Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, Northern Elders Forum, Others Criticise Buhari’s Election Victory

 

The Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, Northern Elders Forum and forum of Nigerian Leaders have criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory in the just concluded Presidential elections.

The forum in a statement jointly signed by the leaders of the Pandef, Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, Middle Belt said it had reviewed major developments and management of the electoral process which led to the announcement of the election results.

They commended the Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar for his statesmanship and commitment to the democratic process but charged him to challenge the results in the court as provided by the constitution.

“We see his decision as patriotic, responsible and ultimately the highest contribution to the democratic system.

READ ALSOAtiku Made No Demands Of Buhari, PDP Insists

“The Forum observes that the elections have revealed massive irregularities and outright abuse of the electoral laws, the rules and regulations of INEC as well as the failure of security forces to remain neutral and operate within the highest standards of their calling.

“The Peace Accord was ridiculed by deliberate and open abuse of organs of the state, the denial of rights of many citizens to vote and blatant abuse of all the commitments made by the administration.

“To decline to challenge obviously fictional figures, failures to respect key elements of the electoral process such as the use of Smart Card Readers and preventing agents and observers access to all processes is to condone the massive setback which this election represents for the country.

“The outcome of the elections was clearly premeditated in the refusal of the President to sign the Electoral Act and the orchestrated suspension of Justice Walter Onoghen as the CJN shortly before the composition of Electoral Tribunals”.

The Forum called on the judiciary to uphold the highest standards of integrity and commitment to its hallowed role by doing justice to the appeals that will come before it knowing that the eyes of the world would be on them.

“We are aware that attempts are being made to demoralize and intimidate the judiciary to remove a conducive context for litigations.

“We remind the judiciary that it is the last defence of our democratic process.

“We appeal to all Nigerians to continue to show faith in the democratic process and remain law-abiding as we await the decisions of the judiciary on a matter that will ultimately determine the quality of our democratic process and the nature of the nation we all call our own.

“We recall that in endorsing the candidature of Atiku for the election ,we did anchor our support on identifying a candidate among many good candidates we interacted with who can retool Nigeria to move on the path of development as a true federal entity, the pattern of voting in areas where there were semi-free elections showed an overwhelming endorsements of our position by popular votes.

“And the results of the poll have shown further a badly divided polity that needs a unifier and not a divisive person as a Leader.

“We insist Nigerians must stand firm and ensure are governed by a legitimate leadership”, the statement added.

Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, Northern Elders Forum, Others Endorse Atiku For President

 

Leaders of the Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Northern Elders Forum, Pan-Niger Delta forum, the Middle Belt Forum, and a faction of Afenifere have endorsed Atiku Abubakar as their presidential candidate.

Speaking at a meeting tagged: Summit of Nigerian Leaders and Elders, the leaders noted that they arrived at the conclusion after series of meetings with the presidential candidates in the past months.

They accused President Muhammadu Buhari of dividing the country and not having control of the presidency.

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They, therefore, believe that the PDP candidate has better plans for Nigeria compared to that of the APC-led Federal Government.

In attendance for the meeting were; Dr Pogu Bitrus (Middle Belt Forum), Ago Abdullahi (Northern Elders Forum) and Ayo Fasanmi (Afenifere).

Others were Edwin Clarke (Pan Niger Delta Forum), John Nwodo (Ohanaeze Ndigbo) and Buba Galadima.

Northern Elders Pledge Loyalty To Osinbajo As Acting President

Northern Elders Pledge Loyalty To Osinbajo As Acting PresidentThe Northern Elders’ Forum has pledged its loyalty and support to Nigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as well as the unity of the country.

The Deputy Leader of the forum, Paul Unongo, made this known on Thursday after a meeting of the forum in Kano State.

The leaders urged Professor Osinbajo to ignore rumours that may deter him from executing his duties and called on all northerners to support fully the leadership of the Acting President.

They also prayed for the quick recovery of President Muhammadu Buhari and urged Nigerians to continue to pray for the safe return of the President.

The elders congratulated the Nigerian Government and security operatives on the recent release of 82 Chibok girls and asked northern governors to continue to be loyal and accountable to their people.

The forum, among other resolutions, expressed concern about the politics in the northern states and its attendant consequences in the development of the region.

