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Uneasy calm as Kogi central signposts crude politicking towards 2019

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Uneasy calm as Kogi central signposts crude politicking towards 2019

By John Akubo

As the 2019 elections draw closer, uneasy calm pervades the Confluence state, as the electorate is gripped with fear of the unknown, occasioned by the recent politically motivated violence in the state, which seems like a rehearsal for possibly deadlier attacks during the elections proper.Stakeholders in the state have also expressed apprehension over the turn out of events, describing it as a prelude to what may happen.
They are worried that things are really falling apart, as the central senatorial district can no longer hold together.For a section of the state that earnestly yearned for power to shift after over the two decades of monopoly by Eastern senatorial district, sheer providence had given power to the central on a platter of gold.The sudden death of late Prince Abubakar Audu, while coasting to victory as the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) candidate in 2015, cleared the coast for Governor Bello’s nomination, to replace Audu.

Bello, however, won the supplementary election and became the state governor, thereby breaking the jinx.Ever since, Kogi Central had become another hotbed of political maneuvering, as the governor is not leaving any stone unturned to secure his constituency for APC.Many opposition politicians from the zone are being wooed into APC to expand its horizon for victory in 2020.Some prominent politicians from the district actually dumped the PDP for the APC. Hence, a grand reception was organised to receive the decampees at a mega rally in Lokoja recently.

Since then, the polity has never remained the same. However, the senatorial district has continued to remain a PDP’s stronghold, especially as Ahmed Ogembe, the senator representing the district, won election on the platform.

Political analysts said so long Ogembe remains a PDP stalwart, and with his antecedent of being a grassroots politician, the ruling APC would never be comfortable, especially as it was gathered that he had turned down several overtures to jump ship.

So, it was not a surprise, when unidentified thugs invaded Afims Hotel, venue of his empowerment programme for women, mostly widows, to unleash violence two Saturdays ago. Many of the women sustained injuries. The senator was lucky to have arrived the venue a little after the mayhem.

Also, the programme he organised to empower his constituents turned awry, as suspected political thugs attacked his supporters and several beneficiaries.Reliable sources disclosed that the violence disrupted the event, where Ogembe was billed to distribute items to more than 1,000 women drawn from the district’s five local government councils.

The Guardian gathered that the hoodlums stormed the venue brandishing dangerous weapons as early as 8:00 a.m.And shortly after the incident, the state government allegedly issued a statement proscribing all political activities in Kogi Central, citing security challenges.But in a bid to send strong statement to his attackers, Ogembe went on to hold the event at the same venue after the attack and the beneficiaries were not disappointed at the end.

Addressing his supporters and beneficiaries of his empowerment initiative, the senator initially absolved Governor Bello’s administration of the attack. He expressed regrets that some persons have become willing tools for enemies of the state.He advised those behind the attack to desist and find other means of showing support for the governor, rather than creating problems. He said the issue had been reported to appropriate authorities for investigation.

In what seemed like a well-orchestrated design to send jitters down the senator’s spine, the suspected hoodlums allegedly launched another attack on some houses belonging to the senator the following day.Other houses torched were those of a former member of the House of Representatives, Abdulkarem Salihu, the state PDP financial secretary, Jude Sule, and the PDP chairman in Okehi, Adinoyi Aroke, as well as that of the party’s youth leader, M. Haruna.

The previous attacks took place at a hotel in Okene, while the fresh one happened in Okene, Okehi and Adavi local council areas.An eye witnessed told The Guardian that the suspected thugs invaded the area with dangerous weapons, and shot sporadically into the air before launching the attack.Ogembe later said in a statement that those behind the attack were coordinators of a killer squad being trained to harass, intimidate and unleash mayhem on members of opposition party in the central senatorial district.He said: “We are not only calling on security agencies to effect their arrest, we are also asking for their prosecution, because we have enough evidence to sue those behind the crime.

“After they tried severally to stop the empowerment programme from holding, and were resisted by youths and a team of security men, they later in the night sent thugs to destroy the houses and belongings of PDP members.”He said the threat to his life forced him to embark on a night journey to Abuja, and that the governor’s reluctance to issue any statement condemning the attack after 24 hours showed that he was fully in the picture.

Meanwhile, the state PDP has condemned the violence. The party’s state Publicity Secretary, Bode Ogunmola, alleged that the thugs, who were obviously sponsored by the ruling APC in the state, harassed PDP members and destroyed their properties.According to the executive director, Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution, Idris Miliki Abdul, the new development in Kogi central needs quick intervention by relevant stakeholders before it gets out of hand.

