TEN months after the plane crash that almost took his life, Governor Dambaba Suntai of Taraba State, is to be home soon. Emmanuel Bwacha, senator and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, dropped the hint while speaking to the press in Lagos on Wednesday, August 7. The senator, who represents the South District of Taraba State, said that those calling for the swearing in of the acting governor as the substantive governor were oblivious of the provision of the 1999 Constitution. Bwacha said: “The constitution does not specify the time frame for an acting governor. He can be there as the acting governor till the end of the tenure. But the governor will soon return to the state to continue his work. He is on the way to recovery.”
Bwacha said he had visited the ailing governor in New York, United States, and that he was recovering rapidly. He said the rumour that his health had worsened was unfounded and wicked. According to him, there should no cause for alarm.
Deportation Without End
AS THE controversy over the deportation of some indigenes of Anambra State continues to rage, Lagos State on Wednesday, August 7, deported a batch of 46 people to Oshogbo, Osun State. Biyi Odunlade, special adviser to Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, who received the deportees called destitute, said that the state has no option than to welcome them. According to Odunlade, out of the 46 destitute evacuated from Lagos, only 26 were genuine indigenes of the state after their screening.
Odunlade further said that about 150 of such destitute have been repatriated to the state from Lagos, Oyo and other places since the current administration came on board. His words; “We were invited by Lagos State to pick our brothers and sisters who were destitute and 46 persons were brought, out of which we discovered that just 26 of them are actually indigenes of the state, comprising of 19 males and five females with two children who are from different local governments in the state. It is our responsibility to take the matter up because Governor Aregbesola believes in quick and responsible action, and that is why the state government insisted that any time Lagos invited us for their evacuation, we should respond on good time,” the governor’s aide said.
Another Boko Haram Strike in Yobe
FOUR soldiers and two policemen were killed when some gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram, an Islamic sect, stormed a roadblock mounted by the Joint Military Task Force in Gonori, Yobe State, on Tuesday, August 6. Gonori is about 50 kilometres away from Damaturu, the state capital.
The insurgents, numbering about 20, were said to have caught their victims unawares while they were relaxing at about 7pm. The attackers were said to have carried AK47 guns. “The suspected Boko Haram members might have been monitoring the roadblock and opened fire when they noticed that the soldiers were more relaxed in the evening,” a witness said. The source said members of the Special Task Force were still engaged in a gunfight in Yobe over the incident until late on Wednesday, August 7.
The Special Task Forces is an amalgam of security operatives raised to confront insurgents in the troubled North-East when the federal government declared a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states on May 14, this year.
Peace Returns to Ekiti PDP
THE Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has been working frantically to reconcile its warring members in Ekiti State. Umar Damagun, an ambassador and chairman of the party’s reconciliation committee visited the state on Tuesday, August 6, and claimed to have reconciled Ayo Fayose, former governor of the state and all warring members including Makanjuola Ogundipe, chairman of the party. Damagun, who led three other officials of the PDP from Abuja, held a meeting with Tope Aluko, secretary, Kola Oluwawole, publicity secretary and Busola Oyebode, woman leader of the party. All the party officials were present at the press briefing where the PDP committee announced the reconciliation.
Although Fayose was not present at the meeting, Damagun said his suspension had been lifted and there was no more war between the former governor and the state party chairman. Damagun explained that Fayose was not present because the meeting was meant for members of the state working committee alone.
He, however, kept mum on the issue of consensus candidate for the governorship election which was at the root of the crisis in the party. He said the leadership of the party would “do the right thing when the time comes to decide on it.” Ogundipe said he was happy with the amicable resolution of the crisis and that the party was now stronger and more determined to sweep away the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, (now part of the new All Progressives Congress) from the state.
No Break-Up of Nigeria
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has assured Nigerians that the country would not break up in 2015. Speaking while receiving Vice President Namadi Sambo, who led the Muslim community on the annual Sallah homage to his office on Thursday, August 7, the president faulted the United States’ report that predicted that Nigeria will break up on or before 2015. He said that the country’s diversity was such a great strength that was yet to be tapped.
Jonathan used the occasion to congratulate the Muslim community for successfully observing the Ramadan fast, and urged the Nigerian Muslims to continue to pray for peace in Nigeria and all over the world. He noted that fasting wasn’t an easy task, because he had participated in the 30 days fasting every year in solidarity with Muslims in the country. “For us, we cannot imagine a Nigeria without Muslims and Christians; you can call it another name, but not Nigeria. So, it is a blessing that this is one country that you have significant populations of Muslims and Christians and this religious diversity will enhance our development because we can get across the whole world; wherever we go we are accepted. That helps us in so many ways,” he said.
The president added that both Christians and Muslims were brothers and sisters and must live together to strengthen the bond.
Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, in a similar message called on Islamic and Christian clergy to preach with the absolute fear of God in the country. The Sultan, in his Sallah message to the Muslim faithful in Nigeria to mark the Eid-el-Fitri celebrations, said the clergy should fear God and live above their own selfish interests while preaching to their followers.
“They should avoid provocative statements that could lead to the breach of peace and lead to violence in the country. They should also know that staying attuned to the religious teachings is the only way that brings mutual respect and love which eventually lead to the desired peace in the nation,’’ he said.
— Aug. 19, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT