Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has told of how some Northern youths had mobilised, ready for reprisals against the South during the recent food blockade in the North.
The situation was fast degenerating until he intervened and convinced the Northern youths to allow peace to reign, the governor told select journalists in Abuja.
But he said his action, though had the backing of the Presidency, did not go down well with at least one state governor and someone close to the seat of power in Abuja.
He did not mention any name, but he said those who faulted his intervention were uninformed.
The Northern youths who had mobilised for reprisals, he said, were sponsored.
He said he had to step in to end the North-South trade blockade because a catastrophe was already looming in the country while the National Assembly, the Governors Forum and other stakeholders failed to address the complaints of traders from the North and the South.
He said he got the backing of the Presidential Villa to broker peace between traders from both sides of the country
On the 2023 presidential primaries, he said there is no zoning clause in the constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He pleaded with APC leaders to leave the primaries open to all eligible party members nationwide.
He expressed confidence that he will defeat any APC presidential aspirant if there is a level playing field at the primaries.
He said: “It will interest you that after the resolution and taking the report to Mr. President yesterday (Thursday), two uninformed (one of them is my colleague and the second one is an uninformed person but unfortunately in the seat of power or close to the seat of power) challenged me that why I did I resolve the issue.
“Why did I resolve the matter? That I should have allowed it so that whatever belongs to the youths of the South, let it suffer, not minding the resultant effects on the country. This is what we have been facing in Nigeria. I am just telling you one all over 100 million of things I know which you even in Abuja don’t know.
“And this is what is holding us back. So, if we are having such persons as leaders in this country, then we are doomed.”
He explained why he decided to mediate between the traders from the North and the South to end the six-day blockade.
His words: “The marketers/traders had protested and written from the lowest authority to the highest, no action was taken. And the next action was to go on strike from #End SARS time up till this moment.
“Before #End SARS, there were a lot of extortions on both sides (from the far North to down South) while transporting these goods by law enforcement agents or touts.
“No response was coming from the Villa. The law enforcement agencies were not responding, the traditional rulers were not saying anything and even we (governors) were not saying anything. Even at our forum, local governments, religious bodies, National Assembly and everywhere they turned to seemed to show less concern. These guys had downed tools. Excess foods in the North were getting rotten but none in the South. The situation got to the extent that a cow that should cost N150,000 to N200,000 was going for as much as N700,000, N800,000 and N1 million within six days. Tomatoes of just about N20 rose to N100 and above.
“Somebody just quickly drew my attention to it that Nigeria was heading towards catastrophe and I should do something.
“While I invited them and we were interacting, I received a call from the Presidential Villa that I should quickly go into the matter. As the youngest governor, as a gateway state, they said I should do everything to move into the matter. Then I moved into the matter and, God willing, the strike was called off.
“There is something I want us to take out of it. Not only the issue of the calamity that would have happened, because if there was no food, the next thing is that some will say we want to retaliate. They will say let the fuel that is coming to the North, the trucks should not come; the goods that were imported and cleared in the South should not move to the North.
“Before we know what is happening, the gulf between the North and the South would have widened. For the youths of the North (I am in touch with a lot of youth groups and associations), information came to my hearing that they were mobilising. They were being sponsored already to begin to mobilize for reprisals within one week.
“If there were no reprisals, those who were ready to cause the trouble for the country and destroy the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari would go to one shop, probably the shop they did not send them, and just set it ablaze. And even a kiosk.
“Somebody can just build a kiosk with nothing inside and set it ablaze, cover it and send it to the social media. Before you know what is happening, they will say the Igbo, the Yoruba and other ethnic nationalities in the North are being targeted. And before we know what is happening, it will consume us. It will gradually snowball into that. But all these have been averted.
“I am sure you all know or you have read in history of how the civil war ended. The starvation that went on and what have you. A lot of sentiments were being built.”
Bello, who also spoke elaborately on his presidential ambition in 2023, said it was time for politicians to think of the survival of Nigeria first.
He said if it is the will of God that he should be president in 2023, he will be.
He said APC has no zoning formula in its constitution or the agreement that gave birth to merger talks.
