All posts by Adekunle Best

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Five things about Nigeria: The superpower with no power


More than 84 million Nigerians are geared up to vote on 16 February, but what do you know about Africa’s most-populous nation and largest economy?

1) Afrobeats – one of its greatest exports

Nigerian musicians are touring the world and picking up awards at the forefront of the global craze for Afrobeats. This is not to be confused with the late, great Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat (without the s) – Nigeria’s soundtrack to the 1970s and 1980s, which mixed traditional rhythms with funk and jazz.

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One of Africa’s richest musicians, Wizkid began singing at the age of 11 in a church choir

These new stars, including Wizkid, Davido, Tiwa Savage and Jidenna, are proving to be some of Nigeria’s biggest exports – so much so that global music giants such as Universal Music Group and Sony have set up offices in the country. Davido’s Fall, released in 2017, is the most popular Nigerian music video ever – clocking up more than 100 million views and counting on YouTube.

“This West African phenomenon is not only dominating the sound of the continent, it has flown into club festivals and radio playlists across the globe,” DJ Rita Ray told the BBC. “Afrobeats is also influencing genres from grime to RnB and music makers from Ed Sheeran to rappers Drake and Stefflon Don, who have all embraced Afrobeats in recent releases. And that’s not to forget British-Nigerian singer, songwriter MNEK, whose writing and production credits include Beyoncé, Dua Lipa, Madonna, Diplo and countless more. Add up all the hits and he’d have more than a billion views on YouTube.”

The sound evolved from Nigerian and Ghanaian Afro-pop music, incorporating genres like hiplife, azonto and dancehall – and it was D’banj’s track Oliver Twist that launched the Afrobeats bandwagon in 2012, getting to number nine in the UK charts, she says.

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Other Nigerian talent to look out for include Afrobeats musicians such as Yemi Alade, Tekno, Falz, Olamide, Simi, Mr Eazi, Mologo and Patoranking. “What makes Afrobeats so compelling is rhythm – Nigerians have always been hot on rhythms, it’s the driving force of their music. Afrobeats takes this forward by stripping back to one of the component parts of their rich polyrhythms,” says Rita Ray.

2) Acclaimed authors

It’s not just music where Nigeria packs a cultural punch – it also boasts some of the world’s greatest writers. Top of the list comes the late Chinua Achebe whose debut novel, Things Fall Apart, has become a classic of post-colonial literature selling more than 20 million copies since its publication in 1958. It has also been translated into 57 languages. Wole Soyinka became the first African to be awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1986 and Ben Okri’s The Famished Road won the coveted Man Booker Prize in 1991.

AFP

Chinua Achebe is regarded as the father of African literature

And contemporary writers like Chigozie Obioma, Helon Habila, Chibundu Onuzo Sefi Atta and Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani are keeping up the tradition, to name just a few of those scooping up prizes.

“Nigerians love to be seen and heard. There are probably hundreds of Africans telling amazing stories all over the continent, but Nigerians are getting most of the attention because we are bold and loud,” Nwaubani told the BBC. “We aim to be at the top in everything we do. We make sure that everyone knows whenever we enter the building. Even those of us based in our home country, where there is a dearth of adequate publishing structures, are succeeding in commanding the attention of publishers and readers across the globe.”

Given that Nigerians have a proverb to hand for every occasion, it is no surprise they are such fantastic storytellers, while the country’s thriving multi-million dollar film industry, known as Nollywood, is testament to their love of a dramatic plot. Nigeria’s multitude of ethnicities also adds to the creative mix.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ‘We all breathe misogyny’

Arguably the face of feminism in the 21st Century is award-winning writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who neatly summed up the feminist cause in her book Dear Ijeawele: “The knowledge of cooking does not come pre-installed in a vagina.”

3) Set to overtake the US

You’re into dangerous territory in Nigeria if you try to establish which ethnic or religious group has the biggest population as it brings to the fore a multitude of rivalries – and tensions over money as the larger a state’s population, the greater the budget allocated by the central government.

Yet there is no denying that Nigeria’s population is growing at a dizzying speed. By 2047 it will have overtaken the US to become the world’s third-largest nation with 387 million people, according to UN projections.

Bar chart showing Nigeria's expected population growth compared with that of the US

It is also a very young nation with more than 40% of the population of 196 million under the age of 14. And young people are set to play a huge role in this election with more than half of registered voters under the age of 35.

