2023: Why academics, professionals must participate in campaigns – Osinbajo

Ahead of the 2023 presidential elections, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on academics and members of other professional bodies to participate actively in the task of making Nigeria a better place for all.

Osinbajo stated this when he received a team of 13 professors from the six geo-political zones under the aegis of the Progressive Intellectuals Advisory Group (PIAG) at the State House in Abuja who came to endorse his presidential ambition.

“These days, you find all sorts of pretenders claiming expertise in everything under the sun without any real expertise. So, it is important that academics do not vacate that space to allow all sorts of people to begin to postulate on practically every issue,” he said.

“One of the most important things I recall when I served first as Attorney General of Lagos State was that it is so important for those of us who are in academics to participate because not only are we among the more knowledgeable groups, we have also done more work.

“The path that you (the group) have chosen is a very crucial one because in the future, more intellectual groups will take the responsibility that is really theirs. And I think that for those of us who are from the academic community, it is a privilege that we have, being the intellectual crème de la crème of our society, and this comes with responsibility,” he said.

He appreciated the group’s endorsement of his presidential ambition, saying: “If there is any sort of endorsement that has given me particular joy, it is this one; because if one is endorsed by professional colleagues, people who live their lives by critical analysis and evaluation; it is worth celebrating.

“These matters are not to be taken lightly. For a professor to say that he supports a political cause, it is a weighty matter indeed, because you are aware that a lot of reflections go into it.

“But when you have 13 professors all over the country, saying they are aligned to one cause, I am greatly humbled. It is one of those things that doesn’t happen often.”

While expressing appreciation, the Vice President expressed hope that the academics would “work together to make a significant difference for our country.”

In his remarks, the leader of the group and Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Professor Shehu Adamu, said the visit was to intimate the Vice President on activities of the group to support his ambition to become Nigeria’s President.

Also speaking, the Vice Chancellor of Al-Kalam University in Katsina, Professor Nasiru Musa Yauri, said: “We have decided we will not fold our arms; we will do whatever it takes to actualise the PYO 2023 project.”

Also speaking, the Head of Political Science Department at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka, Anambra state, Professor Chukwuemeka Jaja Nwanegbo, said, “the academic community would not  sit back and watch the political terrain disallow you from emerging. So, we want to work with you, other professionals and students to actualise your bid.”

Other academics at the meeting include Prof. Yahya T. Baba, Usman Danfodiyo University in Sokoto; Prof. Mashood Omotosho, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; Associate Prof. Philips Okolo, Director of the Institute of Peace and Security Studies, Niger Delta University; Prof. Shola Omotola, Federal University Oye Ekiti; Prof. Sheikh Danjuma Abubakar, IBB University, Lapai; Associate Prof. Abdullahi Jibrin, Federal University Lafia; Associate Prof. Atelhe George, University of Calabar; Prof. Saleh Mohammed, Federal University Kashere, Gombe State; Prof. Haruna Lawal Modibbo Adama, University of Yola; and Prof. Ike-Elechi Ogba, Ebonyi State University.

With little resources, we’ve done much, Nigerians forgetful – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has warned of tougher security measures in restive parts of the country, with review of operations and strategy, reassuring Nigerians that the efforts that resulted in relative peace in South-South, and rescuing of North-East from the hold of terrorists would be ramped up.

He also said the administration had done much amid scarce resources, describing Nigerians as being forgetful.

Speaking at a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the President noted that the major security challenges have remained in the North Central and North West, saying, “We are going to be very tough.’’

“I will like us to reflect on what the situation was before we came in. How many Local Government Areas were under the control of terrorists in the North-East?

“In the South-South, we all know what the situation was; now we have relative peace. With the resources at our disposal, we have done very well.

“People are very forgetful. Our main problem now is in the North West and North Central. People are killing one another in these places, what for? We are going to be very tough,” he said.

President Buhari urged party members to be more mindful of the pitfalls that led to the ouster of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015.