He said the party’s presidential primaries should be open to all the six geopolitical zones in the country.
He however expressed confidence that he will defeat any aspirant at the presidential primaries if there is a level playing field.
He said: “People are saying I am going to contest for the Presidency in 2023. My response simply is this: it is the will of God that I became governor today and I am in my second term. If it is the will of God that I’ll be the President of this country, at the nick of time or at the right time, I will be.
Read Also: Why I will not negotiate with bandits — Yahaya Bello
“Let me tell you, winning the election at the primaries as a governor or as an aspirant is not the problem. If a level playing field is provided, I will defeat anybody. I will defeat whoever will confront me on the field that day whether direct or indirect primaries or at the convention. I am confident of that, In Sha Allahu.
“If I’m on the ballot for 2023, I will defeat whoever will confront me. In fact, I am going to record votes that we have never recorded in the history of Nigeria by the grace of God. The margin is what we will be talking about.
“But that is not the issue. What is the issue? The issue is about Nigeria before we talk of 2023. As I speak with you, and I make bold to say it, people are afraid, leaders are afraid. Those who have held the country down, who are still holding the country down today, are afraid. They know I know them. They know I am seeing them. They are afraid that if I should occupy the seat, they will atone for their atrocities. Gaskiya ne (that is the truth)”
Asked to state his position on zoning, Bello said: “There is no zoning arrangement in our party (APC). None that is existing that I know. I don’t think anywhere in the part of our constitution (APC Constitution) there is any arrangement there.
“And in any case, even if there is that understanding on issue of zoning, how much has zoning helped us in this country? For once, let us look for who can fix the problems and then all of the positions can be zoned to satisfy political interests for balancing, for fairness. We can do that. Let the best come.”
Division in Igala land as ruling house opposes Mathew Opaluwa’s nomination
The announcement last week from the Igala Traditional Council that Mr Mathew Opaluwa has been chosen as the new Attah Igala to succeed the late Michael Idakwo Ameh-Oboni has sparked another bitter row amongst the ruling Oguche House.
Indeed, the preferred candidate for the exalted position, Mr Samuel Opaluwa, is challenging the choice of The Traditional Council as an act of political imposition and abuse of the law governing the selection process.
He is going ahead with his rejection of Mr Mathew Opaluwa as the new Attah Igala through an official petition he has sent to the Commissioner for Local Govt.and Chieftaincy Affairs as well as Kogi State Council of Chiefs not to accept the nomination of Mr. Mathew Opaluwa for the exalted position.
In the petition forwarded by his Lawyer, A.
2 of 2015, if that were to be interpreted literally, would make the position of the Igala Area Traditional Council not only redundant but most irrelevant in such weighty case as in the recommendation of an Attah-designate”.
It is further pointed out that “we are disgusted to note that the Review Panel shoved aside all the obvious facts in our Client’s presentation and went outside these terms to recommend a candidate who was never recommended/nominated by the relevant King makers from the Aju Ame-Achor Ruling House, and who is far junior in age to our client as a candidate for appointment to the exalted throne of Attah Igala.”
The petitioner is therefore appealing that the most elderly and qualified male contestant from the Aju Ame-Achor Ruling House, Mr. Samuel Opaluwa, who was duly screened and nominated by the kingmakers of that Ruling House be recommended to His Excellency, The Executive Governor – in Council, for appointment to the vacant throne of Attah Igala.
From an impeccable source that Mr Samuel Opaluwa’s group of elders in the ruling Oguche House have also reacted angrily to the latest development, believing strongly that I. T. C has violated Order 2 of the procedure and regulations for the selection and Ascension to the stool of Attah Igala.
According to one of the elders of the ruling family House, Jacob Etu, a retired Deputy Commissioner of Police, “it is highly disappointing that some members of I.T.C. could be so politically and financially compromised in order to thwart the cause of Justice and peaceful life of members of the ruling family.
With the latest development over the choice of who will succeed the late Micheal Idakwo Ameh-Oboni, the Igala people of Kogi State would still have to wait a little longer without a substantive Attah Igala.
