How Jonathan is campaigning for Buhari — Saraki

A former Governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki, is a stalwart of All Progressives Congress, APC, and member of the Nigerian Senate, representing Kwara Central Senatorial District.

In this interview with PREMIUM TIMES’ Musikilu Mojeed, Festus Owete and Adebayo Hassan, he says President Goodluck Jonathan stands no chance of winning the forthcoming election. Mr. Saraki says the president’s inability to deal with insecurity, bad economy, and corruption, has improved the popularity of Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Excerpts:

PT: There is still the issue that Tony Blair did not meet Muhammadu Buhari in London. How do you convince Nigerians that your candidate is not in hospital in the United Kingdom?

Saraki: That’s not true at all. He had the meeting on Saturday. He has the speech he (gave) at Chatham House on Thursday and I think he is also meeting APC in diaspora and a few other schedule. He will return to start campaign again on Monday.

PT: Still, why is Mr. Buhari away at this time?

Saraki: Because of the postponement. Even before February 14, he was meant to travel out to the United States. You know, there was a time he was supposed to address CSIS. So, since the election was postponed, we told the campaign council to redesign a new time table. So, there is a break. You can see it all over (Nigeria). It’s not just APC that’s using this period to take a break and do other things.

PT: Meanwhile, President Jonathan has been going around Nigeria, campaigning.

Saraki: I’ll go back to Jonathan. Let me finish with ours. So General Buhari just used the opportunity to travel out of the country because before now, the international community had been saying, “We have not met your candidate; we haven’t engaged him” et cetera.  And we said, why don’t we do a visit to the UK for few days to engage the international community and come back to continue campaign.

Yes, I am aware that the president has been moving around. He was in the South-West for a whole week meeting with royal fathers and other persons. And it coincided with the time we were hearing PDP wanted to be buying PVCs. They want to bring money into the game. I think PDP are missing the point. They really don’t understand that Nigeria is not the country that it was a few years back. Now, Nigerians are just determined they want a new country and want to go a new direction. We saw it in our primaries. If it was money, Buhari would not have won. With that experience, we have seen Nigerians are now totally different. They will bring the money, spend all the money but that perception that everybody can be bought is wrong. And by March 28, PDP will see, sadly for them but good for the country, Nigerians have opted for change. So when you say they are moving around, it’s more or less like money is moving around.

PT: Ayo Fayose, Governor of Ekiti State, has continued to say your candidate is sick.

Saraki: (Laughter) You see, Fayose does not deserve a response from me. Please, I don’t want to…

PT: Do you think anything is wrong with him?

Saraki: (Laughs) I say I don’t want to comment on him and you are still asking if I think something is wrong with him. Even his party has dissociated themselves from him a couple of times. We should not be wasting too much time on somebody…

PT: The Director General of the APC presidential campaign, Rotimi Amaechi, has dismissed Mr. Fayose, saying he has no credibility.

Saraki: I am not talking about Ayo’s (Fayose) credibility. My point and worry is he is talking about a meeting I attended. He is saying the meeting with Tony Blair never held. I know that at 10 o’clock in the morning I left my house for the General’s rented apartment, and with Ibikunle Amosun, we went to Tony Blair’s place for a meeting that lasted for an hour. And after that, the General said he wanted to surprise Awujale, and then we left for his house. So this is not hearsay, it’s what I was part of. So, if somebody keeps saying otherwise, why will I continue to respond to him?

PT: In the last interview PREMIUM TIMES had with you, you gave details of how APC would win the forthcoming elections and said the PDP had no solution. Do you still stand by that?

Saraki: Yes. See I said it long ago that PDP was no more what it used to be and in position to win election. But now I believe more people will agree with what I had said and I stand clearly by that. Had elections held on February 14, we would have won the elections; they know that, Nigerians know that and they too know that. All they have done is just postponing the D-Day. There is no magic that they will do to win the election because the fundamental issue there is that Jonathan Government and PDP understand that Nigerians are tired of this Government. Whatever they do they will still lose election. And you could see that when we were going for campaign, the acceptability of our candidate and party is massive and not restricted to just one part of the country but with national spread.

PT: Your candidate seems not to be accepted in the South-South and South-East.

Saraki: No, that’s not true. When you say may not be as popular… but there is still that acceptability. What I am saying is that unlike in 2011 where you could say he was a sectional candidate, now he has gained acceptability in all parts of the country. And the part is strong nationally with his presence everywhere.

And when you talk to people, there are three issues, namely: insecurity, youth unemployment and corruption. Whether Muslim, Christian, Southerner or Northerner, ask who do you think can secure Nigeria, the answer is clear – Buhari! And corruption, people have understood it means stealing money that should be available for health, human development, infrastructures etc. In that respect, put Buhari and Jonathan side by side, the answer is Buhari again. This government cannot solve the problem of unemployment since it can’t guarantee stability and flow of money to development owing to corruption. So nothing has changed. So I am even more confident now.

PT: Let’s be realistic, Mr. Jonathan has commissioned a few power plants and the military has been doing well recently. Don’t you think that may change the game?

Saraki: And I think that again, with all sincerity, a president that decides when it is convenient to provide security for his people honestly is not the type we need in this country. You have got to ask yourselves why what we are seeing now was not done years back. I commend the military for the good job they are doing now. Are you telling me all those lives that were lost could not have been saved? What kind of leader will allow that? Is it because there is an election around the corner? That’s a big question he has to answer.

You talked about power plants. But it is deception. There is no gas. It is not working. It won’t improve the electricity because there is no gas. What we should hear tomorrow is that power generation has gone up if the commissioning is not deception. However, nothing will happen. I challenge them. It is all deception. No power is being generated.

PT: Why are you so confident APC will win the presidential election?

Saraki: We have gone round the country. Nigerians are tired of PDP and Jonathan. We are confident because of the massive support for Buhari and the party. It’s now like a movement. Although we don’t have the resources to contend with the PDP, yet people are telling us they don’t even need our money. You look at the people’s keenest desire and passion to vote, it has never happened before. People are determined to ensure Jonathan does not come back. People will come out on Election Day to vote out Jonathan and I have seen the trend.

If you look at the three key issues – insecurity, economy and corruption – the best person campaigning for Buhari is Jonathan because while he has failed badly in these issues, the alternative on the other side of the spectrum is Buhari. If it is corruption, who can fight corruption? If it is insecurity, who can tackle it? Nigerians are saying Buhari!

PT: In the light of the Ekiti rigging audio, do you believe the elections cannot be manipulated?

Saraki: Well, when I say we are confident, it is in free and fair election. Jonathan has said he is committed to free and fair election. So, I want to believe him. For instance, in my personal view, they were not ready to conduct elections, if you look at the trend leading to February 14. But now, with the pressure locally and internationally, they have to conduct election. But look at their opposition to PVCs and Card readers; these are signs of people who are not confident and don’t want credible election. So, my confidence is based on the condition of free and fair election.

We have seen the record from Ekiti. We have seen what the military can do if they are not allowed to be independent. We are opposing the use of the military for elections as a court of law has already ruled it illegal. Nigerians should not be intimidated. Let them freely exercise their rights. Let’s follow what the constitution says. By and large, we have been having peaceful elections, so why do we have to use the military election.

PT: What is your view of the Ekiti rigging scandal and what do you think should be done?

Saraki: There should be a serious investigation. And the institution involved, the military, should not just dismiss it. It has to investigate because of institutional credibility. President Jonathan should not have dismissed it as fabrication. There should be investigation because of the public institutions involved.

PT: What will you say about the country’s economy?

Saraki: We have to tighten our belt. Hard times are ahead. There is no point pretending there is no problem. This government of President Jonathan lost a golden opportunity to prevent this problem before oil price slide in the international market. It did not prepare. There is economic downturn now owing to oil price slump but if you look at other countries that prepared, the story is not the same.

PT: Is Nigeria broke?

Saraki: The country is broke. If you are having problem and are unable to meet your fiscal commitment and obligations as and when due, you are broke. Even the FAAC meeting has failed to hold twice because the Government could not see sufficient money in the account. So it’s just waiting for when the revenue would go up a bit.

We are in this situation because we did not do the right thing when oil price had not declined. Other countries in Asia also face this problem but they are not feeling the effects like we do because they prepared. They were not wasteful. But unfortunately we didn’t prepare.

Mismanagement, corruption, wastage and leakages that characterise oil subsidy management brought us here. Oil subsidy amounting to $8 billion annually accounts for about 80 per cent draw down from the ECA. But with proper management and without corruption we could have been spending 20 per cent of that. This is money that could have been saved to cushion the effects of the oil price slump now. If you had done that, you could still have maintained your currency whose value is now depleted and everybody is feeling it. You recall I warned against the leakages in 2011. I said with the way we were going, there would be problem.

We are spending about $4 billion on kerosene subsidy when Nigerians are buying the product cheaply. You are just throwing the money to some persons.

The Minister of Finance says pressure by States to share ECA depleted it. No. Subsidy payment accounts for 80 per cent of the draw down from the ECA. It was not because states were demanding their share every time. If it is true that it is the states that caused the depletion, and not Federal Government and its waste, they (FG) should not have spent their share.

By now, that problem arises, they could have shown example by telling Nigerians to see their own part saved in an account; that it’s only states that needed the money, hence the pressure to share the money every time as said by the Minister of Finance. So please let’s change that impression.

PT: You were campaigning against…

Saraki: Oh clean cook stove. The issue about it is clean energy. It is not just about clean stove that you ensure clean energy. In an economy where to get a project of N60 million into the budget is difficult, all of a sudden, from nowhere you just awarded a contract of about N6 billion, without bidding or any due process. And the money is taken from Ecological Fund that is meant for such disasters as flood, erosion et cetera. So for me, it’s not a best a way of managing our resources. Yes clean energy is good idea but not the way it’s being done.

The Senate Committee on Ecology has expressed objection to it and told them to come and explain how they want to go about it. And we will definitely keep our eyes on it. If I see anything good, definitely I will support it. But there are better ways of managing 6 billion on clean energy; capacity building, training women, ensuring due process . . .

