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Ending farmers, herdsmen’s clashes: Umahi’s example

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With the worrisome dimension crime and unrest are taking in almost all the geo political zones of the country, it became not just imperative but unavoidably important to bring about certain security policies and programmes that would proffer solution to these insipient and divisive tendencies that tend to divide the nation along political, ethnic and religious lines.

At the borderline of these challenges were the dangerous persistent bloody clashes between farmers and herdsmen in almost all the major states in the northern part of Nigeria and in most states in the South. It was a moment Nigeria’s unity was threatened beyond measures and its foundation shaken that it required urgent security attention to return the country to one indivisible entity.

With these crises assuming alarming proportion in various states like Benue, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Taraba, Adamawa and Plateau states to mention but a few, all eyes were focused on the Federal Government to bring about workable policy and programme that will not only end the carnages arising from the unfortunate crisis involving farmers and herdsmen in these affected areas, but also plans to assuage the people whose loved ones were killed in the melee and also those whose only source of livelihood were lost in the crisis.

Fortunately, the Federal Government through the National Economic Council (NEC) inaugurated a special committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Chairman of NEC to look into these residual issues that have been precipitating and perpetuating the crisis in the affected states.

One of the first steps taken by the committee was raising a technical sub-committee with the governor of Ebonyi State and chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, Chief David Umahi as chairman with governors of Adamawa and Plateau states, Bindo Jibrila and Simon Lalong as members with Dr. Andrew Kwashali as Secretary.

The committee was charged to go round the affected states with a view to ascertaining the cause of the crisis and offer solution to curbing the crisis. With Governor Umahi as an international acclaimed peace builder as demonstrated in the final and amicable resolution of the Ezza and Ezillo communal war which started on June 8, 2008 in which many lives had been lost, the assignment hung on his shoulders was not too difficult for him.

Back home in Ebonyi State, Governor Umahi is not losing sleep over the possible clash between farmers and herdsmen in the state because he had earlier set up machinery in motion to take a very long measure in ensuring that such ugly trend does not surface. With the crisis seemingly defying every quick measure adopted to end it by government both at the federal and state levels, Governor Umahi was not oblivious of the enormity of the task entrusted on his bold shoulders not just to proffer a workable solution to ending the crisis, but also to protecting his own state, Ebonyi from either infiltration of the killer herdsmen or aggression from the al-ready tensed and angry farmers in his state. One of the first steps taken by the governor was the prompt setting up of a special committee on herdsmen and farmers in the state to oversight the activities of the herdsmen and their relationship with the farmers and the host communities.

While Governor Umahi was still away on a national assignment, the same problem which he was called up to assist the Federal Government resolve surfaced in his own state. It emanated from Akaeze axis in Ivo council of the state following a clash between farmers and herders, which left a farmer with severe cutlass injuries. A herdsman was also reported injured slightly in the clash.

The governor on return to the state quickly swung into action, by convening an enlarged emergency security meeting involving all security chiefs, leaders of the herdsmen and stakeholders of Akaeze community. The Fulani community was led by the Coordinator of Northern communities in the South-East, Abubakar Yusuf Sambo. At the meeting, Umahi gave everyone opportunity to explain what they knew about the clash.

One of the Ardos who spoke informed the governor that from their findings; herdsmen who migrated from Enugu State to Akaeze community were the perpetrators of the dastardly act. He said the migrants were the ones that allowed their cattle to destroy crops, which led to the clash and not the herders originally settling in Akaeze community.

The governor, after hearing from all parties, set up a 10-man committee to investigate the clash. Acting on the revelation of the Ardo, the governor also banned herdsmen’s cattle from coming into Ebonyi State from other states by foot. Some weeks later, another disturbing story filtered into the space that there was another clash involving farmers and herdsmen in Enyanwuigwe village in Igbeagu community of Izzi council area of the state. Acting on the said information, Governor Umahi immediately directed security agencies in the state to swing into action to ascertain the cause of the new crisis and report back to him.

