Trump called on spy chiefs for help as Mueller probe began

international News, Politics, Power

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two months before special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed in the spring of 2017, President Donald Trump picked up the phone and called the head of the largest U.S. intelligence agency. Trump told Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, that news stories alleging that Trump’s 2016 White House campaign had ties to Russia were false and the president asked whether Rogers could do anything to counter them.

Rogers and his deputy Richard Ledgett, who was present for the call, were taken aback.

Afterward, Ledgett wrote a memo about the conversation and Trump’s request. He and Rogers signed it and stashed it in a safe. Ledgett said it was the “most unusual thing he had experienced in 40 years of government service.”

Trump’s outreach to Rogers, who retired last year, and other top intelligence officials stands in sharp contrast to his public, combative stance toward his intelligence agencies. At the time of the call, Trump was just some 60 days into his presidency, but he already had managed to alienate large parts of the intelligence apparatus with comments denigrating the profession.

Since then, Trump only has dug in. He said at a news conference in Helsinki after his 2017 summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin that he gave weight to Putin’s denial that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, despite the firm conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that it had. “I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia, Trump said. And earlier this year, Trump called national security assessments “naive,” tweeting “perhaps intelligence should go back to school.”

Yet in moments of concern as Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election got underway, Trump turned to his spy chiefs for help.

The phone call to Rogers on March 26, 2017, came only weeks after then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions had angered Trump by stepping aside from the investigation. James Comey, the FBI director who would be fired that May, had just told Congress that the FBI was not only investigating Russian meddling in the election, but also possible links or coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

The call to Rogers and others like it were uncovered by Mueller as he investigated possible obstruction. In his 448-page report released Thursday, Mueller concluded that while Trump attempted to seize control of the Russia investigation and bring it to a halt, the president was ultimately thwarted by those around him.

The special counsel said the evidence did not establish that Trump asked or directed intelligence officials to “stop or interfere with the FBI’s Russia investigation.” The requests to those officials, Mueller said, “were not interpreted by the officials who received them as directives to improperly interfere with the investigation.”

During the call to Rogers, the president “expressed frustration with the Russia investigation, saying that it made relations with the Russians difficult,” according to the report.

Trump said news stories linking him with Russia were not true and he asked Rogers “if he could do anything to refute the stories.” Even though Rogers signed the memo about the conversation and put it in a safe, he told investigators he did not think Trump was giving him an order.

Trump made a number of similar requests of other top intelligence officials.

On March 22, 2017, Trump asked then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats to stay behind after a meeting at the White House to ask if the men could “say publicly that no link existed between him and Russia,” the report said.

In two other instances, the president began meetings to discuss sensitive intelligence matters by stating he hoped a media statement could be issued saying there was no collusion with Russia.

After Trump repeatedly brought up the Russia investigation with his national intelligence director, “Coats said he finally told the President that Coats’s job was to provide intelligence and not get involved in investigations,” the report said.

Pompeo recalled that Trump regularly urged officials to get the word out that he had not done anything wrong related to Russia. But Pompeo, now secretary of state, said he had no recollection of being asked to stay behind after the March 22 meeting, according to the report.

https://www.newsbreakapp.com/n/0LfqeUcH?s=a99&pd=31667862

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Nigeria: Elections and Human Rights

2019 Elections, Politics, Power

Oge Onubogu 
USIP, Senior Program Officer,                    Africa Programs

Statement before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

I would like to thank the co-chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Congressman Hultgren and Congressman McGovern, for convening this briefing today on Nigeria. I appreciate the opportunity to present my views. I am a senior program officer at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), although the views expressed here are my own. USIP was established by Congress over 30 years ago as an independent, national institute to prevent and resolve violent conflicts abroad, in accordance with U.S. national interests and values.

It is a privilege to appear before you today, along with colleagues to discuss the risks, challenges, and opportunities around the upcoming elections in one of Africa’s most important countries.  

Nigeria’s keenly anticipated presidential and national assembly elections are scheduled for February 16, 2019, while the elections for state governors and state assemblies are scheduled for March 2, 2019. These elections come 20 years after the restoration of democratic, multiparty constitutional rule in Nigeria. The 2019 elections follow the country’s first-ever peaceful transition of power to an opposition candidate in 2015. Thus, the upcoming elections will test the resilience of Nigeria’s democratic institutions to successfully conduct two consecutive credible elections. While democratization is not a linear process, many Nigerians expect further progress in 2019, including a credible electoral process.

While Nigeria has made major strides in its democratic development, the struggle to control the widespread violence that plagues its communities is far from over. Nigeria’s democracy remains fragile and its elections remain vulnerable.

Nigeria’s political parties are now in full campaign mode ahead of next year’s elections. Unfortunately, signs are emerging that election-related violence is a real possibility. However, it is not too late for Nigerians and the international community to take steps to reduce the risks of election-related violence in 2019. The United States has actively encouraged Nigeria’s democratic progress in the past and should step up its attention on Nigeria’s 2019 elections.

To do this effectively, it is crucial that as much attention be paid to flashpoints at the state-level as to tensions surrounding the higher profile campaigns for the presidency. International and domestic observers reported incidents of voter intimidation by security forces and party agents during the re-run of the off-cycle gubernatorial election in Osun state in September. This illustrates the intensity of state elections and the associated risks. Elections next year in states that are considered higher profile than Osun are likely to be even more volatile.

The 2019 state-level elections will usher in leadership to some of the most populous and economically important states in Nigeria and Africa, including Lagos, Kano and Rivers, as well as in states that experience recurring intercommunal violence including Plateau, Kaduna and Benue.

The gubernatorial elections will take place in 29 of Nigeria’s 36 states, just two weeks after the presidential elections. Seven other state elections are scheduled off-cycle for various reasons. In the 29 contests, incumbent governors are defending 19 seats. Of those, 12 are members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). The other seven belong to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of opposition candidate and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Incumbent governors running for a second four-year term hold significant advantages because of their domination of state party structures, leverage over powerful patronage networks, and the ways they can manage to employ state funds to bolster their campaigns.  Incumbents in the remaining 10 of the 29 states, cannot run again because of term limits or because they lost out in their state party primaries, making elections in these states’ competitive open races.

State-level elections are important for democratic progress in Nigeria. State races often function as a proving ground for candidates aspiring to national office. Moreover, the country’s powerful state governors, allocate federally disbursed revenue, shape policy on development and security, and also oversee the state election commissions which manage local government elections across Nigeria’s 774 local government areas. A 2018 USIP study on the Nigeria elections noted the growing prominence of local government elections among Nigerians, who are increasingly viewing local elections as a testing ground for budding politicians – in order words, democracy at the grassroots.   

The USIP study which was conducted in 8 states (Kano, Adamawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Rivers, Ekiti, Lagos, Anambra) and in the federal capital territory, Abuja, found that many political and conflict conditions have changed since 2015. So, it is important that the nature of these changes—and the forces behind them—be considered in weighing whether election-related violence at the national or state-level is likely, and if so, how to prevent it or mitigate the consequences.

Among these changes are the shifting perceptions of narratives of security and insecurity in Nigeria.  The prominence of the pastoralist-farmer conflicts has shaped perceptions that large parts of the country are insecure. Clashes between farmers and herders over land and water have escalated and are particularly deadly in the northern states of Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Adamawa, Zamfara and Kaduna. Some of those states, including Benue and Plateau, fall within the politically influential region of North Central Nigeria. In the country’s Northeast, the military claims to have “technically defeated” Boko Haram, but the terrorist group continues to stage well-publicized attacks. Meanwhile, paramilitary forces, such as the civilian joint task force (CJTF), which were organized in response to the terrorist threat, now pose a danger themselves in places such as Borno State – the epicenter of the Boko Haram insurgency. So, the state-level contest to replace Borno’s term-limited Governor Kashim Shettima will be especially important.

Another significant change since 2015 are the proliferating divisions within the two largest political parties, the APC and the PDP. Particularly within the ruling APC, it continues to exhibit an inability to consolidate its internal party structure and effectively resolve internal rivalries. The recent October party primaries in the APC-led Zamfara state were marred by violence and the party leadership has been unable to address the internal grievances. Preparations for the Zamfara state elections in 2019 also continue to be controversial. Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declined to accept the APC’s gubernatorial candidate, stating that the party submitted his name too late.

As intraparty conflicts sharpen, rivalry between the APC and the PDP remain intense. This competition lies at the root of persistent violence, including around elections, in the Niger Delta’s leading oil producer, Rivers State. This state is considered a “political prize” for any party that can capture control of the jurisdiction. State-level elections in Rivers are often characterized by high levels of violence. According to the Fund for Peace, Rivers state experienced the most election violence incidents and fatalities of any Nigerian state during the 2015 elections. Political hostilities in Rivers have heightened since APC’s growing challenge to the PDP’s previous dominance in the 2015 elections. The personal rivalry between the former Governor and current transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi (APC), and the current state Governor, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike (PDP), continues to exacerbate divisions along party lines.

Despite the short amount of time before the elections and the potential for election violence in 2019, there are still opportunities for action.

First, clear plans for the prevention of election violence need to be in place now. These plans should be effectively communicated to citizens by the INEC and security agencies and should be sustained longer to contain post-election incidents.

For many Nigerians, the memories of election-related violence are still current because the Nigerian government has been unable to establish mechanisms to address electoral offenses. The recommendations from the 22-member presidential committee on the 2011 post-election violence – Nigeria’s bloodiest elections since the transition in 1999 in which human rights organizations estimated over 800 people were killed – have not been implemented.  

The National Human Rights Commission, which is a statutory body mandated to document human rights violations and initiate processes for prosecution, is a weak institution and has been relatively ineffective since 2015. A bill to a create a specialized electoral offenses commission with the authority to investigate, enforce, and prosecute electoral offenses is still pending in the National Assembly. It is unlikely that this bill will pass before the 2019 elections.

With less than three months to the elections, the U.S. and international community should prioritize engagements with their Nigeria counterparts on ways to effectively address and prosecute electoral offenses in the 2019 elections. In addition, Nigeria should hold itself to a higher standard when it comes to prosecuting electoral offenses. Proposing that a credibly elected government that emerges after the 2019 elections prioritize the passage and implementation of the bill to establish a specialized electoral offenses commission could be a good way to start.     

In the short term, Nigerian authorities should identify credible state-level and community leaders in advance who could provide leadership and advice—or even mediation—in the event of rising tensions. USIP’s Nigeria Working Group on Peacebuilding and Governance, a group of eminent civic leaders from diverse backgrounds, could be a source of support to the Nigerian authorities. Other community leaders with the skills and influence to prevent and defuse violence should be engaged as well.

The National Peace Committee, which played an important role in securing the peaceful transition of presidential power in 2015, should be reenergized. Given the current realities and possibilities of higher levels of violence during the gubernatorial elections, peace committees should also be created at the state-level.   

Some states already have institutions designed to reduce violence, such as the Plateau State Peacebuilding Agency, the Kaduna State Peacebuilding Commission, and the Adamawa State Peace Commission. These bodies are still getting their footing. USIP is working closely with them and with local community leaders and civil society representatives to address state-level violence before, during, and after the 2019 elections.  

Secondly, the U.S. and other international supporters of the electoral process in Nigeria should intensify their efforts to reinforce the work of key institutions that administer and support the electoral processes, most notably the INEC and the Nigerian Police.

INEC’s election management process has improved over the years, but challenges remain. The Commission has carried out many commendable reforms under its new Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. However, their good technical work may be of limited value if it is not widely known, understood, and trusted by the electorate or if voters feel that they will experience intimidation on election day.

Nigeria’s security agencies, particularly the police that is the lead agency on election security, should commit to better coordination with INEC and neutrality in the electoral process to positively influence voter confidence.

The U.S. government should support INEC and the Nigerian Police to ensure that the existing Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), which bring together INEC, the police, and other security agencies in a forum for election security planning at both the federal and state levels, serves as an effective coordinating mechanism. This coordination is especially important at the state-level to ensure a peaceful electoral process.

The INEC should also implement a more assertive and far-reaching public relations strategy to communicate with the voters, media, and political parties before, during, and after elections. The INEC should also have a transparent approach on the release of election results. A reinvigorated INEC strategy could go beyond generic voter information and civic education and be designed and differentiated for the realities of different regions, states, and elections in Nigeria.

Finally, Nigeria will be looked to in the region to fulfill its proper role as one of the best examples of democratic development in Africa. While there has been much improvement, Nigeria’s political leaders can and should do better.

The United States and international community, including the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), should intensify their pre-election diplomacy. All stakeholders with potential influence on Nigeria’s leaders can convey their expectation that Nigeria’s political parties act responsibly throughout campaigns, balloting and the post-election period. They can also convey to Nigerian leaders an expectation that political parties discipline their members, officials and their candidates if they violate standards of acceptable conduct.

The conduct of the 2015 elections raised citizen expectations for government performance. A credible electoral process in 2019 will strengthen Nigeria’s democratic development and enhance public confidence in its democratic institutions. A flawed election could result in a regression in democratic values in Nigeria and weaken the democratic progress that prevails in much of West Africa.

Despite its many challenges, Nigeria shows a commitment to democratic values. It is in the interest of the U.S and the international community to continue supporting Nigeria’s democratic development. Focusing efforts to reduce election-related violence in 2019, especially in the state gubernatorial elections, could be an important place to start.

The view expressed in this statement are those of the author and not the U.S. Institute of Peace

The Current Situation in Nigeria

2019 Elections, Africa, Nigeria, Politics, Power, SEcurity

A USIP Fact Sheet

President Buhari’s 2015 election saw the country’s first peaceful transfer of power to an opposition candidate. Elections raised hopes that some of Nigeria’s most pressing problems—including weak governance, corruption, the Boko Haram insurgency, and persistent intercommunal conflicts—could soon be under control. Despite President Buhari’s vision for reform, the country’s security challenges are surging as the factors that fuel violent conflicts remain largely unaddressed. 

USIP’S Work

USIP brings together state governors and civic leaders to design, foster, and implement inclusive policies that mitigate violence and strengthen community-oriented security. The Institute engages a variety of influential figures, empowers citizens, and uses its expertise and convening power to inform Nigeria policy in the U.S., the region, and around the world. Recent work includes:

Promoting Inclusive, Peaceful Societies.

Many of the factors driving conflict and the Boko Haram insurgency exist across Nigeria’s northern region. These include governance challenges, marginalization, and youth unemployment. Nigeria’s federal system gives governors great responsibilities to address these issues.

The Institute leverages the governors’ influence by working with them to focus policies on citizens’ needs and establish strategies that prevent and resolve violent conflict. In the process, USIP and the state governors build more inclusive processes and send the message that addressing violent extremism must be achieved cooperatively.

Through the Nigeria Working Group on Peacebuilding and Governance, the Institute adds public figures to the dialogue. The Working Group fosters relationships between citizens and governors—ensuring that a diversity of citizens’ voices impacts important decisions. The Working Group also demonstrates thought leadership through publications, research, editorials, and op-eds on state government roles in addressing conflict.

Strengthening Local Security.

USIP’s peacebuilding initiatives in Nigeria improve state-level institutions’ ability to manage local conflict by piloting dialogue-based approaches and providing recommendations and lessons learned to policymakers.

  • Network of Nigerian facilitators. USIP recruited and continues to provide technical and financial support to a cadre of facilitators to convene dialogues related to election security, transitioning to community-oriented policing, and manage communal disputes that pose a risk of violence.
  • Justice and Security Dialogue project. Modeled an approach for community policing through ongoing dialogues between police and the community, particularly youth.
  • State peacebuilding institutions. Bolstering the ability of state peacebuilding institutions in Plateau and Kaduna states to respond to local conflicts before they become violent.
  • Conducting research that translates into action. USIP’s Nigeria research improves understanding of violence’s risks and develops effective approaches to managing violent conflict.
  • Elections violence risk assessment. Together with several partners, USIP is conducting an elections violence risk assessment ahead of Nigeria’s 2019 elections to provide actionable and timely analysis that will help key figures work to prevent violence before, during, and after the elections.
  • Transitioning from military operations to civilian policing. The Institute conducted research on the transition to community-oriented policing following military-led security in northeast Nigeria. The research incorporated the perspectives and priorities of vigilante groups into recommendations for a more responsive security sector.
  • Researching resistance to violence. With USIP’s support, the Centre for Information Technology and Development examined the factors that make certain communities more resistant to the threat of violence in north-east Nigeria. The research showed that community resilience thrives when there is a robust community platform for active citizen participation and democratic decision-making. The absence of such a platform in many communities led to their quick and brutal destruction by Boko Haram.

Download full Report at: USIP

The Risk of Election Violence in Nigeria is Not Where You Think

2019 Elections, Africa, APC, Oil, PDP, PMB, Politics, Power, SEcurity

Containing violence at the state level will be key to a peaceful election

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 / BY: Oge Onubogu ; Idayat Hassan

Nigeria’s political parties are in full campaign mode ahead of national and state-level elections early next year, and unfortunately signs are emerging that election-related violence is a real possibility. It’s not too late, however, for Nigerians and the international community to take steps to reduce the risks of coercion and possibly even bloodshed. To do so effectively, it’s crucial that as much attention be paid to flashpoints at the state level as to tensions surrounding the higher profile campaign for president.

People gather and watch election coverage at a small market in Kano, northern Nigeria, March 31, 2015. (Samuel Aranda/The New York Times)
People gather and watch election coverage at a small market in Kano, northern Nigeria, March 31, 2015. (Samuel Aranda/The New York Times)

In Nigeria, All Politics is Local

September’s off-cycle election for governor in the southwestern state of Osun illustrates the intensity of state elections and the accompanying risks. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the initial results inconclusive because of technical problems and other disruptions, and the vote had to be redone. In the second round, U.S., European Union and U.K. observers reported that they found “incidents of interference and intimidation of voters, and heard reports of harassment of party monitors, journalists and domestic observers.” Social media posts showed photos of allegedly injured civilians. Higher profile state races in 2019 are likely to be even more volatile.

State-level elections are important for democratic development in Nigeria, which serves as a bellwether for stability in Africa as the continent’s most populous country and biggest oil-producing nation. State races often function as a proving ground for candidates aspiring to national office. Moreover, the country’s powerful state governors, who allocate federally disbursed revenue and shape policy on development and security, oversee the state election commissions that manage local government elections—the essence of grassroots democracy.

The 2019 state-level voting will usher in leadership to some of the most populous and economically important states in Nigeria, including Lagos, Kano and Rivers, as well as in states that experience recurring intercommunal violence including Plateau, Kaduna and Benue.

The electoral calendar will be crowded in the first quarter of 2019. Just two weeks after the general elections, balloting will take place on March 2 to select governors and state assemblies in 29 of Nigeria’s 36 states (seven others are scheduled off-cycle for various reasons). In the 29 contests, incumbent governors are defending 19 seats. Of those, 12 are members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). The other seven belong to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of opposition candidate and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Incumbent governors running for a second four-year term hold significant advantages because of their domination of state party structures, leverage over powerful patronage networks and the ways they can manage to employ state funds to bolster their campaigns.

In Lagos state, the APC incumbent lost in the October primary, and in the remaining nine of the 29 state contests (Borno, Gombe, Imo, Kwara, Nasarawa, Ogun, Oyo, Yobe and Zamfara), the incumbents cannot run again because of term limits, making for competitive open races.

A Complex Risk Environment

In the 2015 state elections, voting generally proceeded smoothly across the country, according to the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD), a U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) partner organization in Nigeria. Even so, “significant incidences of shootings, protests, arson and fatalities were recorded in most geopolitical zones,” the CDD reported.

Three years later, conditions have changed. The nature of these changes—and the forces behind them—must be considered in weighing whether state-level election violence is likely, and if so, how to prevent it or mitigate the consequences.

The number of violent conflicts across the country and their toll have increased. Clashes between farmers and herders over land and water have escalated and are particularly deadly in the northern states of Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Adamawa, Zamfara and Kaduna. Some of those states, including Benue and Plateau, fall within the politically influential region of North Central Nigeria.

