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RUGA is suspended, not abandoned; it will come back very soon —Yakassai



WHAT can you say about this issue of RUGA settlement?

It will be recalled that in the olden days, the Fulani would come to a place and be given a portion of land to settle down with their cattle. Such a place used to be a piece of land not occupied by anybody.

Has civilisation not technically phased out such a practice?

RUGA settlement was brought out to resolve the persistent conflicts between farmers and herders. Farmers claim herders destroy their farms while rearing their cows. Therefore, in an effort to find a lasting solution to this incessant crisis, the Federal Government came out with the introduction of RUGA settlement whereby a portion of land would be set aside with necessary amenities like roads, water and other things for the Fulani herders to settle down with their livestock, instead of roaming about and getting into conflicts with farmers.

In the final analysis, it would be in the interest of Nigerians for the Fulani herders to be settled in a place. First and foremost, it would curb incessant conflicts between them and farmers.

Second, settling down in a place allocated to them would indirectly prevent them from searching for food for their cows and make their cows healthier and posses more meat. Unlike when they were moving with their cattle from North to the Southern part of the country, their cattle would have more weight, quality and nourishing meat for people to eat.

Who is to provide land for this project? Can the Federal Government acquire land anywhere in the country for this programme?

The Federal Government has no control over land in any state, with respect to Land Use Decree, which is enshrined in the country constitution. The only place the Federal Government has control over land is the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

However, the Federal Government would not force any government to provide land for RUGA settlement. It is voluntarily. And before its suspension, no fewer than 12 states had agreed to provide land. It was those states that did not agree to provide land for the project that were attacking it. But if you look at the geography of the country, the entire North has about 70 per cent of the total land mass, while the Southern part of the country has about 30 per cent.

But you must know that not many people in the South-West were against this project, but for the fact that there is more concentration of media in the region. Those few that were against this project were using the media to project their hatred against the establishment of RUGA.

But I would advise the Igbo to have a rethink over their rejection of RUGA settlement, because I rub your back, you rub my back when the need arises.

However, anything in Nigeria can be controversial. My problem is this: I have been going through the social medial, and to my surprise, most of these attacks on RUGA settlement came from the youth; people in the age bracket of 20 and 30. And my view, as is general all over the world, is that youths are the leaders of tomorrow. They should be ready at all times to support whatever is capable of moving this country forward. They are supposed to think ahead of people like me who are on the way out.

You were trying to say that the Igbo were supposed to back RUGA settlement. Why do you hold that opinion?

People were talking about power shift; that is to say the Igbo should produce president come 2023. But one thing that is certain is that this lofty idea cannot be achieved just on a silver platter. I am committed to the unity of this country and this is what I had been fighting for as far as back to 1953. It will be recalled that as a result of my commitment to the unity of this country that I was arrested and imprisoned; for fighting against the plan of making Nigeria a confederation, rather than a united country. That was when I was just about 20 years old.

This is what I expected the youth to be fighting for, not expressing sectional and parochial views.

When we say power should move to the Igbo, as we all know, for anybody to become president of this country, he has to garner votes from at least 24 states of the country. The North has 19 states, while South has 17. Therefore, for the Igbo to realise this dream, they need the support of every part of the country. So also, any Northerner equally needs the support of the South one way or the other.

Recall that the South-West has produced president. The North has also produced, while the people of the South-South had their turn by producing former President Goodluck Jonathan.

What I am trying to say here is that the Igbo, at this crucial stage in their quest of producing Mr. President in 2023 or at any time Allah destines them to occupy the seat, still need the collective support of people from the North and other parts of the South.

However going by their hostility towards an interest that belongs to the North, they may be erecting an impediment to this yearning and aspiration, because the North may give them back in their own coin. The North may ask them why they denied them support over their (North) interest in view of their opposition to the RUGA settlement project. Nobody can, therefore, blame the North for not supporting them then.

What I am trying to say is that for their people to kick against the establishment of RUGA, which is an interest of the North, there would be a time when the Igbo would equally need the support of the North for an assistance and they might also not render such an assistance to them, because they could tell them ‘you did not support us when we needed your backing for RUGA settlement.’

It is not only the people of the South-East that are kicking against RUGA settlements. Even some people from the North also vented their anger at it. What is your take on this?

