Obasanjo’s Knock on Jonathan


ALL is still not well between President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The indication to this fact became apparent at this year’s celebration of democracy day held throughout the country on Wednesday, May 29. Obasanjo did not join Jonathan in the celebration, but opted to be at the First Jigawa State Economic and Investment Summit hosted by Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State in Dutse, the capital city. “You know you can help somebody to get a job, but you cannot help him to do it. If somebody cannot do the job, we have Sule Lamido who we are confident can do the job,” Obasanjo told the audience at the function.

Although Obasanjo did not elaborate on his statement, it was easy for those who have been watching the political crisis in the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, to which he belongs, to get the message. The relationship between him, Jonathan and the party has remained strenuous. Lamido is rumoured to be interested in the presidential race with Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State as his running mate. But Lamido has repeatedly said he was yet to think about 2015.

The former president said he was proud of what the Lamido administration had been able to achieve in the state, by implementing people-oriented policies and programmes, thereby increasing the gross domestic product, GDP, in the state. “With Lamido, you know where you stand. When he says he will do, he will do. And when he says he will not do, he will not do. Let’s all pray he doesn’t say he will not do, because if he says he will not do, not even I, Obasanjo can pressurise him. And you need a man like that,” he said.

Obasanjo revealed that, although he had imposed Lamido on the people of Jigawa, he was satisfied that the governor had made him proud. He, however, advised all the state governors to maintain a cordial relationship with the federal government so as to ensure meaningful development in Nigeria.

It is also on record that Obasanjo and Jonathan have argued many times on national issues bothering on security and economy.

Only former President Shehu Shagari, General Yakubu Gowon (retd.), and Ernest Shonekan, former head of interim national government, attended the ceremony. Apart from Obasanjo, also conspicuously absent among past leaders were as Generals Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, and Abdusalami Abubakar (retd.), as well as Aminu Tambuwal, speaker of the House of Representatives.


The Worries of Tambuwal


AMINU Waziri Tambuwal, speaker of the House of Representatives, is not happy with the lingering crisis in the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP. Tambuwal was especially sad that “some traits that are very, very undemocratic” were being introduced to destroy the democratic setting. Speaking at the Trade Fair Complex in Sokoto on the occasion of this year’s democracy day celebration, on Wednesday, May 29, Tambuwal said: “What we have been witnessing recently in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is that there are some traits that are very, very undemocratic that are creeping into our system. I would call on all of us who are actors in this democracy not only to sustain the legacies of our heroes past by improving on what we have met, but by ensuring that we do not lower the standards and thereby destroy our democracy.”

He reminded Nigerians to hold up the existing democracy tenuously and not allow it to flounder. On the coming 2015 elections, the speaker reminded everyone that “it is only when we have democracy in place that anybody can be re-elected or anybody can be elected. We, therefore, need to be more cautious.” He praised the steadfastness of the military and other security agencies in their support of and safeguard of the nation’s democracy, but warned that “we must not overstretch our goodwill.”

Flying Lamido/Amaechi Kite


FOR the umpteenth time in this year, presidential campaign posters featuring Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State and Governor Chibuike Amaechi, his Rivers State counterpart, again, surfaced in the federal capital territory, Abuja, on Wednesday, May 29. The colourful posters, the same versions reportedly sighted earlier in Kaduna and Niger states, had portraits of Lamido and Amaechi in a joint ticket campaign posture. But the two governors have, at various occasions, denied nursing such ambitions. The posters were sighted along some major highways, especially in satellite towns and on flyovers in parts of Abuja. The posters carried messages: “2015: Vote for Lamido/Amaechi ticket.”

It is widely believed that Amaechi is currently at the loggerheads with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, hierarchy because of his political ambition. The governor was suspended from the party on Monday, May 27, citing anti-party activities. The suspension came barely two days after Amaechi won a re-election as Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, a post which the party had warned him not to contest.

Bad Luck for Arms Dealers

FOUR foreigners, suspected to have been Middle East nationals, were arrested in Kano by the Joint Task Force over a large cache of arms and ammunition uncovered in their mini-warehouse located in the Bompai area of Kano on Tuesday, May 28. The occupants of the complex, where the dangerous weapons were impounded and identified as Lebanese nationals, were arrested by military personnel. Abdul Hassan Taher Fadlalla, a Lebanese owner of the complex, is currently out of the country. Since the arrest, the radius around the building, located on Gaya road in Bompai area of the metropolis, has been put under surveillance by heavily armed soldiers.

Speaking to pressmen on Thursday, May 30, Bassey Etang, director of Department of State Services, DSS, in Kano, said the weapons, discovered in a bunker at a Lebanese residence in Kano, Tuesday, belonged to Hezbollah, international terrorist organisation. He said: “The weapons were brought in by an international terrorist organisation, Hezbollah, to attack Israeli and Western interests in Nigeria,” Etang said.

Arms recovered
Arms recovered

Also addressing the press conference, Iliyasu Abba, a brigadier general and commandant of the 3rd Motorised Brigade in Kano, said he was at the scene of the discovery in Bompai area of Kano metropolis. Abba said the weapons recovered from the depot included 11, 50mm anti-tank weapons, two 122mm artillery gun ammunition, four anti-tank landmines, 21 rocket-propelled grenades, RPG, 16 rocket-propelled grenade charges, one rocket-propelled grenade tube and 76 military grenades. Others were one SMG rifle, nine pistols, 17 AK-47 rifles, 44 magazines, 11,433 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and 103 packets of slap TNT.

He said further that investigation has also confirmed the existence of a Hezbollah foreign terrorist cell in Nigeria. According to the commandant, the discovery was made possible by the DSS arrest of one Mustapha Fawaz, co-owner of the popular Amigo Supermarket and Wonderland Amusement Park, all in Abuja, May 16. It was followed by the arrest of Abdullah Tahini, another Lebanese, at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport with undeclared 60,000 United States dollars on him en-route Beirut. Thereafter, on May 26 one Talal Roda, also a Lebanese with Nigerian passport, was arrested in the same house.

Military authorities said the weapons had been evacuated to the headquarters of the 3rd Motorised Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Kano, alongside the suspects. Meanwhile, the JTF has arrested 50 terrorist suspects in Borno State with the aid of special dogs. Chris Olukolade, a brigadier-general and director of defence information, who disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, May 29, said the suspects were arrested with the help of specially trained dogs while trying to infiltrate Maiduguri.

He said 15 of the suspects were caught with arms concealed either in their bodies or properties and that various attempts by the suspected terrorists, who were dislodged from their camps in the forest in Borno, to enter the cities and towns of the North-East, had been thwarted with the aid of the dogs. “Trained military police dogs are participating in the cordon and search phase of special operations against terrorism in the country,” Olukolade said.


Buhari on APC


GENERAL Muhammadu Buhari, former presidential candidate and national leader of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, has made a case for the evolution of the All Progressives Congress, APC, saying it was not for personal aggrandisement, but for national cohesion. He said the formation of the party had become necessary to promote national ideals and unity.

Speaking at the inauguration of constituency projects by Abbass Tajuddeen, a member of the House Representatives, representing Zaria, Kaduna State, on Wednesday, May 29, the former military head of state said if elected into office, he would foster national unity and restore the hopes of every Nigerian. He appealed to the electorate to remain peaceful during and after the 2015 general elections with a view to electing credible candidates of their choice for the good of the nation.

— Jun. 10, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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