PT: You have severally accused Mr. Jonathan of poor performance. In 2011, you were one of the key players that brought Mr. Jonathan to government, did you not envision the situation you are now lamenting or it was about personal interest?

Saraki: Well, you know then, I also offered myself to serve as the president of the country. We went through a process and eventually I and others opted for him among those that were finally in the race.
Well, we did not envision this situation. Even the fact that he is from a minority group was enough reason to support him then. We felt it would be fair and strengthen our unity, you know, supporting him. But we never thought he would not perform. See how he even mismanaged the party. There’s no leadership at all.
PT: So do you owe Nigerians apology?

Saraki: (Laughs) Seeing visions is not one of my skills. I couldn’t have seen the future.

http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/177661-interview-how-jonathan-is-campaigning-for-buhari-saraki.html

Mbu denies order to shoot civilians

 Joseph Mbu
Former Rivers State Commissioner of Police and current Assistant-Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 2, Lagos, has said he was misquoted by reports that he ordered policemen to kill 20 civilians for every officer killed in the coming general elections.

Mbu in a statement signed by the Zonal Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Olugbemiga Adeoye, explained that he only “advised his policemen not to be cowardly but to be guided by Force Order 237 on the use of their firearms.”

According to him, the firearms are not only meant to defend themselves but also others “including fellow police officers when their lives are in danger.”

The AIG, who said he was quoted out of context, believes that reports on the issue have been fraught with political undertone.

He said such reports were geared towards portraying him in a bad light and as an officer who does not uphold the rule of law.

The statement said, “Although policemen are not to be seen with firearms within a specific radius of the polling area, quick response squads will be created to respond to distress calls.

“There is no society in the world where policemen will be killed by hoodlums and the perpetrators will be allowed to escape justice.”

He said he was also quoted out of context on the alleged order to arrest governors at polling units.

“What he (Mbu) said was that no highly placed individuals in the society who have police escorts and other forms of personal guards will be allowed within the voting area accompanied by such retinue of escorts,” the statement said.

http://www.punchng.com/news/mbu-denies-order-to-shoot-civilians/

OPC doesn’t participate in politcal rally –Adams

National Coordinator, Oodua People’s Congress, Otunba Gani Adams

The National Coordinator, Oodua People’s Congress, Otunba Gani Adams, speaks with FISAYO FALODI on the current political development in the country

How do react to the recent postponement of the next general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission?

I will not say I am satisfied with the postponement of the elections, but I agree with the INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, because, apart from the case of insecurity cited, INEC had only distributed 66 per cent of the Permanent Voter Cards across the country as of the time the postponement was announced, which means that 34 per cent of the eligible voters had yet to collect their PVCs then. Such a situation would have denied 44 million Nigerians the right to exercise their franchise.

If INEC had gone ahead to conduct the election on February 14, there would have been chaos and disturbance of public peace because 44 million people would have been denied the right to participate in the elections. The denial would automatically become the ground for the party that loses the presidential election to foment trouble. I listened to Jega’s press conference, he did not speak on the poor distribution of PVCs, which is his shortcoming, but only spoke on security. However, I agree with Jega on the postponement of the election. We still have enough time between February 14 and March 28 to prepare adequately for the elections.

Do you now agree with the National Security Adviser, Col. Dasuki Sambo (retd), that the Federal Government would curb the insecurity created by the Boko Haram terror within the next six weeks?

I am not 100 per cent sure that the Federal Government can stamp out the activities of the terror group, but my plea is to Jega to let every eligible voter have their PVC before the rescheduled elections. Of all the 40 people who registered in my own house, only three have collected their PVCs. The remaining 37 have been going to the collection centres only to be told that their PVCs were not ready. Also, many eligible voters in Lagos State have not collected theirs. So, denying this group of people their PVCs is a minus for Jega. All Jega needs to do is to ensure that all the registered voters get the PVCs before the rescheduled elections. But I am not convinced the Federal Government will be able to stamp out the terror group in six weeks, though the government has its own strategy because neighbouring countries are now collaborating in the fight against Boko Haram.

Some people said that OPC is promoting the interest of the PDP against the APC, how do you react to this?

Since the time OPC was formed, we have never participated in any political rally. I am very close to many people from all the political parties in the country, but the OPC gave me the clearance to tell the whole world that all members of our group are voting for President Goodluck Jonathan for one cogent reason. We realised that the APC presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd) and former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, opposed the National Conference organised last year to find solution to the challenges confronting Nigeria. Tinubu did everything he could to stop the conference and even went further to rubbish the conference’s recommendations which took eminent Nigerians four months to put together. The recommendations were arrived at to facilitate the restructuring of the country, but Tinubu and his party believe that the status quo should remain. Jonathan said in his campaign that he would implement some of the recommendations if re-elected. For this singular reason, OPC members are voting for the President.

Even with the magnitude of corruption said to be going under Jonathan’s administration?