Northern Elders Forum Backs Buhari, Says He Will Eliminate Boko Haram

BuhariAhead of next month’s presidential election in Nigeria, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has pledged its support for the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, on grounds that he possesses a better credentials to tackle the current security challenges in the country than his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) opponent and the incumbent President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

The forum led by former Nigeria’s permanent representative in the United Nations, Mr Maitama Sule, appealed to Nigerians to vote for Buhari in the presidential election.

Addressing a news conference in Kaduna on Wednesday, spokesman for the forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi, said the forum’s support for Buhari as well as the huge support the former Head of State enjoyed from millions of Nigerians were based on the belief that “he has the capacity to eliminate corruption and transform the nation’s economy”.

The forum also raised alarm over an alleged move by a group of politicians to install an Interim National Government in order to stop the forthcoming elections, and therefore warned that Nigerians from all works of life will reject such moves.

The Northern Elders while requesting that President Jonathan provides the necessary enabling environment for the conduct of credible polls, also expressed worries with the mode of campaign of blackmail and violence being adopted by politicians and their parties. The also condemned the rising cases of deadly attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in the north-east, and however called on the military to intensify efforts in recapturing areas lost to the sect members in order to ensure that indigenes of those places would be adequately protected during and after the election.

Other issues raised by the forum include poor distribution of Permanent Voters Cards by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) and the likelihood that Internally Displaced Persons in the north-east may not vote in the election. The group, however, urged the electoral body to ensure that the voting rights of the displaced persons were upheld.

Buhari Accuses FG of Religious Manipulation Ahead of 2015

BuhariThe former head of state and Presidential Aspirant of the All Progressive Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari says the greatest problem facing Nigeria is not religion or tribal differences, but the deliberate plot by the ruling People’s Democratic Party(PDP) led government to use religion and ethnicity to polarise the country for selfish gains ahead of the 2015 general election.

Speaking during the APC Northern Stakeholders Interactive Meeting held in Kaduna on Saturday, General Buhari noted that going by the militarisation of the last governorship election in Ekiti and Osun states where a large number of soldiers and other security operatives were deployed for the election, shows that the ruling PDP is desperate to hold on to power using every means at its disposal.

He argued that the abducted Chibok school girls from Borno state by the Boko Haram members would have been rescued if the federal government had deployed such number of soldiers to the north east where the Boko Haram terrorists have killed thousands of innocent people.

While stating that 2015 should be another year of extreme concern for the country, Buhari said another four years of PDP will send Nigeria down the drain and therefore called on the Independent National Electoral Commission( INEC) to ensure that it does not disenfranchise eligible voters in the ongoing voter registration and to also provide a level playing ground for all political parties and candidates.

Also speaking Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state, stressed the need for the north to be united in order to defeat some of the challenges confronting the region, lamenting that the north had remained backward despite its contribution to nation building, calling on all Nigerians to be actively involved in the political transition by voting an APC government that will rescue the country from alleged maladministration of the PDP.

The Deputy national chairman of the party, Lawal Shuaibu who set the agenda of the day, said the meeting was convened primarily to discuss the state of the party as it affects the north and the country in general and thereafter seek the opinion of party leaders on how to move the party forward.

He said since the last APC national convention, the party has faced a number of challenges which include the impeachment of the former Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako, the move to remove his Nasarawa state counter part through unconstitutional means and the loss recorded by the party in the Ekiti state governorship election, stating that the meeting has nothing to do with discussing on who emerges as the consensus presidential candidate of the party.

Other speakers include the Northern Elders Forum and the Arewa Consultative Forum(ACF) which urged the party to come up with a formidable consensus presidential candidate that will be acceptable to the North and the country at large in other to defeat the ruling PDP in the next election.

Present at the meeting were presidential aspirants of the party, General Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Sam Nda Isaiah.

Others are governors of the party, senators, party chairmen and other stakeholders from the 19 northern states.

Boko Haram Terrorists Not Northerners —NEF

NorthernersThe Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has declared that it is wrong for anyone to claim that the Boko Haram insurgents wagging war against Nigeria are from the Northern Region of the country.

In a statement issued by a member of the forum, Solomon Dalung shortly, after its meeting in Bauchi on Saturday, the group noted that though there was a conception of an Islamic orientation by those who initially formed the Boko Haram group, what was being witnessed now was far from the agenda of the group.