“The PDP thought that only time could remove them, and the time actually came. They thought it was impossible to lose elections,” he added.

President Buhari recalled that the APC was formed by a merger of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), some members from All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the new PDP, which was a faction of the then ruling party.

“We put together a committee with clear terms of reference on how to remove the PDP from power. The PDP thought it wasn’t going to be possible. But it happened,” the President said.

President Buhari told new members of the National Working Committee (NWC), which had been delegated powers of NEC for a period, to work towards keeping the party together by creating more room for discussions.

“There’s no time to develop differences among ourselves. We have no time for that,” he added.

The president commended the Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and all its members “for offering themselves to serve the party at a critical moment in utmost satisfaction despite all the attendant challenges, and for organising the National Convention that produced the NWC.

“I must also sincerely thank all the aspirants for their desire to serve but had to withdraw their aspirations for the over-all interest of our Party. I consider it an honour to my person and an unwavering sacrifice for the unity of our great party as we approach the coming elections.

“I plead with all aspirants who were not elected to put in efforts in support of the leaderships of the Party to achieve our goal of success in the forthcoming elections. Furthermore I am pleading with all litigants to withdraw cases against the Party and put faith in party mechanisms.”

President Buhari also congratulated the new National Chairman of APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and the entire NWC members.

He felicitated with party leaders and members for successfully conducting the Ward, Local Government, State Congresses, and the National Convention, in compliance with the Party Constitution.

In his remark, the APC Chairman, Senator Adamu, appreciated President Buhari for always working for the unity and survival of the party, assuring that the NWC will further unite the party, and ensure victory at the polls.

“We must succeed, failure is not an option,’’ the APC chairman said.

The NEC meeting was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, other principal officers of the National Assembly, APC governors and state party chairmen.


Cleric laments Taraba bomb blast

The Taraba state chairman of TEKAN/ECWA bloc of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Philip Micah Dopah, Wednesday, lamented over the bomb blast in Iware community in Ardo-Kola LGA and Sunday’s killing of over 25 people in Ussa LGA of the state.

Micah, in a statement issued and made available to Blueprint in Jalingo described the ugly act as satanic.

The statement said the killing of innocent people in a Burkutu joint was babaric, inhuman, wicked and ungodly.

The statement noted that the cleric expressed worry that the killing of 25 people in Kwecwen in Ussa LGA at the early hours of Sunday by Fulani militias was intolerable.

“The attack in Ussa left 25 dead while that of Iware community left 20 dead. And as we speak, the destruction of properties in Ussa attack is worth millions of naira,” the statement said.

The man of God condemned in totality the bomb blast at Iware market in Ardo Kola LGA in Taraba state and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to live up to his  responsibility of providing security for  Nigerians.

The statement added that the president must remember that he took an oath of office to protect and defend the lives and properties of Nigerians.


Kaduna: Bandits kill 3 out of 26 kidnapped persons in Sabon Tasha, threatening to kill more

Three out of the 26 people kidnapped from Ungwan Bulus in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State have been executed by terrorists on Monday night, with threats of killing more by12noon Monday, if their demands are not met.

The Chief of Ungwan Bulus, Gideon Haruna Goni confirmed this to newsmen who visited his palace on Tuesday April 19.

He said that the terrorists called the community to inform that they should go and pick corpses of those killed around Dutse Community, along the Kaduna-Abuja highway.

He said that the terrorists called that if they don’t pay the N20m before 12pm on Tuesday (April 19, 2022), others would be assassinated.

“They have threatened to kill more, especially women if their demands are not met. 26 were abducted, one was released, three were killed.

“The one that was released was based on health grounds. He has liver problem,” the Chief said.

The Chief while speaking, said that on March 31, the bandits invaded the community around 8pm, shot and killed two people, while 26 were abducted.

“We came together as a community, raised some amount and they called us and told us to pick corpses of victim’s from Dutse.

“I am appealing to them not to kill anyone, we are appealing to the state and federal government as well as religious clerics to come to our rescue so that the killings will stop.