In the country’s Northeast, the military claims to have decimated Boko Haram, but the group continues to stage well-publicized attacks. Meanwhile, paramilitary forces organized in response to the terrorist threat now pose a danger themselves in places such as Borno state. So, the contest to replace Borno’s term-limited Governor Kashim Shettima will be especially important.

Another change since 2015 is proliferating fissures within the APC and the PDP. In Kano, northern Nigeria’s most populous state and long considered a harbinger of a party’s political prospects across that region, divisions are deep within the APC between supporters of incumbent Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and backers of Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, formerly the state’s governor, and now member of the opposition PDP. Already, the party primaries in October in Zamfara were marred by violence. Preparations for that state’s elections in March continue to be controversial, as INEC has declined to accept the APC’s gubernatorial candidate, saying the party submitted his name too late.

As intraparty conflicts sharpen, rivalry between the APC and the PDP remains intense. That competition lies at the root of persistent violence, including around elections, in the Niger Delta’s leading oil producer, Rivers state—hostility heightened by the APC’s growing challenge to the PDP’s previous dominance in the lead-up to the 2015 vote. The Fund for Peace, another USIP partner in Nigeria, reports that “the personal rivalry between former Governor Rotimi Amaechi (APC) and current Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike (PDP)” exacerbates divisions along party lines. Rivers state is considered a political crown jewel for any party able to capture control of the jurisdiction.

How Election Violence can be Mitigated

So, what can be done? Nigeria must be held to a higher standard than in the past in order to fulfill its proper role as the best example of democratic development in Africa. While there has been much improvement in recent years, the country’s political leaders need to do better.

First, planning for prevention of election violence needs to occur earlier and be sustained longer to contain post-election incidents.

Secondly, the United States and international community, including the African Union and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), should intensify their pre-election diplomacy. All stakeholders with potential influence on Nigeria’s leaders must clearly convey their expectation that Nigeria’s political parties will act responsibly throughout campaigns, balloting and the post-election period. They must demand that parties discipline their members, officials and their candidates should they violate standards of acceptable conduct.

Finally, Nigerian authorities should identify credible state-level and community leaders in advance who could provide leadership and advice—or even mediation—in the event of rising tensions. USIP’s Nigeria Working Group on Peacebuilding and Governance, a group of eminent civic leaders, could be a source of support, and there may be other community leaders with the skills and influence to prevent and defuse violence. Some states already have institutions designed to reduce violence, such as the Plateau State Peacebuilding Agency and the Kaduna State Peacebuilding Commission. These bodies are still getting their footing, but they can work closely with local community leaders and civil society representatives.

While Nigeria has made major strides since democracy was restored almost 20 years ago, the struggle to control the widespread violence that plagues its communities is far from over. Reducing election-related violence, especially in the all-important state gubernatorial elections, is a crucial place to start.

Oge Onubogu is a senior program officer for Africa programs at USIP. Idayat Hassan is the director of the Centre for Democracy and Development–West Africa, an Abuja-based policy advocacy and research organization.

Buhari Presidency plotting to plunge the 2019 elections into a needless controversy – PDP /PPCO

2019 Elections, Africa, Nigeria, PMB, Politics, Power

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday declined signing the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018 into law, saying that it was capable of derailing preparations for 2019 polls. It was the fourth time he would reject the bill as previous rejections were based on observed errors. The President said he did not want to impose on the country the electoral uncertainty his assent might cause. He said that changing the rules a few months to the next general elections could lead to disruption and confusion. He asked the National Assembly to save the nation’s democracy by ensuring that the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2018 comes into effect after the February 2019 polls. He also raised issues on four amendments to the bill and asked the National Assembly to revisit the observations. Buhari, who made his opinion known in a December 6, 2018 letter to the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, said he had decided to place the interest of the country above any other matter. The letter was titled,‘Presidential decision to decline assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2018’.

It reads: “Pursuant to Section 58(4) of Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), I hereby convey to the Senate my decision on 6th December to decline Presidential Assent to the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 2018 recently passed by the National Assembly. “I am declining assent to the Bill principally because I am concerned that passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general elections, which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act, could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process. “Any real or apparent change to the rules this close to the election may provide an opportunity for disruption and confusion in respect of which law governs the electoral process.

“This leads me to believe that it is in the best interest of the country and our democracy for the National Assembly to specifically state in the Bill that the Electoral Act will come into effect and be applicable to elections commencing after the 2019 General Elections. “It is also important for the following drafting amendments to be made to the Bill:

•Section 5 of the Bill, amending Section 18 of the Principal Act should indicate the subsection to which the substitution of the figure “30” for the figure “60” is to be effected.

•Section 11 of the Bill, amending Section 36 should indicate the subsection in which the proviso is to be introduced.

•Section 24 of the Bill which amends Section 85(1) should be redrafted in full as the introduction of the “electing” to the sentence may be interpreted to mean that political parties may give 21 days’ notice of the intention to merge, as opposed to the 90 days provided in Section 84(2) of the Electoral Act which provides the provision for merger of political parties 

•The definition of the term “Ward Collection Officer” should be revised to reflect a more descriptive definition than the capitalised and undefined term “Registration Area Collation Officer.” “Please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”

President Buhari had refused to sign the Bill the first time as a result of the reordering of the election sequence by the National Assembly, and the second time because of what the Presidency called “drafting errors.” He also declined signing the bill the third time because of what the Presidency called “drafting issues that remained unaddressed.”

National Assembly may override Buhari There were indications yesterday that the National Assembly may override President Buhari’s withdrawal of assent on the Electoral Act, 2018. Although several calls made to obtain the reaction of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, yielded no result, a source close to the leadership of the Senate said the National Assembly would likely override the President on the Bill. It is, however, not clear whether the two chambers of the National Assembly can muster the required two-thirds majority to override the President.

The source said: “It is obvious that the National Assembly has bent backward almost to breaking point to give the President the benefit of the doubt. “The National Assembly has no other alternative but to override the President because nobody is in doubt that he does not want to sign the Bill.” “The days ahead will determine what will happen.” Senators express divergent views Former Senate Leader, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, and Clifford Ordia, who spoke with our correspondent in separate interviews yesterday, expressed divergent views on the refusal of the President to sign the Electoral Act amendment Bill.

Ndume said the President must have his reasons for declining assent to the Bill. But the Borno South senator said the National Assembly was at liberty to respond as it deemed fit. He added that the rejection would not affect the conduct of the 2019 general elections, saying “the President does not conduct elections.” He said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the body in charge of elections.

“All the president needs to do is to provide the necessary support, which I am certain that he has done,” he said. Ndume added: “I cannot fully comment right now since I am not aware of the reasons given by the President. “I am sure his reasons will be contained in the letter addressed to the leadership of the National Assembly. Let us wait and see till next week.” Senator Ordia, on his part, noted that the rejection of the amendment bill by the President was a clear sign that the APC was not ready to conduct a free and fair election. The Edo Central senator said that the rejection will further cast doubt on the ability of the President to give Nigerians an election that will be accepted by all. Ordia said: “Many of us are not surprised. We knew the amendment bill was not going to be signed.

“The earlier excuses advanced were just to distract everyone. “Now that we know, we also need to go back to the drawing board as a party and find a way to counter any plans the APC will be hatching.” PDP campaign urges N/Assembly to override Buhari The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO) yesterday charged the National Assembly to save the nation’s democracy by immediately overriding President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sign the amendment of the Electoral Act. The PDP Campaign said the legislative action had become imperative as the President’s decision was a calculated attempt to hold the nation to ransom. In a statement signed by the spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said the President’s action was capable of injecting crisis into the electoral process and ultimately scuttle the conduct of the 2019 general elections.

The opposition party insisted that the President was avoiding free and fair contest. The statement said: “President Buhari’s repeated refusal to sign amendments passed to check rigging in the election raises issues of his sincerity of purpose and has the capacity to trigger political unrest and violence, which can, in turn, truncate our hard-earned democracy. “The PPCO invites Nigerians to note that this is the fourth time President Buhari is withholding assent on the amendment, without any cogent reason following his rejection by Nigerians. “Nigerians can recall how the Buhari Presidency plotted to plunge the 2019 elections into a needless controversy by delaying the submission of the election budget to the National Assembly, presenting it at the time the legislators were commencing their annual vacation and asking for virement of funds already approved for development projects, instead of sending a fresh supplementary budget for the election.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. President, in his desperation to hold on to power, has resorted to taking steps that are capable of destabilising our nation, just because the people are resolute in voting him out of office democratically. “It is also instructive to note that President Buhari is mortally afraid of the amendments because they essentially checked the All Progressives Congress (APC) rigging plans, including the use of underage and alien voters, vote-buying, alteration of results and manipulation of voter register; for which the APC and the Buhari Presidency have been boasting of winning the 2019 elections. “While urging the National Assembly to save our democracy and forestall an imminent electoral crisis, the PPCO also charges all political parties, other critical stakeholders and Nigerians in general to rise in the interest of our nation and demand the entrenching of rules and processes that will guarantee the conduct of free, fair and credible elections, as nothing short of that would be accepted.”

It may affect deepening of democracy— CNPP The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) warned yesterday that the negative impact of not assenting to amendments to Nigeria’s Electoral Act as contained in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill (2018) before next year’s general elections will endanger the deepening of the country’s democracy. In its reaction to the rejection of the amendments to the bill by President Buhari, CNPP’s Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, said in a statement issued in Abuja that “there are indications that a cabal that resents credible electoral process is bent on frustrating the signing of any amendment to the electoral laws ahead of 2019.” It urged the National Assembly to save the country’s democracy and veto the President’s assent. According to the umbrella organisation of all registered political parties and political associations in the country, “it has become obvious that while President Buhari may ordinarily wish to ensure credible electoral process, some persons around him, which constitutes the cabal, resent free and fair contest and may have again deceived him into withholding assent to the bill.

“The CNPP as a body conceived as a common platform for political parties in Nigeria shares common concerns of well-meaning Nigerians on issues bordering on rule of law, promotion and defence of democratic principles and practices. “Therefore, this singular rejection of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill (2018) by Mr. President is another repressive attempt to stem multi-party democracy and have completely removed the last hope of level playing ground for all political parties in the forthcoming elections. “It is ironical that President Muhammadu Buhari has been promising free and fair elections and at the same time refusing to give effect to the only instrument that would have proven his commitment to credible electoral process in 2019.

