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You lied! — Gowon responds to theft allegation

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Former military Head of State, retired General Yakubu Gowon has described the allegations levelled against him by a United Kingdom parliament member, Tom Tugendhat that he stole half of Nigeria’s money stocked in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) during his regime as “mere rubbish fallacy”.

General Gowon, who told the BBC News Pidgin that he served Nigeria with utmost fear of God said his legacies were visible to everyone.

“What the MP said was just mere ridicule and I don’t know as to where he cooked up such statement. I served Nigeria as much as I could and my achievements during those years are available to everyone,” he said.

He, however, promised not to engage in any form of argument over the matter as people who knew him very well would speak in his defence.

“I don’t want to talk over the matter since those who know me very well say that the MP’s statement is nothing but a mere fallacy,” he added.

On Tuesday, British MPs passed a vote for UK’s government to sanction some Nigerian government officials were involved in brutalising EndSARS protesters.

While debating, Mr Tugendhat alleged that bribery and corruption were the causes of Nigeria’s underdevelopment, citing an example that Gen. Gowon stole more than half of country’s worth in its central bank and stashed the sum in London when he was toppled.

Gen. Gowon ruled Nigeria from 1966 to 1975 before his government was overthrown while he was away from Nigeria.

He was directly flown to the United Kingdom and enrolled in a studentship at Warwick University.

2023 Presidency: North will not repeat mistake of 2015 and 2019 again, says ACF

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The pan - northern sociopolitical organisation, the Arewa Consultative Forum, on Wednesday, said that North will not repeat the mistake of 2015 and 2019 in 2023 by supporting a presidential candidate who does not understand security problems facing the region. 

The forum said any presidential candidates that failed to understand security problems facing the region should forget its support in 2023.

The ACF’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Yawe, who stated this in an interview with The PUNCH in Kaduna, said any candidate seeking the support of northerners should have a deep understanding of security challenges and other problems confronting the region.

The group gave the warning two days after lambasting the President Muhammadu Buhari over the rising insecurity in the North.

The ACF had, in a statement titled, ‘ACF condemns endless kiIIings in the North’ issued by its spokesman, urged the President to address insecurity in the region.

It said, “We feel there is no need to call on President Buhari to live up to his oath of office . He knows more than anybody else the implications of swearing on the Quran and refusing to honour your oath to the Almighty.”

On Wednesday, the group said although it would not be involved in the selection of candidates, it would not support anybody that had a shallow understanding of security challenges and other problems of the region.

The ACF spokesman said the northern body would scrutinise each presidential candidate in 2023.

Yawe said, “The ACF does not and will not get involved in the affairs of political parties like selection of presidential candidates. All the political parties are welcome in the ACF.

“For the forum to get involved in the process of the multitude of political parties and select a presidential candidate for each will create too many problems. It is not even feasible or desirable for a mere pressure group like the ACF.

“We shall allow the parties to select their presidential candidates and once that is done, we shall scrutinise each of them. We have published our concerns about security and will continue doing so on other issues.

“Any politician with ears and eyes on 2023 should listen and see. Definitely if any fails to understand the security and other problems of the north, we will not support him.”

2023: Nigeria needs a competent and efficient leader, says El-Rufai as he reject zoning

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Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna state has said the zoning process among political parties would not solve the economic problems facing the country.

El-rufai said this on Tuesday when he spoke at a plenary session on “Rethinking Sub-National Competitiveness” at the ongoing Nigerian Economic Summit.

Zoning the presidency between the north and south has remained a norm in the country’s uninterrupted two-decade electoral process since 1999.

Ahead of the 2023 election, there have been calls for the presidency to return to the South.

But El-Rufai argues that leaders should not be selected by zones as this “will lead to inefficiency”.

He said: “Zoning in political parties cannot solve the economic problems we are facing. Selecting the best person to get the job done will benefit everyone.”

“The best we can do is to give everyone an equal opportunity,”

“There is no country in the world that has made progress in the last 50 years that rotates its leaders. I think if we move away from this fixation about distribution to selecting or picking the best person to get the job done… when the job is done, everybody benefits.

“Right now, we are distributing this and we are not making any progress because the focus is on distribution.”

You cannot run away with our mandate — PDP tells Abbo

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The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has lon Wednesday, said Senator Elisha Abbo who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to the All Progressive Congress (APC), cannot run away with the party's mandate. The party said the Senator himself, is aware of the legal implications of his actions.

Abbo had earlier penned a letter to the senate revealing his decision to join the ruling party based off a perceived mismanagement of PDP in Adamawa state.

He also highlighted his vision to work hand in hand with President Buhari in view of his “unprecedented achievements” in office.

The PDP however retorted that they were not in any way fazed by Senator Abbo’s decision to leave the senate.

“He is fully aware of the constitutional implication of his decision to defect to another party; which is that he cannot continue to occupy the seat of the PDP in the Senate.

“The place of any Senator who changed parties except on the grounds provided by the Constitution is very clear and the PDP will not allow Senator Abbo to run away with our mandate. It is impossible”, the national public secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan said.

