Local News

Akeem ReachnaijaDecember 11, 2018
IMG_20181211_122524_253.jpg

2min00

A chieftain of the Kwankwassiyya Group of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kano, Brigadier-General Idris Bello Danbazzau (rtd), has defected to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).

Danbazzau, who is an ardent follower of Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, on Monday declared his loyalty and support to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s administration, in a mini-rally that took place at the Kano Pillars’ stadium in Sabon Gari.

He defected along with hundreds of his supporters.

According to him, “we have decided to come back home. We have decided to embrace APC because of the kind of injustice meted out to us in the Kwankwassiyya Movement and the PDP.

“We have come to appreciate the good work being done by our leader and Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. We have decided today to be part of the progressives, because we don’t want to be left out in this project to take Kano to greater heights.”

In his address, Governor Ganduje commended Danbazzau and his teeming supporters for the bold step, pointing out that, “today, you have seen the light and we are happy to welcome you back. Together we shall achieve victory for the development of our dear state.”


Akeem ReachnaijaDecember 11, 2018
IMG_20181211_121644_128.jpg

3min00

There appears to be no respite for the embattled former governor of Abia State and Senator representing Abia North, Theodore Orji in his ongoing high powered investigation over N27b Fraud he allegedly perpetrated while in office as the governor of the state.

Reports reaching Igbere Tv newsroom indicates that Operatives of the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission have arrested two sons of the ex governor Governor.

The arrest was said to have been carried out in an apartment in Maitama area of Abuja, where the sons of Orji, have a flat to themselves.

According to information available to Igbere Tv, the name of one of the children of Orji arrested was Chiemeka.

The DSS operatives on arriving at the premises, Saturday, reportedly quizzed Chiemeka and his brother, demanding to know where huge cash were hidden in the house.

They were said to have told the Orjis that they had information that they are in the know about the movement of cash into the house and where it is stored.
The duo reportedly denied knowledge of the said funds.

They were then taken to the headquarters of the EFCC in Abuja, where they were grilled for several hours.

Though they were released, the Orjis had two of their vehicles towed away to the premises of the EFCC. They are yet to retrieve their vehicles as at press time.
Meanwhile, the EFCC operatives had earlier arrested another son of the ex governor, Ogbonna Orji, a night before the raid.

IGBERE TV Learnt that the 32-year-old Ogbonna was arrested at a nightclub in Abuja by agents of the anti-graft body.

His arrest, according to a source, was a follow up on an investigation of his father.

The source informed Igbere Tv that in the course of investigating the former governor, it was discovered that he laundered money through his sons.

According to the source, the sons used part of the laundered funds to purchase exotic houses and vehicles, including a Range Rover worth about N100million.

Contrary to insinuation that EFCC invaded the house of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the source informed Igbere Tv that the arrest of the senator’s son had nothing to do with the former Vice-President.


Akeem ReachnaijaDecember 11, 2018
IMG_20181211_104805_331.jpg

5min00

One of the four victims of last week’s kidnapping in Ondo State has reportedly been killed by the abductors six days after they were seized by gunmen.

The victim, a lecturer at the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, identified as Taiwo Akinyemi, reportedly died on Sunday.

Four persons, including the deceased, were kidnapped by suspected Fulani gunmen in Amurin village on the Akure-Owo Expressway in Owo Local Government Area of the state last Tuesday.

The three other victims, who are members of staff of the Federal Medical Centre, Owo have been released.

The corpse of the 52-year-old Akinyemi was said to have been found in a bush tied to a tree on Sunday evening. It was learnt that the deceased was killed by the abductors for the inability of his family to pay on time the ransom demanded by the abductors.

Following the development, lecturers and students of the polytechnic on Monday held a procession on the campus as a mark of respect for the late Akinyemi.

The state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, was also on the campus of the school to commiserate with the academic community, and described the death of the lecturer as unfortunate.

Addressing journalists on the death of Akinyemi, the Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics, RUGIPO chapter, Mr Chris Olowolade, described the incident as sad and unfortunate.

He explained that the union had entered into negotiation with the kidnappers in order to secure Akinyem’s release, but “we lost him to the kidnappers and we received his corpse yesterday (Sunday).”

