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2019: Uncertainty over Buhari’s second term

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North shops for replacement

Pressure on president to re-contest

Shettima, Tambuwal, Atiku, Kwankwaso on the cards

 

There are indications that President Muhammadu Buhari has foreclosed a second term bid despite pressure on him to contest the 2019 presidential election.

Buhari, according to a highly placed source in the presidency, took the decision on health and age grounds. The source told New Telegraph that the President’s disposition on recontesting in 2019 has thrown the doors open for those who have been angling to succeed him within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

“I can tell you authoritatively that President Buhari will not contest the 2019 election despite the pressure on him to run for a second term because of health and age factors. This is responsible for the rev in political activities in the APC, especially by those who want to take over from the President after his first term,” the source said.

The President recently returned from a medical vacation in the United Kingdom, where he had blood transfusion for an undisclosed ailment. He is 74 years and would be 76 by May 2019, when his first tenure elapses.

A second term would see him leaving office in 2023 at the age of 80.

A political associate of the President said that Buhari is not interested in playing politics with who succeeds him, which explains the scheming among several APC chieftains, particularly those from the North.

He listed those in the succession race to include former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; former Kano State governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso; Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima and his Sokoto State counterpart, Aminu Tambuwal.

“If you know Mr. President very well, you will not dispute the fact that he is frank to a fault. He is not just bothered about a second term, but is not giving anyone his word of support. He will only throw his weight to whoever wins the party’s presidential primaries,” the source said.

Asked what happens to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo should Buhari stick with his decision not to contest again, the source said the slot will still remain in the South-West, but noted that he was not in a position to confirm whether Osinbajo would be considered for a second term.

Speaking to a cross section of northern elite and power brokers at the weekend, New Telegraph learnt that some northern politicians are already shopping for Buhari’s replacement in 2019. But a ranking member of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), who doesn’t want to be named, vowed that Buhari would re-contest in 2019, “in spite of everything.” The ACF stalwart told New Telegraph that “no one symbolizes the North’s political aspirations like Buhari.”

“In any case, forces that are beyond Buhari will force him to run again even if he doesn’t want to. Most people who became governors, ministers, senators and legislators at both state and federal levels in the North, were voted because of Buhari. The so-called cabal is nothing without Buhari.

They will make sure that he contests again in order to remain relevant,” he argued. Another northern elite who spoke to one of our correspondents yesterday, reasoned that it will not be  a bad idea for the North to have a Plan B. “If this game plan sails, the North may have a combined 12-year term, if Buhari’s successor plays his card well.

That means four years of Buhari and eight years of post-Buhari,” he said. New Telegraph found out that the North’s Plan (A or B) is to choose a consensus candidate amongst Tambawal, Shettima and Malam Nasir el-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State. However, another source said that el-Rufai may not be a good candidate of the North because “he may not serve northern interests.”

The source didn’t list what these interests are. According to the source, the Northern leaders are rooting for Shettima, who would be serving out his second term as governor in 2019, or Tambuwal, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Their argument, the source said, is that Buhari has already engraved his name in the sands of Nigerian history as one nationalist, who ensured that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was pushed out of power and, therefore, should support a younger person, who will continue from where he would stop in 2019.

The source equally informed New Telegraph that Tambuwal, who is on his first term as governor, is being considered because of the belief that his candidacy will not only enjoy the support of the North, but other sections of the country.

“The Sokoto State governor was able to build po litical bridges between the North and other parts of the country while he was Speaker of the House of Representatives. He is also in the good books of most powerful Northern emirs,” the source said.

For Atiku, it was learnt that Buhari’s body language on 2019, explains why the former vice president has stepped up consultation with major stakeholders across the country before he officially declares his ambition. Kwankwaso is also said to be reaching out. The former governor, who presently represents Kano Central Senatorial District, contested the APC presidential primaries in 2014 alongside Buhari, Atiku and others.

He came a shocking second with 974 votes ahead of the former vice president, who had 954 votes, while Buhari won the poll with 4,430 votes. An aide to el-Rufai confided in our correspondent that his principal is only interested in seeing President Buhari succeed and deliver dividends of democracy to the people of Kaduna State who have given him a four-year mandate.

“El-Rufai has said it several times that the president should re-contest in 2019. So, I don’t know where people got this rumour (his interest in 2019 presidency) from,” he stated. Atiku is going solo in his quest to become president in 2019.

