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2019 Elections May Not Hold As Nigeria Risks Break Up – Prof Ben Nwabueze

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Igbo Presidency Almost Impossible
Elder statesman, Professor Ben Nwabueze has warned that the nation that the much anticipated 2019 elections may not hold if the country is not properly restructured before then.
In this interview with Vincent Kalu in Lagos, he equally opened up on a lot of national issues including how former President Obasanjo doctored the nation’s constitution to create the current problems the country is facing today. He also spoke on the near hopeless situation of the Igbo and the tough conditions through which an Igbo can become Nigeria’s president.
Nigeria doesn’t seem to be working, why?
Nigeria is not working; this is the truth. It is not working because of so many things. The first and foremost is bad leadership, which leads to bad governance. We don’t have the right type of leadership in this country, at least at the present time.
This has worsened since the election of President Muhammadu Buhari; I have made it clearly that I don’t think this man was the right type of leader for this country at this time of our history. What kind of leader do you need to govern Nigeria, which is one of the most complex societies in the world, with over 300 different ethnic nationalities? A team of researchers from the University of Ibadan has identified at least, 300 ethnic groups in the country.
To be able to govern it and manage this type of complexity and diversity is not a job for everybody. Not everybody can do this. You need a certain minimum of intellectualism for you to be able to do this.
What does the constitution proscribe as educational qualifications – just Standard Six. In today’s Nigeria, where we know expo, we know fake certificates, how can somebody with Standard Six, whatever may be his experience govern this country; lead this country? It’s not possible. I have stated this time without number, it’s not that I’m prejudiced about anybody in particular; I’m concerned about this country, and what this country needs considering the complexity and diversity. The ideas involved in government are so complex. What do you know to bring about some kind of peaceful coexistence among over 300 ethnic groups in the country? Intellectualism means ideas, people who can think, rationalize and understand ideas about society, about humanity, about human relationships.
This is the starting point. You need somebody who is educated enough; you need somebody with energy, anybody looking at you (the reporter) will know that you have the energy, but anybody looking at me will know that I don’t have the energy anymore. I will be 87 in March, and so, for me to go and put myself in that position, I’m doing a disservice to Nigeria and to my self; to go and take a job that I know that I cannot manage at my age.
I have said this that at the age of 75, nobody can undertake the job of governing or leading Nigeria now. You cannot do it; you can’t mobilize the society. Mobilization is one of the most difficult jobs of political leadership. To mobilize people for national transformation you have to move round, address people at town hall gatherings and at various platforms. Seventy five year old man cannot do this; I cannot do this. This is what Nigeria needs. This is what is involved in political leadership. We don’t have it – orientation and inclination are involved. You must consider the background of our country, emerging from colonialism. What is planted in us, that personality, as Africans had been degraded by colonialism. What is involved in decolonization, you need certain minimum of education to be able to understand what is meant by decolonization. How do you decolonize the mind of our people, whose personality had been degraded by centuries of colonialism? This is the problem of leadership, which is the first issue.
You have been in the forefront calling for restructuring in order to make Nigeria work. Towing your line, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has come up with proposal on how to restructure the country, are their suggestions in tandem with your position?
Restructuring, whether moving from leadership to structures (leadership is about individuals), we don’t have structure. The structure of governance is not right, that is why there is a clamour for restructuring. Essentially, the problem is on individual leadership, but you also have problems of structure. The structures are not right; they have to be reformed to create the right structure.
Regrettably, we have a leader, the president, who rejected restructuring, and attributed it to people who wanted to secede, and dismember the country.
We need restructuring for this country to move forward.
We have taken the first step, which is good in adopting federalism, as a system of governance suitable for this country, but that federal structure is again not right.
I was one of those responsible for the federal system that we have. Of the so-called 49 wise men that drafted the 1979 Constitution, the late Chief Rotimi Williams and I, were really the architect of that constitution. We were thinking of having a strong one Nigeria, with power concentrated at the centre, that is what landed us in the situation we now found ourselves – a strong centre, that is now muffling all of us. Too much power at the centre, then compounded by 28 years of absolute military government. They ruled us for 28 years and then compounded our problems.
Maybe, the problems we have today were created by the military rule, which is again individual problems, not one of structures, so we must get away from that.
Thank God the APC has rejected the position of the president, who had said there was no restructuring. His party if it has any control over him has now come round to say we will restructure after 2019 elections.
You and other elders insist that restructuring must come before 2019 elections, but the APC says it is after. How do we reconcile this?
APC wants to deceive us, but I hope we would not allow ourselves to be deceived again. This country has been run by government of deceit. APC is government of deceit. Their restructuring is the more you look the less you see, that is why they say they were for restructuring, and after Buhari’s re-election then they we will restructure. This deceit has been going on for too long.