He added, “The kidnappers placed a ransom of N100m on him, which nobody could afford, but they reduced it to N7m after two days, and later grudgingly asked us to come up with N500,000.

“The money was taken to them, and the person who took it to them was directed by the kidnappers to where he should drop the money. They asked him to stop, reverse and move, just to confirm that he was the actual person bringing the money.

“But after some hours, they called that the man bringing the money should come back that they didn’t see it; only for us to be called by the Rector yesterday (Sunday) to go and identify a corpse.

“We rushed to the morgue and discovered that it was his (Akinyemi’s) corpse. He was tied to a tree with his clothes, and his remains were left in the bush. The body was recovered by the police and deposited in the morgue; he was treated badly before he was killed.”

The governor, while speaking to the staff and students of the institution, explained that the state government and the security operatives made attempts to rescue the deceased

He said, “It is unfortunate that the man couldn’t return home alive. The incident (kidnap) happened some five minutes after I passed through the place and I had to deploy some security men in my convoy to the place to rescue the victims.

“These kidnappers have become more daring and desperate; this is because we are moving towards the festive period; but the state police command has assured us that they will not limit their operation to stop and search only, but that they will also increase road patrol.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Femi Joseph, who confirmed the killing of the kidnapped lecturer, described his death as unfortunate, adding that all the other victims had regained their freedom.

Joseph said men of the state police command were on the trail of the kidnappers, but noted that no arrest had been made yet.


Akeem ReachnaijaDecember 11, 2018
IMG_20181211_103520_744.jpg

13min00

Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI speaks on the war against insurgency, preparations for 2019 presidential elections and other issues of national interests. Excerpts:

Few weeks to the 2019 presidential elections, our military are being attacked by insurgents who seem to have reenergised. Aas the spokesperson of the ruling party, are you not worried by this development?

Every reasonable person will be worried. President Muhammadu Buhari is particularly worried but I don’t think it is correct to say that the insurgents have reenergised. We all know that fighting insurgency is one of the most difficult challenges that the world is currently facing. Even the most sophisticated security agencies in modern countries like the United States of America and the UK are not finding it easy. But we are happy that there has been progress. It is quite unfortunate that we have this kind of setback like we had in Metele. Our hearts go to the families of the victims. We deeply appreciate what the Nigerian Army is doing in that area. But by and large, compared to other advanced nations, Nigeria has done very well especially since this administration came. That is why the Metele attack looked so worrisome because we thought we had gone beyond that stage. Otherwise, this looked like a normal circumstances in some countries. We know what has been going on in Yemen, Afghanistan for some times. We are not comparing negative for negative here. The APC is not a party that will make negative examples but at the same time for you to understand how far you have gone, you need to know where you are coming from. Also, you need to see examples of what you are doing well and the progress made. I think we have done well in the area of tackling insurgency. Insurgency is one hydra-headed monster that as you are chopping off one’s head, another is rearing its head. What this means is that we need to step up our game and operations and hopefully, this will be the last time that we will have this attack.

The PDP said you should apologise to Nigerians for deceiving them with fake promises in 2015; that you promised to secure the country, but you have failed to do that. Will you heed that advice?

This morning I saw a letter that was written in 2015 by the PDP government where the security agencies wrote to many organisations that Boko Haram will strike in many churches and mosques around Abuja. Now, attacks in Abuja are a thing of the past. We thank God and this administration for that. I was in Maiduguri two months ago. In Maiduguri now, people are moving around doing their businesses just like any other major cities in Nigeria. Whatever attack that is going on now is happening in remote places in the North- East. Even in Damaturu, the Yobe state capital that was completely unsafe under the PDP and other places like Mubi, Yola, and people are now moving about doing their businesses. Nigerians don’t take PDP serious because we all know that what they are doing now is a very shameful thing. You wonder why they do not have any gumption at all, no sense of shame. Under the PDP government, insurgency was allowed to fester that even attacks were carried out at the nation’s capital. If they had taken the right steps and nip this in the bud, we will not be where we are today. Just imagine a government that did virtually nothing and brought so much destruction to this country and such individuals are still now going about talking negatively about a government that is working tirelessly to clear the mess they left. It is so shameful. They have learnt no lessons and they are not remorseful. Perhaps, we may conclude that PDP leaders are worse than we think they are. This country will not witness the PDP era again. Not now, not in the future.

