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Poll Shift: We Must Remain calm, But Resolute – Buhari [Read Full Speech]

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerians, particularly supporters of the APC to remain calm, but resolute in the face of the postponement of the 2015 general elections.

Buhari stated this while briefing journalists during a press conference at the party’s campaign office in Abuja.

The statement reads:

Following the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the 2015 general elections by six weeks, I wish to appeal for utmost restraint and calm by all Nigerians, especially the teeming supporters of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

This postponement, which comes on the heels of  the bogey of the National Security Adviser that half of the registered voters were being disenfranchised was exposed as a crude and fraudulent attempt to subvert the electoral process. The PDP administration has now engineered a postponement using the threat that security will not be guaranteed across the length and breadth  of Nigeria because of military engagement in some states in the North East.  It  is important to note that although INEC acted within its constitutional powers, it is clear that it has been boxed into a situation where it has had to bow to pressure. Thus, the independence of INEC has been gravely compromised.

As a Nigerian and a presidential candidate in the elections, I share in the disappointment and frustration of this decision. This postponement coming a week to the first election has raised so many questions, many of which shall be asked in the days ahead. However, we must not allow ourselves to be tempted into taking actions that could further endanger the democratic process.

Our country is going through a difficult time in the hands of terrorists. Any act of violence can only complicate the security challenges in the country and provide further justification to those who would want to exploit every situation to frustrate the democratic process in the face of certain defeat at the polls.

If anything, this postponement should strengthen our resolve and commitment to rescue our country from the current economic and social collapse from this desperate band. Our desire for change must surpass their desperation to hold on to power at all cost.  We are clearly dealing with people who feel they can get away with placing their personal interest over those of our nation and its citizens. What is at stake is the very survival of our country. We must not allow this temporary delay to abort this great opportunity.   While I share the pains and frustrations of my fellow citizens over this development, my deep faith in the democratic process assures me that this country, with your support, will overcome.

We must remain resolute and rise above all provocations. We must continue to trust in the entire democratic process and in INEC, which has been brought under so much pressure in the last few days. Our trust can only serve to encourage the electoral body to remain steadfast and remain committed to the rule of law.  I wish to state strongly that our  party will not tolerate any further interference with the electoral process. The rescheduled elections of March 28th and April 11th, 2015 must be sacrosanct.

Nigeria is definitely greater than any of us, and much more important than our individual ambitions. Before us there was Nigeria, and long after we are gone there will still be Nigeria. Let  us continue to do our part to make it thegreat  country that it should be. We must rescue our dear country. God  being on our side, we shall salvage Nigeria together.

God Bless Nigeria!

Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR
Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Party, APC.
 

 

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Soldiers Attack Nasir El-Rufai In Kaduna

The gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai was this morning attacked by Nigerian Soldiers in Kaduna.

According to Muyiwa Adekeye, who tweeted via his twitter handle, @muyiwaadekeye, the soldiers attacked Elrufai at the junction of Ahmadu Bello way and Rabah junction in Kaduna, and seized the gun of the police orderly in the process.

It is not clear what lead to the attack by the soldiers.

He said senior officers of the army intervened in the ensuing scenario and brought the situation to an end.

While this was going on however, youths in Kaduna who witnessed the development gathered and sheilded Elrufai and even escorted him to Kawo, Muyiwa Added.

He said the gun seized from the police ASP leading Elrufai’s convoy.

 

 

 

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Re: Buhari v Jonathan: Beyond The Election – Dr. Kayode Fayemi

We commend Professor Chukwuma Soludo’s for his insightful and incisive article published on January 26th in the Vanguard Newspaper, The Nation Newspaper and major online news platforms under the above title. We agree with Professor Soludo that if the political parties, including ours, must justify the overwhelming enthusiasm of Nigerians about the 2015 elections we must remain focused on the issues that matter most to them, which is the progress of our country and the well being of our people. Indeed, this has been the driving conviction of our party and our campaign all along.

READ: Buhari vs Jonathan: Beyond The Election By Chukwuma Charles Soludo

While we accept his critical comments on our party, more for the intentions than for the letters, we believe some clarifications would be quite necessary. We wish to emphasise that our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), presents a real option to Nigerians. Professor Soludo expressed the sentiments of most Nigerians when he spoke about the incalculable damage that the PDP under President Jonathan has done to the Nigerian economy and the unprecedented hardship that his six years of the locust has brought upon Nigerians.