“As one of the greatest beneficiaries of free and fair election from the last administration, we thought that Mr. President and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) should have been at the forefront of promoting transparency in elections. “However, to save our democracy and to take Nigeria’s electoral process to the next level of free and fair polls, not the next level of rigging, we demand that the National Assembly, as a matter of urgency, override Mr. President’s veto with a two-third-majority. “As it stands, the only hope Nigerians have left now rests on the National Assembly’s willingness to do the needful at this trying moment in our democratic journey.”

Russia will build missiles if US leaves treaty, Putin warns

Politics, Power, SEcurity, Tech, War
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Nato’s accusation was a pretext for the US to leave the treaty

Russia will develop missiles banned under a Cold War agreement if the US exits the pact, President Vladimir Putin has warned.

His comments follow Nato’s accusation on Tuesday that Russia has already broken the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

Signed in 1987 by the US and USSR, it banned both countries’ use of all short and medium-range missiles.

But Mr Putin says the accusation is a pretext for the US to leave the pact.

In televised comments, the Russian leader said many other countries had developed weapons banned under the INF treaty.

“Now it seems our American partners believe that the situation has changed so much that [they] must also have such a weapon,” he said.

“What’s our response? It’s simple – in that case we will also do this.” 

US President Donald Trump has previously said the country would leave the treaty because of Russian actions.

Analysts say Russia sees the weapons as a cheaper alternative to conventional forces.

Arriving for talks with Nato foreign ministers, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini urged the two countries to save the treaty, saying it had “guaranteed peace and security in European territory for 30 years now”.

What has Nato said?

On Tuesday, the Western military alliance formally accused Russia of breaking the treaty.

“Allies have concluded that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security,” the Nato foreign ministers’ statement read.

The statement said the member nations “strongly support” the US claim that Russia is in breach of the pact, and called on Moscow to “return urgently to full and verifiable compliance”.

A Russian missile is fired during military exercises
Image captionRussia denies building missiles that violate the accord

Speaking after the release of Nato’s statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Russia had 60 days to return to compliance with the treaty, after which time the US would suspend its own compliance.

“During this 60 days we will still not test or produce or deploy any systems, and we’ll see what happens during this 60-day period,” he said.

Russia has repeatedly denied breaking the Cold War treaty.

Presentational grey line

What is the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty?

Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan signing the INF Treaty in 1987
Image captionSoviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan signed the INF Treaty in 1987
  • Signed by the US and the USSR in 1987, the arms control deal banned all nuclear and non-nuclear missiles with short and medium ranges, except sea-launched weapons
  • The US had been concerned by the Soviet deployment of the SS-20 missile system and responded by placing Pershing and cruise missiles in Europe – sparking widespread protests
  • By 1991, nearly 2,700 missiles had been destroyed
  • Both countries were allowed to inspect the other’s installations
  • In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the treaty no longer served Russia’s interests
  • The move came after the US withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002

Saraki to Nigerian government: Scrap ‘Trader moni’ now, APC reacts

2019 Elections, APC, PDP, PMB, Politics, Power

Senate President and Director General of the Atiku Abubakar PDP Presidential Campaign Council Dr. Bukola Saraki has directed the Federal Government of Nigeria and the All Peoples’ Party to stop the criminal act of distributing money to market women as free Trader Moni. 


Senate President Bukola Saraki tells the Nigerian government to scrap Trader Moni, says it is a “sophisticated vote buying.”

Of Buhari, Tinubu, Macbeth and Odu Isa

2019 Elections, Africa, APC, Corruption, economy, Facts, Nigeria, PDP, PMB, Politics, Power, relationship

Of Buhari, Tinubu, Macbeth and Odu Isa.

“Owe ni Ifa npa, Omoran ni imo” Ifa’s revelation is always in parables; only the wise can understand their meanings.

In his analysis of the Shakespearean Tragedy “Macbeth” Michael Stratford argues that the essence of human pride was covered in three dimensions by this work. He asserted in supports of the works of Majorie Garber on the play which concluded that Macbeth’s confrontation with morality at the end of the play portrayed “real recovery” and completed the depiction of the phases of pride in men. He went further to outline these stages as: The hubris that hurls a man into sin and error, the false pride that secure and justifies all and perpetuates us in evil acts, and the final realization of our immortality and futility of all things.

The play Macbeth has been analyzed by many due to its relevance in everyday human progression. Macbeth was a young and virile soldier honored for his love of Scotland and bravery at war by King Duncan. He was at the zenith of his profession as a soldier and revered titled gentleman in Scotland when the story started. A chance meeting with the “three witches”, their predictions of Macbeth as the King of Scotland, transported this gentleman into a murderer and usurper and finally his death.Given the level of public exposure to education and the current public discourse about the ruler of Nigeria which pulls towards lack of proper formal education, maybe this narrative could be brought home more.

Curiosity recently made me look into the Ifa esoteric and cosmogony and I was amazed at the level of sophistication of the Odu Ifa in explaining and predicting main pattern of human conscious, and unconscious acts; going even further to reveal the purpose and destinies of humans on earth. I was further impressed by the manner with which knowledge and wisdom for managing pride and power were expressively itemized thorough the use of parables.For noninitiates, the Ifa divinity comprises of sixteen major quadrant of ancient Yoruba Ifa cult, which was subdivided into 256 distinct sub-heads detailing all areas of human: wisdom for proper interrelations, truth and moralities, science, cosmology, metaphysics, medicine and other established norms of the Yoruba People of Southwest Nigeria as established by Orunmila. Orunmila the first Ifa priest was reputed to have started the accumulation of this knowledge base, handing it over to his sixteen children, who continued to practice and develop the Ifa practice.

In Odi Isa, amongst the Odu Ifa, Orunmila tried to balance power and pride; where he depicts the travail of the Tiger, the king of the jungle when the entire animal challenged him to battle. The tiger despite his acclaimed overwhelming power, applied wisdom and appealed to the elders for help. The elders asked the Tiger to perform a sacrifice and in respect to the words of the elders, the Tiger performed all necessary rites. And to this day, no animal was able to conquer the tiger.

Tiger’s powerful could have stupidly against public opinion challenged the whole animal kingdom. which will then overrun him and take over his kingdom. When faced with adversities, he went begging the elders for advice. Instead of ruin and death as in Macbeth case, the tiger excel and its kingdom expanded.

Many writers in the pre-2015 era had lauded the achievements of the new progressives led by General Mohamadu Buhari and Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The duo in conjunction with other heavy weights in Nigerian politics had performed the first presidential election upset in Nigerian history; the defeat of a sitting president in a general election. The global press was agog in the spirit of the wave of change coming to Nigeria politics.

The emergence of Buhari as the new government leader was heralded as a milestone in Nigerian political arena. Given the sixteen years politicking before his emergence as the president, people were thoroughly misled that the “Buhari presidential dream” was driven by passionate goals for real change. When the new government started showing signs of unpreparedness to rule and obvious lack of cohesion were being revealed, the Nigerian people still believed and attributed it to huge challenges emanating from long period of institutionalized corruption by previous governments. Nigerian new government was later revealed to have been distracted by huge amount of propaganda, vain retribution, illegal and unnecessary arrests and prosecutions in its first year in power.

Apparently, governance and economy finally start to show negative growth. Before the end of the second year, the country which was reputed as one of the ten growing global economies was in recession. Economic indicator aside, the failing security architecture has been witnessed in all theaters of operation. Conflict escalations in most areas were being witnessed. Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) continued to rise as conflicts engulfs the state. Youth and elites migration have more than doubled within three years, and statistics on youth unemployment is reading above one third of population. The national currency’s value in international trade fell by over 200 percent in the first year of this government and it took direct intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria to shore up the Naira to its current 360 to one dollar status.

Failed economy, repetitive conflicts, insurrections, low school attendance, thriving illicit economies, and high youth emigration, according to Mary Kaldor are signs of failing states. The constant stay outside the country by the president was a minor issue until the whole world was treated to the caricature of Nigerian President’s show of shame in faraway Poland on the Saturday Night Show recently. The lack of grace and charisma that goes with the esteemed office of the president of Federal Republic of Nigeria, the representative of over 200millon people and one of the fastest growing states globally by this current president reflects his depth of understanding of the power and privilege of Nigeria in global politics.

Tinubu’s rise to stardom in Nigerian politics was midwifed by the NADECO movement against military rule in the late eighties and early nineties. The movement which led to the emergence of this ongoing republic equally blessed BAT with the governorship of the most priced state in Nigeria, Lagos. Lagos represents the hub of commerce and economy of Nigeria. Nigerian position as a giant in Africa business resides in the economic performance of Lagos State. Eight years of his direct rule, twelve years of his protégés ruling, characterized by unashamed plundering of Lagos state’s resources has created a new Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The Czar of Southwest Nigeria was born. By 2014, Tinubu had in his control a war-chest big enough to start and prosecute any political war in Nigeria against any opposition.

When Tinubu pitched his tent against President Goodluck Jonathan, midwifed a coalition of parties to form All Peoples’ Congress (APC) in supports of Buhari, the die was cast. Tinubu’s prowess and political machinery was founded on the Lagos State dynasty. This base he has always controlled since 1999. Experts have posited that the loss of Lagos by the Tinubu gang will surely sound the kernel of his political demise. Recent happenings have shown the arrival of the new Tinubu. Four month to general elections, Tinubu unilaterally influenced the removal of the name of the incumbent governor of Lagos State from the ballot and imposed a new man as the party representative. A move that has been reported irked many locals and party faithful.

Obviously, Tinubu’s power as sole godfather and power broker in Lagos politics is on test as 2019 February elections looms. Buhari’s reign and reelections as president is being supported by the Tinubu’s camp. The alliance many agreed was based on the pact to return Tinubu as president in 2023. This ambition has fueled the unalloyed support from Lagos APC for Buhari’s return. It’s a big gamble on the path of Tinubu and Buhari. Like the proverbial fly, Buhari has tasted the wine and is ready and willing to die in the same cup of wine.

Tinubu’s ambition also has turned him to the fly that refused to heed the warnings of the elders and has decided to follow the corpse into the earth. Ambition is necessary to achieve and progress in life, yet ambitions should be ethically based, no normal leader will continue to aspire to hold and office in which he does not have capacity for managing, and no normal human being will sacrifice the future of his people, merely for his own selfish ambition.

Ambition contaminated by acute pride surely begets disaster. Macbeth ambition was fueled by greed and selfish ambition to rule Scotland, never because he was a pushed by a need to work a better society for his people. His endgame led to war and carnage pushing Scotland which was growing as a nation into complete recession and pillage by ravaging armies. Equally, the Tiger would have resorted to use of might against his enemies as he was in power, but wisdom led him to the elders. Tinubu and Buhari have achieved the impossible in Nigerian politics; the time has come for them both to respect the people and leave the scene. Unrestrained pride and ambition, the elders says always lead to death and destructions.

Don Michael Adeniji                                                                                          Director, African Initiative for Peace and Human Development, Abuja Chicago Illinois. December, 2018

Negotiating new Leadership for Nigeria

Africa, PMB, Politics, Power, SEcurity

Leadership have been identified as a service which combine all human and nonhuman resources nurturing them to produce real and measurable results in any organisation or society. Any society without leaders with inherent ability to manage people and resources properly always fail.

The failure of the Nigerian society is regtetable given inherent human reaources and immeasurable minerals deposits. The paucity of able men to steer the affairs of this nation to Eldorado has been blamed on obvious lack of capable hands to manage these inherent potentials.

In 2015, a desperate move by the public led to hugely aclaimed judgemental error. The people elected an ancient and tired hand to manage a festering modern problem. Several schools have concluded that the uniqueness of the Nigerian problem requires a more agile and dedicated decision maker hence current leaders cannot nd might not be the batch to negotiate a new deal for Nigerians.

Great leaders are known by their acute listening and negotiation senses. Unfortunately leadership in Nigeria is based on the use of blunt force to overwhelm all nad any opposition. Government suspends rthe ruke of law and imposes the rule of force to serve their personal ends.

As the 2019 elections approaches,aside from all rhetorics there exists need for an academic look at basic qualifications for a new president for Nigeria. While many analyst and public commentators have contribute to this discussion, I will love to add these few qualities to the till.

For Nigeria to succeed, its leaders must be willing to understand the neeed to articulate national interest and move from self or regional interest. We must have leaders willing to stand and negotiate with global leaders using articulated national interest to design a place for Nigeria in International finance and trade. No nation can develop and geow without playing a major role in international trade. Effective leaders seek to understand the interests of those they lead and to find ways of satisfying those interests in order to achieve organizational and societal goals.

Nigerian are fleeing the country in thousands because of lack of business opportunities and means of achieving their individual and collective aspurations within Nigeria. It is ab I it time the Nigerian State recognise that human security goes beyond proviso of physical armed guards. Nigerian economy needed a boast and noone will give you what you never asked for. Nigeria cannot continue to attend international organisation meeting as a side show. A nation of over 200 million people, the largest market and biggest economy in Africa should be able to negotiate trade deals that give advantage to its people.

The leader Nigeria need should be firm and meliable enough to negotiate local and international business and trading relationships. The era of illmanaged international agreements and negotiations should come to an end. The new leader shoukd look at government as viable concern with potential for growth.

Relationships are the basis of trust. Positive relationships are important because they engender trust – a vital means of securing desired actions from others. People will be willing to sacrifice more when the leaders visions are clearer and are communicated in more friendly environment.

The right leadership is the voice of the people and uses his voice to negotiate a vision for the people using collaborative approach The age of know all solution leadership shoukd be jettisoned. New leasers must be able to fave squarely the challenge of forging a single vision out of the multiplicity of visions held by the group’s members.

National consensus are not easy to achieve but with the right voice, which the people can trust it’s achievable.

#justkukukilllme

We are going to challenge Senate’s resolution in court – Police — AdeLove.com|Best Nigerian Blog

2019 Elections, News, Power, SEcurity

The police authorities have resolved to drag the senate to the court to challenge the untoward action and resolution against the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris.

Image result for We are going to challenge Senate’s resolution in court – Police

The plan by the police to approach the courts came barely 48 hours after the angry senators declared Idris as unfit to hold public office

The Commissioner of Police (Legal), Force Headquarters, Mr. David Igbodo, stated this on Thursday while appearing on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“That declaration, we are going to challenge it (in court),” he said.

“We want the court to interpret whether each time the IGP is invited to appear before the National Assembly (NASS), whether he must, as a matter of fact, appear in person.”

The police boss and the National Assembly have not been on the same page since the arrest of Senator Dino Melaye over offences bordering on alleged murder and unlawful possession of firearms among several others.

Idris was first summoned on April 25, but he failed to appear, rather sent a DIG to represent him at the Senate, noting that he was on an official assignment to Bauchi with President Muhammadu Buhari.

He was summoned for the second time to appear on May 2, but he again failed to honour it, delegating Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Operations), Joshak Habila, whom the Senate refused to entertain.

Igbodo explained that the IGP acted in accordance with the law by delegating the DIG to represent him in an official capacity.

“Official functions of the IGP can be performed by the DIG or the Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs). So why are they insisting that it must be the IGP to appear in person?

“What is personal about it? The facts are known to the DIG (Operations). The facts are known to all the DIGs. They are expected to brief the NASS, why are they making it personal?”

Igbodo further accused the Senators of making the issue personal, wondering why the police chief cannot assign another senior officer on official assignments.

The police had earlier absolved the IGP of blames, stressing that he is not an enemy of democracy as declared by the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki.

Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, had in a statement on Wednesday said the police is rather the first defender of democracy in Nigeria.

He said, “It is important to correct the impression created in the minds of the people from the Senate’s resolution that the IGP is not and will not be an enemy to democracy.”

According to Moshood, the Senate’s declaration of the Police boss as an enemy of democracy is a deliberate blackmail, witch-hunting, and mischief aimed at casting aspersions on the integrity of the IGP.

The post We are going to challenge Senate’s resolution in court – Police appeared first onAdeLove.com|Best Nigerian Blog.

via We are going to challenge Senate’s resolution in court – Police — AdeLove.com|Best Nigerian Blog

TechCrunch: Our “modern” Congress doesn’t understand 21st century technology

law enforcement, Legal, Politics, Power, SEcurity

TechCrunch: Our “modern” Congress doesn’t understand 21st century technology . “Facebook is a business that sells social connection, its algorithms are made for targeted advertising. The data that we users provide via friends, likes and shares makes their model lucrative. But connecting a person to a pair of shoes cannot be the same engagement algorithm that we use to build a cohesive democratic society. Watch any hearing on Capitol Hill. It’s a durable, if old fashioned bridge between leaders and citizens. Informed deliberation could be a lot more compelling, but it can never compete on the same turf with funny GIFs and targeted videos. Algorithms optimized for commercial engagement do not protect public goods like democratic discourse. They are built for shareholders, not citizens. To the contrary, they can exploit and damage democracy’s most precious resource– civic trust.”

https://wp.me/p6lZHy-9e1

Prince Philip undergoes Hip Surgery

News, Power

KING'S LYNN, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive at King's Lynn Station on December 21, 2017 in King's Lynn, England ahead of their Christmas break at Sandringham. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (Picture: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

Prince Philip will today undergo a planned operation on his hip, after being admitted to hospital on Tuesday 3 April.It follows the Duke Of Edinburgh cancelling a number of planned appearances in recent weeks, including the Easter Maundy service, an Easter Sunday service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor and a ceremony at Windsor Castle to formally hand over his role as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards to his son, Prince Andrew.The Duke of Edinburgh retired from public life last August, although he has appeared alongside the Queen at several events.

Latin America’s Renewable Energy Revolution

News, Petroleum Products, Power

Latin America’s Renewable Energy Revolution

For centuries Latin America’s natural resources have helped move the world economy. From the silver galleons that financed the Spanish Empire to the iron and copper exports that are rebuilding China, Latin America’s natural resources have long been sold around the globe. But now the growth of renewable energy across the region is creating a new economic phenomenon – exploiting those natural resources for domestic growth.

In recent years Latin America has made huge strides in exploiting its incredible wind, solar, geothermal and biofuel energy resources. It is now on the cusp of an energy revolution that will reshape the region and create a host of business opportunities. To investigate the changes taking place Canning House helped to organise the recent Green Finance Summit in London and commissioned a Canning Paper from Latin News.

Read also: The renegade Fulani and the Nigerian Homeland Security

Oil addiction

At the moment Latin America is still very dependent on another one of its natural resources – oil. According to the BP’s Statistical Review, Latin America accounts for more than 20% of the world’s oil reserves, making it the second-most important oil region in the world, which, is probably why it relies so heavily on the stuff. Oil accounted for 46% of the region’s total primary energy supply (TPES) in 2013, well above the global average of 31%.

When it comes to transport, oil-based fuel is likely to keep its pole position for some time to come. Electric cars and hybrids have been slow to make an impact globally, and in Latin America they are barely present. Brazil has made impressive strides with ethanol alternatives, but oil and its derivatives remain the number one choice. Moreover, Latin America’s outdated transport fleet, which is heavily made up of cast offs from the US or older models produced locally, is going to remain behind the curve on any transition to electric vehicles for at least the medium term.

Powering up

But Latin America’s electricity sector has already begun to wean itself off its oil dependence. According to the Inter-American Bank, Latin America is expected to almost double its electricity output between 2015 and 2040 and will need an extra 1,500 terawatt hours (TWh) of power. That’s a huge amount – enough to power the entire UK’s electricity grid for five years. Practically none of Latin America’s new large-scale power plants will be oil-fuelled, which opens up the field for different technologies.

Countries in Central American and the Caribbean, whom traditionally imported oil, were the first to move away from oil-based power plants, after suffering a decade of high and volatile prices at the start of the century. In some cases, such as the Dominican Republic, that meant a switch to coal, which represents 5% of Latin America and the Caribbean’s TPES. However, growing environmental objections mean that new coal plants are unlikely to be adopted by many Latin American countries in the future

Disclaimer

No responsibility for loss occasioned to any person or corporate body acting or refraining to act as a result of reading material in this publication can be accepted by the publisher, sponsor or author. The author may have a position in any or all of the specific investments or investment categories mentioned in this publication. © LatAm INVESTOR Ltd. All rights reserved.