President Buhari got fewer votes in the South East in 2015. Do you think he will spring a surprise this time around?

Absolutely! The South East governors recently visited the President. They said they want to thank him for what he has done in the region and they are asking for more. We have a president that is not discriminatory when it comes to delivery of the gains of democracy to Nigerians. The South- East people can see roads, housing scheme and other infrastructures. Go to the capital of all the South- East states, you will see the massive projects that are going on there. So, the governors of the region came to thank the President. You also could see that because of his deep feelings for the ordinary Nigerians, the President came out with bail-out funds. Bail-out funds have criteria with which it can be assessed. Being an APC governor is not one of the criteria. Number of votes you gave to President Buhari in 2015 is not one of the criteria. The criteria are only that you are part of Nigeria and the common people in your street deserve attention. Many South- East traders today are benefiting from the Tradermoni scheme. This money was realised from Abacha loot. This is not the first time Abacha loot will be recovered. The ones that were recovered in the past under PDP governments were used to buy private jets. But under this government, the money is going into the pockets of the ordinary man. So, the difference between the PDP and this government is that President Buhari is focusing on the ordinary Nigerian and doing things that will greatly impact on their lives. But PDP government during their era focused on the few elites and they were measuring success and economic developments by the numbers of private jets they purchased. Now under the APC government, we are measuring success and economic developments by the number of common people the Social Investment Programme are touching. We are measuring it by the number of school pupils who are being fed daily in our schools. The South- East is benefiting from all these and as such I am confident that they will give their votes to President Buhari in 2019. Not just the South- East now, but I believe that appreciative Nigerians will support this government so that this trend continues.

You talked about continuity for President Buhari. Don’t you see Atiku Abubakar as a threat to his reelection especially now that we have two Northern candidates?

Atiku is no threat. By picking Atiku, I don’t know how PDP got itself into this mess but I also see the hand of God in it. When you don’t mean well, you won’t end well. PDP itself was completely damaged. It is a political party that a marketing or communication person would have recommended that it should take four critical steps to recover its damaged reputation. The first step is to admit their errors and mistakes. The second step is to seek for forgiveness.

But don’t you think that has already been done by the party?

When you seek forgiveness by mere echoing it, that is different from when you are remorseful. The PDP apologise to Nigerians but that apology was not followed by remorse. So, the PDP should repeat their apology to Nigerians and back it up with remorsefulness. Then, the third thing is restitution, which means justice. The fact that you pleaded for forgiveness doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be justice. By justice, we mean that if they have stolen money during their reign, they should be humble enough to return it. Don’t wait for government to start running after you or for someone to blow the whistle. The last step is that they will now come back as a born again. PDP has done none of this and blood is dripping on their hands. With all the atrocities they have committed throughout their reign, they are pretending to be the saviour Nigeria needs. So, if you have a party that is badly damaged, you now presented your presidential ticket to a man like former Vice- President Atiku Abubakar , a man that has been thoroughly described by people who should know as someone that lacks credibility, then I have nothing more to add. When former President Olusegun Obasanjo made those allegations in his book ‘ My Watch’, Atiku didn’t go to court to clear his name. Probably he was afraid to go to court because if he had done that, Obasanjo will reveal more things about him. To be sure, even during his reconciliation meeting with Obasanjo, the former President said I have forgiven you Atiku, but make sure you go and sort yourself out. Are there things that Obasanjo knows about Atiku that he is hiding from us that he is asking him to go and clear his name? We all have seen the US investigation report that indicted Atiku, yet he has not gone to court to tell the US government that the report is tarnishing his image and he may seek redress if his name is not removed. He has not done that and he is afraid of traveling to the US. So, how did PDP that is badly damaged now end up with a presidential candidate that is already completely damaged? We now have two damaged products promising to better the lots of Nigerians. How can two damaged products be a threat to President Buhari and APC? I think PDP through its actions has disqualified itself from this race and it is sad. Even though APC as a party, we know we have to guard jealously all the good things that we are doing to ensure that it is not truncated and we have enough time to improve the economy, develop infrastructures, fight corruption and insurgency, we still don’t want a one-party state but unfortunately, that is what the PDP is trying to create by playing itself out of the game. But honestly, I don’t know why they are doing that. You can’t take off from bad to worse and still pretend that all is well with you. So, rather than being a threat to us, we are aware that PDP is completely playing itself out of the game and as a result is trying to turn Nigeria into a one-party state.


