VANGUARD, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2018 —43 By Egufe Yafugborhi SUPPORTERS of Senator Magnus Abe’s governorship aspiration in Rivers State are banking on the use of direct primaries to circumvent what they claim is the plot by the Rotimi Amaechi-led All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state to shut out their man from his aspiration. Abe, who after his reelection to the Senate, drifted away from the Amaechi camp was the first to declare his governorship aspiration to the chagrin of many members of the group. The Rotimi Amaechi-led caucus at a major stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos, penultimate week, endorsed billionaire oil trader, Tonye Dele Cole, as the group’s choice for the governorship. Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who was a major contender and flew the ticket of the party in the 2015 election quickly gave in to the collective choice and gave his support for “his brother” Cole. Abe has, however, acted *Amaechi Rivers: Abe hopes to outsmart Amaechi through direct primary differently. A source in the Abe camp told Vanguard: “I am not aware of any meeting where a decision was taken. I was not invited to any meeting. Tonye Cole is welcome to the fold, but I am running for the Useni’s governorship bid divides Tarok people in Plateau By Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos TROUBLE is brewing among the Tarok people of Plateau State as the ambition of the Senator representing Plateau South Senatorial zone, Jeremiah Useni, to take over the governorship seat on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in 2019, is tearing the people apart. Septuagenarian Useni, a Tarok from Langtang North Local Government Area is earnestly seeking to unseat Governor Simon Lalong despite concerns of age and health challenges. He has been campaigning and meeting with relevant stakeholders to ensure he emerges successful at the primary and general elections. He has purchased, filled and submitted his nomination form, promising that if elected, he would ensure that the lost glory of the State is restored. Among those he has contacted for their support is the umbrella body of the Tarok Socio-economic and cultural organization, Ngwang Ishi O’Tarok, NIO, where he assured his kinsmen of his ability to deliver on his promises. Other Tarok sons in the race Apart from Useni, there are other Tarok sons like Victor Lar, Ibrahim Ponyah, Jimmy Cheto, Samuel Jatau, and Samuel Abashe among others, who are vying for the seat. However, a group, Tarok Elders Forum, TEF said it has consulted widely and endorsed Useni as the Tarok consensus candidate for the seat. The elders in a statement by their Chairman, Selcan Miner, and Secretary, Danjuma Rimdan, while endorsing Useni, said: “The emergence of a plethora of eligible aspirants of Tarok extraction for the gubernatorial race in Plateau State has generated some concern within the generality of the Tarok people. The leader and elders had therefore engaged the different stakeholders and carried out broad consultation within and outside the Tarok Nation, especially with the wider Plateau State family with a view to settling down on and putting forward a single aspirant to the good people of Plateau State for consideration and support.” Yet another group, Tarok Progressive Youths Association, TAPYA, the umbrella body of Tarok youths, said the elders’ endorsement of Useni is biased and unfair to other Tarok aspirants. The youths at a press briefing by its President, Lohnan Samson, and Secretary-General, Singa *Abe Zhattau, flayed the elders’ action saying it is of no effect as the Tarok Elders’ Forum had been disbanded since March 28, 2008. They stated: “As young people of the Tarok Nation, we do not often trade words with our elders as part of our age-long values of respect for age. However, that will cease to be the case in the face of any action by the elders, which is capable of jeopardizing the future of both the youth and the Tarok Nation at large. “We wish to place on record that the Tarok Elders Forum hitherto inaugurated by the Ponzhi Tarok, His Royal Majesty, Mr. Edward Zhattau (of blessed memory), was later disbanded by the Paramount Ruler on March 28, 2008 at NBTT Jos, and could not have issued a press statement on the emergence of a “consensus aspirant” as far as the gubernatorial aspiration of the Tarok nation is concerned. “We are not unaware of the fact ticket.” The source revealed that Abe’s hope to upstage Amaechi’s endorsement of Cole rested on the adoption of direct primaries. “You know we do not recognise the Amaechi imposed party. It remains rejected by a court of competent jurisdiction, and we believe the Chief Davies Ikanya-led executive remains the authentic Rivers APC. “We know their antics but the party has adopted direct primaries, which will allow all genuine Rivers APC members to choose their flag bearer and against an obscure anointed proxy, we know where the votes of the people will go. Abe will win a lawful primary, no shaking about that. Abe in his reflection had added that “those who have been endorsed and those of us who have not been endorsed are free to contest. We believe there will be a level playing field. That is the change the party has promised, and we hope it would be fulfilled.” Victor Lar *Jeremiah Useni *Simon Lalong that there are many gubernatorial aspirants of Tarok extraction, who have picked up nomination forms of their various political parties. These include, among others: Mr. Godfrey Mamzhi of the SDP, Mr. Nanzing Bako of the ANN, Senator Victor Lar, Senator Jeremiah Useni, Engineer Jimmy Cheto, and Engineer Ponyak Ibrahim, all of the PDP, etc., “As bona fide Tarok sons, we could not have jettisoned one for the other by way of endorsement, except where the aspirants themselves arrive at a consensus, which would imply a voluntary withdrawal by the rest of the aspirants in recognition of the aspiration of one person, and not the coronation by a group of elders as is the instant case. “In the light of the foregoing, we hereby make a clarion call on all the people of Plateau State to disregard in all respects the statement issued by the Selcan Miner-led group regarding the endorsement of Useni.” PDP: Defection looms as govs sideline national legislators •NW not aware of such problems—PDP scribe By Clifford Ndujihe LAGOS—THE National Leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has feigned knowledge of friction in the states between