help.” “On the chopping block, lies the future of the political party in which the majority of voters had placed their confidence. To rescue the party, Oyegun must go. He has shown that he and democratic, fair play cannot exist in the same party at the same time. If Tinubu is to choose between John Oyegun and progress toward a better Nigeria, the choice has already been made,” the statement concluded. Odigie-Oyegun swiftly responded two weeks later when he debunked the insinuations by Tinubu that his actions in the Ondo State primary were influenced by money as he affirmed that nobody has the kind of money to buy his conscience. “This reckless and baseless corruption allegation levelled against me is unfortunate and an insult to my person and my hard-earned reputation which I have strongly maintained. Nobody has the kind of money that can buy my conscience or make me do injury to an innocent man. In all the primaries conducted under my watch as National Chairman, I have tried to ensure a free, fair, transparent and credible process,” Odigie-Oyegun had deposed. Meanwhile, ahead of the planned APC National Convention, a proposal for an extension of the tenure of the APC elected executives will be tabled before the planned National Caucus and National Executive Committee (NEC) meetings, it has been learnt. The tenure of the current party executives at all levels ends in June 2018. Although details of the proposal were still sketchy at press time, the plan which reportedly has the support of the president it is learnt will be tabled and sponsored by the Party’s state governors. There are suggestions that an interim executive could be put in place to conduct the party’s primaries, but backers of the extension fear it will be counterproductive, chaotic and hijacked. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had scheduled elections for February 2019. INEC in its recently announced time- table for the general elections also fixed the conduct of party primaries for August 18, 2018, to October 7, 2018. If the party’s executive positions are reconstituted in June 2018, then only about five months will be available for the Party to organize congresses nationwide and the National Convention to choose state and national candidates including the Presidential Candidate as well as design strategy, manifesto and other programs for the general elections. In addition, there will be Primaries to pick Candidates for Ekiti and Osun States governorship candidates and also campaign for the elections.