Akeem ReachnaijaDecember 11, 2018
IMG_20181211_102733_301.jpg

1min00

Eleven soldiers are facing trial in the general court martial inaugurated yesterday by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division Nigerian Army, Enugu, Maj-Gen Emmanuel Kabuk.

Kabuk, who inaugurated the eight-member court martial, said it was to instil discipline.

He said the court martial was prosecuting 11 soldiers for various offences ranging from insubordination, incompletion of task and general indiscipline.

“This General Court Martial is meant to instil discipline among the soldiers and officers of the Division. Discipline is needed to achieve relentless professionalism, which is the target of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Burutai. So, the inauguration today, goes in-line with COAS vision to reposition the Nigerian Army for effectiveness and responsiveness,’’ he said.

He assured the soldiers standing trial of fair hearing.

Responding, President of the General Court Martial, Col. Edward Abore, said that the court would abide by the Nigerian Army law and the 1999 constitution as amended.

“I will assure the accused persons (soldiers) of justice in this court. So, I will implore the accused not to fear or panic as the court will be fair to all parties involved,’’ he said.


Akeem ReachnaijaDecember 10, 2018
IMG_20181210_205329_470.jpg

6min00

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said despite the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018, which makes the use of card reader mandatory, the 2019 elections will not be conducted with incident form.
INEC’s assurance is coming as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation has said the use of incident form in the impending general elections would be unacceptable to it.

The electoral body, however, said the rejected bill would have addressed the controversies that trailed the 2015 exercise especially the place of technology and others that the amendments seek to address.

Responding to THISDAY enquiry yesterday, INEC’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said the presidential veto has created no lacuna in the electoral legal regime, explaining that the Electoral Act 2010 as amended in 2015 would be the operative law.

According to him, “While it may be better to have the necessary amendments to avoid some of the controversies that trailed the 2015 exercise, especially the place of technology and others the amendments seek to cure, we can still have good elections with the extant act as we did in 2015, which were adjudged free, fair and credible.”

Reacting to a report by an online newspaper that 13.5 million voters voted for Buhari without full biometric accreditation in 2015, Osaze-Uzzi said, “How was this determined? Biometric accreditation does not determine who a person votes for. Put another way, the card reader is used for biometric accreditation. It doesn’t determine how such persons vote.

“Incident forms will not be used in 2019.”

President Muhammadu Buhari had last week, for the fourth time withheld his assent to the amendment bill, citing legal drafting errors.

In separate letters dated December 6 titled, ‘Presidential Decision to Decline Assent to the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 2018’, addressed to the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and Speaker Yakubu Dogara of the House of Representatives, Buhari explained that he was declining assent “principally because passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general election, which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act, could create some uncertainties about the applicable legislation to govern the process.”

The president also listed four provisions of the bill that required drafting amendments by the National Assembly. They include Section five of the bill amending section 18 of the principal act, which should indicate the subsection to which the substitution of the figure “30” for the figure “60” is to be effected and Section 11 of the bill amending Section 36 should indicate the subsection in which the proviso is to be introduced.

But the PDP presidential campaign said the use of incident form would not be acceptable to it in 2019.

One of the spokespersons, Mr. Segun Sowunmi, said that outpouring of goodwill by Nigerians since the PDP started its zonal presidential campaigns was an indication that the All Progressives Congress (APC) could not win the election in a free and fair contest.

He stated, “I want to tell INEC that it is a major unacceptable embarrassment that the business of incident forms will now take precedence over the card reader.

“Card reader is what must be encouraged to be the only thing that will be used for the 2019 elections. But how can we trust the integrity of the process if it is compromised by incident forms and underage people voting.”

Sowunmi insisted that the 2019 elections should be a celebration of the development of the country’s democratic journey, which he said could only be achieved if INEC conducts free, fair, credible and transparent elections in 2019.

