Pastor Tunde Bakare on Sunday backed calls for the restructuring of the country, insisting that such a move should not be seen as a threat to the unity of the nation.
“We have failed to realise that a strong federal government working with strong federating units can guarantee the security and prosperity of the Nigerian people,” the clergyman said in his State of the Nation address.
“We have failed to appreciate the fact that coordinated governance by the different states in each of the geopolitical zones will enhance the security of Nigerians and bring our people out of poverty.
“This is the heart and soul of restructuring. Restructuring does not mean the dismemberment of the Nigerian state. It is not an attack on Nigerian unity. It does not mean disadvantaging any section of the country.”
While the senior pastor of Citadel Global Community Church in Lagos linked the rising level of insecurity in several parts of Nigeria to failure to restructure the country, he noted that non-state actors have taken advantage of the situation and hijacked the political governance of the regions.
“The greatest demand on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is to facilitate the emergence of legitimate regional governance frameworks that can fill the vacuum and flush out the illegitimate structures,” the former running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari added.
Bakare who said he is forced to speak out owing to what he described as Buhari’s legacy being confined to the unsavoury side of history, lamented that the state of Nigeria’s does not reflect the President Buhari that he knows.
“I am compelled to speak out because the state of the nation does not represent the Buhari I knew when we took that solemn journey towards rebuilding Nigeria,” he added.
“I am compelled to speak out at this point because, given the state of the nation, the legacy of President Muhammadu Buhari is in grave danger of being confined to an unsavoury side of history. I am indeed compelled to speak out because Nigeria is in a state of emergency.”
South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma, on Thursday night, delivered his much awaited state of the nation address.
It was not devoid of the drama which marred the 2015 edition. After several disruptions, two opposition parties staged a walkout.
When the dust settled, the President got down to deliver a long speech which touched on the nation’s history, the economy and nation building.
Specifically he talked about new measures to cut wastage in government, which include a reduction in overseas trips and size of delegations.
President Zuma also touched on power, drought, a need to boost the business sectors, especially small businesses.
A judicial commission of enquiry has been set up to look into higher education, following the string of protests over fees and outsourcing recorded since late last year.
Of course various reactions have trailed the president’s speech; positive and negative, depending on the side of the political fence the respondent stands.
Channels Television’s South Africa correspondent, Betty Dibiah spoke to a research fellow of the Helen Suzman Foundation, Mr Aubrey Matshiqi, who said that the speech shows the government is more worried about the assessment of ratings by agencies than what can be done to earn plus points from the people.
Former President, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo has advised the Federal Government to manage Nigeria’s democracy and terrorists without resorting to brute force.
The former president, who spoke on the state of the nation, reminded the Federal Government that his administration fought corruption using agencies like the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to give the nation some level of integrity.
He warned that the dwindling economy and questionable character of leadership has ways of degenerating into physical violence.
Mr Obasanjo also criticized the government and the national assembly and accused the executive and legislative arms of government of being corrupt.
The Former President also spoke at length on President Jonathan’s handling of the economy and youth unemployment and urged the Federal Government to concentrate on education in the north-east. Speaking during the public presentation of “The Story Of My Two Worlds; Challenges, Experiences And Achievements” written by Justice Mustapha Akanbi in Abuja, Mr. Obasanjo berated the high level of corruption in the national Assembly.
He also accused the Federal Government of making direct payments to the legislature in order to cover up its wrong doings.
“Corruption in the National Assembly also includes what they call constituency projects which they give to their agents to execute but invariably, full payment is made with little or no job done.
“In all this, if the executive is not absolutely above board, the offending members of the National Assembly resort to subtle or open threat, intimidation and blackmail. When the executive pay the huge money, normally in millions of dollars, all is quiet in form of whitewashed reports that fail to deal effectively with the issues investigated”, he said.
He however, noted that the National Assembly still has some lawmakers that have refused to be corrupt by others and wll not do anything to get invovled in corrupt practices.
“When the guard is the thief, only God can keep the house safe and secure,” he said. “But I am optimistic that sooner than later, we will overcome.
“God will give us guards of integrity and honesty with the fear of God and genuine love of their people and their country.
“Today, there is no institution of government that is not riddled with corruption, not even the military. As the people cry out, where then is the salvation.”
Mr Obasanjo also noted that “what the public know or see of the economy is not what the economy truly is.
“The economy is in the doldrums, if not in reverse. The often-quoted GDP (gross domestic product) growth neither reflects on the living condition of most of our people, nor on most of the indigenous industries and services where capacity utilization is almost 50 per cent,” he added.
A legal practitioner, Idris Faro, on Monday said Nigerians are fed up with sweet words from politicians and stressed the need for public office holders to back their words with positive action.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Faro said “it is good for Nigerians to be optimistic” despite the many years politicians have failed them because “being pessimistic will not better their lot.”
“Sweet words from politicians do not suffice,” he said adding that “they (politicians) need to do more than saying sweet words and there must be positive action towards the deliverance of social amenities for Nigerians.”
