As from now, I will be treating followers of this blog to entertainment, news as they break, and lots more.
A former Lagos State Deputy Governor, Rafiu Jafojo, and some other chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos on Saturday defected to the All Progressives Congress.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that others who defected included former Lagos State Chairman, Elders Council of PDP, Dr. Oluyomi Finnih, and former state secretary of the party, Tunde Daramola.
The declaration of the new members was held at the APC secretariat on Acme Road, Lagos.
Welcoming the new members, the state chairman of APC, Chief Henry Ajomale,said they had made a good decision. He promised that the party would be fair to them.
Finnih, who spoke on behalf of the new members, said the defectors had come for the unity of the party and not to divide it.
“We took the bold decision because we see the party as a prosperous party. We defected based on the lack of internal democracy in the PDP and our aim is winning the presidential election by APC,” he said.
The state Governor, Babatunde Fashola, said that the party was glad to accommodate the new members.
Fashola urged them to ensure that the party’s interest was placed above individual interest, saying that there would be a level-playing ground.
Meanwhile, the state chapter of PDP described the defection of Finnih and his group to the APC as a welcome development.
The PDP Publicity Secretary, Gani Taofik, told NAN, “Finnih and his group have long been out of PDP. The defection ceremony today is just a charade for people who have long left our fold.
“Finnih and his group had always worked against the PDP even when they were our members. Their roles of playing moles and fifth columnists in our party have been extinguished. They had no choice but to be part and parcel of the APC, their real party.”
He advised other members of the party who were not willing to abide by its rules to exit or risk being disciplined.
Taofik said, “The Lagos PDP can no longer tolerate insubordination. It is no longer business as usual. We want to enforce party discipline to the letter.”
He, however, assured PDP’s loyal members that the party would emerge victorious in the 2015 general elections.
I have always maintained in my articles, essays or discourses that “The fear of General Muhammadu Buhari is the beginning of self-serving wisdom among corrupt Nigerians, especially politicians and their cronies at the corridors of power.” – Prof Tam David-West
Buhari: The politics of age 2
BY PROF.TAM-DAVID WEST ON OCTOBER 14, 2014 ·
I have always maintained in my articles, essays or discourses that “The fear of General Muhammadu Buhari is the beginning of self-serving wisdom among corrupt Nigerians, especially politicians and their cronies at the corridors of power.” This is because of his zero-tolerance for corruption and iron-cast discipline and uncompromising principle. This excruciating mortal fear of this bunch of Nigerians has become even more intense since General Buhari expressed interest in the Presidency through the normal democratic channel.
In a concerted effort or attempt to frustrate or even scuttle the fear-inspiring Buhari’s Presidential ambition; these Buhari phobics have over time orchestrated mendacious propaganda against his person. They spin all sorts of contemptible lies about him. They dis-inform the public with satanic audacity. They have persistently fabricated so many tendentious lies about him with such curious relish that one tends to wonder if they are capable again of knowing the difference between falsehood and truth. I am particularly concerned and worried over this trend for at least two main reasons.
First, no society ever grows and develops steeped in falsehood. Falsehood enslaves and obscures light; contrariwise; truth liberates. Those feeding society with falsehood are therefore necessarily enemies of society; especially when such fabrications are conveniently peddled to answer to personal obsessions or phobia.
My second concern and worry has to do with some of our otherwise respected intellectuals, who are expected to educate with the truth and not to conveniently mis-educate the public with disinformation. This is all the more frightening because some of these intellectuals are so greatly respected by the generality of the public because of their great learning and intellectual decorations both national and international. Because of this general approval by the people, some of these classes of intellectuals sink to conceit and tend to cherish an exaggerated or inflated self-evaluation or sense of self-worth. In short, they become megalomaniacs; victims of narcissism. They nurse mental delusion of their omnipotence and infallibility, which they parade and expect that their great learning and intellectual decorations can even sanctify their fabrications. They delude themselves to believing that the public, the people, will believe whatever they spin even without any proof. But they forget that this is only to the extent that their lies are not confronted with well researched and copiously documented counters; especially when it can also be shown that one can be very brilliant intellectually and be approvingly so decorated; nevertheless, still be physically lazy to painstakingly research into issues of societal interest.
