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Zamfara: 2023 Presidential Ambitions and the Callousness of Northern Leaders



By Jude Ndukwe

Barely 4 weeks after the 2019 general elections for which winners are yet to be sworn in and for which dusts in several places are yet to settle, northern leaders, through their usual forerunners, have rather very prematurely and inconsiderately started overheating the polity again by trying to sell the idea that the presidency of the nation would remain in the north come 2023 despite them having completed two terms of four years each through President Buhari (or Atiku Abubakar should the courts declare him winner following his petition on the matter).

First, it was Yari Shettima, President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, who was being clever by half in an interview with a newspaper by declaring that Buhari has failed as president, therefore, his presidency does not represent the north, and that based on that, the north would present a candidate that would represent its interest in the far away 2023 presidential election despite the conventional rotation of the presidency between north and south for the purpose of equity, fairness and justice without which there can never be peace.

Following that was the immediate past Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir David Lawal, who also echoed Shettima’s stance by saying that it is not compulsory north must cede power to the south in 2023. This is also in spite of the need for every region to have a sense of belonging in the leadership of the nation and respect the principles of zoning and rotation which made both leading parties zone their presidency to the north, an action which was fully respected by other eminently qualified personalities from other zones by not contesting in the presidential primaries of the two leading parties.

As if taking a cue from these two northern leaders, and betraying the suspicion that they must have been sent by the organized leadership of the north to test the waters by selling this preposterous idea at this time, Junaid Mohammed, Second Republic legislator added his voice to the controversial call by making far reaching spurious accusations against the southeast, blaming them for voting for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar at the last election as if Atiku is no longer a northerner like Buhari and that the Igbos were left with a choice between two northerners. Mohammed should have known that having been presented with two choices by the north, they would certainly go one way or the other, and that whichever way they go, the Igbo would still have pitched their tent with a northerner be it Buhari or Atiku.

And this narrative of always trying to futilely crucify the Igbo for their political choices has to stop. This is democracy and it is the best form of government because it is based on the freedom of people to express their political choices freely without facing a backlash for it. The same Igbo the Mohammeds of the north like to label for not following a particular pattern of voting during elections voted for Atiku, a northerner, despite the presence of another eminently qualified Igbo son, Kingsley Moghalu, on the platform of the YPP, just so the principles of rotation and zoning of the presidency especially between the two leading parties in the country are not only respected but also preserved.

Rather than being vilified for this, Ndigbo should be applauded for their respect and love for the nation which, more than any other ethnic group, have shown greatest dedication and commitment to nation building.

However, this is not the crux of this piece. Its crux is how northern leaders are so shameless in canvassing for 2023 presidency when their region is on fire and ravaged by the worst insecurity since the post civil war era. How could any responsible set of leaders be talking about a 2023 presidency that is so far away when their men are now daily being kidnapped, randomly killed on a regular basis, their women raped, maimed, abducted, forcefully married out to strangers in distant lands by their abductors, and most of them brutally killed? What manner of irresponsibility and heartlessness make these leaders turn their focus on politics when their children have become endangered species and a waste to the world because of social malaise of crime and criminalities including drug abuse bedeviling them? Most times, because of the incessant violent crimes in the north, these children are made orphans. Even those of them who manage to make it to IDP camps because of the continued deterioration of security situation in that zone have their rations and benefits stolen by their leaders, as it is in the “Grasscutter” case. Sadly, Babachir Lawal is one of those mouthing a northern presidency in 2023!

From Benue to Plateau, from Adamawa to Taraba, from Borno to Yobe to Zamfara etc, whole villages are being sacked by armed bandits in a manner that suggests we have no government, or that northern presidents always produce the most abysmal performance in office as presidents.

So what is the essence of shouting northern presidency in 2023 when the north has remained the most diseased, the most poverty-stricken, the most illiterate and the most backward in every indices of human development even when the north has had the largest share of the presidency since independence till date? What is the benefit of the presidency to the north that it keeps insisting on holding on to power when facts have shown that the country especially the north suffers the most whenever they have one of their own in power? It is not that these northern leaders do not know what to do actually, their problem is knowing how to do it. Pray, how can you be expending billions of naira in a vain search for oil in the north when that amount could have been channeled to agriculture where the zone has its comparative advantage over other regions and employ thousands of youths in the process while turning Nigeria to a major export country for agric and agro-allied products?

