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2023: No One Can Stop Another Northern Candidate, Says NEF

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2023

Northern Elders Forum (NEF) spokesman Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed and one-time presidential Spokesman Dr Doyin Okupe on Sunday disagreed on the zoning of the presidential ticket in 2023.

 

 

Buba-Ahmed said the next president should come from the North; Okupe warned that any political party that decides to field a candidate from the North risked losing the election.

 

 

The NEF publicity Secretary described the presidency as the inheritance of the North, adding that the region has the majority of voters who can vote for a Northerner to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

 

 

Stressing that the North will not play a second fiddle in 2023, Buba-Ahmed said heaven will not fall if power is retained in the North.

 

 

The NEF spokesman delivered a keynote address at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, at the maiden Maitama Sule Leadership Lecture organised by the student wing of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG).

 

 

Buba-Ahmed said: “We will lead Nigeria the way we have led Nigeria before. Whether we are President or Vice President, we will lead Nigeria.

 

 

 

“We have the majority of the votes and the democracy says vote whom you want. Why should we accept a second class position when we know we can buy forms and contest for first class and we will win?

 

“Why does anybody need to threaten us and intimidate us? We will get that power, but be humble because power comes from God. We inherited leadership, being honest is not being stupid.

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“There are Nigerians who believed that because the economy of the North has already been crumbled; we are running away from insecurity. We are politically vulnerable, they think they can buy us for 2023. They are making a mistake.

 

 

“We are not for sale. We are in the process of rebuilding the North and we will rebuild the North from 2023.”

 

He added: “Whether the North holds power in 2023 or not, anybody who wants to break up in this country will say so. They are just looking for excuses.

 

 

“This is democracy. If they don’t like what Nigeria is, they will say they want to break up from this country. We don’t pay attention to those people. We are focused on the fact that we are running a democratic system.

 

 

 

“If the majority of Nigerian voters vote for a candidate from the North and he becomes the President and somebody doesn’t want to live under Nigeria President, the person can leave.

 

 

 

“We inherited the North that determined where Nigeria went. We dropped the ball and we are leaving you to pick it.

 

 

 

“The North is not for sale, our legacy is not for sale; if there are Nigerians who are thinking that in 2023 we will line up because they will give us money, they are making a terrible mistake because the North is not for sale; our future is not for sale, we have learnt from our mistakes and we will not repeat those mistakes.”

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But, Okupe, in a piece, disagreed with Buba-Ahmed, saying that zoning and power shift are imperative.

 

 

 

He maintained that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may lose the 2023 presidential election if it picks its flagbearer from the North.

 

 

 

Okupe said the resolution of the Southern governors, including PDP governours, that the presidency should be zoned to the South should not be ignored.

 

 

 

He said: “It will be folly, reckless and insensitive for any political party to ignore the position of the Southern governors.”

 

 

 

Okupe said: “There is a strong indication that the party is erroneously tilting towards zoning the presidency to the North.

 

 

 

“Zoning is a veritable instrument that ensures equity and balance in the nation, gives hope and confidence and support to our national unity.

 

 

 

“The zoning arrangement which the PDP started in 1998 was based on the assumption that the party will be in power consistently but the moment it lost power in 2015, automatically the arrangement has to be reviewed in view of the development

 

 

 

“When the PDP lost power, there was a southern president in power. If the party didn’t lose power and completed in 2019, zoning would kick in and power would have shifted to the North. However, the party that won the election presented a northern candidate who by 2023 would have ruled for eight years.”

 

 

 

“We still carried on as if the former arrangement was still in place in 2019 and it was justifiable within the PDP at that time for us to put forward a northern candidate.

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“But in 2023, with APC having ruled for eight years with a northern candidate, it will be preposterous, unjust, uncaring and blatant for the PDP to zone the presidential ticket to the North because the arrangement expired the moment our party lost power in 2019.

 

 

 

“There should be a reset of the zoning arrangement in 2023. It does not make sense to replace a northern government of eight years with another northern government.”

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Why FG Lacks The Gut To check Bandits, Farooq Kperogi Exposes Malami

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Naming and shaming of sponsors of terrorism is unconstitutional but the naming and shaming of the “sponsors” of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho isn’t.

 

 

On July 18, 2021, so-called bandits shot down an Alpha Jet belonging to the Nigerian Air Force on the boundary between Zamfara and Kaduna states. Then on October 7, 2021, the Wall Street Journal, whose news section is adjudged one of America’s most credible, got a scoop that the Nigerian Air Force paid N20 million to bandits to buy back “an antiaircraft gun” that the bandits had seized from the Nigerian military in a clash.

 

The antiaircraft gun, the paper said, “posed a threat to President Muhammadu Buhari, who had been planning to fly to his hometown….”

