CBN Governor, Emefiele Calls Town Meeting To Avert Workers Strike, Protest

The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has called for a town hall meeting of some staff of the bank to prevail on them not to embark on the planned strike action and demonstration against his management of the bank.

Abusidiqu reported last week that the Bank workers were gearing up to shut the doors of the bank and also petition President Muhammadu Buhari over what they described as the poor handling of the bank management, particularly the refusal of the governor to promote staff who are qualified for promotion since 2016.

The workers are aggrieved that the CBN governor had deliberately refused to promote many qualified staff of the bank on the ground that there is no fund to cater for their promotion, a development the bank workers find very disturbing.

A total of 2342 staff members of the CBN were said to have been qualified for the 2016 promotion exercise and subsequently sat for the promotion examination in 2017, but only 552 persons were shortlisted for promotion at the beginning of February.

It was gathered that the town hall meeting, called at the instance of the CBN governor and holding at the bank’s premises is to appeal to the staff to sheathe their swords with a promise to look into their matter.

The town hall meeting was earlier scheduled to hold last week, but was postponed due to unforeseen reasons.

This is a developing story. More details later…

 

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Benue Community Releases Names, Photos Of Residents Killed By Militia Allegedly Backed By Govt (Viewers Discretion)

Residents of Shitile community in Katsina Ala Local Government Area of Benue State have released the names of residents allegedly killed by state sponsored militia group named Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF).

In a petition, dated July 24, 2017 and signed by 20 persons on behalf of the community, the residents named Mr. Ishenge, known as “Tor-Abaji,” and his accomplices among whom is one, Ternenge Orijondo, also known as Or-Ijondo,” as perpetrators of the heinous crime in the state.

According to the petitioners, Ishenge, was purportedly employed by the Government of Benue State.

The petitioners alleged that under the control of Tor-Abaji, the CJTF “has changed the taste and colouration of life for the people of our community, killing and maiming at will, as well as burning down and utterly destroying homes and businesses of our people, leaving us in a state of heightening terror, trauma and total insecurity”.

“In January 2017, there were many killed at Tse-Igbe, while on the 18th, 25th and 26th days of June, 2017, Tor-Abaji, dressed in military uniforms and armed with sophisticated automatic rifles, together with his horde of heavily armed gang moved through Abaji settlement on a spree of destruction, burning down houses and brutalising women and children, after which he arrested some targeted persons whom he took away to an undisclosed location and subjected them to severe torture, resulting in scores of deaths

“A number of persons were lucky to have escaped alive from the torture rounds, among them Orafalorlumun Gbiseh and Terfa Achia, both of whom narrated how Tor-Abaji, while torturing his victims had boasted of having the support of government which he bragged placed him above the law, even as he said to have vowed to bring all political opponents of the ruling government to their knees by force of arms,” they said.

A copy of the petition, as seen by Abusidiqu, also has a list of the names, location, dates and pictures of those reportedly killed, maimed or kidnapped in the communities within Shitile.

The petitioners said the fear in the area is that if the CJTF is not tamed in time, ”it has the capacity to rapidly grow into another terrorism monster in the kind of Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda or Taliban.”

The petitoners however called on the government to ensure that the CJTF is disbanded immediately.

 

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Buhari Vindicates Abusidiqu, Reinstates Suspended NHIS Boss, Usman Yusuf

President Muhammadu Buhari has vindicated Abusidiqu.com with the reinstatement of the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Professor Usman Yusuf.

Abusidiqu had in an exclusive report dated December 23, 2017 detailed how the suspended NHIS boss had engaged in high level scheme to return to his job.

READ: Exclusive: Suspended NHIS Boss, Usman Yusuf In Top Level Scheme To Return To His Job

Mr. Yusuf was suspended by the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, in June 2017, following allegations of gross misconduct.

A panel commissioned by the minister after Mr. Yusuf’s suspension later found him culpable of infractions that ranged from nepotism to theft of public funds.

In the December 2017 report, Abusidiqu.com narrated how Mr. Usman Yusuf enlisted the support to two influential figures from the hometown of President Muhammadu Buhari to help him return to his position at the NHIS.

The report quoting a source stated that it is very likely that Professor Usman will be returned to his job because the two unnamed influential figures have been mounting tremendous pressure on the president.

“I can confirm to you now that the pressure on the president is tremendous and it is likely that they may succeed given the fact that Mr. President has regards for both men,” the source said.

“He (Usman Yusuf) regularly visits Daura at the slightest meeting and pleading with all those that have the ears of the president so he can be reinstated. He has poisoned their minds to see his suspension as an insult to the authority of the president and also an agenda by the Yoruba to undermine President Buhari’s administration,” another said.

Vindicating Abusidiqu on the earlier report, Premium Times report that a letter reinstating the suspended NHIS boss was delivered to the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, Tuesday evening.

The report said Mr. Adewole confirmed receipt of the reinstatement letter Tuesday night, but did not elaborate on when Mr. Yusuf would resume or under which terms.

“It is true that the president has reinstated him,” Premium Times quoted Mr. Adewole as saying.

The online newspaper further stated that an administration official familiar with the development said Tuesday evening that Mr. Buhari did not consider Mr. Yusuf’s indictment by a ministerial panel before asking him to return to work.

Mr. Yusuf, who took over the state-run health insurance provider on July 29, 2016, was suspended following allegations of graft and other wrongdoings.

He had earlier been accused by the Nigerian Senate of a “corrupt expenditure of N292 million” which he allegedly spent on health care training “without recourse to any appropriate approving authority.”

But the NHIS chief denied any wrongdoing and initially fire and brimstone when the Health Minister ordered for his suspension.

The panel established by the health minister indicted Mr. Yusuf following which he was suspended indefinitely.

His suspension generated huge controversy with the House of Representatives demanding that Mr. Yusuf be reinstated, saying the minister was wrong for the suspension and absolved the NHIS boss of any wrongdoing.

 

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Report: IBB’s Memo: Afegbua Doctored Original Statement. See Original Statement

Nigeria’s online media platform, Aledeh.com has revealed that statement released by former Military President of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, was doctored by his media aide, Kassim Afebgua.

According to the report, Babangida actually released a statement titled “My Counsel To The Nation-By General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, GCFR” which wasn’t addressed to President Buhari but on a wide range of national issues.

However, the statement by the ex-president was doctored by Kassim Afegbua , where he added comments that was not with the approval of his principal.

“Oga gave the statement alright but Kassim got carried away and added his own…that was the problem…” the report quoted a source as saying.

It was after Afegbua released the statement that the ex-president few hours after released a counter statement deny the earlier version released by his aide.

Find the original statement below:
“MY COUNSEL TO THE NATION–BY GENERAL IBRAHIM BADAMASI BABANGIDA, GCFR
Distinguished Members of the Fourth estate of the realm.
It has been drawn to my attention a press statement on the State of the nation, particularly 2019 general elections and beyond.
Let me categorically state that as former President and Statesman, I have an unfettered channel of communication with the highest authorities without sensational public correspondence, therefore those views expressed over there are personal views of the writer.
However, with due respect to individual opinion and constitutional rights,  it is worrisome that Political events and civil unrest in many parts of the country, has raised many questions on the governance and unity. Indeed 2018 is inundated with seasons of literatures on the corporate existence of this country. Many of such literatures have shown concerns of the corporate existence of Nigeria beyond 2019 general elections.
It will be recalled, that in my message to this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, I specifically expressed the dire need for proactive measures to stop farmers/herders clashes in the middle belt, Cattle rustling, armed robbery, Kidnapping, gangsterism and Cultism. Our security agencies have to step up surveillance with more efforts on intelligence gathering for maximum success.
Recent happenings and utterances by political gladiators is alarming and not in the interest of common man that is already overstretched and apparently living from hand to mouth due to precarious economic conditions. Despite all these challenges, I am optimistic that the political actors will play within the ambits of political norms and decorum to ameliorate the problems facing our society now.
I am a realist that believes in all issues in a democratic atmosphere are sincerely discussed and resolved in the spirit of give and take. Since after my military years that metamorphosed to the only Military President in the history of Nigeria and my civilian life, I always have one clear objective that freedom can only be achieved through democracy. Some people find this freedom as an avenue for eroding democracy by antics of hate speeches under the guise of religion, tribal or self-imposed mentorship. This trend of pitching political class and the people is unhealthy and skewed.
The clamour for re-alignment of governance in the country as we are approaching 2019 election year is a welcome development only if the agitations are genuinely channelled through legislation and total supremacy of the constitution. Any attempt outside this circle of democratic tenants is deceptive and divisive idea capable of plunging our political journey into disarray.
Our present political parties and their structures need parameter pillars that will make them more strong with unique ideologies. However, our present political parties need a surgical operation that will fusion them into a reasonable number. I have been an advocate of two-party systems but in our present reality in Nigeria, our political parties can fusion into strong political association/party that can form a formidable opposition to a ruling party.
As students of history, we are aware that many advanced democracies have two distinct ideological political parties, with a handful of smaller political parties that serve as buffer whenever any of the known political parties derailed or became unpopular. I still believe in two-party systems as the best option for Nigeria.
It is high time that we dialogue more on any issue in order to have a political solution on any problem affecting us. It is sad that Nigeria had its fair share of conflicts, and we cannot continue to fall back to those dark years of bloodshed.
As a people, now is the time to come together to address all Communal conflicts and criminality under any guise to further unite the country in line with the vision of our founding fathers so that as a nation, we can forge ahead in the task of building a more prosperous nation.
SIGNED:
GENERAL IBRAHIM BADAMASI BABANGIDA GCFR, FORMER MILITARY PRESIDENT & COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF NIGERIAN ARMED FORCES.
1 UPHILL DRIVE, MINNA.
SUNDAY, 04TH FEBRUARY, 2018. “
See the doctored text:
“TOWARDS A NATIONAL REBIRTH.
In the past few months and weeks, I have played host to many concerned Nigerians who have continued to express legitimate and patriotic worry about the state of affairs in the country. Some of them have continued to agonize about the turn of events and expressly worried why we have not gotten our leadership compass right as a country with so much potential and opportunity for all. Some, out of frustration, have elected to interrogate the leadership question and wondered aloud why it has taken this long from independence till date to discover the right model on account of our peculiarities. At 57, we are still a nation in search of the right leadership to contend with the dynamics of a 21st century Nigeria.
Having been privileged to preside over this great country, interacted with all categories of persons, dissected all shades of opinions, understudied different ethnic groupings; I can rightfully conclude that our strength lies in our diversity. But exploring and exploiting that diversity as a huge potential has remained a hard nut to crack, not because we have not made efforts, but building a consensus on any national issue often has to go through the incinerator of those diverse ethnic configurations. Opinions in Nigeria are not limited to the borders of the political elite; in fact, every Nigerian no matter how young or old, has an opinion on any national issue. And it is the function of discerning leadership to understand these elemental undercurrents in the discharge of state responsibilities.
WHERE WE ARE.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria is at a major crossroads at this moment in its history; the choices we are going to make as a nation regarding the leadership question of this country and the vision for our political, economic and religious future will be largely determined by the nature or kind of change that we pursue, the kind of change that we need and the kind of change that we get. A lot depends on our roles both as followers and leaders in our political undertakings. As we proceed to find the right thesis that would resolve the leadership question, we must bear in mind a formula that could engender national development and the undiluted commitment of our leaders to a resurgence of the moral and ethical foundations that brought us to where we are as a pluralistic and multi-ethnic society.
Nigeria, before now, has been on the one hand our dear native land, where tribes and tongues may differ but in brotherhood we stand and on the other hand a nation that continues to struggle with itself and in every way stumbling and willful in its quest to become a modern state, starting from the first republic till date. With our huge investments in the African emancipation movements and the various contributions that were made by our leadership to extricate South Africa from colonial grip, Nigeria became the giant of Africa during that period. But having gone through leadership failures, we no longer possess the sobriety to claim that status. And we all are guilty.
We have experimented with Parliamentary and Presidential systems of government amid military interregnum at various times of our national history. We have made some progress, but not good enough to situate us on the pedestal we so desirously crave for. It is little wonder therefore that we need to deliberately provoke systems and models that will put paid to this recycling leadership experimentation to embrace new generational leadership evolution with the essential attributes of responsive, responsible and proactive leadership configuration to confront the several challenges that we presently face.
In 2019 and beyond, we should come to a national consensus that we need new breed leadership with requisite capacity to manage our diversities and jump-start a process of launching the country on the super highway of technology-driven leadership in line with the dynamics of modern governance. It is short of saying enough of this analogue system. Let’s give way for digital leadership orientation with all the trappings of consultative, constructive, communicative, interactive and utility-driven approach where everyone has a role to play in the process of enthroning accountability and transparency in governance.
I am particularly enamoured that Nigerians are becoming more and more conscious of their rights; and their ability to speak truth to power and interrogate those elected to represent them without fear of arrest and harassment. These are part of the ennobling principles of representative democracy. As citizens in a democracy, it is our civic responsibility to demand accountability and transparency. Our elected leaders owe us that simple but remarkable accountability creed. Whenever we criticize them, it is not that we do not like their guts; it is just that as stakeholders in the political economy of the country, we also carry certain responsibilities.
In the past few months also, I have taken time to reflect on a number of issues plaguing the country. I get frightened by their dimensions. I get worried by their colourations. I get perplexed by their gory themes. From Southern Kaduna to Taraba state, from Benue state to Rivers, from Edo state to Zamfara, it has been a theatre of blood with cake of crimson. In Dansadau in Zamfara state recently, North-West of Nigeria, over 200 souls were wasted for no justifiable reason. The pogrom in Benue state has left me wondering if truly this is the same country some of us fought to keep together. I am alarmed by the amount of blood-letting across the land. Nigeria is now being described as a land where blood flows like river, where tears have refused to dry up. Almost on a daily basis, we are both mourning and grieving, and often times left helpless by the sophistication of crimes. The Boko Haram challenge has remained unabated even though there has been commendable effort by government to maximally downgrade them. I will professionally advise that the battle be taken to the inner fortress of Sambisa Forest rather than responding to the insurgents’ ambushes from time to time.
THINKING ALOUD.
In the fullness of our present realities, we need to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari to complete his term of office on May 29th, 2019 and collectively prepare the way for new generation leaders to assume the mantle of leadership of the country. While offering this advice, I speak as a stakeholder, former president, concerned Nigerian and a patriot who desires to see new paradigms in our shared commitment to get this country running. While saying this also, I do not intend to deny President Buhari his inalienable right to vote and be voted for, but there comes a time in the life of a nation, when personal ambition should not override national interest. This is the time for us to reinvent the will and tap into the resourcefulness of the younger generation, stimulate their entrepreneurial initiatives and provoke a conduce environment to grow national economy both at the micro and macro levels.
Contemporary leadership has to be proactive and not reactive. It must factor in citizens’ participation. Its language of discourse must be persuasive not agitated and abusive. It must give room for confidence building. It must build consensus and form aggregate opinion on any issue to reflect the wishes of the people across the country. It must gauge the mood of the country at every point in time in order to send the right message. It must share in their aspirations and give them cause to have confidence in the system. Modern leadership is not just about “fighting” corruption, it is about plugging the leakages and building systems that will militate against corruption. Accountability in leadership should flow from copious examples. It goes beyond mere sloganeering. My support for a new breed leadership derives from the understanding that it will show a marked departure from recycled leadership to creating new paradigms that will breathe fresh air into our present polluted leadership actuality.
My intervention in the governance process of Nigeria wasn’t an accident of history. Even as a military government, we had a clear-cut policy agenda on what we needed to achieve. We recruited some of the best brains and introduced policies that remain some of the best in our effort to re-engineer our polity and nation. We saw the future of Nigeria but lack of continuity in government and of policies killed some of our intentions and initiatives. Even though we did not provide answers to all the developmental challenges that confronted us as at that time, we were not short of taking decisions whenever the need arose.
GROWING INSECURITY ON OUR HANDS.
The unchecked activities of the herdsmen have continued to raise doubt on the capacity of this government to handle with dispatch, security concerns that continue to threaten our dear nation; suicide bombings, kidnappings, armed banditry, ethnic clashes and other divisive tendencies. We need to bring different actors to the roundtable. Government must generate platform to interact and dialogue on the issues with a view to finding permanent solutions to the crises. The festering nature of this crisis is an inelegant testimony to the sharp divisions and polarizations that exist across the country. For example, this is not the first time herdsmen engage in pastoral nomadism but the anger in the land is suggestive of the absence of mutual love and togetherness that once defined our nationality. We must collectively rise up to the occasion and do something urgently to arrest this drift. If left unchecked, it portends danger to our collective existence as one nation bound by common destiny; and may snowball into another internecine warfare that would not be good for nation-building.
We have to reorient the minds of the herdsmen or gun-men to embrace ranching as a new and modern way to herd cattle. We also need to expand the capacity of the Nigeria Police, the Nigeria Army, the Navy and Air Force to provide the necessary security for all. We need to catch up with modern sophistication in crime detection and crime fighting. Due to the peculiarity of our country, we must begin community policing to close the gaps that presently exist in our policing system. We cannot continue to use old methods and expect new results. We just have to constructively engage the people from time to time through platforms that would help them ventilate their opinions and viewpoints.
THE CHANGE MANTRA
When the ruling party campaigned with the change mantra, I had thought they would device new methods, provoke new initiatives and proffer new ways to addressing some of our developmental problems. By now, in line with her manifesto, one would have thought that the APC will give fillip to the idea of devolution of powers and tinker with processes that would strengthen and reform the various sectors of the economy. Like I did state in my previous statement late last year, devolution of power or restructuring is an idea whose time has come if we must be honest with ourselves. We need to critically address the issue and take informed positions based on the expectations of the people on how to make the union work better. Political parties should not exploit this as a decoy to woo voters because election time is here. We need to begin the process of restructuring both in the letter and spirit of it.
For example, I still cannot reconcile why my state government would not be allowed to fix the Minna-Suleja road, simply because it is called Federal Government road, or why state governments cannot run their own policing system to support the Federal Police. We are still experiencing huge infrastructural deficit across the country and one had thought the APC-led Federal Government would behave differently from their counterparts in previous administrations. I am hesitant to ask; where is the promised change?
LOOKING AHEAD
At this point of our national history, we must take some rather useful decisions that would lead to real development and promote peaceful co-existence among all the nationalities. We must be unanimous in what we desire for our country; new generation leadership, result-driven leadership, sound political foundation, demonetization of our politics, enhanced internal democracy, elimination of impunity in our politics, inclusiveness in decision-making, and promotion of citizens’ participation in our democratic process. The search for that new breed leadership must start now as we prepare for 2019 election.
I get worried when politicians visit to inform me about their aspirations and what you hear in terms of budgetary allocations for electoral contest does not cover voters’ education but very ridiculous sub-heads. A typical aspirant in Nigeria draws up budget to cover INEC, Police, Army and men and officers of the Civil Defense, instead of talking of voters’ education, mobilization and sensitization. Even where benchmarks are set for electoral expenditure, monitoring and compliance are always difficult to adhere to. We truly need to reform the political system. And we must deliberately get fresh hands involved for improved participation.
We need new ways and new approaches in our political order. We need a national rebirth. We need a rebranded Nigeria and rebranded politics. It is not so much for the people, but for the institutions that are put in place to promote our political engagements. We must strengthen the one man one vote mantra. It is often ridiculous for me when people use smaller countries in our West Africa sub-region as handy references of how democracy should be. It beggars our giant of Africa status.
The next election in 2019 therefore presents us a unique opportunity to reinvent the will and provoke fresh leadership that would immediately begin the process of healing the wounds in the land and ensuring that the wishes and aspirations of the people are realized in building and sustaining national cohesion and consensus. I pray the Almighty Allah grant us the gift of good life to witness that glorious dawn in 2019. Amen. I have not written an open letter to the President, I have just shared my thoughts with fellow compatriots on the need to enthrone younger blood into the mainstream of our political leadership starting from 2019.
SIGNED FOR AND ON BEHALF OF GENERAL I.B.BABANGIDA, GCFR.
PRINCE KASSIM AFEGBUA
MEDIA SPOKESMAN.
4th February 2018. “
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EXCLUSIVE: Tension In CBN As Workers Plan To Down Tools, Call For Emefiele’s Sack

An atmosphere of tension is currently brewing in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as workers of the country’s apex financial institution are planning to shut the doors of the bank any moment from now.

Abusidiqu exclusively gathered that the plan by the workers of the bank to embark on strike resulted from the outcome of the promotion exam conducted by the bank in 2017.

A total of 2342 staff members of the CBN who qualified for the 2016 promotion exercise had sat for the promotion exams in 2017, but the bank at the close of business on Friday released the names of only 552 persons as those who are to be promoted.

The qualified staff due for promotion comprise of 128 Assistant Directors, 197 Principal Managers, 244 Senior Managers and 140 Managers. Other are 532 Deputy Managers, 500 Assistant Managers and 601 Senior Supervisors.

Of the 128 Assistant Directors, 20 are to be promoted as Deputy Directors, 45 from Principal Managers to Assistant Directors and 56 Senior Managers and 80 Managers to Principal Manager and Senior Managers respectively.

Also, 95 of the Deputy managers are to be promoted to Managers, 125 Assistant Managers to Managers, while 131 Senior Supervisors will be promoted to Assistant Managers.

A source who spoke to Abusidiqu on the condition of anonymity said although all the 2342 staff qualified for promotion, the bank’s management under Emefiele decided to honour just 552 as those who will actually be promoted claiming others didn’t pass the promotion exam.

The source said the CBN governor is hiding under the claim that there is no money to cut the number of those due for promotion, whereas he is busy employing fresh hands into the bank even without due process, while the existing staff are left to suffer.

“Since the last two years, Emefiele has employed over 2000 new staff into the bank, but the current staff of the bank have been denied promotion because he is claiming there is no money to pay staff if they are promoted. If there is no money to pay staff due for promotion, where is he getting the money to pay the new employees,” the source asked.

He alleged that the bank, with the directive of the Emefiele raised the cut-off mark for the promotion exam to 85% in an effort to drastically reduce the number of candidates to be promoted whereas, the cut off mark does not apply to his chosen candidates and that of his cronies.

“Even the 552 names released for promotion were not based on merit. More than 50% of them are people connected to state governors and other powerful politicians,” he added.

Another staff of the bank who claims to be a victim of the one sided promotion by Emefiele cried out to say “the governor does not have problem recruiting thousands of incompetent people but has problem promoting staff. He hates the word promotion; he comes up with all kinds of excuses to stop staff from being promoted to the next rank even after working hard on one rank for 4 years and in some cases 5 years.”

Continuing, the affected staff said “the promotion process requires that, staff be promoted after attaining three (3) years on their current grade, but this has never happened since Emefiele took charge of CBN. Staff do spend an average of 4 years before getting an opportunity to write the promotion exam with so much uncertainty in the success of the promotion. He manipulates promotion exercise to favor his candidates at the expense of those that study hard to succeed in the promotion exercise.”

Abusidiqu gathered that the development is not going down well with some members of staff of the CBN who also alleged that the governor has been running the bank with impunity. They said the governor lavishes the money of the bank on frivolities citing purchase of properties amongst one of them.

Abusidiqu had in 2015 reported on how the CBN governor spent billions of naira to rebuild his official residence located on Missouri Street, Maitama, Abuja as well as the purchase of other choice properties for the Deputy Governors and Directors of the bank.

It was gathered that the staff at the resume of work on Monday will strategise on the steps to take in addition the issue part of which is to demand for the sack of the governor, Godwin Emefiele.

Abusidiqu also gathered that the staff under the aegis of ‘concerned CBN staff’ has resolved to write a letter to President Buhari to express their grievances with the CBN governor, where they will also be calling for his sack as the top man of the nation’s apex bank.

Efforts to get the bank official to react to the allegation proved abortive as at the time of filing this report, but any further development on the issue will be updated adequately.

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IBB Disowns Media Statement On Buhari, Releases Version Of His Statement

Nigeria’s former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has debunked media reports that he issued a statement asking Nigerians not to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari.

The news which went viral today in leading traditional media and blogs quoted the former Military leader telling President Buhari not to contest the 2019 elections.

In debunking the statement, the former president released a version of his views on the state of the nation.

The details reads:

My Counsel To The Nation *by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida

Distinguished Members of the Fourth estate of the realm.

It has been drawned to my attention a press  on the State of the nation, particularly 2019 general elections and beyond.

Let me categorically state that as former President and Statesman, I have unfettered channel of communication with the highest authorities without sensational public correspondence, therefore those views  expressed over there are personal views of the writer.

However, with due respect to individual opinion and constitutional rights,  it is worrisome that Political events and civil unrest in many part of the country, has raised many questions on the governance and unity.

Indeed 2018 is inundated with seasons of literatures on the corporate existence of this country. Many of such literatures have shown concerns of the corporate existence of Nigeria beyond 2019 general elections.
It will be recalled, that in my message to this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, I specifically expressed the dire need for proactive measures to stop farmers/herders clashes in the middle belt, Cattle rustling, armed robbery, Kidnapping, gangsterism and Cultism. Our security agencies have to step up surveillance with more efforts on intelligence gathering for maximum success.

Recent happenings and utterances by political gladiators is alarming and not in the interest of common man that is already overstretched and apparently living from hand to mouth due to precarious economic conditions. Despite all these challenges, I am optimistic that the political actors will play within the ambits of political norms and decorum to ameliorate the problems facing our society now.

I am a realist that believes in all issues in a democratic atmosphere are sincerely discussed and resolved in the spirit of give and take. Since after  my military years that metamorphosed to the only Military President in the history of Nigeria and my civilian life, I always have one clear objective that freedom can only be achieved through democracy. Some people find this freedom as an avenue for eroding democracy by antics of hate speeches under the guise of religion, tribal or self imposed mentorship. This trend of pitching political class and the people is unhealthy and skewed.

The clamour for re-alignment of governance in the country as we are approaching 2019 election year is a welcome development only if the agitations are genuinely channeled through legislation and total supremacy of the constitution . Any attempt outside this circle of democratic tenants is deceptive and divisive idea capable of plunging our political journey into disarray.

Our present political parties and their structures need parameter pillars that will make them more strong with unique ideologies. However, our present political parties need surgical operation that will fusion them in to a reasonable numbers. I have been an advocate of two party systems but in our present reality in Nigeria, our political parties can fusion into strong political association/party that can form a formidable opposition to a ruling party.

As students of history, we are aware that many advanced democracies have two distinct ideological political parties, with a handful of smaller political parties that serve as buffer whenever any of the known political parties derailed or became unpopular. I still believe in two party systems as the best option for Nigeria.

It is high time that, we dialogue more on any issue in order to have a political solution on any problem affecting us. It is sad that, Nigeria had its fare share of conflicts, and we cannot continue to fall back to those dark years of bloodshed.

As a people, now is the time to come together to address all Communal conflicts and criminality under any guise to further unite the country in line with the vision of our founding fathers so that as a nation, we can forge ahead in the task of building a more prosperous nation.

SIGNED:
GENERAL IBRAHIM BADAMASI BABANGIDA GCFR, FORMER MILITARY PRESIDENT & COMMANDER IN-CHIEF OF NIGERIAN ARMED FORCES.
1 UPHILL DRIVE, MINNA.
SUNDAY, 04TH FEBRUARY, 2018.

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Obasanjo Deserve Praises For Writing Buhari – Ita Enang …Says He Is Working For Him As Campaign Manager

The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhahri on National Assembly Matters, Senators Ita Enang has said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo should not be attacked for his statement which appears critical of President Buhari.

Enang stated this in a chat with members of the Buhari Media Support Group (BMSG), who had paid him a visit in Abuja to deliberate on issues of national importance especially with the statement made against the administration of President Buhari by the Chief Obasanjo.

According to him, Obasanjo, with his statement on the administration of the president was echoing the thoughts of Nigeria which he is passing on to president Buhari as his campaign manager so he can make amends. He said with the statement, Obasanjo has become the campaign manager of President Buhari for the 2019 presidential election.