These northern leaders should know that the people of the southeast they so much love to victimize for their political choices are not too interested in the presidency other than voting. If the presidency comes to them, fine. If it does not, Ndigbo cares less because the great and modern cities of Awka, Nnewi, Onitsha etc were built by the efforts of the Igbo with little or without federal government assistance. Today, about 1,000 shops and still counting at the humongous Ariaria International market, Aba, enjoy 24 hours uninterrupted power supply to boost the entrepreneurship output of the people. How many cities in the entire north can boast of the infrastructural development and facilities of Awka, Nnewi, Onitsha, Ohafia, Abiriba, (which are also known as “Small London” because of their modern architectural edifices), Enugu, Abakaliki etc. All these cities have been built by the Igbo spirit which travels far and wide and brings home its experience and wealth to bear on their people and immediate society with or without federal government intervention.

The only international airport in the entire southeast was the creation and construction of the Igbo people. Whatever the Igbos have built by themselves today, was built under the assumption that if they do not take care of themselves, nobody will do it for them, hence, the thriving spirit driving them.

The Igbo talk of marginalization only as humans who feel cheated about a system deliberately skewed against them in order to keep them down. But since after the civil war, despite the paltry twenty pounds given to each of their fathers to start life again after the civil war, and despite their properties seized, the Igbo have risen from the ashes of life like the ancient Phoenix to overtake other zones of the country in terms of development but for federal government presence and huge interventions in one or two places of these other zones.

The fact is that even if the nation is run based on self-government for each region and Abuja as beautiful a city as it is, is given to the north as part of their land to manage, Abuja would deteriorate so badly in just five years that the squalid Zamfara of today would be a magnificent town compared to it.

Rather than keep clamouring for a presidency that has brought more curses than blessings to the north, and arrogantly talk down on others, the north should look inwards and see how it can turn the misfortunes of its children roaming the streets aimlessly and hopelessly into something beneficial to them and the nation. A situation where the north produces the president, SGF, Ministers of Defence, Interior, Petroleum, Heads of the Army, Air Force, Police, Civil Defence, Customs, Immigration, Prisons, NSA, EFCC, Senate President, Speaker of House of Representatives and so many others, yet, have grown worst in insecurity, economy, education etc compared to other regions speaks volume of the fact that power without sense is senseless!

Northern leaders should eat their humble pie and admit that they are woeful handlers of power which they have only used to further impoverish their region, and learn from the Igbos they so much love to vilify, how to use the power of intelligence to advance the cause of their people.; Twitter: @StJudeNdukwe

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Breaking: Again, CCT Judgment On Walter Onnog‎hen Shifted



The judgment of the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Justice Walter Onnoghen, who is being prosecuted on charges of assets declaration breaches, has been shifted from 9am, the original scheduled time, till noon on Thursday.

Onnoghen had arrived the premises of the tribunal at about 8.40am ahead of the judgment.

Only two of his lawyers and a handful of his aides were seated in the courtroom when a court official announced the postponement at about 9am.

No member of the prosecution team was in court when the postponement was announced

None of them arrived as of the time of filing this report at about 9.11am.

Onnoghen had yet to step out ‎of his vehicle as of the time the postponement was announced.

His convoy left the premises as soon as the information about the new development reached him.

The Chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, after the prosecution and the defence made closing arguments on Monday, specifically fixed judgment for 9am on Thursday‎, a departure from the usual 10am sitting time of the tribunal.

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Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday received the UEFA Champions League Trophy alongside its Ambassador and former captain of Barcelona FC of Spain, Carles Puyol in Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja.

Puyol, a three-time Champions League winner is in Nigeria on a three-day visit to lead the UEFA Champions League Tour connecting with consumers and football lovers.

Governor Ambode, who was represented by the Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr Kweku Tandoh, also received Nigerian football legend, Austin JayJay Okocha, who was part of the delegation.

Speaking while receiving the trophy, Governor Ambode expressed excitement with the fact that the organisers of the tour considered Lagos as one of the states to visit, adding that the development was particularly gratifying more so that the synergy between sports and entertainment as well as tourism had been massively played up in the last four years.      

The Governor also lauded the contribution of Puyol and Okocha to the development of the round leather game in Nigeria and worldwide, saying they deserved to be appreciated and celebrated.

“I must say I am very pleased with the organisers of this Trophy Tour for deeming it fit to take the UEFA Champions League Cup to Lagos. We are particularly excited because our administration has focused on the synergy between sports, tourism, entertainment and the arts, among others and the people can see the positive effects of our efforts in that regard.