The huge growth presents an opportunity for the country with its entrepreneurial spirit as it could in theory take advantage of the economic dividend that a young dynamic population can bring. This is especially true as the workforce in more developed nations is getting older. But it is also a challenge for policy makers.

Young graduates can frequently be heard complaining that there are not enough high-quality jobs available, and many speak about hoping to leave the country.

Looking at population growth in Africa in general, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has warned that without proper planning it could become a political catastrophe.

4) Lots of oil, little electricity

Some would argue that the real soundtrack of Nigeria is not Afrobeats, but the din of diesel generators as most Nigerians, even if they are connected to mains electricity, have to rely on them because power cuts are common. Some areas can go without power for weeks.

This is despite the fact that Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer and currently pumps out around two million barrels a day. The tax revenue the government receives from the industry and the foreign exchange it gets from its export are vital to the economy. Though many Nigerians would be quick to remind you that much of its oil wealth has been squandered over the years.

Make-up artists used phone lights during Lagos Fashion Week in October when the power failed

At one stage Nigerians used to joke that the old state-run power provider Nepa stood for “Never Expect Power Always”. In a bid to overhaul the industry, the state firm was split up and privatised – a process that was completed in November 2013. Yet complaints about unfair billing and blackouts remain constant.

Electricity production has steadily increased since 2000 but it has struggled to keep up with population growth, according to the International Energy Agency. Electricity supply per Nigerian has barely changed since 2005 because the population has grown in that time by approximately 57 million, which is the current population of South Africa.

Just more than half of all Nigerian homes have mains electricity, but there is a big urban-rural divide. More than four out of every five homes in towns and cities have mains power while only a third of homes in the countryside do, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. As well as being the continent’s biggest oil producer, it is also its largest economy, but its power problems have hampered growth.

5) Home of Boko Haram

The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls brought the world’s attention to an Islamist insurgency led by Boko Haram militants. Their kidnapping in 2014 of more than 200 girls from a school in Chibok, in north-eastern Nigeria, underlined the heart of their cause – opposition to Western-style education.

AFP

To date 112 Chibok girls remain missing

The group was founded in 2002 in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri, where local residents dubbed it Boko Haram, which loosely translated from the region’s Hausa language as “Western education is forbidden”.

Historically, the Muslim rulers of northern Nigeria had resisted direct British colonial rule. But Andrew Walker, author of a book about Boko Haram, “Eat the Heart of the Infidel”, says it has even deeper roots. “There is a long history of Islamic radicalism in northern Nigeria, where two caliphates preceded colonialism,” he told the BBC. “More recently, the notion that corrupt politicians were not Islamic became the springboard for Muslim cleric Mohammed Yusuf to found Boko Haram.

“The political culture of northern Nigeria, where local politicians court groups like Yusuf’s hoping they can aid them in their political ends, incubated the group in its early days. Even before Yusuf and his followers turned to violence, the Maiduguri establishment worried about the mixing in of a charismatic preacher and his poverty-bound devotees to the pot of corrupt electoral politics.”

AFP

Boko Haram released many propaganda videos when it was at its strongest militarily

Mr Yusuf’s death in police custody nearly a decade ago led the group to launch military operations to create an Islamic state. Many thousands of people were kidnapped and recruited into its ranks, and at one stage the group controlled swathes of territory across three state, imposing strict Sharia. At its peak, in 2015, Boko Haram was ranked the world’s deadliest terror group by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

But in the last four years, the military, with international support, has managed to take back control of much of this land and rescued many of those taken hostage. Yet the militants are still proving deadly, with fighters from a Boko Haram faction loyal to Islamic State being behind an upsurge in violence ahead of the elections. And 112 of the Chibok schoolgirls are still missing.

MUHAMMADU BUHARI (APC)Embattled and determined leader

Born in 1942 to a Muslim family in northern Katsina state
Former soldier, led military regime in 1980s, remembered for strictness
Tardy civil servants had to perform frog jumps in public
Won 2015 presidential election, the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent, with promise to beat corruption and Boko Haram insurgents
Told wife she belonged in kitchen after she complained in a BBC interview about his government
After long absence from illness, had to deny rumours that he had been replaced in public by a lookalike

ATIKU ABUBAKAR (PDP)Tycoon and veteran power-broker

Born in 1946 in northern state of Adamawa
Co-owner of multinational oil services company that started life in a Lagos shipping container
Oversaw privatisations during two terms as vice-president.
Fought against corruption charges, describing them as politically motivated
Founded American University which gave scholarships to some of the “Chibok girls” that survived Boko Haram kidnapping
His father, a devout Muslim, was briefly jailed for trying to stop him from attending a Western-style school

Breaking: IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu calls off election boycott”:


The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has called off the election boycott order he had issues his supporters in the South East.