Enang said “Obasanjo in his statement look at what saying before commenting. What are the people saying about education? What are they saying about security? What are they saying about the economy? What are they saying bout fight against corruption? What are they saying about even distribution of posts and appointments in the country? What are they saying about speed, and as campaign manager, he will now say let us change our strategies in each of this.”

He further stated that the advice of Obasanjo is not asking Buhari not to come out, but for him to change strategy before coming out.

“Emeritus president Obasanjo’s advice is not saying don’t come out. He is saying change strategy as you are coming out and he is telling us this is how some people are thinking and he’s simply drawing our attention to the fact that we are working very hard, but not communicating as much as we are working,” he said.

“He is now drawing our attention that we should match politics with governance, because we’ve been doing much of governance, but we’ve not been doing much of politics of communicating what we have done. We just simply been thinking the people will see it, think it and those who have not seen or felt it are feeling that we have not done enough, so it was time to go and activate our media, public relations and communications machinery in each sector of governance, so that they can drive home our points and achievements, so that the public will appreciate.”

Enang further stated that the supporters of the government should be very happy because Obasanjo who has gone everywhere is now bringing feedback to him to restrategise. He said Obasanjo has mingled with the poor, the rich, the international community and many more.

Enang added that the fact that Obasanjo wrote the letter to Buhari several months before the election is an indication that he wants the president to reassess and change something, unlike the letter he wrote to former president Goodluck Jonathan when there was no longer time to correct all he stated in his letter.

“We should be very happy that president Buhari who is working very hard is not everywhere, but Obasanjo is everywhere to hear what the people are saying.”

“Former president Obasanjo is now everywhere, nationally, internationally, in school, amongst students, on the streets among the down-trodden, in the class room among the teachers, in different social and political function among celebrants or those who are moaning, among people with one problem or the other. He is most times there before he is been discharged of affairs or duties of state.”

“Therefore been there, he can now tell his successor, president Buhari that this is how this people are feeling and fairing; change your style or communicate the justification for this style to them. Therefore, he is working for president Buhari to succeed.”

The final thing we want to talk on this point is that he is doing this as a very good campaign manager, because he is not telling us when it is injury time. In previous letters of president Obasanjo to former heads of government, he used to release it at injury time when there is not time to correct, but now he has released at a time that we have time to communicate more because I don’t’ think there is more to correct. We are to communicate more of what we have done, see areas of incomplete action and go and complete those actions.

“Former President Obasanjo does not deserve abuse, he does not deserve condemnation, he does not deserve insult, and he does not deserve unkind words. He is a statesman, he is a benefactor of the country and a beneficiary also and as a benefactor and a beneficiary, he can speak at any time what other cannot speak, and I want to thank him and I want other Nigerians to join me in thanking him because he has told us what to do in time and we are on our toes doing it.

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Revealed: Letter To Buhari: Obasanjo Plotting Kwankwaso/Ezekwesili For 2019 Presidency

The recent outburst by former president Olusegun Obasanjo, where he spoke against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and asked him not to run for a second term is part of a game plan to return back as the godfather of the occupant of the number one seat of power, reports have shown.

According to reports, the plot with the former President at the Center is to push for the former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to emerge as the next President of Nigeria with former minister of Education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili as the vice.

But for the plot to discredit Buhari at all cost and coerce him into jettisoning any idea of running for another term, a source in the know revealed that the former president would ordinarily have sought audience with the incumbent president or at the least write him a private letter like he has done to past leaders, but Obasanjo this time around choose to do it via what he called a special statement released to the public.

There are reports that Obasanjo has been holding meetings with a group of centrist politicians who constitute members of the new political formation known as the Third Force and which will later metamorphose into a full fledge political party or align with existing political parties any moment from now.

Findings have revealed that the Press statement issued by the former President against President Buhari was to run down the Present government in his characteristic manner and pave way for the emergence of a new political alliance in the making.

The coalition being championed by Obasanjo with other arrow heads such as former president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Chief Olisa Agbakobo, Mr. Pat Utomi, former presidential spokesperson, Akin Osuntokun, Former minister of Culture and Tourism, Frank Nweke Jnr., former governor of Cross Rivers, Donald Duke and Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso to mention a few birthed since the health issues of the president became public knowledge in early 2017.

Kwankwaso as the presidential hopeful for the new group was the minister of defence under the second tenure of Obasanjo, why Ezekwesili served as Minister of Education and Solid minerals under the same govt.

The former Kano governor, who has since positioned himself as the political godson of Chief Obasanjo had since his emergence as second best in the 2015 presidential primary elections where Buhari clinched the APC ticket that eventually fetched him the four year mandate as Nigeria’s president, fancied himself as a force to reckon with and capable of becoming President.

The plot had started with the ill-health of President Buhari when he was twice admitted at a London hospital for a yet to be disclosed ailment. The calculation was that the president upon his return was never going to be fit enough to even nurse the idea of a second term, let alone have a go at it. This will then pave the way for Kwankwaso whom former president Obasanjo hope will align with his agenda of being able to call the shot despite leaving office several years ago.

The plot had suffered a setback after the President regained full health, and started waxing stronger by the day, a development that has prodded Nigerians to start urging him to run for another term of four years.
Insiders had revealed that it was when the initial plot to repress the President on his ill health had failed that a new plot to rubbish him was hatched to attract attention to the new coalition, by moving attention away from the ruling APC.

The plot to have a new political alliance wrestle power from the present govt is the reason Chief Obasanjo in his letter knocked the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as having lost what it takes to move the country forward.

According to plans, the new coalition being planned would be built around disaffected members of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other political parties, all expected to mass into it as a formidable political group in Nigeria.

The many gaffes of President Buhari which includes allowing a cabal of unelected people to be calling the shots on critical issues of appointments and patronage, refusal to accommodate party faithful’s who have worked for his success, inability to rejig his cabinet to do away with dead woods within and the marginalization of certain sections of the country in the citing of projects and then the mother of all, the Fulani herdsmen issue have provided a fertile ground for the plot to discredit the president and throw up the duo of Kwankwaso and Ezekwesili.

The herdsmen issue is particularly being milked and been amplified across board to sway the so-called middle belt Christian votes as well as dividing the votes in the South West. They are in alliance with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), socio-political groups like the Ohaneze Ndigbo and some members of Afenifere amongst others.
Sources, however, revealed that the Obasanjo’s letter is just one of many plots by the brains behind the new alliance to get Buhari out of power in 2019 and install the duo of kwankwaso and Ezekwesili.

In essence, Obasanjo’s letter is particularly to test the waters following which other plans will be released in due course.

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Why Bisi Akande And I Met Buhari — Tinubu

Former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu, has released the statement below to clarify the meeting he and former Governor Bisi Akande held with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday.

The three men had met behind closed-doors hours after former President Olusegun Obasanjo released a statement critical of Mr. Buhari.

There were speculations that Mr. Buhari urgently called the meeting to discuss the political implication of Mr. Obasanjo’s letter.

But Mr. Tinubu said through his Media Adviser, Tunde Rahman, that the meeting was long scheduled, and had nothing to do with the controversial statement by the former President.

