A former Military President of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Babangida, popularly known as IBB, is optimistic that the general elections will hold at the rescheduled date of March 28 and April 11.
The former Military President made the statement at a meeting with members of the Arewa Community for Change at his residence in Minna, the Niger State capital.
The former President also appealed to all Nigerians to support the Military in its efforts to tackle the Boko Haram.
IBB noted that the insurgency should not be seen as a North East Problem but a challenge to the whole Nation.
The Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) on the other hand, had assured Nigerians that the elections would hold as scheduled saying that the reason for the shift in election dates was for security reasons.
There have been controversial issues concerning the postponement of the general election.
The Federal Government had blamed the postponement of the lection on the chances that some Nigerians who have not collected their Permanent Voter Cards may be disenfranchised it the election was not postponed.
As at February 7, only 66 per cent of PVCs of the registered 68.8 million voters had been distributed, according to the report of the INEC’s chairman, professor Attahiru Jega.
There have been several other comments about the post been reactions concerning the postponement of elections, with several bodies urging the public not to consent to any further attempt to postpone the election.
The NSA had on Thursday advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to delay the elections scheduled for February in order to allow for proper preparations.
He gave the advice during a discourse at London think-tank, Chatham House, where he stated that it would be advantageous if the upcoming elections were postponed.
The INEC Chairman has, however, assured Nigerians that the commission had not participated in any communication about a postponement.
While maintaining that the commission had no intention of postponing the forthcoming elections, he said that they were prepared to distribute the voters card till February 13 if it becomes necessary as it remained mandatory for electorates to vote with their PVCs.
He maintained that the card would ensure that those who snatch ballot boxes find them useless.
He also absolved INEC of blame in the slow distribution of the PVCs.
He alleged that citizens were not coming out to collect their PVCs, but were blaming INEC for not meeting up with challenges of distributing them.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Sunday disclosed plans to hold an “extraordinary national convention” on Wednesday, 29th Oct. 2014 in Abuja, where the Party will approve amendments to its constitution and also adopt its manifesto for the 2015 general elections.
In a statement issued by APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the proposed amendments when approved at the national convention will align the party’s constitution better with the Electoral Act and also allow the APC to function more efficiently.
The Party noted that the convention would adopt the six-point manifesto that has been extracted from the one submitted to the electoral umpire, INEC earlier for the purpose of the 2015 general elections.
”The manifesto to be adopted at the extraordinary convention of our party is specifically for the 2015 general elections. Because of shifting priorities, we do not believe that a party manifesto should be one for all time but a document that will adjust to the changing needs of the people.
”In this regard, we have conducted a survey to find out what Nigerians urgently need at the moment to raise their standard of living and ensure their security and welfare, which is the raison d’etre of any government. Based on the outcome of the survey, we have come up with a six-point manifesto, which we extracted from the one we submitted to INEC earlier.
”The six broad priority areas for the APC ahead of the 2015 general elections are National Security, Good Governance, Human Capital Development, Economic Development, Land and Natural Resources as well as Foreign Policy. The issue of job creation, fight against corruption, infrastructural development, health, qualitative education, regular power supply, etc are subsumed under these broad priority areas,” APC said.
According to Mohammed, the adopted manifesto “will be made massively available to all Nigerians, complete with the full details, in many languages”.
Kogi State Governor, Capt Idris Wada, has urged residents of the state to participate in the national identity card exercise of the Federal Government.
The Governor, who made the call in the Lugard House, Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, said that the programme was significant for governance, national security and planning.
The representative of the Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Hajia Hadiza Ali Dagabana and management of the Commission were in Lokoja to create an awareness on the need for every citizen in the state to register with the commission so as to obtain an identification number, which would help the Federal Government in planning.
The NIMC delegates met with some top government officials in the executive chamber of the Government House in Lokoja to brief the Governor on what the commission was all about.
The Director, Inspection and Regulatory Compliance, Hajia Hadiza Dagabana, explained that the Commission had the mandate to own, operate, maintain and manage the National Identification database in Nigeria.
She stressed further that the ongoing National Identification exercise was not time based and would remain open to enable the commission render, enumerate and perform other related services. She urged all citizens of the state to cooperate with the Federal Government by ensuring that they get registered.
To demonstrate the State Government’s commitment, the State Governor, Capt Idris Wada, proceeded to carry out his registration, which was supervised by members of the commission. An identification number was immediately issued to him.
