C002D5556 Sunday 08 April 2018 4 BDSUNDAY Cover Charlatans in control of Nigeria... Continued from Page 1 Musa exists between light and darkness. While describing political actors of yesteryear as saints, he said that majority of those in politics today are devils. “The difference is clear. When we were in government, it was the time when saints were in politics, now it is the time of the devils. Today, they have introduced corruption in the system. The system is being corrupted. Everybody going into politics now is talking about money, not service. There is nothing like serving others, it is about self. So, the comparison is that of saint and devil. The quality of leadership is gone,” he stated further. Decrying the elevation of money power and imposition of candidates in the nation’s politics, he said: “PRP is the only political party that has existed right from the Second Republic. It produced two governors and won 45 legislative positions at that time. But after 2003, it became very difficult for PRP to win any election in Nigeria. You know why? Because of the money power in politics. “The introduction of money politics has destroyed the system. You know it is only a few parties that can muster huge sums of money that can participate actively in politics these days. There is too much emphasis on money. Even at local level of politics, they have introduced corruption. In some places, people are being asked to pay N2million to contest for chairmanship; whereas the minimum wage is very low. The money politics has ruined everything. Look at how difficult it is and we are talking about grassroots politics. There is also this imposition of candidates where unpopular persons are foisted on the people. These are the issues that have made it difficult for good people to take part in the political process.” Assessing the performance of the current government from 2015, the octogenarian said it was a continuation of the corruption and poor leadership that has been entrenched since 1999. “It is not better than those before it; it is an extension of the rot that has become part of the system. Nigeria has made no progress. Quality of leadership has drastically gone down. Quality of life of citizens has gone seriously bad. The security situation of the country has also worsened. In fact, every aspect of the nation’s life has collapsed. It appears there is no government in the country. Things have gone from bad to worse,” he noted. Musa, who also described the Buhari administration as “disappointing; quite disappointing”, told BDSUNDAY that the administration “has made peace impossible.” According to him, “Quality of leadership is very low and it brings about a situation where no one knows the next thing that can happen in Nigeria. What we are seeing now is quite disheartening.” Describing as charlatan some politicians masquerading as leaders and some of those seeking the highest office in the land, the former presidential candidate said: “If you compare what happened in 1978 and what is happening now, you will agree with me that things have gone very badly. In the Second Republic when we had the likes of Aminu Kano, Zik and Awolowo, there was discipline and you could feel the presence of quality leadership. There was a sense of discipline. “At that time, you could see presidential materials who were qualified in every sense of the word, so much that if you voted for any one of them, you would not say you made a mistake. This is because each of them was more than qualified to occupy the seat. But today, we are saddled with a president that lacks discipline and does not understand the burden of leadership and governance. Today, you see many people coming out that they want to contest for the post of president, and they have not the discipline and you see they do not possess what it takes to be0 leaders. This is the tragedy of Nigeria.” He challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to take advantage of the provisions in the Constitution as the Commanderin-chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria; Chief security officer of the country and controller of the resources of Nigeria, to better the lives of Nigerians. “He must realise that he was elected for the good of every citizen of Nigeria, and so he must ensure that fairness and justice must come into play in all that he does. But we are not seeing that,” he said. Urging the Nigerian electorate to make an informed choice in 2019 in terms of choosing credible leaders, Musa also tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on fair play. “As the next election is coming, we must see how we can have a better leadership and how it is possible to keep these people away from coming back to power. Again, my advice to the INEC is to ensure that by all means there is credible election that will produce the choice of the people,” he said. Mantu’s mantra and the culture of impunity Ayo Oyoze Baje The recurring ugly decimal of rigging of elections in Nigeria is one salient reason behind the emergence of the people’s enemies into the country’s most sensitive plum political positions. Giventhe high cost of accessing power, the door-die battle to win elections, the obscenely high and attractive pay packageone is not surprised about the recent confessions of the former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu that he rigged election for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Mantu, a member of the Board of Trustees of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), had in a television chat with Channels TV on March 30, 2018 openly admitted to have rigged elections for the party through bribing electoral officials, security agencies and party agents. Though the confession came like a bolt out of the blues to millions of Nigerians, it did not to others who have known the truth all along. The pain in it all is that after all the hue and cry, Mantu’s issue will suffer the Doppler effect and he will still walk our streets as a free man! Truth be said, he belongs to the untouchables. Like several allegedly corrupt former governors and politicians, even if the case goes to court, it would be subjected to