Dr. Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Information, perfected falsehood, deceit and propaganda into an art, but our own Lai Mohammed, is trying to outdo Goebbels by churning out lies, deceits everyday. Telling us that they accepted restructuring, but we should wait after the election. If you don’t want restructuring now, then there should be no election. I hope Nigeria would stand up for once and say, no, we have had enough deceit, and say restructure now or never.
You said you and the late Chief Williams were the architects of the 1979 Constitution that came up with the presidential system of government, given our not unpalatable experience, do you regret that action?
No, I don’t. I should believe that it is better than parliamentary. What I regret is the amount of power that we put at the disposal of the Federal Government, which was too much.
We believed wrongly, as it turned out that strong centre was what is needed for one Nigeria; that if you have a strong centre you would be able to achieve the dream of a strong united, progressive one Nigeria. We were so enamored of the whole idea of strong one Nigeria.
Regrettably, the amount of power we put at the centre has been so enlarged by the military that the thing has been turned, virtually into a unitary system. We have unitary system tagged, euphemistically, Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is not a federal system; it is unitary system. We must go back to the original thing, the true federalism of 1960 and 1963 Constitutions.
We must let each constituent unit; each federating unit manage its own internal affairs; internal self government, either alone or in combination with related groups. Let them manage their own affairs and leave matters of common concern at the centre.
All this do or die struggle to control the centre should go. That is part of what is killing us. Everybody is struggling to control the centre. We have to reduce the powers at the centre to the barest minimum than what we have in 1960 and 1963. The Southern Leaders of Thought sat and agreed that we must reduce more the powers that we have at the centre in the 1960 and 1963, and let each unit, state or zone go and manage its affairs, and the centre will manage the little that is left there. That is the only way you can have coexistence.
Still on the 1979 Constitution, we were told that the military handed you what they wanted and you towed that line, and not what the people wanted?
It is an exaggeration. The military told us that they wanted presidential system. They didn’t tell us the amount of power to be at the centre. They wanted the presidential system, we bought the idea, but the amount of power to be at the centre was our own making.
As I said, we believed that a strong centre would give us one Nigeria. It was a misconceived idea we had at the time. It’s part of the fault of the military, the presidential system, but the amount of power at the centre, which has led to the do or die struggle to control the centre was our own idea, not the military.
It is true that when we finished, our report was sent to the Constituent Assembly, and I was a member, not by election, but because I was a chairman of one of the sub-committees. The Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, Chief Williams, and the chairmen of all the sub-committees, were by decree made members of the first Constituent Assembly. That is how Chief Williams and I got into it, and we guided that Constituent Assembly, and we produced the draft constitution. Obasanjo was then the head of state, and went ahead and inserted so many things into it, which neither the Constitution Drafting Committee nor the Constituent Assembly considered, and these things they inserted became part of the problems we have today. That is how we have the 1979 Constitution – partly the recommendations of the CDC, partly the recommendations of the CA, and the partly the insertions made by Obasanjo’s military government.
Why didn’t you people protest that this was not what you recommended?
We saw it as a final constitution in a decree, and you can’t do anything then. It took me time to read it word by word to see the additions, and I tabulated them. I’m not sure that Chief Williams went through the way I did to find out what these people had done. Our problems didn’t start today.
What are the Southern Leaders of Thought doing to convince their Northern counterparts that restructuring is not about breaking up of Nigeria?
In my statement on behalf of Southern Leaders of Thought, I made it very clear that breaking up of Nigeria is not part of the object of restructuring. The object of restructuring is to keep Nigeria one; to make it possible for the over 300 ethnic nationalities in Nigeria to live in peace, and not to break up. Those who are taking this view are trying to be mischievous; to create misunderstanding.
This country must be kept together, but it must be restructured. It is only those who refused restructuring along the lines that I have just indicated are the people who will break up this country.
If the country is not restructured along those lines there will be trouble. There may not be 2019 elections, and it will be the result of their own doing.
I was mandated by the Southern Leaders of Thought, after the Southwest had done its own summit; the South-south has just done its own summit, and the Southeast has done what it called, its own summit, I was mandated to get in touch with Governor Tambuwal of Sokoto State, whom, they say is the chairman of the Northern Leaders of Thought, for a national summit, where we will agree on a common platform for restructuring.
I haven’t written the letter yet, because I have just been briefed on the outcome of the South-south summit. I will write to him for us to agree on a meeting for restructuring, and a framework for such a meeting. That is the next stage of the work.
The APC, as it recommended, even the Federal Government has accepted the state police, which is the central part of restructuring. You can’t have true federalism with states not having their own separate police. It is a contradiction.
Federalism means separate governments at the centre and at the level of the constituent units. You can’t have a government without a cohesive force. Now that they have now agreed, the Vice President has spoken on this. The state police you must do, but you must do it as part of restructuring.
You can’t do it by word of mouth or by ordinary legislation, it involves changing the constitution, and that is where we run into another problem. My own idea about restructuring involves a new constitution, that is what this country needs; a new beginning.
But the National Assembly is there to give us a new constitution