Those accusing Jonathan’s administration of promoting corruption have not asked a question which they ought to have asked. They should have asked how many governors in Nigeria do not tamper with the local government allocation? There is no governor in Nigeria that is not tampering with the local government allocation, yet they accuse the President of encouraging corruption. What are the governors also doing with their security votes? The minimum security vote a governor takes monthly is N150m. Again, who awards contracts and who are the contractors. The corruption perpetrated by these governors doubles the one which they are accusing the President of. There is a former governor in the South-West who had two houses when he was a senator, but after he left office as the governor, he acquired not less than 50 houses in Lagos alone apart from the three hotels located in strategic places in the state. The only person that has limited traces of corruption is Buhari. But I am afraid because majority of the people that surround Buhari do not have his character.

If you look around, you will see campaign billboards and posters allegedly destroyed by supporters of political parties. How do you react to this?

I will appeal to Nigerians to play politics by the rules of the game. They should not sacrifice their integrity in the process of seeking elective offices. As leaders, they should see reason to abstain from destroying one another, not only the campaign materials. I have been informed that the destruction of posters and billboards is happening in Lagos and other states. My appeal to those seeking to occupy positions of authority is to shun actions that will further create bad blood among those who want to rule. In civilised climes, politicians play the game according to the level of their intelligence. Nigerians should not encourage violence before and during the rescheduled elections; they have the duty to demonstrate to the international community that they have the moral capacity to do the right thing.

http://www.punchng.com/politics/opc-doesnt-participate-in-politcal-rally-adams/

PDP don’t tell you about change because we aren’t bus conductors that ask for change – First Lady

By Perez Brisibe

OREROKPE—The First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has charged women in the country to vote for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, stressing that any woman who votes for All Progressives Congress, APC, is an enemy of herself.

FIRST LADY, DAME PATIENCE JONATHAN AT THE PDP WOMEN RALLY IN IKOM ON WEDNESDAY.

Dame Jonathan, at Orerokpe, Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State, at the PDP Women for Change Initiative Presidential Rally in the state, while applauding the benevolence of the PDP administration to women in the country, cited the Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria, YouWin and Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SUREP, as some of the empowerment programmes the President Jonathan administration was using to empower women and youths in the country.

She said: “The PDP is a party that talks less and does more, unlike the APC that tells new lies every week. When you catch them today, they will tell another lie tomorrow. We (PDP) do not tell you about change because we are not bus conductors that ask for change.

“We are now in a digital age and we should reject anyone who wants to take us back to analog days. They keep saying they will do this and that. They should tell us what they have done for Nigerians while in office. As for President Jonathan, he has vowed to do more when he is re-elected.

“President Jonathan has brought a lot of innovation and empowerment programmes for us women. This is because no one loves the Nigerian woman more than Mr. President and the best way to pay him back is by re-electing him.”

In his remark, the state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, while applauding the developmental achievements of President Jonathan, said: “When someone does well in office, you should return that person to office and that is why all Deltans are prepared to re-elect President Jonathan as President, come March 28.”

– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/02/why-nigerian-women-must-vote-for-jonathan-by-first-lady/#sthash.Vu3yReOg.ETFNPcx3.dpuf

PDP’s oath-taking allegation against Tinubu outlandish, reactionary – APC

The All Progressives Congress has said the “sickening and outlandish claim” by the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation that the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, plans to become Vice President through the back door is designed to divert attention from the success of the party’s presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari(retd.), at the Chatham House in London on Thursday.

In a statement in London on Saturday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the PDP and the Jonathan Administration still did not have any answer to what the APC described as “an epochal moment that has separated the wheat from the chaff.”

The APC said, ”Our presidential candidate’s globally-acclaimed outing has presented Nigerians, and indeed the global community, with a choice between a bumbling, ineffective, incoherent, clueless, visionless and incompetent President and an assertive, knowledgeable, dignified, purposeful and principled President-in-waiting.

”Having failed to discredit the (United Kingdom) outing with a rented crowd, some of whom confessed to have been paid to carry placards they did not even understand, the PDP and the Jonathan Administration have now resorted to making nauseating claims that are totally untrue, absolutely incomprehensible and nothing but sheer bunkum.”

APC described the claim as the latest in “a series of desperate moves” by the PDP and the Jonathan Administration since the emergence of Buhari as the APC presidential candidate, and “the clearest indication yet that they have no answer to the unstoppable momentum of a man of history.”

It added, ”They have thrown everything imaginable at Gen. Buhari, but he has continued to wax stronger and stronger: They said he was not qualified, that he was too old, then they fabricated a medical report of an illness of their own choice, sponsored death wish adverts against him and instituted a myriad of court cases to stop him.

”After they failed to stop him, they went after the election itself, using the PVCs as a tool to launch a campaign for postponement and, when they realised that would not work, came up with the bogey of insecurity in the North-East to force a postponement of the election, hoping they can buy enough time to revive their electoral misfortune.

”With everything working against them, they engaged in a show of shame at The Chatham House that backfired badly, on the heels of their bare-faced lies that Gen. Buhari was hospitalised in London. The preposterous claim of a secret oath – reminiscent of what they do in their own party – by the apparently ailing spokesman for the Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, is their latest desperate act.”

APC said in as much as it had so far refrained from engaging Fani-Kayode in what the party called “his game of character assassination, abuses and irresponsible name calling, the party is becoming seriously concerned that he may be caving in under pressure and reverting to his undignified past of substance abuse.”

http://www.punchng.com/news/pdps-oath-taking-allegation-against-tinubu-outlandish-reactionary-apc/

Two weeks out of six weeks postponement – the situation so far?

by sabitu oyegoke

I should remind our friends that this is the second week that presidential election could have taken place in Nigeria but was postponed for 6 weeks to win BH war and for INEC to distribute the PVC.  I will concentrate on PVC today because nothing has significantly changed in Boko Haram war since my last piece. Our military are still pushing the terrorist and winning them and the president visited Baga during the week. Bomb explosion in some parts of the country including Jos. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the victims.

PVC
I will examine the PVC issues in three ways: (i) number distributed by INEC and (ii) number collected by registered voters and (iii) implications on voting pattern/success.

Number distributed by INEC
As of 17th of February INEC has distributed over 75% of the PVC for registered voters across the country. That has increased to 78% as of yesterday an increment of over 2 million PVCs.

PVC collected by the voters
“Based on INEC Chairman’s February 7th statement at the world Press Conference, 68.8 million Nigerians were registered to vote, but only 45.8 million Nigerians had collected their permanent voters’ cards (PVCs)”.  That means 67% of registered voters have collected their PVC as of 7th of February; as of 27th of February the figure has jumped to about 79%. This is a significant increment of 12%.

Implication on voting success
I will not have time to analyse this on state by state basis because of time constraint but I will give some examples based on timeline. As of 7th of February 64% of voters in Kano collected their PVC, 87% in Kaduna, 38% in Lagos, 79% in Kastina, 63% in Bayelsa, 52% in Abuja and 67% in Ekiti. As of 15th of February, 75% of voters in Yobe have collected their PVC compared to 53% in Enugu state. As of 17th of February the INEC figures show over 90% of voters in states like Zamfara, Nasarawa, Katsina, Jigawa, Kaduna and Gombe have collected their PVCs”. These areas have almost reached their optimum and these are predominantly Buhari’s stronghold. As of 27th of February Jigawa (98%), Gombe (95%) and Akwa Ibom States (about 95%) top the list of states with highest collection of PVCs.

Mixed picture: the reason I said the collection of PVC is a mixed picture is because some APC states have done poorly as well. A good example is Ogun state with about 44% collection of PVC and Lagos state of about 63%, FCT 62%… The impact of collection of PVC on election success is not very clear. Some APC states have reached (almost) optimum while some are part of the lowest in the country. Therefore the extension or postponement may not be of benefit to GEJ.
Some lessons here:
(i) In this analysis there are enough strong issues/points that can support GEJ campaign positively. I just don’t know why people will result to negative campaign and character assassination when they can use their time productively to support their candidate(s). Facts like these may persuade undecided instead of attacking Buhari and his family…and on extreme his supporters. They (GEJ supporters) should concentrate on things that will improve GEJ chances not character assassination of Buhari and his supporters. Most of us have made up our minds on who to vote for and the focus should be on a small group of undecided which may or may not sway the result of the elections.

(ii) Either way you look at the analysis above, we can deduce a significant improvement in the number of PVC distributed by INEC (about 2 million) on 17th and 27th of February and the significant increment of 12% in the number of PVC collected from the figures of 7th and 27th of February.  This is a very positive result that can support the rationale for postponement.

(iii) Wider implication: politically, the postponement may be more of liability to GEJ‘s ambition than asset for its realisation. The mixed picture across the party line of high and low PVC collection cut across states controlled by APC and PDP; therefore may not impact upon the final result.  The fact that INEC has extended the collection of PVC to March 8 will benefit both parties equally.

(iv) Another important factor is the number of PVC collected in high population states and the possibility on improving on the figure before March 8th deadline. Most of the states are APC states.

(v) It is very depressing that the states in south west are among the least states for PVC collection. Ogun state has performed so poorly, less than 43%. I am not sure if south west will make or break or determine the winner if lukewarm attitude continues.

Finally, in the second week after postponement, PVC collection has not significantly swayed the possibility of victory to either side. Neither the winning of Boko Haram war which I covered extensively last week. The alleged distribution of cash by the president is not changing hearts and minds that matters as well. I see nothing changing at the moment as supporters of both candidates have entrenched themselves and just waiting for election days. Postponement which many have claimed to be a ploy to change the momentum will (may) not affect the result if the voting should be done today. As we know that a day is a long time in politics, we would be closely monitoring the development.

Tinubu plots to be President, says PDP

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

Presidential Campaign Organisation of the Peoples Democratic Party has alleged that a former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is plotting to become the President of Nigeria through the back door.

It said the plot by the former governor, who is a stalwart of the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, was to take over as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the event that Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) wins the March 28, 2015 presidential election.

Director of Media and Publicity of the PDP-PCO, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, made this allegation at a news conference in Abuja on Friday.

He nevertheless said the campaign team of the PDP-PCO wishes Buhari long life.

Fani-Kayode said skeletal information available to the PDP-PCO suggests that the Vice Presidential candidate of the APC, Prof Yemi Osibanjo, was picked by Tinubu and forced to take an oath to resign his appointment six months into the new cabinet should the APC win the elections.