Mazi Kanu, in a statement by IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, said due to “our terms and conditions had been met by those wishing us to lift the ban on voting, it was unanimously agreed that the boycott should be lifted.”

The statement partly reads thus: “It’s important we notify the world at large and the indefatigable global IPOB family in particular that our supreme leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has called-off the election boycott in Biafraland.

“After a brief emergency session of the Directorate of State late last night presided over by our leader,  it was determined that all our terms and conditions had been met by those wishing us to lift the ban on voting, it was unanimously agreed that the boycott should be lifted.

“The signed document agreeing to IPOB terms and conditions are in our possession and will be made public in due course.

“We can, therefore, state with utmost sense of responsibility and pride that IPOB has accomplished what no other people or group has been able to do in the history of our people. Without prejudice, this will go down as the defining moment when the irreversibility of the restoration of Biafra was firmly entrenched in the subconscious of all and sundry. As a result of which we can state categorically that Biafra is a lot closer than we think as a result of this.”

South Africa warrant for businessman Ajay Gupta cancelled”:


Ajay Gupta (L) – pictured here with his brother Atul and Duduzane Zuma – has denied any wrongdoing

South African authorities have said that controversial businessman Ajay Gupta is no longer wanted by police.

An arrest warrant for Mr Gupta, issued in February 2018 for corruption charges, was cancelled on Thursday.

The authorities had sought to question Mr Gupta on allegations that he attempted to bribe former deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas.

Mr Gupta, who is a close friend of ex-President Jacob Zuma, maintains his innocence and denies knowing Mr Jonas.

Mr Jonas told the commission investigating state corruption that Mr Gupta had offered him a $42m (£32m) to take up the post of finance minister.

He said this happened during a meeting set up by Duduzane Zuma – Mr Zuma’s son.

Corruption charges against Duduzane Zuma were provisionally withdrawn last month, while evidence continues to be heard by the corruption commission.

As a consequence, police say, they had to withdraw the arrest warrant against Mr Gupta.

It was exactly a year ago on Thursday that the elite Hawks police unit shocked South Africa by raiding the Guptas’ lavish compound in Johannesburg, only to find that the brothers had disappeared abroad.

According to the BBC’s Vauldi Carelse in Johannesburg, Mr Gupta is believed to be living in Dubai.

Local media have reported that arrest warrants have also been issued for the two other Gupta brothers, but this has not been confirmed by the Hawks.

Armed Masked Men Who Assaulted Sam George, Others To Face The Law”:


Minister of State in charge of National security, Mr. Bryan Acheampong, has given strong indications that the armed masked men who assaulted civilians at the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election will be made to face the full rigours of the law.

Mr. Acheampong said he has also instructed the Director of Operations for the National security to identify and fish out the man who assaulted the Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Mr. Sam George during the recently held Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, and remove him from operations of the National Security Council.

Speaking at the public hearing of the Justice Emile Short Commission of Inquiry on Thursday, Mr. Bryan Acheampong was, however, unable to state exactly what other punishment will be meted out the said individual who assaulted the legislator as well as his other fully masked armed colleagues who were caught on camera brutalizing civilians.

The Abetifi MP also disclosed that all of such masked and armed men, who assaulted individuals will be made available for questioning into circumstances leading to their misconduct.

The Minister of State in charge of National Security, also explained to the commission of inquiry that, the presence of masked armed men at the by-election was “not a failed operation” despite all the condemnation from civil society organizations, opposition political parties, and the general public.

According to him, the armed and masked men numbering about 60 of them deployed did not fire gunshots indiscriminately as reported by the media.

Appearing before the Justice Emile Short commission of Inquiry Mr. Acheampong explained that the armed security operatives seen in khaki and masks did not misconduct themselves in their handling of the volatile security situation during the by-election.

was used in their arrest after they initially resisted arrest.