National Assembly can’t give you a new constitution. A new constitution involves the entire people of Nigeria. The constitution that we have now, though it says, ‘we the people of Nigeria’, was made by the military Decree 24 of 1999. It is not the peoples constitution. Constitution is not the work of government; it is the work of the people.
That is where another problem is. The NASS doesn’t not believe in a new constitution. What is going on is their constitutional amendments; I don’t know how many they have done. So, if you want to know what the constitution of Nigeria is, you can’t find it in the 199 Constitution, you have to go through the large number of constitutional amendments made by the NASS, and they think they can implement this restructuring by constitutional amendment, which is a perversion of the whole idea of restructuring.
Some are confused on how this restructuring and the new constitution will come about. Will it involve dismantling some institutions like the NASS?
There is no confusion or problem; it is the will to have a new beginning. Once we are determined to have a new constitution to launch upon a new political order, new legal order, we set up a constitution drafting committee to draft the constitution. The NASS will be involved because a new constitution can only be adopted at a referendum of all the peoples of Nigeria, but you can’t have a referendum without a law passed by the NASS. People can’t one day troop out to say they are voting in a referendum without a law, which will be chaos. There must be law regulating voting at the referendum. The moment you have done this, and you have majority of Yes votes; you repeal the Decree 24 of 1999, and a new constitution takes over. Of course, it has to be simultaneous, as you don’t allow a vacuum. Then the people would have spoken.
Don’t you think that members of NASS are afraid that any restructuring will affect them and that is why they don’t buy into the idea?
This is a matter of drafting; you don’t do away with the past completely. In any new constitution, there is transitional provision. You can provide there that the present NASS with their members can continue in existence for this period of time, until another election is held. There must be that kind of transitional provisions.
They don’t need to bother themselves as individuals. Transitional provision will be made for them to continue for a period of time, or maybe till the end of their term, for which they were originally elected.
You said that if restructuring is not held, that 2019 elections won’t hold, with the attendant chaos, anarchy, coupled with the killings going on around the country, are you not afraid we are treading on the road to Rwanda?
Rwanda was caused, and that is part of the tragedy of Nigeria. Some groups wanted to bring chaos. It is this hate songs in Rwanda that caused the ethnic tension, and later the genocide. Here, some malicious people wanted to re-enact the Rwanda scenario by bringing out hate songs.
Have you ever listened to those hate songs? How can anybody who means well for Nigeria ever allowed that kind of thing to go out, saying, “Erase Ndigbo from the face of the earth; destroy them and raze their houses and property ”. That was what the song says both in English and Hausa.
Can you imagine what this could have led to if it had not been nipped in the bud?
That’s a hate song, and that was exactly what caused the genocide in Rwanda. Many Igbo have started evacuating from the North- the quit notice. That was an incitement to genocide.
From your vantage position, do you think there is any external force to destabilise Nigeria?
There may be, but I have no authentic information on that, so I don’t want to speak on what I do not know. However, ISIS is said to have a link with Boko Haram. ISIS is external, and it is the only external force that I can think of. I cannot think of countries, states wanting to create chaos and trouble in Nigeria.
Buhari from his body language and recent statement that he wants to take Nigeria to a higher level is seeking re-election. Do you support his return bid, and what must he do to get re-elected?
I said it earlier, that this administration has been characterised by deceit. The campaign for his re-election is a journey in deceit. He has spent almost three years in office. Three years of chaos, of suffering, of hardship.
It is captured the best by the Catholic Bishop Conference if you read what they said. They gave a good description of this – what this country has suffered under Buhari.
I agree with former President Olusegun Obasanjo that Buhari should not be given a second term. He has done enough damage in his first term and we don’t need anything more to convince us that he can’t take this country to any higher level, unless he is talking about higher level of suffering. He will take us to a higher level of misery, if he is given a second term. The decision is now left for Nigerians to decide.
2019, is decisive, it is the determination of the capacity for Nigerians to govern themselves. From all indications – body language, what he has said, what the Secretary to the Government of the Federation said, it is very clear that the man is going to contest again. It is also clear that the APC will put him forward.
My position still stand that no restructuring no election in 2019, and that is also the position of the Southern Leaders of Thought.
Do you people have the capacity to carry out this position?
It’s not for the group alone; we put it out to the people, and see what happens.
What must Buhari do to get Nigerians back to his side?
Churning out lies, trying to buy votes and support here and there, that is just their concerns. No governance now, it is all about winning the election. It is for the Nigerians to decide if there will be elections.
What is your view on the reordering of elections that the NASS has proposed, which doesn’t go down well with both Presidency and INEC?
I’m 100 percent in support of the NASS, the reorder of election as they proposed is what this country needs. This bandwagon effect we should not allow it anymore. The presidential election should come last, not first. Once the presidency is elected, everybody wants to jump into its bandwagon. Let the election of the president come last. The NASS should go ahead. It is doubtful whether the president will assent to the bill. If the NASS cannot muster the two third to override his veto, then the crisis has started.
There seems to be chaos ahead of next year’s elections, can you say that 2019 is pregnant for Nigeria?
Yes, 2019 is very much pregnant for Nigeria. It will start from there. The President will not assent to the bill. If he assents, ok, as it will save us from trouble.