The PDP-PCO further alleged that the party would field Tinubu as Osinbajo’s replacement after the alleged resignation.

Fani-Kayode argued that given the huge financial war chest being deployed by the leader of the party and his overbearing influence at single-handedly facilitating the emergence of Buhari and Osinbajo as the party’s candidates after allegedly failing to push the Muslim-Muslim ticket, further lends credence to his claim.

He asked Buhari to watch his back, adding that the alleged gang-up against him and Nigerians was based on the calculation that his health conditions would deteriorate and lead to his death, paving way for the vice president to take over power.

Fani-Kayode said, “It should baffle well-meaning Nigerians why Tinubu has decided to draft Buhari, despite his age, acrimonious background and questionable health status, into the presidential race whilst ensuring that his stooge, Prof Osinbajo, was foisted on the general as vice presidential candidate.

“The reason is that the PDP-PCO wishes to use this forum to expose the ungodly plan by Tinubu to seize the presidency of Nigeria by subterfuge.

“You will recall how Tinubu wanted to be running mate to Buhari in spite of the nationwide resentment for Muslim-Muslim ticket that he and Buhari planned to foist on their party.

“Senator Tinubu had justified the ticket by saying that competence was the important thing and not the issue of religion.

“But when he and Buhari could not push through the agenda within the APC, he (Tinubu), after being given the opportunity to nominate a vice presidential candidate, decided to prop up his stooge in the person of Prof. Osinbajo.

“Now the real reason Tinubu nominated Osinbajo has been made known to us and we hereby offer a public service to the Nigerian people by drawing their national attention to it. Credible pieces of information at our disposal indicate that Tinubu has perfected plans to come to power through the back door.

“Tinubu, according to our information, has compelled Osinbajo to swear to an oath that after six months in office, he would resign as the vice president, in the unlikely event that their party wins. The wicked plot, as laid out by them, is to force Osinbajo to resign for Tinubu to be nominated by Buhari as his replacement.

“The ultimate objective of this plot is to ensure that Tinubu becomes President. The script is simple: given the questionable health of Buhari, Tinubu, who is desperate to be president for his own selfish reasons, will simply bid his time in the evil expectation that Buhari will not be able to go the whole hog.

“How wicked can those that hatched this plan be? How unfair can they be to the North, to Buhari and to Nigerians? We wish Buhari long life. Senator Tinubu’s dangerous plan is about getting power. This is sad. No thoroughbred Yoruba man or indeed Nigerian wants to get power through the misfortune of another person.

“But this is the perfidious path that Tinubu is passing through. This is repugnant.

“It will interest you to know that our information is strengthened by the very similar act of resignation which Senator Tinubu had planned to force on Pastor Tunde Bakare which you can all watch now.

“We will like to show to you some footage that is on Youtube of Pastor Tunde Bakare’s interview where he openly admitted that he refused to sign a resignation letter that would have seen him hand over his vice presidential position had Buhari been successful in his presidential campaign in 2011.

“Becoming the vice president is not the destination but becoming the president! The agenda of the cabal within the APC is with the perceived health challenges of Buhari. They have told themselves in hushed tones that he has prostate cancer, acute asthma and that he suffers from dementia. This is their assessment and not ours. We do not know how true this is or what the nature of his illness is and neither are we interested. All these allegations of ill-health, to the cabal provide the justification for their evil plan.”

He said the structures around Buhari belong to Tinubu and that the actors around him, driving his campaign behind the scenes are also Tinubu’s men.

He said, “Most of the covert funding for this campaign comes from Tinubu’s friends outside the country and from Tinubu himself. So if he becomes President, Buhari will become virtually incapacitated and he will not be the one running the government. Those behind this plan would now be waiting for Buhari to pass on. That is what Tinubu wants to do to the North and to Nigeria.

“This is a wicked and ungodly attempt for Tinubu not only against the North and the Hausa/Fulani but against the whole country. We are convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that most Nigerians are not with this cabal. This is because no sane or rational person would wish another person evil to actualise his political ambition.”

Attempts to get the response from the spokesperson of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, were unsuccessful as of the time of filing this report. Calls to his mobile phone indicated that it was switched off while an e-mail sent to him had yet to be replied.

http://www.punchng.com/news/tinubu-plots-to-be-president-says-pdp/

Fracas in Oshodi: Police arrest 40, charge 18

*Want NURTW leader, Oluomo to surrender

Kazeem Ugbodaga

The Lagos State Police Command says it has arrested 40 people in connection with Wednesday’s mayhem in Oshodi and has arraigned 18 of them.

This was disclosed by the Commissioner of Police, Kayode Aderanti after an emergency State Security meeting convened to deliberate on the Oshodi mayhem where about three people were killed and properties destroyed at the State House, Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

Police Commissioner, Aderanti briefs the media in Lagos on Oshodi fracas

Aderanti told newsmen that the Oshodi branch Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, Musiliu Akinsanya, better known as Oluomo has been ordered to report himself to the police latest tomorrow or be declared wanted.

He said the mayhem has no political undertone, but noted that the main actors behind the mayhem had been arrested.