He added that: “it is important for those who are in authority to do the primary purpose for which they are in government. It is not enough for them to tell us sweet words, (they would do this, they would do that). There must be positive action towards the deliverance of these amenities.”
He also averred that the citizenry are not doing enough in terms of holding public officers accountable to the trust given them. “We need to question them,” he said, and added that “people must continue to question them and demand for positive results in governance.”
Furthermore, he noted that civil societies, religious associations, pressure groups must ensure that their activities are in tandem with the provision of the fundamental objectives and directive principles of the state policy under chapter two of the constitution.
Over the years, politicians have used pittance to hold the poor folks spellbound in an effort not to be held accountable for their actions and inactions. However, Mr Faro averred that the burden lies on “those who do not need the pittance must do all they can to ensure that politicians are held accountable to the people.”
He added that “it is true that the structure of the country is fundamentally flawed but before we restructure the country we must sustain the effort to hold politicians accountable to the people.”
Asked what medium the people can employ in seeking answers to questions they have about the activities of government, Mr Faro said non-violent rallies at government offices are legal. Citizens can also take advantage of the several fora in the society as well as question government representatives who visit their communities. He also tasked religious leaders in whose places of worship government officials fellowship. “They must continue to question these people when they go to Churches and Mosques to worship,” he said.
With the myriad of challenges facing the nation, Channels Television will be hosting the convener of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) and Vice Presidential candidate of the Congress of progressive Change (CPC); Pastor Tunde Bakare on another episode of the Google+ Hangout.
The online conversation will hold on Monday, April 1 2013 at 1:30 PM.
To participate live in the session, you can join the hangout on: plus.google.com/+channelstelevision
You can also watch the live session on our YouTube Channel:
The Senior Special Assistant for Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe has queried the criticism that greeted the state pardon granted a former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and other ex-convicts by the National Council of States.
Mr Okupe, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said Nigerians must learn to respect the decisions taking by those in positions of authority whether it is favourable or not.
“It is like a parent, it is not every decision a parent takes that is palatable or acceptable to the children,” he said.
The National Council of States, headed by President Jonathan on Tuesday granted state pardon to Mr Alamieyeseigha and other ex-convicts including Oladipo Diya, Major Bello Magaji, Mohammed Lima Biu, Major General Abdulkareem Adisa (Post Humous), Major Segun Fadipe and former head of the Bank of the North, Shettima Bulama.
Mr Okupe said he has no apologies for the decision which was taking by an institution created by the Nigerian constitution.
“What is wrong in giving a remorseful sinner pardon?” Mr Okupe asked.
The Senior Special Assistant for Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe on Wednesday described the visit of some All Progressive Congress (APC) to Borno State, considered a Boko Haram stronghold, as foolish bravery.
Mr Okupe, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said the caché of arms uncovered by the military Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno State after President Jonathan visited the state showed that there was ‘clear and present danger’ in the state.
The presidential spokesman, who was speaking on the achievement of President Jonathan’s visit to Borno and Yobe states said, “I cannot finish this without talking about the visit of the so-called 10 or 11 APC governors, who went on a dance parade to the market square and were waving hands and people are now saying that they were courageous.”
Mr Okupe said President Jonathan and not the governors was the target of Boko Haram.
He said, “The governors that went to Borno were not the target. They are not consequential in the consideration of the Boko Haram. 30 governors can go to Borno state, Boko Haram is not moved by that. The president is their target and that is what makes the difference.
The Senior Special Assistant for Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe on Wednesday said it is too early to ask for amnesty for members of the extremist group, Boko Haram.
Mr Okupe, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said comparing the amnesty granted former Niger Delta militants and the demand for amnesty for Boko Haram is illogical.
He said the recent kidnap and reported assassination of seven workers in Bauchi by the sect “undermines any attempt to negotiate and certainly put the idea of amnesty in total jeopardy.”
The Senior Special Assistant for Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe on Wednesday confirmed media reports that the Council of States has granted state pardon to the former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Okupe listed the other ex-convicts that were granted state pardon to include: Oladipo Diya, Major Bello Magaji, Mohammed Lima Biu, Major General Abdulkareem Adisa (Post Humous), Major Segun Fadipe and former head of the Bank of the North, Shettima Bulama.
Over the years, presidential pardon has been an instrument of power used by Nigerian leaders to unconditionally set free prisoners of conscience and political detainees. The president’s power is exercised after seeking advice from the National Council of State.
The Council of State is comprised of the president, all former heads of the government of the Federation, all former Chief Justices of Nigeria, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, all state governors and the attorney general of the federation.
It was in 2005 that the man who topped the list of those granted state pardon was arrested at the Heathrow Airport in London on suspicion of money laundering. At that time, he was the governor of Bayelsa State in Nigeria’s south-south region and boss of President Jonathan who served as his deputy.
The arrest of Former Governor Alamieyesigha followed investigations by the Proceeds of Corruption Unit of the London Metropolitan Police. Investigators later found an amount equivalent to about 1 million dollars in his London home.