I don’t see why anybody should be opposing this. Some people argue that order of election is for INEC. It is a question of constitution, let the Supreme Court decide, and everybody should accept its verdict.
Obasanjo has condemned the APC as well as the PDP, and mooted the idea of a coalition or Third force; will that be the panacea to our problem?
You can have a coalition of parties. You don’t have a coalition within a party. We have 68 political parties, and he is promoting a coalition of parties to form a third force. That is my understanding and how it works out in practice, I do not know. In a situation like this, any idea is worth trying to avoid chaos, and prevent Buhari from getting a second term, that is creating a third force, not APC, not PDP.
Igbo have been clamouring to produce the president of this country, when do you think, it can be possible?
Igbo presidency is possible only when rotation is written in the constitution. If it is the turn of the Igbo, they will know whether there are 10 or 20 candidates, only one of them, Igbo, will emerge. The political forces are so aligned against Igbo presently, and unless there is rotation, Igbo presidency will never materialize through ballot box, unless by way of providence, as in the case of former President Jonathan.
Will the rotation be in the new constitution, which is the product of restructuring?
I don’t see rotation being introduced by way of amendment. It is going to be difficult. During Babangida’s era, I was the chairman of Constitution Amendment Committee, and we agreed unanimously on rotation of the presidency, before we submitted the report, the thing got to Babangida, and he made a national broadcast rejecting it. That was the end of that.
When he wanted to contest for the presidency, the same person supported rotation, and made promises to Ndigbo that if he was elected after his term he would make sure that it was rotated to the Igbo. I’m not sure that except in the new constitution adopted by a referendum that the NASS will ever pass rotation by way of amendment. In the NASS, there was a bill to rebuild the Northeast ravaged by Boko Haram, it went smoothly, but when the same was introduced to rebuild the Southeast destroyed by the civil war, there was uproar in the House. The same scenario will play out when you want to introduce this rotation. Those forces against the Igbo will never allow this.
They will talk about Igbo presidency, but when the chips are down they back out.
Why?
Fear. Fear of domination. Contrary to the character of the Igbo man, if the Igbo man becomes president, the Igbo will be the least beneficiaries because he will want to make sure that every ethnic group is well treated. That is the character of the Igbo man, he believes in justice, equity and fairness.
But because of the aggressive nature of the Igbo man in business, they are all over the place; others think that they would carry that to the office of the president if Igbo man becomes president. It is not so. The things about the Igbo character, business sense and entrepreneurship; he is so resourceful and enterprising – over 60 per cent of the hotels in Abuja are owned by them. Others are so afraid.
It is this fear that is behind the hate song – Wipe out the Igbo from the face of the earth, and destroy his houses and property. When you do that it won’t give you that enterprising spirit.
Part of the solution to the problem of Nigeria will be an Igbo president. Like I said, the two contradictory traits in Igbo character – the enterprising spirit; he wants to be on top of every situation, at the same time, he is destined in his character, the fairness – he wants everybody to be well treated, and because he won’t like to be associated with failure, he would do everything to make the government succeed.
But I believe somehow, Nigeria will come out of its problems. We have had problems in the past and we got over them. The restructuring will come before 2019, to enable us have the elections, but we should not allow them to have their way again by deceiving us to wait till after the election.
Some people accuse Buhari of elevating nepotism to a level unseen or heard in this country, do you agree with them?
His nepotism is incredible. But he came to office mainly on that platform. That is what he came for. When you see a man contesting presidential elections four consecutive times. Not that he wanted to be president, no, there is something else that he is pursuing.
Appointing security chiefs from a particular region, has given room for suspicion and insinuation that there is an underlying agenda, what’s your take on this?
I have written a paper on this. Can anybody who means well for this country think of concentrating, sectionalizing the security apparatus in just one area?
All the members of the so- called, National Security Council coming from one section, with only one exception.
All the members – Minister of Defence, Minister of Interior, Chief of Army Staff, Inspector General of Police, National Security Adviser, National Intelligence Agency, Immigration, Customs, Civil Defence, DSS, etc.
Oh God! The man has no conscience, and he sits down to preside over such a meeting, the security of every one of us, and you think it is matter for just you alone and your people. It is this thing that has cast aspersion in the minds of the people including myself. I was disturbed when I went through the list. You appointed the people not by fairness, like the IGP, you removed people above him and brought him over; in the Customs, you did the same. Like the Executive Secretary NHIS, somebody very junior you brought him up over the head of his senior. Now the minister, under whom he works suspended him, and you reversed the minister’s directive, and restored him, and you call yourself president of one Nigeria that cannot be negotiable.
It is part of this concentration of the security chiefs in one area of the country that is what has emboldened the Fulani herdsmen. It is an agenda.
They know that this is agenda of the government and so, they are encouraged by this. The president is a member of the Miyetti Allah, and a former patron. How do you expect a patron to take action against herdsmen? That is why they are rampaging with impunity , you cannot do anything to them. They are sacred cows.
How can you, a country that consists of a diversity of people and you think you can favour one when you are the father of the nation? You are betraying that father of the nation, and that is what has landed us where we are today.

SOURCE: DailySun

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IPOB attack: Address issues causing agitations among Nigerians, PDP tells Buhari

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the attack on Ike Ekweremadu, ex-senate president, by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Ekweremadu was attacked by some members of IPOB on Saturday in Nuremberg, Germany.

In a statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP spokesperson, the party said the attack on the former senate president was unprovoked and cannot be justified.

It added that the “assault” does not portray Nigeria in a good way.

The opposition party, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address issues causing agitations among Nigeria.

“The PDP amply notes that the former deputy senate president was attending the 2nd Igbo Annual Festival in Germany where he was duly scheduled as a speaker and a special guest of honour when he was attacked,” the statement said.

“The party insists that the attack on Senator Ekweremadu was uncalled for, unprovoked and cannot be justified under any guise whatsoever.

“Such assault on a leader is completely unacceptable and does not portray our nation in proper light.

“The PDP therefore charges the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany as well as the German government to take appropriate decisive action on the matter.

“The party also urges the Federal Government, particularly, the National Assembly, to take urgent comprehensive step to address issues leading to acts of resentment and agitations by Nigerians within and outside the country in the last four years, under President Muhammadu Buhari’s misrule.”

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Before the end of Buhari’s ‘next level’, Nigeria will become five countries — Fani Kayode

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It’s not the best of times for Nigeria’s unity and it takes no gimmick to understand this. The country is completely polarized, and the Buhari administration is not doing enough to improve the mood in the country

The Buhari administration has been accused of acting as though the country is under military rule. There’s also the policy aspect that clearly shows the Buhari administration is not in tune with the yearnings of the masses.

Protests are already being held as a sign that Nigerians are beginning take their fates into their own hands. And should the Buhari administration fail to listen to the voices of the masses, Fani Kayode says Nigeria may end up splitting into two or more pieces.

He says, the things that I am hearing about Buhari’s plans leaves me with only one conclusion: by the time this dance is over Nigeria is likely to have broken into between two to five pieces.

He then concluded his tweet by saying, “Thanks to our President, a few years from now we may not have a Nigeria left!”

Whether or not Fani Kayode is exaggerating remains to be seen, but the current state of the nation seem to be pointing toward what the elites especially from the north, have been fighting very hard to avoid. And that is the eventual disintegration of the country.

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Ekweremadu’s attack is un-Igbo – Abaribe

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The senator representing Abia-South senatorial district, Enyinnaya Abaribe has condemned the attack on the former deputy senate president, Dr Ike Ekweremadu by members identified as the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

Abaribe, who along with two other sureties bailed Nnamdi kanu, frowned at the incident that happened yesterday at Nuremberg, Germany, noting that it was un-Igbo for IPOB members in Germany to treat Ekweremadu that way.

His words, “Obviously this is not how to repay a man, an outstanding leader of men, an unpretentious Igbo leader. “He has given his all even going as far as deploying his means to arrange for the bail of Nnamdi Kanu, not minding the repercussions to his illustrious political career. “It is unfortunate. The perpetrators of the attack should know that as the Igbo, we respect elders and reverence our leaders. “The unwarranted attack is not the character of the Igbo. This is un-Igbo. “It is most worrisome and even inconceivable that the attackers will choose an auspicious occasion where our people are celebrating and showcasing our rich culture to exhibit such unbecoming and condemnable conduct in the name of agitation. “No, that was not agitation, no right thinking human will identify with such behaviour.

to. “Resorting to mob mentality and venting the spleen on our leaders rather creates a vacuum that will leave our people helpless and confused in the circumstance”, he said.

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LESSONS FROM NUREMBERG, by Fani-Kayode

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What happened to my friend and brother Senator Ike Ekweremadu in Nuremberg, Germany at the hands of IPOB is an eye-opener and a clear signal to every political leader in southern Nigeria! The people of the south are getting angry and you either stand up and defend them or stand aside!

It takes courage to stand for those that have been unjustly killed in Nigeria. It takes courage to say “no” and to stand up against injustice in a jungle. It takes courage to identify and empathise with the enslaved, the oppressed, the poor, the vulnerable and the weak in a killing field and functional zoo.

Yet we must all do it or stop laying claim to being called leaders. When your people and kinsmen are being turned into worthless slaves with little hope for the future and when they are being slaughtered like flies simply because they are southerners and Middle Belters or because of their faith and you say and do next to nothing then somewhere along the line a price has to be paid.

What happened in Nuremberg yesterday marks the beginning of an awakening. Every southern politician, including yours truly, will be called to account to the people of the south about what he or she did to stop the genocide and ethnic cleansing of southerners in Buhari’s Nigeria.