some governors and National Assembly members elected on its platform, which could make the aggrieved members to defect to other parties. There have been complaints from some states such as Abia, Enugu, Benue and Kogi among others that the federal legislators were being sidelined by the governors, and the national leadership has not been honouring the promises made to the legislators, who suffered to keep the party afloat. The aggrieved members contend that the PDP national hierarchy was dancing to the tune of the state governors and favouring those who recently joined the party from the All Progressives Congress, APC to the detriment of the old members. Spokesman of Concerned PDP Youths, Chukwu Obi, said: “PDP has agreed to meet at Legacy House, Wednesday, to discuss this issue. If the results are not favourable, APC has concluded arrangements to welcome the aggrieved lawmakers with some mouth-watering offers. “The lawmakers are waiting for the resumption date to perfect these plans. We have observed the disquieting moves in some state chapters of the PDP, which if not checked, could cost the party not only the governorship elections in the states but also seats in the National Assembly and the states legislature. They all centre on the maneuverings of governors to exclude others from the party. “The governors of the affected states are dropping the old PDP platforms together with old members, who have played vital roles so far in the party. There have been series of meetings held to work out a list of people, who must not be allowed to contest the elections under our party, PDP. “Members who do not support these governors’ policy of exclusion of other party members are threatened. When we resisted all the threats and blackmails, the Governors and supporters have resorted to meeting with other political parties, and bargaining their re-election with offers of seats in constituencies that our party currently holds. “It is these meetings that are generating the constant speculation that our Governors would soon decamp to the APC. These amount to anti-party activities and we would want to draw the attention of the National Chairman to them so that they can be investigated and the governors called to order,” Obi said. Contacted, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan said the National Working Committee, NWC was not aware of the complaints and would discuss them if informed. "The NWC is unaware of the situation. The NWC is yet to be informed of the complaints. If there are such cases, they will be discussed,’’ he said.
44 — VANGUARD, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2018 Russia starts biggest war games since Soviet fall near China RUSSIA began its biggest war games since the fall of the Soviet Union on Tuesday close to its border with China, mobilising 300,000 troops in a show of force that will include joint exercises with the Chinese army. China and Russia have staged joint drills before but not on such a large scale, and the Vostok-2018 (East-2018) exercise signals closer military ties as well as sending an unspoken reminder to Beijing that Moscow is able and ready to defend its sparsely populated far east. Vostok-2018 is taking place at a time of heightened tension between the West and Russia, and NATO has said it will monitor the exercise closely, as will the United States which has a strong military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Russia’s Ministry of Defence broadcast images on Tuesday of columns of tanks, armoured vehicles and warships on the move, and combat helicopters and fighter aircraft taking off. In one clip, marines from Russia’s Northern Fleet and a motorised Arctic brigade were shown disembarking from a large landing ship on a barren shore opposite Alaska. This activity was part of the first stage of the exercise, which runs until Sept. 17, the ministry said in a statement. It involved deploying additional forces to Russia’s far east and a naval build-up involving its Northern and Pacific fleets. The main aim was to check the military’s readiness to move troops large distances, to test how closely infantry and naval forces cooperated, and to perfect command and control procedures. Later stages will involve rehearsals of both defensive and offensive scenarios. Russia also staged a major naval exercise in the eastern Mediterranean this month and its jets resumed bombing the Syrian region of Idlib, the last major enclave of rebels fighting its ally President Bashar al- Assad. The location of the main training range for Vostok- 2018 5,000 km (3,000 miles) east of Moscow means it is likely to be watched closely by Japan, North and South Korea as well as by China and Mongolia, both of whose armies will take part in the manoeuvres later this week. Analysts say Moscow had to invite the Chinese and Mongolian militaries given the proximity of the war games to their borders and because the scale meant the neighbouring countries would probably have seen them as a threat had they been excluded. Pope to meet US Church leaders after archbishop’s accusations *As Trump marks 9/11 anniversary memorial POPE Francis will meet on Thursday with U.S. Catholic Church leaders who want to discuss the fallout from a scandal involving a former American cardinal and demands from an archbishop that the pontiff step down. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), asked for the meeting after Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano last month accused the pope of knowing for years about sexual misconduct by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and of doing nothing about it. The Vatican said in a statement the pope would meet on Thursday with DiNardo, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley of Boston, and two USCCB officials. In the 11-page statement published on Aug. 26, Vigano, the former Vatican ambassador to Washington, launched an unprecedented broadside by a Church insider against the pope and a long list of Vatican and U.S. Church officials. A U.S. flag that flew over the World Trade Center is presented during ceremonies at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum yesterday in New York. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid DiNardo has said Vigano’s accusations “deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence”. The accusations shook the U.S. Church, following a damning Grand Jury report in the state of Pennsylvania that found that 301 priests in the state had sexually abused minors over the past 70 years. Di Nardo has called for the Vatican to help with an investigation into how McCarrick could have risen steadily through the ranks of the U.S. Church although many people knew that he had engaged for years in sexual misconduct with adult male seminarians. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have visited a memorial in Pennsylvania to mark the 9/ 11 attacks 17 years ago. Global hunger increasing, UN warns THE number of people suffering from hunger has increased during the past three years, after years of decline, a UN report suggests. According to the analysis, 821 million people globally were undernourished in 2017 - about one person in every nine. And nearly 151 million under-fives - 22% of the global total - have their growth stunted by poor nutrition. The authors say extreme climate events are partly to blame for the rise and call for urgent global action. The report, The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, also says difficulties accessing nutritious food is contributing to the growing problem of obesity in the world, with one in eight adults - more than 672 million - being classified as obese. The authors note the frequency of extreme climate events - floods, heat, storms and droughts - has doubled since the early 1990s. And they say: “The report sends a clear message that climate variability and exposure to more complex, frequent and intense climate extremes are threatening to erode and even reverse the gains made in ending hunger and malnutrition.” Climate extremes have a direct impact on crop yields and food availability but can also reduce the number of fit and healthy people available to grow and harvest crops and the time and money people have to find nutritious and safe food And hunger is significantly worse in countries where agricultural systems are sensitive to variations in rainfall and temperature and where many people depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. The authors say: “Climate variability and extremes - in addition to conflict and violence in this part of the world - are a key driver behind the recent rises in global hunger and one of the leading causes of severe food crises.” As Sweden swings right, Bannon’s anti-EU crusade looks north HAVING found an ally in the south and an adm i r e r in the east, Donald Trump’s former political strategist Steve Bannon is now looking north for recruits in his crusade to undermine the European Union. And he believes the timing is perfect after famously liberal Sweden voted in record numbers on Sunday for a far-right party that wants a referendum on leaving the 28-nation bloc. Bannon, who helped put U.S. President Trump in the White House, wants to pull off a similar antiestablishment revolution in the EU and get eurosceptics from all corners of the union voted into the European Parliament at elections next year. He has already signed up Italy’s most prominent eurosceptic leader, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, to the cause and his project has been praised by another fierce EU critic, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Bannon is now turning to the EU’s northern member states, where his latest admirer is Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders. “Sometimes you need a catalyst,” Wilders told Reuters at the annual Ambrosetti Forum conference on the shores of Italy’s Lake Como, where he called for the Catalan separatists demand split from Spain in Bercalona AROUND one million people filled central Barcelona on Tuesday to celebrate Catalonia’s commemorative day and boost a bid for independence which has left deep divisions almost a year after it brought Spain to a constitutional crisis. The huge turnout, estimated by local police, was a response to a call from Catalan regional president Quim Torra and his predecessor Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Brussels last October after Madrid dismissed his government, to show continued support for independence from Spain. Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who took office in June, has taken a more conciliatory approach than his conservative predecessor Mariano Rajoy but has stood firm against a vote on or move towards independence. Watching Tuesday’s protest on the broad avenue that slices diagonally through Barcelona, 59-year-old psychologist Montse Martin said the movement needed to regain momentum. “Let’s see if from today there will be a turning point and we will be able to move forward,” she said. “We have to get down to work and not focus so much on what has happened, as serious as it was, but look to the future.” The Sept. 11 “Diada” celebration marks the fall of Barcelona to Spain in 1714, and has been adopted by independence activists in recent years. It falls just over a year after Puigdemont’s administration held a referendum which Madrid sent riot police to try to stop, and made a unilateral declaration of independence. Newspaper backs racist Serena cartoon AN Australian newspaper which found itself at the centre of a race row over its cartoonist’s depiction of Serena Williams has doubled down on its support for the artist. The Herald Sun has hit out at those who criticised Mark Knight’s drawing, which shows Williams jumping over a broken racquet next to a baby’s dummy. Critics said the cartoon used racist and sexist stereotypes. But that did not stop the newspaper reprinting the image on its front page. Underneath the headline “Welcome to PC world”, the newspaper wrote: “If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena Williams cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very dull indeed”. South African artist defends ‘Nazi Mandela’ work ASouth African artist has defended his controversial work which depicts anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela doing a Nazi salute. Ayanda Mabulu’s piece drew criticism after it was briefly displayed at a Johannesburg art-fair. A former president, Mr Mandela is a much-loved figure in South Africa, credited with ending white-minority rule. Mabulu said that he was speaking on behalf of poor black South Africans. “Mandela failed to deliver the dream and that makes him an equivalent of Hitler,” he told the BBC. The piece, showing Mr Mandela superimposed on a German Nazi flag, was reportedly taken down at the FNB Joburg Art Fair as it was deemed insensitive. According to local media, Mabulu caught the event’s organisers off-guard as he was not set to showcase his work at the fair.