By Jude Opara
Recently, former President Olusegun Obaanjo wrote yet another letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on the deteriorating security situation in parts of the country.
This letter was coming on the heels of the recent brutal murder of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, daughter of the leader of the Yoruba Socio-Cultural group Afenifere, Reuben Fasoranti.
The deceased who had paid a visit to her aging father was returning to Lagos from Akure when she was gunned down by suspected Fulani herdsmen. This particular death has provoked a barrage of comments on what happened and who actually killed the woman.
While the Police have come out to claim that Funke was killed by armed robbers, the family and indeed the Afenifere have insisted that she was killed by Fulani herdsmen.
Interestingly, President Obasanjo is not new to letter writing especially to incumbent presidents of the country.His letter writing dates back to the era of the draconian regime of late Gen. Sani Abacha who eventually threw him into prison on a trumped up coup charge.
Obasanjo also wrote to his immediate successor, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua as well as former President Goodluck Jonathan. In all these letters, the sitting presidents usually see the Obasanjo letters as a distraction and even as an attention seeking motive. In fact even ordinary Nigerians are usually sharply divided on the Obasanjo letters, depending on the side from which they view it.
However, this very letter is getting a lot of applause from most Nigerians because Obasanjo was only stating the obvious which many people know but not many have the guts to voice it out.
In the letter, the former President warned that the way the country is going, if nothing concrete is done and urgently the country could plunge into an avoidable civil strife which he also feared could lead to the disintegration of the country.
Obasanjo dwelt also on the seeming profiling of the Fulani ethnic group who are blamed for almost all the unresolved killings in the country in the past few years. In his view, the former President thinks that time has come for a national dialogue which he challenged President Buhari to take charge and champion to save the country.
Nevertheless, there have been some splinters of attacks on the former President by some individuals and groups who are either directly or indirectly close to the presidency. I make bold to say that some of them have even introduced ethnic sentiments to the whole issue. Some of them are faulting Obasanjo for making the letter public instead of seeking a private audience with President Buhari.
Tanko Yakasai, a founding member of the Northern Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) while berating Obasanjo over the letter described it as unpatriotic, saying that the contents may cause a civil unrest in the country.
Another Northern political elite, Umar Ardo also took a swipe at Obasanjo for not going to first discuss the issues he noted with President Buhari, even as he insisted that the Fulani may not have committed all the crimes being leveled against them.
The Miyetti Allah on their own called for the immediate arrest of Obasanjo. National Secretary of the group, Alhassan Saleh said the earlier the former President was arrested and dealt with according to the laws, the better for everybody.
But in his letter, Obasanjo said he decided to make the letter public because of the issue is very weighty and of great concern to all Nigerians.
“I am constrained to write to you this open letter. I decided to make it an open letter because the issue is very weighty and must be greatly worrisome to all concerned Nigerians and that means all right-thinking Nigerians and those resident in Nigeria.
“The issue I am addressing here is very serious; it is the issue of life and death for all of us and for our dear country, Nigeria. This issue can no longer be ignored, treated with nonchalance, swept under the carpet or treated with cuddling glove.”
There is no gainsaying that the present administration may not have been able to give a clear-cut message to some of the criminal elements that have metamorphosed even under their watch. Before the advent of the Buhari administration, the country was only confronted with the issue of Boko Haram in the North East and pockets of kidnappings in parts of the country.
But today, there is armed banditry, kidnapping, killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen as well as the Boko Haram which has existed for the past 10 years.
Many analysts believe that it appears that the present government is using different approaches to address issues depending on the part of the country they come from.
For instance, the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, the Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo believes that the Buhari administration is shielding the killer herdsmen probably because he too is a Fulani.
President General of Ohanaeze, Nnia Nwodo in a recent interview wondered why the same government that rushed to declare the unarmed members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organization has refused to recognized the killer herdsmen who carry sophisticated arms as a terrorist group even as the United Nations (UN) describe them as the fourth most deadly terrorist organization in the world. This is part of the factors that fuel crisis in a country.