Big wahala dey for Niger State oo! Resident raises SOS alarm over Fulani terrorists’ invasion
A resident of Niger State, whom we will simply refer to as “Malam Usman”, has raised a “Save Our Souls” alarm over Fulani terrorists’ invasion of the state’s towns and villages in the state.
The SOS was delivered by Malam Usman to ElombahNews through voice and text messages and subsequent telephone conversations.
In the text message, he wrote:
“Big wahala dey for Niger State oo!
“The day before they sacked Gulbin Boka, yesterday Shadadi, today Bangi.
“By the time they are done with villages, towns will follow.
“The next step will be kidnapping while traveling from one location to another.”
According to sources within the state, the places mentioned above – Gulbin Boka, Shadadi and Bangi – are middle class towns within the state.
According to telephone conversations held with Malam Usman, who spoke in Hausa language, the bandits arrived his village, one of the three mentioned above, with about one hundred and eighty motorcycles, each one carrying a rider with two passengers.
The marauding band struck last week, robbed the whole town and set shops ablaze, after which they
The whole operation lasted hours as it started early hours of the morning and continued till around 01:00PM.
Meanwhile, while the attack lasted, there was no security agent in sight!
The distraught villagers ran helter-skelter into surrounding bushes, while the advantaged ones flew to other towns and villages the bandits are yet to attack.
Malam Usman begged the federal and state governments to authorise residents to buy and possess gun to enable them defend themselves against the bandits.
This, he said, is because government agencies have proved futile in protecting them, while others are suspected to even connive with them to perpetrate mayhem.
Meanwhile, recently the state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello also raised alarm that Boko Haram terrorists have captured some towns and villages in the state and have hoisted their flags in the captured areas.
Presently, several elites from Northern parts of Nigeria have severely condemned President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for the worsening insecurity in the region.
One such heavy critic is a popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Gumi.
Sheikh Gumi said that the bloodshed and killings in President Buhari’s government is devastating and by far more than that of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
He called for Buhari’s resignation, blaming him for bloodshed and saying he is full of mistakes.
Speaking in a recorded video, he also apologized to former President Jonathan, saying the former president was a better president than Buhari, whom he referred to as a tribalist and a segregationist.
a senior Army officer in the Nigeria Army Headquarters in Abuja, who confirmed the development.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, as he is not the Army spokesman, he said that the Department of State Security (DSS) has updated the Headquarters about the development and that efforts are in place to restore order in the affected areas.
Donald Trump Launches New Communication Platform After Being Banned On Twitter
Former US President, Mr. Donald Trump has launched a new “communications” website, which says it will publish content “straight from the desk” of the former US president.
Mr Trump was banned by Twitter and suspended by Facebook and YouTube after the Capitol riots in January.
The former president has since been releasing statements by press release – which the new website will now host.
Users will be able to like posts – and also share them on Twitter and Facebook accounts.
“It is a blog,” Kara Swisher, technology columnist for the New York Times told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “I was like ‘2002 is calling and it wants its blog back…’
“I don’t know what the overall plan is because he does have some very sharp digital advisers.
The move comes a day before a decision is due from Facebook’s Oversight Board on whether to permanently ban Mr Trump.
Mr Trump’s senior adviser, Jason Miller, had previously said a new social media platform was to be launched. “This new platform is going to be big,” he said in March.
But Mr Miller tweeted on Tuesday that the new website was not the social media platform he had previously hyped.
“We’ll have additional information coming on that front in the very near future,” he said.
The website is reportedly built by Campaign Nucleus, a digital services company created by Mr Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale.
Several posts on the site repeat debunked claims that last year’s presidential election was rigged.
Facebook’s Oversight Board will announce its decision on whether Mr Trump is to be permanently banned from the platform on 09:00 EST (14:00 BST).
If he is allowed back on to the site, Facebook will have seven days to reactivate his account.
YouTube has said they will reactivate Mr Trump’s account when the threat of “real-world violence” reduces.
Twitter, where Mr Trump had 88 million followers, has banned him permanently.
A Twitter spokesperson told the BBC: “Generally, sharing content from the website referenced is permitted as long as the material does not otherwise violate the Twitter Rules”.
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