a long-winding judicial process that at the end of the day would amount to nothing! What do you expect in a country where we are not equal before the law of the land? Where the very reprehensible idea of amnesty for the blood-sucking Boko Haram extremists is even given flicker of thought in the high corridors of power! Where court orders are disregarded even by those who swore allegiance to the oath of office to protect the ethos of our statutory books. That is Nigeria for you. And, sad to say, that of course, is the self-decimating culture of impunity that some of us have repeatedly decried over the years. As expected, the PDP in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja said Mantu’s claim has nothing to do with the party. He said the PDP had never directed any of its members to rig election on its behalf at any point since its formation. “Individuals run their elections on the platform of political parties once they emerge as candidates. In the PDP, candidates are issued with the party’s Code of Conduct containing the basic rules of electioneering engagements. There is nowhere in these rules of engagement where candidates or party members are directed to rig elections on behalf of the party,” Ologbondiyan said. Well said, one would say. Or, some other critics would tell him to tell that to the marines. As expected, going for the jugular, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is trying to make a political capital out of it. But truth be said, election rigging has no political colours. Not because one Doyin Okupe said so but the electoral crime has become the rule rather than the exception. So, who is to blame? What about the compelling centripetal attraction of well-paying political offices, with all the apparatchik of office attached? This has contributed in no small measure to all manner of electoral malfeasance here in Nigeria. It Yakubu would however, be foolhardy for the nationstate with a vision to right the many wrongs of the past to continue to habour, tolerate or out rightly encourage what has brought the country to this sorry political pass. Something has to be done and speedily too. That feeling prompted me to make a similar post on Facebook, decrying the odious fact that Mantu is still a free man. This triggered the instant responses from concerned Nigerians. Dipo Olayokun, an analyst has this to say: “Mr. Ayo Baje, if Mantu is picked up today, they would say that Buhari has continued with the persecution of PDP members. And is Mantu telling us anything new? Not done he went down memory lane: “A member of BoT of PDP, Chris Uba under Obasanjo addressed a world press conference in Enugu where he told the world that he rigged the 2003 election for Ngige. Let me quote him: ‘When I was bribing INEC officials and security agents to rig elections for him to become the governor of Anambra State, where was he? Did he know how I did it?’” Furthermore, Olayokun added the clincher: “Instead of Obasanjo arresting Chris Uba he was made a member of the BoT. And now you want security agents to arrest Mantu. And they will start telling the world that Buhari is a dictator who wants to kill opposition”.
Sunday 08 April 2018 C002D5556 BDSUNDAY 5 News Abia APC crisis: Nwankpa says ‘I am still in charge’ Niger Delta militants endorse Dokubo, new Amnesty boss …Urge FG to give him all needed support to succeed UDOKA AGWU, Umuahia Do n a t u s Nwankpa, embattled chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia has said that he was still the helmsman of the party in the state. Nwankpa warned the opposition party in the state not to celebrate over the current dispute in the party, as disagreement does not mean disintegration. It would be recalled that an Abia High Court sitting at Okpuala Ngwa and presided over by Hon. Justice C.U. Okoroafor sacked the executive members of the APC led by Nwankpa. The court order asked APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, Mai Mala Bunu and Muiz Banire to stop dealing with Nwankpa and Menyechi Onuoha and other members of the Abia executive committee pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit filed by a faction of the party in the state. Speaking with journalists at the party’s secretariat, Umuahia, Nwankpa said: “For some time now, various media have been awash with some comments with regards to the leadership of the party in the state. Yes, we must be honest to ourselves, there was a court action, an order was given by the court Donatus Nwankpa at Okpuala Ngwa in Isiala Ngwa North L.G.A presided by Justice C.U. Okoroafor. “In spite of the irregularities, abuse of process and other illegal impunity that almost characterised the system which got to a level of judicial rascality, but because the party is law-abiding and because we believe that the judge may have been misinformed, knowing the pedigree of Justice Okoroafor, we took the process accordingly and that was by approaching the same court, appealing to the same court to not only vacate the order, even though we are going to raise some criminal charges in respect to some forgery and some documentations that were placed there inappropriately.” “But the party being a lawabiding party, we immediately appealed to the court, because the order that was given to us; that was brought before the court was not an exparte motion. It was motion on notice and since it was a motion on notice, all steps of service and all processes must have been followed, unfortunately the court was deceived,” he further explained. Nwankpa disclosed that the present APC government deals with credibility, transparency and discipline. “So for that we as a party will not tolerate anything that has to abuse or undermine the strength, the position and role of judiciary in a democratic system that ensures checks and balances rooted in the culture of separation of power. So having appealed to that by the virtue of the constitution of the APC and every other thing, an order is said to be suspended when there is an appeal, until that appeal is dispensed with,” he said. On who represented Abia APC during the party’s most recent NEC meeting, Nwankpa said he represented the state, adding, “There