“The Oshodi fracas is not political. All the principal characters are in custody. Today, alone, we have arraigned 18 of them and they are in jail. And tomorrow (Friday), I am going to arraign about 17 of them. I am not talking about the foot soldiers. I am talking about the leaders of these people.

“These are the people that are causing mayhem. What we need to do is to get the arrowhead off. Once the arrowheads are off, the foot soldiers can be tackled easily. Now, we are going after the principals, people that are encouraging youths into violence. These are the people we want to dismantle their command and control structures. By the time we dismantle it, we can have people in that area,” he stated.

Aderanti said Oshodi is such a place that the police had to be very careful in addressing all the security challenges because it is a major hub “where we have people transiting through buses and trains. We cannot just be too hard on people. We do not know innocent people that are standing by. Oshodi is not an enclave we can actually tackle. It is not that within five minutes we cannot get things tackled. But it is just that we are looking at the collateral damages.

“We are looking at innocent lives and properties that will be lost if we are extremely harsh on those people. We are working on it. At least, we have closed in on about 40 of them. Tomorrow, I have given an ultimatum to the leader of one of the factions, Oluomo. If he refuses to surrender him to any of our security agencies, we are going to declare him wanted. And it is going to be between us and him. He will not have any hiding place in Lagos State.”

The commissioner said between two and three persons died and about eight vehicles burnt.

Musiliu Akinsanya: a.ka. Oluomo

Aderanti said the meeting was held with the governor to appraise the situation in Oshodi and other areas, saying that in the past two weeks, the State had been having challenges within the NURTW’s hierarchy there.

According to him, the summary was that “we have all agreed that henceforth we are going to move forward and implement the Lagos State Road Traffic Law, 2012, which prohibited the collection of tolls and dues within and around motor parks and garages.
“Also, that same prohibits the sale of alcoholic drinks and critical drugs within 100 metres of these garages and parks. The implication is that whosoever among the union members that engage in these acts will have that union activities prohibited. The police will take over that area.”

“If also these activities such as sale of alcoholic drinks, collection of dues are related to this fracas, we are going to move in together with all our agencies to ensure that we secure lives and properties of Lagosians and that people are not molested. So, it was a meeting that was called to virtually address those issues aside from other germane areas like Mushin and others,” he said.

The commissioner assured Lagos residents of adequate security, saying they should not allow the happenings to distract them from going about their normal businesses.

http://thenewsnigeria.com.ng/2015/02/26/fracas-in-oshodi-police-arrest-40-charge-18/

The Offensive Against Boko Haram: Four Years Late By Babayola Toungo

by Babayola Toungo

How can the federal government that Jonathan is the Commander in chief be voting one trillion Naira consecutively for four years to the military and yet tell us that the military lacks the requisite equipment to fight a rag tag army that started out as a gun-snatching bunch of miscreants? In a period spanning over four years, we have been told the same yarn while 15,000 souls perished and properties worth billions of Naira was destroyed.


President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan is irritatingly boring and endlessly annoying in equal measures.  For a Commander in Chief to come out and tell Nigerians that he underestimated a threat like the Boko Haram is the height of irresponsibility.  This same man who is now telling us he underestimated Boko Haram was the same man who declared state of emergency on three north-eastern states on three different occasions for a total of eighteen months.  If he underestimated Boko Haram, why did he declare the state of emergency that was ruinous to the people and the area all this while?  His state of emergency only emboldened the insurgents to take control of a swathe of land the size of Belgium and spread over the three states under the emergency rule.  For those living in the three states it was a case of double jeopardy – bombings, killings, and abductions by the insurgents and harassment by the military.  I think Jonathan believed all Nigerians are either stupid or naïve.  In my view, he either has an addled brain or we are all dander heads.

How can the federal government that Jonathan is the Commander in chief be voting one trillion Naira consecutively for four years to the military and yet tell us that the military lacks the requisite equipment to fight a rag tag army that started out as a gun-snatching bunch of miscreants?  In a period spanning over four years, we have been told the same yarn while 15,000 souls perished and properties worth billions of Naira was destroyed.  While we are told that the military has no equipment to fight the insurgents, our military fat cats are competing with the politicians on who drive the flashiest cars, no doubt procured from the votes meant for the purchase of military hardware.  I therefore find it rather strange that Nigerians of all hue are falling head over heels to praise the military on the current offensive against the Boko Haram – where were the military all this while?

Within this period, with Jonathan as Commander in Chief, Baga was wiped off the map and many local governments fell to the insurgents.  We witnessed how big towns like Mubi, Bama, Gwoza, Gamboru, Baga, etc. was occupied for long spells by the insurgents with no effort by the government and its military chiefs to liberate them before now.  Where did the president and his military chiefs get the balls for the new tactics – in the past they usually hold a position and wait for the insurgents to attack.  They only ‘repel’.  When the February elections were shifted, Nigerians were given a timeline within which the insurgency will be brought to an end and this time the government appear to be on target.  Unlike before.