Going further to declare that the PDP had begun operations to replace Abbo, Ologbondiyan said, “our party has already commenced the process for his replacement with a credible, stable and acceptable person, to take over his seat in the Senate”.

Silent majority in the North wants Nigeria restructured, says El-Rufai

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The Governor of Kaduna state, Malam Nasiru El-Rufai, has said that Northerners kicking against calls for the restructuring of Nigeria are not speaking for the North, insisting that those in the North who want the country to be restructured are the silent majority. 

He said the committee that produced the draft bill on restructuring had to step it down to prevent the bill from being politicised.

The draft bill was submitted to the Federal Government in January 2018 by the El -Rufai - led committee.

Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday during a session at the 26th National Economic Summit, the governor stated that efforts were being made to transmit the draft bill to the National Assembly for consideration.

Despite opposition by some persons against the move to restructure Nigeria, El - Rufai insisted that the position of most members of the ruling All Progressives Congress was that the bill be passed into law based on its diverse benefits to the country.

He regretted that some northerners were opposed to restructuring, stressing that they were being selfish in their dispositions.

According to the governor, Nigerians should understand the difference between the position of some northerners and the North as a region.

He said, “We have the highest number of out - of - school children. We have the highest poverty rate. We have the lowest JAMB cut- off rate. So, what are the advantages in the North in the current situation?

“As the Governor of Kaduna State, I have had to look at these issues and try to see how I can get the people of my state up on the ladder. I think you need to differentiate the knowledge from a few and the voice of the silent majority.”

He added, “If there are northern leaders today, by virtue of the fact that I am a governor, I must be there. So, who are these northerners against restructuring? Who are they? Who are they speaking for?

“Let us have a very honest, unemotional conversation without looking down on people or insulting them or framing them.”

EndSARS protesters aimed at removing Buhari from power, says IG Mohammed

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The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has alleged that the recent #EndSARS protest in Nigeria was aimed at removing President Muhammadu Buhari from power.

Mr Adamu made the claim on Tuesday in Port Harcourt, during a meeting between the leaders of the South-south region and a delegation from Nigeria’s presidency, according to a press statement from the Rivers State Government House.

“Adamu alleged that intelligence has confirmed that the EndSARS protest was funded from within and outside the country,” said the statement issued by Governor Nyesom Wike’s media aide, Kelvin Ebiri.

“He further added that one of the primary objectives of the protest was to effect a regime change,” the statement said.

The police chief said fake news gave “impetus” to the protests which lasted for days.

You were elected to be the solution, but you became a big part of the problem — Northern groups lament over Buhari's failed promises

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The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), has said President Muhammadu Buhari is now a big part of the Northern problems instead of the solutions he was elected to become. 

The group through its spokesman Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, on Tuesday, said communities in northern Nigeria are now left to protect themselves after years of waiting for Buhari administration to keep its promise to end insecurity in the region if elected. 

“Northern communities are under the threats of bandits and kidnappers, our highways are no longer safe, villagers are fleeing their communities and our conclusion is that the president has failed and he is deliberately not agreeing to the advice of majority of Nigerians that he should at least sack the service chiefs,” he said.

“All we hear now from our people in the rural areas is disappointment and in some cases regret. People do not even look at the potentials of farming now because the villages and farmlands have been vacated.

“It has become necessary now for all communities to mobilise and protect themselves because the bandits have chased people out of their homes and even places like Ahmadu Bello University in the heart of Zaria and Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic are not safe and this is coming at a time that students will likely be returning to school. What this means is that parents should not hastily send their children to school, they must be certain that their lives are secured,” he said.

A similar statement was made by Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), saying the North did not vote for president Muhammadu Buhari to worsen their condition by failing to address the growing insecurity in the region. 

The group said despite its call for President Muhammadu Buhari to give attention to the growing insecurity in the region, following its meeting in October, the security situation has now worsened.

The ACF said it was worried that there have been serial kiIIings of more people in the north by bandits whom the Minister of Police “claimed falsely have been defeated.”

A statement issued by the Forum National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe stated that: “Even as the Minister was claiming falsely, whether in ignorance or deliberate, victory over bandits, 12 Police Superintendents on official duty from Zamfara to Kano were overpowered by superior tactics and force while driving in a convoy and abducted with a heavy ransom demand on each policeman’s family.

“Apart from that, the bandits mounted four road blocks on Kaduna- Abuja road whom the police have claimed severally that they have liberated from bandits.”

While condemning the several attacks on Kaduna-Abuja Highway including the abduction of nine ABU students, the ACF said many of the security breaches have become a source of worry to northerners who voted for the present government that they thought will secure their lives and property as spelt out in the country’s constitution.

“We feel there is no need to call on President Buhari to live up to his oath of office. He knows more than anybody else the implications of swearing on the Quran and refusing to honour your oath to the Almighty.

“We are only for the umpteenth time conveying the anger and frustrations of many Northerners to him so that he will do the needful and speedily too. It is getting too late.” 

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