Op-Ed: Strange Bedfellows Merge To Fight Insurgency In Nigeria

Mere connection with what is known as a superior race will not permanently carry an individual forward unless he has individual worth- Booker T Washington.

Nigeria’s political history is replete with failed alliances and mergers. While the first and second republics had their own share of unsuccessful mergers, the return to democracy in 1999 saw the Alliance for Democracy (AD), which had swept the South-west in earlier polls, align with the All Peoples Party, APP, that dominated elections in the North with the intention of beating PDP at the presidential poll. It gave the PDP a good fight but failed to win the election.

Similarly in 2007, about 15 parties came together and formed the Action Congress, AC, but the party made little or no impact in the presidential election.

Before the 2011 elections, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) attempted to join forces in order to field a joint presidential candidate to challenge President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP. The move fell like a pack of badly arranged cards when the parties could not reach an agreement on who to field.

After the 2011 elections, leaders of the merging parties kick-started another move and set up various committees. The highlight of the move was the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

However, recent goings on in the country has led to another ‘merger’, this time around in the security apparatchik of the country to capture and return peace to Nigeria. The formation of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to protect borders of Niger, Chad and Nigeria from the growing influence of Boko Haram insurgents was the first step taken in that direction. How that has fared is left for you to ponder upon.

Despite this effort, insurgents have burnt schools, killed students and attacked military formations numerous times without been confronted by either the Nigerian Army or MNJTF when they fled Nigeria to seek safety in neighbouring countries. That is not to say they have never been repelled by the forces, they have, just not as much as they have been successful in carrying out their attacks.

The last straw that drew global attention was the abduction of over 200 girls from a secondary school in the north eastern town of Chibok in Borno state. This incident gave birth to another merger, with due respect to all parties involved, bound to fail, unless the modus operandi is changed.

Following the #BringBackOurGirls protests in and outside Nigeria, world powers- United States, United Kingdom, France, China and Israel- offered to ‘merge’ with Nigerian military officers and combine efforts in fighting Boko Haram and rescuing the abducted girls, whose number now stands at 219, from their abductors.

It is imperative to state that weeks into this ‘merger’ no head way has been made, rather high hopes dashed by the day as officers release conflicting situation reports.

First, it was alleged that satellite images failed to show movement of such a number (274) of people moving out of Nigeria, alleging that if indeed it happened, local material must have been used to cover the girls, making it impossible for modern technology to detect the movement.

Then there was the claim that a deal to swap the girls with detained suspected Boko Haram members was called off at the eleventh hour and the most bizarre and conflicting report on the location of the girls by the Nigerian and United States security officials.

Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh had told some protesters at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja, that the military has information on the location of the girls but would tread softly to get the students out by not using force to rescue them.

“We know what we are doing; we can’t go and kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back.

“If we are fighting an external war, they would have been begging us to withdraw”, he said, adding that the Nigerian Military has shown its abilities in civil war situations, making reference to its role in restoring democracy in Liberia and Sierra-Leone.

The CDS refused to give details of his statement that the military would not use force in its efforts to secure the release of the abducted girls but gave assurances that the war on terror would be won by the Nigerian military. “The President has empowered us to do the work”, he said.

However in a swift reaction, the United States said it does not have information that would support Nigeria’s claim that it knows the whereabouts of the kidnapped schoolgirls.

“We don’t have independent information from the United States to support that statement”, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

“We, as a matter of policy and for the girls’ safety and well-being, would not discuss publicly this sort of information regardless.” She added.

Some Europeans also noted that as far as they knew, technical intelligence systems had not produced precise or credible information establishing the girls’ location.

The officials said that if the Nigerians had obtained such information from informants on the ground, it has not been shared with U.S. and allied agencies.

Badeh’s action reminds one of the struggle by merging political parties to outwit the others in the fight for the control and soul of the party they have merged to form. That might have worked out for political parties, but for the rescue effort, it is a fatal blow that will be celebrated in the enemy camp. It will give them more confidence to orchestrate more attacks as the (security) house is not in order.