I was flaberwhelmed and overgasted (or is it the other way round?) to hear that the Borno Elders Forum, those who have been calling on Jonathan to act but had all their pleas fall on deaf ears; those who were shouted down by Jonathan and his chorus singers; those who have been on the frontline of the scourge, are now the lead vocalists in praising the military for doing what they were supposed to do ages ago.  Why do they choose to act now after much of the region is destroyed either physically or psychologically?  After over 15,000 lives were needlessly lost; billions destroyed in houses, businesses and man-hours lost at their ubiquitous but useless roadblocks.  After many businesses had to fold up because of curfews and restrictions of movements; after wholesale massacres and dislocations of entire communities with family members scattered all over the north.

Nigerians should ask Jonathan and his military chiefs for explanations as to the new found courage and equipment for tackling the insurgency that they couldn’t do in four years.  They should be asked to explain the new found resolve, courage, determination, weaponry and balls – yes, balls – to reclaim territories which they hitherto failed to do; they should tell us where they got the nous to invade the Sambisa forest, which they repeatedly told us is impregnable.  They should tell Nigerians how an army that was running away from the insurgents overnight got transformed into a fearsome fighting machine, driving fear into the hearts of hardened killers who now dress like women, just like Alamieyseigha.  But most importantly, they should tell us, which Shekau is the president ordering the army to capture alive.  Marlyn Ogar, the garrulous spokesman (woman?) of the DSS told Nigerians last year that Shekau was killed in Konduga and his body displayed for all to see.

I cannot comprehend how a military that stood by, feigning helplessness, not long ago, can be praised for doing their job four years late.  I am yet to be convinced that an institution like the Nigerian military, revered abroad for its prowess, will woefully fail in its primary responsibility of defending the territorial integrity of the nation could be praised.  I fail to see how I am supposed to be grateful to those who intimidated, harassed and even question my humanity.  I am at a loss on why I am expected to canonize an army that more often than not act like the Boko Haram, at least in the northeast.  I am but a poor Nigerian whose humanity was diminished by those holding guns on our highways while terrorist were having field days in the towns.

What do I tell a parent whose daughter have been abducted for almost a year with no hope of seeing her again?  What do I tell a family that lost a child to the marauding killers?  How am I supposed to look someone who lost his worldly possession because of the inaction of the government and its security apparatus and tell him that the military is doing well for him?  How do I tell an orphan to put his trust in a government that stood by while his parents were butchered?  I cannot in all honesty and with a clear conscience say kudos to our government and the military for discharging their statutory responsibility of protecting the lives of the people and the territorial integrity of the nation four years late.

No sir, Mr president, I am not buying into this latest vote-getting scam.  Not at the expense of those traumatized by your inertia.

http://saharareporters.com/2015/02/26/offensive-against-boko-haram-four-years-late-babayola-toungo

Air Force men brutalize bizman, as Dame Jonathan visits Delta

By Egufe Yafugborhi

A Warri-based businessman, Mr. Larry Otu, has called for investigation and justice into the brutality allegedly meted out on him by men of the Nigerian Air Force at the Osubi Airstrip, Warri, where security was beefed up over Dame Patience Jonathan’s visit to Delta State, yesterday.

Narrating his ordeal to Vanguard, Otu, Chief Executive Officer of LYM Consult, said he was at the airstrip to receive his technical partners from Canada when men from the Warri Air Force Unit stationed at the facility attacked him.

He said: “It happened at about 9am, when our foreign partners arrived the airport and I was there to clear them at the Immigration desk. I drove to the gates to face interrogation from the Air Force men.

“One asked if I knew the President’s wife was coming today. I said yes, but that I have come to pick my foreign partners. He asked what I do for a living; I said I own the company being visited by our technical partners and he said
‘as small as you are?’

“He said okay, find me something. I said I cannot give you anything. So he ordered me to reverse my car and leave. He said I cannot drive in.

“I reversed my car, drove back to the main road and was trekking down to go in when a team of the force men, numbering about eight, pounced on me.”

Otu said his attackers dragged him from there to a point behind their caravan office at the airport and continued the beating, kicking, punching and hitting with their guns, adding it took the intervention of his manager who approached one of the officers before the assault was halted.

He said: “It turned out that my manager knew one of the Air Force officers at the airport. He ran in to tell him that it was his company’s chairman that was being manhandling.

“That was when the officer came and ordered them to stop and let me go. But before I was left with a battered, bloodied face, N200,000 was taken from my pocket by one of them.”

The victim called on relevant authorities to ensure justice by bringing the culprits to book.

He said: “I know the man who started it all and I know the one that took N200,000 from my pocket. We cannot continue to live in this kind of country. Justice must be done.”

When contacted, Commanding Officer at the 61 NAF Detachment of the Nigerian Air Force, Warri, Air Commodore, A. D. Dudusola, whose men assaulted the victim, said: “I was not present when it happened, but they said he was rude.

“Why must it be only him? That is the question that comes to mind. Others came to the airport, identified themselves properly and were allowed in.

“Nobody was touched, so he must have been rude.

“My brother, it is better to face other challenges than to face the worry that somebody came to the airport and blast himself, because it is not always written in somebody’s face. That is the truth.

“We can apologize to him later, but we had to do our job first so that somebody will not create problem for us.”

– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/02/air-force-men-brutalize-bizman-as-dame-jonathan-visits-delta/#sthash.PeOHCv8o.dpuf