However, the APC does not intend to ride into power on a mere rhetoric of ‘change’. The change that we propose is fundamental in many ways as it is critical to the very survival of our country. This in itself presents a major distinction between our party and the PDP. Perhaps, the most compelling argument against the People’s Democratic Party today is that its government and leadership does not even see that Nigeria is in trouble. While majority of our people wallow in abject poverty, and the gap in inequality gets ever wider by the day, yet PDP has basked in self-celebration of imagined accomplishments. How can a party or a government even begin to solve a problem that it does not believe exist? Like in all things, PDP is stuck in denial.

APC does not promise Eldorado. Neither our candidate nor our manifesto has made such promise. Our programs are based on the critical awareness of the difficult task ahead, while holding out a ray of hope to our people. The promises that we make reflect our innermost belief that the people must be at the centre of development. Especially, we believe that any economic growth that leaves the majority of the people behind, and does not protect the weakest and the vulnerable among us, is merely delusionary.

Professor Soludo has drawn our attention to the striking but unfortunate similarity in the nation’s economy in 1982-1984 period and what we are experiencing today. Back then, a period of sustained high crude oil prices had also ironically led to unsustainable debt levels and introduction of the austerity measure. Just as it happened more than three decades ago, it is difficult to explain how a sustained period of oil boom should ultimately lead to austerity measure except to say that huge opportunities that the period of boom presented were frittered away by mindless profligacy, wanton corruption and bad economic choices made by the PDP government, which has rewarded a protracted period of boom with uncertainty and austerity and is still asking for another mandate to do more damage.

If we sound upbeat in our manifesto, it is because we recognise that this crisis period also presents us a great opportunity to restructure the economy in a way that improves the quality of lives of our people by ensuring that our economic growth is job-led. Our party has identified job creation as a critical priority of government. We have noted with concerns that Nigeria’s unemployment rate of 23.9% should be seen as a national crisis. And if this government was more sensitive to the enormity of the challenge that this presents, it would be reluctant to jump all over the place in self celebration while so many of our youths are wasting away. In the immediate future, our priority is to tackle unemployment and provide good jobs by embarking on a massive programme of public works, building houses, roads, railways, ports and energy plants. Over the long term, we believe we must wean Nigeria off its dangerous addiction to oil, which currently provides 80% of our spending leaving us at the mercy of volatile international oil prices. Even as a federalist party, we believe that an economy that is dependent on a commodity that is so dangerously exposed to price volatility must always prepare for eventuality through savings and investments once the agreed thresholds are met. What we disagree with is the unilateral and arbitrary deductions in accruable revenues in a way that hampers the development of the federating States.

Going by the government’s own statistics, is it mere coincidence that the three States with the lowest unemployment rate – Osun, Lagos and Kwara – are all APC States?  This is evidence of our Party’s ability to tackle this problem head-on. APC’s policy thrust will create an enabling environment and incentives for the formal and informal sectors to lead the quest for job creation. This will be done in addition to skills acquisition and enterprise- training to ensure our youths are equipped with the appropriate skills to take these jobs. Merely introducing a National Qualification Standards would power a whole new world of opportunities for our artisans by launching them into the international job markets. We note the issue that Professor Soludo picked with our figure of 720,000 jobs. We need to clarify that this is limited to immediate direct employment opportunities from public projects and maintenance works only. Our manifesto actually promises a lot more jobs but we see that as the product of the enabling environment we seek to create for private sector-led job creation, especially in high opportunity sectors like agriculture, construction, entertainment, tourism, ICT and sports. APC economic policy is driven by an overwhelming concern for the level of inequality in our country today. Specifically, to quote from our manifesto, we intend to achieve our job-creation agenda through:

Massive public works programme especially the building of a national railway system (complete with tramline systems for our major cities), interstate roads, and ports. These projects must commence early in the life of the new administration.

Establishing a new Federal Coordinating Agency – Build Nigeria – to fast track and manage these public works programmes with emphasis on Nigerian labour.

Embarking vigorously on industrialization, public works and agricultural expansion.

Diversifying the economy through a national industrial policy and innovative private-sector incentives that will move us away from over reliance on oil into value-added production especially manufacturing.

Reviving textile and other industries that have been rendered dormant because of inappropriate economic policies.

Reinvigorating the solid mineral sector by revamping our aged mining legislation and attracting new investment.

Developing a new generation of domestic oil refineries to lower import costs, enhance our energy independence and create jobs.

Working with state governments to turn the country into Africa’s food basket through a new system of grants and interest free loans, and the mechanization of agriculture.

Encouraging and promoting the use of sports as a source of job creation, entertainment and recreation.

Creating a knowledge economy by making Nigeria an IT /professional/Telecom services outsourcing destination hub to create millions of jobs.

Filling the huge gap in middle level technical manpower with massive investment in technical and tradesmen’s skills education.

Ensuring that all foreign contractors to include a plan of developing local capacity (technology transfer).

Creation of six Regional Development Agencies covering the country with representatives from the Federal Government, States and the private sector to manage a new N300billion growth fund.

Our obsession with job creation stems from the fact that we believe we must focus on actions that would serve the twin purpose of closing the gap in inequality and creating opportunities for our people, especially the youth. Our current situation is dangerous for the stability of the country. The Human Development Index position ranks Nigeria 152 of 169 countries surveyed. This is incompatible with the present administration’s insistence on celebrating GDP growth and our absolute economic size hinged on a routine rebasing exercise. As many commentators have pointed out, rebasing the GDP is not an achievement. Rather, it is a mere statistical adjustment that does not impact on the real or imagined standards of living of the people. So, we also wonder what this PDP government is celebrating. And maybe it is not that difficult to explain when one discovers that a small elite has captured the state and converted our commonwealth into private gain, becoming disproportionately rich from massive corruption while poverty has deepened. The income gap and illicit capital flight are growing alarmingly. Instead of investing in modernizing our economy, massive theft has starved the country of desperately needed resources for infrastructure and public services and left us dangerously dependent on fluctuating global oil prices for our economic survival. For the ordinary Nigerian, the much-touted economic growth cited by the present administration has not translated into employment or development. Over 100 million Nigerians are struggling to make ends meet on a regular basis.

Furthermore, we understand Professor Soludo’s concern on the cost of implementing our various programmes, especially those relating to social welfare. The enormity of this challenge is not lost on us. We also know that sometimes, going into government is like buying a “no testing” electronic equipment. You may never know the true state of what you are buying until you get in. We want to assure Professor Soludo and other likeminded Nigerians that our policy team is looking at all the options – including the worst-case scenario of a completely empty treasury. We are however confident that by blocking avenues of wastages and corruption alone, savings could run into billions of Naira that could be deployed for productive use. Even so, we agree with Professor Soludo that savings from corruption alone will not tackle the enormous challenges we are likely to confront in government. We are however comforted by the fact that a four-year period provides opportunity for phased implementation while growing the resource base as well as changing the culture of graft while reducing the cost of governance.

Quite significantly, we know that periods of economic downturn also potentially provide opportunity to lay the foundation for real economic restructuring and development; and we can reflect on how Singapore under Premier Lee Kuan Yew and the United States of America under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt used historic moments of economic downturn in their countries to launch a period of sustained development and a new deal for their people. General Buhari has never claimed to have the magic wand nor the answers to all of the country’s problems. His greatest assets would be his moral authority borne out of his self-sacrificing integrity, his sincerity of purpose and his patriotic zeal to return Nigeria to the path of progress and genuine development.  He is committed to utilize competent and committed people of integrity wherever he may find them. This is precisely why he promised when flagging off his campaign in Port Harcourt on January 5, 2015 that if voted into power, it would be an opportunity to, in his words, “finally assemble a competent team of Nigerians to efficiently manage this country”. This is a clear sign that a meritocratic process will govern the appointment of those that would be entrusted with managing our economy and country. His stint as Head of State shows a track record of using self-sacrificing professionals in his governance team. His previous cabinet included the likes of Dr. Onaolapo Soleye, Professor Tam David-West and Professor Ibrahim Gambari.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) is determined to lead Nigeria in the direction of change that is so urgently required. And even as we prepare for the immediate rescue mission in 2015, our minds are also set on building the necessary democratic institutions that would entrench our ideological conviction as a progressive and people-centred party. A National Progressives Policy Institute is part of this plan in the near future but we are very clear about the enormity of the task ahead. We would not seek to underplay it. We are supremely confident that we are equal to the task and we appreciate the commitment of majority of Nigerians to this quest for change.

Dr. Kayode Fayemi heads the Policy, Research and Strategy Directorate of the APC Presidential Campaign.

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Issue-Based Campaign: “Learn From Us,” PDP Tells APC

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as laughable and diversionary, the recent statement by the APC “wherein it made a failed attempt to launder its poor image by trying to tutor on issue-based campaign, which it has blatantly refused to practice.”