Already, the Turakin Adamawa is going round the country and promising both the South- West and South-East the Vice Presidency.

“Turaki is all over the place and making all sorts of promises. He has been telling anyone that cares to listen in the south that he has the blessing of the northern political establishment,” the highly placed source added.

Speaking to New Telegraph on Tambuwal’s interest in the 2019 Presidency, the governor’s media aide, Malam Imam Imam, only said that “we have been hearing the speculation.”

He, however, said that he “won’t give a formal response to it because that will amount to giving credence to a rumour.”

On the other hand, Governor Shettima gave a detailed denial to the speculation, in response to New Telegraph’s enquiry by electronic mail.

According to him, “I am  not aware of any such discussions, but what I know is that there is a sitting President Buhari that is very popular and is doing very well, particularly for those of us in North-East through his gallant victory over the Boko Haram and through his fiscal discipline that has enabled Nigeria to survive the economic recession caused by drop in the global price of oil and gross mismanagement of the nation’s resources.

“President Buhari returned in sound health and has been efficiently carrying out the demands of office since he returned.

And, like I have said in one interview published by a newspaper in April 2016, only a mad man blindly aspires to be Nigeria’s President if history is anything to go by.

“From 1979 to date, nobody on his own aspired for Nigeria’s Presidency and achieved it. Nigeria is a very complex nation that no one gets its Presidency by scheming or even by open aspiration. If we look at our political history from 1979 to date, the records are there.

“Those with ambition lost. President Shagari had no ambition, but was invited to contest in 1979 and won the elections; President Olusegun Obasanjo had no ambition in 1999, he was even in detention, but he was invited to contest without aspiration and won the 1999 election; President Umaru Yar’Adua had no ambition before he was invited to contest and won 2007 elections; President Goodluck Jonathan, who eventually succeeded Yar’Adua, was also invited to become Vice President without aspiration.

“When we look at President Buhari, despite his electrifying popularity across the country, he didn’t win the Presidency in his 2003, 2007 and 2011 aspirations until in 2015 when he was invited to contest the elections.

This is the complexity of Nigeria’s politics and any person with the slightest wisdom must learn from history and face his business of the day,” Shettima argued.

Speaking on the issue, former Second Republic member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, told New Telegraph that it is too early for politicking.

The Russian-trained Medical Doctor, however, said that the “cabal in the villa and the sheer incompetence and economic illiteracy of the Buhari administration have made people so desperate to see their exit.”

Junaid stated that although he has nothing against shopping for Buhari’s replacement, the “situation should not be regarded as a done deal because the APC is in disarray.”

National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie- Oyegun, had told New Telegraph that he would do everything possible, including “fasting and prayer”, to ensure that Buhari re-contests in 2019.

He said: “I will pray, fast to God that Buhari agrees to contest in 2019.

If he contests, Nigeria will be better for it. My prayer is that we can get Buhari to re-contest in 2019.

We don’t know his mind yet, but I will do anything in my power to ensure that he re-contests in 2019.

Why? “There is no other Buhari in this country. Buhari is the only man who can command 12 million votes even without any major campaign.”

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Prince Kazeem Eletu washes hands off crimes as he launches foundation on 40th birthday 

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Kazeem-Eletu-Odibo

Lagos socialite and philanthropist, Ambassador (Dr) Prince Kazeem Eletu Odibo has washed his hands off the travails of the notorious serial killer, Adeola Williams famously known as Ade Lawyer, who was recently paraded in Lagos by the Nigerian Police for alleged murder.

Ade Lawyer was apprehended alongside former National Union Road of Transport Workers (NURTW) Chairman, Lagos State chapter, Alhaji Rafiu Akanni Olohunwa in connection with the murder of Ganiyu Ayinla, popularly known as Pinero, the Personal Assistant to the NURTW Chairman in Idumota, Azeez Lawal, known also as“Kunle Poly”.

Late Lawal was killed on January 23 during an attack on Kunle Poly in the Idumota area of Lagos Island.

Ade Lawyer, however, confessed during interrogation that he was contracted by Olohunwa to assassinate Kunle Poly.

He also alleged in a video that has gone viral on social media that he had worked for many influential Nigerians, including Prince Kazeem, the youngest son of late popular traditional Lagos Chief, Gbadamosi Bamidele Eletu Odibo.

