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Why Igbo presidency remains uphill task, by Kadiri

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Why Igbo presidency remains uphill task, by Kadiri

By John Akubo

Senator Alex Usman Kadiri, an APC stalwart, represented Kogi East from 1999 to 2003. In this interview with JOHN AKUBO, he examines the challenges facing the quest for Igbo presidency unlikely in 2023

Do you believe in the current agitation for Igbo presidency?
My belief is that power cannot remain in the north forever. Power has resided in the north for too long. I must be frank with you. Nobody gives you power. You go in search of it and fight for it, just like late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola did. Abiola had a long-term plan for the presidency. People did not understand him. He established Concord, but people from different parts of the country in charge. That’s how Yakubu Mohammed became Editor of Concord. Dele Giwa became the Editor of Sunday Concord, and so on.

If you were a friend of Abiola living in Kano or Sokoto, Abiola would fly there if you have a naming ceremony, in spite of the inconveniences and the bad weather or he will send a ram for the naming ceremony. He formed a football club, Abiola Babes, and was basically funding Nigeria Football Association (NFA). So, his name was being sung among all the players throughout the country, through acts of philanthropy, through acts of employment. He was giving people money to establish their own businesses. He didn’t care if you were Yoruba from Egba or Yoruba from Ekiti or Fulani from Sokoto; he patronised most people in the country.
So when it was time for him to ask for the presidency, his job was easy. He even challenged Nigerians by picking another Muslim from Borno, Babagana Kingibe, in a country where we pretend to be more religious than the Pope. Yes, people voted for him; I voted for him. 
But now, whether the presidency goes to Igbo, in the south or the Ijaw, who is also in the south, or the Bini, who are also in the south, only God knows. I hate this idea of people saying the presidency is now for one man. I was surprised that a man like Okwesilieze Nwodo, former chairman of a party like the PDP, was saying that if they don’t give the Igbo people the presidency, he would ask Igbo to go and join Nnamdi Kanu in IPOB. That is almost a treasonable statement. 
Look, I don’t know if you watched the interview with late Ismaila Isa Funtua on Channels television. It must have been a recorded programme they showed after he died. And he said things that I believe in. Any Igbo man who wants to be the president of Nigeria must come out and work for it. 

NO Igbo man is going to sit in Umuahia, Enugu or Awka and Nigerians would say, it’s your turn. When will it be the turn of the Bini? As you know, there are the other tribes, very many in this country, who believe that, as I mentioned the Ijaw moments ago, the Tiv, who also want to be president. When will it be the turn of these people? Those of us from the Middle Belt, we are beginning to think that in the schemes of affairs, nobody is thinking of the Middle Belt anymore. Reason being that we are small tribes scattered all over the place; so, nobody thinks of us anymore. 
And they now feel that maybe the only way an Igala man or a Tive man or a Berom man can ever ascend the leadership of this country is through a military coup because when it comes to the party, nobody takes us seriously. The Igbo man believes that the Hausa-Fulani has held this position for too long. The Yoruba, too, have used it, but the Igbo man is the greatest enemy of himself.
Why?
They are very, very disorganised. Atiku Abubakar picked Peter Obi, as his running mate at the last election. Do you know that Peter Obi could not harvest votes from Igbo land to help Atiku win the presidency? The complaints about Peter Obi in the Southeast were very vociferous, maybe because the other people made a promise; they were promised that the next president of Nigeria would be an Igbo man. 
I don’t know what powers the president has to appoint somebody else from the Southeast without persons from the Southeast fighting for this position. 