One of those whose family members were kidnapped, said that they have been able to raise N7m, but the terrorists insist on the N20m or they will keep killing the victims.

2023: Afe Babalola calls for polls’ suspension, urges FG to adopt interim government

Legal icon and elder statesman, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN),  has proposed an  interim government  to succeed  the current administration at the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure in 2023.

Babalola, who is the founder of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUA), Ekiti state, stated this Monday at a media parley in Ado-Ekiti.

He said the interim government should be in office for six months to chart a new course for Nigeria.

The silk also said the 2023 elections should be suspended until Nigeria has “a new-look peoples’ Constitution which should provide for part-time legislators and non-executive president.”

Babalola further said members of the interim government should be drawn from all living former presidents and vice-presidents; some selected ministers and governors and delegates of prominent professional associations.

“The professional associations could be the Nigeria Medical Association, Nigeria Bar Association, Nigeria Labour Congress, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Academic Staff Union of Universities and Civil Society Organisations,” he added.

The elder statesman noted that such delegates should be elected on zero party basis.

He said it was regrettable that the current 1999 Constitution, foisted on Nigerians by the military was no longer in tune with the realities of the day.

“The same Constitution has made politics become not only very attractive, but the only lucrative business in Nigeria today.

“What this means is that any election that holds under the present scenario will end up producing transactional and recycled leaders, with no ability to turn things around,” he said.

The university proprietor advised that the new Constitution which should be coordinated by the interim government, should spell out rules and regulations on improved qualifications of those contesting elections.

He added that the new Constitution should provide for part-time legislature and not full-time, considering the attendant waste of resources.

“The new Constitution should also provide that there shall be no salary, but sitting allowances only for lawmakers.

“It should provide a true federal system of government, instead of the expensive presidential system of government. I suggest parliamentary system of government, with a unicameral legislature.

“The new Constitution should also provide a body at the local, state and federal levels to screen all aspirants on the sources of their wealth and means of livelihood, criminal record which includes pending suits,” Babalola said.

The legal luminary added that any person that would become the president of Nigeria should not be older than 60 years of age and must have a varsity degree.


Lagos GAC Okays Sanwo-Olu For Second Term

The dream of Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to get a second term in office got the seal of approval of the Governance Advisory Council (GAC) on Monday.

According to Sanwo-Olu’s Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, the governor was also given pass mark for staying through to the developmental agenda of Lagos.

He tweeted, “Breaking news: Lagos GAC gives nod to Governor @jidesanwoolu’s second term bid. The Governance Advisory Council at a meeting in Lagos today gave pass mark to Sanwo-Olu for staying through to the developmental agenda of Lagos. Congratulations dear boss!”.

GAC, the apex body within the state ruling political class of All Progressives Congress (APC) approved second term for Sanwo-Olu at its meeting this afternoon at State House, Marina.

With the APC governorship election primaries slated for May 27, the speculation on whether Sanwo-Olu will get a second term has become rife among the business and political elites in the state, especially members of the APC.

Governor Sanwo-Olu has not picked his nomination forms for the election apparently waiting for official endorsement of the party chieftains.

It would be recalled that his predecessor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode failed to secure a second term in office because he fell out of favour with the party structure and GAC members despite the popular sentiments that he performed very well enough in office to deserve a second term.

Imo govt faults NBS report on foreign investment

Imo state Commissioner for Budget, Economic Planning and Statistics, Dr C.C. Osuala has described reports pitching Imo among states which foreign investments dropped or  failed to attract foreign investments during the year as a poor reflection of the true picture of developments on ground.

A recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on the latest Nigerian Capital Importation for 2021 said the value of capital importation into Nigeria fell by 30.78 percent to $6.7 billion in 2021; from $9.68 billion in 2020 and stated how the 36  states of the federation fared.

Speaking to Blueprint in Owerri on the report, Dr Osuala noted that the Bureau was not vivid on the area of focus, adding that in capital importation, different areas or fields could be considered.