Experts believe that one of the reasons for insecurity in Nigeria could be the porosity of the country’s borders, which allows aliens in and out without proper identification or documentation and that if every citizens in the country was fully registered, insecurity would be minimized.
The Federal Government has made it mandatory for all Nigerians to register and obtain a registration number for easy identification.
The Federal Government of Nigeria says that it has no plan to spend $800 million on image laundering as its topmost priority now is National Security, not Public Relations.
The Presidency, in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati,stated that reports in national and foreign media that the Federal Government was currently in the process of recruiting an international Public Relations firm to “counter mounting criticism both inside and outside the country” are completely false and baseless.
The statement read: “The suggestion that the Federal Government intends to spend a staggering sum of $800 Million on the phantom Public Relations effort to ease ‘increasing pressure over its response to the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls’ is also wholly untrue.
“Coming as they do, at a particularly difficult and sensitive time for the entire nation, the Federal Government considers the reports of a drive to recruit consultants to launder its image highly insensitive, deplorable, absurd and very malicious.
“The Federal Government’s topmost priority for now is not Public Relations or image laundering but National Security and the ongoing effort to ensure the safe return of the abducted college girls.”
The statement condemned the rumours, referring to it as “an attempt by purveyors of the bogus reports to incite the Nigerian public against the Federal Government through the circulation of falsehoods.”
A member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue, Tony Uranta has asked Nigerians to give the upcoming National Conference a chance to start before criticizing its chances of serving the purpose for which it was convened.
He was speaking on Channels Television weekend programme, Sunrise, where he stated that the composition of the delegates to the conference had only 72 nominated by the Federal Government, which is less than 15% of the total number of the delegates and nullifies the chances of manipulation by the Government.
The programme focussed on the activities preceding the conference and the issue of older people making up majority of the delegates came to the fore, as many Nigerians have pointed out. A member of the Editorial Board of National Newspaper, Sanya Oni, agreed with the sentiments but believed that the issue showed the level of capacity of the Nigerian youth.
He added that the youths were doing well in business and in the corporate world on their own “so why is it in politics that they want to be helped?” He said that he didn’t believe things like leadership would fall on the laps of the youths as it was their responsibility to seize the initiative.
Uranta added that the Nigerian youth today was more knowledgeable especially in the digital age, and they have the responsibility to make themselves relevant in the politics of Nigeria.
Legal Practitioner, Malachy Ugwummadu also said that the youths lacked the kinds of robust activities that would position them for leadership. He refused to accept the claim that the present political configuration of the country shuts out the youth.
He cited the National Association of Nigerian Students as an example. He spoke about times in the country when serious national issues were mainly driven by the Students’ body; a situation which he said had degenerated into quest for self-gratification from the current young people.
Northern Elders’ Declaration
The Northern elders have expressed negatives views on the conference, claiming that the delegates were not representing the North, and Sanya feels that this was an unfortunate situation.
He preached that Nigerians really need to understand that there was dire need for the country to talk. He berated what he termed the off-the-curve discussions, the manner in which they dismissed the National Conference, and the provocative statements made during the Northern Elders’ Forum.
He singled out the claims of ownership of the Nigerian oil by the North as highly provocative.
Mr. Uranta, shared the view that the declaration of the Northern Elders’ Forum was a reaction to being left out of the main activities of the National Conference. He argued that they are just a faction of elders as the main elders of the North had warmly embraced the idea and also have delegates attending.
Mr. Ugwummad, however, believed that the Northern Elders’ reservations should not be totally condemned as many Nigerians including himself were also hard critics of the whole idea.
He asserted that the issues have moved on from agreeing with the idea into the issues of implementation of the resolutions, the large budgets being earmarked for the talks, and the controversies surrounding the subjection of the issues being discussed at the conference to the National Assembly.
Mr Sanya also added that there were too many problems in the country and accepting that reality was the best way forward for Nigerians. He asserted that the need to decentralise power and empower traditional authority were among the issues that needed to be addressed.
Finance And National Security
While explaining the importance restructuring the leadership of the country, Mr. Uranta said “You cannot but have federalism such that the different federating units will have coordinate powers.”
He added as an example that primary education should not be part of the job of a Federal Government as the primary education structures in Nigeria are different in different regions.
He said that the claims by some Nigerians that the groundnut pyramids in the North funded Nigeria would be among matters to sort out, as he argued that in the early 1960s and according to the constitution, each region in the country funded itself and had its own economy, its own flag, anthem, and ran its own affairs.
