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‘June 12th is a reality that cannot be wished away’

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‘June 12th is a reality that cannot be wished away’

The Executive Director of a civil society group, Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR) Idris Miliki Abdul in this interview said June 12th cannot be wished away

Can you tell us what your thoughts are about first democracy day celebration?  

In my personal opinion, June 12 is a day that has been recorded by history, and whether it is recognised by any Government or not, Nigeria will continue to reflect on their democratic journey as enunciated by June 12th. After the events of the civil war era, I don’t think that there has been any event in Nigeria that everybody is very concerned about like the June 12th election that was annulled.

Even the military that conspired, a lot of them also disagreed with the annulment. For the fact that the Federal Government has thought it wise to recognize the day, it is not politics but a reality that there has not been anything that we did that promotes democracy participation and inclusiveness more than what took place on June 12th, 1993. I voted in Kaduna in a military barracks where the military themselves queued up to vote for civilians. If also look at what we are parading today in the name of religion, in the June 12th scenario we had a Muslim/Muslim ticket but people voted enmass for them on the basis of their merit as individuals and not where they come or the religion they professed. Look at the Coronavirus pandemic the Government locked up schools and people are agitating for Government to me which one is more beneficial to nation building? Is it going to church/Musque or school. Just a digression but is also to let you know that June 12th has recognized itself but Government has legalised it making it now more fundamental for the history, for the children yet unborn not to start asking questions on what happened on June 12th. It is the product of June 12th that is May 29th, so you can see that inauguration day is May 29th, there is a cleared difference between inauguration day and democracy day and if you look at what took place on June 12th, some of us were also victims because I was in Kaduna distributing leaflets I was arrested by the military, we also suffered one way or the other to ensure we all agitated for it. It is not about Abiola but it was about Nigeria as a Nation and I think we should be proud to sit down every June 12th to reflect on our democratic journey in Nigeria and forget about the symbol. Of course Abiola is the symbol but definitely it is Nigeria that benefits overall. I would have also loved it if with the June 12th we able to put our acts together whereby when you are going to contest election the family you come from, the religion or faith you profess does not matter. The problem today is if you win election, you go and appoint people who you believe helped you to rig election not whether you are competent or not. So June 12th is significant and I think it is part of our history that nobody can erase.

After Buhari declared June 12th as democracy day last year, 12th of June 2020 was the first celebration, what do you think President Buhari should do to deepen democracy with the event?

What we saw in 2019 election is not what we all worked for and that negates the principle of June 12th so for the President to gain the confidence of Nigerians he must come up with policy reforms in the electoral process. The election in Edo is at the corner, despite the Covid-19 INEC has gone ahead and I think for me it is commendable.

It is not about the President but it also about those who hold the constitution, the Governors. In Kogi State the Government is hiding behind one finger to say that there is no COVID-19 in Kogi State. The same Government has refused to conduct Local Government election. What happened in Insanlu Bank robbery is something that we should also be able to see and further reenforce the need to democratize the Local Government Council. If we have had a democratic Local Government council system, it would have boosted more resources for security at the Local Government level but here they are squandering money on what they call Senior Special Assistant on Local Government, where do you have that one. So what Buhari should do for Nigeria is to put machinery in place to build Confidence in the electoral system and to work with INEC to be able to achieve that. Thank God he is not contesting election in 2023 so he has nothing to lose but he has a lot to offer. So with the June 12 principles it would be able to reinforce our democratic principle. No natter the method we are going to use despite the Corona virus we should be able to reflect since we have had this journey of June 12 what have we done well? have we lived up to expectations? History has continued to repeat itself where arms and ammunitions have become the bases for winning election. You can even now see what is going on even in Edo that is supposed to hold primary election on 22nd of June. The Governor and the Party National Chairman are at Loggerheads people think they have immunity and they can do what they like outside the provisions of the party, outside the enormity of party powers. You cannot be bigger than the party. There are a lot of things to talk about and it will further reinforce our political journey where we have done well and where we have not done well and what amendments we need to put in place before next years democracy day celebration again before 2023 when we shall go back to the polls to elect a new President 

Shortly before the 2019 general election President Buhari declined to sign the electoral act that was passed by the national assembly which should have deepened the process, with his endorsement of June 12th as the new democracy day what do you expect on that electoral act?