 

On October 20, 2021, the bandits, whom the Wall Street Journal says have “collaborators inside the army” and who are “better equipped with larger-capacity advanced weaponry than national security agencies,” detonated explosives on the Abuja-Kaduna rail tracks and caused the indefinite suspension of rail transportation between Abuja and Kaduna.

 

What has become transparently apparent in the last few months is that the plague of so-called Fulani herdsmen banditry is way deeper and more complex than we have persuaded ourselves to believe. The menace we self-deceptively and simplistically attenuate as mere “banditry” is nothing short of well-oiled, deep-rooted, well-practiced, and well-organised mercenary terrorism whose tentacles have spread to unthought-of social territories of the Nigerian society.

 

Early this month, I had a lengthy conversation with a well-placed Nigerian government official on a whole host of issues, including the escalating, never-ending scourge of mass abductions for ransom in vast swathes of the country. In the course of our conversation, he casually shared with me a disturbing story that, for me, strikes at the core of why terroristic banditry won’t go away anytime soon.

 

He was involved in negotiations for the release of abductees some months back. The multi-million-naira ransom paid to the “abductors,” he said, went through a tortuous chain of command that finally ended up with some armed, well-nourished, out-of-state individuals. In other words, although the kidnappers were bucolic Fulani, the people who finally received the ransom weren’t.

 

In any case, as most people know, most of the cattle that the Fulani herders rear don’t belong to them; they belong to wealthy city dwellers (and some prosperous rural folks) from all over Nigeria.

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Well, the anecdote that the government official shared with me recalls a viral video of a “bandit” in one of the northwestern states swearing in Hausa that “bandits” aren’t independent actors, that they are armed and financed by well-placed people in the society who take advantage of their poverty and disaffiliation from mainstream society to recruit them.

 

To be clear, I am not by any means absolving Fulani herders from responsibility for kidnapping. I just want to transcend the surface on which we have dwelled for far too long.

 

I also connected the dots between what the government official told me and a message that trended in Nigerian social media circles in May 2019 about a woman who was threatened with abduction but given the option to pay N5 million into a bank account to avert her kidnap.

 

A portion of the narration is worth reproducing without authorial intervention: “She took it up. Went to the bank with some assistance from influential friends. They asked that the account be flagged…. Bank did checks. Bank said the account cannot be flagged else they will lose influential clients How so? The names attached to the account are powerful names. That the kidnap ring pays some top persons percentage from the ransome [sic] paid. She was advised to jejely goan [sic] pay her POTENTIAL KIDNAPPERS. I was speechless for over 5 minutes.”

 

If you think this is a made-up story, read Daily Trust’s July 28, 2021 story titled “Kidnappers in FCT Begin Collection Of Ransom Through Banks.” When a Mrs. Aminat Adewuyi was kidnapped in Niger State, the kidnappers threatened to slaughter her if her relatives didn’t deposit N5 million naira into an Access Bank account.

 

The amount was later scaled back. “The ransom payment slip, a copy of which was obtained by Daily Trust showed that Adewuyi’s husband paid N500,000 into an Access Bank account with number 1403762272 and the name Badawi Abba Enterprise,” the paper reported.

 

Also recall that late last month even the National Youth Service Corps advised youth corps members posted to abduction-prone roads like “Abuja-Kaduna, Abuja-Lokoja-Okene, or Aba-Port Harcourt” to let “family members, friends and colleagues to have someone on hand to pay off the ransom that could be demanded” in the event of their abduction. This piece of advice was frozen in a handbook distributed to corps members.

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It’s easy to explain away the NYSC advice as merely an organisation being pragmatic and making peace with the ever-present reality of mass abductions in the country. But the listless capitulation to mercenary terroristic bandits by almost all segments of the Nigerian government, including security outfits, points to high-profile complicity, in my opinion.

 

The Daily Nigerian reported on October 21 that security agencies had intercepted communication between “a notorious bandit” and his “associate.” “The report, dated October 19, 2021 and entitled ‘PLANNED ATTACK ON TRAIN AROUND RIJANA, KADUNA STATE,’ said the terrorists were heard discussing about the planned attack by Darul Salam terrorists in concert with two bandit kingpins, Danlami and Lawan (not real names),” the news site reported.

 

It quoted the security report to have said, “Baffa informed Bala that members of Darussalam (Boko Haram) in collaboration with bandits led by Danlami and Lawan are currently on their way to plant a bomb at a bridge on the railway in Rijana to hijack a moving train and kidnap the passengers. Baffa said he decided not to participate in the operation because it is risky but believed that DANLAMI and LAWAN will blow up the bridge.”