US President says killing of Christians in Nigeria is unacceptable

2019 Elections, Africa, Herdsmen, News, PMB, Politics, Power, Terrorism

The meeting in the Rose Garden between Presidents Buhari and Trump was very coordial and filled with good tidings for Nigerians and American interests. While all were smooth the American president sounded a note of serious warning on ending the herdsmen violence in Nigeria. President Buhari said his administration is working to address the herdsmen killings across Nigeria.

Trump says killing of Christians in Nigeria is unacceptableplayUS President Donald Trump asked Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to support the US bid for the 2026 World Cup

 

United States President, Donald Trump has condemned the killing of Christians in Nigeria, saying it is unacceptable. Trump stated this while hosting Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari at the White House on Monday, April 30.

“We have had very serious problems with Christians who are being murdered in Nigeria, we are going to be working on that problem very, very hard because we cannot allow that to happen,” he said.

Speaking earlier, Buhari said his administration is working to address the farmers and herdsmen killings and to checkmate illegal cross-border activities.

President Donald TrumpPresident Donald Trump (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The Nigerian leader thanked the US government for approving the sale of military hardware to Nigeria as part of its support for the anti-Boko Haram war.

$496m aircraft purchase: Senators demand Buhari’s impeachment, Reps undecided

APC, News, Nigeria, PMB, Politics, Power

buuuuSome senators at the plenary on Thursday, called for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing the withdrawal of $496m from the Excess Crude Account to purchase military aircraft without National Assembly’s approval.

Most of the lawmakers, who spoke on the withdrawal and spending pointed out that the President had breached Section 80 of the 1999 Constitution, while a few disagreed.

The 12 Super Tucano aircraft ordered from the United States would be delivered in 2020.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had on Wednesday read a letter from Buhari in which he admitted that the money had been withdrawn and paid to the US ahead of the legislative approval. This, he said, was done to beat the deadline for the arms deal.

On Tuesday, the letter was slated for consideration and referral to the relevant committee but Senator Mathew Uroghide, who had protested against the expenditure on Wednesday, moved a motion for Buhari’s impeachment for violation of the constitution.

Uroghide, who is the Chairman of the Committee on Public Accounts, specifically urged Saraki to allow the Senate to invoke Section 143 of the Constitution against the President.

He said, “Any amount of money that has to be spent from the Federation Account, must be appropriated by the National Assembly. This one has not been appropriated by the National Assembly and therefore breaches the provisions of the constitution.

“The Senate is not unmindful of the fact that the objective of this expenditure has been well established, but the procedure for this expenditure is wrong. There ought to have been appropriation before this money was spent.”

Uroghide added, “There are serious consequences for the violation of our constitution. As a consequence, the only thing that we can draw from on this is that, we call on you (Saraki) to invoke Section 143 of the Constitution. What it means is that this matter does not need to be investigated; it is clear that this offence has been committed by Mr. President.”

Seconding the motion, Senator Chukwuka Utazi stated that it was time for the legislature to be decisive. He noted that Sections 80 and 81 of the constitution stated the powers of the legislature on spending by the executive and how the executive should manage its finances.

Utazi added, “There is no other name to call this except an impeachable offence and we cannot allow that. We cannot stay here and this Assembly and Nigerians will be taken for granted. It should not be so. I rise and support the motion.”

Also speaking, Senator Shehu Sani has described the expenditure as “a gross abuse of the constitution.”

While Sani stated that he was not in support of the impeachment call, he asked that the payment be refunded and the transaction be started afresh to allow due process.

But Senator Abu Ibrahim described the impeachment call as “a PDP conspiracy.” Ibrahim challenged the opposition lawmakers to name any state governor in the PDP who benefited from the previous withdrawals from the ECA and sought the approval of the state House of Assembly before spending the money.

Senator Samuel Anyanwu, however, countered Ibrahim, stating that the matter was about respect for government’s institutions and not about party politics.

The Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, however, argued that the executive might have considered Section 83(1-2) of the constitution, which allows the President to make extra-budgetary spending in an emergency situation.

N’allah said, “In view of the controversy that this has generated, my advice is that since we have the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, issues of this nature can be referred to that committee. Let them look at it properly and advise the Senate on the way forward.”

Saraki, in his ruling, noted there were two issues: the spate of insecurity and the flawed process through which the government wanted to tackle it.

The Senate President sought the  permission of the lawmakers to refer the probe to the Committee, which was unanimously granted.

But the House of Representatives was undecided on Thursday whether to approve a $496.3m  request by President Buhari to purchase 12 units of Tucano aircraft from the US.

The House referred the request to its Committee on Rules/Business to look into it and guide the members properly on the way forward.

The House, in keeping with its Tuesday resolution to debate the matter before taking a stance, had listed it on Thursday.

But, as the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, called on the Acting Leader of the House, Mr. Mohammed Monguno, to move a motion for the debate, some members kicked against it.

The motion sought to include the $496.3m in the 2018 Appropriation Bill still pending before the National Assembly.

It was the Chairman, Committee on Ethics/Privileges, Mr. Nicholas Ossai, who raised a point of order to observe that by the procedure of the House, the request was belated because Buhari had already spent the money.

Ossai quoted Section 80 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to remind members that no funds could be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, “except in the manner approved by the National Assembly.”

He argued, “This motion is not relevant because this money has been spent. This matter cannot be discussed at all. This matter ought to have been thrown away and I urge the House that this motion should be withdrawn.”

However, there were other members, who attempted to protest loudly, saying that the House should at least debate the letter and either approve or reject it.

For instance, the Chief Whip of the House, Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, observed that the House would still be in order by debating the motion.

Some members like the Deputy Minority Leader, Mr. Chukwuka Onyema; Mr. Gabriel Onyenwife; Mr. Agbedi Fredie; and Mr. Sergious Ose-Ogun, backed Ossai.

They said the request was “belated” and trying to bend the House rules to accommodate the $496.3m either by a motion or a fresh money bill, would amount to self-indictment by the legislature.

The Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, intervened to rule that in view of the divergent opinions, the debate should be suspended.

Again, FAAC Meeting Postponed over Shortfall in NNPC Remittances

economy, News, Nigeria, PMB, Politics, Power
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun

The meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) for the month of April was Wednesday postponed, the second time in a row, as controversy again dogged the remittances by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the Federation Account.

The FAAC meeting for March where the representatives of the three tiers of government had gathered to disburse revenue that had accrued to the account for the month of February had ended in a stalemate due to a shortfall of about N37.7 billion in NNPC remittances for that month,

It took the intervention of the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who pleaded with the governors before the meeting was reconvened for the sharing of revenue to the various tiers of government.

The Chairman, Finance Commissioners Forum, Mallam Yunusa Mahmoud, who confirmed the postponement of the FAAC meeting for March Wednesday, described the situation as unfortunate.

He stated that the development had prompted the governors’ intervention again, adding that the governors held a “high-level meeting” with top officials of NNPC Wednesday in Abuja.

“We have some challenges, the figures we have gotten is far below what we expected to be remitted by NNPC. As it is now, there is a meeting between the governors and the top management of NNPC at the State House.

“I believe this is a very high-level deliberation and something good will come out of it,” he said.
According to him, the NNPC was duty-bound to carry FAAC stakeholders along in its business, adding that anything short of transparency in the rendition would elicit questions.

“There are processes okay. Before now, you did not hear such news, but because this government is a government of change, some level of transparency is expected.

“When you pick your figures and you submit your figures, the person that is supposed to look at it and deliberate on it will ask questions if need be,” he said.
On whether NNPC’s action was not tantamount to deliberately shortchanging the Federation Account, Mahmoud said it was too hasty to hold the position.
He said: “I don’t want to use the word insincerity. What happened could be an error. If one party is wrong, the other party is right; if you add it together at the end of the day you make progress.

“The last FAAC meeting was postponed twice and at the end of the day, we made progress. That was during the Easter break.
“But in the spirit of Easter, we held a meeting, because we were looking at the plight of the workers that were supposed to receive their salaries as and when due, but based on the submission we have now, some states will not pay salaries now.
“What we are doing now is we have to table where we will discuss. That is why the matter is at the highest level and is being discussed now.”

Why the North will still vote for Buhari in 2019 –Matthew Kukah

2019 Elections, Africa, Celebrity Gists, PDP, PMB, Politics, Power

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, speaks to TOBI AWORINDE on the socio-economic situation in the North, President Muhammadu Buhari’s performance and the forthcoming 2019 elections

kuka2.jpgYou were one of those who vehemently opposed Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency from the outset. How would you describe the quality of leadership in Nigeria in the immediate past era?

Vehemently opposed to Buhari? Where did you get this from? I think you were sold this dummy in the heydays of ecstasy, frenzy and euphoria of the Buhariphilia, who jumped out of every corner of Nigeria believing that their redemption was at hand. Sadly, today, a good chunk has since apostacised. I never doubted the sincerity of the President’s intention to fight corruption. However, no matter how much you hate leprosy, you cannot cure leprosy by just giving Panadol to the victim.

My fears were threefold and based on experience. First, no matter the goodness, holiness or devotion of any human being, wait until he or she has power entrusted to them and see what they become. So, even in the most optimistic of situations, set goals and expectations and let the person prove himself or herself. Secondly, what Buhari kept saying about corruption did not seem to be the result of some deep reflections. His claims and strategies had never been interrogated. And finally, I insisted that national cohesion was far more urgent a task than just saying ‘we are here to fight corruption’. That informed what you may have referred to as vehement opposition. I was simply warning against too much blind trust and now we are where we are today.

What worries you most about this administration?

I am worried over the lack of fresh ideas, focus, vision and a seeming insensitivity to public feelings; a kind of contempt for how people feel and the impact of policy choices, on the part of this government. This is a season of anomie and alienation. The (Buhari) government seems closed to ideas that challenge their assumptions and apparently does not care what Nigerians think and what they feel. Else, there is no way that you can have a government make the mistakes that this government has made; refuse to engage citizens and simply refuse to give a damn. It is disturbing and, clearly, the government is listening to other drummers. Technically, no one suggests that their views should be taken, but this government has given Nigerians a feeling that they were sold a dummy. This is sad; very sad indeed.