While the report of the security chiefs led by the Commissioner of Police in state, Mr. Titus Lamorde, was being awaited, the news became clearer that it was not farmers and herdsmen clash that led to the death of three Enyanwuigwe community of Igbeagu in Izzi local government area of the state, rather, it was a case of a Fulani herdsman indulging in consumption of hard substance suspected to be hard drugs.

Not satisfied with the report of the cause of the killing in the community by a Fulani herdsman, who went berserk, killing three Igbeagu natives and one Fulani man, Governor Umahi convened an enlarged emergency security council meeting, with security chiefs, national leadership of Meyeti Allah led by Alhaji Bello Bodejo and stakeholders of the affected community were all in attendance. As usual, it was the herdsmen that first struck. A visibly angry Governor Umahi noted that the unprovoked killings must stop as he cannot withstand the sight of killings of Ebonyians under whatever guise.

He, however, warned that the incessant killings by herdsmen needed to be properly handled and addressed so as not to spark off war. He ordered herdsmen around the trouble community to leave temporarily until he was able to calm down the embittered villagers to avoid reprisal attacks. “The life of every Ebonyian is very dear to me.

This is a national problem; we don’t want our people to be continuously killed. We must use wisdom to handle this problem. It is very easy to say, I want all the herdsmen to leave Ebonyi but there are lots of implications,” he said. In the face of this challenge, governor Umahi has also adopted several approaches that seem to be bringing an end to these clashes. The state government has banned movement of cattle in the night.

The government noted that it has alerted security agents of such movements and urged the people of the state to take note of the ban and report any further movements of cattle at nights to the security agents. Part of the magical moves the governor made that has brought peace to the state between farmers and herdsmen was extension of free education to both farmers and herdsmen in the state from primary to secondary levels with a view to ensuring that both children of the farmers and that of the herdsmen have equal access to education. This move was highly applauded by the leadership of Miyetti Allah, which promised to take the message of the governor to other states as panacea to sustaining and enduring peace.

Umahi has equally directed traditional rulers in the state to register herdsmen within their communities with a view to knowing them more as well as hold regular meetings to resolve their differences. He also banned herdsmen from entering Ebonyi state without following due process. However, the most recent of Umahi’s efforts to ending farmers and herdsmen clashes in the state was the setting up of a committee comprising representatives of herdsmen, farmers, security agencies and the state government. The committee is mandated to check clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the state with a view to finding permanent solution to the menace.

In all these approaches so far adopted by governor Umahi’s administration, some unique strategies that have played immeasurable roles in the success of each of them are involvement of farmers, herdsmen and their leaders in every stage of their formulation. Constant engagement of the herders, farmers and their leaders in dialogue as well as meeting with them from time to time to agree on certain policies before implementation. And the appointment of some Fulani herdsmen into government as Technical Assistants (TAs) on herdsmen and farmers relations by Governor Umahi as another antidote to the farmers and herdsmen clashes in the state.

The committee, which is headed by the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr Cletus Ofoke, with the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Internal Security, Dr. Kenneth Ugbala as secretary also has security chiefs, members and leadership of Miyeti Allah, traditional rulers and farmers as members.

It was a solemn moment for both farmers and herdsmen and even security agencies to know that Nigerians must realize that the conflict between herdsmen and famers will never stop as far as cattle are allowed to move into Nigeria from ECOWAS countries with herdsmen unchecked. This was the first thing governor Umahi did in Ebonyi State by restraining the movement of cows from one place to the other in the name of grazing as well as banning grazing in the night.

Umahi is not oblivious of the fact Ebonyi State population is on the increase, whereas land is on the decrease due to climate change effect and given the fact that the state has a very limited landmass which has been taken by over 70 per cent of solid minerals, leaving an infinitesimal 30 per cent for agriculture, which is the mainstay of the state, it will be suicidal for the state government to fold its hands and allow the only source of her citizens’ survival destroyed by herdsmen.