 

 

 

Why was the report, which the paper said was “circulated across security agencies,” ignored? Was this complicity, incompetence, or indifference? I am inclined to think it’s complicity, especially in light of the Wall Street Journal’s not-surprising revelation that mercenary terrorist bandits have “collaborators inside the army.”

 

 

 

Here are my own extrapolations based on the facts I’ve encountered these past few months. While uneducated, pastoral, semi-nomadic Fulani herders are the public face of mass abductions for ransom in the country, they are just branches of a tree whose roots are buried deep beneath the surface. The herders are mere expendable foot soldiers of people who have privileged connections to the government and the private sector.

 

 

Peasant, seminomadic Fulani herders who have lost their cattle have historically served as an inexhaustible pool of lumpen proletariat to conscript into all kinds of conflicts. In the early 1800s, for instance, they constituted a huge percentage of Afonja’s army in his fight against the Alaafin of Oyo. In “A Little New Light: Selected Historical Writings of Professor Abdullahi Smith,” the late Abdullahi Smith wrote that Fulani pastoralists who lost their cattle to tsetse fly bites in Yoruba land and “had nothing to lose” became Afonja’s mercenaries.

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The domination of abduction for ransom by Fulani pastoralists who have lost their cattle seems to me like the recrudescence of what happened in the 1800s—and at other historical epochs. Killing the abductors will do nothing to stop the problem because they are merely the branches of a tree. You don’t kill a tree by cutting off its branches because new branches will sprout in time.

 

 

 

You kill a tree by uprooting it. That means identifying the funders and real beneficiaries of mass abductions in the country. From the information I am privy to, they are elites who are not necessarily Fulani. They are a pan-Nigerian gang of ruthless buccaneers who are united by rapaciousness and vileness.

 

 

 

But instead of confronting this grave existential threat to Nigeria, Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, is obsessed with blabbering about who the “sponsors” of Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu are.

 

 

This is the same guy who refused to name and identify people who have been exposed by the United Arab Emirates as sponsors of Boko Haram terrorists because, according to him, “Naming and shaming of suspects is not embarked upon as a policy by the federal Government out of sheer respect [for] the constitutional rights of Nigerians relating to presumption of innocence.”

 

 

 

Naming and shaming of sponsors of terrorism is unconstitutional but the naming and shaming of the “sponsors” of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho isn’t. That is all you need to know for why mercenary terroristic banditry will endure for as long as incompetent hypocrites like Malami hold and control the levers of government.

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Anambra Guber: IPOB Declares Sit-At-Home On Election Day

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Anambra state governorship election may suffer serious setback as the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has declared total lockdown in all states in south East from November 5 to November 10, to compel the federal government to release its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has fixed the Anambra gubernatorial election for November 6, 2021.

But in a statement issued by its media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB said, “Following the adjournment of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s court case to 10th of November 2021, by the Federal High Court Abuja, it demanded all lovers of Biafra and Biafrans to sit at home from 5 to 10 November to ensure that their leader is released.

“We the great movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), wish to inform Biafrans, friends of Biafra and lovers of freedom that IPOB will lock down Biafra land from 5th of November to 10th of November except Sunday, November 7th, a day our people worship the Almighty God, if the Nigeria Government fails to release our leader unconditionally before 4th of November 2021” he stated.

IPOB said its leader Nnamdi Kanu must be released unconditionally on or before November 4, 2021 “because he has not committed any offense known to any law.

According to the group, “failure to release Nnamdi KANU on or before November 4, 2021 there will be one week Sit-At-Home beginning on November 5, 2021 till November 10.”

Kanu was arraigned at the Federal High Court, Abuja on treasonable felony and terrorism charges.

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The fresh seven-count charges against Kanu followed his arrest and extradition from Kenya after he jumped bail.

Kanu, however, pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

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Ghana Nollywood Boss, Others, Mobilise Nigerians against Black Queens In Accra Sunday World Cup Tie

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There is serious mobilisation of Nigerians living in Ghana to support the Super Falcons in their match against the Black Queens of Ghana today.

The supporters have agreed to troop out in numbers to the Accra Sports Stadium to support the Super Falcons in a World Cup qualifier encounter.

The mobilisation of Nigerians is spearheaded, among many others calling for massive turn out of Nigerians for the match is Mr. Destiny Omoh, Chairman of Nollywood Ghana Chapter, Chief Bayo Asaolu, former Acting President of All Nigerian Community in Ghana who is also the current 2nd Vice President of of the same Association.

Chief Asaolu disclosed that the match is a do or die for the Black Queen as they need outstanding win to qualify to the female World Football fiesta.

It would be recalled that at various occasions, Nigerians in Ghana have always come out to support the national teams.

Ghana will need to beat Nigeria by 2 goals to qualify. The Super Falcon beat their rival by two goals at the first leg in Nigeria.

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