For us in the civil society we would have wished he had signed the electoral act but there certain things that people did not know, the protocol among the African countries which had been signed for which Nigeria was signatory that they cannot sign a new electoral law 60 days to an election. That was what happened and that was what every African President agreed with. So if you are part of any of such protocol and you have adopted any convention, you can not go against it. Many people don’t know this. I expected the Presidency to have educated the people more on why the electoral act was not signed. Secondly, if he had signed that electoral act based on what happened in the 2019 election in Kogi State and other States we would have started to agitate for another electoral reform by now. So it is another advantage that Buhari did not sign the electoral act. It would enable us to build on the bitter experience we had to do better and get better reform ahead of 2023. We have examined it to know the lacuna in the 2019 election. At the end of the day after the Edo and Ondo State elections it would be a build up on the experience we had in Kogi and Bayelsa election. After that we should be able to sit as a nation, as stakeholders whether the media, civil society or INEC, police and political parties and so these are the issues we identified and we correct them. We shall have a more rubust electoral system. We can go back to that bill and make some amendments with the new issues and it would be assented to before 2023. What we are saying is that apart from the effect of the COVID-18 pandemic. People are now ready for the process of electoral reform to start even from next year to avoid the fire brigade approach like it happened before 2019.

The National assembly also have their role to play, the amendment of the constitution has been lingering since 1999, they have not completed it. Bogus money is being spent. They would not do the needful. It is not about the executives alone, the executive and the legislature need to work together so we can have a thorough electoral system. So for me Buhari’s refusal to sign the act is not bad because it has given room for an improved electoral reform

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Why women in academia must not stay aloof of politics by Mantu

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Why women in academia must not stay aloof of politics by Mantu

***says without polilitics development would be a mirage

Former deputy President of the Senate Ibrahim Mantu has challenged the women in the academia not to stay aloof of politics because they percieve it to be leprous as there cannot be development without democracy.
He spoke recently in Abuja when the newly formed North Central Peoples Forum (NCPF) met with stakeholders from Kogi to sensitize them on the Forum’s agenda.
Mantu was speaking against the backdrop of comments by Professor Lucy Ogbadu who advised the forum to be apolitical for better developmental strides to be achieved in the zone.
The professor had also made strong case for women to be brought on board in the forum as no development can be achieved without them.
Senator Mantu however said,
“You cannot have Development without politics, politics produces people who are going to govern you, they are the ones that will ensure they manage the resources God has given properly.
He said people like Professor Ogbadu must show interest in politics. “We want women of substance, women who will go and talk so that people will warmly hear them and we would be proud to say this professor is from our zone and that is why she is doing wonderfully well.
“You must join politics so that we can make use of you in the right place because your voice would be better heard.
“There is no way we can compare you a professor with a woman who is on the street no matter what happens and if you are in politics and tomorrow your party wins because you are a professor the chances of you becoming the minister of education or Finance or any higher ministry is there.
“So people like you must not stay aloof and see politics as leprous, no you must show interest in politics so that the best women amongst us can be given the most resounding position that will go a long way to developing our zone and for our lives to be better.”

Professor Ogbadu earlier indicated she is not a politician, but identified immediately with the forum is because of what she saw about the Forum.
“It is a non partizan forum, a Forum geared towards the development of the zone and that is the only thing that endeared this Forum to my heart.
“That is why I have always presented myself. Unfortunately I am the only woman here today and it is in this respect that I wish to request that you should try to bring more women into this forum because there would be no developmental effort within the zone that will succeed without the women.
“You know it even as politicians. Most of you here are politicians. You can not get to the grassroots without women.

“We have to make concerted effort to reach more people and to bring more people on board. Some of you are politicians, the faces that people will see is that of politicians so when you bring people like us that are not politicians people will begin to identify more with the forum.
“Let us make effort to bring people that are apolitical. I also want to appeal to all of us to put away our differences, we are not talking about politics at this forum. We are talking about the backwardness of this zone in terms of development.
“The zone is backward in terms of development. We know the potentials that this zone have, we know we are blessed with capable human resources.
“We have been reminded that Gowon comes from this zone. Gowon is not the only past president from this zone. We can count up to three past heads of State from this zone yet we have nothing to show.
“For this reason I want to appeal to all us, as we make effort that this zone is brought to the limelight we do all we can within our capability to carry everybody along. “The women from this zone are capable, educated, they are beautiful. They have what it takes.”
The North Central Peoples Forum interim chairman Architect Gabriel Aduku said they are now getting closer to the people.
He said they were meeting with the Stakeholders of Kogi, those elected into offices like former Governors, senators and all that to have a close discussion with them on the need for them to key in and support.
“We are just gathering momentum.”

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Though Politics is tough for women, take the shot, humanitarian minister challenges womenfolk

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Though Politics is tough for women, take the shot, humanitarian minister challenges womenfolk 



Though there is the general believe that politics in Nigeria is tough for the womenfolk, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq has challenged them to get more involved in politics. 

The Minister spoke at the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship Speaker Series held in Kaduna on Tuesday October 21, 2020.