 

 

•Uzor is the Chief Press Secretary to Governor David Umahi

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Bode George to Oyinlola: You couldn’t have been governor without me 

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Former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, has warned a former governor of Osun State, Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola, to desist from casting aspersions on him over comments he made about former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s newly formed Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM).
Reacting to Oyinlola’s statement that he should go and beg Obasanjo, the PDP chieftain said he bears no grudge against the former president.
George had in an interview over the weekend dismissed Obasanjo’s CNM movement ahead of the 2019 elections.
While stating that Oyinlola should have acted like a true born when he was sent a message to vilify him, George noted in a statement personally signed by him on Sunday that he was the one that introduced Oyinlola to Obasanjo.
The statement reads: “I read today the untidy, uncharitable and irritable vituperations of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola against my good self. I was rather astonished at the level of uninformed , reckless, misleading verbiage against me.
“Prince Oyinlola was very junior to me in the military. I am very senior to him in age. It was my humble self and the late Chief S.M. Afolabi who introduced him to our former President and my Egbon Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
It was through me and the grace of God Almighty that he was elected Governor of Osun State.”
George noted further that: “Oyinlola should not dabble into issues he does not know anything about at all. I have served several Generals with hundred percent loyalty. I have no grudge against our former President. I have a lot of respect for him. I greet him wherever we meet with deep respect and reverence as a well born Yoruba man.
“Oyinlola, please don’t start to open any can of worms that you do not know where it will widen and spill over. When one is sent a slave’s errand, you should behave like a true, well born,” the Atona Odua of Yorubaland said.

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Lai’s looters’ list is a comic relief -Orbih

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Chief Dan Osi Orbih is the Edo State chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In this interview CAJETAN MMUTA he speaks on some of the knotty issues on the gazing bill in the state, 2019 elections, the looters list and many more

 

What is the situation now with the bill sent by your party to the House of Assembly seeking the ban on open grazing in Edo State?

The situation is that Governor Godwin Obaseki has been playing politics with a very serious issue concerning the lives of innocent citizens of our state. Today, we are disturbed and challenged by the rising incident of herdsmen unwarranted attack on our people. We proposed a bill to the State House of Assembly to actually address this very serious problem. Having realised that the government was unconcerned about this ugly development they now instructed their members in the House who are in the majority not to treat the bill. The same government now rose to say that it is going to ban night grazing and we came out again to tell them that ban on night grazing cannot address the issue holistically. In Edo State, we educate the governor who maybe, is a stranger that cows don’t graze at night in the state, the people who are being attacked by herdsmen don’t go to their farms at night, but are attacked during the day. So banning grazing at night was not a solution to the problem.

 

The governor in a statement said they have started addressing the problem. To some extent, I am beginning to feel that the governor has suddenly realised that not taking steps to address this problem was not in the best interest of the state, but he is now in a situation where if he decides to take the step which we advised him to take people will say it is PDP that asked them do it.

 

If he decides not do it our people will continue to suffer. So it is based on this I want to call on him to play the role of a statesman and put aside the party that proposes the bill and put the interest of the state first in addressing the problem.

 

Just last week, he came with a policy that they are going to ban grazing both day and night in Odiguetue and Odighi communities and its environ. Why not go the whole hug? It will appear that it is PDP that is dictating policies of this government and that is why you are seeing the selective ban for 90 days.

 

I don’t think the partial embrace of our position is the way to go. What we proposed is an all-encompassing solution that will protect the interest of herdsmen and farmers. What about communities like Lampese, Ekperi, Agenebode and Ugboha where farmers are afraid to go to their farms and that will lead to famine in the state? I think he should put aside his ego problem and partisan politics. I think the right thing is for him to invite us to educate him on our position and that will put to rest the entire problem. Look at the unfortunate killing of Pastor Eromosele.