Buhari and the military under his government have continuously claimed that Boko Haram has been defeated. Do you believe them?

Well, this is part of the problem and I think we should let the evidence — not the sloganeering and propaganda — do the talking. The government has refused to listen to the views of Nigerians about the rather incestuous and non-plural ways it has dealt with security and the appointments of their heads. Perhaps the government has a reason for allowing members of only one faith to monopolise the security apparatus, perhaps because it thinks Boko Haram is a problem within Islam and only Muslims can address the issues. Either way, our country is haemorrhaging in a way that ending the Boko Haram conflict will only open a new chapter in a country of people suffering the collective trauma, fear, self-doubt and a feeling of being totally disconnected from the state that has no empathy. With the government seeing this purely as a military operation, we can spend all the money in the world, but we will be nowhere near having a united nation or people. This battle has become a military operation with all its consequences on the economy and the dynamics of the engagement.

What was your reaction upon hearing the news of the Dapchi girls’ abduction?

My reaction was that of shock, sorrow; a tragic sense of déjà vu, and some level of near despair.

Do you agree with Buhari that his response time to the Dapchi girls’ abduction was better than that of the previous administration to the abduction of Chibok girls?

This comparison does not arise. One tragedy is bad enough; a repeat is a disaster. It is like asking whether dying by injection is better than drowning.

Do you think Buhari owes Nigerians an apology, considering his commitment to rescuing the Chibok girls and defeating Boko Haram within the first few months of his presidency?

Why should he apologise? I believe this government has done its best and this is about all it can offer. So, they should be judged not on speculation but on the reality. The issue of an apology does not arise because what we are seeing is the best that is on the table and this is the best team for the job in their view.

Buhari’s health was a major talking point last year with the President spending several weeks on two medical trips. Do you think Buhari owes Nigeria an explanation about what he was treated for?

You mean he should apologise that he was sick? I think we should respect everyone’s privacy. You don’t lose that by being a public servant. I was not happy the way we handled the issue of the President’s health. Others behave differently and I think we should learn not to play politics with everything in Nigeria.

Does his physical fitness worry you, given the possibility of his running for a second term?

There is a Hausa proverb which says, ‘You cannot borrow someone else’s mouth to eat onions’. No one has the right to decide on anyone’s health and as to whether they are capable of a particular function. It is left for the insiders of a party to decide whom they will field as a candidate even if the person is on a stretcher. Today’s weightlifter could fall sick tomorrow. Let the party decide who their best candidate is.

Three of the major promises of this administration are to fight corruption, boost the economy and conquer Boko Haram. Would you say the government has made any significant stride in these areas?

I have said repeatedly that personal opinion does not matter in the long run. Look at the reports from the Federal Bureau of Statistics, the United Nations Development Programme, Amnesty International or Transparency International. What does the evidence suggest? You cannot pick and choose what you want to believe. Or look at the entire Nigerian landscape littered with corpses, destroyed businesses and buildings, all the ravages of war. This is very painful.

What achievements do you think the Buhari government has made?

There is a Minister for Information; he has that duty, not me. They said they have technically defeated Boko Haram, reflated the economy, and brought back some Chibok girls and the Dapchi girls, bar Leah. We now have 7,000 megawatts of electricity and so on. They are also telling us about new multi-billion-naira projects which they are embarking on with no idea when they will be completed. The faces of Nigerians tell a different story and, sadly, we are not communicating with one another.

How do you feel about the recent revelation that senators receive N13.5 million monthly as running costs and that House of Representatives members receive N12m monthly?

Senator (Shehu) Sani has done his job. It is left for Nigerians to decide what to make of it. It is a pity that we are in such a state of stupor that nothing can rouse us from our apathy and this country will continue to sink. Will the President, Vice President, governors and ministers ever come clean or does it require reverting to the Freedom of Information Act? In the mafia, they call this destructive secrecy ‘omerta’, an oath of silence under pain of death. This is why Senator Sani deserves our respect for taking the decision he took. We hear that the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) is claiming ignorance as to these sums. But, as I have always said, governance in Nigeria is a criminal enterprise which functions above the law.

What are your thoughts on governors’ transition to senators when their eight-year tenure is completed?

Well, what else is there for some of these people to do? Can they go anywhere to deliver a lecture or write books on their experiences? This country stands or falls depending on what the governors do.

What is your grouse with Governor Nasir el-Rufai?

What do you mean by grouse?

You recently criticised el-Rufai on his handling of the Southern Kaduna massacre. Do you think there is room for reparations?

Did you read my sermon in its entirety and why do you single out Governor el-Rufai? It was a funeral and there was the need to set the records straight. I simply articulated an evidence-based side of a story that I had played a role in. If that is what you mean by criticism, then fine. We are all entitled to our opinions but we are not entitled to our facts because facts are sacred. I presented my side of the story based on my personal experience with the claims he made.

What can the governor do to make amends?

Amends with, or to, whom? That is within the realm of governance which requires consultation and consensus building.

You have been vocal about the role of the northern elite in the poverty and underdevelopment plaguing the North. Can you elaborate on this?

My field of doctoral research was on Religion and Power Politics in Northern Nigeria and the result was my book, ‘Religion, Politics and Power in Northern Nigeria’. It opened up new frontiers and it was a pioneering research on how religion has been used to mobilise and retain power by the northern Muslim elite. I had over 100 recorded interviews with a cross section of northern politicians across the divide.

This has given me an appreciation of the issues. It does not make me an expert. However, it is because of this that those who do not want to follow the arguments keep falling back and accusing me of being anti-northern or anti-Muslim. This is the easy line for those who benefit from this manipulation but do not want to face the consequences.

There is a noble obligation that all elite owe to those they represent; those on whose shoulders they may have stood; those who voted for them or those who helped them get an education. In the rest of Nigeria, this elite have met these obligations by building schools, hospitals, clinics, and so on for their people. They have bridged the gap between government’s absence and the welfare of their people. This is the story of almost all of southern Nigeria and parts of the Middle Belt.

In the North, the evidence of this dereliction of duty litters the entire landscape, millions of out-of-school children, federal and state government projects such as irrigation and power-generating dams that now lie abandoned in remote communities, structures, such as the Almajiri schools, all in decay in many communities, and so on.

Look at the World Bank, UNDP and other reports on development in Nigeria and look at northern Nigeria. The sad thing is that for the elite, these lives of destitution, illiteracy and squalor are reservoirs of investment from where they draw their oxygen of political relevance. The grinding poverty leaves the people permanently below zero and all they do is continue to look at the stupendous wealth of the elite with awe. In exchange, they (the elite) pretend to offer them (the poor) dubious religiosity through the manipulation of pilgrimages and construction of mosques.

Could that be the reason for the emergence of Boko Haram?

In my view, it is the long historical experience of this distortion of the religion of Islam with its exclusionist tendencies that Boko Haram has exploited. Boko Haram exploited the fact that this elite proclaimed Sharia in 1999 and 2000, while in reality, they did not believe in the religion itself. So, Boko Haram simply has asked them to step aside.

Indeed, the Buhari project presents us with an interesting view. The average northerner has become far more impoverished under Buhari than he was under (former President Goodluck) Jonathan. But they will still vote for Buhari because they see him as the only one who can help bring their derelict elite to order. It is a strange appeal but that is it. They believe their corrupt elite are above the law. They were seduced with Sharia because they believed it was going to help them punish their own elite, who they see as being above the law of Nigeria. These are the issues.

Did the northern elite act against the interest of their people intentionally?

If they were mistaken, 50 years would have been enough to correct the mistake, but as I said, this culture of ignorance, poverty and squalor is an investment. Aminu Kano spent his life trying to open the eyes of his people, the Talakawa. The late Bala Usman, a phenomenal intellectual, made massive contributions in this regard by subjecting this charade to critical social analysis. The result was a ‘saner’ environment for the generation of fresh ideas among Christian and Muslim scholars. Ideology replaced the divisive tendencies of religion among the elite. Fighting the Kaduna mafia and other mafias was an ideological project. Today, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and some of the remnants of NEPU (Northern Elements Progressive Union) politics remain the last of the best wine.

What are the interests for the northern elite?

They want to permanently hold on to power. Inherently (there is) nothing wrong with that if it can be used for the good of the people, but after all these years of monopoly of power under the military and civilians, we northerners are still the weakest, the most sickly, the poorest, the most illiterate, and the most vulnerable. We have the highest number of childhood stunting, which is a danger to the future. The elite have brought shame on us and made us too weak to fight.

Do you believe in restructuring?

Does it matter what I or anyone believes? Even if it determines the outcome of the elections, did the All Progressives Congress not promise us restructuring? Promises have never been a problem. The saddest part of it all is that even the politicians do not expect to be believed, but somehow, we stupidly do. The Kenyan scholar, Patrick Lumumba, once said the tragedy with Africa is that those with ideas are not in power, while those in power have no ideas. The sad thing, he said, is that when the people have a chance, they still vote for those with no ideas.

What do you think the North has to gain or lose in restructuring?

They may perhaps gain the chains of poverty and the fear of those who hold the chains over the majority of our people.

What do you make of the APC committee on restructuring led by el-Rufai?

I have not seen it.

Many have described the APC panel on restructuring as an afterthought by Buhari to score political points. Do you agree?

No idea. Nothing is ever late. It is when honesty appears that matters.

What are your thoughts on the Catholic Church in Nigeria rejoining the Christian Association of Nigeria?

How can we rejoin what we started?

Do you still maintain a relationship with former President Goodluck Jonathan?

I don’t know what you mean by ‘a relationship’. The last time I saw him was when the Peace Committee had a consultative audience with him after the swearing-in of the new administration.

Do you have any expectations concerning the outcome of the 2019 elections?

Let us pray to be alive first. 2019 is a long way away. But I tell you that I have never felt this sense of foreboding. Things could change, but we have to plan how to cross this wide river that lies ahead of us.