He stated that discussing such structural issues would determine how well the other matters like fiscal federalism and national security would be treated. He added, “Let that be decided by the people.”
Why Should Anybody Get Paid?
Sanya had to contend with the question asked via social media by a Channels Television viewer. Although he admitted that there was need to cater to the needs of the delegates as they were not expected to be exposed to risks in Abuja, but added that the figures being mentioned as the delegates’ allowances and the total budget of the project were indeed outrageous.
Mr. Uranta, however, shared the view that the budget could be justifiable.
He explained “You don’t expect a Chief Olu Falae to come to Abuja and stay in a Motel or a drive by hotel”
He said “I stay in the Hilton and a room can go for like 58,000 Naira” and Nigerians have to think of all these things as many of the delegates are also retired and old; while some of them would have to come with their wives for the 3 months exercise. He added, “We cannot deny them their conjugal rights”
Mr Ugwummadu added that he hoped that the conference would not ending looking like nothing had been done.
Nigeria’s Bi-national tie with the United States of America has come to the fore on the background of the recent labelling of insurgents Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation by the United States.
Although, the development was quickly embraced by the Nigerian Government, some Nigerians are said to believe that the US might be having a political game plan to cash in on Nigeria’s fragile political atmosphere, ahead of 2015.
In this video, Network Africa speaks with Nigeria’s Ambassador to Washington, Ambassador Adebowale Adefuye.
Dismissing the doubts, he assured that Nigeria is making the best of its ties with America, and there is need for Nigerians to be realistic because “no country can do it alone.”
He discussed areas in which the US is adding value to Nigeria, they include helping in its electoral process, national security, anti-corruption campaign and several others. He spoke on several other issues concerning Nigerians living in the US as well as those at home.
He also stated the efforts of his office to have the American Non-Immigrant Visa issued to Nigerians reviewed to have 5 year validity, a development he said has been agreed to in principle.
According to him, Nigeria is willing to reciprocate this gesture as reciprocity is “the name of the game in International Relations.”
Gunmen suspected to be armed robbers yesterday attacked a police check point in Kaduna town, killing one policeman and injuring another officer during a shootout.
Eyewitnesses said the gunmen who were carrying sophisticated guns attacked the policemen at a check point located in Ungwan Dosa area of Kaduna North Local Government.
Confirming the incident, state commissioner of Police, Mr Olufemi Adenaike told Channels Television that one of the policemen who sustained injury during the shootout died at St. Gerald Catholic Hospital in the town, where he was rushed to for treatment, while another officer is said to be responding to treatment.
Although it has not been confirmed what the mission of the gunmen was in the area, he said that the gunmen equally escaped with gunshot wounds.
The attack created pandemonium as residents of the area fled for their safety.
Security operatives have been drafted to the area to maintain law and order.
Suspected Boko Haram sect members disguised as soldiers on Sunday killed 19 people at a checkpoint in Logomani village in Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State.
The armed men reportedly stopped motorists on the road and ordered them out of their cars before shooting them.
Eye witness reports say that the attackers left with some of the women and also collected money from some of the truck drivers in the area.
A passenger, who narrowly escaped death, told journalists that the attackers shot 3 passengers and slaughtered 14 people before someone alerted them that soldiers were coming. The attackers were said to have fled on their motorcycles into the bush.
Military authorities are yet to comment on the issue as the acting spokesman of the 7 Division, Nigerian Army, Captain Aliyu Danja, could not be reached for comments.
The Islamic sect Boko Haram is also yet to make any statement about the incident.
Borno State is among the states under an emergency rule declared by President Goodluck Jonathan in May this year.
The security challenges the country has been experiencing in recent time might not cease soon despite the proposed ceasefire talks between the Federal Government and Boko Haram.
A security analyst, Bosun Abolarinwa maintains that the last of these insurgencies is yet to be seen as it is near impossible for terrorism to start and just fade away.
“I don’t think we’ve seen the end of it so far; terrorism is not something that will come into the system and just go away like that,” he said.
The security expert who was a guest on our breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, said if terrorism can gain access into a system which also involves insurgencies, it will take almost 50 years to phase it out of Nigeria if the government is doing what it ought to be doing at the moment.
He said also that there will be more groups because of disagreements and differing ideologies over time, which will trigger the creation of several terrorist groups.