Mr. Bryan Acheampong who is also a Member of Parliament of the Abetifi Constituency in his defence for the national security operatives said the gunshots they fired were warning shots and not directed at any person.

He alleged that all the gunshots wounds took place inside the house of the NDC parliamentary candidate for the by-election, Mr. Delali Kwesi Brempong.

“They tell me, that in the arrest of the nine people, six were injured I asked if it was from gunshots, they said no. They were resisting arrest and they applied minimal force in their language and sustained some injuries, they sent to the police station and they were given medical forms, so yes, some Ghanaians sustained injuries.”

Masked armed men were not part of Police operation – Ambrose Dery

The Interior Minister, Mr, Ambrose Dery in an interesting twist to the violence witnessed during the recently held Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, has earlier said the Police Service did not play any role in the disturbances.

Mr. Ambrose Dery who was first of to be invited to the public hearing of the commission of inquiry said, the Police service, which is under his ministry had no hand in the operations of the masked men who have been widely described in the media as party vigilantes aligned to the governing New Patriotic Party

He also disclosed that the vehicles used in transporting these masked and fully armed men to the La Bawaleshie polling centre, where most of the violence occurred, did not belong to the Police Service despite having the inscription “Police SWAT” on it and being driven by a uniformed police officer.

Mr. Ambrose Dery also noted he had no idea of the deployment of the masked men to the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency and only saw them on national television.

He also explained that the official report sent to him, by the IGP revealed that the masked men in Khaki uniforms were not personnel of the Ghana Police service.

“As reported to me, by the IGP, who was in charge of the operations, I will say that there were police deployed and there were also officers of the Ghana Immigration Service, also deployed in the 137 polling stations. That is what I know…”

“…I first saw on TV, some persons dressed in Khaki and some of them wearing masks and armed… and when I got the video, I forwarded it to the Police and he said these are not part of my men. I later got information that an officer of National security had said that they were national security operatives,” he said.

Background

The NDC withdrew from the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election following the shooting incident and ordered its polling agents and observers out of the area.

The masked men were caught on camera beating up civilians who did not resist arrest. The men, fully armed were also seen in the company of some police officers.

Some of these men believed to party vigilantes of the ruling NPP were seen in T-shirts with the inscription ‘NSC’ which translates as the National Security Council of which the President of the Republic heads.

The Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Samuel Nartey George, was seen being struck in the face by two security personnel in a viral video.

Mr. Bryan Acheampong, Minister of State in charge of National Security in an interview on the Citi Breakfast show, said his outfit deployed the masked men.

Boyloaf Endorses Buhari; Tompolo, Dagogo Deny Involvement”:


A group of ex-armed militants led by Victor Ebikabowei, alias Boyloaf, on Wednesday, endorsed Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, for re-election.

Mr Ebikabowei, once notorious for the long-run militancy in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta, made the endorsement ahead of the polls on Saturday.

A source close to Boyloaf had told PREMIUM TIMES four other ex-militant leaders were part of the endorsement move.

The source mentioned Government Ekpemupolo, or Tompolo as he is more widely known; Ateke Tom, now traditional ruler; Bibrope Ajube, also known as General Shoot-at-Sight; and Farah Dagogo.

However, none of the four men mentioned by the source was present at the press conference addressed by Boyloaf in Port Harcourt on Wednesday. And at least two of them – Tompolo and Mr Dagogo – have denied their involvement.

PREMIUM TIMES have not been able to verify if the other two – Mr Ateke and General Shoot-at-Sight – consented to the endorsement yet.

Okowa Campaign AD

In a statement to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday, Mr Dagogo, who is the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate for the Bonny/ Degema Federal Constituency election, reaffirmed his support for his party’s candidate and Mr Buhari’s main challenger, Atiku Abubakar.

“As an astute and grounded politician, my support and dedication are geared towards ensuring the total victory of all PDP candidates including our presidential candidate, Alh. Atiku Abubakar, Rivers State Governor, Chief (Barr.) Nyesom Wike, among others,” said Mr Dagogo

He added that his name was included to attract public sympathy for Mr Buhari, “owing to my popularity and the unfailing love the people of the Niger Delta have for me as a shining light among the youths.”

Similarly, Tompolo, through a spokesperson, Paul Benimibo, said he was not aware of the endorsement and that he had not been in touch with Boyloaf since 2015.