He stated that any attempt to link Northerners to insurgency was a deliberate move to blackmail the people of the region, stating that the Federal Government lacked the will to put an end to insurgency in the country.

According to the forum, the Northerners were victims of insurgency being perpetrated against them, saying that as it is today, the original Boko Haram had been hijacked by the political class who are the ones now annexing the territory of Nigeria.

Part of the statement read, “The insurgents are not from Northern Nigeria. Northern Nigerians are victims of a conspiracy. Those who bombed Nigeria on the 1st of October, 2012 are not Northerners. The man who masterminded the bombing of five churches in Kaduna has a name John Odey. John Odey is not a Northerner”.

“The three gentlemen who coordinated the bombing of Nyanya are not Northerners. The 400 people arrested in Maiduguri fighting are from the South-South. I disagree with anybody trying to insinuate that the insurgents are mostly from the North”.

“Yes, there was a conception for an Islamic orientation spearheaded by Yusuf Muhammed but as it is today, all those who started Boko Haram had been hijacked by the political class and they are the ones that are now annexing the territories of Nigeria,” the statement said.

Presidency Replies Northern Elders Over Ultimatum On Chibok Girls

Northern EldersThe President, on Tuesday, fired back at a faction of northern elders, who, on Monday gave him up until October to produce the abducted Chibok schoolgirls or forget about 2015 Presidency.

The President’s Special Assistance on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, in a statement, described the northern elders’ ultimatum as preposterous and one meant to cause what he called “hate mentality and mischief.”

He said that the President does not need an ultimatum to do his job and that he was doing a lot to rescue the Chibok girls.

He pointed out seven areas where the President has demonstrated great concern on the Chibok issue to include, improving on the military’s professional and personnel capabilities, taking advantage of the offer made by the international community, and securing the nation’s borders among others.

According to Dr. Okupe, “The issue of insurgency, especially those ideologically based on Islamic extremism, is a global phenomenon and requires tact, military capability, serious de-radicalisation techniques and community based counter insurgency programmes to ensure success.”

The faction of the Northern Elders Forum led by Maitama Sule, on Monday, gave President Goodluck Jonathan an ultimatum till the end of October 2014 to produce the over 200 abducted Chibok girls in Borno State and also bring an end to the Boko Haram insurgency, saying that failure to do so amounts to him being deemed unfit to seek re-election in 2015.

The Northern Elders noted that the warning became imperative because they were of the firm belief that the lingering terrorist attacks and other related security challenges in the country pose a major threat to the 2015 elections and the survival of Nigeria as a nation.

Group Faults Northern Elders Over Ultimatum To Jonathan

Goodluck JonathanA socio political group,  Arewa Peoples Patriotic Front (APPFRONT) has faulted the ultimatum issued on Monday by  the Northern Elders Forum led by Alh Maitama Sule mandating  President Goodluck Jonathan to produce the over 200 abducted school girls of Chibok in Borno state or forget seeking re-election in 2015.

In a press statement issued on Tuesday, spokesman of the group,  Mr Mordecai Ibrahim,  expressed  disappointment that the  elders could issue such an ultimatum to the  President, even when they have not contributed in any way in assisting the Federal Government in finding a lasting solution to the insurgency or finding the abducted school girls, stating that such remark amounts to the elders seeking for unnecessary attention.

The group queried the role of the northern elders in tackling the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east and wondered why they have not visited Chibok or any of the states under emergency rule before coming out to give  such an ultimatum to President Jonathan.

The group further noted that the continued antagonistic stance of northern elders against the constitutional rights and aspiration of President Jonathan is seemingly painting a picture of the entire north to be fighting the president, and  therefore called on the  members of the forum to redirect their energy on how to restore peace and develop the region.

The group also called on the Northern Elders Forum to come out with a workable modality for the restoration of the unity of the north.

The faction of the Northern Elders Forum led by Maitama Sule, on Monday, gave President Goodluck Jonathan an ultimatum to produce the over 200 abducted Chibok girls in Borno State and also bring an end to the Boko Haram insurgency, saying that failure to do so amounts to him being deemed unfit to seek re-election in 2015.