It is true that some parts of the North, like Taraba State, were against it. I was told and even read it that the Taraba State governor said it. I am not saying all that is true. But if it is true, then, I think the Taraba State governor was not portraying himself as a father to all tribes in the state. I will like to advise the governor over his utterances. They are capable of compounding the persistent tension in the state. This is because Taraba State is a state having equal number of Muslims and Christians. Therefore, there must be equal treatment. And this idea of unnecessary segregation must not be allowed to rear its head again.

The Fulani tribe is an indigenous tribe that has been in existence for long and for anybody to deny or deprive them their right is very dangerous and has to be taken seriously.

As a governor in Taraba State, it behooves on him not to attach religion and tribal sentiments to the overall development of the state. Therefore, I will advise him to be extra careful when talking on the issue of RUGA settlement, because nobody was forcing any state to accept it. It was designed only for those states that agreed to implement it and were ready to provide land for it to take off.

Besides, the prayer of any lover of peace is that the persistent conflict between the Jukun and Tiv should be a forgone issue. It would not augur well for another crisis to engulf the state.

Now that the RUGA settlement project has been suspended, what, in your view, is next?

RUGA settlement is only suspended, but not abandoned. It will come at a later date very soon. In my view, it is only suspended, but not abandoned. It is merely waiting for a better time to come back for its implementation. I believe they will do it.

However, let me tell you that those states or people that are currently against it will, in the future, embrace it, when they see the lots of advantages in it. Though it may take five, ten or less years, I can say categorically that in the nearest future, many states in the Southern part of the country will willingly embrace, adopt and implement RUGA settlement in their domains.


Buhari, INEC rejects Atiku’s move to play rigging video at tribunal



President Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have objected to the move by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to play a video before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT).

The Nation reports that their lawyers objected when the petitioners’ lawyer, Chris Uche (SAN) invited Atiku’s Media Aide, Segun Showunmi, through whom Uche intended to play the video recordings and tender about 48 documents.

But, Alex. Izinyon (SAN), for Buhari; Adeniyi Akintola (SAN); and Yunus Usman (SAN), for INEC kicked on the grounds that the petitioners did not front-load the items as required under the Electoral Act.

Tribunal Chairman, Justice Mohammed Garba, then stood down proceedings to consider arguments by parties and rule on whether or not to allow the document and video recordings.

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Buhari, APC in panic mood as tribunal grants Atiku’s request to play rigging video clips



The presidential election petitions tribunal on Monday granted the application of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to tender 48 video clips.

Chris Uche, counsel to the petitioners, made the application to tender the video clips in support of the petition challenging the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of February presidential election.

But the respondents – Independent National Electoral Commission, Buhari, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) – objected to the application.

Alex Izinyon, Buhari’s lawyer, described the move as an “ambush”.

“Your lordship they are not part of the documents listed,” he said.

Uztaz Usman, INEC counsel, argued that the presentation of the witness and evidence was not part of what the lawyers agreed on.

“What the media will be reporting will be another thing. We were taken by surprise. This does not comply with first schedule of evidence act,” Usman had said.

Thereafter, the tribunal stood down for 1 hour 30 minutes to decide on the ruling.

Upon, resumption, the five-man panel of judges led by Mohammed Garba granted the request of the petitioners.

The panel held that “no specific evidence is excluded from being tendered as an evidence.”

Source: TheCable

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How We Saved Obasanjo From Impeachment – Gowon



Nigeria’s former Head of State Gen Yakubu Gowon has revealed that he and another ex-Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar, were among key figures who ensured that former President Olusegun Obasanjo was not impeached by the National Assembly in 2007.

According to Gowon, Obasanjo was able to complete his tenure because he and other prominent Nigerians convinced then-Speaker, House of Representatives, Ghali Na’Abba, and then-Senate President, Pius Anyim, to let peace reign.

He said these at the Maj Gen Emmanuel Abisoye Foundation lecture at the University of Abuja tagged, ‘Nation Building or Nation Fragmentation: Reflections on 20 Years of Post-Military Rule in Nigeria’.

Gowon is the foundation’s Chairman, Board of Trustees.