“We are pleased to also welcome Barcelona FC and Champions League legend, Carles Puyol to Lagos, as well as our legend, JayJay Okocha to Lagos House. Many of us underrate this legend that we have and just yesterday, I understand Puyol had a very difficult time on the field of play in Uyo when JayJay had to give him a few tricks.

“Unfortunately, JayJay did not get to play for Barcelona; he would have lifted the Champions League but I must say we appreciate what Okocha has done for Nigerian football. If you have a player that is sometimes compared to Messi, Maradona and spoken about in the same breath, then we know we have a star in our midst and so I like to thank JayJay for his contribution to football,” Governor Ambode said.  

He said in order to ensure a successful Trophy Tour, the relevant security and government agencies have been contacted, assuring that all the activities lined-up as part of the tour would be hugely successful.

While wishing the team a successful tour in Nigeria, Governor Ambode said the State Government would be glad to receive the trophy back in the State in the nearest future, just as he assured that the government remained committed to make Lagos the sports hub not just in Africa but the entire world.

Speaking earlier, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Breweries Plc, organisers of the Trophy Tour, Mr Jordi Borrut Bel thanked Governor Ambode for warmly receiving the team, saying the Trophy Tour was specifically organised to bring the tournament closer to fans.

He said as part of the tour, there would be a road show from Maryland Bus Stop to Ikeja City Mall, among other activities.   

Besides, he commended Governor Ambode for his well-though out policies and projects in all sectors and sections of the State, saying the Governor deserved to be appreciated for also creating enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the State.

“I will like to say that this visit is a great opportunity for the management team of Nigerian Breweries to appreciate Governor Ambode on the success that he has recorded in the last four years of administering the State which is a testament to the fact that well-thought policies have been implemented as has been witnessed in security, in transportation, in health, in welfare sectors in the State, and particularly in the continuous construction of impactful infrastructure as well as the Governor’s focused and dynamic leadership in the State.

“We also want to thank the Governor for sustaining a supportive business environment in the State,” he said.

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Awolowo Commends Ooni For Positively Showcasing Nigeria To The World



The Director General of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council(NEPC), Mr Segun Awolowo has desribed the Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II as a unique African traditional ruler with giant srides, commending him for positively shocasing Nigeria and Africa to the world.

The NEPC boss made this assertion in his Abuja office recently while playing host to a delegation from Ooni Ogunwus which was led by the Asoya of Ile Isoya in Osun state, Oba Muraina Adedini in respect of the maidden edition of TellAfrica International Arts & Craft Festival(TIAF) slated for June this year in Baltimore MD, USA and Dublin in Republic of Ireland.

“Kabiyesi Ooni, being a foremost African monarch has undoubtedly lived above expectations going by his giant strides especially in Agriculture, youth empowerment and cultural tourism. He is indeed a great ambassador of our culture who has been positively showcasing Nigeria and Africa to the global community.” Awolowo said

While pointing out the benefits in agriculture, Mr Awolowo urged relevant stakeholders to uphold it and make it the mainstay of the economy. He also mentioned processing of agricultural produce like cashew and cocoa among others, which he said would be better than sending raw goods abroad.

On tourism, Awolowo revealed plans to link TellAfrica up with National Council of Art & Culture(NCAC) for possible collaboration as part of measures to ensure a successful TIAF events as scheduled.

Leader of the Ooni’s team, Oba Muraina Adedini thanked Mr Segun Awolowo and his NEPC team for the honour and respect with which the Oonis delegation was warmly recieved. He said the contributions of the Ooni Ogunwusi towards the development of agriculture and tourism are unprecedented which have always been supported by the Federal Government.

While seeking unflinching support of the NEPC on the forthcoming Art & Craft festival and other international programmes of Ooni Ogunwusi, he stated that the collaboration Between the House of Oduduwa/TellAfrica and NEPC will make huge impact on the Nigerian Art and cultural tourism sector.

Ooni’s director of media and public affairs, Comrade Moses Olafare had earlier while introducing the Ooni’s team told the NEPC that Ooni Ogunwusi has adopted Agriculture and tourism as greatest potentials for developing the Nigerian youths, adding that productively utilizing the both sectors will immensely lead to an immeasurable economic properity.

Olafare enumerated how NEPC and the House of Oduduwa are in tandem, particularly through the exportation of non oil products and promotion of tourism in the country through cultural festivals like TIAF.

The maidden edition of the Ooni’s TellAfrica International Art and Craft Festival(TIAF 2019) is billed to hold in Baltimore USA from 13th to 16th and in Dublin, Ireland from 24th to 30th, June 2019.

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