“When they are defeated, I urge them to simply throw in the towel and walk away. Other than that they will only have themselves to blame.”
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari cannot defeat the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in a free and fair election. He claimed that President Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), are planning to rig the 2019 election, but warned that doing so would lead to great consequences for the party and the unity of the country.
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Fani-Kayode also spoke on the ongoing prosecution of the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, and other burning national issues.
There is this thinking in some quarters that the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, will give Buhari a good fight in the February 2019 elections mainly because both of them are from the same area. What is your take on the issue?
Well, both of them don’t come from the same region. Buhari comes from the North-West and Atiku comes from the North-East. So, they are from different regions. But I can assure you that Atiku has massive support throughout the country not just in one zone or in one region. He has massive support in the South-West, South-East, South-South, North-East, North-Central and North-West. And it is not just about him; there are many key players in those zones that are standing with him and supporting him. So, when you look at the collective, you find out that he is in a very, very strong position. Buhari’s support base is simply the North-West. And even in the North-west it is divided now because Kwankwaso is with us. Makarfi is with us; Turaki is with us; Bafarawa is with us and so many others are with us and they will also bring their influence to bear in the North-West to take on Buhari’s supporters. If you look at the North-East, Dankwambo is with us. And you look at so many other leaders from the North-East that are with us. In the North-Central, with all that Buhari has done to the people of the Middle Belt over the last three and a half years and with the fact that Saraki, Ortom, Suswam and Jang are with us, I don’t think that Buhari is going to do very well there. Surely, he will not do as well as he did the last time. If you come to the South-East, he will get zero. If you come to the South-South he is going to get maybe 10 percent of the votes. If you go the South-West, which I believe will be the real battleground, the last time we won 49 per cent of the votes while Buhari got 51 per cent. This time around we are going to trounce them to the moon and back because all key players in the South-West that were with him before, people like former President Obasanjo and so many others are no longer with him. Afenifere is waxing strong; the PDP is waxing strong and we are going to defeat him hands down in the South-West this time. So, I am very, very confident that Atiku is an excellent candidate. He is a cosmopolitan person. He is somebody that has a broad outlook; he is sensitive to the challenges of the various minorities and various groups in this country. And he is fair to all. He is a detribalised Nigerian who doesn’t bring religion and ethnicity into his politics unlike Buhari. And that is the kind of man that can lead our country. He is first and foremost a Nigerian before being a northerner unlike Buhari who is first and foremost something else before being a Nigerian. So, we need to understand the importance of ensuring that we bring Nigeria back from the brink of war and disintegration and vote for a man that understands the complexities of this nation and the importance of allowing people to be free and to be treated in a decent and civilised manner. That is why millions are lining up behind Atiku already.
The South-West wanted to produce Atiku’s running mate, but the South-East got the upper hand and this is the zone you are hoping to trounce Buhari. Don’t you think the decision would work against the interest of the party in the zone?
As far as I am concerned, Peter Obi has as many friends in the South-West as he does in the South-East. And we have put that behind us. Right now, what is on the ground is the fact that we have a presidential candidate and a vice presidential candidate; nothing else matters. And we are going to campaign in every nook and corner of this country for our candidates and we are going to win. So, whether the vice presidential candidate is from the South-West, South-East or anywhere else doesn’t matter. The fact is that the matter has been settled; we are mobilising people. We are preparing the ground for the campaign and by God’s grace we shall prevail and defeat Buhari.
Peter Obi’s candidacy is not well accepted by the zone. Do you think it will still augur well for the party in the zone?
I believe that the matter will be resolved when our presidential candidate comes back from abroad. I don’t see that as a major problem. I think it is just a question of communication and understanding. In the PDP, all our leaders are very civilised, sensitive and decent people. And the most important thing is for us to come together to ensure that we defeat Buhari. I am sure that those that may have felt slighted, once they speak with the candidate, the matter will be resolved in an amicable and decent way. We are not going to let any thing stop us from being united to ensure that we defeat Buhari. We have got to make sure that we maintain our unity. I don’t believe that this seeming dissention will cause us to deviate from our objective of winning the election.
From your vantage position in the PDP, do you see any threat to the 2019 general election? If yes, how can it be averted?
For me, the only threat is the intention of Buhari to rig. If anybody believes that Buhari does not intend to rig then he doesn’t know Buhari; he doesn’t know the APC. They rigged in Ekiti State; they rigged in Osun State. Their intention is to rig the election in 2019 and declare Buhari the winner. Now, I assure you that if they do that, the reaction will be cataclysmic. It will be something that Nigeria has never seen before. Never again will we allow ourselves to be robbed; never again will we sit by idly and allow the freely given mandate of the people to be stolen from them at the federal level. So, if that is what they are planning they should think twice. I know that is their style; I know that is their intention because in a free and fair election there is no way that Buhari can defeat Atiku. No way whatsoever! But they don’t play free; they don’t play fair. Their intention is just to use the security forces, including the military, the police, the DSS and INEC to ensure that they remain in power. This time around it will not work. This time around it will lead to great consequences for them and for the unity of our nation. And I appeal to them to drop that idea and play according to the rules. And when they are defeated, I urge them to simply throw in the towel and walk away. Other than that they will only have themselves to blame.
