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Be ready to make sacrifice, Osinbajo tells Nigerians

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Be ready to make sacrifice, Osinbajo tells Nigerians

• Leaders task Buhari on restructuring
• Adebanjo, Okocha, Yakassai, Ikedifie seek review of polity
• ‘Nigerians will resist coup’

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has urged Nigerians to stop the blame game and contribute their quota for the greatness of the country. He spoke yesterday at the 2017 Democracy Day interdenominational church service with the theme: The Dry Bones Shall Live Again” Ezekiel 37:11, held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja to mark the nation’s 18 years of democracy.

Drawing from the biblical story of the good Samaritan to illustrate his message, the Acting President said Nigerians must not emulate the politician and cleric in the story that looked the other way when they saw the man that was attacked by thieves and left. Osinbajo urged Nigerians to be like the good Samaritan who took compassion on him, poured oil on his wounds and took him to the hospital.

“When we look on our country, it is not the state that is the story but how the people react when you see the nation that needs to be helped. “While the politician and cleric looked the other way when they saw the man that was half dead, the Good Samaritan had compassion on him, covered the wound with bandage and took him to the hospital.

“Who truly loves the nation, is it the priest that said a prayer and walked past, or the politician that looked and walked past or the Samaritan that took the wounded to the hospital, paid some money and said treat him, on my return I will upset the bill?”

According to the Acting President, “the nation requires those that can make the sacrifices to make it great, they are those whom Jesus spoke about, people that may not be of note but prepared to make the nation great again. Some are doctors, teachers, young graduates.

“There is sacrifice of integrity against corruption. When you speak against corruption, it fights back, so you must be ready to make sacrifice no matter how highly placed or small you are. Teachers must be prepared to teach, doctors prepared to provide health services, no matter what. Make the sacrifices required to make our nation great whether you are a leader or a follower.”

At the event, Osinbajo prayed God to heal President Muhammadu Buhari and bring him back safely. He also prayed for grace on those willing to make sacrifices to make the nation great.

The First scripture reading, Ezekiel 37:1-14, was taken by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, while the second scripture reading, Romans 129-2,1 was taken by Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.

In his sermon, the presiding Apostle of the Word Communication Ministries and Founder of Christ Family Assembly Churches Apostle Sunday Popoola, said the service was mainly to thank God for 18 years of unbroken democracy, to reflect on how we have played our role in the polity and to pray and seek the face of God for our glorious future.

The cleric cautioned all those contemplating coup to jettison the thought, saying a military hijack of power would not succeed in the country any more as the people would resist it.

“If you are out there like me, you will know that Nigerians are fed up and are waiting for something to spark. We need to be patient with the present government which has something to offer. Coup cannot work now and will not succeed.”

Popoola said 100 years after amalgamation, the country cannot continue to blame the imperialists, while urging that the 2014 National Conference must be revisited and the different nations that make up Nigeria must decide the future.

Prayers were said for Buhari and Osinbajo. Prayer were also said for peace, security and flourishing development in the country. Also present during the service were the President of the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Supo Ayokunle; wife of the Acting President, Dolapo Osinbajo; House Speaker’s wife Gimbia Dogora; Mrs. Nkoyo Onnoghen; Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, members of the legislature, judiciary, the military, clerics, royal fathers and members of the diplomatic corps.

As Nigeria marks the second anniversary of the Buhari presidency and 18 years of uninterrupted civil rule today, the cry for the restructuring of the polity in line with the current socio-political and economic realities in the country has become more strident.

Stakeholders, who spoke to The Guardian, called for a federation that reflects the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers before military adventurism and political expediencies moved the nation towards a unitary system.

Those who bared their minds, including Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Onuze Okocha; a member of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Tanko Yakassai; and former president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, harped on the need to redefine Nigeria in the light of current circumstances and in line with historical facts.

For instance, Adebanjo said the 1954 Constitution, “which our founding fathers, including the likes of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and the Sardauna of Sokoto agreed to, was a regional constitution, which allowed for healthy competition.

“When the military introduced the unitary system of government after the 1966 coup, the crisis in which the country found itself up till date started. Many other things that could have been responsible for our backwardness, including corruption, arose from the military de-structured system. That is why I said we must restructure the country.”