If anyone believes that it is only IPOB or the people of the South-East that feel so bitter then they really do not know what is going on. The sons and daughters of the Niger Delta, the South-South and the South-West are equally aggrieved. The anger is palpable and it is spreading throughout the south.

As each day passes those of us, like Ike Ekweremadu, that have called for patience and restraint are being seen as traitors and sell-outs by our own people who demand a far more candid, courageous, proactive, dynamic, honest, protective and inspirational form of leadership.

Only God knows for how much longer those of us that are moderates and that believe in non-violent and passive resistance can hold the line. Our people are boiling and they are about to kindle a fire that may consume us all if something is not done to appease them and give them hope.

I call on President Muhammadu Buhari to shed his cloak of partiality, to put Nigeria before his Fulani tribe, to stop the genocide, mass murder and ethnic cleansing, to remove the Fulani herdsmen from the south and the Middle Belt, to proscribe Miyetti Allah and the Fulani militants, to declare them as terrorists and enemies of the Nigerian state and to protect the lives of EVERY Nigerian from this great evil that has tormented our people and torn us apart.

The fact that Ekweremadu wore a shirt which was covered with the Nigerian Coat of Arms and that it was torn to shreds by those that attacked him is instructive. It may also prove to be prophetic.

I say this because the assertion that Nigeria must and will remain one regardless of the humiliation, persecution, marginalisation, subjugation, barbarity, wickedness and torment that the south has been subjected to over the last 59 years and particularly over the last four years by those that believe that they were born to rule is, at best, misplaced and naive and, at worse, shallow and asinine.

How can Nigeria possibly remain one when every single one of the 17 security and intelligence agencies in the country and every arm of the Nigerian military except for the Navy is headed by a northern Muslim?

How can Nigeria remain one when the three arms of Government, namely the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary is headed by a northern Muslim?

How can Nigeria remain one when there is only one southerner in the top four positions in the country, namely the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and he is also Muslim?

Worse still his Deputy and every single one of the four principal officers in the House of Representatives are northern Muslims.

How can Nigeria remain one when the substantive Minister of Petroleum and Gas over the last four years and every single key General Manager and Director at the nations state-owned petroleum corporation, the NNPC, are all northern Muslims?

How can Nigeria remain one when, for the better part of the last few years and up until one month ago, every single branch of the three tiers of the Federal Courts, namely the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court, were headed by northern Muslims?

For the record, one month ago a Christian from the Middle Belt took over at the Federal High Court and that helped to balance the equation but the point remains valid.

How can Nigeria remain one when the first and fourth most deadly terrorist organisations in the world, namely Boko Haram and the Fulani militants, are wreaking havoc and committing the most heinous and barbaric atrocities all over Nigeria with the help and support of ISIS?

Worse still the Fulani militants have made a sport of targeting and killing southerners and Middle Belters and occupying their land with the tacit support of the Government who have refused to call them terrorists or to arrest, prosecute and bring them to justice?

How can Nigeria remain one when it is clear that a Fulanisation and Islamisation policy is being implemented by the Buhari administration before our very eyes?

How can Nigeria remain one when groups that have not killed anyone and that do not carry arms like IPOB and the IMN have been proscribed and declared as terrorist organisations whilst their leaders are subjected to inhuman treatment and hounded?

How can Nigeria remain one when the Coalition of Northern Groups, with the backing and support of the Northern Elders Forum, openly and publicly threaten the lives of southerners that live in the north and give them ultimatums to leave and consistently threatening to target southerners if RUGA is not implemented in the south?

How can Nigeria remain one when Miyetti Allah appears to be above the law and when the Fulani herdsmen are allowed to carry arms and appear to be untouchable?

How can Nigeria remain one when the most senior Presidential spokesman says we must either give up our land to the murderous Fulani terrorist herdsmen or give up our lives?

How can Nigeria remain one when our quisling Vice President says that we must pray for the Fulani herdsmen that kill us on a daily basis, that take our land and that rape and abduct our wives and children?

How can Nigeria remain one when the Vice President also says that the number of killings are “exaggerated”?

How can Nigeria remain one when Christian leaders and clerics are being singled out and targetted for slaughter all over the country?

How can Nigeria remain one when more Churches have been burnt and more priests and Christian clerics have been killed in the last four years than at any other time in our history?

How can Nigeria remain one when more Nigerians have been killed in the last four years than at any other time other than during the civil war?

How can Nigeria remain one when over 3,500 MASS murders and MASS killings have taken place in Nigeria this year alone?

How can Nigeria remain one when our people are more divided on religious, ethnic and regional lines than at any other time in our history?

How can Nigeria remain one when southerners and Middle Belters are treated like scum and are regarded as nothing but slaves and, at best, second class citizens in their own country?

How can Nigeria remain one when Mr. Omoyele Sowore is abducted from his home in the middle of the night like a common criminal, dumped in a DSS cell, treated like a terrorist, detained for a minimum of 45 days and will be charged for treason or treasonable felony simply because he wanted to organise a peaceful demonstration against the reckless, inept, incompetent and dangerous policies of the Buhari Government?