The PDP noted that while it has been showcasing its numerous achievements in all the sectors of national life, the APC has on the other hand dwelt on propaganda, political mudslinging and empty promises to the people.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh in a statement on Tuesday said “it is rather hypocritical for the APC whose campaigns and press statements have centered only on insults, blackmail and attempts to caricature office holders, especially President Godlike Jonathan to now turn round to accuse others of a despicable conduct for which it has become notorious.”

“It is indeed public knowledge that the PDP campaigns, press releases and utterances of our officials have always focused on issues that promote the development, unity and prosperity of our dear nation. This cannot be said of the APC which dwells on abuses, promoting of violence and posting of lies, ostensibly due to its lack of manifesto”.

The PDP noted that in keeping with its ideology and strict adherence to democratic tenets and good conduct, it has based its campaigns on record of verifiable achievements and roadmap for a more prosperous future in line with the visions of its founding fathers.

“For instance in the last four weeks, our press statements and rallies have focused on profiling the performance of our administration, showcasing to Nigerians with facts and figures, the achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan in key sectors of the economy, including education where we have ensured greater access to quality learning through special interventions such as the Back To School programme, the Almajiri system of education, establishment of new universities and a host of other programmes; in transport, where we have revived the railways and the inland waterways as well as the massive investments in road infrastructure and power.

“Also, we have been outlining our performance in health and agriculture, where we have achieved increased life expectancy and reduction in food import; in economy, where we have become the largest in African and the third fastest growing in the world with Nigerian private enterprises thriving in all sectors. This is in addition to our effort in ensuring the stability of our nation through strict adherence to the rule of law and guaranteed personal freedom, which Nigerians now enjoy.

“Similarly, President Jonathan has also focused on his achievements and laudable plans for the future to the admiration of majority of citizens who have also endorsed him for re-election. This is also the case in the campaigns of all other candidates of our great party across board.

“On the other hand, APC press statements and those of their leaders have always been laced with bitterness, insults and inciting comments, symptomatic of frustrated and disgruntled elements desperate for power.

“Nigerians have been witnesses to the stage antics and insults that have characterized APC rallies. Their messages have been those of hate, threats to peace and unity in addition to unleashing of thugs on innocent Nigerians.

“In all these, the PDP has refused to be distracted but rather maintained the high moral ground in our determination to ensure a united, peaceful and prosperous nation.

“The APC has failed to articulate any manifesto to back up it much orchestrated change slogan. They have failed to show in concrete terms how they intend to actualize the empty promises they have been making, thinking Nigerians will not see through their hollowness,” it said.

The PDP therefore charged the APC to rather purge itself, heed the advice of Nigerians and the international community and change its politics of bitterness and desperation.

 
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Kwara APC Urges Nigerians to vote Out Jonathan, Say His Rally is a Celebration of Failure

The All Progressives Congress (APC), Kwara State chapter has called on the people of Kwara State and Nigerians to vote out President Goodluck Jonathan on February 14 in order to salvage a profusely bleeding Nigeria.

The APC said the call is imperative because Mr President has nothing more to offer in his present capacity. 

In a statement issued on Monday in Ilorin by its Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Sulyman Buhari, the party described the presidential rally of PDP in Ilorin as celebration of failure”.

“The presidential rally of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ilorin was a celebration of failure. 

“We had expected the Presidential Candidate of PDP, Dr Goodluck Jonathan to tell Kwarans why he deserves re-election and also offer solutions to the challenges of Nigeria but surprisingly, President Jonathan chose to waste the ample opportunity of the rally on political commentary.

“Kwarans should note that since President Goodluck Jonathan failed to tell them why he deserves re-election during his scantly-populated presidential rally in Ilorin, Kwarans have the responsibility to massively vote him out of office. 

“Anyone who carefully listened to Mr President’s speech would mistook him for an inexperienced comedian who struggled in futility to impress his audience.

“Despite the disbursement of millions in Naira by President Jonathan’s foot-soldiers and Abuja politicians to induce Kwarans to attend the rally, the scantly populated rally shows that Kwara State is a no-go area for the PDP. 

“It is no longer news that President Jonathan is yet to fulfil any of the electoral promises he made to Kwarans in 2011. It is also apparent that Mr President has no achievement whatsoever in Kwara State and we do not expect Mr President to lay claim to false assertions or take credit for non-existing projects. 

“However, rather than his political commentary, it would have been of interest to the people of Kwara State if Mr President had used the avenue of his presidential rally to tell them when he will refund the over N4billion the Kwara State government used to execute and rehabilitate the Ilesha-Baruba-Chikanda international border road and federal road projects across the
state.”, the statement read.