An online newspaper at the weekend reported that at least 13.5 million Nigerians voted manually, without biometric accreditation, in the 2015 presidential election, according to data from INEC, part of the problems the amendment bill seeks to address.

The data, obtained by DeepDive Intelligence, shows that Buhari, candidate of the APC, won in nine of the 10 most-affected states, notwithstanding that the non-use of PVCs during the poll cut across all the political parties’ strongholds.

The 2015 presidential election had two major contenders, Buhari and Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s first incumbent president to lose a re-election bid.

Of the 31,746,490 accredited voters in the election, 13,536,311, representing 42.6 per cent of voters, voted without biometric accreditation.

Out of this number, 10,184,720 votes are from states won by Buhari and 3,351,591 votes came from states won by Jonathan, the PDP candidate, representing 75 per cent and 25 per cent of accredited voters respectively.


Akeem ReachnaijaDecember 10, 2018

4min00

The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) has suspended its earlier directive to commence shutdown of depots across the country and stop loading petroleum products effective from midnight of Sunday.

The directive to suspend the action was conveyed in a statement issued around 1.20am on Monday by DAPPMA’s Executive Secretary, Mr Olufemi Adewole, in Lagos.

The association had issued a shut-down directive to its members following the continuing indebtedness of the Federal Government to petroleum marketers.

“However, following the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians, including the National Assembly as represented by the Senate Committee of Petroleum Downstream and constructive engagement of the Federal Government team by the labour unions most affected by the disengagement of our personnel, namely, PENGASSAN, NUPENG NARTO,PTD,and DAPPMA.

“The union has resolved to recall its disengaged personnel for 5-days to give the FG’s team the opportunity to conclude its process of paying marketers the full outstanding of N800 billion with the first trench being the amount already approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC)

“The association has acted in good faith to avoid unnecessary hardship which could befall Nigerians during the yuletide season and we hope that government would make good its promise to see that those issues are resolved by Friday, Dec., 14, 2018 as promised.

“To this, end, our disengaged personnel would be recalled on Monday, Dec. 10 and considering the reactivation time or hitherto shut down system, all depots with fuel stock should be fully active same day,’’ the statement said.

The statement said further that the conclusion of the debts payment would curtail the continuing wastage of public funds as interest accruing on the over N800 billion debt.

“DAPPMA depots are therefore advised to commence loading operations immediately and await further notification in respect of our long overdue payment.

DAPPAMA had on early on Sunday directed its members to shut down all loading operations by midnight, adding that oil marketers had disengaged employees due to their inability to pay salaries.

It said that the Association took a bold step to stop the financial haemorrhaging of its members by the painful disengagement of its loyal workers after over three years of engaging with the government in the efforts to secure the payment of all subsidy induced debt owed marketers.

According to DAPPMA, to avoid owing staff without any hope of pay, it is hereby agreed that since all our staff have been disengaged, all DAPPMAN member depot are not in a position to operate hence will shut down all loading at midnight

DAPPMA said that the decision of government to settle N236 billion out of the outstanding N800 subsidy arrears was not acceptable to DAPPMA members, leading to last week’s Thursday meeting which ended in a deadlock.

They explained that the decision of government to pay the N236 billion through promissory notes was equally rejected by the oil marketers.

‘‘As the name suggest, promissory note is a payment instrument that is post dated. Based on this when you approach the banks with the instrument, you don’t get the actual value on it.

“About 30 per cent is knocked off because Government will be making the payment at a later date which ties down the bank’s capital’’’ he said.


Akeem ReachnaijaDecember 10, 2018
IMG_20181210_203937_688.jpg

3min00

The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki on Sunday said that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have all it takes to win next year’s general elections.

Saraki said the party will not only sweep the elections in Kwara state, but will win the presidential election because the platform has strategists as leaders.

He asked his supporters not to be afraid of the use of federal might in the forthcoming general elections, pointing out that he had confronted such situations in two previous elections and floored the incumbents.

Saraki spoke at the inauguration of a 42-man Campaign Council for the the state PDP at ABS Mandate Constituency Office, Ilorin.

The Senate President said while the 2019 election, like any other election, has its challenges, experience has shown that with the right tactics and strategies, the PDP will win the state again.

He said: “Don’t be afraid, don’t create fears in your heart, I have heard all the talks of the opposition about using federal might. But we have seen it all.