Perhaps, I should at this juncture make the following germane disclosures:
General Buhari invited me to his ministerial cabinet in 1984. He swore me in as Minister of Petroleum and Energy on 18 January, 1984. Later on, I was also honoured with the Chairmanship of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as the Chief Executive of the NNPC; thereby making me the most powerful minister of petroleum. This includes even himself who was holding the Petroleum portfolio earlier on during the great General Murtala Muhammed administration.
It is significant and underscores the General Buhari style to add that in spite of all the honours bestowed on me, he emphatically added: “Professor, I will not interfere.” And he kept strictly to his word until he was ousted in a self-serving Babangida coup on August 27, 1986.
General Babangida also appointed me Minister of Petroleum Resources. My long-standing friend (since 1975 in Rivers State General Zamani Lekwot Cabinet), General Sani Abacha, pleaded with me to please accept to serve “to continue the good work for the country.” I gave in not quite enthusiastically.
I must add, and indeed stress that I had never not met General Buhari before he invited me to his cabinet. He told me that he was guided by my writings on national issues and of course also by security reports on me. To God be all the glory!
Finally, on a lighter note, I wish to state that my salary as Minister was less than my then salary as Professor of Virology/Consultant at Ibadan: N16,000 to N18,000 a year. And I had no salary as Minister for three months because of delay in opening a Lagos bank account.
As Petroleum Minister, I very regularly and very closely interacted with General Buhari. This gave me the golden opportunity to study him very minutely. I got to know him intimately especially what he stands for as a person. Thus, when I write about General Buhari, I do so from close firsthand experience. Not hear-say or stereotypes.
I have over time written a lot about General Buhari. This includes two formal works: “Who Really Is General Muhammadu Buhari?” and “The Sixteen ‘Sins’ of General Muhammadu Buhari.” The first was launched publicly at The Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island on March 9, 2009. The second book was launched in Kaduna (29 July, 2010) and Port Harcourt (14 March, 2011). Both events were crowd-pullers. I must mention that General Buhari was kept in the dark about both projects. I only informed him some two weeks to the launching. I don’t have to consult him to tell the truth about him.
I was very delighted and indeed greatly honoured when our greatly respected and honourable former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, GCFR, CSG accepted to write the “Forward” to “Who Really Is General Muhammadu Buhari?” A fantastic “Forward” indeed!
He also personally graced the public launching. He was even promptly there on time. I remain eternally indebted and bankrupt in gratitude to him.
But why General Buhari? Simple. He is a rare gem of a Nigerian, especially a leader. My third book, “General Muhammadu Buhari: A Very Rare Gem” is almost completed.
My address at the launching of “The Sixteen ‘Sins’ of General Muhammadu Buhari.” in Port Harcourt on March 14, 2011 encapsulated the grounds for deep adoration of General Buhari:
“I am a committed – very committed Pro-Buhari. Dyed-in-the-wool pro-Buhari. I have no regrets. I have no apologies. My unwavering, unflinching support is not based on sentiments or any patronage expectation whatsoever (I think I don’t need it). Among all the mortal leaders I know, General Muhammadu Buhari easily stands out a refreshing beacon of an exemplary leader in probity, integrity, focus, vision, discipline, courage, humility (almost self-effacing), honest in leadership by example (not by sermons). These are very rare qualities in contemporary Nigerian leadership (maybe even for all time).”
His response was superbly refreshing and humbling:
“Service to our country brought Tam and I together, and the ideals we share in common made us friends. Tam is a friend you can go into the forest with.”
“The Sixteen ‘Sins’ of General Muhammadu Buhari” was intended to expose and counter (with copious evidence) all the sixteen lies being peddled by the contemptible Buhari phobics over time. I even challenged them for debate at the public space. None has mustered the courage to pick up the gauntlet – even after over three solid years. This is very instructive indeed. In short, they simply orchestrated fabrications about General Buhari. Shameless bunch.
It is also telling of our system that the book The Sixteen ‘Sins’, has been printed three times. Best selling. People tend to rush to “bad” news about leaders or persons than “good” news. They thought – very wrongly that I was exposing General Buhari’s misdeeds. After all their (the Buhari phobics) tendentious lies about General Buhari have been effectively debunked, they now in their desperation peddle that he is in fact too old to contest for the Presidency. I call this “The Politics of Buhari’s Age.” It is like a drowning man resorting to straw as if it is life buoy. But this “Age Palava” has shown even more clearly that they are either (or both) intellectually fraudulent or physically lazy to do meaningful research.