“Tompolo is presently troubled with the way and manner his kinsmen in Gbaramatu Kingdom are being harassed and intimidated by President Buhari military on daily basis,” said the spokesperson, quoted by a local newspaper, Gbaramatu Voice, on Wednesday.

He wondered why his principal would back Mr Buhari: “To further kill his kinsmen?”

Tompolo is wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over money laundering allegations.

Why we endorsed Buhari

In his address on Wednesday, Boyloaf said the “crux of our resolution”, following consultations, was to prioritise the interest of the Niger Delta.

“Our interest is presently being served by the present administration which has shown more resolve to engage with the critical issues of the Niger Delta beyond the surface dressing of the past,” said Boyloaf.

He added that: “In the past, politicians would always throw money at the Niger Delta problem but this has not taken us anywhere. The Niger Delta in spite of its wealth has continued to remain the poorest region of the country in spite of the dominance of a single party.”

He identified the sustenance and reform of the amnesty programme, first initiated by late President Umaru Yar’Adua, the Ogoni cleanup programme, improvement of the local through a commitment to the development of modular refineries, and Infrastructural projects, such as the East-West Road, as the motivational variables for the endorsement.

He said the amnesty programme in the focused on palliatives using stipends to pacify the youth of the region, once involved in militancy.

“(Under Mr Buhari), We have seen a resolve to reform the programme in such a way that focuses more on the human capital side over the routine welfare and palliative payments,” said Boyloaf.

“This is what progress means to us and this is the type of programme we would align with and encourage.”

He added: “All of these achievements find expression in a 20-point plan for the Niger Delta which has been presented to us by the Petroleum Minister, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu. The plan also covers the need for government and Oil companies working in our region to create at least a 100,000 jobs yearly. The plan for the Niger Delta is what we need now for a more sustainable future.

“As witnesses to the commitment of this government to these issues that we have presented over the years through various fora and the tangible achievements we have seen as it concerns our region over the last four years, we have decided to endorse the government to continue beyond 2019.”

The Niger Delta is a region where Mr Buhari’s main challenger, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, is expected to record a clear win.

Apart from being traditionally a “PDP home,” Mr Abubakar’s core campaign vow to restructure the country to allow states have greater responsibilities and control of resources appeals to the region, long drawn in agitations for resource control and more development.

However, the endorsement of Mr Buhari by the ex-warriors who wield some influence in the region may swing some votes across the states in the region to APC.

But, for a professor of Political Science at the University of Ibadan, Osisioma Nwolise, the endorsement may not count much to anything.

“I don’t believe in politics of endorsement or adoption,” said Mr Nwolise, speaking with PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday.

“That some people adopt a candidate or you see crowds may not translate to results. Many are paid. You only know what people have chosen to do by checking the results after the election.”

Nigeria stampede: Deaths at Buhari rally in Port Harcourt”:


Tens of thousands of people attended the rally at Port Harcourt’s stadium

At least 15 people have been killed in a stampede at a campaign rally for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, a hospital spokesman says.

The incident happened at a stadium in the southern city of Port Harcourt when the crowd surged towards a gate after President Buhari’s speech.

Mr Buhari is running for a second term in tightly contested elections due to be held on Saturday.

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar is seen as his main contender.

The two leaders have signed an agreement in the capital, Abuja, pledging to promote peace and follow the legal process if there is a dispute after the vote.

What happened at the rally?

The incident happened after President Buhari delivered his speech shortly after 15:00 local time (14:00 GMT) on Tuesday at the Adokiye Amiesimaka stadium.

Most of the victims are reported to have fallen and been trampled as the crowd tried to force its way through a partially locked gate to follow Mr Buhari as he left the arena.

The bodies of 12 women and three men were taken to the mortuary at the University of Port of Harcourt Teaching Hospital, spokesman Ken Daniel Elebiga said.

Twelve people were admitted for treatment but three have since been discharged, he added.

Mr Buhari’s office said the president had been informed about “the tragic deaths of several members of his All Progressives Congress [APC] party in a stampede”.