The full statement by Mr. Tinubu reads,

Tinubu’s, Akande’s Visit Unconnected with Obasanjo’s Statement

Today’s visit by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande to the Presidential Villa was scheduled last week.

President Buhari periodically schedules talks with Asiwaju Tinubu and Baba Akande, as he does with other Nigerians and APC figures, to discuss substantive issues pertaining to the governance of the country and matters concerning the party.

This visit was one such meeting. As such, the meeting had nothing to do with the statement of former President Obasanjo.

It is totally unconnected. At the time of the meeting, Asiwaju Tinubu and Baba Akande were even unaware that President Obasanjo had released his statement.

Tinubu Media Office

Tunde Rahman

January 23, 2018

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Go Back To Daura And Forget 2019, Obasanjo Tells Buhari

The Way Out: A Clarion Call For Coalition For Nigeria Movement

Special Press Statement By President Olusegun Obasanjo

Since we are still in the month of January, it is appropriate to wish all Nigerians Happy 2018. I am constrained to issue this special statement at this time considering the situation of the country. Some of you may be asking, “What has brought about this special occasion of Obasanjo issuing a Special Statement?” You will be right to ask such a question. But there is a Yoruba saying that ‘when lice abound in your clothes, your fingernails will never be dried of blood’. When I was in the village, to make sure that lice die, you put them between two fingernails and press hard to ensure they die and they always leave blood stains on the fingernails. To ensure you do not have blood on your fingernails, you have to ensure that lice are not harboured anywhere within your vicinity.

The lice of poor performance in government – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeed – if not outright encouragement of it, lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality – are very much with us today.With such lice of general and specific poor performance and crying poverty with us, our fingers will not be dry of ‘blood’.

Four years ago when my PDP card was torn, I made it abundantly clear that I quit partisan politics for aye but my concern and interest in Nigeria, Africa and indeed in humanity would not wane. Ever since, I have adhered strictly to that position. Since that time, I have devoted quality time to the issue of zero hunger as contained in Goal No. 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. We have set the target that Nigeria with the participating States in the Zero Hunger Forum should reach Zero Hunger goal by 2025 – five years earlier than the UN target date. I am involved in the issue of education in some States and generally in the issue of youth empowerment and employment. I am involved in all these domestically and altruistically to give hope and future to the seemingly hopeless and those in despair. I believe strongly that God has endowed Nigeria so adequately that no Nigerian should be either in want or in despair.

I believe in team work and collaborative efforts. At the international level, we have worked with other world leaders to domicile the apparatus for monitoring and encouraging socio-economic progress in Africa in our Presidential Library. The purpose of Africa Progress Group,which is the new name assumed by Africa Progress Panel (APP),is to point out where, when and what works need to be done for the progress of Africa separately and collectively by African leaders and their development partners.

I have also gladly accepted the invitation of the UN Secretary-General to be a member of his eighteen-member High-Level Board of Advisers on Mediation. There are other assignments I take up in other fora for Africa and for the international community. For Africa to move forward, Nigeria must be one of the anchor countries, if not the leading anchor country. It means that Nigeria must be good at home to be good outside. No doubt, our situation in the last decade or so had shown that we are not good enough at home; hence we are invariably absent at the table that we should be abroad.

All these led me to take the unusual step of going against my own political Party, PDP, in the last general election to support the opposite side. I saw that action as the best option for Nigeria. As it has been revealed in the last three years or so, that decision and the subsequent collective decision of Nigerians to vote for a change was the right decision for the nation. For me, there was nothing personal, it was all in the best interest of Nigeria and, indeed, in the best interest of Africa and humanity at large. Even the horse rider then, with whom I maintain very cordial, happy and social relationship today has come to realise his mistakes and regretted it publicly and I admire his courage and forthrightness in this regard. He has a role to play on the sideline for the good of Nigeria, Africa and humanity and I will see him as a partner in playing such a role nationally and internationally, but not as a horse rider in Nigeria again.

The situation that made Nigerians to vote massively to get my brother Jonathan off the horse is playing itself out again. First, I thought I knew the point where President Buhari is weak and I spoke and wrote about it even before Nigerians voted for him and I also did vote for him because at that time it was a matter of “any option but Jonathan” (aobj). But my letter to President Jonathan titled: “Before It Is Too Late” was meant for him to act before it was too late. He ignored it and it was too late for him and those who goaded him into ignoring the voice of caution. I know that praise-singers and hired attackers may be raised up against me for verbal or even physical attack but if I can withstand undeserved imprisonment and was ready to shed my blood by standing for Nigeria, I will consider no sacrifice too great to make for the good of Nigeria at any time.No human leader is expected to be personally strong or self-sufficient in all aspects of governance.

I knew President Buhari before he became President and said that he is weak in the knowledge and understanding of the economy but I thought that he could make use of good Nigerians in that area that could help. Although, I know that you cannot give what you don’t have and that economy does not obey military order. You have to give it what it takes in the short-, medium- and long-term. Then, it would move. I know his weakness in understanding and playing in the foreign affairs sector and again, there are many Nigerians that could be used in that area as well.They have knowledge and experience that could be deployed for the good of Nigeria. There were serious allegations of round-tripping against some inner caucus of the Presidency which would seem to have been condoned. I wonder if such actions do not amount to corruption and financial crime, then what is it? Culture of condonation and turning blind eye will cover up rather than clean up. And going to justice must be with clean hands.

I thought President Buhari would fight corruption and insurgency and he must be given some credit for his achievement so far in these two areas although it is not yet uhuru!

The herdsmen/crop farmers issue is being wittingly or unwittingly allowed to turn sour and messy. It is no credit to the Federal Government that the herdsmen rampage continues with careless abandon and without finding an effective solution to it. And it is a sad symptom of insensitivity and callousness that some Governors, a day after 73 victims were being buried in a mass grave in Benue State without condolence, were jubilantly endorsing President Buhari for a second term! The timing was most unfortunate. The issue of herdsmen/crop farmers dichotomy should not be left on the political platform of blame game; the Federal Government must take the lead in bringing about solution that protects life and properties of herdsmen and crop farmers alike and for them to live amicably in the same community.

But there are three other areas where President Buhari has come out more glaringly than most of us thought we knew about him. One is nepotic deployment bordering on clannishness and inability to bring discipline to bear on errant members of his nepotic court. This has grave consequences on performance of his government to the detriment of the nation. It would appear that national interest was being sacrificed on the altar of nepotic interest. What does one make of a case like that of Maina: collusion, condonation, ineptitude, incompetence, dereliction of responsibility or kinship and friendship on the part of those who should have taken visible and deterrent disciplinary action? How many similar cases are buried, ignored or covered up and not yet in the glare of the media and the public?The second is his poor understanding of the dynamics of internal politics. This has led to wittingly or unwittingly making the nation more divided and inequality has widened and become more pronounced. It also has effect on general national security. The third is passing the buck. For instance, blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for devaluation of the naira by 70% or so and blaming past governments for it, is to say the least,not accepting one’s own responsibility. Let nobody deceive us, economy feeds on politics and because our politics is depressing, our economy is even more depressing today. If things were good, President Buhari would not need to come in. He was voted to fix things that were bad and not engage in the blame game. Our Constitution is very clear, one of the cardinal responsibilities of the President is the management of the economy of which the value of the naira forms an integral part. Kinship and friendship that place responsibility for governance in the hands of the unelected can only be deleterious to good government and to the nation.