 
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Army Removes Brigade Commander Injured in Monguno Attack By Boko Haram

The 5 Brigade commander, who was injured in the attack by Boko Haram on the 243 battalion in Monguno, Borno state has been removed from his post and replaced with another officer who addressed the dislodged soldiers on Monday morning asking them to remain calm and focused on the task ahead.

It is not known whether his removal has to do with the injury he suffered in battle or his alleged failure to prepare his Brigade well to fend off the onslaught.

Nigerian soldiers in Borno state had on Sunday faced three separate and daring raids by the extremist Boko Haram sect on three major towns, successfully repelling two of them, and losing the battle for one.

Military insiders said the insurgents arrived at about 2 am on Sunday, parking their Hilux vans deep into the bush, with their headlights on.

Soldiers of the Brigade, who saw the unusual lights, began to shoot in the direction of the vans without knowing that the insurgents had left the vans and advanced close to the Brigade headquarters.

Suddenly, the insurgents began to shoot sporadically. The troop of the Brigade, including those of the Multinational Joint Task Force [MJTF], who were camped at a school inside the barracks after they were dislodged from Baga, engaged the terrorists in a long exchange of gunfire.

The biggest fighting tank owned by the Brigade, known as Shika, killed several insurgents, and wounded several others.

It was such a long battle that the equipment, which provided cover for ground troops, suddenly ran out of ammunition and began to withdraw.
As it withdrew, the rifle men behind also retreated, as the insurgents followed in pursuit. In the process, the commander of the Brigade, a Brigadier General Yekini, and a few other soldiers were wounded. It is not clear the number of soldiers and insurgents killed in the attack.

The Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade said the daring attacks on Maiduguri and neighbouring Konduga by insurgents were successfully repelled by soldiers while officers and men of 5 Brigade lost the battle for Monguno.

 
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Pay our Bursary, Ondo Students Tell Governor Mimiko

Students of Ondo State origin under the aegis of National Association of Ondo State Students (NAOSS) have appealed to the State government to pay their 2013/14 bursary award.

The students accused the State governor, Olusegun Mimiko of neglecting and leaving them to suffer, adding that they have sent several letters to his office, with no response from him.

The students, who spoke through some of the association’s senators, said the annual bursary was the only direct benefit they get from the State government, and that they are disappointed in the leadership of the State for refusing to pay them in the last two years.

In a statement signed by the senators, they lamented that the delay in bursary payment was affecting the progress of the association, noting that students have stopped attending the association’s weekly meetings on various campuses across the country.

According to one of the senators and president of NAOSS Unilorin Chapter, Falusi Fisayo, the students will be mobilized to wrok against the interest of the State government in the forthcoming election, if the bursary award is not paid within the next two weeks.

 
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Return Jonathan’s $1.2m Bribe, Oyo APC tells Ladoja

The All Progressives Congress (APC), Oyo State chapter, has asked former governor of Oyo State, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, to return a cash of $1.2m which he allegedly received from the Presidency to mobilize voters in the state to support the re-election bid of President Goodluck Jonathan in the February 28, 2015 polls.

The remark was contained in a statement issued in Ibadan yesterday and signed by the APC State Director of Publicity, Olawale Sadare.

The cash was said to have been delivered to Ladoja few days after the flopped PDP Presidential campaign rally in Ibadan in partial fulfillment of the pledge made by the president in exchange for the former governor’s agreement to work for the electoral success of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

The APC said that the need for Ladoja to refund the money became imperative due to the way he (Ladoja) had been trying to distance himself from the president due to the latter’s dwindling electoral fortune and the fear of the electorate not voting for him (Ladoja) if he publicly identifies with the president.

“Check his interview with the Tribune on Sunday. He denied having any pact with the president. When asked whether he had been campaigning for the president, he denied ever doing so. If he was reluctant to identify with Jonathan in the public, why collect his dollars, with which he has been shoring the financial base of the Accord Party after his financiers whom he refused to give tickets abandoned his party and funding dried up?” the APC asked.

While providing the antecedent of the money given to Ladoja, Sadare said that in the said interview, Ladoja confirmed that the deal was indeed brokered by the wife of the President.

“It would be recalled that Sen. Ladoja was at the Aso Villa recently where he had gone to lobby the President’s wife for support on his surreptitious desire to hijack the PDP gubernatorial ticket of Oyo State. Although he failed in his bid, Ladoja didn’t leave Abuja empty-handed as he was able to strike a mouth-watering deal with the presidency which would involve him getting an undisclosed amount to mobilize people to vote for the president on February 14, 2015.

