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Highlights of Gov. Zulum’s opening remarks at the meeting of Northeast governors in Bauchi today:

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*Seeks review of “operation safe corridor”, says De-radicalized insurgents return to join fighters after spying on communities

*Says prosecution of insurgents only option at the moment while AGF alone has powers which causes delays

*Calls for protection of schools; temporary withdrawal of students from boarding to day schools where necessary to avoid kidnapping

*Calls for consideration of regional but constitutional security outfit against Boko Haram with CJTFs, Vigilantes as potential members

See full opening remarks below:

OPENING REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE NORTH EAST GOVERNORS’ FORUM AND EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF BORNO STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY, PROFESSOR BABAGANA UMARA ZULUM, FNSE, mni AT THE 4TH MEETING OF THE FORUM, HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 3RD MARCH 2021 AT THE GOVERNMENT HOUSE, BAUCHI

Protocol:

I am profoundly pleased to welcome Your Excellencies to yet another meeting of the North East Governors Forum, which is the fourth in the series, since our maiden meeting in Gombe, exactly one year ago.

The Forum has now become a veritable rallying point in our determined efforts to identify and address the various challenges of development confronting the North East sub-region and ultimately the nation at large.

2. In our previous meetings, we have been able to identify most of the daunting challenges facing us, individually and collectively, and the possible courses of action which we would pursue through shared responsibility and commonality of purpose, in order to arrive at the desired outcomes. These challenges range from the seemingly unending issue of insecurity to deep-seated and pervasive poverty, from banditry and kidnapping to cattle rustling, from gender-based violence to youth restiveness.
The challenges seem to be endless but so also are the possibilities of overcoming them. The very fact that we have been able to identify most of the major challenges facing us, is an indication that we are on the right track to overcoming them.

3. The most formidable and by far the most daunting challenge we, in the North East and indeed Nigeria as a whole, is the current security situation which seems to be defying solutions and which has a telling effect on virtually all aspects of our lives. Expectedly with the appointment of the new Service Chiefs, a new set of strategic initiatives is expected to be deployed to the war effort, as the insurgency is now taking a new turn for the worse, with renewed spate of attacks on soft targets and innocent civilians. May I, at this juncture, congratulate, on behalf of the Forum, the new Chief of Defence Staff and the new Service Chiefs on their well-deserved and highly merited appointments. As most of them are already familiar with the theatre of war in the North East, having served in various command positions, we shall be expecting a significant improvement in the security situation in the sub region and the country at large. As it is now, especially in Borno State, violence, being perpetrated by the insurgents, seems to be on the increase, both in scope and viciousness; and it has become a matter of tactical necessity for the new Service Chiefs to devise new and offensive strategies to counter the current attacks and forestall any future attacks. Undoubtedly the commitment of our Military to the war against the insurgency is unquestionable and their determination to succeed is undeniable, as they have considered and acted upon a full range of options to deal with the insurgency. However with the current escalation of deadly attacks by the terrorists, the various courses of action being pursued seem to have some limitations in terms of the expected impact; hence the need for a new set of pragmatic and result oriented initiatives to completely subdue the terrorists and ultimately end the insurgency.

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4. On our part, in addition to the logistical and financial support we have been rendering to the armed forces in their fight against general insecurity in the sub-region, we should also look into the possibility of forming a security outfit, within the ambit of constitutional precedent and operational feasibility, as has been done in other parts of the country. If and when we decide on a regional security outfit, the vigilante groups and civilian JTFs in our respective States may form the basis for the outfit.

Whatever the case, we must make efforts to bridge whatever gaps that exist in our respective States in collectively addressing the security challenges.