“The issue is hitting at the foundation of our existence as Nigerians and fast eroding the root of our Nigerian community. I am very much worried and afraid that we are on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay.”
But while the country is bleeding under the yoke of escalating insecurity across the land, the Army is claiming to have adequately reduced the menace. The Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Buratai in his reaction to the barrage of criticism on the performance of the security forces said those criticizing them are merely playing politics.
Buratai who spoke when he visited the troops stationed at 1 Division Super Camp in Kuyello, Birnin Gwari local government area of Kaduna State on Monday, also warned those playing politics with the security to desist, adding that the army would not hesitate to take action against them.
But Obasanjo as well as many Nigerians have a different view. “The recent explanation of the Chief of Army Staff for non-victory due to lack of commitment and lack of motivation on the part of troops bordering on sabotage speaks for itself. Say what you will, Boko Haram is still a daily issue of insecurity for those who are victimized, killed, maimed, kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery and forced into marriage and for children forcibly recruited into carrying bombs on them to detonate among crowds of people to cause maximum destructions and damage.
“Herdsmen/farmers crises and menace started with government treating the issue with cuddling glove instead of hammer. It has festered and spread. Today, it has developed into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and killings all over the country. The unfortunate situation is that the criminality is being perceived as a ‘Fulani’ menace unleashed by Fulani elite in the different parts of the country for a number of reasons but even more, unfortunately, many Nigerians and non-Nigerians who are friends of Nigeria attach vicarious responsibility to you as a Fulani elite and the current captain of the Nigeria ship.”
Another issue of concern is the perceived nepotism being almost elevated to the level of a national way of life under the reign of President Buhari. The President has been consistently accused of showing bias in his appointments and utterances.
If you also stress it further, the way the government has been handling the issue of the activities of the Arewa Youths who have been fond of giving threats to other people and groups whom they feel are not in tandem with their own ideology.
“The main issue, if I may dare say, is poor management or mismanagement of diversity which, on the other hand, is one of our greatest and most important assets. As a result, very onerous cloud is gathering. And rain of destruction, violence, disaster and disunity can only be the outcome. Nothing should be taken for granted; the clock is ticking with the cacophony of dissatisfaction and disaffection everywhere in and outside the country.
Analysts are of the view that while the government demands utmost loyalty and support from all Nigerians, it is also incumbent on the government to ensure it plays a corresponding part by ensuring everybody was gives a sense of belonging.
“No one can stop hate speech, violent agitation and smouldering violent agitation if he fans the embers of hatred, disaffection and violence. It will continue to snowball until it is out of control. A stitch in time saves nine, goes the old wise saying.”
Many Nigerians especially those from the South East and South South have not forgotten the rather disappointing 97% and 5% comparison made by President Buhari shortly after his inauguration in 2015.
Obasanjo who said he was very worried, warned of four possible ugly scenarios that could play out unless the President takes a decisive action to halt the derailing of the Nigerian ship.
“Abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram type could lead to a number of reactions;
“Spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened.
“Similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom;
“And violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to dismemberment of the country.
“It happened to Yugoslavia not too long ago. If we do not act now, one or all of these scenarios may happen. We must pray and take effective actions at the same time. The initiative is in the hands of the President of the nation, but he cannot do it alone” he added.
Obasanjo also proffered solution of an all-inclusive national security dialogue. This is also in line with the resolution of the Senate who at plenary yesterday resolved to convoke another security summit.
But how the Buhari administration will take this message is another story altogether.
RUSSIAN SUBTERFUGE AND THE INVASION OF UKRAINE- CONSEQUENCE OF REDUCTION IN US GLOBAL INFLUENCE.