“President Jonathan, who visited Ibadan recently to launch his re-election campaign, was jolted by the scanty crowd which attended the Mapo rally and he was said to be dissatisfied with the explanations given by his hatchet men on ground. This apparently made him to remember the existing pact between him and Ladoja who had been recommended by a serving female minister as a ‘badly needed material’ for the Oyo State project.

“Sources close to Sen. Ladoja confirmed to us that three men from the Presidency visited Ladoja in Ibadan a couple of days ago and delivered to him a cash of $1.2m. Those who brought the money left the state capital disappointed because their host did not give them a dime, at least, as visiting guests of a former governor considered worthy of Mr. President’s patronage.

“Meanwhile, the Accord Party gubernatorial candidate had hurriedly conveyed a meeting with few trusted political associates and told them to commence working for Jonathan’s re-election in earnest. This development could be responsible for the statement credited to one of the AP’s senatorial candidate who said on a radio interviewed, monitored in Ibadan, that his party would work for Jonathan.

“In as much as we need to respect Sen. Ladoja’s decision to play his politics the treacherous way he likes, we challenge him to tell the public why he always chooses to be Janus-faced in his political dealings. He has to be reminded that the collective destiny of the good people of the state cannot be mortgaged by any selfish politician as the resolve of the people is Change or nothing,” Sadare stated.

 
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2015 Elections: Dissecting President Jonathan’s Zero Popularity in the North – Abdulrahman Abba @Abbanani66

In 2011 Nigeria saw its worst election period in what is relatively a young immature democracy. Coupled with the wide spread election malpractices nationwide, violence and resentment enveloped most parts of the Northern region. Traditional leaders and their properties were destroyed, the ruling party and many of its associates in the north were not spared from the ensuing chaos, most unfortunately, innocent lives and properties were also caught in what became known as the ‘Post-Election violence of 2011’. It became clear at that point that Nigeria’s long history of bitterness between regions and religions had in no way disappeared and that if a quick solution wasn’t found, future elections could be the doom of a Nation with great prospects.

Blames flew In from all parts of the country, a picture was painted of a Northern region whose people only wanted their own to be the President or no other. The opposition Candidate was chastised for not coming out fast enough to denounce the violence which they implied might have ended it and brought normalcy to the region.

Even though it wasn’t entirely true, the ruling party and its government were quick to brand the problem as anarchy by disgruntled supporters of the opposition candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari and that some miscreants had seized the opportunity to re-introduce sectarian violence to the volatile region. They called on the opposition candidate to immediately come out, denounce the violence and call his supporters to order, which he gladly did even though he was also a victim of the violence at that moment and he had definitely played no part towards inciting them in the first place.

Now what the ruling party and its government forgot to say or chose not to say was the truth – that a very huge population of the Northern region felt deprived and suffocated by the election rigging with the disparity in results especially in the North, they also forgot to point out that according to statistics, the same Northern region had the worst living conditions and illiteracy levels in the entire country (which is quite a substantial number). They also conveniently left out the fact that an ongoing systematical genocide was taking place in the North-Eastern part of the country and some other small pockets of the northern region and that poverty worse than we know it, was and still is the fastest growing epidemic in that region! With confirmed cases of people selling their votes for as little as a one pack of noodles, a bar of soap, a plate of rice or 100 Naira (Half a dollar) you will understand that calling the poverty levels there a growing epidemic is putting it lightly.

Now bringing us to my main reason for scribbling down these, I have read about and watched recent campaign tours of Mr. President (Goodluck Jonathan) to some Northern states where he and his campaign team have been subjected to ridicule, being stoned at, booed and pelted with objects of all kinds, most of all being held under siege at the Katsina family residence of the late President, Umaru Musa Yar’adua by protesting youths. First of all I must say that I do not support any of that and it is totally unacceptable! A few northern leaders like former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar have called for an end to that and I also believe more northern leaders should add their voices. Although I find it hard to believe that he is getting resentment in states controlled by his party and safe passage in states controlled by the opposition when it should be vice versa, leading me to believe recent statements credited to Gov. Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State on BBC Hausa saying that the PDP had a hand in the whole disobedience at the Bauchi rally.

Something that should be pointed out here is that the defiance of these youths has nothing to do with Mr. President’s religion or region, but more to do with the frustration, hurt and deep anger of a huge population of the Northern region towards Jonathan’s government and his intention to continue for another four years, a feeling that a growing number of Nigerians nationwide also share! Hundreds of Thousands of Nigerians especially from the North-east have been slaughtered in the past 3-4 years under a questionable insurgency which this government has not only failed to tackle, but also seem adequately unable to tackle. Economy and means of livelihood in the north is fast disappearing, northerners have been living under heavy army siege since 2010 all in the name of ineffective checkpoints to checkmate Boko-Haram! A typical journey from Abuja to Kano which normally takes 4-5 hours before 2010 now takes at least 7 hours on a good day! Entire families, villages and ways of life of a people is on the brink of extinction. Education, healthcare and businesses are fast becoming non-existent in most parts of the Northern region! Even if it were a northerner in that position at the moment acting the same way Mr. President is, he definitely will get the same, if not even worse rejection than is being dished out to President Jonathan now.

In a sane environment, a Leader would be ashamed of those in his government and party who act as ambassadors of his to their people in the Northern region, especially with the level of resentment and widespread rejection he has witnessed in the past few weeks within that region. But then again it raises the question if Nigeria has had a leader for the past six years and also the level of illusion which he and those around him have created for themselves.

Another point worth pointing out to my brothers and sisters from all regions of our dear nation is that M.K.O Abiola of blessed memory was a Southerner who was well accepted and voted for in the North. Ex-President Obasanjo campaigned in the North on two occasions against a Northerner and he wasn’t booed or ridiculed. The same President Jonathan campaigned in the Northern region in 2011 and it was largely successful with no animosity towards him, so now that the rejection of his government and the ruling party is so wide spread in the north, we must all understand that it is the genuine anger and pain which the people are suffering that has led them to that path and the only way they feel they can vent that anger is by acting in such manner, though not acceptable but it is effective.

One lesson he must learn from all of this is that it is not by claiming to have a large number of Northerners or people from any region in his government/ cabinet that he will gain acceptability, but by doing what he swore an oath to do and making Nigeria a safe and inclusive nation for all its citizens.

On a final note, with a dwindling popularity all over Nigeria, President Jonathan does not need an army of kamikaze internet warriors to spread his propaganda in a style similar to that of the Nazi party about phantom, non-existent policies and ghost projects which have had absolutely no impact whatsoever on the people of Nigeria. Mr. President’s popularity is so bad in some parts of the country that only those who benefit directly from his clueless kindergarten form of leadership support his ambition for re-election.

I hope and pray to God almighty that by May 29, 2015 when he, Jonathan hand’s over to a more qualified and credible successor in the person of General Muhammad Buhari, we will still have a Nation to salvage. Amen

#ChangeIsHere2015
Collect your PVC, Vote for Change and Protect your VOTES!

Abdulrahman Abba
@abbanani66

 
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False Campaign Issues for and Against Buhari on Social Media, By Mustapha Saddiq

Social media -dominated by the due of facebook and twitter has indeed change the nature of politics and politicians everywhere in the world. The social media also proven to be effective avenue to reach out to target audience mostly youths and intellectuals directly and almost instantly with ease as politicians have taken advantage of that to improve their presence and market themselves.

But this ofcause, as expected, comes with a lot of disadvantages ranging from numerous rumours, propagandas to false accusations. This is even more possible since with as low as N100 -for instance, one can afford to login to any of Facebook or twitter, claim to be a journalist, security or political analyst and post or tweet whatever he/she likes.

Bellow, I intends to list and possibly explain as briefly as possible some of the false campaign issues for and against General Muhammadu Buhari -on of the leading presidential candidate of the APC in the forth coming general elections in Nigeria.

Let me start with the false campaign issues against the General:

(1) That he asked muslims to vote for only fellow muslims. Now, this is a blatant lie, Buhari never said that. What he said -back in 2001 in Hausa language in Sokoto at a luncheon was people in Sokoto know themselves, so when the ban on politics is lifted, they should choose the people that will represent them responsibly. The reporter of the ThisDay newspaper that wrote the report is a yoruba man by tribe that does not understand Hausa and was not even at the event. The reporter who is now late (may his soul rest in peace) had since apologised to Buhari on the issue.

(2) That he vowed to make Nigeria ungovernable. This is also a lie. Buhari never said that and it was indeed Lawal Kaita -a PDP chieftain also from Katsina who said that if a Northerner did not win the 2011 presidential elections, Nigeria will be made ungovernable. The Guardian newspaper that broke the news attributing it to Buhari was taken to court by him and the presidency begged him to settled the case outside court. The newspaper later wrote a piece apologising.

(3) That he is responsible for the 2011 post election violence. This is also not true as none of those making these dubious allegations upto now came up with any evidence to support their allegations. Rather, the presidential committee constituted by the federal government that was headed by the respected statesman and scholar Ahmad Lemu cleared Buhari on the issue in the report which he submitted since.