President Buhari’s illness called for the sympathy, understanding, prayer and patience from every sane Nigerian. It is part of our culture. Most Nigerians prayed for him while he was away sick in London for over hundred days and he gave his Deputy sufficient leeway to carry on in his absence. We all thanked God for President Buhari for coming back reasonably hale and hearty and progressing well in his recovery.But whatever may be the state of President Buhari’s health today, he should neither over-push his luck nor over-tax the patience and tolerance of Nigerians for him, no matter what his self-serving, so-called advisers, who would claim that they love him more than God loves him and that without him, there would be no Nigeria say.President Buhari needs a dignified and honourable dismount from the horse. He needs to have time to reflect, refurbish physically and recoup and after appropriate rest, once again, join the stock of Nigerian leaders whose experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the sideline for the good of the country. His place in history is already assured. Without impaired health and strain of age, running the affairs of Nigeria is a 25/7 affair, not 24/7.

I only appeal to brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time and at this age. I continue to wish him robust health to enjoy his retirement from active public service. President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice. But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward.

I have had occasion in the past to say that the two main political parties – APC and PDP – were wobbling. I must reiterate that nothing has happened to convince me otherwise. If anything, I am reinforced in my conviction. The recent show of PDP must give grave and great concern to lovers of Nigeria. To claim, as has been credited to the chief kingmaker of PDP, that for procuring the Supreme Court judgement for his faction of the Party, he must dictate the tune all the way and this is indeed fraught with danger. If neither APC nor PDP is a worthy horse to ride to lead Nigeria at this crucial and critical time, what then do we do? Remember Farooq Kperogi, an Associate Professor at the Kennesaw State University, Georgia, United States, calls it “a cruel Hobson’s choice; it’s like a choice between six and half a dozen, between evil and evil. Any selection or deflection would be a distinction without a difference.” We cannot just sit down lamenting and wringing our hands desperately and hopelessly.

I believe the situation we are in today is akin to what and where we were in at the beginning of this democratic dispensation in 1999. The nation was tottering. People became hopeless and saw no bright future in the horizon. It was all a dark cloud politically, economically and socially. The price of oil at that time was nine dollars per barrel and we had a debt overhang of about $35 billion. Most people were confused with lack of direction in the country. One of the factors that saved the situation was a near government of national unity that was put in place to navigate us through the dark cloud. We had almost all hands on deck. We used people at home and from the diaspora and we navigated through the dark cloud of those days. At that time, most people were hopelessly groping in the dark. They saw no choice,neither in the left nor in the right, and yet we were not bereft of people at home and from the diaspora that could come together to make Nigeria truly a land flowing with milk and honey. Where we are is a matter of choice but we can choose differently to make a necessary and desirable change, once again.

Wherever I go, I hear Nigerians complaining, murmuring in anguish and anger. But our anger should not be like the anger of the cripple. We can collectively save ourselves from the position we find ourselves. It will not come through self-pity, fruitless complaint or protest but through constructive and positive engagement and collective action for the good of our nation and ourselves and our children and their children. We need moral re-armament and engaging togetherness of people of like-mind and goodwill to come solidly together to lift Nigeria up. This is no time for trading blames or embarking on futile argument and neither should we accept untenable excuses for non-performance. Let us accept that the present administration has done what it can do to the limit of its ability, aptitude and understanding. Let the administration and its political party platform agree with the rest of us that what they have done and what they are capable of doing is not good enough for us. They have given as best as they have and as best as they can give. Nigeria deserves and urgently needs better than what they have given or what we know they are capable of giving. To ask them to give more will be unrealistic and will only sentence Nigeria to a prison term of four years if not destroy it beyond the possibility of an early recovery and substantial growth. Einstein made it clear to us that doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the height of folly.Already, Nigerians are committing suicide for the unbearable socio-economic situation they find themselves in. And yet Nigerians love life. We must not continue to reinforce failure and hope that all will be well. It is self-deceit and self-defeat and another aspect of folly.

What has emerged from the opposition has shown no better promise from their antecedents. As the leader of that Party for eight years as President of Nigeria, I can categorically say there is nothing to write home about in their new team. We have only one choice left to take us out of Egypt to the promised land. And that is the coalition of the concerned and the willing – ready for positive and drastic change, progress and involvement. Change that will give hope and future to all our youth and dignity and full participation to all our women. Our youth should be empowered to deploy their ability to learn, innovate and work energetically at ideas and concepts in which they can make their own original inputs. Youth must be part of the action today and not relegated to leadership of tomorrow which may never come. Change that will mean enhancement of living standard and progress for all. A situation where the elected will accountably govern and every Nigerian will have equal opportunity not based on kinship and friendship but based on free citizenship.

Democracy is sustained and measured not by leaders doing extra-ordinary things, (invariably, leaders fail to do ordinary things very well), but by citizens rising up to do ordinary things extra-ordinarily well. Our democracy, development and progress at this juncture require ordinary citizens of Nigeria to do the extra-ordinary things of changing the course and direction of our lackluster performance and development. If leadership fails, citizens must not fail and there lies the beauty and importance of democracy. We are challenged by the current situation; we must neither adopt spiritof cowardice nor timidity let alone impotence but must be sustained by courage, determination and commitment to say and do and to persist until we achieve upliftment for Nigeria. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and we believe that our venturing will not be in vain. God of Nigeria has endowed this country adequately and our non-performance cannot be blamed on God but on leadership. God, who has given us what we need and which is potentially there, will give us leadership enablement to actualize our potentiality.

The development and modernization of our country and society must be anchored and sustained on dynamic Nigerian culture, enduring values and an enchanting Nigerian dream. We must have abiding faith in our country and its role and place within the comity of nations.Today, Nigeria needs all hands on deck. All hands of men and women of goodwill must be on deck. We need all hands to move our country forward.

We need a Coalition for Nigeria, CN.Such a Movement at this juncture needs not be a political party but one to which all well-meaning Nigerians can belong. That Movement must be a coalition for democracy, good governance, social and economic well-being and progress. Coalition to salvage and redeem our country. You can count me with such a Movement. Last time, we asked, prayed and worked for change and God granted our request. This time, we must ask, pray and work for change with unity, security and progress. And God will again grant us. Of course, nothing should stop such a Movement from satisfying conditions for fielding candidates for elections. But if at any stage the Movement wishes to metamorphose into candidate-sponsoring Movement for elections, I will bow out of the Movement because I will continue to maintain my non-partisan position. Coalition for Nigeria must have its headquarters in Abuja.

