MUHAMMADU Buhari, a former military head of state and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, is threatening to take the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to court if it does not retract its accusation linking him with the Boko Haram terrorist sect, tender an unreserved public apology to him or face legal action. The retired major-general has given the party seven days to do so or face the full weight of the law.
In a statement he signed on Thursday, April 17, in Kaduna, Buhari said: “I cannot sit back and allow my image, and that of my political party, be smeared by falsehood in the name of politics.”
According to him, the widely publicised and serious allegations the PDP made through Olisa Metuh, its spokesman against him that his utterances were responsible for the current state of insecurity and terrorism in the land, were without basis. He said: “To support his claim, Mr Metuh engaged in twisted logic and outright distortion – which he called facts – in which he said that I, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, beckoned on my ‘supporters to go on lynching spree’ should I lose the 2011 presidential election, as a result of which ‘an unprecedented violence broke out, claiming the lives of hundreds of innocent people.
“I take very serious exception to this grave accusation against me by the PDP publicity secretary. It is a false allegation aimed at tarnishing my image and reputation in the hope of destroying my political and electoral standings, and that of my party, the APC, in the country.
“Firstly, it is public knowledge that Boko Haram, as a terror organisation, long preceded the 2011 presidential elections. My utterances or lack of them on the 2011 presidential election could not, therefore, have created nor sustained the Boko Haram insurgency.
“Secondly, the PDP government of President Goodluck Jonathan constituted the Sheikh Ahmed Lemu Panel of Inquiry to investigate and report on the post-election violence in some parts of the country. The panel discharged its duties within its terms of reference and submitted its report to the President. This report was accepted by the government and a White Paper was issued. Nowhere in that report, a product of a thorough investigation of that unfortunate incident, was I mentioned in the remotest way to have uttered a word or acted in any form or manner that sparked off the violence. If I had, certainly, that investigation would have uncovered it. The truth is that I had not.
“Thirdly, 2011 was not the first time I contested a presidential election and was declared defeated; it was the third! If I had had no cause to ‘beckon on my supporters to go on lynching spree’ in the two previous occasions, I would have had no cause to change in 2011 – and I did not.”
Presidential System Stays – Ekweremadu
IKE Ekweremadu, deputy Senate president, wants a modified presidential system of government in Nigeria to enhance and strengthen democracy in the country. Delivering a paper titled: “Constitution Amendment in an Emerging Democracy, the Nigerian Experience,” at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC, on Wednesday, April 16, Ekweremadu, said the current system appeared to be expensive and often criticised for its concentration of powers in political chief executives. Besides, he said the system “promotes politics of strong men rather than strong institutions.”
But the senator ruled out the option of returning the nation to a parliamentary system because it failed in the first republic. According to him, the challenges of governance in Nigeria were not essentially the choice of its system of government but rather the implementation of the systems. “While a presidential system was necessary to hold the nation’s vast territories and contending forces in the federation together, Nigeria needed to inject some elements of parliamentary system to entrench greater accountability and cohesion in governance. I suggest a hybrid system or modification of the present presidential system to introduce question time in the parliament at a pre-determined regular intervals to hold the ministers consistently accountable and to replace impeachment with a procedure for vote of no confidence to make way for early elections when the need be,” Ekweremadu said.
He listed other contentious issues in constitution amendment in Nigeria to include the tenure of political chief executives, federal structure, fiscal federalism, local government system, policing system and legislative lists. Others factors he listed were electoral system, independence of the electoral and oversight agencies, residence rights and the processes for amending the constitution itself.
While describing the issues of constitution amendment, nation building and democracy in Nigeria as work in progress, Ekweremadu argued that Nigeria’s democracy was making tremendous progress, assuring the gathering that the National Assembly would conclude the current constitution amendment project as well as electoral reforms early enough in order to facilitate a smooth, free, fair and more credible general elections in 2015.
Aliyu Advocates Full Implementation of HYPPADEC
GOVERNOR Muazu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State has directed delegates representing the state at the ongoing national conference to push for the full implementation of the Hydro Power Producing Areas Development Commission, HYPPADEC, the bill that President Goodluck Jonathan has since signed into law.
Aliyu who was at an enlarged stakeholders meeting in Minna on Thursday, April 17, advised the delegates to lobby their colleagues for the full execution of the provision of the bill, which he said would bring solution to the perennial problem being faced by people in the riverine areas and flood plains of the three Hydro Electric Dams situated at Jebba, Kainji and Shiroro with another one under construction in Zungeru all in the state.
The stakeholders also resolved that the state should also ask for necessary compensation from the relevant authorities for the power being generated from the dams.
Besides, Aliyu said the state was of the opinion that power generation and distribution should be decentralised, adding that it was morally and financially wrong for states or private investors to construct power plants, generate and distribute electricity only for such organisations to plough such generated power to the national grid.
Also the governor said the “current onshore, offshore dichotomy should be renegotiated to the extent that states would be allowed to harness their natural resources. Niger State and the entire northern states should also canvass to make land a valuable resource.”
— Apr. 28, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT