Togo Opposition Leader Enters Day 10 Of Hunger Strike

Head of Togo’s Democrats party, Nicodeme Ayao Habia, who has been on hunger strike for nine days, sits at the entrance of the Ghanaian High Commission in the capital Lome, on September 27, 2018. PHOTO: Matteo FRASCHINI KOFFI / AFP

 

“Physically I’m very weak but spiritually and mentally I am strong,” says Nicodeme Ayao Habia, president of an opposition party in Togo on Friday — day 10 of his hunger strike.

Habia lies on a mat in front of the Ghanaian embassy in Lome, where he is demanding the release of protesters who have been detained for months after demonstrating against the ruling regime.

“Doctors come every day, I get seen by them. The rest is up to me. If I can make this sacrifice for change in my country, I should do it.

“I don’t fear for my life, what’s important for me is the release of the prisoners,” he says.

“I’m here to show the world what’s happening in Togo.”

The West African bloc ECOWAS stepped in early this year to negotiate between Togo’s government and the opposition after months of protests with people calling for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe.

The opposition parties had obtained the release of about 40 people arrested in connection with protests and 10 others were released in early September.

But according to the leaders of the coalition of 14 opposition parties, there are still 44 people languishing in Togolese prisons who are yet to have their case heard in court.

The minister of justice maintains that their situation will be examined on a case-by-case basis.

“There are no members of my party who are still in jail but those who remain inside are still Togolese, innocent people suffering in our prisons,” said Habia.

“If they are released today, I will leave this place.”

Habia knows what it’s like to be a political prisoner.

He was arrested several times — in 1992 and 1994 — when Gnassingbe’s father was president and was “tortured for months by soldiers before being transferred to a prison in Lome”.

Faure Gnassingbe has been in power since 2005 after succeeding his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who led the small West African country with an iron fist for 38 years.

He has opposed changes to the constitution that would put a limit on presidential terms, sparking the nationwide uprising.

Along with the release of the protesters, Habia has demanded that the government comply with an ECOWAS-approved roadmap and “implement the reforms the Togolese have been demanding for years”, including capping the number of presidential terms.

 Lost 15 kg

By his side, Habia has a poster of the national flag, photos of four detainees and newspaper affiliated with the opposition, underneath a book with the fitting title “No easy day.”

Not far from him are stacks of candles.

“People come to put out candles every day,” said Achille Mensah, Habia’s spokesman.

“They say they want to call on the spirit of the Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo,” one of the two ECOWAS facilitators who helped mediate the crisis in Togo.

On Friday morning a crowd of about 50 people, many of them young, gathered in front of the embassy to support Habia.

“Some young people spend the night with him and early in the morning go home,” Mensah said, adding that Habia has already lost 15 kilograms (33 pounds), according to doctors.

A banner flies in the crowd showing the names of detained protesters: “Free Messenth, Joseph, Assibia… human rights and democracy activists arbitrarily arrested in Togo.”

So far, Habia has refused to break his fast, only drinking water to stay alive.

On Monday, he was visited by police. “When they arrived, they told me to get out quickly and knowing my rights, I resisted and turned back,” he said.

“I’m not here to hurt anyone. I’m here to call attention to the national and international community for the release of my compatriots.

AFP

Benue LG Election Set For Sept. 3, 2016

Benue State, LG electionThe Benue State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC), has fixed September 3, 2016 for the conduct of local government election which was last held in November 2012.

Chairman of the Commission, Mr John Tswua, announced the date at a stakeholders’ meeting with representatives of political parties and traditional rulers.

The commission says it is depending on those present for a peaceful conduct of the election in their domain.

The BSIEC Chairman believes that the successful conduct of election is a function of all the stakeholders’ efforts.

The main opposition party, People Democratic Party (PDP) is convinced the commission will be fair to all in the build up to the election.

PDP Asks Ruling Party To Accept Criticism

Olisa-MetuhThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria has asked the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to accept with equanimity, constructive criticisms of their administration.

In a statement on Saturday, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said it was “unfortunate that the APC and its leaders, who gleefully and unjustifiably poured invectives on former President Goodluck Jonathan in the guise of playing the role of an opposition party, would not want to condone criticisms”.

The PDP made the statement in response to comments it said the National Chairman of the APC, Mr John Oyegun, made after the PDP criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s responses at a media chat on December 30, 2015.

It said: “Unlike the APC that denigrated the office and person of former President Jonathan by wrongly depicting him as ‘clueless and incompetent’, the PDP remains the most decent, mature and constructive opposition party in our democracy and we have evidenced great respect for the person and exalted office of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The PDP is a very responsible opposition party; our leaders are mature; and we have demonstrated so in our critique of the President’s responses during the maiden Presidential Media Chat. We have reviewed President Buhari’s performance and concluded that it was uninspiring.

“The PDP remains the most decent, mature and constructive opposition party in our democracy and we have evidenced great respect for the person and exalted office of President Muhammadu Buhari”.

According to the PDP, Mr Oyegun had warned that the APC “may not condone such anymore”, a statement it said was against the freedom that Nigerians had.

The party further accused the ruling party of planning to completely decimate the opposition by raking up all manner of allegations of corruption against the Goodluck Jonathan administration and leaders of the PDP with a view to taking them to court on orchestrated charges.

Read PDP’s Full Statement

January 2, 2015

Press Statement

PDP Sympathises With Buhari, APC Leaders Over Inability To Take Criticisms

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has sympathised with President Muhammadu Buhari and leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over their inability to accept, with equanimity, constructive criticisms of their administration.

In a statement on Saturday, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, said it was unfortunate that the APC and its leaders, who gleefully and unjustifiably poured invectives on former President Goodluck Jonathan in the guise of playing the role of an opposition party, would now not want to condone criticisms.

“Unlike the APC that denigrated the office and person of former President Jonathan by wrongly depicting him as ‘clueless and incompetent’, the PDP remains the most decent, mature and constructive opposition party in our democracy and we have evidenced great respect for the person and exalted office of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“During the Goodluck Jonathan presidency, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, while in the saddle as interim Deputy National Secretary of the APC, in a post on his twitter page, described President Jonathan as ‘lazy, docile, incompetent, clueless, hopeless and useless leader.’ Other APC leaders made raining abuses on Jonathan a past time.

“The PDP is a very responsible opposition party; our leaders are mature; and we have demonstrated so in our critique of the President’s responses during the maiden Presidential Media Chat. We have reviewed President Buhari’s performance and concluded that it was uninspiring

“The entire world listened to President Buhari during the chat and went away with different impressions. We did and came up with the theme of our initial reaction that portrayed him very appropriately as a tyrant. And for purpose of clarity, a tyrant is a ruler who has complete power over a country and who uses the power in a cruel and unfair way, which was why we recommended the suspension of the operation of the constitution so he can rule for the next four years as a maximum ruler.

“In its reaction, his party National Chairman, John Oyegun magisterially and dictatorially warned that ‘we (APC) may not condone such anymore.’ Our position in the PDP is that we are in trouble as a nation. All we hear from the APC regarding our freedom is ‘we won’t tolerate’, ‘we won’t condone.’ Are these words used by democrats or tyrants?

“So, the PDP too is being warned and coerced on what to say as opposition party. The PDP must be commended for the civil, responsible, mature, issue-based opposition it has played. The nation knows how the APC rained insults on former President Jonathan and that the PDP, during that time, never used words like ‘it would not condone…’

“Some have even criticised the PDP style of opposition as being too civil considering the tyranny we are facing. That is why Chief John Oyegun could term a dictionary word-‘tyrant’- as insulting. Nigerians do not need the PDP or anyone else to make them decide if President Buhari’s APC government fits the definition of a tyrant.

“The real trait of the President was unraveled during the media chat. He has repeatedly shown his scorn for the Legislature, an independent arm of government while sanctioning security agencies’ disrespect for court orders and the impunity of continuous incarceration of people who have been granted bails by the courts.

“Also from his responses, the President has even pronounced a guilty verdict on Col Sambo Dasuki and Nnamdi Kanu of Radio Biafra even before the hearings by the courts. Sadly, even the international community has noted this brazen scorn and disdain for the independence of the judiciary.