Main presidential candidates

MUHAMMADU BUHARI (APC)Embattled and determined leader


Born in 1942 to a Muslim family in northern Katsina state
Former soldier, led military regime in 1980s, remembered for strictness
Tardy civil servants had to perform frog jumps in public
Won 2015 presidential election, the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent, with promise to beat corruption and Boko Haram insurgents
Told wife she belonged in kitchen after she complained in a BBC interview about his government
After long absence from illness, had to deny rumours that he had been replaced in public by a lookalike

ATIKU ABUBAKAR (PDP)Tycoon and veteran power-broker

Born in 1946 in northern state of Adamawa
Co-owner of multinational oil services company that started life in a Lagos shipping container
Oversaw privatisations during two terms as vice-president.
Fought against corruption charges, describing them as politically motivated
Founded American University which gave scholarships to some of the “Chibok girls” that survived Boko Haram kidnapping
His father, a devout Muslim, was briefly jailed for trying to stop him from attending a Western-style school

Liberia illicit gold mine collapse: Five bodies found”:


Liberia is rich in mineral deposits – and full of illicit mines

The bodies of five people have been recovered from a collapsed pit in an illicit gold mine in north-eastern Liberia, a local official has said.

Around 35 people are still believed to be missing after the walls of the pit caved in on Saturday.

The search for the dead and for any survivors is being carried out without specialist equipment by miners using their bare hands.

The gold field in Nimba County is a major centre for illicit mining.

According to the county administrator, David Dorr Cooper, more than 100,000 people work in the mine, near the town of Tapeta.

He said the field attracts workers from across the region, some of whom are armed. He described the area around the mine as “lawless”.

Local authorities have so far failed in their efforts to shut down the unregulated site.

Poverty and a weak economy mean there is no shortage of Liberians willing to risk death in illicit gold mines, says the BBC’s Jonathan Paye-Layleh in the capital, Monrovia.

Map of Liberia, showing Nimba county

Mr Cooper told the BBC that the miners conducting the rescue operation themselves faced dangerous conditions in the pit.

They were using their hands to remove debris, he said, and would not use excavators – even if these were available – because of the risk of harming any trapped survivors.

The five bodies recovered on Wednesday had been swiftly buried because they were already decomposing, he said.

A senior doctor at Jackson F Doe Memorial Hospital in Tappita told the BBC he had been treating survivors from Saturday’s disaster for cuts, broken limbs and dehydration.

Atiku Accuses Buhari of Stoking Violence, in Nigeria”:


Nigeria must return to path of development, says Jonathan

By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) of stoking the embers of violence in his campaigns.

This is as he urged Nigerians to reject any leader who tries to pit Nigerians against each other.

This comes as the former President Goodluck Jonathan also urged Nigerians to vote the PDP to return the country to the path of development.

Addressing a mammoth crowd of supporters at the PDP mega rally at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt Monday, Atiku said it was worrisome that a president would be inciting the citizens to violence when he should be preaching peace.

He accused Buhari of encouraging the people of Zamfara to violence when he visited them on Sunday.

He said: “Do you know what the president said yesterday (Sunday) in Zamfara? He told the people: Let us pray for rainfall; let us pray we grow food; let us pray we eat well; then we can make trouble. Is that what a president should say? Buhari, I am addressing you.

“This is a president who is preaching violence. And this is not the first time he has done so in this country. We are not going to allow any person to knock our heads together and make us fight.

“We want peace. We want development. We want prosperity. We want jobs. These are the things we want for this country. We are not ready to fight each other again. So, any leader who has come to instigate us to fight against each other, we will use our ballot paper to throw him out. Buhari must go.”

He also assured the people that he would protect the constitution if elected.

“I assure you that I will protect the constitution. Nobody has gone to court more than me to protect the constitution. I will protect separation of powers. I will not interfere with the National Assembly because I believe in checks and balances. I will not interfere with the judiciary because it is part and parcel of our checks and balances. I will uphold the rule of law. I will not allow rule of law to be trampled by anybody,” he said.

Atiku also assured the people of Rivers State and the Niger Delta that he would pursue restructuring of the country to ensure the development of all parts of the country.

“I am the author of restructuring. I will give it to Rivers State. I will give it to Niger Delta. We must restructure,” he said.

He also noted that it was under the Olusegun Obasanjo/Atiku presidency that the East-west Road was initied and vowed to ensure its speedy completion.

“The ports in Port Harcourt and Onne are dead under the APC. We will reactivate them so that we can create jobs for thousands of youths in Rivers State,” he said.

He accused the APC of not executing any projects in Rivers State or the Niger Delta region in the past four years and promised to reverse the trend when elected.