5. Your Excellencies, another aspect of the war against the insurgency that needs to be urgently reviewed or modified, is the issue of de-radicalization of Boko Haram terrorists, who have been captured or have willingly surrendered themselves to the authorities. It has been confirmed that the concept of de-radicalization or Safe Corridor, is not working as expected. Quite often those who have passed through the Safe Corridor Initiative or have been de-radicalized, usually go back and rejoin the terror group, after carefully studying the various security arrangements in their host communities, during the reintegration process. In addition, the host communities where the reintegration process is going on, usually resent the presence of Boko Haram terrorists, even if they have been de-radicalized, because of the despicable and atrocious activities they have committed in the past. So the idea of de- radicalization, as currently being implemented needs to be reviewed, because the main goals and the underlying objectives behind the initiative, are not being achieved. The best option is to immediately prosecute the terrorists, in accordance with the Terrorism Act. However, those people who, ab initio, were forcefully recruited but have been rescued or have escaped from the group, should be the ones to be subjected to the de-radicalization process. On the prosecution of terrorists, we must make efforts to avoid the current encumbrances and intricacies associated with the process, which usually takes considerable time, by urging the appropriate federal authorities to devolve the powers of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation to State Attorneys-General in order to facilitate the prosecution process. At the moment, only the Attorney-General of the Federation is statutorily empowered to prosecute terrorists, which, quite often, results in avoidable delays. We once again call on the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to delegate his prosecutorial fiat to the States Attorneys General to prosecute such cases in their respective States as justice delayed is justice denied.

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6. Your Excellencies, as we all know, the negative effect of the insurgency is widespread and all-encompassing and has adversely affected the economic live-wire of our people, such as farming and commercial activities and even inter-state travels. And unless the insurgency is totally and absolutely subdued, all efforts at improving the socio-economic status of our people may be futile, because nothing tangible could be achieved without sustainable peace and security.

7. As we are set to deliberate on matters of common interests and shared responsibilities, we should, in addition to the issues of insecurity, banditry and kidnapping, also focus specifically on youth unemployment, the deep-rooted poverty among majority of our people, gender based violence and protection of our farmers and petty traders who necessarily have to travel within and outside the States to sell their wares. We should also ensure that all critical infrastructure in our various States are properly safeguarded so that they don’t become target for destruction by the terrorists, as it was the case in Borno State, where the terrorists destroyed the main electricity transmission line to Maiduguri, thereby completely subjecting the State to total darkness for the past seven weeks.

8. Your Excellencies, distinguished invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, may I at this point also re-empathise the urgency and significance of protecting our schools, particularly in these trying and uncertain times. The provision of a comprehensive and adequate security to our schools has now become a matter of compelling necessity, in view of the current trend in which innocent school children have now become a target of choice to bandits and insurgents, particularly in the northern part of the country. In this regard, we in Borno State have had the most harrowing and excruciating experience when over two hundred students of Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok were brutally abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in 2014. And despite the best efforts and representations of the State and Federal Governments as well as the international community, most of the girls have not yet been released and their conditions virtually unknown. As we may recall there have been series of subsequent abductions in Dapchi in Yobe State, Kankara in Katsina State and most recently, in Kagara, Niger State and Jangebe in Zamfara State. Apart from the physical traumatic effects of such abductions on the innocent children there is the unimaginable psychological impact which may result in life long impairment of their cognitive abilities. The overall long-term psychological effect of abductions on our children is indeed too hideous to even contemplate. We should therefore devise appropriate strategies and explore all options and possibilities to provide effective and sustainable security protection in our educational institutions especially boarding schools. If proper security cannot be provided for whatever reason, the affected boarding institutions should be converted to Day Schools to reduce their vulnerability to possible abductions. This, I believe, is the only way we could inspire and sustain public confidence and trust in the ability of the Government to protect their children and wards in the school system.

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9. It is on this note that I, once again, welcome Your Excellencies to this auspicious summit of the North East sub-region.

10. Thank you and God bless.

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Why APC Will lose 2023 presidential election – Progressive Governors’ Forum DG

