Ohanaeze’s Endorsement, Others Show There Is Hope For Nigeria – Atiku

Atiku Takes Campaign To Abia, Seeks Traditional Rulers' Support

 

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, says his endorsement by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, Northern Elders Forum, Pan-Niger Delta Forum and Middle Belt Forum, shows there is hope for Nigeria.

In a statement he personally signed on Sunday, the PDP candidate said the fact that the leaders had decided to set aside their differences and unite to support his candidature, was a loud statement and a decision he said moved him to tears.

“The endorsement by the leading lights of our nationalities – Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Northern Elders Forum, Pan-Niger Delta Forum and Middle Belt  Forum is a loud statement that there is hope for our country as we go to the polls in a few days.

“I am moved to tears that in the midst of deep divisions and deliberate use of instrumentalities of state to set our people against themselves in the last three and a half years, responsible and respected leaders across Nigeria have agreed to come together for the purpose of endorsing my candidature for the February 16th, 2019 presidential elections,” he said.

Atiku, therefore, promised to unite every region and zone of the country if elected President.

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

He said, “I will run a properly federated Nigeria through constitutional reforms to bring out the best from ALL sections of Nigeria to make Nigeria work again like in the past when the Saudi Royal family came to Nigeria to access Medicare.

“We will promote an inclusive Nigeria based on productivity that every section of Nigeria will bring out the best under their soil, and in their brain to make Nigeria assume its position in Africa and the global community.

“It would be 100 per cent for every section of Nigeria as I would not understand any arithmetic outside that.”

Atiku’s comments come few hours after leaders of the various groups backed his candidature less than two weeks to the presidential election.

The leaders declared their support for the PDP candidate on Sunday at a meeting tagged: Summit of Nigerian Leaders and Elders.

While explaining the reason for their decision, they accused President Muhammadu Buhari of dividing the country and not having control of the presidency.

Ohanaeze’s Criticism Of Buhari’s Independence Day Speech Unfair – Presidency

File Photo

The spokesperson for President Muhammadu Buhari has said Ohanaeze group of Igbo leaders should see themselves as partners with the Federal Government in promoting peace and stability instead of constant criticism of the presidency.

Reacting to some criticisms of the president’s Independence Day Speech, Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said that it was unfair of the group to blame the recent unrest in the southeast region on the Federal Government.

The spokesman said that President Buhari’s speech was a message to all community leaders, and that includes the Ohanaeze.

READ ALSO: NigeriaAt57: 10 Quotes From President Buhari’s Address

“President Buhari was not abdicating his responsibilities. He didn’t request any political leader to do anything seminal or out of the box. All he said is, talk to your out-of-the-line-youth so that we have some peace.

“Igbo leaders need not to be on the defensive. The President was simply saying that the regional leaders also have a role to play in keeping their youth in check.”

The SSA Media said that leaders of every other region of the country, not only the Ohanaeze from the southeast must step out and speak up whenever their youth go out of line.

“President Buhari was simply calling out the regional leaders to their responsibilities, making them aware of the crucial role they can play. This should not be seen as an attack on the Ohaneze or on any other regional leaders,” he said.

READ ALSO: Ohanaeze Visits Sokoto Calls For Continuous Peaceful Coexistence          

Responding to other criticisms of the President’s speech, particularly the declaration that all matters of restructuring or constitutional amendment are the business of the National Assembly, Garba reiterated the President’s line that the Parliament as a key institution in democratic governance is the proper venue for the ventilation of, and resolution of all contentious issues.

“Democracy may be slow and chaotic, but it remains the best system of government the world has got so far. Democracy in Nigeria has come to stay and the administration will deepen it, not kill it.”

He said speeches that aggravate  a Nigerian against another Nigerian are causing damage to our democracy, rocking at the very foundation of our unity and they better not cross those red lines as warned by the President.

Ohanaeze Visits Sokoto Calls For Continuous Peaceful Coexistence          

Ohanaeze President General, John Nwodo

The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo has urged Nigerians to remain partners in progress, calling for continuous unity, harmony, and peace between Northerners and people of South East.