Therefore, in this discourse, “General Muhammadu Buhari: The Politics of Age” I intend, once again, to expose their tendentious lies and specious disinformation. I do this, once again, fortified by well researched facts and figures.
I must gratefully acknowledge the selfless assistance of my esteemed friend, Mr. Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla, LLB Hons, BL. Brilliant. Humble. He himself is a solid believer in General Buhari. He is thus, also very much committed to truth and justice and good governance.
General Buhari was born on December 17, 1942. He is 72 years in 2014. He will be 73 in 2015. Still young to be President of Nigeria! This nonsense about age is also faulted on the grounds that good leadership is not necessarily defined by age. It is also not defined by high learning – PhD and all that. Good leadership is innate divine endowment. But it can also be nurtured at times. From my research (ably assisted by my friend, Okoi Obono-Obla) I list some 15 examples of leaders, both in Africa and abroad who are older – some much older-than General Buhari.
Let me start with our neighbour, Liberia, with its great lady president:President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President 2006 at age 70. She was 75 in 2011. She will remain president till 2016. She will be 80 years then. President Jacob Zuma, South Africa is 72 years old. He will be president till 2019 at 77 years.
Nelson Mandela, born July 18, 1918. President of South Africa in 1994 at 76 years. Still president in 1998 (single term) when he voluntarily stepped down for Mbeki. He was 80 years. If he had served his two terms he would have been 84 years.
President Peter Mutharika, Malawi 74 when he was sworn in on 31 May, 2014. He will be president till 2019 at 79 years.
President Alpa Conde Guinea. President at 76 years. President in December 2011 at 72 years.President Jose Eduardo Santos, Angola 72 years. He will be president till 2020 at 78 years. President Abde Bourtefilka, Algeria 77 years. President till 2020 at 83 years old.
President Alasanne Quattara, Ivory Coast 72 years in 2012. President till 2016 at 76 years.
Yoweri Museveni, Uganda, president since 1985 at 70 years won another seven years in 2013 at 77 years, will be president till 2020 at 84.
President Jose Mujiaga of Uruguay 75 at election; reelected and is now 79 years.
President Tedoro Oblang Nguema Mbasogo, Equatorial Guinea; born January 6, 1942 is 72 years and still going on.
President Michael Sata, Zambia 77 years – president September 23, 2011 at 74; will be president till 2016. He will be 79.
President Paul Biya of Cameroon (President Jonathan has obvious fancy for him) is 81 years. He will be in office till 2017 at 84.
President Milos Zeman of Chech Republic is 70 will be in office till 2018 at 74.
President Ronald Reagan; born February 06, 1911. President USA at 70. Two terms of 4 years in 1989 he was 78.
Selected Satanic Lies (‘Sins’) Against General Buhari (Ref: “General Buhari: “Sixteen (Sins’):
53 Suitcases Saga:
No iota of truth. Total lie. In fact the referenced Emir of Gwandu had only thirteen (13) – far cry from 53 – suitcases on board; and they all went through Customs. Question of “bulging” with ‘currency’ total fabrication (Ref. page 42-45 “Sixteen ‘Sins’).
N2.8 Billion Poppycock:
Totally False. Mere gossip and rumour. Unqualified tommyrot. The Honourable Mr. Justice Ayo Irekefe’s Judicial Commission of Inquiry. (Judicial! Yes) White Paper: No such money was ever missing. Fabrication. (Ref. Page 59 “Sixteen ‘Sins’).
The Petroleum Trust Fund:
Lie No 1:
PTF a parallel government. Total rubbish. Stupid. No government ever officially set up a parallel government to subvert itself.
Lie No 2:
PTF partial to the North. Stupid. Tommyrot. PTF’S first 1 Billion Naira (N1.07 Billion) spent on Lagos Water Works.
PTF projects country-wide.
PTF Board of Trustees, great Nigerians, wide spread members such as: Alhaji Ahmed Talib. Professor Chimere Ikoku. Professor J.P. Clarke. Chief Rufus Giwa.
PTF Education Consultants
Great Nigerians: Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi. Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Pini Jason. Dan Agbese. (Ref: “Sixteen ‘Sins’ Page 81-85).
Lie No 3:
“Expired PTF Drugs”
Total fabrication. Rubbish. Arrant nonsense. NAFDAC under the great Dora Akunyili was consultant and monitor to PTF; ensured quality control etc. (Ref: Page 83 “Sixteen ‘Sins’)
Lie No 4:
The management of oil and the economy. These are best under Buhari. No oil (fuel) importation. Buhari in fact exported fuel. No IMF. Naira not devalued: $1.5 to N1.0. Today, N160 to $1.0. N2.0 to £1.0. Today, N270 – N250 to £1.0.