Worthy of note is the fact that since world powers offered to help Nigeria in its fight against terror and the quest to rescue abducted school girls from the clutches of Boko Haram, there is no structure put in place (only if they have not made it public) by Nigeria, China, U.S, UK, France and Israel on how to go about engaging the insurgents.

Simply put, a five-pronged attack was launched against the insurgents without proper coordination amongst the attackers and a proper channel of sharing intel gathered.

This means the countries involved report to their countries and not to the established (if one exists) chain of command, just to outwit one another to claim the ultimate glory of who would find and successfully rescue the girls.

All parties involved must note that this is a very important mission that has drawn global attention and personal interests must be put aside to fight the common enemy, bring them to justice and rescue the abducted school girls

But most importantly, parties involved in this mission must display individual and collective worth or else their alliance will not move them out of the security quagmire they are fighting at the moment and could liken the situation to that of strange bedfellows coming together to retrieve what has been taken away by the identified opposition.

Despite the foregoing, I must thank the President of the United States of America, President Barack Obama and other national governments like United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, among others, currently assisting Nigeria to #BringBackOurGirls.

Victor Mathias writes from Lagos and tweets @victor_mbidi




APC Leader, Belgore Defects To PDP

The governorship candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) during the 2011 election, Mr Muhammad Dele Belgore has defected to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

This follows the trend of defection by politicians in Kwara state from one political party to another.

At a rally in his campaign office in Ilorin, Mr Belgore noted that his defection from APC to PDP was borne out of the handing over of political leadership of the state by the national leadership of APC to new entrants without recourse to the feelings of the foundation members.

This decision, he noted, is undemocratic and contrary to the ideals of the APC which was to effect positive change in governance, hence his decision to pitch tent with the PDP after consultation with relevant political stakeholders.

He promised to collaborate with like minds to remove the shackles of poverty from the state and urged his supporters to continue supporting him in the new party.

Stating reasons for his defection to the PDP, Belgore emphasised that, “We said yes, anyone could be admitted to the party, but we insisted that it would be undemocratic, inequitable and even contrary to the very idea of change that APC claims it stands for, to automatically hand over the party structures to new entrants, especially when those entrants are at the commanding heart of the oppression and arrested development of Kwara and its people.

“Not only does this arrangement confer the party structure on these new entrants, it is pre-determined to ensure that they continue, no matter the pretence of internal election, to control it. Thus by this ultimately self-defeating arrangement, APC had determined the scores of the game even before kickoff. The same ugly trend occurred in Kano, Sokoto and some other states.

“APC’s leadership had in seeking to satisfy a few, alienated the rank and file, and to many, the soul of the party.The owner of a home need not be displaced to give any false sense of friendship to a stranger, he said.

Ondo APC Members Reject Akeredolu As Harmonisation Committee Chairman

Some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State have rejected the inauguration of the Harmonisation Executive Committee of the party held in Akure, the state capital.

At a news conference in a hotel in Akure, the Chairman of the defunct CPC  in the State, Mr Lekan Obolo, insisted that the names of the committee members were different from names submitted by the three parties that formed the APC namely: the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).

He accused the National Vice Chairman, South West zone of the party and former governor of Ekiti State, Mr Niyi Adebayo of having doctored the original list.

Another Chieftain of APC in the State, Mr Bola Ilori, also claimed that the major stakeholders in the three parties that formed APC were not happy with the arrangement.

However, the candidate of the ACN in the October 2012 governorship election in the State, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, has been inaugurated as Chairman, Harmonisation Executive committee of APC in the State.

PDP Asks Court To Sack Defected Governors

PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja for an order declaring the seats of the five governors who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) vacant.

The governors are: Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers),  Magatakarda Wamakko (Sokoto), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) and Abdulfatai Ahmed (Kwara).