“Furthermore, how do we describe a President who openly denigrated an entire race as he did in the media chat when he suggested that the Igbos were insatiable with the appointments his government has so far given to them? Indeed, the timing and the tenor of the President’s comment, given the security and political situation in the land, remain worrisome, especially at a time a nerve-soothing statement from the father of the nation could have reassured the agitators of the need for peace and unity in the nation.

“Besides, it is sad and embarrassing that President Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade has now been reduced to a war between the APC and the PDP as declared by the Office of his spokespersons. Since they have confirmed that this is what the anti-corruption crusade is all about, the APC is obviously seeking to destroy the PDP so that it can push through Buhari’s second tenure in 2019 without opposition from the PDP.

“This has also confirmed our concern that this is the reason the Federal Government is persecuting, and not prosecuting, Col. Sambo Dasuki. The APC and its leaders fear that Dasuki, given his vast political and security network, may be harbouring a presidential ambition, more so that the PDP has zoned its presidential ticket to the north.

“The PDP is conversant with the sinister plan by the APC-led Federal Government to completely decimate our party by raking up all manner of allegations of corruption against the Goodluck Jonathan administration and leaders of the PDP with a view to taking them to court on orchestrated charges.

“Finally we are aware that President Buhari has directed security agencies to be more vicious in dealing with our members and has continued to subtly coerce the Judiciary to convict those being charged to court. But what gives us joy is that President Buhari is not God and we will not worship him.

Signed:

Chief Olisa Metuh
National Publicity Secretary

PDP Asks APC To “Stop Bandying Imaginary Figures”

Olisa-MetuhThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has descried as reckless, irresponsible and highly provocative, Sunday’s statement by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), with a controversial list of alleged looted funds.

In a statement by the opposition party’s spokesman, Mr Olisa Metuh, released in response to the APC claims, the PDP said that the party bandied imaginary figures against the previous administration to suit a heinous purpose.

The spokesman for the APC, Mr Lai Mohammed, said the party saw the necessity of “reminding Nigerians the kind of massive looting of the treasury that took place in the past few years, so they can better appreciate the seriousness of the issue at stake”.

But the PDP said that the APC had again exhibited its emptiness and disgusting desperation for public approval.

The statement by the PDP read: “In trying to escalate their stock-in-trade of lies, wild allegations and falsehood, the APC failed to understand that their baseless fabrications are capable of throwing an unsuspecting nation into chaos.

“The spate of fabrications by Lai Mohammed has become a sickening source of worry for well-meaning Nigerians including those in his party,” the PDP stated, urging President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC to “call their spokesman to order before he plunges the country into crisis with wild and unsubstantiated claims”.

The opposition party further stressed that instead of engaging in unnecessary playing to the gallery, the APC-led government should get serious with the fight against corruption by investigating and prosecuting corrupt persons.

It also urged the APC to move on with the demands of governance, especially in fulfilling their numerous campaign promises for which they were voted into office at the centre.

Former Minister, Yarima Ngama Defects To APC

apcA former Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yarima Ngama, has defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Announcing the defection of the former minister from the PDP to the APC on Friday in Damaturu, Yobe State capital, a prominent indigene of the state, Mr. Lawan Gana Lantewa, said that the former minister, among several other supporters of the PDP, have thrown their weight behind APC to help the state to be in the ruling party for the first time since its creation in 1991.

Mr Lantewa, while praising people of Yobe State for remaining in the opposition since 1991, said that if they can work for the formation of a central government for the first time, the state would benefit maximally.

“We are defecting to the APC so as to add to the course of ensuring the state governor wins under the platform of the APC so that our state will be among the ruling party for the first time in the history of the state.

“We believe this will bring lots of dividend and development for the state which has suffered greatly under the opposition over the years,” Lawan Gana said.

He also said that their decision would develop the state which has suffered insurgency and neglect over the years being in the opposition.

The National Secretary of the APC, Mai Mala Buni, who received the defectors on behalf of the party, applauded their decision. He said that the APC would transform the country and the state for the better in no distant time.