Nwodo said this in Sokoto, when he led a delegation of the socio-political group on a visit to Governor Aminu Tambuwal.

He said unity and peaceful coexistence should be a responsibility of all citizens, adding that the aim should be to leave a legacy of peace and unity to the next generation.

READ ALSO: Ohanaeze Asks FG To Stop Military Operation In South East

“In the same way as the Sultan spoke, any Igbo man who touches a Northerner in Igbo land should first kill John Nnia Nwodo. We are prepared to lay ourselves on the line so that our children will inherit a country where there is peace, harmony and unity.”

Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal in his address said Sokoto has always been peaceful and will continue to live in harmony with people of South East.

“People of South East who are here in Sokoto are our brothers, we shall continue to live together. We will continue to live in harmony. We have never had any reason to have crisis here in Sokoto.”

Ohanaeze Asks FG To Stop Military Operation In South East

Ohanaeze President General, John Nwodo

Igbo socio-cultural organisation Ohanaeze Ndigbo has asked the Federal Government to end the ongoing military action in the South East.

This, it said, is because rather than guarantee the security of the people, the operation is aimed at intimidating people in the region.

President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, John Nwodo, said in a statement on Tuesday that if the operation is not stopped, it would amount to an invasion of the South East.

“In a democracy, the level of disenchantment expressed by the people of the South East of Nigeria ought to have provoked a serious dialogue between our people and the federal executive and the legislature,” he said.

“History teaches us that the continuous use of force to silence dissent and free speech will only accelerate the growth of dissent and dissatisfaction. Fundamental rights of freedom of expression are critical for a successful democracy.”

The statement comes two days after an altercation between members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and troops of the Nigerian Army. Both sides have disagreed over what transpired.

The military had started an operation in the South East, code-named Operation Python Dance, last year with the aim of ridding the region of criminals and others threatening the security of the area.

Last week, it announced plans for Operation Python Dance II, but the continued military operation in the region has given Ohanaeze cause for concern as it believes it is being used for divisive purposes and extortion among other things.

“Nigeria at this moment does not need such deliberate and proactive escalation of tensions and crisis,’ it said.

The group added, “Our people were shamelessly intimidated and harassed at these check points. Operation Python Dance 1 procured no arrests of criminals that were prosecuted for any of the criminal activities that Operation Python Dance II is supposed to address.

“Instead, it witnessed reckless and indiscriminate murder of self-determination agitators in Asaba, Aba, Nkpor, and Port Harcourt numbering up to 191 by the estimates of Transparency International and shattered public confidence of South-easterners in the Nigerian Army and Police.”

Also, Ohanaeze claimed the operation by the military showed bias as the same approach had not been adopted in other places with similar crime rates as the South East.

“The Nigerian Army has never embarked on Operation Python Dance in any of the other five geopolitical zones on account of these incidences. Innocent civilians living in these other parts of Nigeria have not witnessed the type of invasion Umuahia witnessed Sunday night.”

National Unity: Southern Leaders Meet In Lagos

As the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, continues his consultations with leaders of different ethnic, religious and interest groups on the nation’s unity in Abuja, some leaders of the Southern states are also meeting in Lagos.

The meeting, which was held in one of the leaders’ residence in Lagos, had leaders from the South-East, South-South and South-West regions in attendance. The meeting, according to the organisers, is said to be on the recent tension in the country and the threat to national unity

The leaders say they are looking into the options on the table and strategising on the best moves in achieving peace, equity among the different ethnic nationalities within the country.

Among those at the meeting are Afenifere leaders such as General Alani Akinrinade (retd), Chief Ayo Adebanjo; and Senator Femi Okunrounmu. The President of Ohaneze, Chief John Nwodo, and others are from the South-South region, including one of the region’s vocal activist, Tony Uranta, were also present at the meeting.

Ohanaeze To Sue FG Over Federal Appointments

The socio-cultural group, Ohaneze Ndigbo, appears set to take legal steps to address what it describes as discriminatory attitude towards the South East and South South in federal appointments.

This was announced by the President General of the group, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who said that the zones have not been well represented in the Buhari administration.

He also applauded the bail granted the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, but criticised the conditions of the bail.