Named as defendants in the suit along with the five governors is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The party is also asking the court to order the Houses of Assembly of the affected states to impeach the governors.

In the suit filed by Dr. Alex Izinyon, the party cited sections 177 (c), 221 and 222 (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a ground for the court to declare them ineligible to remain in office as governors having defected to APC.

The court was equally asked to make a declaration that in the absence of any division in the PDP, the five governors have vacated or forfeited their seats upon their defection to the APC.

APC Warns PDP To Back Off

The All Progressives Congress (APC) had last week cautioned the PDP against declaring vacant the seats of the five governors saying “apart from being illegal and smacking of double standard, such a move has the potential to plunge the polity into chaos.”

The party, in a statement by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, said “any attempt by the PDP to act in desperation and declare the governors’ seats vacant will be met with an unprecedented show of people power that will end, once and for all, the impunity of the PDP and the Presidency.”

According to the statement, “APC has irrefutable evidence that the PDP is desperately shopping for a pliant judge who will be heavily induced to declare vacant the seats of the five governors who recently defected to the APC. We also have the name of the lawyers who have been retained by the PDP for this hatchet job.

‘’We are in possession of the various nefarious legal options being explored by the PDP and the Presidency, but we hereby serve a strong notice to the duo that any attempt by anyone through any means other than what is provided for in Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, will not only have grave consequences, but will leave the polity severely bruised.

‘’We wish to state unequivocally that should the PDP go ahead with this plan, there will be widespread repercussions as the APC has resolved that henceforth, every act of impunity of the PDP and the Presidency will be met with stiff resistance in the form of a vociferous telegraphing of people power, the likes of which have not been witnessed.’’

APC also warned against any attempt by the PDP and the Presidency to “turn back the hands of the clock as far as the cleaning up of the judiciary is concerned, by inducing a servile and disreputable judge to do the duo’s bidding.

Accusing the PDP of engaging in double standard, APC said “For all of 14 years, elected members of the State Houses of Assembly, as well as the National Assembly have been defecting mostly to the PDP and no court has ever declared their seats vacant.

“The late Senator Wahab Dosunmu and Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, then of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) blazed the trail when they decamped to the PDP within a year of their election. Since then, scores of elected lawmakers at state and federal levels have defected to the PDP without any eyebrows being raised or anyone declaring their seats vacant.

“When Governors Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State and Theodore Orji of Abia State, both elected on the platform of the PPA, and Governor Isah Yuguda of Bauchi State, who was elected on the platform of the then ANPP, defected to the PDP, nobody declared their seats vacant.

“As a matter of fact, the PDP under the late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua organised an elaborate reception to welcome Yuguda to the PDP. Why then should the case of the five PDP governors who have joined the APC be different? Why is the PDP suddenly afraid of taking the same medicine it has been administering to others? Does it mean that all the bravado that has been displayed by the PDP, which says it is not bothered by the defection of the five governors, is just a facade to hide its deep pain at the monumental loss?’’ APC queried.

The opposition party urged the PDP to go and read and be guided by the ruling of the Supreme Court after it (PDP) allegedly attempted to make the then Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, to lose his seat and to also strip him of his privileges following his defection to the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Asari-Dokubo Promises Bloodshed If Jonathan Is Not Re-elected In 2015

Niger Delta Activist and ex-militant, Mujahid Asari-Dokubo on Sunday threatened fire and brimstone if President Goodluck Jonathan does not return as president in 2015.

Speaking on Politics Today, he said “2015 is already a settled matter; Goodluck Jonathan will be president in 2015. Whether they contest or they don’t contest, Goodluck Jonathan will be president,” he said adding that he would be ready for violence if needed.

Replying to comments made by former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, he warned that that “if they say the blood of the dogs and the baboon will be soaked in water on the street, in blood on the street, in salt water on the street, we will help them soak them in blood”.

The former Head of State was reported to have said that “If what happened in 2011 (alleged rigging) should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood,” in May of 2012.