Gowon explained that his action was informed by the need to save Obasanjo’s successors from embarrassments by the legislature.

He said if the legislature had succeeded in impeaching Obasanjo, other presidents would have suffered a similar fate.

While commenting on Na’Abba, who was also a guest on the occasion, Gowon said, “I can assure you that we had some very important discussions and I know that we had to appeal to him and the President of the Senate not to impeach Obasanjo. Of course, because of the respect they had for us, they listened to us.

“This is because if we had allowed them to impeach the President at that time of our democracy, no President in Nigeria would escape being harassed. So, I thank you very much for listening to us.

“Like me, the late Emmanuel Abisoye chose to join the Nigerian military in preference to other careers which he was eminently qualified. His achievements in his military career showed that he took the right decision to serve his country.

“As young as we were then, our ideals were not self-seeking. Rather they were focused on the growth and development of a strong, stable, viable and indivisible nation.

“As his Commander-In-Chief during the Nigerian crisis of 1967 to 1970, I found his scorecard commendable; he fought gallantly, courageously.”

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Nigeria is a country where few people become billionaires overnight without consequences Amaechi



A former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has stated that Nigeria is a country without consequences, adding that citizens and voters have failed to hold politicians and leaders accountable for their actions and policies.

Amaechi said that he knows politicians who have suddenly turned billionaires few months after taking up political positions.

Amaechi who is also a former governor of Rivers State stated this during a panel session at the fifth edition of The Nigeria Symposium For Young and Emerging Leaders held in Lagos on Friday.

Speaking on ineffective policies and extreme poverty, Amaechi explained that the country’s wealth has been in the pocket of an influential few and called for politicians to invest in infrastructure in order to create jobs and reduce crime.

“I know politicians who have suddenly become billionaires, and this is the money that should have been used to build roads and provide amenities that could have been used to improve the lives of citizens. Our politicians have to be clear on how they intend to lift people out of poverty,” he said.

Also commenting on citizen participation, a former presidential candidate, KOWA, Professor Remi Shonaiya, added,“We have to educate ourselves in order to become more active, and we have to begin to consider the greater good in our decisions.

“Most of us don’t care about what is happening in the House of Assembly, we are much more concerned about ourselves. The focus has to be on the people, not the government. But we as the people also have to make sure that we hold our leaders accountable to us. There’s too much personal style in the way we practice politics in the country,” said Professor Shonaiya.

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I dare you to take over Edo Assembly, Obaseki tells ‘Abuja politicians’



Edo Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has dared those he termed ‘Abuja politicians’ to come and take over activities of the Edo State House of Assembly.

Governor Obaseki, who spoke tough, wondered what happened to some politicians that joined in the struggle to entrench ‘Let the people lead’ mantra.

Speaking at a well-attended rally in Bénin City, Obaseki said Edo is in safe hands with himself, Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu and Secretary to State Government, Barr. Osarodion Ogie.

Obaseki said the political tension was to distract him but he would remain focus on delivery of democracy dividends

He many ‘Abuja politicians’ have refused to come home.

Details shortly…

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Buhari vs Atiku: Presidential election results were doctored in my presence, PDP agent tells tribunal



Yahaya Shiko, an agent of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2019 presidential election, has alleged that in Kaduna, the results of the poll were doctored to favour President Muhammadu Buhari.

Shiko, who served as the collation agent for PDP in Kaduna south local government of Kaduna state, made the claim at the tribunal on Thursday.

He said the results were doctored in his presence.

PDP and Atiku Abubakar, its presidential candidate, are challenging the victory of Buhari in the February 23, 2019 presidential election.

Serving as the 20th petitioners’ witness, Shiko said the election in his area was marred by over-voting and allocation of figures to parties.

Under cross-examination by Charles Edosomwan, counsel of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he said his account of irregularities during the election in his area was based on the reports he received from polling units agents and those he personally witnessed.

“My statement was based on the reports I received from the polling unit agents and what I saw on the result sheets which were forwarded to the local government collation centre,” he said.

“There were cases of over voting, and allocation of figures. These were what were carried to the Local Government collation centre. In my presence, the results were doctored.”

While responding to questions from Yunus Usman, counsel of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Shiko said “figures were wrongly credited to the APC.”