How can Nigeria remain one when a courageous young lady by the name of Miss Leah Sharibu was not released and allowed to come home with the other Dapchi girls simply because she refused to renounce her Christian faith?

How can Nigeria remain one when southerners and northerners regard one another with increasing suspicion and contempt and with growing disdain?

How can Nigeria remain one when Fulani nationalism and supremacy is engendered and encouraged by the Buhari administration whilst the ethnic nationalism of the Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, Tiv and other indigenous tribes from the South and the Middle Belt are frowned upon, outlawed and treated as a crime?

Given all this, it is not surprising that when those that attacked Ekweremadu saw him wearing a shirt with the Nigerian coat of arms emblazzoned all over it at an Igbo yam festival in distant Germany they simply lost control of themselves, allowed their fury to take over and tore it to shreds. I do not seek to justify or condone their behaviour and neither do I support it: I only seek to explain it.
They are in pain and that pain has turned into a palpable and dangerous rage.

Those of us that lay claim to being southern leaders would do well to recognise that fact, accept it and resolve to rise up to the challenges that our people are facing.

The bitter truth is that the Nigerian Coat of Arms and the Nigerian flag itself, to a sizeable number of people from the South, has now become a symbol of tyranny, terror, subjugation and oppression.

As unpleasant and distasteful as this may be and as difficult it is to accept, that is the bitter and plain truth and the ugly events at Nuremberg have proved it.

The biggest miscalculation that the President could possibly make is to believe that this matter can be contained or that it will go away with time. The more the killings, the greater the build-up of anger and the greater the chance that things will soon explode.

We must do all we can to stop this and to restore love, peace, equity, justice, trust and mutual respect to our people and our land. That is the only way to ensure that what happened to Senator Ike Ekweremadu does not happen to other southern leaders some time in the not too distant future.

We must all be ready to stick our necks out for our people and defend them as aggressively and vigorously as is necessary or, if we fail to do so, we must be ready to pass on the baton and step aside for those that will.

Leadership requires risk and sacrifice. We, as southern leaders, must be ready to take a courageous stand and resolve to do both. We must do whatever it takes and whatever is necessary to protect the lives and property of our people, to defend their honor and dignity and to safeguard their future.

This is a duty and obligation that we must pledge to uphold and a covenant that we must make before the Living God. I wish my friend and brother Senator Ike Ekweremadu a speedy recovery from the unfortunate events in Nuremberg, Germany.

(Femi Fani-Kayode, 17th August, 2019)

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Forex ban on food importation is the right thing done at the wrong time — Sani

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President Muhammadu Buhari has yesterday Tuesday 13th of August, issued a directive to the nation’s apex Bank to stop issuance of Forex for the importation of food products into the country.

While opinions as expected remains divided on whether or not the directive is a wise move by the presidency, Senator Shehu Sani sides with the president, but says the other issues affecting agriculture in the country must be addressed to avoid food shortages, a situation the president obviously would want to avoid.

He said, “The President directive to the CBN to stop issuance of Forex for food importation is the right step forward. It will boost food production at home. Next is to hand over Agric financing to the Bank of Agriculture and not CBN & protect farmers from Kidnappers.”

The growing insecurity in the country is something the Buhari administration has struggled to address since it came to power in 2015. It can be argued that the president focuses on addressing this particular issue and ensuring farmers are safe from the activities of armed herdsmen and kidnappers.

Failure to address these issues will subject Nigerians to more hardship to food scarcity and spike in food prices. In other words, more hunger in the country.

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We Are Fast Heading Towards The Threshold Of A State Collapse – Ezekwesili

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A former Minister of Education, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, has warned that Nigeria is edging closer to collapse and the leaders must act to prevent that from happening.

“Initially, I kept saying that we were a fragile country. Now, we are fast-heading towards the threshold where you have a state collapse and we can’t stand watching while that happens,” she warned during an appearance on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics.

For her, the signs captured in the definition of state collapse are now present in the country. This, she explained, involves looking at the security situation, the economy, social cohesion and political stability.

“When these four things are in the negative then you are fast-heading towards what is known as state collapse,” she said.
Not In A Good Place’

Dr Ezekwesili, who is also a former Vice President of the World Bank for Africa, added, “Everything seems to have fallen apart. We practically have no institutions that are standing in their credibility at this time.”

She believes a first step towards reversing the situation in the country is for those in government to accept the signs.

“I think it is critical for people in government to accept that the country is certainly not in a good place at all,” she said.

“That ownership of your situation is an important and critical step towards solving a problem. If the government pretends that all is well with Nigeria, then it shows how absolutely isolated from the issues and challenges of the people that they lead.”

Should that critical step be taken by those in power, she then expects the President and the leadership at the National Assembly to come together to convene “a state of the union conversation”.