Buhari spoke in Hausa while addressing members of the CPC from Niger State, who paid him a courtesy visit in Kaduna. He also warned that 2015 would be bloody if the elections were not transparent, just as he dismissed reports that he would not contest the 2015 presidency.

Buhari who painted a gory picture of Nigeria as that of a hound and a monkey engaged in a battle for survival said, “God willing, by 2015, something will happen. They either conduct a free and fair election or they go a very disgraceful way”.

Declares Intention To Join PDP

The fiery-speaking Dokubo while making public his decision to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), also explained the reason behind dumping the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Dokubo, who claimed to own the party secretariat in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, noted that “somebody cannot stay in Lagos and decide for Rivers people” adding that it is an insult on Rivers people, we will be our governor, we will be the governorship candidate of our party”.

He said the situation “is an insult on me, insult on the people of Rivers” warning that “it is not going to be possible”.

He then said “we will not leave Goodluck (Jonathan) alone, I will declare for the PDP” noting that “we will fight, because this battle, there is no retreat no surrender”.

INEC Confirms APC’s Registration

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has approved the application by three political parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) – to merge into one, to be known as the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A statement by the secretary to the commission, Abdullahi A. Kugama said.

The statement adds that “On considering the application, the Commission found that the applicant-parties have met all statutory requirements for the merger, and has accordingly granted their request.

The Commission has approved the withdrawal of the individual certificates of the applicant-parties, and the issuance of a single certificate to the APC.

Okuniyi Hails INEC

The state Leader of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in Ogun State, Olawale Okunniyi has applauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for registering the much expected All Progressives Congress (APC) as a new political party in Nigeria

In a statement issued in Lagos on Wednesday by his Media Office, Okunniyi congratulated Prof. Attahiru Jega for taking the bold step to register APC.

Okunniyi, who is said to be aspiring to take over the Ogun state Governorship seat for the second time on the platform of APC come 2015, said “by this registration, Jega and INEC has shored up their credibility standing in the eyes of Nigerians and they need to be encouraged in the run up to the 2015 elections”

The front line Political activist and PRONACO Spokesman also congratulated the National Leader of CPC, General Muhammadu Buhari, Prince Tony Momoh, National Chairman of the party as well as the leadership of other coalescing party; ACN, ANPP, APGA, DPP for their doggedness in ensuring that a formidable progressive platform is eventually raised for the Nigerian people.

He said “The registration of APC is expected to bring about good governance and restructuring of the country, which the Nigerian Progressives has consistently canvassed in the last three decades”

The dominant party in Nigeria is now bound to be effectively engaged and checked by the newly registered mega force and that will surely put the PDP on its toes, to shun impunity and recklessness of the current order thereby enriching Nigerian nascent democracy” Okunniyi said

Okunniyi also charged the teaming members of APC especially in the South West and Ogun state to immediately hit the road for massive mobilization of the Nigerian People.

The renowned Political scientist who is billed to announce his governorship aspiration shortly however confirms that he is immediately embarking on a state wide mobilization tour for good governance in Ogun state

APC Merger Poses NO Threat To PDP

The Lagos State PDP has described the News of the registration of APC for the Merging Parties of ACN, CPC and ANPP as only a process met and wonders why such should be over celebrated when the Merging parties put together, have never posed any iota of threat to the PDP.

The party, in a statement by the publicity secretary of its Lagos chapter Lagos, Mr. Taofik Gani said “This is imperative in view of the pending suit on the original ownership of the Acronym, APC. The suit is still pending and one would expect that actions must be stayed. Why should INEC flout this judicial Rule. There is a skeleton in somebody’s wardrobe! This Probe must thus start now and if the process of confirmation of the Name is found to be tainted, then Professor Attahiru Jega must be sacked and arrested ”

The party notwithstanding reiterates that the Acronym APC gives no practical advantage to the party, stating that the frustration that led to the re-branding would still manifest as the People are no longer cajoled by name of party but would look out for the personalities in that Party. “Why have they rushed to merge and not adopt one of their original names? Its because non of those names can sell any candidate again. Their only option is to re-brand. Unfortunately a Bad product remains Bad, even if its name changes”

