“The real Court of Law which we are sure of is a constructive one and not a court for public opinions where the president is the Chief Judge…”
Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
Umar Garba, (PhD) is a lecturer with the Department of Political Science, Adamawa State University. He is also a consultant on World Bank projects and the Department for International Development (DFID) projects, USAID projects in Nigeria and currently Atiku Abubakar’s Director of Policy in the campaign organisation.
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He dismissed allegations of corruption against the former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as baseless.
How do you see the endorsement of Atiku by Obasanjo?
Well, it is a good development for democracy in the country. They are both good leaders. They had a good team; Nigeria had the best of democracy during their term, and was on a good path with a sound economy. Their fight really affected the country; now that they are together we hope Nigeria will find her footing again. Take or leave it, since 1999 we have not had a regime like theirs, any regime that came after theirs tried their best but non performed as theirs, all was possible because they were working together, so, it is normal to fight, it is also normal to reconcile. God has kept them together to save the country’s democracy, so with Obasanjo’s endorsement of Atiku; he has done the right thing. It is good for democracy.
The presidency recently accused Atiku Abubakar of corruption, what is your take on this?
The beautiful thing about Atiku’s candidacy is that, there is nothing new again. What they are saying now has been said a long time ago and there hasn’t been any proof, if you are accusing somebody of corruption, you should be able to prove it, Atiku has left the government since 2007 and if there has been any incrimination against him it would have come out. The truth is, as far as Nigeria is concerned, Atiku is a born-again politician, he is the cleanest of them all, all the cases filed against him, up to the Supreme Court, he won all of them. Since 2007, if you cannot prove that a man is corrupt, then it is you who is having issues not him. The president claims he is fighting corruption, if truly Atiku is corrupt, he would have been put in prison, you don’t sit down and make insinuations like the president and the presidency are doing, the real Court of Law which we are sure of is a constructive one and not a court for public opinions where the president is the Chief Judge, who looks for people to accuse and blame them for his own failures and wants people to believe him. If it is corruption, then, he is worse being a President than Atiku. It is his administration that we see so many people being accused, Atiku’s case has been an exception, there hasn’t been any problem at all, he is a free man and since he left government in 2007, it has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt that the man is not corrupt.
With the emergence of former governor Peter Obi as Atiku’s running mate, do you see Obi as a partner who can help Atiku win?
Peter Obi is a good complement. We should be happy with his emergence, in fact, Nigerians should be happy that we have such a combination, an experienced business man, a public servant like Atiku, a technocrat who has worked all the rounds, a God-fearing and a seasoned politician. For the first time, we are having a responsible combination that will augur well for the country and democracy. PDP has made the right choice. PDP has proven to the world that it is ready to deliver the country, even other political parties thought the presidential primary was going to be chaotic, but turned out to be transparent and we all saw the togetherness in action, we wanted a team who can deliver and there wouldn’t have been any other better combination as both are lovers of this great country.
Peter Obi is an epitome of a good character, with an exemplary life style, so, this very combination will save the country from its abysmal crises enveloping it, as Nigeria is seen and perceived as the headquarters of poverty. We need leaders who passionately love the country with very organised thoughts, leaders who will provide practicable solutions to the challenges confronting the nation, who will discharge duties effectively and efficiently well and revive the country from its close-to-rotten position it has been, not a leader who is bereft of good and thoughtful ideas and one who is a figure of unmitigated and theoretical approaches to the country’s enormous challenges. So, Peter Obi is a very good choice and the combination is a very healthy one and we hope Nigerians will see the beauty in this right combination.
With the rigging styles of the electoral system, how does your party intend to take power from the incumbent?
We have demonstrated that, we will demonstrate it again, if you see the way we handled our convention in Port Harcourt, PDP has proven to the world that we are the greatest party that is anchored fundamentally on freedom, fairness and justice. We had a transparent election and the same transparency we will employ in the forthcoming general elections and if APC is thinking that they will rig the elections, no way! That is why we are imploring and mobilising every Nigerian and we will continue to mobilise them to stand with, protect and defend their votes, their votes at this time should speak for them, no material or any method of rigging will succeed. We must stand to protect democracy! We must stand to protect the rule of law! The duty of an ideal democracy is a ‘free and fair election, if we lose, because we are losing, we will accept it, but not to somebody and party whose entirety is strongly based on the usage of rigging to win elections. We all belong to this country, we know what they can do and what they have been doing, and we therefore, cannot fold our arms and get rigged out.
Atiku is a Nigerian, a very patriotic one, who has gone through the rounds. Who is very passionate about his country, Nigeria and also passionate about bringing workable solutions to issues in the country. He has been evicted for so long and seriously wants to impact into the country. He says it every time, that Nigerians gave him their best; therefore, it is his duty to pay them back. At over 70 years old, what has kept him, what has been sustaining his ambition is that, he keeps saying the country deserves more than what it is getting, the country deserves more than the kind of leadership it is having.
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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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