Lie No 5:
Buhari “serial loser” of election.
Buhari has never lost in any free, fair and transparent election. He was always “serially rigged out.” fear!
General Buhari enemies confuse religious extremism with religious fundamentalism. He has respect for both Christian and Islam. For instance, three of his Cooks are Christians, his Confidential Secretary, a Christian. His Private Secretary, a Christian. His Driver number 2, a Christian. His second Security, a Christian and his Office Cook a Christian.
“Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, an extraordinary Nigerian, matched only by few in integrity and readiness to subject himself to the demands of public office… abiding concern for the fate and welfare of the people of this great country.”
By General Abdulsalami Abubakar, GCFR, CSG.
Forward: “Buhari, The PTF Years” (1979).
“General Muhammadu Buhari, is a man of principle and moral absolutes who has made a name for probity and integrity. By all stands, Buhari, has proved an extraordinary Nigerian in and out of uniform.”
By General Abdulsalami Abubakar, GCFR, CSG.
Forward: “Who Really Is General Muhammadu Buhari, (2009).
“Nigeria, in its current dire straits needs Buhari more than he needs Nigeria.”
“The Nation On Sunday” September 28, 2014 Page 18.
In conclusion, I urge my compatriots, please in 2015 and beyond in the interest of our Nigeria, vote for integrity, probity, zero-tolerance to corruption. Discipline. Never, never again for your recycled looted money for “stomach infrastructure” or pocket consolidation.
So help us God. Amen.
•Professor Tam David-West, eminent Virologist, writes from Ibadan, Oyo State
THE police, yesterday, averted what could have amounted to the worst disaster in the southern part of the country by terrorists, as it defused three improvised explosive devices, IEDs, carefully planted in the Living Faith Church, (Winners Chapel), Owerri that accommodates more than 10,000 worshippers.
Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, in his reaction, said “the bombs had the capacity to cover about 500 metres and could have been a huge disaster if they had exploded as planned by the terrorists”.
Following the report that the police had uncovered and defused the explosives, palpable tension and confusion enveloped Owerri, Imo State capital as residents were apprehensive that members of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram, must have been responsible for it.
Already, all the security chiefs operating in the state, have visited the church premises, located off Port Harcourt Road, Owerri, to have a first hand assessment of the planned bomb attack.
Addressing newsmen shortly after inspecting the area, the Commissioner of Police, CP, Mr. Abdulmajid Ali, confirmed that six persons have been arrested in connection with the planned bomb attack
The CP explained that soon after getting information about the strange objects, the anti-bomb unit of the Command was immediately despatched to the scene.
According to Ali, “the police have disabled the devices, while serious investigations have commenced to uncover those behind the plot”.
He appealed to residents of the state not to panic but to be more security conscious, especially as the foiled attempt ought to be an eye opener to all.
“We are worried about the development but people should be vigilant. People should be very curious about anything they see within their surroundings. People should however not pick up anything. They should contact the security agencies any time they see strange objects”, the CP cautioned.
The police boss pleaded with the citizenry to be conscious of what is happening in their surroundings, adding that people must learn to see any strange fellow with suspicious movement as a suspect.
Although the pastor in charge of the church, Moses Oyedele, declined to speak to journalists on the matter, a member of the security group in the church, Pastor Chike Odenigbo, said it was one of his colleagues who noticed the two explosives planted at the gate and another at the church auditorium, which he said accommodates more than 10,000 worshippers at a time, that alerted them of the suspicious devices.
“The founder of the church had said it about three weeks ago that we should not allow any vehicle to come into the church premises. So, we started the stop and search process last week. We are expecting that God will continue to work for us”,Odenigbo said.
At press time, the police had cordoned off the area, thereby restricting both human and vehicular movement, while worshippers were diverted to the Heroes Square along Concorde Avenue, Owerri.
When Vanguard visited St. Mulumba’s Parish, Owerri, the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. George Ahamefula, confirmed receiving the security alert pointing out that “serious measures have been put in place to forestall any attack from the dreaded sect”.
It would have been huge disaster — Okorocha
Governor Rochas Okorocha, in his reaction said the improvised explosive devices planted in the church, would have been a huge disaster if they had exploded as planned by the criminals.