 

 

I expect the family of the late pastor to take legal action against the state government. It is not enough for Obaseki to pride himself as the chief security officer when he is not providing security for the people of the state. It is not enough for Obaseki to be collecting N400m security vote monthly, the money that should have been deployed to security agents to help in providing security in the state. People don’t feel safe in Edo State anymore.

 

 

2019 is around the corner and the All Progressives Congress (APC) is trying to consolidate in Edo Central where the PDP is strong. How do you react to this?

 

The APC has the right to say whatever it wants to say but we know the reality on ground. Today, I can frankly state that APC situation in Edo Central is worse than it was in the last election. Edo Central is one senatorial district it has denied everything politically. Look at all the appointments in the state. Edo is made up of three senatorial districts and each senatorial district has been well represented by previous administrations but today under Obaseki for reasons best known to him and Oshiomhole his political godfather determine and dictate what is done under his administration. For reasons best known to Obaseki, the position of the speaker was taken away and given to Edo North, Edo North that had a governor for eight years and now has the deputy governor. Is that what will make them consolidate their dream support in Edo central? That is one district they should not expect any support from the next election. It is very unfair to Edo Central people. It is an insult for the APC to even consider coming there to ask for votes.

 

 

Is your party going to give automatic tickets to your members at the state and national assemblies?

 

We have a party constitution, we have guidelines of party primaries, and anybody applying for any positions must subject himself to the party’s guidelines. That is not to say that where the people are very happy with their representatives based on their achievements, they cannot decide to return such person, I don’t see anything wrong with that. As a party chairman, date will be announced nationwide for party primaries to nominate candidates. For us, we will abide by the guidelines and wait for the approved date and forms for intending contenders will be made available. But till the close of nomination it will be difficult to say who will get what.

 

 

Don’t you think the release of looters list by the APC, will affect the chances of PDP in the 2019 general elections?

 

I see the release of looters list as announced by Lai Mohammed as one of those occasional moments when the man will go into a period of delusion just like he exhibited when he went to London and wore suit on top of agbada. He comes up with something comic. Let us face facts, we have all seen what is happening in Nigeria; all those who are members of PDP accused of corruption and looting, the moment they join APC they are now regarded as saints. I think it is hypocrisy of the highest order and it shows clearly that these people don’t have regard for the rule of law. One is not too surprised that the APC today is a party that came into power without preparing itself for governance. Little wonder that President Muhammadu Buhari came to power and it took him more than six months to name cabinet. The other day, elections were held in France and within 48 hours the President was able to assemble a cabinet and sworn into do the job. What we have seen in Nigeria is a party that was not prepared to govern and in the process was unable to proffer solution to the problem we are having today. Each time they are confronted with non-performance they blamed it on perceived looters and PDP. But you all know that it is not correct. Even the man who is shouting on top of the roof calling on Buhari to be ruthless, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, we said that Buhari should start with Oshiomhiole and he should be number on the list. Here was a governor who came with nothing and left with so much, we have vouchers that show clearly how money left the treasury. Petitions were written against him and nobody has called them to come and substantiate their allegations. Today, he is the man shouting that Goodluck Jonathan should have been in jail. Are you telling me that in drawing the entire looters list you don’t have any APC members who have looted? APC should find other reasons of telling Nigerians why they have failed.

 

 

Don’t you think that the PDP’s apology to Nigerians was a confirmation of its failure?

 

Fortunately, I was present at the event where that apology was purported to have been made. I want to state boldly that APC is taking what was said at an event they were not present out of context. Prince Uche Secondus, our National Chairman came out to say looking back memory lane some mistakes were made which is natural. If all was perfect then we will not be where we are now and the man said mistakes were made and apologized to party leaders to put the past behind and work for a brighter future. The apology was that we made mistakes that brought a government that is grossly incompetent. What is wrong with that? A situation where one pound now exchanges for N500; where $1 now exchanges for N350, at a seminar, PDP challenged them to name one project initiated and completed by the APC and till this moment they are yet to respond to the challenge.