“We saw it in 2003, we saw it in 2015 or don’t you know that they used federal might in 2015? In 2015 with federal might we defeated them. It was you people that God used then and in 2019 with those who have come to join us we will defeat them again.”

He, however, asked members of the Campaign Council to demonstrate utmost faithfulness in the discharge of their duties to achieve the desired results.

“Every election has its challenges. But, we have what it takes to tackle it and once you are committed victory is ours”, he said, and tasked the party on the need to implement a rigorous campaign to ensure everyone is reached.

He pleaded with aggrieved members of the PDP to sheath their sword and work for the party’s victory, promising that there would be a better deal for Nigerians under a government run by Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate.

According to Saraki, it is only when the PDP is in power at the federal level that things can return to normal for suffering Nigerians and the hopes of the people properly addressed.


Akeem ReachnaijaDecember 10, 2018
IMG_20181210_203253_868.jpg

3min00

A former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, has responded to reports making the rounds that he had dumped the party.

Oyegun noted that though there were problems and challenges in the party, he cannot run away.

He said he will stay and give what he has to patch the cracks.

Reports emerged recently (not on DAILY POST) that the former Governor had left the ruling party.

But speaking with Sun, the elder statesman said that having been an originator to the party’s process, it was going to be extremely difficult to see himself in another political party.

Asked about the claim that he was no longer in APC, Oyegun said, “I had intended to totally ignore that flown kite. I have almost succeeded in doing that but this will be an opportunity to emphasise that in terms of the thinking, I was basically an originator because I knew that what we were doing while in opposition was wrong.

“We in opposition truly want to present our nation with democratic choice. We need to build a party that can be comparable in levels, strength and acceptability to the Nigerian public not for them to keep saying that they don’t like them yet they don’t have choice. Having been an originator to that process, it will be extremely difficult to see myself elsewhere.

“Yes, the party has issues and problems, but you don’t run away from the party because it is passing through a phase or difficulty. I cannot run away. I will rather give what I have to patch the cracks.

“We will maintain the direction and goals we have set for ourselves otherwise the fluidity of the movement does not make sense and does not show commitment.

“Yes, there are difficulties, but they are meant to be addressed, sorted out so that the party does not lose its soul and the message that brought it into being.

“Those are the critical issues. The real problem comes if a party stands in danger of losing its bearing in those respects. I am APC and I don’t see myself somewhere else. I cannot just quite envisage it.”


Akeem ReachnaijaDecember 10, 2018
IMG_20181210_202604_788.jpg

10min00

Below is a statement from the Muslim Rights Concern group, MURIC, signed by its leader, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, made available to PoliticsNGR;

The National Assembly (NASS) recently sent the amended Electoral Act to President Muhammadu Buhari. However, the latter is yet to append his signature. He has also given reasons for his action.

Meanwhile the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has waded into the matter. According to the Islamic group, President Buhari was right to withhold his signature. MURIC in a press statement issued on Monday, 10th December, 2018 hinged its decision on the closeness of the 2019 elections and the fact that the eighth national assembly could not be trusted.

“The 2019 general elections are too close for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to start implementing a new system. Last minute changes in the rules and regulations of a national election can be dangerous. Any new amendment bill is capable of causing confusion among political parties and also in INEC’s camp.

“Besides, no patriotic Nigerian can trust this NASS. What is there to trust in a NASS whose members gather for a national competition for sleeping on duty? What is there to trust in a NASS that shows no concern for the economy and delays budgets up to seven months? How can any patriotic Nigerian repose confidence in a NASS that cuts budget in ten critical areas of the economy only to add those cuts to its own? This NASS is anti-people and its amendment to the Electoral Act is suspicious.

“We strongly support President Muhammadu Buhari for not signing the amendment. It should be properly scrutinized. We suspect that the NASS has a hidden agenda as usual. This set of lawmakers has been working for a particular interest group whose objective is to rock the boat of the present administration. Their strong link with anti-June 12 elements, their romance with politicians facing corruption charges and their hobnobbing with the predominantly bourgeois political class reveal where they are coming from.