When Ndigbo in the north visited President Ibrahim Babangida, he said the Igbo were in every nook and cranny of Nigeria. They should use their presence in every village to network for votes, in addition to the quest for money in those places. 
What Abiola used his own personal wealth to do, the Igbo, who are scattered all over Nigeria, can do it effortlessly, if they really mean well for themselves, but they’re not doing this.
What could be responsible for this? 
Well, I don’t know. I’ve tried to look at it but I cannot understand it. My wife is Igbo. So, I have nothing against Igbo people; the fact of the matter is, they don’t mean well for themselves. Their republican, unrealistic approach to issues is not helping them. And, in a complex country like Nigeria, you need to network.  Do not wait until the month or the week of the year of the election before you start making friends, hoping to be nominated. Before you can become a presidential candidate, a party must field you. 
Like Ismaila funtua said in that interview, a party will field the candidates it believes may win the election. Not just field Alex Kadiri, because I talk too much. How many people will vote for me? It will field somebody who can win votes from Sokoto, votes from Borno, votes from Rivers, votes from Akwa Ibom, votes from Ogun, and so on and so forth. That’s the only way. How many Igbo politicians have that kind of spread right now? They are running back into their enclave, chanting that on the presidency, 2023 is for the Igbo man. That’s wishful thinking. I can’t see them with any strength in APC. I can’t see them with any strength PDP. All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has been boxed into Anambra State. 

Former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, said that the leadership of the Igbo race had fallen on his shoulder and that of the Chief Whip of the Senate and former Governor of Abia Orji Uzor Kalu. Now, which of them in your estimation can garner votes from across Nigeria as you just postulated? 
It is one thing to be known as an individual in politics. It’s another thing to be liked by people in politics. Take Rochas, for example, has schools here and there. Okay. If you meet some Igbo people, they will tell you he cannot be the representative of Ndigbo. They have their reasons. I don’t know. You take Orji Kalu. Whether we like it or not, he has been to prison and has come out, not for political reasons, do you get my point?
MANY of their presidents in Pakistan have been to prison and come back to become presidents. They did it because of political reasons. They were not accused of embezzling anything. I hope you can see the difference. Some of these people have commas and full-stops in their profile. Why can’t we have somebody who does not have a skeleton in his cupboard from the Southeast? Someone has mentioned former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Chukwuma Soludo. He is a nice man, but where is his political base, Nsukka or Awka? He is not a politician. He is a technocrat; he is a professor. He is an economist. For all these marks of excellence, I clap for him. 
Any Igbo man who wants to be president of Nigeria, including Orji Uzor Kalu, Rochas Okorocha, even Arthur Eze, or Ifeanyi Uba, all of them cannot sell themselves even in the states where they reside. They can’t.
Let me tell you a funny story. When we were in the senate, we zoned the Senate Presidency to the Southeast. Evans Enwerem became our president. There were all kinds of problems due to issues of certificate or no certificate. Even on performance, we put him aside. And picked Chuba Okadigbo, who was intellectually sound but he was sleeping on the job. We decided to remove Chuba. We were now left with Ifeanyi Ararume, Arthur Nzeribe and Adolphus Wabara, Nnamdi Oreagbuna and some others; we were faced with these choices.

When you need to know more about each of them, go and meet their Igbo brothers. They know more than you and I will ever know about them. So this presidency that everybody is clamouring for, we’re heading in the same direction. 
Are Imo people clapping for Roachas today? Abia people, are they clapping for Orji Uzor Kalu today? Anambra people, are they clapping for Ifeanyi Uba?
So there are a lot of problems. They have to go back home to sort themselves out first. The ones that have good names and credibility outside have no political tripod on which to stand like I just mentioned. That is the problem. So, to say that the Igbo man must become president: who is this Igbo man that will become president and under which political party?
So where does that leave the Igbo man in the 2023 presidential quest?
I can’t see the way through. You tell me how. Like I just mentioned to you, there is no serious Igbo man in APC. The only person to me is Chris Ngige. To me, Ngige is the one that has the experience. He has been a governor, a senator and now he has been a minister twice. So in terms of experience, he has it, but has he got the backing at home? These are the issues. Maybe somebody may drop from America or from Europe or India that we don’t know yet.
Can you say the same thing about the 2019 presidential candidate for Young Progressive Party (YPP), Prof. Kingsley Mhoghalu?