The Northern Elders noted that the warning became imperative because they were of the firm belief that the lingering terrorist attacks and other related security challenges in the country poses a major threat to the 2015 elections and the survival of Nigeria as a nation.

 

Northern Elders Give Jonathan October Ultimatum To Produce Chibok Girls

Chibok GirlsThe faction of the Northern Elders Forum led by Maitama Sule, on Monday, gave President Goodluck Jonathan an ultimatum till the end of October 2014 to produce the over 200 abducted Chibok girls in Borno State and also bring an end to the Boko Haram insurgency, saying that failure to do so amounts to him being deemed unfit to seek re-election in 2015. 

The Northern Elders noted that the warning became imperative because they were of the firm belief that the lingering terrorist attacks and other related security challenges in the country pose a major threat to the 2015 elections and the survival of Nigeria as a nation.

Addressing  a news conference in Kaduna, Spokesman of the forum, Solomon Dalung, identified lack of political will and corruption among government officials and the military authorities as being largely responsible for the lingering insurgency in the North-East, where thousands of innocent people have been killed.

The forum lamented that this situation has allowed the insurgents to take over some parts of the North-East without much resistance from the nation’s security forces.

The forum further alleged that the failure of the government to put an end to the current insecurity in Yobe, Borno, and Adamawa states was a deliberate plot to weaken the North’s political and economic potentials ahead of the 2015 elections.

They expressed disappointment over the unwillingness of prominent leaders of the region to use their connections to tackle the problem.

The forum called for a thorough investigation into the recent assassination attempt on General Muhammadu Buhari by suspected terrorists, and also condemned the alleged ill treatment being meted against northerners in some states in the South, whereby they are said to have been tagged as terrorists.

National Conference: The Era Of Threatening Anybody Is Over – Odumakin

Sunrise OdumakinSpokesman of pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, has berated his fellow National Conference delegate and the Lamido of Adamawa, Muhammadu Barkindo Mustapha, for threatening a walk out from the conference.

Speaking on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ about what transpired on the floor of the conference during the session, he revealed that the opening remark in the Lamido’s statement was “Let me warn all of you, the way we copy western civilisation…”

Odumakin said, “Initially I thought it was Shekau, because that’s the language of Boko Haram” as he referred to the speech about having an alternative country as the most unfortunate part of the conference, considering the high ranking of the Lamido of Adamawa as the 5th Emir in Northern Nigeria.

He wondered why a traditional leader of his rank would come to the National Conference in the midst of all the deep divisions and other issues going on in the country to make such statements like “My kingdom extends to Cameroon, there’s a state there called Adamawa, so if this place disintegrates, we have other places to go, it is you guys that don’t have.”

Odumakin further said, “I’m from Yoruba land, there are Yorubas in Benin Republic, in Togo, in Ivory Coast and in Brazil; but if I want to go and meet them, it will not be after destroying Nigeria.

“That statement (by the Lamido) is loaded and from the murmuring and comments we were hearing, some people were saying ‘O yes’.

“We now understand why insurgents are coming from Cameroon, Chad and Niger to destroy Nigeria, to kill children and the elites of the country are keeping quiet”, he said, revealing that the Lamido continued making the same comments to the press after the session until he was stopped by other Northern delegates.

He, however, said that he held discussions with many other northern delegates who said that “they felt diminished, they were embarrassed” that an important Emir from the North would get up and make that kind of statement at the conference.

He also alleged that the Lamido’s comments may have been premeditated as the Northern Elders’ Forum had held a meeting in Kano to condemn the conference before it commenced, and issued a communique that the outcome would not be binding on the North and during which they also said that the northern delegates should walk out if deliberations failed to go according to their expectations.

“It is clear that there is a mindset, but I think the most important thing at this stage is that we need to tell ourselves the whole truth; the era of intimidating or threatening anybody is over”, Odumakin said.

On the possibility of categorising the Lamido’s comments to be against with the President’s directive that the divisibility of Nigeria should not be discussed at the conference, Odumakin said that as far as he was concerned, the President did not give a “no-go area” during his inaugural speech.

Odumakin also berated the Sultan of Sokoto and retired Justice Uwais who protested to the President that the National Conference reflects a marginalisation of Muslims, when the President only nominated 72 delegates and other Nigerians and professional bodies were responsible for the other delegates chosen based on what they can contribute to the conference.