He was granted bail after the arrest on the condition that he would remain in the UK but 3 months later and despite the bail restrictions, the former governor managed to flee the United Kingdom and return to Nigeria.
It was believed that he intended to resume office, after assuming that he was safe from prosecution because of the constitutional immunity he enjoyed as Governor.
A few days after his return however, he was served impeachment notices outlining 8 impeachable offences against him. A month later in Dec 2005, Two thirds majority of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly voted to impeach Governor Alamieyeseigha.
This effectively removed him from office and also removed his domestic immunity paving the way for his arrest and prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), led then by Nuhu Ribadu.
In July 2007, he eventually pleaded guilty to six counts of making false declaration of assets before Justice Mohammed Shuaibu of a federal high court, Lagos in what later came to be known as a plea bargain arrangement. In sentencing him to 2years, the court also ordered a forfeiture of some assets, including N1 billion shares fraudulently obtained with funds of the government of Bayelsa State.
It is for these offences that President Goodluck Jonathan has now bestowed a state pardon on his former boss.
Major Oladipo Diya, on his part is a retired Lt. General in the Nigerian Army. The former Military Governor of Ogun State and former Chief of the General Staff, during the Sani Abacha military regime. He was arrested for treason in 1997.
He and a group of dissident soldiers in the military were alleged to have planned to overthrow the regime of late Gen Sani Abacha. The alleged coup was uncovered by forces loyal to Gen Abacha, and the former Chief of general staff was subsequently jailed.
He was tried before a military tribunal, was given the death penalty. However following public outcry to the secrecy of his trial and after the untimely death of Gen Abacha in 1998, Gen Abdusalam Abubakar, the then head of state in March 1999, commuted the death sentence to a 25yr jail term and eventually Gen Diya was granted amnesty and released.
The other accused persons charged, convicted & sentenced with Gen Diya are Maj. Gen. Tajudeen Olanrewaju and Maj. Gen. Adulkareem Adisa, Major Segun Fadipe, Major Bello Magaji and Mohammed Lima Biu all of whom have also now been granted state pardon.
While most of the others are alive to enjoy the pardon, Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Major-General Abdulkarim Adisa are post-humous beneficiaries.
While General Adisa died in a car crash, Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua the elder brother of former Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua died in detention in Dec 1997. He was serving a life sentence for calling on the Nigerian military government of Gen. Sani Abacha and his Provisional Ruling Council to reestablish civilian rule.
For many however, the most controversial of these state pardon remains that granted to the former governor of Bayelsa state and the former managing director of the Bank of the North Nig Plc, Alhaji Shettima Mohammed Bulama, both of whom were convicted for fraud after an arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
A public affairs analyst, Mahmud Othman on Tuesday said President Goodluck Jonathan last week missed an opportunity to deal with the real issue surrounding the increasing waves of insecurity in Northern Nigeria when he visited Borno and Yobe States.
Mr Othman, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said rather than listen to the advice of the Borno Elders, who have first-hand knowledge of the real issue surrounding the Boko Haram insurgency, President Jonathan sounded combative in his response to them.
He said what the elders told the president “was an honest assessment of the situation on ground because they are the people there.” But rather than listen to them, the analyst said the president blamed them for the insurgency.
“It’s like blaming the victim for a crime committed,” he said.
He said, “If the Federal Government is really interested in peace that is not the way to handle the situation. Mr President, with all due respect, sounded very combative as if there was some kind of template he was reproducing without editing.”
Watch the video below for the complete interview with Mr Othman:
Contrary to claims by President Goodluck Jonathan that members of the extremist group, Boko Haram are faceless, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai on Tuesday said the president knows who leaders of the group were.
Mr El-Rufai, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said the Federal Government knows much more about the sect then what they are letting out to the public.
The former minister said, “I think President Jonathan knows the leaders of Boko Haram because at one point he said that Boko Haram members are in his government. Who are those members that have infiltrated his government?”
Speaking at a town hall meeting last week during his visit to Damaturu, Yobe State, one of the areas worst hit by terror attacks, President Jonathan said granting amnesty to Boko Haram members was unlikely for now because members of the group have remained “ghosts” with no one coming forward to admit membership of the sect.
“You cannot declare amnesty for ghosts. Boko Haram still operates like ghosts. So, you can’t talk about amnesty for Boko Haram now until you see the people you are discussing with. When you call the Niger Delta militants, they will come; but nobody has agreed that he is Boko Haram; no one has come forward. If amnesty can solve the situation, then no problem, but nobody has come forward to make himself visible,” the president had said.
A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai on Tuesday said he supports the creation of community police as a means of dealing with the raising waves of insecurity in Nigeria.
Mr El-Rufai, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said once the States and Local Government councils are allowed to have their own police, the government should then review the country’s criminal law and categorise crimes into Federal, state and local.
He said, “I think a large percent of security begins with the community. If you can make the community secure, you are less likely to have crimes at the state level and federal level. If you can make states secure, you are less likely to have crimes at federal level.