That conversation would have to be a very honest one about “what we do with Nigeria”, she said, stressing that “Nigeria is not in a good place at all”.

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Buhari is a completely out-of-touch leader, says Ezekwesili

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Former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, has described President Muhammadu Buhari as a “completely out-of-touch leader.”

Ezekwesili, a former presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN, made the remark while rubbishing Buhari’s warning to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to stop providing foreign exchange for importation of food into the country.

Buhari had on Tuesday while hosting the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors at his country home in Daura, Katsina State, said the foreign reserve will be conserved and utilized strictly for diversification of the economy, and not for encouraging more dependence on foreign food import bills.

Reacting, Ezekwesili maintained that the President’s directive was a ‘blunder.”

In a series of tweets, the former presidential candidate wrote: “A completely out-of-touch ‘leader’. He is cocooned away in the grandeur of @AsoRock where they serve him delicatessen and praise-sing to him: “Ranka dede Sir, your Agriculture Policy is working wonderfully. All farmers in Nigeria are now Billionaires & exporting to the US”

“We all know that @NGRPresident @MBuhari has absolute contempt for Data but we shall go ahead and put out here some of the Knowledge he should have had before making this latest blunder of ‘Directing’ what should be an independent @cenbank to “not give a cent for food import”.

“I will share the latest information on Nigeria from FEWS NET, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, which provides information and analysis on food insecurity around the world. That our @NGRPresident thinks we have achieved Food Security says a lot about his Policy-Making.

“FEWS Net is Famine Early Warning Systems Network. It “uses an integrated approach that considers climate, agriculture production, prices, trade, nutrition, and other factors, together with an understanding of local livelihoods.” Knowledge that helps Evidence-Based Policies.

“In the next few tweets, I’ll share highlights of FEWS Net June 2018 to January 2019 Report on Food Insecurity in Nigeria for many reasons that any reasonable person will easily understand.

Humanitarian actors have provided sustained food assistance delivery in 2018, reaching 2.5 million people in April 2018 across the 3 northeast states. In May, food assistance deliveries reached 15 percent fewer households, meeting targets closer to what was seen in March 2017”

“With the continuing military offensive, new arrivals continue to be identified in the northeast. As of May, IOM identified 1.8 million people displaced by conflict in northeast Nigeria. Between late Nov2017 &April 2018 an estimated 100,000 new arrivals across Borno & Adamawa…”

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It’s time to apologize to Goodluck Jonathan for Nigeria to move forward — Frank tells Nigerians

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Comrade Timi Frank, a political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has called on Nigerians who worked against the re-election of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 to publicly apologized to him and seek for forgiveness for the country to move forward.

Frank said it is time for Nigerians to do the needful and stop living in pretence.

He noted that the era of former President Goodluck Jonathan managed the challenges of insecurity well compared to what the country has now under president Buhari.

In a statement he released to newsmen in Abuja on Saturday, Timi Frank called on religious leaders, traditional rulers and all Nigerians who directly or indirectly worked against Jonathan’s government to ask for forgiveness before it is too late.

Frank acknowledged that there were things Jonathan’s government should have done better but in all Nigerians made a wrong choice of electing the current administration.

“I call on Nigerians that we should beg former President Goodluck Jonathan for wrongly voting him out and sabotaging his government. I must confess that as an APC figure in 2015, we fabricated many lies against Jonathan, though I have publicly apologised to him, other Nigerians, especially the pastors, Imams, traditional rulers and other opinion leaders should beg for forgiveness too.

“It is obvious now that insecurity in our Nation has gone out of hand. The challenge was limited to a zone under Goodluck Jonathan but presently no state, including General Buhari’s home state is secured.

“Under Jonathan, Fulani herdsmen were using stick but they now carry AK 47. Under Jonathan, lives of Nigerians were more important despite the challenges but under Buhari, cows are more important than lives.

“There was democracy and rule of law under Jonathan but its now rule of force and impunity. Under Jonathan, National Assembly was active and working but its now a rubber stamp.

“Under Jonathan, Nigerians abroad were relocating back home but under Buhari, Nigerians are running away. Under Jonathan, Nigerians are respected all over the world but that has since gone under Buhari.

“Under Jonathan, Nigerians were crying in tears but now Nigerians are crying in blood

“Under Jonathan, there was freedom of speech but that has long gone under the APC administration.

“Under Jonathan, poverty, hunger and unemployment were not as bad as it is today. Under Jonathan, Nigeria was a united Nation but sentiments have taken over now.

“As it is now, all the institutions of government that were working well under Jonathan have all been blackmailed and politicised.

“So, I call on others who betrayed Jonathan to come out publicly and apologise to him. I also use this opportunity to appeal to former President Jonathan to forgive Nigerians and bless the Nation against the evils that have pervaded the land.”

Frank said Nigerians should ask the APC administration what happened to the $1 Billion ECA money removed to fight insecurity in Nigeria.

He called on Nigerians to support a peaceful revolution to take back Nigeria to the good old days from the hands “evil men in power.”

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