Okorocha, who stated this, while speaking to journalists, yesterday, in Government House, Owerri, equally disclosed that the bombs had the capacity of covering about 500 metres range.
“It is true that bombs were planted in Winners Chapel, today (yesterday). These bombs had the capacity to cover about 500 metres range and would have been a huge disaster if they had exploded as planned by the insurgents”, Okorocha said.
What was also worrisome to the Governor was that the church is located in a densely populated area of the municipality. He thanked God for saving the lives of innocent citizens.
Answering a question, Okorocha affirmed that some suspects have already been arrested in connection with the crime and commended the security agencies for being alive to their duties.
While assuring the citizenry that “the state has applied necessary measures to stop further occurrence of the ugly situation”, the Governor added that there would be an emergency security meeting at the
International Convention Centre, Owerri, where further security briefing would be made available to Imolites.
“The situation is under control. Imo State is not known for such ugly incidence. I, therefore, appeal to all Imolites and other Nigerians resident in the state, to be more security conscious and alert the police about any suspected objects, vehicles or persons around their vicinity”, Okorocha pleaded.
Reacting to the development, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Dr. Theodore Ekechi, said although government was visibly worried about the ugly development, it would allow the security agencies to do their job.
“No responsible government and no responsible people would be happy when reports of things like this begin to challenge the tranquility and serenity of a state like Imo”, Ekechi said.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up in the state, following the foiled attempt to bomb the church in Owerri.
Vanguard recalls that the Owerri residence of former Governor Ikedi Ohakim which was gutted by fire on May 15, was suspected to have emanated from an incendiary bomb thrown into the building.
The Imo State Police Command has also warned members of the public, especially churches, schools, markets and motor parks in the state, to be more vigilant and security conscious about their surroundings.
A statement by the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Andrew Enwerem,said any strange objects observed in the form of refrigerator or air condition compressor, either hidden in sacks or otherwise, should be reported to the police immediately.
The statement advised members of the public to go about their lawful business without panic, as the Command is determined to ensure the safety of life and property of the residents in the state.
Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima had last week warned that Boko Haram had the capacity to extend havoc across the country, if they succeeded in overrunning the North-East. He said: “If Boko Haram succeeds in overrunning the North East as they seek, they will surely want to extend greater havoc to other parts of the North and if they overrun the North, they would want to extend to the South. Crisis of any type has got a life of its own which depends on something for survival.”
Last weekend started like any other one for President Goodluck Jonathan. He was preparing to receive his counterpart from Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, at the Villa on Friday when news which many believed would affect his Presidency and his future political ambition filtered in.
Though the news came from the North, it had nothing to do with the activities of members of the Boko Haram sect that have held that part of the country hostage, unleashing violence on innocent people.
This time, the news was about the death of a prominent first class traditional ruler, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, who died at the age of 83. Naturally, that should not be a headache to a President. So, he did not waste time in directing his spokesman, Reuben Abati, to issue a statement in which he mourned and extolled the virtues of the late monarch.
What later turned out to be a big presidential headache came up on Sunday when Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State named Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as successor to the late Emir.
There had been no love lost between Jonathan and the new Emir since the President suspended him from office as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria on February 20. The President had said that he took the decision after discovering that Sanusi’s tenure as the CBN governor was characterised by acts of financial recklessness and misconduct which were inconsistent with his administration’s vision.
He named a Deputy Governor of the CBN, Dr. Sarah Alade, as the acting governor and ordered the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria to conduct further investigations into what he called breaches of enabling laws, due process and mandate of the CBN under Sanusi. The emir was still contesting his suspension and probe in court as of the time he was appointed Bayero’s successor.
So, by all standards, the former apex bank’s boss cannot be described as the President’s friend. That appointment made by Kwankwaso who also parted ways with Jonathan recently when he dumped the Peoples Democratic Party for the All Progressives Congress was seen in many quarters, including in the Presidency, as a big political blow to Jonathan especially as the 2015 general elections draw nearer.
Jonathan had to hurriedly abort a condolence visit he would have made to the ancient Northern city on Monday because of the development. How the development will be handled without hurting the President’s electoral fortune is yet to be seen. Time will tell.
Many may not know this but talented On-air-personality Matse Uwatse Nnoli has been fired from her job as an On-Air-Personality with talk radio station Nigeria Info. In a statement just released she explains the reasons why she may have been sacked.