MURIC poured out its disappointment with the NASS. “A NASS that can tinker with the money allocated to Lagos-Ibadan expressway is not worth the salt. This expressway is the only link between the North and the South and millions of Nigerians have been suffering there for more than fifteen years. Is there any member of the NASS who has never used that ‘distress’ road? Have they forgotten so soon because they are now lawmakers?

“It is unimaginable that any Nigerian lawmaker will think of cutting the amount allocated to the Lagos-Ibadan ‘distressway’ project. It is a crime against the masses who ply that road on a daily basis. It is almost an unforgivable sin as the bad road has claimed hundreds of lives in the past. Those lawmakers need to seek Allah’s forgiveness because the blood of the innocent accident victims cries out for justice.

“The Lagos-Ibadan rail-line would have been completed this December 2018 but for the delay of the budget by the NASS. It is strongly suspected that the delay was deliberate. Since the leadership of the NASS is working for reactionary elements who are hostile to the present administration, the delay was calculated to slow down progress of projects being executed by the government in order to diminish the latter’s chances in the 2019 general election.

“But that only exposes the lawmakers as selfish politicians and the NASS leadership as manifesting a pathological desertification of statesmanship. The truth is that while politicians think of the next election, statesmen think of the general interest of the people. Statesmen think of the next generation, nay, of future generations. That is why the NASS leadership was keen on delaying the budget for so long while brainwashing the members and blackmailing the presidency at the same time.

“A NASS that can fiddle with the money allocated to the counter-part funding for the Mambilla Power Plant, Second Niger Bridge, the East-West Road, Bonny-Bodo Road and Itakpe-Ajaokuta Rail Project cannot be taken serious. N11.5 billion was cut from those projects and added to the budget of the NASS.

This is a NASS that is bent on selling Nigeria to its members. How can we still trust them with our Electoral Act? The most irrational cut occurred in the provision for the construction of the Terminal Building at Enugu Airport which was cut from N2 billion to N500 million. The NASS exposed its insensitivity when it allowed the cuts to affect the Maritime University in Delta State despite the educational backwardness of the Delta area. Even the National Housing Scheme was cut by about N7.8 billion.

“Apart from cutting N347 billion Naira in the allocations and adding other projects of their own amounting to N578 billion, they also increased the budget estimate from N8.6 trillion submitted by the President in November 2017 to N9.120 trillion when they passed it in May 2018.

“The question MURIC is asking the tiny cabal is whether 200 million Nigerians were born to serve them and their offsprings forever. For Allah’s sake, what have we done to deserve this injustice? Just 1% of the Nigerian population controls more than 85% of the total wealth, leaving a whole 99% of the population comprising of highly educated and hardworking Nigerians to struggle for a paltry15% of the wealth.

“In spite of the allocation of this gargantuan portion of the common wealth to itself, it is shocking that the NASS cannot pay its own workers. The demonstrations staged by its workers a few days ago have exposed the leadership of the NASS as slave-drivers who pay pittance to its workers and feudal lords who do not care about the welfare of its workers. We are however not surprised because lawmakers who care little for the nation cannot be expected to care for its workers. It is a shame that the same leadership want to rule Nigeria.

The present NASS is the worst in the history of this country. This is a NASS that goes on recess at the slightest excuse. It is either because the microphone is not working properly or the electricity is not bright enough. Who should be blamed if any equipment in the NASS fails to work? Where does the buck stop? A whole NASS may suspend sitting because a single lawmaker has a case in court. Its members would have been enjoying immunity by now but for the Tsunami of public outcry which greeted the attempt to enact a bill for that purpose.

“We wonder what this NASS takes Nigerians for. Do they think we have been hit by an outbreak of general amnesia which makes us forget what unpatriotic lawmakers have done to our country? Or do they assume that we have been hit by an epidemic of dementia that affects our sense of judgement such that we will now be supporting them and blaming the presidency?

“As we draw the curtain, we appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to protect Nigerians from this electoral trap designed by the NASS. Mr. President should not sign. An electoral munble-jumble is the least expected of Africa’s giant. This new amendment bill is capable of causing confusion even in INEC’s camp because it has not been tested and because the general election is too close for changes to be effected in the law guiding elections. We therefore advise that the proposed amendments should be scrutinized by both the presidency and INEC and kept in view (KIV) for the 2023 general elections if found viable”.