Proffering solution to the problems of the country which he said were fundamental, Odumakin maintained his usual view that the “golden moments of governance in Nigeria still remains the first republic” when regional governance was empowered.

Odumakin also shared his view on the voting controversy at the conference.

He said that there is nowhere in the world where 75% makes up the majority, rather the threshold for a majority is two-thirds. He noted that the two-thirds threshold implies that the majority will have their way and the minority will have their say, but the 75% is saying that the minority will have their way while the majority just have their say.

On the issue of subjecting resolutions to the National Assembly, Odumakin asked “Why should anybody go and waste three months of his life when you’re just an adviser?” He insisted, there was no way that the conference will not have a life of its own.

Bugaje Says Nigeria’s Crude Oil Belongs To The North

Usman Bugaje Oil SpeechOne of the lead speakers at the Northern Leaders’ Conference, Usman Bugaje, has raised a controversial issue on the ownership of Nigeria’s crude oil domiciled majorly in the Niger Delta region.

According to him, it is wrong for any state to claim that it is oil producing because 72% of the total land mass in the country belonged to the North and that by the United Nation’s law; it is only the North that actually has the right to claim ownership.

Dr. Bugaje, in his presentation, insisted that “there are no oil producing states.” He argued that “the only oil producing state is the Nigerian state itself.”

He explained, “Whatever mileage you get in the sea, according to the United Nations Law of the sea, is a measure of the land mass that you have; that is what gives you the mileage into the sea…and the land mass of this country, that gives that long 200 nautical miles or more into the ocean, is because of that 72% of the land mass of this country, which is the North.”

To buttress his argument, Dr. Bugaje also said, “The investment came from the Nigerian state and the territory belongs to the Nigerian state.”

He further maintained, “What they claim is the off shore oil is actually the oil of the North” contending that “we should stop using these terms that have no sense at all. There are no oil producing states.”

Group Urges All Political Parties To Field Northern Presidential Candidates

President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term in office appears to be tearing the north apart as the two leading groups in the region; the Northern Elders Forum and the newly inaugurated Northern Elders Council have engaged themselves in a war of words over his ambition.

While the Arewa Consultative Forum(ACF), which is largely seen as the voice of the North and the Northern Elders Forum  have been insisting on a northern president in the 2015 election, the  new group,  the Northern Elders Council (NEC) has declared its support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term in office.

The group which was launched in Kaduna, on Thursday, February 6, has Tanko Yakassai, an elder statesman, as its leader.

Yakassai said the new group was ready to partner with other individuals from all parts of the country who believe in dialogue, mutual respect, harmony and peaceful coexistence.

While the Northern Elders Forum is urging all political parties in the country to field only northerners as their presidential candidates and avoid being moved by groups from the region canvassing for a level playing ground for everyone, the Tanko Yakassai-led group is insisting that all candidates, including President Jonathan, should be giving an equal opportunity.

The Northern Elders Forum led by Ambassador Maitama Sule also accused the Federal Government of using some politicians to divide the region along religious and ethnic lines.

Speaking to Channels Television in Kaduna, spokesperson of the Northern Elders forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi noted that fielding a northern presidential candidate by political parties in 2015 would go a long way to balance the existing rotational arrangement of two tenures of eight years between the north and south.

He lamented that President Goodluck Jonathan, who was a beneficiary of rule of law, was trying to truncate that arrangement by seeking re-election in 2015, but vowed that the north would resist the attempt.

But the Publicity Secretary of the newly formed Northern Elders Council, Ambassador Yusuf Mamman, disagrees with the professor, dismissing all the issues raised by the Northern Elders Forum, describing their position  that power must return to the region  as “self-serving and a baseless agitation”.

He said President Jonathan had the constitutional right to seek a second term in office, if he so desired, and wondered why some group of elders in the region were trying to overheat the polity with their selfish ambitions.

However, the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, at the inauguration of the new leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in Kaduna called for caution.

According to him, the north cannot make any meaningful political and economic progress with the proliferation of group of elders.

Gowon, who is the chairman of Board of Patrons, said there was no need for proliferation of the elders’ group since all of them gave birth to the ACF as one channel that should speak for the North.