The lagos PDP boasts that as far as the state is concerned, re-branding to APC is the worst mistake of ACN because now the ACN has lost its SouthWest identity because of over ambition to win the presidency”



ACN Supports Aregbesola’s Second Term Bid

 Ahead of the 2014 governorship Election in the state of Osun, members of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Osun East senatorial DIstrict  have thrown their weight behind the second term bid of the incumbent Governor Rauf Aregbesola .

At the party’s monthly Meeting in Ilesa, Osun state, the members said they are fully in support of Governor Aregbesola’s policies which is bringing revolution to governance like never before in the history of the state.

Reacting to criticism from the main opposition Party ,the People’s Democratic Party(PDP) that the present administration has no achievement to showcase in its two and half years in Office, the ACN  members challenged the PDP to be constructive in its criticism as there are evidences attesting to the achievements of Governor Aregbesolas government.

Citing Road networks, tackling environmental issues, infrastructure, human development, education and Agriculture as very visible development that has brought succour to the people, the ACN assured that this alone will guarantee the party’s victory at the polls.

ACN Always Stands The Truth On Its Head- FG

The federal government has claimed that “The latest press statement by Lai Mohammed of the Action Congress of Nigeria, in which he claims, wrongly as always, that the Jonathan administration is “descending into despotism,” represents yet another attempt by the ACN and its spokesperson to stand the truth on its head and indulge in the politics of abuse. They should not be allowed to get away with their perfidy.

This statement which was made by the Special Adviser on Media and publicity to the president, Dr. Rueben Abati, said “President Jonathan is a democratically elected leader who is running a people-oriented, inclusive and progressive government.”

It also said “Under his watch, Nigeria’s democracy has been consolidated; the scope for human freedom has been further expanded and there is respect for due process and the rule of law. Ordinary Nigerians appreciate the fact that they have a President who is humane, disciplined and focused.

“Does Lai Mohammed know the meaning of the word, despotism, or is he just throwing the word around for onomatopoetic effect? He and his sponsors are in fact beneficiaries of the openness and freedom that this administration promotes. The paradox is that those who do not allow freedom and equality in their own party or backyard, those who are well known as self-proclaimed Godfathers and closet despots, are the same ones who are now quick to accuse others of despotism. The ACN should start by removing the log in its eyes. President Jonathan is not a despot. ACN is the real abode of budding despots in Nigeria.” The statement said

The Transformation Agenda which Lai Mohammed tries to pooh-pooh is a well thought-out blueprint on the basis of which this administration continues to serve the interests of the people and move the country forward. The evidence of the Jonathan administration’s achievements is visible in many aspects of Nigerian life and society: from agriculture, to aviation, the economy, job creation, power, industry, trade and investment, transportation and others. No amount of name-calling or partisan criticism will distract the government’s attention, just in case the ACN assumes that its persistent distortion of the facts will achieve that objective.

The FG also denies any rift with  embattled Rivers state governor, Rotimi Amaechi “The ACN’s allegation that there is a disagreement between the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi is also wrong-headed and mischievous.”

The party claims that “Governor Amaechi has publicly stated that this particular allegation is a piece of fiction created by certain persons and the media. We insist that President Jonathan is not engaged in any quarrel or dispute with Governor Amaechi. And it is wrong to use the matter of the aircraft that was grounded by the aviation authorities to concoct stories of persecution.”

“The institutions involved have offered reasons publicly why they took their decision with regard to the unlicensed aircraft, which in any case is an asset of the state, not the Governor’s personal property. The President has nothing to do with that incident.”

The ACN claims that there is “a growing propensity to stifle the freedom of expression and freedom of the press.”