In a swift reaction, Prince Kazeem, in an Instagram video said; “Nothing can shake me”, after giving some street urchins, popularly known as area boys money, while one of his friends remarked that;“When you give people money like you just did, tomorrow they would lie that they know you”.

Prince Kazeem, who recently celebrated his 40th birthday and launched a foundation, washed his hands off the allegations, stressing that the suspect has never worked for him.

However, in a press release which he personally signed and made available to the media, Prince Kazeem disclosed that he saw him once, when he came alongside some area boys during a dispute over a land boundary.

He said: “It wasn’t even a physical fight. Nobody exchanged blows at all. It was just a verbal disagreement with the man who also claimed the (disputed) land belongs to his family.

“We were surrounded by area boys, some of whom always hail me anytime they came across me and as a kind gesture, I do give them money. So, this bearer (Ade Lawyer) was among them. He came with one NURTW official that day. While the argument was ongoing, the Police from the Ilasan Station at Lekki/Ajah came and invited us to their station.

“That was the first and the last time I met this fellow (Ade Lawyer)”, Prince Kazeem noted.

As for the land dispute, Prince Kazeem said: “We were transferred to Area J Command and both sides were asked to bring relevant documents which we did. At the end, the Area Commander instructed both parties to maintain peace and return to the status quo based on the Supreme Court judgment in favour of our family as the rightful owner of the land.”

Meanwhile, Prince Kazeem, who was recently awarded an honorary Doctorate and United Nations Ambassadorial award in Washington DC, USA on November 18, 2017, said despite the distractions from Ade Lawyer’s claim, he would continue to serve humanity through his newly unveiled NGO.

Last Saturday, February 17, 2018, Ambassador Kazeem staged a colourful 2-in-1 40th birthday and launching of his Foundation at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Speaking at the event attended by politicos, eminent monarchs, envoys, career diplomats, academics and celebrities, the Founder and Chairman, Kazeem Royal Properties Limited thanked God for the Ruby Jubilee, adding that the berth of the foundation has come to alleviate poverty and improve the social and economic conditions of the disadvantaged in our society.

No fewer than 40 traders and artisans, including fashion designers, hair dressers and carpenters benefitted from the Prince Kazeem Eletu-Odibo Foundation empowerment distribution during his 40th birthday celebration.

Prince Kazeem called on other non-profit and charitable organizations to partner with him to ensure that the underserved communities in Nigeria are reached with humanitarian assistance.

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Corruption: TI Report Has Vindicated PDP

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the latest report by Transparency International (TI) showing that corruption has worsened under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has vindicated its stand that the current APC-led government is inherently and overtly corrupt.

The party said, by this new TI report, the African Union (AU) must have now realized its error in naming President Buhari as the African Union (AU) anti-corruption champion and should immediately withdraw the conferment.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement on Thursday, said the TI report has exposed the fact that those parading daily as champions of anti-corruption are rather superintending over the worst kind of official sleaze and hypocrisy in the history of our nation.

The party said the APC administration has been deceiving Nigerians with a ‘holier than thou posturing’ and painting others black when it is swimming in forms of corruption that is eminently festered by official concealment by the Presidency.

When the PDP first alerted that the APC and its incompetent Federal Government were swimming in an ocean of concealed corruption, many did not know to what extent.

It is shocking that under our ‘saints’, Nigeria has moved significantly from the 136th it ranked in 2016 to 146th in 2017, with President Buhari presiding on our nation.

This is a government that has been providing cover for its corrupt officials while operating heavily on propaganda, persecution  of opposition members with fabricated charges and toiling to sway the people with false performance indices.

This is a government that offered protection to former APC governors who were accused of stealing money meant for the development of their states to fund the 2015 APC presidential campaign, and even rewarded them with ministerial appointments.

We challenge the APC and the Presidency to speak out on this TI report. What have they to say when the world is now aware that they are complicit in humongous sleazes including the leaked official memo showing underhand oil contracts to the tune of N9 trillion ($25billion dollars) at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources which are under purview of President Buhari as Petroleum minister?

What has the APC government to say when the world is aware that it is complicit in shady oil subsidy deals amounting to trillions of naira by its cabal who has also been fingered to be behind the illegal lifting and diversion of crude worth N1.1 trillion to service APC interests?

The world is now aware of the diversion of billion of naira meant for fight against  insurgency and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) by the presidency cabal; the concealment of theft, by the cabal, of billion of naira at the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) among other heavy sleazes around the presidency.

As we speak, the APC administration has increased taxes, levies and tariffs without a transparent remitting regime while funds said to have been recovered in the anti-graft war have not been adequately accounted for.

Instead, the government has been peddling false figures and bogus claims to hoodwink Nigerians while its cabal continues to fritter away funds meant for the good of the people.

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Benue killings: Soldiers providing cover for armed Fulani herdsmen – Tiv leaders 

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Leaders of the Tiv nation has expressed displeasure over the operation of the Ayem A Kpatuma, a military exercise code-named “Cat Race” launched in the state by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to restore peace in Benue State communities following attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen.

The leaders accused the army of allegedly providing cover for armed Fulani herdsmen to take over the land naturally given to them by God.

President of the Mzough U Tiv (MUT), Chief Edward Ujege in a statement released to the media, expressed reservations over the emerging trends of the military operation which he said has made the people be apprehensive about the real mission of troops deployed to the state.

But the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 707 Special Forces Brigade, Major Olabisi Olalekan Ayeni, in a swift reaction, countered the position of the Tiv leaders saying “Operation Ayem A Kpatuma is not in support of any group”.

Chief Ujege disclosed that since the flag off of the exercise, the military has been circulating pamphlets through its Department of Civil-Military Affairs, Army Headquarters which “confirmed that the military had come to provide cover for armed Fulani herdsmen to take over the land of the people.

The translation on the pamphlets, Chief Ujege emphasized, portrayed a purported dialogue between the Fulani herdsmen and Benue farmers on their alleged resolution to shift grounds one both farming and cattle grazing activities in the state.

Part of the translation of the pamphlets reads:

Tiv farmer: I’m your brother and a farmer; my farm produce is just as important as your cattle.

Fulani herder: I will no longer destroy your farm produce and longer kill your people. You are my brother, we should live in peace.

Tiv farmer: I too will no longer rustle or kill your cattle. You are my brother, let us live in peace.

The MUT President said it was clear from the flyer that the military has acknowledged that the Fulani herdsmen are responsible for the large-scale massacre and massive destruction in of farm crops in the state, and regretted that instead of addressing issues of justice, reparation and compensation, the federal government is compelling people of the state to accommodate the perpetrators of the heinous atrocities.

“Moreover, there is no reference to the Open Grazing Prohibition and Establishment of Ranches Law 2017, which addresses the fundamental issues of making both the farmers and the herders coexist in peace. The military is not only silent on the law but has encouraged open grazing with all its concomitant consequences. This silence on the law points to the fact that they are not in its support and are not ready to ensure its enforcement”.

But the Army spokesman, Major Ayeni said the role of the army in the crisis is to ensure the return of enduring peace in sacked communities and safe return of the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.

“All that the army needs to do here is to ensure that no Benue resident is killed or displaced from their homes, that is all we are doing. We want to ensure peaceful coexistence among the herders and farmers. We are not saying the Fulani herdsmen should not obey the anti-open grazing law enacted by the Benue State government”.

“Let me inform you that we had arrested a Fulani herdsman yesterday and two others that wanted to attack Governor Ortom’s farm in Guma and with all these successes you should know that Operation Ayem A Kpatuma is not in support of any group and is not in the pursuit or criticising any group”.

“Our role is to make sure that Benue State is peaceful and one of the ways we are going about it is for the herders to know that either a Tiv man or an Idoma man or Igede man is a Nigerian like him and a herder who is not violent now is their brother”.

“However in the course of the military exercise if we find a violent herdsman that want to kill or displace any person in Benue State, we get him arrested and that is why we arrested two people two weeks ago, and arrested another one for preventing the Tiv people from been peaceful in their own environment”.

“So the way and manner we go in achieving a peaceful environment in Benue State especially in Guma and Logo local government areas of the state and Katsina-Ala local government is by using this psychological method to test these people that we are friends, don’t fight or pursue the other because we are one family. But however, if you saw anyone who want to kill you, report and we will get that person arrested and deal with him according to the law”, said Major Ayeni.

 

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