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The Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Salihu Lukman, has advised the All Progressives Congress against having what he called “blind trust” in some of the leaders of the ruling party towards the 2023 general election.
Lukman warned that the APC may not be able to win the next presidential election or have its candidate to succeed the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The DG of PGF, in a statement issued on Monday and titled ‘Determining Factors for 2023 Contests in APC: Internal Contest and Inconvenient Reality,’ recalled how the ruling party lost governorship election in some states in the 2019 general elections, which he attributed to sabotage by APC leaders in the affected states.
Lukman, therefore, called for regulation of party leaders’ activities, saying there is a need to ensure that “appropriate conditions exist to regulate the conduct of political leaders especially elected representatives.”
He said, “Given that APC has become the go-to party in Nigerian politics, the need to regulate the conduct of party leaders is paramount. Inability to develop the capacity to regulate the conducts of party leaders will be injurious to the vision of developing the APC as a truly progressive party.
“As much as it is a welcome development that the party is winning new members, there must be corresponding effort to regulate the conduct of party leaders, based on which efforts are made to provide new orientation to all party leaders, especially the newcomers.
“Beyond the need to regulate the conduct of political leaders, there is also the need to appeal to leaders of the party to rise above the narrow attitude of relating with challenges based on estimation of support or opposition for ambitions of party leaders.
“Once political leaders are able to estimate support for their ambitions, what follows is blind trust for both officials of the party and decisions they take even when such decisions are wrong and contravenes provisions of the party’s constitution.”
The DG of PGF pointed out that the immediate past National Working Committee of the APC led by Adams Oshiomhole between 2018 and June 2020 “was a classic case of how many party leaders overlooked the obstinacies of some actions of the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC.”
He stressed, “Had all leaders of the party been able to insist that Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC convened meetings of organs of the party where the required decision to resolve issues could have been taken, perhaps even Comrade Oshiomhole himself would have still remained as the National Chairman of the party.
“Unfortunately, factors of blind trust by many party leaders which produced inconsiderate tolerance for wrong actions became the case. The truth is also that Comrade Oshiomhole and many members of the dissolved NWC became emboldened by the awareness of a divided APC leadership.
“So long as APC leaders are divided, the potential that elected officials who will emerge in the reconstituted NWC will take advantage of such divisions to manipulate internal processes and in some cases, members of the new NWC may also become part of the problem of the party, in the same way that Comrade Oshiomhole led NWC was, if not worse.”
According to Lukman, part of the requirement for the APC to be able to retain the electoral advantage of Buhari is that “factors of blind trusts in the party must be eliminated.”
He stated that “no matter the estimation of support or opposition of members of the new NWC to the ambitions of leaders, APC leaders must have very high moral credentials such that when the NWC erred, they are not beyond correction; or at least, they should not be allowed to be emboldened by any division in the rank of leadership of the party to block interventions by statutory organs of the party to resolve problems.”
The DG of PGF added, “Similarly, members of the party must not relate with ambitions of party leaders based on blind trust. Members should be able to speak out and critically engage party leaders.
“While there is no guarantee that critical positions of party members will not become the source of disqualification for consideration to appointive and elective positions, it is important that it is recognised that no matter what, it is better to be members of a party in power working to develop Nigeria than to be governed by any party whose mission is adversative to Nigeria’s development.
“The other related issue is that when all leaders of the party relate with elected representatives based on demands for appointive positions in whatever form, it also weakens the capacity of party leaders to influence the initiatives of elected representatives.
“Part of it also is that once leaders prioritise issues of securing appointments as the basis of relationship with elected representatives, rather than acting as sources of support for elected leaders, they become sources of distraction. This is dynamic, which played out in APC in 2015. Moving towards 2023, this needs to be rectified.”
According to Lukman, an “inconvenient reality” which every APC leader and member who is committed and working towards protecting the electoral viability of the party should be worried about is that the strongest opponent of the APC is within the APC.
He stated, “The truth is; other parties, especially the PDP, are shadow opposition whose electoral prospects are largely dependent on the outcome of internal contests in the APC, mainly because of the reckless and undisciplined conducts of some APC leaders.
“If anything, the lesson from the 2019 elections, which every APC leader and member should be reminded of is that APC was defeated in Rivers, Zamfara, Bauchi, Adamawa, Oyo and many other places by aggrieved APC leaders who worked against candidates or leaders of the party as a result of internal disagreements around candidate selections for governorship of these states.
“Such internal disagreement almost cost the party the loss of Imo State until the Supreme Court confirmed the victory of the APC. In Ogun, it was a traumatic victory. Kano State governorship election certainly had its baggage of painful experiences. Lagos State was a shocking narrow victory, no thanks to avoidable challenges. Rambo political contest led to the loss of Edo State in the 2020 governorship election.”
The DG of PGF also said APC leaders should also be reminded that it was “internal rancorous contest” that caused APC to lose the 2014 Ekiti governorship election. He added that a similar rancorous contest produced marginal victory for the APC in the Ekiti and Osun elections in 2018.
According to him, if the APC had face any of the challenges of the governorship elections in Rivers, Zamfara, Bauchi, Adamawa, Oyo, Ogun, Kano, Lagos, Edo, Ekiti and Osun during the 2019 presidential election, winning the election would have been impossible.
“If anything, absence of any problem during the internal contest for the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari as the presidential candidate of the party in December 2014 was a major source of electoral strength, which made the party to win elections in virtually all the states it won in 2019, as well as majority seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives,” he noted.
Lukman, who highlighted Buhari’s electoral performances since 2003, stated that the President’s popularity even before gaining power in 2015 had been a force to reckon with.
He said, “With such reality, it can be concluded, therefore, without any dispute, that the electoral advantage of the APC is more on account of the presence of President Buhari in the party. The question, which every APC leader and member needs to answer is; will the APC continue to enjoy such electoral advantage when President Buhari is not the Presidential candidate of the party? Is there another leader in the APC with the towering electoral profile of President Buhari?
“These are not easy questions to answer, although it can also be easily expected that every APC leader and member would want APC to continue to have all the electoral advantages associated with President Buhari. Whether there is another leader with the electoral profile of President Buhari, is yet to be seen, at least not based on any electoral evidence.
“Therefore, what can be done to ensure that the APC continues to have all the electoral advantages associated with President Buhari? Is it even possible for APC to continue to have the electoral advantages associated with President Buhari?”
According to PUNCH, the  DG of PGF stated that there is a very high potential that once appropriate organs of the APC are meeting and decisions are being taken in line with the provisions of the party’s constitution, processes of electing standard-bearers of the party for the 2023 elections would be acceptable. He added that party leaders would also accept the result of the election and support the winner.
According to Lukman, part of the reality of the situations in states, especially where APC lost elections as a result of poor management of internal processes, is that the operation of organs of the party requires a lot of improvements to guarantee transparency and fair participation of party members.
“Often, allegations of manipulations by party leaders, especially around internal processes of candidates’ emergence are the common issues,” he noted.

