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Don’t blame Nigeria for closing its borders – Yomi Johnson

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Don’t blame Nigeria for closing its borders – Yomi Johnson

By Joseph Ode

Gen. (Sen) Yomi Johnson is a former Army General of Liberia Armed Forces, currently a Senator representing Nimba County in the ECOWAS Parliament holding in Nigeria. He has served for eighteen years in the Liberia Senate. He is also the Deputy Speaker at the ECOWAS Parliament, a Minister of Gospel of Christ, Member of NUDP. Yomi Johnson is also the Founder of Yomi Johnson’s Foundation which established Schools and built one of the largest University in the country.

In this interview Johnson bared his mind on a wide range of issues,

Excerpts,

Liberia Country report at the ongoing ECOWAS Parliament does not include the controversial issue of border closure by Nigeria. Does it mean it does not affect your country?

Every country gave her report and Liberia gave her report too. People who want to contribute by asking questions are most welcome. It is not that we are not concerned about the border closure by Nigeria. It is a matter between two countries. You know Nigeria is a big brother in the sub-region and Nigeria has been so hospitable and continue to be hospitable to every country in the sub-region and in Africa at large and the world. So when you see her closing her border, it has to do with security issues. It is not something people should panic about, it is something people should wonder why Nigeria behave like this at the moment. It is not something people should panic or condemned because I lived here 40 years when I was in exile after I fought in Liberia and I know many Generals, Army Officers, Police, Customs Officers and have seen some evidence why border was closed. The two Heads of States should meet and discuss over the closure and as sister country, a lot of things may be resolved as well as reviewed.
I am a member of the Constituted Security Committee; we will also look into the matter in our deliberation.

Former Footballer, George Wear is now the President of Liberia.What is he doing differently from the Former President?

Well, it is very easy to lead a country moreso when you have a Prime knowledge of political Governance. Liberia is the first African Country to have a woman as a President. Liberia is also the first country in the whole world to have a footballer as a President, so he will have to learn on the job. I think I have been a Kingmaker and as such, cannot condemn rather I will advice. If he listens, good, if he does not listen, good, but we will continue through advice. I know that Liberia is not earning as it deserved. We are part of the International Community, a member of United Nations and the whole world is watching us. I was a National President of a Country if you are, everyone look at you. When you do well, you attract Investors but when you do otherwise, you prevent them from coming.
So there is tension generally in the country as we speak, but we hope he will get over it. As a Minister of the gospel, it is always good to commit your will, their will to the hands of God so that you straighten your path. So we pray that this young man will listen to the yearnings of the people because there are protests everywhere. If he does not listen, in the next election, they will vote him out and if the people are satisfied, they may vote him again. Truly speaking things are not moving alright but he is responsible for things to move fine because he is our rallying point.

Based on the Revolution that happened years back in Liberia, How do you assess the situation in that country?

That is why we do not want to go back to the dark days. The whole world witnessed it, Africans and particularly Nigeria loosed their resources. That explains why the UN and ECOWAS intervened, sat down on the round table to discuss the grievances, dialogue with them and proffer solution to their demands. Those days are gone when you depend on the Army to intervene in conflict; those days are gone when the military uses supreme forces on issues. Demonstrations are going on in Liberia and we hope it ends soon.

What are really the grievances of the people of Liberia against President George Weah and the new Government?

There are too many demands: In the first place, I am a Kingmaker. We took power from Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. It was the responsibility of the leadership of the Government that Former President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to declared asset. That was not done. It was the responsibility of the Leader now in power to inform the Liberian People actually what was left in the coffers by the previous government of Former President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf but the leader came out to say the coffer was completely empty, the economy was broken when he took over. Two hours later, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf spoke on BBC that as a Former President she left over £150m in the coffers. You can see allegations and counter-allegations.

After a while, Liberians saw gigantic estates built by the new Leader. Then the people asked “where did you get the money from, he answered saying “I got the money before I became President” but the people said we did not see you building estates before becoming President.

Do you have any regret on the role you played during the revolutionary years in Liberia?

I played a revolutionary role initially because my country (people) upon the election of President William Tolbert who came from my state, my people were the main target for total extermination and of course we have the right to live as human beings so we have to defend ourselves. So for me as a Minister of God winning Souls for God, I also established education for the people and also building one of the largest University in Liberia and we wish other well-meaning Liberians to do same. If you can sweep, sweep well, if you are Imam preach well, and if you are a Pastor, pastor well in the Church, do it to the best of your ability to bring about the economic growth and political stability to the country.

You are experienced enough to run for the President of Liberia. Do you have that in Mind?

In African democracy, it is difficult to say what I saw in 2011 when I challenged Ellen Johnson Sirleaf when people were tired with her but she had the power then with National Electoral Commission. So what happened then. All the people I saw at my side surprisingly in my school chosen by the Electoral Commission to be used as voting centre, apart from myself, wife and children, there were no vote from there. In 2011, I cast my vote, my wife cast her vote while my children cast their vote but there were no other votes so I knew that the votes were tampered with. I believe in God. If God says yes, his yes is yes, if he says no, it is no. He can say go, he can equally say stop. So I did not complain.

Similar thing happened in 2017, all the people that went to vote including my children, I had two votes. That is to say I voted for myself and my wife voted for me. After Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had a meeting with Electoral Commission, she went to New York General Assembly. When all saw what happened, we all resign to fate.

Does that mean Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf supported the enthronement of the present government?

Well, I am saying I participated in the election, my people voted for me in my school and with the children I have strong supporters, I have people who worked for me, they all voted for me but at the end of the day the result showed all of them did not vote for me. That is strange.

What do you have to say about the typical African Leader who wants to remain in Power for life?

That is what I am saying. In Guinea, that was what happened. The people sat and looked instead of telling him to step down until the trouble came. When he tempered with the country’s constitution, they sat down and said it is internal problem but whatever happens in Guinea, it may spread to Sirrea-Leone, but we do not want that. Every disease, before it comes, shows symptoms, conflict has a symptom but the ECOWAS Community has an early warning. I remember one time we went to Mali, there were people who were giving the President guarantee that they could deal with the issue but now the matter has escalated. If they had listened to the ECOWAS Parliament, it would have saved the people of Northern Mali. So we all should come together and solve our common problems. Guineans demonstrated, he shot them instead of employing dialogue, the crisis escalated. I am sure where Yahaya Jame is now, he regrets his actions because there is no place like home.

I was in Nigeria for 40 years in exile. I was given the best of food and accommodation by the Nigerian Government. My children were going to the best Schools but I still needed to come back home. So there is no place like home.

When Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the President, she accommodated a cousin in a room within the Compound but could have built a mansion with government fund and says it was for her, but she did not. Rather the new leader built 49 thousand Estates and said he had the money as a Footballer. When people are suffering, no payment of salary for four to eight months. The Government is seeking the Liberia Senate to give approval for printing of 35million dollars but they want to know the where about of 16 billion dollars before the approval for new printing of currencies is given.

For me, If I want to speak the truth and anyone wants to harm me, I have the largest population in Liberia. All I want to do is to support the President, George Weah. You know I took him to Prophet T.B. Joshua before the election but after he won his election, he refused to turn his face to Prophet T.B. Joshua. He never went there! So everything you see happening around him is spiritual. These troubles that are happening are to humble him. I know there were big problems in Sudan but when Prophet T.B. Joshua entered there and told them I am here to preach from today, no war. When he left Sudan there was no war any longer. So if he comes to Liberia, Investors will come. If he prays for the President, things will turn around and the bad people around him will leave. This is our country. I am tired of the noise! Before now, when I used to come to ECOWAS Parliament, I used to be anxious to go back home, but I feel like spending another four to five years here in Nigeria. I feel comfortable here but back there you listen to complaints in the radio. You saw the Liberia country’s report, I did not write it they sent copy to me but one of the members from Liberia who read the report was asking the ECOWAS Parliament to intervene in the situation.

What the Legislator needed to do is to invite the President, “You told us in the joint session of annual message that you met an empty coffers and broken economy but Ellen Johnson Sirleaf debunked that, she said she left £150 million in the coffers” he has to defend it in the presence of the Former President. The Former Minister of Information says nothing was missing.

Don’t you have anti-graft agencies like EFCC and ICPC in Liberia to beam search light on corruption issues?

Are those institutions working? That is the question. We are just praying for them to succeed and do the right, you go to the Bank to withdraw your local money, they will tell you there is no money. When they said there is inflation in the country and demanded that USA should intervene then £25m was infused into the economy but who is to implement it. Is it not the Central Bank through the commercial Banks. But he said he was directed by the former Finance Minister.

Do you not see the people of Liberia going to the old dark days?

I do not see war. I see demonstration upon demonstrations against the Government and that will force them to comply to the request of the people.

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Politics

INEC schedules Aba North/South Federal Constituency for Saturday 27th March 2021

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INEC schedules Aba North/South Federal Constituency for Saturday 27th March 2021

By Janet Samuel

The Independent National Electoral Commission has fixed Saturday 27th March 2021 for the conduct of the bye-election to fill the vacant seat for the Aba North/South Federal Constituency of Abia State.
Thia was contained in a statement that was issued by National Commissioner & Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye.
The vacancy he said arose as a result of the death of Hon. Ossy Prestige, member representing Aba North/South Federal Constituency of Abia State in the House of Representatives and the subsequent declaration of vacancy for the Federal Constituency by the National Assembly.

He pointed out that the official notification for the election the commission said will be published on Monday 1st March 2021.
“Political Parties shall conduct their primaries between 4th and 10th March 2021 while the last day for submission of list of nominated candidates is at 6pm on the 16th March 2021.

“Political Parties shall submit the names of their Polling Agents for the election to the Electoral Officers of the respective Local Governments on or before 19th March 2021 and campaigns by political parties shall stop on 25th March 2021.

“The Access Code for the nomination forms shall be available for collection from 10th March 2021 at the Commission’s headquarters.

“Political parties fielding candidates for the bye-election should pay close attention to the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the conduct of the bye-election and conduct transparent and valid party primaries in line with the dictates of Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (As amended).

“We enjoin political parties to note that under section 31(8) of the Electoral Act, a political party which presents to the Commission the name of a candidate who does not meet the qualifications stipulated in the Constitution and the Electoral Act shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction shall be liable to a maximum fine of N500, 000.00

“The detailed Timetable and Schedule of activities has been uploaded on the Commission’s website and social media platforms.”

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Secondus to APC: Fix the country rather than waste energy pestering Fani-Kayode, others to join your fold

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Secondus to APC: Fix the country rather than waste energy pestering Fani-Kayode, others to join your fold


Ahead of 2023, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Uche Secondus, has challenged the All Progressives Congress, (APC) to face the task of fixing the broken economy and insecurity of the country rather than the current illegal hunt for its members.

He spoke during a meeting between former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode and the party’s National Working Committee, NWC, in Abuja.

In his words, “We advise our brothers on the other side, especially some of these governors and leaders of APC that they should face the business of governance.

“Jumping around and looking for critical stakeholders of our party to poach will not resolve the issue of security or economy.

“They are aware that security has broken down, the economy has broken down. They should face that business for which they were elected.

“Our brother is firm and a man of his word. There is no amount of trick that will make him sway otherwise. He is firm with PDP and we are back to business while we prepare for 2023.

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Ekiti East Constituency 1 bye-election to hold on 20th March, 2021, says INEC

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Ekiti East Constituency 1 bye-election to hold on 20th March, 2021, says INEC

By Janet Samuel

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed Saturday 20th March 2021 for the conduct of a bye-election to fill the vacant seat for the Ekiti East Constituency 1 of Ekiti State.
The National Commissioner and Chairman
Information and Voter Education Committee, Barrister Festus Okoye made this known in a press statement on Wednesday in Abuja
He said the vacancy arose as a result of the death of Hon. Adegbuyi Oluwajuwa Amos, member representing Ekiti East Constituency 1 in the House of Assembly and the subsequent declaration of vacancy for the Constituency by the Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Funminiyi Afuye.

He said met and deliberated on the conduct of Bye-election into the vacant seat of Ekiti East Constituency 1 of Ekiti State.

According to him, the official notification for the election will be published Wednesday 24th February 2021.

He said the Political Parties shall conduct their primaries between 26th February and 3rd March 2021 while the last day for submission of list of nominated candidates is at 6pm on the 8th March 2021.

“The Access Code for the nomination forms shall be available for collection from 26th February 2021 at the Commission’s headquarters.”

Okoye enjoined all political parties intending to field candidates to pay close attention to the Timetable and Schedule of Activities and to conduct transparent and valid party primaries that meet the provisions of Section 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended).

The Commissioner urged Political parties to note that under section 31(8) of the Electoral Act, a political party which presents to the Commission the name of a candidate who does not meet the qualifications stipulated in the Constitution and the Electoral Act shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction shall be liable to a maximum fine of N500,000.00.

The detailed Timetable and Schedule of activities he said has been uploaded on the Commission’s website and social media platforms.

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