is no tussle, there is no controversy, there is no question in respect to the true leadership of the APC in Abia State. So there is no dispute on it. I am still the chairman of the party until the congress reelects me or removes me”. On the controversy that surrounded the alleged suspension of Ikechi Emenike, he said: “Ikechi Emenike was duly suspended in his ward on the 23rd of January, 2018 based on his anti-party activities, and because he is not an official of the party, he is neither a member of BoT, member of NEC, SEC, ZEC or even local government executive committee, for that his matter starts and ends at the ward level. What the state did was to acknowledge the suspension letter earlier written by his ward.” Ignatius Chukwu The Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC) said to be a coalition of key and leading agitating groups in the Niger Delta which include the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force and a few others, have commended the Presidency for the appointment of Charles Quaker Dokubo, a professor, as Amnesty boss. In a statement emailed to media houses on Friday, the group led by Cynthia White said Dokubo was a leading African researcher in Peace Studies, Nuclear Proliferation and International Diplomacy, saying his appointment as Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme & Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta was welcome. “As an Ijaw from the Kalabari clan, Dokubo comes to the table with a deeplyrooted traditional pedigree,” the group said. “As a Professor of Peace Studies who has led many studies on Peace in the Niger Delta, Dokubo understands the true strategic value of peace in the Niger Delta and its effect on Nigeria, Africa and beyond. As a nonpartisan intellectual and neutral player, Professor Charles Quaker Dokubo understands the need to make new friends for President Buhari in the Niger Delta. Why many believe his appointment was a political masterstroke by the Buhari administration, we believe that in itself, is not Enough,” it said. “For the Niger Delta region to experience healing and development, the Buhari Presidency must go beyond just the appointment a globally recognised researcher and Professor of Peace and Defense Studies and ensure that he is provided with the support required for the effective deployment of peace and development strategies and efforts in the Niger Delta. Why Middle Belt people want Nigeria restructured – Lekwot David Ejiohuo When half of Nigeria recently gathered in Goodluck Jonathan’s home state, Bayelsa, to press for restructuring as the only way to go before solving other national problems, the Middle Belt people who are now apparently being annihilated, were there too to join the South-South, Ohanaeze and the Afenifere. They spoke in one voice; restructure Nigeria. The Middle Belt people say they believe in a restructured Nigeria because only such a country could ensure the much needed economic transformation, ethnic cohesion and the unity of the country. These views were articulated by the representatives of the zone to the just concluded restructuring rally attended by the people of South-South, South-West, South-East and the Middle Belt forums at Yanagoa. Speaking with Business- Day at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in an exclusive interview, the leader of the Middle Belt delegation, Zamani Letwort, a retired army general and a onetime military governor of old Rivers State, said the middle Belt believes that only Lekwot a restructured Nigeria could get the country out of the serious problem of population explosion that had put pressure on the system, making things not to work. According to Lekwot, who was surrounded by others such as onetime military governor, an air commodore, Dan Sulaman, and a retired police commissioner Dabub, the people calling for restructuring are saying it to solve these problems. “They are saying there were needs to review what the structure because the permanent thing about life is change. If the structure cannot carry the weight, what is more?” The centralisation of administration or power had made the states redundant and turned them into beggars. This has suppressed their potentials, he said, pointing out that the devolution of power is all about decongesting the centre. Lekwot traced the genesis of the present problem to the military coup that dissolved the regions and made Nigeria a unitary state and abolished their functions, pointing out that the centralisation had caused so much disadvantages that those who believe in restructuring are saying that the country must be decongested in order to share power, including revenue generation because all the states in Nigeria have potentials and solid minerals, agriculture, and human resources According to the Middle Belt group, the best road map to restructure Nigeria is in the 2014 National Conference Report where everything was dissected, pointing out that the only further thing that was required in the report was for the Executive to take it to the National Assembly to perfect the report and start the implementation systematically. Dokubo Cleric in philanthropic gesture, distributes fertilizers to boost food production In a bid to boost food production in his Community, Emeka Nwankpa, a bishop and general overseer of Chapel of Faith Bible Assembly International, Onitsha, Anambra State has distributed over 200 bags of fertilizers to farmers in Umuopara, Ntigha Umukalu in Isiala Ngwa North Local Government of Abia state. Nwankpa distributed the fertilizers during the official grand opening of his new mansion christened “Yahweh’s Villa. He said that if God blesses one, one should equally bless others; hence, his philanthropic gesture in floating Ben Foundation. He disclosed that as a true son of Ngwa land his Foundation in the past eight years had provided street lights as well as boreholes for his people. He further hinted that he had distributed over 50 motorcycles, 500 bags of rice and 5000 pieces of wrappers to widows/women alongside other items. He said presently 117 undergraduates in various tertiary institutions across the country are under his scholarship.