Read her statement…
Dear all, compliments of the day to you.
I believe a lot of you must have heard of the recent termination of my job as an OAP (On Air Personality) on 99.3 Nigeria Info Fm. Well, it is true.
I have read on several blogs that I was sacked for being arrogant, rude etc. Even recently that I lacked discipline. If I lacked discipline, I wouldn’t be successful in my career. I believe discipline, integrity and honesty goes hand in hand with true success. Ask those who have met and known me and they will tell you that this is what I live for. I am not perfect, I have made mistakes but who is perfect?
I prefer to be silent on matters like this but since silence is assumed to be consent, I will not consent to my hard earned reputation being dragged to the gutters. I worked too hard for it.
On the 2nd of September 2013 while on admission at First Consultant Medical Centre, Lagos. I received an email while on my sick bed, announcing my termination. Honestly, I was not angry but a bit shocked. I had been too sick lately due to my pregnancy and was not at my best but I expected my company to be supportive of me. Yes, I wanted them to be supportive of me because I had worked hard over the years to bring them much glory.
I know that I will see all sorts of articles and comments to discredit me but I simply ask this of you all. If you have ever met me and I was unpleasant to you, feel free to vent but If you don’t know the real me and all you have heard are insinuations, hold your peace.
I love people and always wish them well. My mentees and honest colleagues will testify to this.I love progress because I believe the sky is big enough for all the birds to fly. AIM Consultants. I am not mad at you. I believe when one door closes, another one opens. I have served you well over the years, brought you accolades. So please, let me go in peace and insiders in the Organisation who do not like guts should not use it as an opportunity to tear me down. I am a good person and YOU
ALL KNOW THIS!
God bless AIM Consultants, I learnt a lot from you and I am grateful. God bless us all!
Source: Vanguard News.
The Bombardier aircraft that was recently released to the governor could not leave the airport as aviation agencies claimed there was an order from above to stop night flights out of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano.
Governor Amaechi reportedly left Kano around 8pm Nigerian time by road en route to Port Harcourt.
SaharaReporters learnt that National Airspace Management Authority (NAMA)operatives refused to give clearance to the governor’s jet to take off leaving the governor and his aides no other option than to travel by road out of Kano.
The Kano State commissioner for State Affairs, Aminu Abdusalam who was responsible for hosting guests to the governor confirmed the development in a short speech tonight in Kano. The seizure of Ameachi’s jets followed a riot in Kano against Sanusi’s choice as Emir.
This will not be the first Governor Amaechi’s jet would be impounded by president Jonathan, on April 26th 2013, the governor and his entourage was grounded for about two hours at the Akure Airport, Ondo State, on the allegations that it violated aviation procedures before take-off. The jet was later seized by the Nigerian government until it was released last week.
Amaechi and his aides were returning from Ado-Ekiti, where they attended the burial of the late Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Mrs. Funmi Olayinka.
By Saharareporters, New York
Over sixty members of Niger Delta Peoples Forum in Borno, dressed in traditional attire with the majority of the men amongst them, wearing hats, paid a solidarity visit to Governor Kashim Shettima at the Government House in Maiduguri. This event took place on Friday where the forum members assembled to express their support for him, and their disgust for their kinsmen, whom they believe do not know the realities on the ground.
Secretary General of the Forum, Prince Stephen U.A Ebri, who read a prepared text said they represent hundreds of their kinsmen who have seen, heard, and know the “real happenings” in the State, and “feel ashamed” when one of their ignorant elders speaks from a-far, and is out-of-touch, and ends-up misleading Nigerians.
“There is one issue that is seriously troubling the minds of every one of us here, and that is how some of our elders from the Niger Delta that are completely ignorant of the true situation in Borno State, by attacking this Government that is doing everything within its powers to address the problem. Sir, we were in Maiduguri when you were sworn in on May 29th, 2011. Sir, in case our elders in the Niger Delta do not know, there are Niger Delta people living in Borno, we are from the Niger Delta, but our difference is that we are well informed about the true situation and they are ignorant, they don’t know, they don’t want to know and we don’t think they will ever know,” said Stephen U.A Ebri in the prepared text.
“We are not fools or sycophants, we are responsible people that will call a spade a spade. When you were sworn-in, Maiduguri was in disarray, people were killed daily, bombs were everywhere, all of us were living in perpetual fear, young boys were threatening everyone with guns, calling phone numbers to threaten people, but today, Your Excellency, you have been able to lead the people of Maiduguri to rise against threats and defend themselves, today, Maiduguri is an opposite of what it was when you came in,” Stephen U.A Ebri said in his emotional address.