The report by the Committee to Protect Journalists which the ACN quotes is not a comment on government-media relations in Nigeria. This administration sees the media as a strategic partner in the business of nation-building. The government not only enjoys a robust relationship with the media, it continues to encourage the freedom of expression and of the press.

The PDP also said that “Lai Mohammed tries to substantiate his dubious claim by seeking to build something on nothing. He tries in vain. The truth is that the Nigerian media is pluralistic, vibrant, independent and free; it has grown in scope, size and in terms of the freedom to practise under this administration.”

All lovers of democracy must join us in reminding the ACN and its spokespersons that they cannot pull down this house with mere spittle because our democracy is strong and solid and the man at the helm of affairs is a democrat and a progressive leader, the statement concluded.



Ajimobi, CP Vow To Maintain Peaceful Co-existence In Oyo

The Oyo state Governor, Abiola Ajimobi says the full weight of the law will be brought on anyone found working against the peaceful atmosphere being enjoyed by people in the state currently.

The Governor was reacting to the report of violent attack on Accord Party leader Senator Rasheed Ladoja and his members during a rally at Olomi in Oluyole Local government area of the state.

In a statement issued by the special adviser to the Governor on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo, the governor maintained that he will not allow anything or individual to compromise the peace in the state and ordered that anyone found culpable be dealt with without any bias.

In the same vein, the Oyo state police command speaking through the public relation officer Bisi Ilobanafor disclosed that the commissioner of police has ordered the CID to investigate and bring all involved to book.

Meanwhile the “war of words” between the leadership of the Accord Party and the ACN over the attack has continued as the former alledged that the attack on its leadership and members was masterminded by the ACN.

The ACN in its reaction denied any involvement and challenged them to produce any evidence of its involvement. Though no life was lost nor any serious injury sustained, at least 12 cars were vandalised during the showdown.


2,500 ACN Members Defect To PDP

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Kwara state, has lost over 2,500 members to the Peoples Democratic People (PDP) over non – fulfillment of election promises.

Dr. Bukola Saraki (Senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District) who received the new PDP members promised that they will partake in the prosperity that the PDP government offers.

Elaborating on the reason for the defection, Abdulazeez Kazim who was the ACN secretary for Oke Ogun ward in Ilorin South local government area noted that the decampees were disappointed by ACN’s failure to provide jobs for the youths.


Edo Elections: Those Crying Wolf Are Bad Losers- Oshiomhole

The last may not have been heard on the altercation going on between the Edo state governor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) over the recently concluded local government elections in Edo state.

Oshiomhole, who was in the Villa to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan, described those who criticised  the local government elections in Edo state  as “bad losers”.

He told State House Correspondents that the art of election rigging was perpetuated by the PDP and wondered why they are the ones crying wolf.

According to him what happened in the local government is the same pattern that the electorate followed to vote during the governorship election.

He described himself as a true democrat that would not allow anyone to destabilise the state with the art of rigging.

Edo LG Polls: Oshiomhole Labels Protesters As ‘Hired Thugs’

Edo State Governor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has labelled those who protested the election resukts of the just concluded local government election results as “hired thugs”.

He made this declaration while swearing in the Local Government Chairmen who emerged from the elections that was held on Wednesday and Thursday this week

The Governor, who performed the ceremony at the Government House in Benin City, today (Friday) used the opportunity to react to some of the allegations by the PDP.

The Governor said those protesting were hired thugs recruited by the PDP to create an impression that the people of the state were dissatisfied with the outcome of the polls.

He said the PDP cannot win election as they no longer have credible people who can appeal to electorate and so have decided to attack his person.

The Governor reiterated his allegation that the Minister used the Police to prevent election from holding in Esan North East alleging also that the PDP detained the EDSIEC officials at the Police Station and confiscated election materials.

Commenting on the Local Government Chairmen the Governor congratulated them on their re-election noting that it was based on their performance that Edo people decided to re-elect them.


The Chairman of Oredo Local Government Area, Osaro Obaze, who responded on behalf of the others pledged their commitment to justify the confidence reposed on them.