This Coalition for Nigeria will be a Movement that will drive Nigeria up and forward. It must have a pride of place for all Nigerians, particularly for our youth and our women. It is a coalition of hope for all Nigerians for speedy, quality and equal development, security, unity, prosperity and progress. It is a coalition to banish poverty, insecurity and despair.Our country must not be oblivious to concomitant danger around, outside and ahead. Coalition for Nigeria must be a Movement to break new ground in building a united country, a socially-cohesive and moderately prosperous society with equity, equality of opportunity, justice and a dynamic and progressive economy that is self-reliant and takes active part in global division of labour and international decision-making.

The Movement must work out the path of development and the trajectory of development in speed, quality and equality in the short- medium- and long-term for Nigeria on the basis of sustainability, stability, predictability, credibility, security, cooperation and prosperity with diminishing inequality. What is called for is love, commitment and interest in our country, not in self, friends and kinship alone but particularly love, compassion and interest in the poor, underprivileged and downtrodden. It is our human duty and responsibility so to do. Failure to do this will amount to a sin against God and a crime against humanity.

Some may ask, what does Obasanjo want again? Obasanjo has wanted nothing other than the best for Nigeria and Nigerians and he will continue to want nothing less. And if we have the best, we will be contented whether where we live is described as palaces or huts by others and we will always give thanks to God.

I, therefore,will gladly join such a Movement when one is established as Coalition for Nigeria, CN, taking Nigeria to the height God has created it to be. From now on, the Nigeria eagle must continue to soar and fly high. CN, as a Movement, will be new, green, transparent and must remain clean and always active, selflessly so. Members must be ready to make sacrifice for the nation and pay the price of being pioneers and good Nigerians for our country to play the God-assigned role for itself, for its neighbours, for its sub-region of West Africa, for its continent and for humanity in general. For me, the strength and sustainable success of CN will derive largely from the strong commitment of a population that is constantly mobilized to the rallying platform of the fact that going forward together is our best option for building a nation that will occupy its deserved place in the global community. May God continue to lead, guide and protect us. Amen.

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Whistle Blowing: How Magu Illegally Suspended Five EFCC Operatives For Over 24 Months 

Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has been nailed in another controversial suspension and demotion of five operatives of the commission for allegedly exposing corrupt practices perpetuated by the immediate past Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde and himself.

Recall that in November 2015, erstwhile EFCC Boss, Ibrahim Lamorde, was removed from office and was instructed to hand over to Mr Magu, who he had worked closely with while at the Commission.

Abusidiqu gathered that the suspended whistleblowers played leading role in Lamorde’s removal from office. This however did not go down well with Magu, whom in loyalty to his ex-boss – Lamorde, ordered the immediate suspension of the operatives.

 

To keep the suspecting eyes of the public from the illegal suspension of the operatives, Magu, reportedly engaged some media organizations to play the narrative that the suspended operatives had overstayed their stipulated secondment years.

A memo with reference number EFCC/P/HR/ confirmed that an investigation was logged at the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), against the suspended operatives. Mr Magu’s request to the FCSC, seeking their help on how to unjustly indict the operatives failed. Abusidiqu gathered that Mr Magu was advised by the FCSC to immediately recall the operatives. Till date, the anti-graft boss has lent deaf ears to all counseling regarding the illegal suspension.

In another effort to further subject the suspended operatives to even more unpalatable conditions, an insider revealed that Mr Magu went as far as taking their phones abroad, for a forensic analysis. The aim was to ensure that something incriminating is found and used by the anti-graft boss to tarnish the image of the operatives.

Additionally, Mr Magu proceeded to the Presidency with a false narration, claiming that the said operatives were involved in “espionage,” in order to paint a demeaning picture of the Federal Government, but was reportedly ignored by the Presidency.

Despite efforts made by an Appointment, Promotion And Disciplinary Committee (APDC), to call the anti-graft boss to order, the suspended operatives have been subjected to untold hardship as Magu single handedly stopped all the salaries and allowances of the operatives.

In related development, Mr Magu broke the commission’s rule by reshuffling Directors in various Departments with a clear mission to commit them to the misdemeanor he had long subjected the suspended operatives to. Mostly affected are the APDC members who were teleguided on what actions to initiate by the anti-graft boss.

After much pressure on Mr Magu to backtrack on his actions, the APDC, under the strict order of the anti-graft boss, were instructed to alter its earlier report, which exonerated the operatives from any infraction or crime. The APDC then wrote the operatives reinstating them on the condition that they will forfeit all entitlements during the period of their suspension, tender a letter of apology on the said publications to the Acting Chairman, swear to an oath of secrecy, accept that they have been downgraded, write an undertaken to be of good conduct, and accept that they shall be deployed.

As far as we know, it appears some other staff members may be suffering similar fate as these illegally suspended five operatives who took the bold stand to expose internal corruption within the commission. Mr Magu, allegedly orchestrated the removal of a Senior Management Director (name withheld), from service over fears that he may be appointed to head the commission. The fate of this Senior Director remains unclear. But he has taken the acting EFCC chairman and the commission to the Industrial court on the grounds of unlawful suspension and demotion.

While these conditions may have been turned down by the operatives, staff members of the anti-graft commission are increasingly losing their morale to key into the commission’s’ goal to nip corruption in the bud as whoever is not in good term with Mr. Magu or found exposing rot within the agency faces intimidation and force eviction from office.

The proclamation of the whistle blowing policy has no doubt helped the EFCC in recovering looted funds which includes $9,000,000.00, traced to a former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); N49,000,000.00 cash discovered at the Kaduna Airport, another stash cash of about N500,000,000.00 discovered at a shopping plaza in Lagos, and the $43,000,000.00 discovered in Ikoyi, area of Lagos, but this same policy has been used unjustly victimise the five operatives who exposed certain corruption in the EFCC. In spite of Magu’s anti-corruption war, it has however become a taboo for EFCC staff to use same instrument to expose wrong doings of the anti-graft boss.

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Shi’ite Leader, Sheik El-Zakzaky Speaks To The Press, Says ‘I Am Doing Better’

For the first time in more than one year since he was arrested by NIGERIAN security forces, leader of Islamic movement of Nigeria (IMN), popularly known has Shiite group Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky has spoken to the press today.

Dress in white flowing gown with a turban, El-Zakzaky spoke with journalist at a safe facility in Abuja.

In a one-minute 20 seconds interaction with journalists, the secret leader cracked jokes with the journalists as he moved towards them in the facility.

Below is the transcript of the interaction as transcribed by PRNigeria.

Journalist : Good Afternoon sir?

Sheikh Zakzaky: How are you?

Journalist: Can we have a word with you?

Sheikh El-Zakzaky: If they agree and allow me (He says so jokingly)

Journalist: How are you feeling now?

Sheik El-Zakzaky: I am feeling better the security (officers) have allowed me to see my doctor, my personal doctor. I thank God. I am improving

Journalist: Do you have anything to add.

Sheikh El-Zakzaky: I thank you for all your prayers

Journalist: Thank you sir

Sheikh ElZakzaky: Thanks (As he walked away)

The appearance of the sheik leader today may not be unconnected to rumour of his death.

Palpable fear and apprehension had enveloped Abuja and some other parts of the country following widespread rumour of his purported death in detention.

But a top security source has confirmed that he is alive and stable.

“The rumour is handmade of mischievous makers who would stop at nothing to cause confusion among the followers or other ulterior motives”, said the Secret Service.

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