By Patrick Olufemi Adelusi
The world woke up to the multidimensional invasion of Ukraine by Russia on the 24th of February 2022.Flurry of diplomatic efforts to dissuade Russia from the intended invasion were carried out by the UK, France, Germany, EU and the US among others. Putin lied to these callers on him. He said he had no intention of invading Ukraine. He had gone against his promise. The methodology that suits this study is the Systems Analysis. The US political system threw up ex-President Donald Trump. A character that is anybody but a good representative of the Political Culture, Social and Economic System of the US. Reports established by the Executive and Congressional Committees of the US has established Russia’s extended help to candidate Donald Trump to win the Presidency of the US. Russia under Putin’s has been emboldened by the US policy of incremental withdrawal from global theatres of action and responsibilities. With Donald Trump cosy person to person relations with his helper, Russia to the Oval Office in Washington, and his refusal to send US Congress approved Military and other economic assistance to Ukraine in time. Putin’s Russia has decided to fill the vacuum. In this Study, attempt would be made analyse the Russian subterfuge and her invasion of independent European country called Ukraine. The remote causes of Russian confidence to dream of recreating sphere of influence in Europe can be traced firstly to the Donald Trump’s US! Secondly, to Ukraine’s geographic location on the route of the gas pipeline to Europe with economic cost of $2billion gatekeeping charges by Ukraine from Russia and Thirdly, attempt to shield probably from early discovery of the corruption at the Presidency of Russian Federation. A thriving Ukrainian system will probably trigger the pressure of Russians towards a desire to emulate Ukraine. To carry out this analysis, the study has been divided into four sections: namely, First, Abstract, Second, the Introduction, thirdly, Remote and immediate causes of Russian Invasion of Ukraine. Fourthly, Conclusion.
Russian invasion of Ukraine on the 24th of February 2022 after a flurry of diplomatic shuttles around President Putin of Russia by representation from Euro-American governments. The President of the United States had about two or more telephone calls to his counterpart Vlad Putin. US Secretary of State had meetings with Russian opposite number on many occasions. French President visited Moscow and met President Putin. The UK Secretary for Foreign Affairs Liz Struss met her counterpart Lavrov more than one occasion. German Chancellor visited President Putin, just mention a few of the callers on Russia to allow dialogue to prevail instead of violence. On each occasion, President Putin kept on saying that he had no intention of invading Ukraine!
The technology on point now has laid bare the issues about threats of and issues of war. Russia has been integrated into the world economy. Fear about hidden enemy against Russia had receded. The cold war paradigms of analysis only serve historical purpose here. This study will not travel along that route. Russia being the largest among the countries that made up the former Soviet Union followed by Ukraine, has been incorporated by European countries, Canada and the United States, into the world economy, cultural, sports, space, science technological cooperation as well as financial system of the world. In essence, the world outlook of peaceful relations and development encouraged these international system actors mentioned above to focus more on science driven industrialization and market driven trade relations. The now to be abandoned Russia gas pipeline to European countries is a great example of such confident improved relationship.
When Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea, a seaport land part of Ukraine, there was mooted outcry. This emboldens Russia to continue to stir uprising and rebellion among the majorly Russian ethnic populated South-eastern Ukraine. The amassing of over 175,000 men and weapons along this neighbouring border to Ukraine signalled a threat of invasion of the country by Russia. Flurry of diplomatic efforts to dissuade Russia from the intended invasion were carried out by the UK, France, Germany, EU and the US among others. Putin lied to these callers on him. He said he had no intention of invading Ukraine. He had gone against his promise. The methodology that suits this study is the Systems Analysis.
The US political system threw up ex-President Donald Trump. A character that is anybody but a good representative of the Political Culture, Social and Economic System of the US. Reports established by the Executive and Congressional Committees of the US has established Russia’s extended help to candidate Donald Trump to win the Presidency of the US. Russia under Putin has been emboldened by the US policy of incremental withdrawal from global theatres of action and responsibilities. With Donald Trump cosy person to person relations with his helper, Putin’s Russia to the Oval Office in Washington, and his refusal to send US Congress approved Military and other economic assistance to Ukraine in time. Putin’s Russia has decided to fill the vacuum. In this Study, attempt would be made analyse the Russian subterfuge and her invasion of independent European country called Ukraine.