“At the collation centre, I made complaints when the results were announced and I protested by refusing to append my signature to the result sheets,” he said.

Source: TheCable

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Atiku Laments Nigeria’s Rising Debt Profile, Blasts Buhari



The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 election Atiku Abubakar has lamented the Nigeria’s rising debt profile.

Atiku in a statement on Wednesday, said the the development is turning Nigerians into beggars and wondered what the money could have been used for.

“On May 29, 2015, our national debt profile was at a very healthy ₦12 trillion. However, after four years of profligate spending, and even more irresponsible borrowing, our national debt doubled to ₦24.3 trillion by December 2018,” the statement read.

“As alarming as this is, what is more troubling is that between December 2018 and March 2019, the administration of General Buhari added an additional and unprecedented ₦560 billion debt to our national debt profile.

“What could this junta have needed that amount for? If you take those dates into account, they fall on the period of electioneering, when monies were freely distributed by officials of this government in the name of Tradermoni and other election gimmicks that were discontinued after the election.”

It added that “We find it inconceivable that Nigeria could have had such unprecedented borrowings in the midst of almost unimaginable sorrowing, which resulted in our nation becoming the world headquarters for extreme poverty and the global capital of out of school children, even as we slipped in the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International.

“As someone who headed the National Economic Council that paid off Nigeria’s entire debt under the visionary leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo, Atiku Abubakar has the moral authority to call those who are turning Nigeria into a beggar nation to halt the drift into unsustainable borrowing.

“We cannot continue to borrow to pay salaries and support luxuries. Already, over 50% of our revenue is going towards debt servicing, not even debt repayments.

“We raise this alarm as responsible citizens and call on other lovers of Nigeria to speak up as we have no other nation to call our home, but Nigeria.”

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Buhari, APC in panic mood as Atiku’s witnesses opens can of worms at tribunal, says group



A pro-democracy group on the platform of Justice Vanguard (JV) has said that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) are now in panic mood following some of the revelations coming of the ongoing presidential election tribunal sitting in Abuja.

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar is challenging the outcome of the last presidential election in court.

But the group in a statement signed Wednesday in Abuja by its Convener, Ezekiel Adeojo F said ruling party has been panicking since the petitioner’s witnesses opened the “putrid can of worms on how the electoral will of Nigerians was truncated.”
The group also said it has been reliably informed “by our intelligence that Buhari Media Organization (BMO) has been given a matching order with commensurate funding by the Presidency to rubbish testimonies of Atiku’s witnesses in the media by ensuring that every comment of the witnesses is twisted in the public.

“With the mind-boggling testimonies of Atiku’s witnesses at the ongoing Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which validates our earlier statement that Atiku’s mandate was stolen, the Presidency has been sent into frenzy mode. The APC has been panicking since the petitioner’s witnesses opened the putrid can of worms on how the electoral will of Nigerians was truncated.

Even INEC has been contradicting itself; destroying whatever credibility that is left of the Commission just to defend indefensible electoral heist called 2019 presidential election.

“This explains the barrage of fake news in the media mutilating statements of Atiku’s witnesses, just to confuse Nigerian public and subsequently create holes in petitioner’s submissions.

“Some propagandized stories like: ‘Atiku’s witness can’t remember date of presidential election’ published by online version of Punch newspapers, and sensational report tagged ‘Breaking: I saw my statement for the first time before Tribunal, says Atiku’s witness,’ promoted by The Nation newspapers. These are spined reports. Discerning Nigerians are already aware that The Nation is one of propagandistic platforms of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, APC’s national leader.”

The statement added that propaganda reported as statements of Atiku’s witnesses, does not reflect what happened at the Tribunal in the last few days.
“We acknowledge the fact that the PDP’s witnesses are not infallible like every other humans, but does not have propensity to make such omnibus mistakes.

“These stories were planted in the media by fake news industry called Buhari Media Organization (BMO) to reduce the discourse Atiku’s watertight petition is generating. Nigerians should watch out for more fake news as more spin doctors under the payroll of the ruling APC have been commissioned to unleash beehive of falsehood to corrupt impregnable facts being reeled out by Atiku’s witnesses at the Tribunal. They are jittery because Atiku is indeed coming.”

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