His case is almost the same as that of Soludo.
Are you saying that no other political party can produce a president outside APC and PDP?
IT is possible. You saw Ghali Na’Aba, Usman Bugaje, and so on floating a movement now. Normally, when they start this kind of thing, they used to inform me. Do you see any Igbo man there? Have you heard of any serious Igbo man in their midst? That front is basically being pushed by people of northern extraction, who have fallen out of favour with the current people in power. Quote me.
Do you think they will still be relevant politically in 2023? 
Well, with the way things are going in this country, if they are able to play their cards well, by trying to build a party like the Chinese, which they said is what they are trying to do, then maybe. I have read Bugaje’s position paper. They are building from towns and wards. If this thing works and is not sabotaged by the powers-that-be, if it sails through, that may be a successful outing for everybody. As they are molding this thing now, I don’t see any serious Igbo person participating right now. Can they finish what they are doing now, and because they want to bring Nigeria together, they then go and look for somebody who is unknown and give it to him or her to become president? It is not possible; it is never done in any country.

What is your honest advice for the Igbo nation?
What they need do is to widen the scope of their political participation. This mentality of ‘I’m richer than you’ is what is killing them and it has led to many sections of this country hating them. You want to be richer than your neighbour – money all the time. If they can spread out their net, catch more fishes when the time comes people would now look at the characters involved. When Dr. Alex Ekweme was the vice president, all the criticisms about Igbo people, nobody could point accusing fingers at him. Nobody that I know appeared in the media to say Alex Ekweme is a corrupt person. Why can’t somebody like that come out of the Southeast? This is the issue. But because of their pursuit of money, they do so many things and people have doubts about them.
For an Igbo person to aspire to be president of Nigeria, he must spread out, make friends from other places, not just make money from Nguru, Sokoto, from Idah. And where they make these monies, what is their relationship with the host communities?
So the money they are making is not going to be good enough for them to attract votes for an Igbo man. Anything short of that, and since we are practising democracy, the Igbo man wanting to be president must belong to a party that is likely to win an election. No party will put up a candidate that it feels may not win any election. It’s as simple as that. I wish a woman like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was a politician; at least, Nigerians now know who she is. She has shown us her worth and she is a worthy person across the globe; she needs no introduction. She may not have the funds to play the type of politics we play in Nigeria now, but if that type of person can standout among the Igbo, whether she is Asaba Igbo, Ika Igbo, or Orlu Igbo, whatever, it doesn’t matter. When the chips are down, you will start hearing from among the things that you would not want to hear a second time, like who is proper Igbo or who is an osu.
I worry about them. No human being, dead or alive, can take the presidency of Nigeria and give it to the Igbo man. The Igbo man must find space in the existing parties or he can form his own and attract membership to be able to campaign and win the election.

Culled from the Guardian

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Politics

When home coming is dangerous

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When homecoming is dangerous


Reviewing the Assassination of Ogacheko Atanu and a Warning to Nigerians in Diaspora on the State of Insecurity in Nigeria

By Frank Tietie

Ogacheko Atanu, an Idah born, world acclaimed and Saudi Arabia based drilling engineer was assassinated by unknown gunmen on Saturday, 9th of January, 2021 while holidaying in his country home in Idah, Kogi State of Nigeria. He was scheduled to travel back to Saudi on the morning of the next day before he was killed on that night in his hometown.

Ogacheko had such a brilliant career while he was at Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Nigeria. It was his sheer brilliance and distinction while at Shell that got him headhunted by Saudi Aramco, the world largest oil company based in Saudi Arabia, where he worked until his assassination in his house in his hometown of Idah.

Homecoming for Ogacheko has had a bad history. Some years ago, after he started work at Saudi Aramco, he decided to visit his hometown and in course of the journey, on his way to Idah, he had a terribly fatal car accident which broke his limbs. Saudi Aramco did not take chances regarding the treatment of one of its best executives. So the company flew a special air ambulance (a chartered plane equipped with specialised medical equipment) into Nigeria and evacuated Ogacheko for treatment in Saudi Arabia. That’s how valuable he was to the company. And it didn’t matter whether he was a Nigerian and a non-national of Saudi Arabia.

So why would Ogacheko choose to come to his hometown under the present circumstances and be brutally murdered in his country home in such a wicked manner? Reports say he was asked by the gunmen to say his last prayers and despite offering them so much money, probably in dollars, they shot at him several times and he died instantly. Why?

Shouldn’t Ogacheko have taken the state of affairs in local security seriously enough to stay away from Nigeria at this time? With his status, he had enough money to arrange armed private guards or special police protection but why didn’t he do that? He also had the means to obtain a licence to own guns with which he could have repelled the assassins or defended himself. Why would uneducated, barbaric, unskilled hoodlums just kill an expatriate of that repute just like that without any resistance? Ogacheko was helpless even in his hometown; he was murdered mercilessly in his country home. Why?

Some Nigerians in diaspora get so accustomed to their host countries which have secure environments that they underestimate the Nigerian security situation. These members of the diaspora should seek proper travel advisory before coming home for holidays and other purposes. But they are usually overconfident in their belief that Nigeria is their original country where they started. So they don’t feel so threatened as if things are not as bad as when they were once here. No! Things are no longer as they were. The security situation in Nigeria seems to be deteriorating by the day. Those of us who live here know the daily risks we face and we trust in God in unusual terms, everyday for our security. Why do you think many Nigerians say crazy prayers using terms like ‘fire and die’ and ‘Holy Ghost fire’?

The Nigerian government needs to do more to assure Nigerians in diaspora and indeed all Nigerians that there is enough security before certain travels can be made in our country.

In the meantime, all Nigerians in diaspora, especially the successful ones who are popular for their generosity, should weigh carefully all their travel plans to Nigeria. A direct advice is for them to stay away completely until the security situation improves or they should be prepared to learn and adopt the needed skills together with resources required to survive in Nigeria, in these precarious times of insecurity, whenever they visit.

Frank Tietie
Human Rights Lawyer
& Executive Director, Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER),
Writes from Abuja

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2023: Okorocha expresses disdain for APC for putting Nigeria in dire straits

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2023: Okorocha expresses disdain for APC for putting Nigeria in dire straits

Senator representing Imo West Senatorial district, Rochas Anayo Okorocha on Monday expressed disdain for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for putting the country in dire straits

He therefore called for realignment ahead of the 2023 General election among only the good people in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).


Speaking at the commissioning of the Rumuche/Rumuakunde/Ohna Awuse Link Road in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, on Monday, the lawmaker, who did hide his disdain for APC government said, Nigeria is in a serious predicament.

The lawmaker and former Governor of Imo State said people of like minds must stop complaining and be interested in rescue operation

He said: “In this dispensation, there are many bad people in APC, many bad people in PDP.

“I think the good people of APC and good people of PDP must come together for the purpose of making Nigeria great.

Okorocha wished that he join forces with governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, pleading with the governor to assemble good people and make Nigeria great.

He continued: “What brought me here today is not a party. What brought me here today is love and friendship. I am not PDP, I am APC. But the time has come when we must break the jinx of party division and begin to embrace brotherhood and friendship and be able to state what is good and what is bad. A bad man is a bad man, even if he is PDP or APC.”


Responding, Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike counselled all members of APC in Rivers to jettison politics of bitterness in the interest of Rivers people.

Wike berated Rivers State APC Chairman, Senator Andrew Uchenna for not attracting projects to his community in those years he represented them at the lower and upper Legislative Chambers.

Wike said, “I came here, I told you that I will do this road, I give God the glory that I have done it using one of the best construction firms in Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, former Senate President, Pius Anyim is billed to commission the Rumuekini-Aluu Road traversing Obio/Akpor and Ikwerre Local Government Areas on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.

This was contained in a statement issued by the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim on Monday.

Rochas Okorocha is a member of APC, Imo State.

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While APC is party of Tinubu and Buhari, PDP is party of the Nigerian people, says Lamido

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While APC is party of Tinubu and Buhari, PDP is party of the Nigerian people, says Lamido

The former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido, has described the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a party built around Bola Tinubu and President Muhammadu Buhari unlike the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that was built by the people and for the people of Nigeria.

Lamido who spoke yesterday in Dutse, Jigawa State after the successful conduct of the PDP state Congress said that is the reason for the collossal failure of the Buhari led administration in almost all facets.
The Jigawa State PDP Congress was enmeshed in crises when a faction led by the former Governorship candidate of the party in 2015 and 2019, Aminu Ibrahim Ringim went to court to challenge the Sule Lamido Led faction with a court injunction preventing his faction from continuing with the party’s local government congress.