In the view of Okocha, Nigeria is yet to have a workable constitution that will reflect the aspirations of the people within a government that has proper structures.

He said: “We have to set up proper government structures. And this is at the root of it. Over and above it, is that we have to have a constitution that has provisions that meet the aims and aspirations of the majority of the peoples of Nigeria. That is the main issue.

“The constitution needs to be re-engineered, modified, amended and updated, not this piecemeal thing that the National Assembly is doing. The National Assembly should pass a law that will give impetus for the convocation of a proper national conference where all Nigerians will sit and decide what is the best way forward.”

Ikedife dwelt on the alleged marginalisation of the Southeast geo-political zone in the current dispensation and decried the insecurity that has pervaded the land.

“Security in the country has not really been the best because the Fulani herdsmen still kill people, ravage farmlands, rape women and cause destruction here and there. Economically, we are in a situation called recession. My own understanding of recession is that prices of goods and services are on the high side.

“We have a situation where goods and services are not there and the ones there are out of reach. The increased repatriation of Nigerians even from our own brothers in Africa, from countries like Libya, South Africa shows that something is wrong somewhere.”

Except for Yakassai who disagreed with the implementation of the reports of the 2014 National Conference, others wanted the Buhari administration to provide a new direction by adopting the letters of the confab towards providing a new constitution for the country.

The northern politician, however, called for the cancellation of the presidential system of government for the parliamentary system. According to him, the presidential system “is not helping the unity of the people of Nigeria. Rather it is making people put their eyes on that single position and forget about the issues that border us as a country. So I am of the view that we should go back to the parliamentary system of government.”

The respondents also alleged that most of the campaign promises of the administration are yet to be delivered to the electorate even though they all agreed that the anti-corruption war, even if not yet totally won, has exposed the extent of the rot in the system.

But the Federal Government seems unperturbed about the cry for restructuring as it lays emphasis on successes recorded in the last two years especially in the areas of economic diversification, social engineering, infrastructure and social welfare provision.

A report released by the presidency through the office of the Special Adviser on Media, Femi Adesina, disclosed that the government has actually taken giant leaps towards taking the country up the ladder of development in almost all sectors.
Culled from The Guardian

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17 persons die in seperate accidents on same route in Kogi

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17 persons die in seperate accidents on same route in Kogi


17 persons including five children, two policemen and their driver lost their lives in seperate autocrashes Thursday on Itobe-Anyigba road in Kogi State.

First was that involving a mercedez-Benz truck and an ambulance conveying an empty casket with two police inspectors and a civilian driver travelling to Anyigba to take the body of a dead police sergeant.

The trio died when their ambulance van had a headon collision with a Mercedes-Benz truck coming from the opposite direction.

On the same day 14 persons also perished in a multiple accident involving three vehicles; two trucks and a passenger bus along the same route.
The State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr Solomon Aghure, who confirmed the incident to newsmen in Lokoja on Friday, indicated that three vehicles; two trucks and a passenger bus, were involved in the accident.
He said that the three vehicles were travelling on the same lane enroute Anyingba when a truck suddenly hit the bus from behind and as a result of the impact, the Bus skidded and hit the truck in its front.
Aghure said that the bus was trapped in between the two trucks with all the passengers before his men arrived the scene to carry out rescue operation which lasted for hours.
He disclosed that 14 out of the 23 persons involved in the accident died on the spot, adding that nine others sustained various degrees of injury.
Aghure said that three men, one woman and five children (two males and three females) survived the accident with some injuries.
He said that the injured were taken to Holley Memorial Hospital, Ochadamu for treatment while corpses of the dead were deposited at the morgue of Grimard Hospital, Anyingba.
Aghure,who attributed the accident to possible break failure,said further investigation would be carried out to determine its actual cause.