The remote causes of Russian confidence, to dream of recreating sphere of influence in Europe can be traced firstly to the Donald Trump’s US! Secondly, to Ukraine’s geographic location on the route of the gas pipeline to Europe with economic cost of $2billion gatekeeping charges by Ukraine on Russia and Thirdly, attempt to shield probably from early discovery of the corruption at the Presidency of Russian Federation. A thriving Ukrainian system will probably trigger the pressure of Russians towards a desire to emulate Ukraine.
To carry out this analysis, the study has been divided into four sections: namely, First, Abstract, Second, the Introduction, thirdly, Remote and immediate causes of Russian Invasion of Ukraine. Fourthly, Conclusion.
III- REMOTE AND IMMEDIATE CAUSES OF RUSSIAN INVASION OF UKRAINE IN 2022
Cold war paradigms of analysis want the world to accept the narrative about the borders drawn between the receding totalitarian remnants of the Soviet Union and the Euro-American systems. No one can deny history. What we have come to live by now since the fall of the Berlin wall in the fall of 1989 is the rules based international order.
The importance of this acceptance of rules based international order by Russia, China and India among other States operating in the international System is simply that the ‘bogey of the evil empire’ has receded in the minds of citizens of all countries.
International Social, Economic, Cultural and Political Relations now assume open cordiality and cooperation between Russia, US, EU, and other countries of the world. A snippet of Russia’s trade relations shows that ‘Russia’s oil and gas exports last year accounted for almost 40% of the government’s budget’ BCA Research said in a recent note. ’According to Russia’s central bank, crude and product revenue last year amounted to just under $180 billion, while pipeline and LNG shipments of Natural Gas generated close to $62 billion last year’.
One remote cause Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is the US’s incremental withdrawal from the international theatres of military engagement and influence. The withdrawal seemed to have started under President Obama. His idea seemed that let the US review and have a change in Military engagement overseas!!! Indeed, to cease to be the ‘policeman’ of the world. A position that upheld international peace in Europe and the Asia. Putin’s Russia then calculated that having a pliant US President could hasten that perceived US withdrawal.
US under Donald Trump was anything but coordinated or stable both at home and in her international relations. Trump associated more with dictators and practiced more of person-to-person dealings with them. Trump’s meetings with Putin showed that he lacked understanding of the traditions of the US in foreign relations. He openly disgraced US’ intelligence community!! Putin moved quickly to corner the supposed vacuum left by the US.
Another remote reason for Putin’s invasion lies in the supposedly $2 billion costs to Russia for passing the natural gas pipeline under Ukraine. By merging the Ukraine with Russian Federation, the bill will become nonissue and Russia will have net profits from doing business with Germany and the EU!
The attempt to shield probably the corruption at the Presidency of Russian Federation from early discovery might constitute another remote cause for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. A thriving Ukrainian system will probably trigger the pressure of Russians towards a desire to emulate Ukraine. There is democracy with its freedoms operating in the country. That Ukrainians are now used to free press, new trappings of the social media and cultural affinities developing in the country.
Russians are not immune to the attractions brought by real democratic openness and commercial relations. Vladimir Putin was once KGB maximum director/controller, then Russia’s President later her Prime Minister.
He later transformed again to be Russian President a second time. He closed open democratic party participation. The young man that challenged him at polls, he kidnapped him, pumped poisonous substance into his body. He was rushed to Germany just in time, His blood was cleansed of the poison. The young man returned to Russia again to contest the lordship of Putin. He has now been locked behind the cell in Russia now.
This illustrates how Putin and those surrounding him are afraid of a breakdown of the Russian centrally controlled economy driven Political system. The beneficiaries of the system are the corrupt few at the top. Putin has been reported to be in stupendous wealth. He has been observed to have spoken of his preference for a return to Cold War International system. He has been threatening to put the nuclear arsenal on alert! He has even been saying that the sanctions rained against Russia are declarations of war!