The immediate past state deputy governor, Architect Yomi Awoniyi, said the attack on Senator Ogembe and Honourable Abdulkarem Salihu both of the PDP by persons yet to be identified portends great danger for the polity going forward.He said: “The two gentlemen are very strong PDP stakeholders in Kogi Central senatorial district. The early incursion of violence into politics in the central this time is showcasing what is likely to happen, when the elections proper are afoot.

“It is most unfortunate that this is happening and it must be condemned by all decent citizens of our state. I call on the governor to ensure that security apparatus is deployed to enable these unidentified assailants to be caught and brought to book.”He advised PDP supporters in Kogi Central to remain calm and not take the law into their hands, but allow security operatives to do their work.He indicated that the resurgence of rebranded PDP is giving a lot of people the jitters.“I know that the PDP is poised to achieve greatness again and my sincere hope is that the PDP faithful across each senatorial district will remain steadfast.

“PDP’s strength is evidenced by the way new converts are coming in to the fold. A lot of our stakeholders are finding their voices,” he said.A former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, who was also an acting governor, Honourable Abdulahi Bello, said the attack on Ogembe and his supporters was shocking in the sense that, the intent of his empowerment programme was for public good and as such, disrupting him was somehow strange.“I personally abhor criminality and or any kind of anti-social tendency and, therefore, urge all concerned to exhibit high level of restraint and ensure they uphold respect for the individual’s rights of Association under our constitution. The attack and counter-attack was unfortunate and unnecessary,” he said.

The Ebira Youth Congress (EYC) observed that return of political violence to the central is a matter of grave concern, as the situation was gradually degenerating into a horrible state.Though the Central senatorial district had been notorious for politically induced violence, all that fizzled out with former Governor Wada’s no nonsense posture to thuggery.In recent times and in spite of Governor Bello’s effort to tackle them, the issues of insecurity and political violence have reemerged

Still in the central senatorial district Mallam Abdulmumin Yaqub, a labour leader and his friend, Mallam Ibrahim Otaru, were allegedly gunned down at the former’s home in Ozuwaya, Bariki Ward of Okene Local Government Area around 7pm last November.Abdulganiyu Aduki, an artisan was killed around 7:30pm on October 31 2017 at Nagazi in Adavi Local Government Area.

Similarly in Kogi East in the evening of December 18 2017, Chief Arc. Gabriel Aduku, former state Minister of Health also escaped assassination attempt, as some gunmen numbering six invaded his house in Anyigba.Senator Alex Kadiri, an APC leader from Kogi East was attacked at his Odu ward, where he was holding consultations with his political associates.

And in Kogi West, the senator representing the district, Dino Melaye was attacked by unknown thugs with stones, pure water sachets and other dangerous weapons, including charms during the Kabba Day celebration.He, however, escaped while some of the thugs were arrested and taken away in Prison vehicle.

Culled from the Guardian

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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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IPAC demands fresh LG election in Bauchi

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IPAC demands fresh LG election in Bauchi

From Ali Sara, Bauchi

The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) Bauchi State chapter has faulted the conduct of the just concluded Local Government elction in the State describing it as a sham.
He said there was no election but result were declared on social media instead of collation centers

The council therefore called on Governor Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir of Bauchi State to as a matter of urgency dissolve and declare all the seats of newly sworn in Local Government Chairmen/Councillors vacant.

The call was made yesterday during a press briefing at the NUJ Secretariat by the Chairman of IPAC Alhaji Usman Isa who alleged that election did not hold on 17, October 2020.

He said, “The purported local government election of 17th October 2020 in Bauchi State is an irony of democracy as the local government Chairmen and councillors who were sworn in on 18th October 2020 were selected/appointed by the minority rulers.
“If this impunity is allowed, it will be like sacrificing our hard earned democracy on the alter of mediocrity which will pave way for anarchy, God forbid”.

Alhaji Isa said that, ” IPAC is hereby disassociating itself from all the manufactured election results that were declared on Saturday 17th October 2020 in Bauchi State because they were not the product of our democracy.
“Candidates of APC and other political parties who won the elections by the available results from polling units were not declared as winners, the PDP candidates who lost in almost every ward and local government were rather returned as winners which is unacceptable”.

He demanded that Bauchi State Government refund all the official fees paid to the commission by other parties candidate including campaign auxillary expenditure incurred in the election process.

The chairman further demand the immediate dissolution of present members of the Bauchi State Independent Electoral Commission (BASIEC) to be replaced with technocrats and nominees from all the political parties with offices in the state.

He said, “Bauchi State Governor should conduct a fresh free and and fair local government election in which all political parties will be given a level playing ground to allow for a sound democratic process”.

According to him, “neither collation offices nor returning officers were seen at the designated wards and local government collation centers. Even where the elections were held the results and electoral materials were abandoned at the polling units without collation at designated wards and local government centers”.

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