Explaining further, he said NBS could not say whether it was in agriculture, commerce or any other field that it based its analysis, because capital importation could also be carried out in those areas as well as in many other areas of human endeavour.

He pointed out that Capital Importation “does not only mean capital or physical cash” as it could also come in form of importation of equipment, skilled labour, drugs etc and when done, capital is still attached to them or imported.”

He frowned at a situation in which the report said Imo performed below states like Anambra, which attracted $4.7 million; Kano which attracted $2.55 million; Oyo, $2.0 million; Ogun, $1.06 million etc, saying the foreign investments attracted in the Ministry of Budget, Economic Planning and Statistics alone, without taking into consideration those of other ministries, was far more than what the aforementioned states attracted as foreign investments in 2021.

He further disclosed that the World Bank’s SFTAS grant attracted by his ministry for the state as a result of transparency in budgeting was more than what these states attracted as foreign investments, “a situation which leaves the report with some error.”

He said the state has continued to attract more as it just attracted $500, 000 from World Bank as a result of its budgeting performance in the first quarter of the year


Breaking: Marafa denies joining PDP together with Yari

Senator Kabir Marafa
Former Senator Kabiru Marafa on Sunday denied reports suggesting that he has together with former Zamfara state governor Abdulaziz Yari decamped to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

On Sunday, PDP chairman in Zamfara said the opposition party has reached agreement with both APC stalwarts and that their formal declaration would happen soon.

But Marafa Sunday evening said, “All we know is that we are into negotiations with many political parties that have invited us to join them in the state.”

According to Senator Marafa, while speaking in an interview with Tambarin Hausa, an online Radio in Zamfara “…For now any news that said we have decamped is falsehood.

“All that I know is that there are lots of political parties, not only the PDP, that have invited us and wanting us to join and up till now we are still discussing with them.

“To the best of my knowledge up till now we have not reached a decision with anyone of them.

“…It is not true that we have decamped to the PDP, whoever said so has erred.

“In my capacity, I’m calling on people to discard any information about the issue from any person, untill they hear from us,…We have not yet reached at any decisions.”

Senator Marafa however said that it was necessary for him and Yari to decamp out of the All Progressives Congress (APC), “over injustices meted on us by the former leadership of the APC.

“We have no choice than to move out of the APC.”

Senator Marafa said the new national chairman of the APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, did not look for him.

“Abdulaziz Yari, has told me that he (Abdullahi Adamu), has looked for him, they have discussed and I was told about the level of their discussion.

“…He has told me that he will travel and that I will represent him when to discuss on the matter, but till now I was not contacted,” he said.


Gender discrimination: We can’t be silent, Minister tells Senators’ wives, others

The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, has charged wives of Senators and all other stakeholders to intensify advocacy on gender based issues, stressing that women cannot be silent over the increasing violence and discrimination against them across the country.

Tallen gave the charge Tuesday, while receiving the wives of Nigerian Senators who paid a courtesy visit on her office at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.

According to Tallen, it was imperative to make the lives of women and those of children yet unborn better, stressing that the  Senator wives have strategic roles  in ensuring that this aim is achieved.

She called on the Senator wives to be assertive in making their husbands understand better the need to change the ugly treatment of women and girls, adding that if they didn’t achieve this children will not be proud of them in the future.

“We cannot afford to be silent even as ordinary women no one can ignore the ills against women. Look at the majority of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) are women and children, there are IDP camps everywhere because of insecurity, communal clash, unrest which is uncalled for.

“Imagine in this 21st century some communities still practice Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and just recently a beautiful woman was allegedly killed by her husband from domestic violence and we say we have laws?,” She queried.

“I commend you for starting this journey, it is not just for ourselves but for our children even yet unborn and if we do not work harder to ensure a better society for them they will not be happy with us  so we need to strategize on better ways to addressing issues affecting us in  the society.

“It is sad that Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, made her presence felt at the National Assembly (NASS) when the bill was read yet they refused to sign the bills.

“You are all representatives of the the larger society and you can see the low percentage of women representatives, we should all join hands to help push the women agenda forward,” the Minister stressed.

Earlier, the Chairperson, steering committee of the Senators Wives Association Barrister Hauwa Kabir Gaya, noted that Nigeria is currently suffering from different types of vices from gender based violence to insecurity which includes banditry, kidnapping amongst others.

Gaya disclosed that the association is praying fervently and calling on all Nigerians to pray daily for things to change for the better, while they use their influences as wives of the lawmakers to encourage their husbands to pass the gender bills into law.

“We intend to use our influence as wives on our husbands, we will encourage them to get certain things they are ignoring or feel is a threat done. We will explain to them more, the need for them to approve because it is for the good of all,” she said.

“We are praying and you all know that when a woman prays it goes directly to God so we urge all women to join us pray for the nation every day. Let’s all go down on our knees every day and seek God’s intervention,” she stressed.


Breaking: NFF appoints coach banned for bribery, others to head national teams

The Executive Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation has approved the recommendation of its Technical and Development Sub-Committee for the appointment of Salisu Yusuf as the Head Coach of the Super Eagles B (otherwise known as the CHAN team) as well as the U23 (Olympics) team.

Yusuf was previously banned for collecting bribes as an Assistant Coach of the Super Eagles after he was caught on camera in August 2018 accepting cash from men who posed as football agents to select two players for his Morocco 2018 African Nations Championship squad.

He was subsequently banned for one year and ordered to pay a fine of $5,000 by the federation following the NFF Ethics and Fair Play Committee ruling that the coach received $1,000 from the men.

The NFF reinstated the coach in 2019 after serving his punishment and later approved his return as Assistant Coach of the Super Eagles and Head Coach of the Super Eagles B team, with effect from November 1, 2021.

Salisu’s appointment was contained in a statement on Thursday by the NFF’s spokesperson, Ademola Olajire, titled, ‘NFF appoints Salisu, Bosso, Ugbade, Bassey to head male National Teams’.

The NFF also stated that “a new Head Coach for the Super Eagles will be announced and officially unveiled once the processes for his engagement and contract-signing are concluded”.

Yusuf, who was Head Coach of the Super Eagles B when the team emerged runner-up of the African Nations Championship in Morocco in 2018, will work with Kennedy Boboye (Assistant Coach); Fatai Osho (Assistant Coach); Abubakar Bala Mohammed (Assistant Coach); Fidelis Ikechukwu (Assistant Coach); Eboboritse Uwejamomere (Match Analyst) and Ike Shorounmu (Goalkeepers’ Trainer) and Suleiman Shuaibu (Goalkeepers’ Trainer 2).

In other appointments, Ladan Bosso retains his position as Head Coach of the U20 Boys. He will work with former U17 Head Coach, Fatai Amao (Assistant Coach); Oladuni Oyekale (Assistant Coach); Jolomi Atune Alli (Assistant Coach) and; Baruwa Olatunji Abideen (Goalkeepers’ Trainer)

For the U17 Boys, Golden Eaglets, Nduka Ugbade was named Head Coach. He will work with Ahmad Lawal Dankoli (Assistant Coach); Omoniyi Haruna Ilerika (Assistant Coach); Yemi Daniel (Assistant Coach) and; Mohammed Nasiru Isah (Goalkeepers’ Trainer). Ugbade captained Nigeria’s first cadet team that won the FIFA U16 World Cup in China in 1985.

For the U13/15 Boys known as Future Eagles, Patrick Bassey will be Head Coach and will work with Abdullahi Tyabo Umar (Assistant Coach); Mohammed Kalli Kachalla (Assistant Coach); Ifeanyi Uba (Assistant Coach); Alh. Mohammed Kwairanga (Assistant Coach) and; Abubakar Abdullahi (Goalkeepers’ Trainer).