However a high court sitting in Dutse presided over by Justice Musa Ubale had rescinded its earlier order restricting the Sule Lamido led faction from conducting the local government and state congress elections.
In a fresh court order, Justice Musa Ubale struck out the case and ordered the faction of the defendents (PDP and Lamido) to go ahead and conduct the party’s congresses.

The court’s judgement stated that,” the matter deals with the congress of the PDP to choose or elect it’s leadership in the ward, local government and state levels in Jigawa which is purely an intra-party dispute and thereafter not Justiciable”, it stated.

The PDP state congress which took place on Sunday may have put to an end the lingering crises between the Sule Lamido led faction and that of Aminu Ibrahim Ringim.
Lamido while speaking to the media said,
“PDP is the only party which has the kind of capacity to lead Nigeria and Jigawa State because it is a party that is owned by the people not a party that is built around one personality.
“In APC there are only two persons, It is only Buhari and Tinubu, then after Buhari and Tinubu, they have nothing, but in PDP wherever you go, you see PDP family, a party which is owned by the people, whoever leads the party will know he has to serve the people.
“It has produced so many leaders, Presidents, Governors, Parliamentarians, ministers, commissioners including contractors. “Remove the PDP’s virtue in Nigerian history there would be no Nigeria because PDP is Nigerian History.
“Today, Nigeria like America is going through some turbulence; insecurity, poverty, division, hate and what have you.
“We can not have a country where there is no mutual trust because in the absence of mutual trust there is no stability. “If there is no stability there would be no development. PDP has this advantage over every other party in Nigeria because we believe in one another, we love one another therefore trust is our watchword.
“Mutual respect, firm believe in one another. Only PDP can restore Nigeria. Jigawa chapter of the PDP is going to be one of the building blocks to restore Nigeria to what it was 8 years ago, when there was security, stability, fuel, power, there was infrastructure development, stability, love, mutual respect, there was everything.”
He asked the new executives to convey the party’s appreciation to the working committee and the NEC for taking the pain to go through the court processes which he said has been laid to rest.
The chairman of the congress lectoral Committee Dr Umar Ardo,said  “From what we have seen here from yesterday those who contested the elections of the state executives of Jigawa State PDP, were unopposed, that is to say there was consensus in the contests and that is the best for democracy. “But in conformity with the laws of the country we have allowed candidates to cast their votes and we inspected each and every ballot box to ensure that each office is contested for and we have ascertained that.
“In view of that we are going to declare the candidates who have emerged victorious in this election.
He declared Honorable Babandi Ibrahim, as the State chairman of the party, Deputy chairman, Honorable Ali Idris Diginsa, vice chairman 1 Honorable Isah Zakari, 2nd vice chairman honorable Idris Ilyasu Danlawan, third vice chairman Honorable Muhammed Zagin Kafin Hausa, State Secretary honorable Isah Bello Gwadayi, State Assistant Secretary Abba Soja Dutse, State assistant secretary, Muhammed Mujitaba Abdullahi, State Assistant secretary Abba Ana’s Adamu. State treasurer Saleh Yahaya KO, State assistant treasurer Awaisu Hudu Sakwaya, State assistant secretary 2 Alhaji Danyaro Maiwelder, State Assistant Secretary Alhaji Aminu Ahmad, State assistant treasurer Yakubu Adamu Danmaliki, State legal Adviser, Alhaji Ado Dunari, assistant legal adviser Honorable Ubale Kiri, State Assistatant financial Secretary Alhaji Alhassan Babandi, State Financial secretary, Isah Alhassan Koriyel.
Others are State publicity secretary, Honorable Ubale Kiri, State Assistant financial secretary, Garba Galau, State assistant publicity secretary Muhammed Nabakindogo, State auditor, Garba Liman, State assistant auditor, Babangida Muhammed State Organizing secretary, Basiru Usman Galadinma, state Assistant organizing secretary, Sumaila Sule, assistant Organizing secretary, Baba Tambale, State organizing secretary, Hajia Nadia Birninkudu, State women leader, Hajia Siham Aliyu, State assistant Woman leader, Hajia Tabal Wabichi, etc.
The new Chairman appreciated everyone and promise to carry everyone along. He assured of delivering Jigawa State to PDP in 2023.

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