You were one of those that reportedly spoke with Nnamdi Kanu recently. How did your discussion with him go?
He called me out of the blue and it was a very brief discussion. I was very happy to hear his voice. I don’t want to share most of that discussion publicly. But what I can say is that I was delighted to hear his voice. This is a man that I thought was dead, that he had been killed. I hadn’t heard, seen or spoken to him ever since the time that he was abducted. He is a close friend and I was very happy to hear his voice. I don’t want to share most of what we discussed with the public. But what I will tell you is that all of us are committed to ensuring that we get Buhari out.
The family recently claimed that he would be coming back to the country soon. Did he say something like that?
I am not going to go any further than what I have said. What I am prepared to say is that he spoke with me and I believe that he was speaking to me from Israel. I also know that we agreed on certain course of action in terms of trying to create the best environment in Nigeria for our people. We also agreed that we would get Buhari out. I sincerely hope, and I think this is the best way to put this, that he will join me and millions of other Nigerians to vote Buhari out. I’m hoping he will join in that and I believe that at the end of the day he may do that. One thing about Nnamdi Kanu is that he is totally committed to his cause. He is somebody that is focused and clear about what he wants; and what he wants is the establishment of a sovereign state of Biafra. But before you can even begin to talk about self-determination, restructuring or a functional democracy, you must get this tyrant out of power. And it is in that context that I said that we have agreed to work together to get Buhari out. We all have our different objectives, but as long as Buhari is there, nobody will be able to make any progress; nobody will be able to negotiate anything, discuss anything. And discussing, negotiation and understanding our sensitivity is parts and parcel of freedom and democracy. As long as Buhari is there, none of us is going to achieve any of these objectives about a free society whereby we can express ourselves and try to come to some kind of understanding about how to move the country forward or which way it wants to go. The way you create that environment is by getting the man that is like an octopus to all forms of freedom and progress out of power. That is what we intend to do and I hope that he will join us.
You are one of those that accompanied former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose to the EFCC. How is doing?
*[Interview was conducted before Fayose was arraigned in court]*
He was in good health; he seems to be his usual self, very confident. He will indeed be arraigned in Lagos on Monday, October 22, from what he told me. He is in high spirit and in good healthy and I am very proud of him. I am very proud that he has stood firm against tyranny and that he is totally committed to the cause of the party, the PDP. Every single PDP member in this country is proud of Fayose. He has been treated badly by this government. All of us have been treated badly and by God’s grace we will join hands to ensure that we have a new leadership in this country in the next few months.
You say that Fayose has been treated badly. But those on the other side see what is going on as a simple routine because he governed Ekiti for four years and if the EFCC finds some of his actions questionable, he should just face the music?
In that way they should go and lock up many of the APC members that have been accused of doing so many things. Why is it that it is only the PDP members and leaders that they lock up like this? That is number one. Number two is that there is nothing normal about what they are doing. What they are doing is shameful and disgraceful. If you say you have a case against the man, invite him and let him go home after asking questions and then you charge him to court. Why do you want to humiliate him and detain him? Why do you have to do that? So, they are not doing us any favours; they should stop all these attempts to make it look like what they are doing is a good thing. It is a very bad thing. It is an abuse of power; it’s a violation of human rights and civil liberties. And it is something they should be ashamed of. It is the court that will determine the man’s guilt; it is not the EFCC and it is not Buhari. And you are innocent until proven guilty. So, let them go and arraign him. Let him get his bail, which he will get from court and let him come out and let them try and prove their case in court instead of all these drama. You know that they will lock you up and subject you to media trial and demonise you before Nigerians when you are not even at liberty to defend yourself. This is precisely what they have been doing to so many of our leaders and to so many of our people, demonising us; and it is enough. So, I’m proud of Fayose; I’m proud of every single person that has stood up to the tyranny of President Buhari and his party. And I am proud of the fact that the Nigerian people are clearly fed up with them and we are on the brink of voting him out of power in February 2019.
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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.
President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.
Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.
At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.
He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.
He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.
“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’
“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.
“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.
“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.
“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.
“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”
However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.
He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.
“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”
CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers
The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.
Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.
“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?
“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.
“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.
“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”
Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.
“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.
“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.
Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike
Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.
Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.
The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.
Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.
Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).
Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).
The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”
On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.
The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.
“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.
The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”
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