 

 

Don’t you think Obaseki deserves some commendation especially his efforts to develop the state in the area of job creating and investment?

 

The present Obaseki’s government is the worst we have seen in this state. He has done nothing and he will do nothing. Few hours ago, I commended him for coming out with a statement that it is the primary responsibility of a state government to secure the lives and property of the citizen. Unfortunately, he has failed in that responsibility to protect lives and property. Every day, people are killed; he has failed in providing logistics for the security agencies in the state to up their security arrangements. Is that not commendation? When he came about banning night grazing what came to my mind was that the governor spends more time outside the state. He has travelled far more times than Oshiomhole did.

 

 

But saying Obaseki has done nothing maybe an unfair assessment or comment; some may argue that you are playing politics?

 

In every government there are praise singers. There are those who feel that the only way to have food on their table is to sing praises of Obaseki, so that they can get patronage, it is expected. Have you driven on the streets when it rains? Obaseki was the chief economic adviser to Oshiomhole who took N30bn to check erosion problem in Benin City. As we speak, the problem still persists. Can you name one single project started and completed by Obaseki? What we are seeing is patching of selected existing roads and that will never make us to credit him. He prides himself with ‘wake and see’. Have you seen anything?

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Young turks eyeing Buhari’s seat

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As the 2019 elections draw near, the move for generational power shift from older politicians to younger ones has continued to gain traction. Such agitation has been buoyed by the election last year of Emmanuel Macron (39) as President of France and also the emergence of Justin Trudean (46) in 2015 as Canada’s Prime Minister.

Most importantly is that provisions of the 1999 Constitution are being amended to reduce the age limit for specific political offices. One of such is the passage of the “Not-Too-Young-To-Run bill” also known as the Reduction of Age for Election bill, by the National Assembly, and consequent transmission of same to the president for his assent.

 

It allows the age qualification for the offices of the president and governor to be reduced from 40 to 35, and for Senate, House of Representatives and State Houses of Assembly seats to be reduced from 30 to 25 years.

 

Over 100 youths aspiring for various political offices in the 2019 elections had converged on Kaduna last week to brainstorm on how to bring the youths into Nigerian politics. They just concluded a four-day training workshop organised by Youngsters Foundation, with support from the FORD Foundation, West Africa.

 

Consequently, several individuals have shown interest in the Presidency and other top government offices.

Sen. Baba-Ahmed, 48

 

Pro-Chancellor of Baze University, Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed (48) has indicated his intention to run for the presidency in 2019. Baba-Ahmed, who holds two Masters Dergrees and PhD, had earlier served as elected member of the House of Representatives, and was later elected senator of the upper legislative chamber.

 

Baba-Ahmed, who is seeking the highest office on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also established his own university with two other companies employing over 600 people from every state of Nigeria.

 

An on-line platform, abusidiqu, said: “Sen Datti Baba-Ahmed has built a solid reputation in credibility known to fearlessly speak against corruption, misgovernance, and societal problems. His unquestionable credentials are only matched by his firm commitment and proven ability to deliver on promises.”

 

He is said to epitomise modesty and “believes presidency is a transformative engine to promote good and suppress evil for the enonomic prosperity, social security, and political stability of Nigeria as he now solemnly presents himself for 2019 Presidential Election to achieve the desired noble objectives.”

 

A couple of days ago, he accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of failing Nigerian youths through its inability to address the challenges in the country. In his reaction to President Buhari’s statement regarding Nigerian youths at the meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the United Kingdom, he described the comments as unfortunate.

 

Baba-Ahmed said the comments portend a lot of negative consequences for Nigeria’s young people, who seek to forge ahead in different fields of endeavour. He is from Zaria in Kaduna State.