He said, “We have appointed a committee of Senior Advocates of Nigeria from Ohanaeze states to take the Federal Government to court over the discriminatory treatment that is given to the people of the South East and the South South.

“Ohanaeze on our own are doing the best to carry on. We particularly feel happy (that) following our persistent demands, the government has responded now by granting bail to Nnamdi Kanu.”

 

Southerners Leave Kaduna Ahead of Election

kaduna Nigerians particularly southerners living in Kaduna State and other parts of the north are migrating to their villages in anticipation of post election violence.

This is despite the pleas by Igbo leaders and Ohanaeze Ndigbo to Igbos in other parts of the country, especially the North, to vote where they live.

Channels Television visited some motor parks in the state capital, reported that many families prefer to travel to their home towns ahead of the election, in anticipation of election violence.

Some of those interviewed, gave reasons for their traveling to fear of an outbreak of election violence, as witnessed in 2011, while others claimed they are traveling ahead of the Easter Celebration.

Some of the passengers who were seen at the motor park said, they would stay until after the elections before returning to the North, adding that they abandoned their businesses for fear of crisis.

Commuters are traveling along with mattresses and other household items, signalling that they may likely stay for quite some time before returning to their bases.

In 2011, many people in the state were killed including non indigenes during the post election violence in Northern Nigeria.

While assuring residents of adequate security during the general elections, the Kaduna state commissioner of Police, Umar Shehu, called on people not to panic. The Commissioner said that the fear is unfounded, noting that such movement will only be necessary if they were going home to cast their votes in the elections.

Mr. Shehu, also warned of a restriction order starting from Thursday evening, adding that all exit and entry points into the state will be blocked by security agencies ahead of the election.

The Kaduna state chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has however faulted the Police commissioner’s restriction of movement order, saying that it is illegal and unconstitutional to bar people from moving around freely more than 48 hours to the election.

Meanwhile, the Kaduna state office of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) has received all non-sensitive and sensitive materials in preparation for the election. The materials were brought to the state amidst tight security.

The state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr Husseni Mahuta who briefed journalists in his office, said adequate arrangement has been put in place to ensure a hitch free election, while it is still distributing Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) that are already in its custody.

Sanusi Wants Ohanaeze, Afenifere, CAN, others Banned

The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to ban some ethno-religious organisations in the country including the Arewa Consultative Forum, Ohanaeze, Afenifere, Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Mr Sanusi, who was a guest speaker at the dinner organised by the Northern Reawakening Forum (NRF), said such bodies are no longer religious or cultural in nature but political associations.

“These religious organisations, the Arewa, Afenifere, including Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI) and CAN, should be banned because they are not religious organisations, they are not culture organisations, they are political associations under the guise of religious organisations,” the CBN governor said.

He said the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that the Federal Government must promote associations that cut across ethnic groups and the religious divide, adding, “But what we have are religious organisations that invite government officials to speak and the organisations honour them. They are just glorified institutions.”

The CBN governor said that the difference between a Muslim and a Christian in the North is nothing compared to the wide gulf between the rich Muslim and the poor Muslim, which also applied to the Christian in the North.

He said that the North is sitting on a time bomb waiting to explode, noting: “Agriculture farming there is subsistence. There is no development, no education, no prospect for employment and therefore we are sitting on a time bomb.”

Other notable speakers at the event included the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Audu Ogbeh, who said security challenges in the North had set the region on fire, and the former chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ahmed Joda, who accused political leaders of overheating polity and tearing the country apart.

The National Chairman of the NRF, Mohammed Umara Kumalia, said the region had evolved from a people with a great and enviable culture and tradition to the present state where acute poverty, ethno-religious conflict, insecurity, disease and erosion of core values had taken over the life of many and made economic progress almost impossible in several parts of the North.

He said the forum was established to offer support to other stakeholders to elevate the North to its glorious days when peaceful coexistence, tolerance, hard work, service, respect, equity, honesty, humility, trust, brotherhood, commerce, agriculture, trade and above all pride were the values and culture of the people that today populate about 76 per cent of the geographical entity called Nigeria.