FACE OFF: Efforts Of Government In 2013, Laudable Or Not?

A legal practitioner and spokesman of the Lagos chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, Taofeek Gani in his opening statement on Face Off, commended the Goodluck Jonathan administration for trying its best despite a “militarised opposition.” “The type of unfortunate opposition that is not good for the polity to develop,” he added.

While Taofeek Gani commended the administration’s overall efforts in 2013, spatial analyst, Ayobami Oyalowo, who was a second guest on the programme disagreed with Gani’s assertions, adding that 2013 was a turbulent year for the nation, no thanks to the current leadership.

6 Year Single Term Bill Is Anti-Nigerian – CPC

The National Publicity Secretary of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Rotimi Fashakin has ruled out the Senate’s 6-year-single-term recommendation, describing it as a ‘bad idea’ which is not in the best interest of the citizens of Nigeria.

Mr Fashakin made this known while speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, where he stated that the motive for any bill or law should be the welfare of the people.

The Senate committee on the amendment of the constitution, headed by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has recommended a six year single term for the president and governors. The proposal however, indicated that serving President and Governors will not benefit from the new proposal.

“The business of government is basically about the people,” Mr Fashakin explained; adding that the bill is an attempt to depreciate the sovereignty of the people.

“What this bill tries to do is attempting to deviate, depreciate that sovereignty that rightfully belongs to the people,” he said.

He likened the 6-year-single-term to an Annual General Meeting (AGM) which only holds every seven years, which means the board of directors are only accountable to ‘shareholders’ once in every seven years.

“What this (bill) is trying to do is akin to a board of directors going the shareholders (who are the true owners of the coy) and saying you know what from next year

We shall not be coming back to you again yearly; we would come back to you in seven years’ time. So it is in 7 years’ time or 6 years’ time that you would do your AGM”

Mr Fashakin said that the proposed bill is “a lot more ridiculous than” the illustration he gave.

He labeled the bill a ‘bad idea’ which is also ‘anti-people’.

The bill should be ‘jettisoned wholesale by the Nigerian people,’ he added.

Mr Fashakin said that the bill, an idea initially put forward by President Goodluck Jonathan “is not in the interest of the Nigerian people.”

 

 

 

Learn From Ghana’s Election, INEC Commissioner Tells Nigerians

The Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mike Igini on Tuesday said Ghana will remain the pride of Africa as it stands as a model in African democracy which Nigeria must emulate.

Mr Igini, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said “the history of a people is a reflection of how they decide to conduct themselves.”

The INEC commissioner said Ghana has conducted six successful elections that has met both local and international standards and that the success is not far-fetched because the saying “Ghana First” applies that every Ghanaians should believe in the country.

He said Ghanaians are where they are today because they started a journey of change some years ago, remaining committed to the value of change and in making the country attain a higher level in Africa and West Africa Sub-region and that they also adopt new method which is the introduction of the biometric system in the election process.

“Some of the things I found in Ghana are quite interesting unlike in our own country; and of course we can see why we are where we are,” he said.

Gaidam blames opposition for violence in Yobe

The Yobe State governor, Ibrahim Gaidam has accused the opposition political parties of perpetuating the spate of insecurity in the state.


The governor, who disclosed this during a visit to some of the areas affected by a recent violence in the state, said his political enemies want to destabilize his administration.

“I don’t know who these people are. They could either be enemies within and outside us or other kind of criminals like Boko Haram,” Mr Gaidam said.

He described as barbaric the intentions of those responsible for the violence and destruction saying that his government totally condemn the act.

Mr Gaidam said he has recorded over 50 per cent of his campaign promises and he hopes to make it a hundred per cent by the end of his tenure in 2015.

He alleged that the opposition is not happy with his achievements in the state and are doing everything possible to destroy his successes.

“We are beginning to understand that there are enemies within and outside us who does not want us to progress,” the governor said.

He urged the people of the state to join hands with him in the quest for peace and development in the state.

Public buildings and telecommunication facilities have come under attack in the state recently.