 

 

Hon Ibuzo, 46

 

The member, representing Onitsha North II Constituency in Anambra State House of Assembly; Hon. Edward Ibuzo, is also interested in running for the presidency in 2019.

Hon. Edward Ibuzo (46), a member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), lamented poor performance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, describing it as a tragedy.

 

He wondered why “an educated, refined, well travelled young Nigerian should not govern the country.” On why he wants to rule the nation, Hon. Ibuzo said that he is a Nigerian citizen and so eminently qualified to run for any public office in Nigeria.

 

He said Nigeria will be better for his presidential aspiration considering the recurrent accusation of Igbo marginalization, adding that he is qualified and prepared to deliver modern governance obtained in Western countries.

 

The well-travelled lawmaker, who had lived in Germany, England, Canada, Netherlands, United States of America, said: “In all honesty, I am 46 years old. I was born in 1972 and after the civil war which ended in 1970 till now, we have not had any Igbo president and Igbo people are of age to run the affairs of the Nigerian nation.”

 

Stating why the present crop of old leaders should relinquish political power to the younger generation, he said President Muhammadu Buhari was younger than him in 1983 when he became military Head of State.

 

 

Fela Durotoye, 46

 

Motivational speaker and leadership trainer, Adetokubo Olufela Durotoye, (46), is one person who has formally declared his ambition to run for the Presidency, come 2019. Last February, he was at the office of the Alliance for New Nigeria, a party recently registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), where he obtained membership card and declared his intention to run.

 

He put his intention clearly on his twitter page: “I stand here on behalf of this generation of leaders to declare that we are now willing, able; ready to serve our nation through the elective office; we are not too young to run.

 

“We are young, but we are strong; we are ready to deliver the quality of leadership; governance required to build a new Nigeria.

 

“To build the Nigeria of our dreams would require exceptional candidates who would emerge from a pool of excellent; credible aspirants chosen by the people to represent them at the general elections. And so, over the last few months, I have researched into several political parties to determine if their ideologies, vision and values resonate with mine.

 

“I am glad to announce that one party has resonated more with me than any other in sharing common ideology, principles and a truly democratic internal political process that is open to all to aspire…

 

“A party that provides a level playing field for the best candidates to emerge at all levels for Legislative and Executive offices. That party is the Alliance for New Nigeria. It Is Our Time… And together, we will deliver the future”. God Bless You all. God Bless our Alliance For New Nigeria. And May God Bless our Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.

 

Durotoye, an alumnus of the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in the United States, holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science with Economics, Masters degree in Business Administration (M.B.A) and a Master of Philosophy Degree (M.Phil) in Strategic Management, from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State.

Yul Edochie, 36
Nollywood actor, Yul Edochie (36), has also declared his intention to run for the presidency in 2019, after his unsuccessful bid in the last Anambra State governorship election.

 

At the governorship election, the younger Edochie, who was the candidate of the Democratic People’s Congress (DPC), could only muster 145 votes in the race that pitched him against 36 other aspirants.

 

Using the auspicious moment of his birthday to make his interest known, Edochie said in a video posted on Instagram that he might seek election as Nigeria’s president in 2019.

 

He said: “So, it’s my birthday today, January 7, 2018. I just turned 36, so happy birthday to me. 2018 is just unfolding, we pray for more blessings so let’s just keep our fingers crossed. Who knows, I may just decide to run for president of Nigeria this time, in 2019, and I will win.”
The last of six children of veteran actor Pete Edochie, Yul attended the University of Port Harcourt where he studied Dramatic Arts.

 

He hails from Nteje, the headquarters of the Oyi Council Area of Anambra State

Omoyele Sowore, 47

 

One time Students’ Union President at the University of Lagos from 1992-1994, and CEO of Sahara Reporters is one of the youths who are latching on the clarion call. He said since the establishment of Sahara Reporters in 2006, he had used it as platform to fight corruption both in Nigeria and other African countries.