 

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Presidency tells Muslim group to exercise restrain even though Kukah actually injured Islamic faith

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Presidency tells Muslim group to exercise restrain even though Kukah actually injured Islamic faith


The Presidency has indicated that, though it agrees with Muslim Solidarity Forum that Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto actually injured the Muslims in his Christmas day homily it’s unconstitutional for them to issue him quit notice.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu spoke in reaction to the threats for the Bishop to quietly pack and leave Sokoto should he fail to apologise over the controversial sermon.
The Muslim Solidarity Forum had issued what seem like a subtle threat to Bishop Hassan Kukah to tender an unreserved appology or quietly leave the seat of Caliphate.

The spokesman for the President in a statement said, Kukah has truly injured the Muslims, but he should be guided in his utterances and take into cognisance, Sokoto’s heartbeat of Islam in Nigeria.
Shehu said, it’s unconstitutional for an individual or group to issue quit notice to a citizen under whatever circumstances, saying, father Mathew Hassan Kukah must be allowed to practice his religion.
Nationalupdate reports on Tuesday indicated that the Sokoto based Islamic group, “Muslim Solidarity Forum”, at a press briefing said the Bishop is known for his perchance to speak in parables and innuendos against Islam in a provocative manner.

The spokesman for the President in a statement said,
“Father Kukah has greatly offended many with his controversial remarks against the government and the person of the President, with some even accusing him of voicing anti-Islamic rhetoric.
“On matters such as these, responsible leadership in any society must exercise restraint. Knee-jerk reactions will not only cause the fraying of enduring relationships, but also the evisceration of peaceful communities such as Sokoto, the headquarters of the Muslim community as beacon of pluralism and tolerance.
“The reported ultimatum by a group based in Sokoto, “Muslim Solidarity Forum,” calling on the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev Matthew Hassan Kukah to tender an unreserved apology to the entire Muslim Ummah over his recent “malicious comments” against Islam, or quietly and quickly leave the state, is wrong because it is not in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Under our Constitution, every citizen has the right to, among others, freedom of speech and expression, the right to own property and reside in any part of the country, and the right to move freely without any inhibitions.
“Nigeria’s strength lies in its diversity. The right for all religions to co-exist is enshrined in this country’s Constitution.
“The duty of the government, more so, this democratic government, is to ensure that the Constitution is respected. But all must respect the rights and sensitivities of their fellow Nigerians.
“The Sultanate has historically had good relations with followers of all faiths. That is why Father Kukah was received on his arrival in Sokoto with friendship and tolerance.
“Under our laws, groups or factions must not give quit notices, neither should they unilaterally sanction any perceived breaches. Where they occur, it is the courts of law that should adjudicate. Unilateral action is not the way to go.
“Groups such as the Muslim Solidarity Forum must be seen to share and uphold the country’s multi-religious principles. And individuals like Father Kukah must respect the feelings of his fellow Nigerians in his private and public utterances.”

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Group tackles Bishop Kukah, demands immediate arrest

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Group tackles Bishop Kukah, demands immediate arrest

The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has described Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah’s recent controversial statement as unguarded and open incitement to military coup and insurrection against the democratically elected government of Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement signed by its National President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima on Monday, the group
condemned “Kukah’s use of nepotism as weapon of calumny against government and people of Nigeria.”

The AYCF demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution of Bishop Kukah for what it described as treasonable felony against the Nigerian state.

In the alternative, the group called on Federal Government to place Kukah on special watchlist for this open attempt to “set the South against the North in order to destabilize our country and further complicate matters.”

Shettima, in the statement, took exception to what his group described as “Kukah’s latest role in devil’s advocacy, as the North struggles to restore peace and enduring security in the region and indeed Nigeria.”

The statement noted that “such a reckless statement by Kukah betrays something much more sinister against both the North and the nation as a whole because Nigeria is at a stage that it requires responsible advice for attaining peace and stability, not deliberate attempt to mischievously compound our problems.

“If Kukah wants to play politics, he should not do so in the pulpit and he should keep the Bishop’s office aside and chose any Nigerian political party platform to contest President in 2023 and stop all the pretences,” the statement said.

It reminded Kukah of the rough road tread by democracy heroes to rid the nation of military dictatorship at a time when he was nowhere in sight.
“We will not allow opportunists who did make any contribution to scuttle the democracy achieved through the our sweat and toil and the sacrifice of our liberty,” Shettima said in the statement.

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