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APGA can drive Igbo to Aso Rock – Egwuonwu

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APGA can drive Igbo to Aso Rock – Egwuonwu

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Judex Okoro, Calabar

Chukwuemeka Egwuonwu is the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano on Community Liaison. He wants South-East politicians to embrace the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), saying it can drive Igbo Presidency to Aso Rock.

Egwuonwu, who stated this shortly after meeting with APGA stakeholders in Calabar, said the APGA is a traditional party for the South-East people and it behooves on them to rally support for the party.

READ ALSO: Jubilation in South-East as Ohanaeze, Umahi hail Atiku’s choice
Ahead of 2019 elections, do you see APGA posing any challenge to APC and PDP?

Yes, APGA as a political party has made one segment of the country proud which is the South-East, especially from the area of security, good governance and people oriented policies. During APGA fact-finding mission, headed by the former minister of Information, Labaran Maku, we were mandated among others to find out what the party need to do for the state or local government or town and see how APGA, as the alternative vehicle, will drive it. We visited almost 17 states in the country and we found out that people see APGA as an APC appendage and that is why they refused to embrace us. We educated and showed them facts as to why APGA is in not in alliance with any political party. We submitted our report to the leadership, which gave birth to fielding a presidential candidate as well as the policy statement that APGA is fielding a candidate from the north.

Since then, we have had influx of politicians into our party. Besides, we equally asked our leader, the governor of Anambra State to go and discuss with the president of the country. APGA as a political party, we have our own manifesto and agenda.

If they are seeing their own manifesto as something that is failing our nation, we are willing to give them ours to salvage this nation. In the midst of the hues and cries about bailout funds that most states collected, Anambra State never touched bailout funds. Now if a smaller party as APGA did not touch bailout funds, it therefore means that some other states have been deceiving their people.

Some people have the notion that it is only when we form a coalition with APC or PDP that we will in turn be given the opportunity to govern the nation. I disagree because in the 1950’s we had a political marriage with the far north and nothing came out of it. By 1979 – 83, when we should have had hope, it never worked. This is the auspicious time for South-East to prove that they have capacity by embracing APGA and then drive the party to the centre. APGA is a traditional party for the South-East. So the message I preach everywhere we find ourselves is that people should give us a trial. If Obiano can pay salaries without bailout funds, it means there is hope in that political party.

How do you hope to extend the leadership of APGA to other states?

Yes, Imo State is over ripe for APGA to take over. Remember we won election in Imo State with Governor Rochas Okorocha. He is using our mandate but you see every house that is built on a faulty foundation must collapse. Okorocha came and deceived us and we gave him our ticket and delivered him. But the governor paid us back by defecting to APC. Today, he is facing battle in APC because he runs a government that does not have a direction. I am sure that Imo people have realised that their destiny lies in APGA and not APC. So Imo is overripe for APGA to pluck.

We are equally trying to launch APGA in North-Central because all of us know that our political marriage with the North-Central have once worked in states like Plateau. APGA won elections in Nasarawa in 2015, I don’t know whether you people are aware, Labaran Maku won elections but was rigged out. In 2019 we will win Nasarawa and Abia States. If we succeed in taking Nasarawa State, then APGA will now be a national party. We are working seriously to ensure that in 2019, APGA will produce at least 20 members of the House of Representatives. We have about five representatives from Taraba, Anambra, and Abia. We are also supposed to even move to Ebonyi but we saw that Governor Dave Umahi represents what APGA is preaching. Umahi is trying but he needs to be part of APGA to be better.

Considering the incessant communal clashes in Anambra vis-a-vis your core mandate, which is to restore peace among conflict areas, how do you intend to pursue such enormous task?

I come from a community that has the background of a political nobody as we have never gone beyond councillorship before now. I commend the governor to have found me worthy to have been appointed as one of his senior special assistants, Community Liaison. My appointment has further wiped away the tears of my Awa community. I feel good and my Awa community in Orumba North is excited about the appointment because to them we have finally broken the barrier.

My core mandate is to work with various warring communities or liaise with crisis-ridden communities and restore peace among them. You know when there is peace, there is development. I can tell you that Anambra has about 323 communities and a good number of Anambra communities are at war with one another over boundary matters. So, you can imagine the enormity of the task ahead and to be able to perform we have appointed 21 coordinators in all the local governments to oversee danger spots. But I am sure that Governor Obiano knew the enormity of communal conflicts in the state and he decided to create a special portfolio to give it urgent attention.

Therefore, we are prepared to go the whole hog to resolving some of these communal clashes. We cannot continue to fight one another because of mere piece of land or over a mere disagreement that could be easily brought to the table for us to jaw-jaw. Already, I and my team at the grassroots have swung into action and have started reaching out to community leaders, youths’ groups, women leaders and some key stakeholders especially in crisis-prone communities with a view to holding town hall meetings on the way out and the need to live in peace and harmony.

READ ALSO: APGA didn’t offend Bianca Ojukwu, but… – Obiano’s aide

The post APGA can drive Igbo to Aso Rock – Egwuonwu appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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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.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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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.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

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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