The only perceived immediate cause of Putin’s Russia is the Putin’s frozen cold war brain! He has long stayed in power. He was in demand during the ‘cold war’ and since the end of ‘cold war’ where new technology has changed many indices of economic, social, cultural, and military spheres, his influence has started to wane. Ukraine democratic credentials could be intimidating to a closed economy represented by Russia. Ukraine’s 44 million determined population cannot be but a competitor to Russia.
The rules based international order has served the people of the world. The UN system came alive by the observance of this international order. Russian citizens, Chinese citizens, McDonalds Franchises and other US companies, the EU companies, and the newly completed gas pipelines from Russia to Germany yet to be approved for use, are real life turn around relations among countries and their citizens before the madness of Putin’s Russia invasion of Ukraine. There is hardly any country existing in the international system that harbours pure ethnic homogeneity. Inherited Borders of countries have been upheld for purpose of Countries internal administration and peace. Forceful re-drawing of international boundaries is against the ‘rules based international order’. An act of aggression is committed by any Country that has tried to do so.
Russia is not a Superpower. Russia is a pretender to be a Superpower. Putin has been self-seeking. He wants Russia to be placed on the same table with the US. China has more indices of a Superpower than Russia. In the 21st century, there are more weapons of war with built-in precision. Mass of troops are no longer needed to achieve military objectives. Crude demolition of Civilian otherwise referred to as soft targets by Russia is an indication of the level of her power status!!If Russia a medium power cannot use precision weapons to make her statement in Ukraine, a country that shares landed borders with her!! Ukraine, an independent country with 44 million of determined people should not be dictated to. Hear Putin, ‘military action could only be halted only if Kyiv ceases hostilities and fulfils the well-known demands of Russia’. It is likely that a similar India/ Pakistan uneasy relations may soon develop between Russia and Ukraine. Russia can never subjugate Ukraine. It is better for Putin’s Russia to forget recreating old sphere of influence. It will never happen again! Modern technology has outlined the non-relevance of such strategic thinking. It has just come off the propaganda mill that Putin’s Russia is no longer seeking a regime change in Ukraine. Who will ever believe whatever information comes from Putin’s Russia again? In fact, it is Russia that needs a regime change! Putin has overstayed his welcome. An erratic man Putin as President of Russia is as dangerous as when US had to contend with Donald Trump. The big difference is that the US Political System checkmated Trump. Citizens are allowed to decide their leaders in a free and fair elections at intervals. Even as we are analysing Putin’s Russia invasion of Ukraine, former twice impeached US President Donald Trump is still deluding himself while misleading the members of US second most important Political Party with a big lie that he won the 2020 US Presidential elections! He is alive and not hanged!! Can Putin’s Russia allow citizens to have access to real life streaming of the invasion of Ukraine, on whose behalf the security of Russia is at stake? Closing of Russian electronic and Print media that are not government controlled and arresting over 3,000 citizens protesting the invasion in more than 30 cities of Russia speaks a lot about Putin’s Russia.
Here comes another cold war period of international system!!! The UN voting by 141 countries on the Russia’s invasion demonstrated misunderstanding of the issues at stake. Russia propaganda is talking of areas of influence which should be no-go area. Putin is a spent force. He is going to be hunted for years to come. Russians’ avoidable deaths and more importantly avoidable distortions to world economic, sports, cultural, trade and political systems will not be forgotten in a hurry. All the happenings are being recorded in coloured and by high-definition technological instruments.
Is there a way out of the Putin’s Russia invasion of Ukraine? The strongman of Russia has become like a bull inside a chinaware shop, how to guide him out of the shop without destroying everything inside the shop! He has been reported to having changed his goal in invading Ukraine. He no longer wants regime change! Who will take him at his word? He has been reported to have ‘assured’ leaders of States who had considered him a sane person by pleading with him to stay off war but to accept diplomacy, that he had no intention of invading Ukraine! The world now knows who Vladimir Putin is. There are already echoes of Putin’s boasting that “Sweden and Finland won’t join NATO either at his watch, adding that Russia will survive without the West, its them who can’t survive without Russia” He was observed to have vowed.