He added with a voice of urgency, “Rather than the fear and citizens imprisonment you met in May 29th 2011, today there is peace, security and freedom in Maiduguri. It was you that led us to the peace through the intervention of God almighty. We are worried so much by some of the utterances of our Niger Delta brothers, like Asari Dokubo, and elders, like Chief Edwin Clark. Only yesterday, we read an advert by Chief Edwin Clark, sponsored on the Newspapers, calling for the removal of Governors, saying all manner of things that are out of absolute and annoying ignorance,” Stephen U.A Ebri added.
In perhaps his most pointed remarks, Stephen U.A Ebri added, “Chief Clark said the Borno State Government is not cooperating with the Federal Government. How can a Government that is using resources to finance security agencies, be accused of “being uncooperative,” when we all know that it is the Federal Government that is supposed to fund the security? We are angry and tired with these utterances that are making us very uncomfortable, in a State that the people have been treating us with love and respect. This is a State Government that went as far as giving a political appointment to a son of the Niger Delta from Delta State, and that son (now) works directly with the Governor under the Governor’s office. This is a Government that appointed an Igbo man as a cabinet member, and that Igbo man is in charge of community relations, that Igbo man has been with Your Excellency for many years,” Stephen U.A Ebri said.
The room was silent for much of the time Stephen U.A Ebri spoke, as many in attendance considered this event a very serious occasion.
“Sir, anytime people from Niger Delta speak on Borno out of ignorance, we feel very ashamed because all that they say are not the truth of the ‘ground realities’ in Borno State, and some people assume that we from the Niger Delta all share the hate views of some of these people,” Stephen U.A Ebri pointed out.
“We have had enough of them,” with anger rising in his voice. “They are trying to mislead Nigerians and they are making us unhappy in a place we have been happy for many years. In the light of the foregoing, we the great people of the Niger Delta, in Borno State, hereby disassociate ourselves from all utterances made against the government and people of Borno State. We are however committed to any meaningful goal of the Niger Delta people which do not compromise the unity, peace and progress of the entity called Nigeria. The people of Niger Delta are reasonable, we are tolerant, we fight, but we fight good courses and not feather the embers of hate. Anybody calling for the military is talking out of ignorance of the laws of this country. If anyone has a military man he wants to make Governor of Borno State, he shouldn’t come through the backdoor, he should sponsor that person, to retire and contest elections for the Governorship of Borno in 2015, and we will be very happy to send that person letters of commiseration after we successfully and proudly re-elect Governor Kashim Shettima in 2015, to continue his great works of sustaining the peace in Maiduguri and working to attract peace in the entire Borno State,” Stephen U.A Ebri speaking for the forum said.
The group noted that it shares the grief of schoolgirls abducted in Chibok ,and stands by their parents while it shares the pain of the Borno Government for the human, and material losses, and the huge spending to support victims, and efforts to reconstruct destroyed private and public property.
Responding, Governor Shettima said, he is first a Nigerian before being a Borno man, and hence his decision in 2012, to appoint a Niger Deltan from Delta State as his Special Assistant, working directly with him, and also his appointment of an Ibo man as Special Adviser, as well as his spokesman from Zamfara State and another assistant from Gombe, is with that in mind. He described Clark as someone that acts against his age.
“It is people like Elder Edwin Clark that do not really understand who we are, and who we should be in this country. Power doesn’t last forever. Every opportunity you have is one that you must miss someday, however long,” said the governor.
Gov. Kashim added that he is 87 years old. As such, he said he should be a father to all, and he should champion the course of nation building and not sectional interest, if for nothing else, at least for his age.
From the moral point of view, “God gives some consideration to the youngest and the eldest. Let us continue to urge him in a polite manner, to see Nigeria beyond his walking stick. The hat that he puts on, should provide shield not only to his grey hairs, but to the young hairs of other Nigerians regardless of where they come from. Age should always go with wisdom of tolerance, wisdom of truth and defense of it, wisdom of togetherness and national unity,” Shettima said.
Chief Clark was reported to have said, by several national dailies, that President Goodluck Jonathan should declare what he called, ‘full emergency rule’ in the three northeast states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. That call, say critics of Clark, is on the basis of dubious inferences and has no grounds, nor validity.