Now let’s see some of the false campaign issues for the General:

(1) That his daughter is married to an Igbo man. This is a lie. Those who created and also circulating this lie are ofcause trying to show the world that Buhari is tolerant as oppose to what some people are thinking that he a bigot. But Buhari being him a very honest man has since debunked that himself. He said none of his children married or is marrying an Igbo man. I mean, must he married his daughter to an Igbo man or anyone from different tribe that he will be seen as tolerant?

(2) That Buhari does not collect his full pension. This is also not true. The total pension package for the Former Head of States is actually less than N12m per annum not the rumoured N27m and that Buhari never rejected any percentage of it. For God sake, it is his right, his pension just like anyother retired civil servant in the country. What is wrong with he receiving all that is lawfully his? Atleast he did not steal it.

Now, I’m appealing to everybody especially those on the social media -whether the fan of Buhari or not to please campaign base on confirmed true informations.

To those trying to paint Buhari black no matter how, please stop creating unnecessary lies just to prove a point. Use facts only and if at all he is bad, you will find some. Also, to those trying so hard to make him look like an angel, please do that only with facts also, for using false information might backfires and be counter productive. Let’s play politics with some decorum and definitely we can’t do that with lies.

Mustapha Saddiq wrote from Batagarawa, Katsina State.

Twitter: @mustysaddiq
Email: mustyfantastic77@yahoo.com

 
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Under Buhari Money Would No Longer Walk – Gbajabiamila

The Minority Leader of House of Representatives and member of General Muhammadu Buhari Presidential Campaign Organisation, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila has urged Nigerians to queue behind APC presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari on account of Buhari’s anti-corruption history.

In a statement by his Research and Media Assistant, Wasiu Olanrewaju-Smart, Gbajabiamila was quoted on Monday at an interactive session with tradesmen and artisans in Surulere area of Lagos saying the forthcoming Presidential election is a contest between a man mismanaging Nigeria’s resources and another with robust anti-corruption history.

“I have sat down to look at all problems hindering the progress of Nigeria and discovered they are all traceable to corruption. God has now given us our messiah because sometimes God in his own wisdom would allow his own people to go through hardship until such a time when he would pick the most unlikely amongst them to the deliver others from bondage. I am convinced that Buhari has been chosen by God to deliver our nation from shackles of bondage and relieve us from the oppressive yoke of today”

“I believe this is the man capable of cleaning up this country and PDP’s pig sty and who will deliver to us a new Nigeria where $20billion would no longer walk or $15million in cash fly with to South Africa.”

Gbajabiamila also told the tradesmen and artisans he has sponsored several Bills and Motions meant to ease out poverty and mismanagement of resources but said the impact of those laws are yet to be felt because President Goodluck Jonathan refused to append his signature on those Bills while PDP lawmakers have correspondingly used their initial majority strength to obstruct all efforts to override President Jonathan as prescribed by the constitution.

“It is only an APC controlled center that can ensure that government will work only for and to the benefit of the people of Nigeria “, Gbajabiamila advised.

Also present at the interactive session was Nollywood Actor and APC Lagos House of Assembly candidate for Surulere 1, Desmond Olusola Elliot and APC party leaders in Lagos.

 
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Even if You Prosecute 10 Million People and Jail Five Million, Corruption will not Stop- Jonathan

President Jonathan on Sunday insisted that he will not fight corruption by jailing people, stating that he was going to build a system that would block people’s direct access to funds.

The President said this at a corporate forum titled, ‘An Evening with Dr. Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan’ in Lagos on Sunday.

He said even if five million Nigerians were thrown into jail for corruption, graft would still continue if the system was porous.

He said, “People always say government is not fighting corruption but our position is very clear. We are fighting corruption and our position is that fighting corruption is not all about jailing people and showing them on television sets.

“In this country, we never had armed robbery until the civil war when small arms were being used. Initially, armed robbers were being shot in public and later in secret. But it did not stop armed robbery; so our commitment is in the British law system that states that it is better for nine criminals to go free than for one innocent person to suffer undue punishment. In that case, the concept of beyond reasonable doubt is always difficult to prove in corrupt cases and that is why they even accuse the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) of going for plea bargain.

“In the area of arrest, the EFCC has prosecuted more people and has secured more convictions than before but even if you prosecute 10 million Nigerians and convict five million, it will not stop corruption. Yes, you are fighting corruption which must continue but the most important thing is to block those avenues that corruption can occur.”
 
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