A regime change in Putin’s Russia can be the ultimate answer. The wishes of the citizens of Russia are of secondary importance to Putin. He has made up his mind that he will prefer a new ‘Cold War’ international system where countries are divided along West and East. Those nomenclatures have gradually been discarded for overlapping bilateral and multilateral relations.
APC National Convention, Matters Arising and the Threats
Conducting the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Convention in February 2022 as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari no doubt is a welcome development, especially as most stakeholders of the party believe that the Gov. Mai Mala Buni-led APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) has over stayed its welcome.
The Buni-led APC CECPC, which currently pilots the party`s affairs, was inaugurated on June 25, 2020, to, among other things, conduct a national convention for the election of new National Working Committee (NWC) members to manage the party`s affairs.
While some members of the party have decided to just sit and watch unfolding events in the party, others believe that conducting its National Convention in February 2022, will help douse tension arising from its congresses.
Even as agitation mounts on why the national convention must hold, the Chief Whip of the Senate, Sen.Orji Uzor Kalu, in a recent letter to Buni, urged the committee and its members to consider postponing the party’s national convention.
The former Abia governor appealed to the party to consider conducting the presidential primaries and election of National Working Committee (NWC) members of the party on the same day.
To him, holding the convention in February without sorting out issues of disagreements that came up during the party`s congresses will lead to implosion.
In reacting to Kalu`s suggestion, concerned APC Stakeholders, said because the former Abia governor was not a founding member of the APC, he has no right to say the party’s national convention should not hold.
Alhaji Abdullahi Dauda, spokesman of the group which is a sub political group within the APC, stressed that holding the party’s national convention is critical to avoid issues within its ranks and files.
“Kalu has PDP to fall back to if the court gives judgement against the actions of the Buni-led APC CECPC in future, while we don’t have where to go, because APC is all we have.
“Therefore, members of the APC CECPC should rise and save the party before it’s too late.
“It is our hope and belief that the CECPC will not employ any delay tactics that will result to further postpone the national convention from the February 2022 date as it has done in the past,’’ Dauda said.
He noted that the original six months mandate of the Buni-led committee was extended to almost by 18 months.
According to him, the major, if not the only task before the committee as of today, is the conduct of the party`s national convention which must be pursued with all vigour and seriousness it deserves.
He reiterated the group`s earlier position that the upcoming national convention must not only be free, fair and transparent, but must be seen to be so by all party men and women.
To Dauda, the convention must be open, credible and devoid of any form of imposition in whatever guise.
“It is time the APC again, subject the emergence of its leadership to the will and consent of the majority of party members, rather than the backdoor consensus arrangements of any bloc or group.
“The Concerned APC Stakeholders, in their avowed commitment to ensuring that our party is returned to its core progressive ideals and foundation, will continue to watch the processes leading to the convention closely,” he said.
Dauda added that the group would ensure that only individuals with requisite pedigree emerge as new leaders of the APC.
He appealed to members of the APC CECPC to resist further temptation to postpone the party’s national convention in the interest of larger party members.
Dauda equally appealed to President Buhari to call the committee to order before it becomes too late.
The APC CECPC, in a bid to prove its readiness to conduct the national convention in February 2022, said it will set up a budget sub-committee and other relevant structures ahead of the party’s National Convention, a decision that was applauded by most members of the party.
Dr Salihu Lukman, Director-General Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), while expressing appreciation for the steps taken so far, commended Buni and his committee for rising up to the occasion and affirming that the February date for the party`s national convention is sacrosanct.
He, however, said there is need for the committee to go a step further by announcing the national convention date, stressing that it must remain proactive and ensure that certain issues are not allowed to go into speculation.
“Information about the date of the convention, I think should be made public so that every party member knows when the convention is going to hold in February,’’ he said.