This was contained in a statement by the minister special adviser on media Nneka Ikem Anibeze on Thursday.

Umar Farouq who made a virtual presentation titled ‘My Political Career as a Northern Lady: Experiences and Challenges expressed concern about the percentage of women in politics.

“The truth is that we are not many. We are not where we should be and clearly we need more women represented in politics and executive positions. 

The good news is that we are making progress. Today as the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State is a woman. 

“This is a first for the North and His Excellency Governor Nasir El Rufai by the grace of Almighty God made this happen despite the odds.

She said very soon the hope for the first female Governor and President would soon be realised.

The Minister said politics especially in Africa is  a difficult and expensive terrain for women however she encouraged  the younger generation not to be deterred but embrace the career.

“Politics is driven by a selected few and is also very expensive. We need more young people to participate, change the narrative and make conscious efforts to ensure inclusion so that any young woman or man even from a less privileged background or  from any part of the country can be a President of this nation”.

Umar added that her vision for Nigeria is to see more young men and women dream and achieve their ambition as leaders in whatever field of endeavor they choose. 

“I am a grassroots person and will continue to connect with my people to lift the vulnerable out of poverty and foster the creation of an environment for inclusive growth and prosperity.  

K9I am supported by a team of vibrant young men and women working in the Ministry to bring fresh ideas and strategies to solving the nation’s Humanitarian and Social Development challenges. I want to use this avenue to thank my staff who work day and night in difficult terrains to ensure that we achieve our mandate,” Farouq said.

The Chief host of the Speaker Series was the Kaduna state Governor, Mallam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai. 

The Speaker Series is designed to expose Fellows to notable personalities who have distinguished themselves in their various fields of expertise.

Some of the previous speakers include former President Chief Olusegun Obasanajo, Mallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II the former Emir of Kano,  Deputy Chief of Mission, US. Embassy Abuja, H.E. David J. Young, Deputy-Secretary General of the United Nations Hajiya Amina J. Mohammed, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika – Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, H.E. Donald Duke the former Governor of Cross River State, H.E Kashim Shettima, Ms. Kadaria Ahmed, Dr. Joe Abah, Ms. Yewande Sadiku, Prof. Pat Utomi, Mr. Mohamad Darwish and Dr. Dakuku Peterside amongst others.

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PDP says Buhari’s Address Disconnected, Fails Empathy Test

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PDP says Buhari’s Address Disconnected, Fails Empathy Test


The long-awaited national broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari on the protests rocking the nation, came with disappoint as it is completely disconnected from the realities of the tragic occurrences in our country in the last two weeks the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said.

This was contained in a statement that was issued by the party’s National publicity, secretary Kola Ologbodiayan in Abuja on Thursday.

The party however appeals to Nigerians, particularly the youth, to remain calm and allow a return to normal life in the collective quest for peaceful co-existence in the overall interest of our nation.

“The President’s address, in the face of the turmoil witnessed, the unrests as well as the killing of young Nigerians, is to say the least, depressing and failing in empathy test.
“Our party and, indeed, all lovers of peace in our country, were shocked that the President glossed over the immediate trigger of violent protests – the widely condemned killing at the Lekki Toll Gate by security operatives, a situation which created a global concern and drew the attention of the world to the abuse of human rights going on in our country under his watch.

“Painfully too, the President, as the Commander-in-Chief, was silent on the demand by Nigerians for enquires into the involvement of the military in the gruesome killing.
“Sadly, the long awaited address failed to inspire any hope. It failed to address the trepidations, the pervading hopelessness, the drifting towards anarchy and provided no concrete steps on how to arrest the situation and rein in bandits, hoodlums and vandals that were let loose to unleash violence on peaceful protesters and innocent Nigerians.
“In short, from the letters of the address, there were no correlations between the fundamentals of the crisis situation that we have witnessed and the long-sought reaction of the President.”

Furthermore, he said Nigerians had expected that the President will provide the lead for the much- needed overhauling of our security architecture to meet the demands of professionalism and respect for rules of engagement.
“The President also failed to use the opportunity to further heal wounds and inspire hope by outlining a roadmap to open up the economy in a manner that will enable our teeming hard working youths to pursue their productive goals as well as address the issue of pervading hunger in the land.
“However, in solidarity with Nigerians and in honour to the victims of Lekki Toll Gate killing, our party has directed that our flags in all our offices across the nation be flown at half-mast for a period of one week, beginning from Friday, October 23, 2020.

“The PDP urges all men and women of good faith to join forces in praying for our country as well as working towards solutions and peaceful resolution of the crisis that seeks to envelope our dear nation.”

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