 

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Anambra 2023: Screening of PDP’s gubernatorial aspirants by Captain Idris Wada-led committee

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Screening of PDP’s gubernatorial aspirants by Captain Idris Wada-led committee at Wadata House, Peoples Democratic Party’s Headquarters in Abuja.

 

2021 ANAMBRA GUBER ASPIRANTS
LIST OF ASPIRANTS

S/N NAME
1 SEN. UCHE EKWUNIFE (IYOM)

2 HIGH CHIEF OBIORA OKONKWO PH.D

3 GODWIN CHUKWUNENYE EZEEMO

4 VALENTINE CHINETO OZIGBO

5 CHRIS EMEKA AZUBOGU

6 OKEKE WALTER UBAKA

7 CHIDI ALEXANDRA ONYEMELUKWE

8 DR. NWOYE TONY OKECHUKWU

9 WINSTON NDUBUEZE UDEH

10 DR. OKWENNA IFEDI ANDREW

11 MADUKA GODWIN O.

12 SEN. (DR.) UGOCHUKWU BERTRAM UBA

13 ETIABA EMEKA BENSON, SAN

14 HON. NZERIBE MARCELLINUS CHUKWUMAEZE

15 HON. MRS. EKWOCHI GENEVIEVE O.

16 CHIEF MADUAFOKWA OLISAKWE JOHNNY EISENHOWER

 

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Tinubu Support Group Faults Kperogi’s Claim

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The Tinubu Support Group (TSG) has faulted and countered statements made by Farooq Kperogi, a newspaper columnist, casting aspersions on the state of health of the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

In a statement issued in Abuja, Oluwatosin Johnson, head, media and publicity of TSG denied Kperogi’s wild claims and urged him to uphold the ethics of journalism practice without being mischievous.

Oluwatosin condemned Kperogi’s hypothetical submission, describing his narratives as fallacious and idiotic.

The group said it was shocked by Kperogi’s “curious and spurious allegations” declaring that “Asiwaju Tinubu is medically sound and fit to undertake any national assignments whatsoever “.

“Kperogi appears to have his facts or information mixed up somewhere. He must be confusing someone else with Asiwaju. The national leader has been enjoying and continues to enjoy sound health to the utter shame of his detractors”.

While urging Nigerians to shun falsehood surrounding the state of Asiwaju’s health, the group said Kperogi’s mischief should be viewed from the prism of his planting of fake news about Asiwaju Tinubu’s health in the cyberspace for the very intent of later citing same as the source of this information with the intent of misinforming Nigerians about Asiwaju’s health.

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“We Admonish those playing evil politics with human health to repent and turn a new leaf as no human being has the key over any other’s life or death except God!”.

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