Lukman, while acknowledging the crisis in some of the party`s state chapters, said there is the need for its statutory organs to meet regularly to deepen negotiations within its ranks and files, adding that the party`s leadership should prioritise internal negotiations.
He particularly appealed to APC leaders to prioritise sustaining relationship, noting that the major challenge of politics in the country is poor management of relationship among party leaders.
“This is creating a lot of internal crisis, and I believe that as we move towards the party`s national convention, we should resume meetings of statutory organs of the party.
“Because that will help to resolve a number of issues, whether it is that of congresses or any other disagreement. One meeting can settle everything.
“Our leaders should be able to convene a meeting, possibly, a meeting of National Caucus or National Executive Committee (NEC), before the National Convention,’’ he said.
Lukman, however, noted that the Buni-led CECPC has demonstrated good capacity to make sacrifices, which, he said, is the way to go.
He said it is important for party leaders to embrace negotiation and ensure that meetings took place and decisions taken are respected.
According to him, it is the capacity of the party`s organs to meet that provides a platform for negotiations that will move the party forward.
The Saliu Mustapha Campaign Organisation, while also applauding the APC CECPC on its decision to set up a budget sub-committee and other relevant structures ahead of the party’s National Convention, said the decision showed that the committee is committed to the mandate given to it by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).
Saliu Mustapha is one of the frontline national chairmanship aspirants of the APC.
Mr Dapo Okubanjo, of his campaign organisation, said the move is a sign that the APC CECPC is prepared to ignore Kalu`s call to defer the convention.
“We see the move as a sign that the CECPC is prepared to ignore calls to defer the convention and work in line with the position of majority of party stakeholders who are already bracing up for February 2022.
“We are looking forward to the committee naming members of the budget sub-committee and of other structures in order for them to begin work in earnest, and set a definite date for the convention,” he said.
Like the PGF DG, Okubanjo advised the Buni-led committee to, however, go a step further to prove critics wrong by releasing the guidelines for the convention as well as set up other sub-committees as soon as possible.
“This will go a long way in laying to rest all sorts of suggestions about the intentions of the interim party executives,” he said.
He urged the APC CECPC to reject any proposals or suggestions at variance with the clear position of President Buhari on the forthcoming national convention.
However, as the clock ticks, a sub group of the APC: the Progressive Mandate Movement (PMM), has threatened to occupy the party’s national secretariat until the right thing with regards to the party’s national convention is done.
The group, which claimed to be a foundational group of the APC, appealed to the Buni-led APC CECPC to ensure that the party’s national convention is conducted on February 5, 2022.
It also urged the APC CECPC to ensure the immediate release of processes leading to the national convention, latest by Jan. 5, 2022, to avoid crisis within the party’s ranks and files.
It called on the Buni-led CECPC not to prolong the date for the party’s national convention a day beyond Feb. 5, 2022.
“This organisation has always been in the forefront of upholding the progressive ideology of our party and we will not stop at this critical period.
“The delay in conducting the overdue APC national convention is already giving the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) some advantages, making it look like nobody is in charge of the ruling party.
“We therefore call on the APC national caretaker committee not to go beyond Feb. 5, 2022, to hold our party’s national convention,” Alhaji Abdullahi Mohammed, National Coordinator of the group, said recently.
He said the group is in possession of the instructions given to the committee by the Presidency on the need to conduct the party’s national convention on Feb. 5.
He, therefore, appealed to the CECPC to respect the party’s leaders and President Buhari by releasing to the public all the necessary information concerning the forthcoming national convention.
“We also warn that if nothing is made public before Jan. 5, 2022, we shall launch an aggressive operation #OCCUPYAPCNATIONALSECRETARIAT to force our leaders to do the right thing.
“We made bold to say that we do not have another party and we will not allow our leaders to make mistakes that will eventually make us lose elections in 2023,” the statement said.
To Sen. Victor Lar, Campaign Director of Sen. Ali-Modu Sheriff Campaign Organisation, one of the frontline national chairmanship aspirants of the APC, while the February date is welcomed, there is need for the APC National Executive Committee to meet ahead of the national convention to ratify the February date to avoid issues in future.