 

Regarding why he wants to be President, he said: ” http://themomentng.com/index.php/2018/04/20/zinox-boss-bets-on-keystone-bank/ There are three reasons why. ‘Firstly, I understand Nigeria and I have worked tirelessly for our nation’s progress. For the last 30 years, I have been an activist that has worked to build alliances across Nigeria – across all religious and ethnic groups – with one aim in mind, which is to move Nigeria forward, to protect the welfare of its great people and to help to unleash the immense creativity and capabilities of the Nigerian people. I have been tried and tested. My resume in this regard bears no dispute. Many Nigerians already know my story. My body bears the scars of arrest, detention and torture over the years. My work at Sahara Reporters has helped to safeguard our democracy and amplified voices that were hitherto unheard.

 

“Secondly, I have the leadership skills and the political will needed to move this nation forward. I have no godfathers. No godmothers. There are no sacred cows, snakes, monkeys or goats. In 30 years of service to this nation through principled activism, I have established a track record as a straight shooter and truth teller that operates strictly based on principles.

 

“When our constitutional order was in jeopardy – I worked to ensure that the legitimate transfer of power to Goodluck Jonathan occurred. Our work in 2015 to shine a light on the electoral process through real-time electoral results reporting helped the opposition led by Muhammadu Buhari to win. Between 2010 and 2011, some said I was working for Jonathan. In 2015, the same people said I was working for Buhari. What they all missed was that I work only for the Nigerian people using my conscience as a GPS- no matter whose feet are stepped upon, and regardless  of whose ox is gored, I have been an equal opportunity offender.

 

“Thirdly, I am a proven manager of people and resources. In 12 short years, I have worked to build a globally-acclaimed media platform whose influence stretches across the African continent and the world.” He said he is not just an activist, but also an entrepreneur and a teacher as well

 

Speaking on the development, Alhaji Yerima Shettimas, who has been the National President of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, and recently, he became the National Co-ordinator of the Coalition of All Youths Wing of Ethnic Nationalities in the country, said youths should take up the challenge.

 

Yerima, who is giving close consideration to seeking election into the Senate, said this is time for youths to throw their hearts into the ring.

 

In a recent interview with Sunday Telegraph, he said: “To be fair I want to say there are pressures on me to represent my people, the Kaduna Central at the Senate, but I am still consulting with my people and family. I am reaching out to friends and political allies too. That is why I call it a call to serve and very soon, I will make my position clear to all Nigerians but I am still considering a lot of things.”

 

He said development in the international arena and the fact that youths must take the driver’s seat in the issue of governance drive him into this. “Look at what has happened in France, Canada and very close here – Liberia. They have scores of youths occupying legislative and executive positions. So our case should not be different from that and that is why I continue to clamour and call on the younger generation to buckle up, to get their PVCs, especially the youths who constitute about 70 per cent of the voting population.

 

“And that is why I say the 2019 election is going to be a war between the older generations and the younger ones. That is what will come into place in 2019. That year will witness the battle line between the youths and the older elements. That is the way our nation will keep pace with the generational shift that is taking place all over the world. I am talking about not just younger elements, but those ones that are tested and trusted, because some of our youths, if elected into office can also perform worse that the older generation. We need young leaders who are committed to the growth of the country, who are detribalized Nigerians.

 

“There have to be alternatives so that at the end of the day Nigerians can have a choice, but I must emphasise, the battle line in 2019 is going to be between the older and younger generations. I am not saying the old people should be completely wiped out, because there are some older ones whose ideas and advice can be tapped into, but anyone who is above 50 should go to his farm and stay with his family so as to allow the Nigerian people to use the newer generation to lead the nation.

 

Otherwise we will continue to move in circles because you don’t expect anyone to give you what he does not have. Hence we must be upbeat this time around. In fact 2019 serves a better time for us as Nigerians, but Nigerians will have to decide.”

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