Also addressing the rally, former President Jonathan lamented that all indices of development had recorded negative growth since the APC came to power and called on the people to return the PDP to power if the country would be on the path of development again.

“The only person that can lead the country out of the woods now is Atiku. He will not discriminate between 95 and five per cent. He will treat all parts of the country equally. He has been tested and can be trusted. A vote for Atiku, PDP, is a vote for progress,” he said.

Atiku’s running mate, Mr. Peter Obi, also said it is only the PDP that can restore Rivers State and the entire Niger Delta to what it should be through restructuring and creation of jobs.

The National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, stated that the APC was now in disarray with the collapse of the North-west earlier considered a stronghold of the party.

“You saw what happened in Kano yesterday. It was a tsunami. The North-west is now for PDP. The APC is now in disarray, desperate and confused. They cannot gather the people again; that was why (Governor) el-Rufai will talk about ‘body bags’, the language of a terrorist,” he said.

The Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike assured the campaign team that Rivers State would vote massively for the PDP as that is the only party that the people of the state believe in.

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Rivers APC Guber Tussle: Supreme Court Decides Abe, Cole’s Fate Tuesday”: in Abuja


The Supreme Court will on Tuesday decide between Magnus Abe and Tonye Cole, who is the authentic candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 2, governorship election in Rivers State.

A five man Panel of the Supreme Court on Monday adjourned till Tuesday to deliver judgement on the appeal challenging the judgement delivered by the Port Harcourt division of the Federal High Court which set aside the 2 primaries conducted by two factions of the APC in Rivers state.

Presiding Judge, Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, announced that the Apex Court would deliver its judgement on the appeal shortly after both counsel for appellant, APC , Lateef Fagbemi and counsel for the respondents, Henry Bello, made their final submissions on the matter.

While one of the factions is headed by Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, the other is led by Senator Magnus Abe.

Fagbemi in praying the Apex Court to nullify the judgement of the trial court submitted that the trial court had no jurisdiction when it entertained the suit.

He also claimed that since the trial court had no jurisdiction, its judgement in the matter amount to a nullity and should be set aside.

Fagbemi specifically asked the Supreme Court to invoke section 22 of the Supreme Court Act and give final judgement in the matter to end the multiple cases arising from the Rivers State APC primary election.

On his part, counsel to the respondents in , Bello urged the Apex Court to dismiss the appeal of the APC on the ground that it had become a mere academic exercise having been overtaken by event.

He argued that by the decision of the apex court on February 8, 2019 which upheld the decision of the trial Court and barred APC from primary election, the case of APC had died and should be buried.

Bello told the court that the respondents led by Ibrahim Umar who were aggrieved by the violation of the Electoral Act and the 1999 constitution in the manner APC conducted pre- election matters in Rivers, had secured a consent judgement in their favour that the judgement still stands.

He urged the court to hold that the instant appeal has become accademic exercise.

The Apex Court after listening to the counsel, said judgement will be given Tuesay, while the reasons for its position would be given at a later date.

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Police Arrest Another PDP Chieftain in Kaduna “


Another chieftain of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kaduna State, Alhaji Yaro Makama, has been arrested.

Makama, a former chairman of the PDP in the state, was arrested on Monday morning by the police for alleged hate speech and was whisked to Abuja.

He was said to have been invited to the Kaduna State Police Command and upon honouring the invitation, he was taken to Abuja after writing a statement.

Makama’s arrest came less than 24 hours after the spokesman of the state PDP Campaign Organisation, Ben Bako, was arrested on Sunday evening by the Department of State Services (DSS) and taken to Abuja.

Bako was arrested for allegedly making inciting comments in a video clip recorded during the PDP campaign rally in Kafanchan, Jama’a Local Government Area of the state last week.

The Deputy Director General of the Campaign Organisation, Danjuma Sarki, who confirmed Makama’s arrest in a telephone interview, said the arrest was part of the grand design by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to clamp down on PDP members before the elections.

Sarki said: “This morning, Makama was invited by the state police command. He honoured the police invitation as a law abiding citizen.

“They accused him of hate speech and was asked to write a statement. We thought that after writing the statement, they will let him go, but surprisingly he was taken to Abuja after writing his statement.

“Yesterday (Sunday), when we addressed a press conference, we said there were plans by the state government to frame and arrest 150 prominent PDP members before the elections.

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