The APC national convention has been described by most of the party stakeholders as the factor that will determine the party’s future. To them, it will either make the party stronger or weaken the more its foundation which had been threatened by the outcome of its congresses and internal wranglings among its members in some of its state chapters. Time will however tell. (NAN)
PDP Governors Forum, NNPC, CBN and State of National Economy
By Valiant Okongko
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel on Monday played host to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors across the nation. The Governors who met under the aegis of the PDP Governors Forum spent the day in taking a critical look at the state of the nation. Led by its Chairman, Alhaji Aminu Tambunal of Sokoto state the Governors rose a 14 point communique.
The first ‘Salvo’ hit the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which the Governors accused of deliberately refusing to make its usual contributions to the Federation Account, thereby stiffling the economy of the states and Local Governments and making them unable to make more employment, development and general well being of Nigerians.
The meeting emphasized that under the Nigerian Constitution, the NNPC is duly bound to remit proceeds of sales or business of petroleum available to the three tiers of Government.
The meeting also frowned at a situation where the NNPC decides on discrepancies and often whimsical manner on how much to spend as well as how to remit to the Federation Account.
It, therefore, called on other agencies of the Federal Government including Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Federal Inland Revenue (FIRS), Nigeria Customs and similar organizations that are statutory required to make contributions into the Federation Account to do more.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was dragged to the floor of the Forum and was accused of operating as an independent Government within a Government.
“A situation where CBN creates money, decides how much of it to spend, on what to spend it on without any forum of control or supervision is potently sensitive of our Constitutional order.
“The Apex Bank has become such an Octopus that it threatens State Governments publicly without decorum about sanctions on any attempt to question its Modus Operande”, the Governors observed and urged the bank to take immediate steps to halt the depreciation of naira.
The forum also frowned at the rising and seemingly uncontrollable debt profile of Nigeria with over 80% of normal appropriation spent on debt servicing.
“All the gains made by the PDP Government under General Obasanjo, GCFR where Nigeria exited its foreign debt obligations have been destroyed.
“Borrowing for frivolous items should be discontinued, rather money should be borrowed for productive purposes as Nigeria’s current debt of over N36Trillion is becoming clearly unsustainable relative to our earnings and GDP. The borrowing spree of APC administration if remained unchecked, will surely lead Nigeria into unavoidable bankruptcy,” the Forum further stated.
The Forum examined the activity of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission and urged it to send the revised Revenue Allocation Formula to the President for onward transmission to the National Assembly for enactment, failure which the Chairman and members of the Commission should resign forth with or be relieved of their duties.
Concerned by the need to diversify the economy, to generate more funds for the Country, the forum called for more involvement of states in mining and geological activities within their states.
This it said, was necessary in order to compliment Oil as a foreign exchange earner for Nigeria.
The meeting called on the APC Federal Government to think outside the box and find solutions to the challenges facing electricity supply in Nigeria as the current system is certainly most delivering power needed for Nigeria’s rapid industrialization.
On the recurring question of insecurity in Nigeria, the forum reiterated the need to decentralized the operations of security apparatus of state even within the existing legal framework to ensure the input of local operators in State and Local Governments in policing and security.
It reminded the President that he has ultimate authority under the Constitution over security organization even through the states have a role to play.
Cooperation and synergy between the states and the Federal Government in security operations is critical insecurity in Nigeria.
Concluding the meeting extolled the achievements of the chief host, Governor Udom Emmanuel observing that he has brought prudence, innovation and competence on the management of states resources with major landmark projects and interventions.
Governors in attendance included Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwai CFR- Sokoto State- Chairman; Okezie Ikpeazu- Abia State- Vice Chairman; Udom Emmanuel Akwa Ibom State- member; Douye Diri Bayelsa State- member; Samuel Ortom, Benue State – member; Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State- member; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi – Enugu State, member; and Nyesom Wike, Rivers.
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