Dino did not jump out of any moving vehicle

2019 Elections, News, Politics, Power

"I did not jump out of moving vehicle" - Melaye

Earlier in the morning, Senator Dino Melaye as a law-abiding citizen voluntarily submitted himself to the operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) who had laid siege to his private residence since around 3.35pm of Monday, April 23, 2018.

He, along with his lawyers and personal aides, was driven in his private car to the SARS office in Guzape district of Abuja, sandwiched among the numerous police vehicles earleir deployed to his house.

For the avoidance of doubt, he had never evaded police invitation before now because there was none extended to him in the first place. Rather, what the Police FPRO, Mr. Jimoh Moshood, had been doing was to summon the Senator through media briefings, a practice which is unconventional.

But given the media hype the whole saga had generated expecially his unwarranted travails in the hands of Immigration officials at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Aiport in Abuja on Monday, April 23 and the attendant but dramatic police siege to his private residence thereafter, where family members and political associates were subjected to traumatic experience for hours, it became necessary for Senator Dino Melaye to end the drama, hence his choice of appearing before the police today.

Later on, they moved to take him to Lokoja in Kogi State. The public will vividly recall that this same case involving Senator Dino Melaye had already been transferred to Abuja by the Chief Justice of the Federal High Court after Senator Melaye expressed worry about his safety in Lokoja. Now, the question is: why will they want to forcefully take him to Lokoja? The Senator believes they are doing the Kogi Governor’s bidding in order to assassinate him.

Contrary to online reports about jumping out of a moving police vehicle, nothing could be farther from the truth as such insinuation is practically impossible for a man saddled between gun-wielding policemen. Today’s incident was a last resort by Senator Dino Melaye in order to foil attempt to kidnap him and kill him by agents of Kogi State governor in connivance with the Police.

Signed:
Gideon Ayodele
Special Adviser (Media) to
Senator Dino Melaye
National Assembly Complex
Abuja.

APC group, PDP, SDP, Obasanjo’s CNM, others to form new party

2019 Elections, Africa, News, Nigeria, PDP, PMB, Politics, Power

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A grand coalition of opposition political parties, including a chunk of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and influential political stakeholders across the country is being firmed up ahead of the 2019 general election to wrest power from President Muhammadu Buhari’s party.
The new coalition may be unveiled in the next few weeks in a move designed to jolt all political permutations towards the next general election.
In the unfolding coalition are the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), certain leaders of the APC, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), about 23 other smaller parties and the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) formed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The coalition is also said to enjoy the backing of other former presidents and retired generals, including General T. Y. Danjuma.
“This is not like the arrangement that produced the APC. We are not considering sending any application for change of name to INEC. There are not less than eight brand new political parties in the pockets of people across the various groups. We are thinking of fusing into one of them as the new platform. You know, such a new party will give all sides equal opportunity. We will also avoid traps of the APC which is waiting to frustrate any attempt by, especially, the PDP to apply to the INEC for a change of its name,” a key figure in the coalition told Saturday Tribune on Friday.
The coalition is said to enjoy the support of some leaders of the National Assembly, about 19 governors, including some from the APC and about 60 percent of the membership of the legislature across the country.
The last four weeks have seen persons involved in the plan holding strategic meetings at various levels at which, competent sources said, significant concessions were granted by the various groups to accommodate one another and move forward.
“One of such meetings was held in London last month. Two of these governors and some legislators were present,” another source told Saturday Tribune during the week.
National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Uche Secondus, on Thursday, confirmed that his party would soon go into a coalition with other like minds to defeat Buhari’s APC next year.
It was learnt that leaders of the PDP moved away from the initial ‘we can do it alone’ posture when they saw the resolve of the APC “to remain in power at all costs” even with the myriad of problems besetting the country.
“The PDP thereafter commenced merger or coalition talks with national political leaders, former officeholders and influential voices across the land. The new rapprochement will soon engineer a broad-based coalition that will give the APC the red card next year,” a PDP source said on Friday.
Obasanjo to launch Coalition Movement in Ogun
Members of the National Executive Committee of the PDP were on Thursday briefed on the developments so far by the National Chairman, Secondus, who told the meeting that the party was already working with former presidents, other leaders and like minds to unseat the APC in 2019.

Olusegun-Obasanjo.jpg
“Consultations with various groups are useful and in coming days, a broader platform will be raised to wrest power from APC. We commend our elder statesmen and other patriotic Nigerians who have spoken up on the urgent need to rid the country of the current APC government and enthrone a government that will serve the people’s needs.
“We, therefore, invite our brothers, sisters, youths and women from other political parties to join us to rescue our country that is in distress socially, politically, economically and security wise.
“Our consultations have taken us to meet with various interest groups who are willing to do business with us and I can report to you that they are very fruitful. We expect, in coming days, to have a broader political family working dedicatedly to rescue this democracy and our beloved country from the hands of APC,” Secondus said.
It, was however, gathered that some state chairmen of the party objected to the likely name change as a source added that the matter could not be resolved at the NEC meeting.
“The matter is only on the table but we are determined to accommodate all interests willing to work with us. The idea of name change is tricky. We are discussing the matter further and we will get to the right decision at the end of the day,” a source in the PDP said .
Some sources however said that rather than dissipate energy on name change, the party “should adopt a more positive outlook towards national development and roll out its plans to oust the APC. One thing is sure, we will not allow the name debate to derail the emerging coalition ahead of 2019.”

Our Entire Democracy Is In Danger – Atiku 

2019 Elections, APC, News, Nigeria, PMB, Politics, Power

Atiku Abubakar has condemned the theft of Mace at the Senate describing it as an assault on Nigeria’s democracy.

In a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja and published on Facebook

Atiku Abubakar

, Atiku said he is disappointed.

“I am utterly embarrassed, shocked and outraged by this ugly development because it is not only a threat to a major democratic institution but also represents a grave danger to the survival of our democracy,” he said.

Atiku noted that using illegal and unconstitutional methods to threaten the authority of a key democratic institution is evil and unacceptable.

He wondered how the thugs could force their way into the Senate chamber and steal the Mace.

“If criminals could commit such security breach with impunity, it means that our entire democracy is in danger. Those behind this illegality to avoid creating a monster that could consume them.

“It is unacceptable and reprehensible to subject the National Assembly to this intimidation and humiliation. This attack by thugs should not go unpunished no matter who is involved”, the former vice president added.

SHOCKING!!!: The Moment when The Senate’s Mace Was Stolen (Pictures)

Africa, APC, local news, Nigeria, PDP, PMB, Politics, Power

SHOCKING!!!: The Moment when The Senate’s Mace Was Stolen (Pictures)

Courtesy of TVC’s Sumner Shagari Sambo
Information reaching SW have it that there was an ongoing Pandemonium in the National Assembly as some hoodlums hijacked session and tried to make away with the Mace of the Senate of Federal Republic of Nigeria during Plenary. Reports are still sketchy, meanwhile we will give you further updates as issues develop here….

Reports from Premium Times Read:

The Senate plenary was on Wednesday disrupted after suspected thugs invaded the chamber and made away with the mace.

The incident happened few seconds after a suspended senator, Ovie Omo-Agege, entered the chamber.

PREMIUM TIMES reporter observed that about 10 suspected thugs who came to the venue with the senator forced their entrance into the chamber.

Seconds later, the thugs ran out of the chamber with the mace causing pandemonium in the Senate.

They left the National Assembly with the mace in a black SUV.

The mace is the symbol of authority of the parliament.

One of the security personnel at the entrance of the National Assembly said the thugs told him and other officers they were with the senator.

“We tried to stop them but they told us they were with him (Omo-Agege),” he said.

The senators are yet to reconvene as at the time of filing this report.

 

source: nai

Russia Reveals Who “Staged” Syria Gas Attack, As US Claims Moscow “May Have Tampered” With Site

international News, Politics, Power, SYRIA

Russia Reveals Who “Staged” Syria Gas Attack, As US Claims Moscow “May Have Tampered” With Site

The Russian envoy to the chemical weapons watchdog group, OPCW, said that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) funded by the UK and US carried out the April 7 chemical attack in the Damascus, Syria suburb of Douma.

Russia’s permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Alexander Shulgin, said Russia has irrefutable evidence that there was no chemical weapons incident in Douma.

“Therefore, we have not just a “high degree of confidence,” as our Western partners claim, but we have incontrovertible evidence that there was no incident on April 7 in Douma and that all this was a planned provocation by the British intelligence services, probably, with the participation of their senior allies from Washington with the aim of misleading the international community and justifying aggression against Syria,” he stated. –Sputnik

Shulgin added that the US, UK and France are not interested in conducting an objective investigation of the attack site. “They put the blame on the Syrian authorities in advance, without even waiting for the OPCW mission to begin to establish the possible facts of the use of chemical weapons in Syria,” he said.

The nine-member OPCW mission people has yet to deploy to the city of Douma according to the organization’s Chief, citing pending security issues.

“The Team has not yet deployed to Douma. The Syrian and the Russian officials who participated in the preparatory meetings in Damascus have informed the FFM Team that there were still pending security issues to be worked out before any deployment could take place. In the meantime the Team was offered by the Syrian authorities that they could interview 22 witnesses who could be brought to Damascus,” OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said as quoted by the organization.

The Russian Envoy says that the controversial “White Helmets” were one of the anti-Assad “pseudo-humanitarian NGOs” which staged the event. As Disobedient Media and others have reported, the White Helmets are funded in large part by the United States.

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“The Syrian Civil Defense Force (aka the White Helmets) is funded in part by United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Included here are two links showing contracts awarded by USAID to Chemonics International Inc. (DBA Chemonics). The first award was in the sum of $111.2 million and has a Period of Performance (POP) from January 2013 to June 2017. It states that the purpose of the award will be to use the funds for managing a “quick-response mechanism supporting activities that pursue a peaceful transition to a democratic and stable Syria.” The second was in the sum of $57.4 million and has a POP from August 2015 to August 2020. This award was designated to be used in the “Syria Regional Program II” which is a part of the Support Which Implements Fast Transitions IV (SWIFT IV) program.” Via Disobedient Media

Source:

Chemical weapons team kept from reaching alleged Syria attack site

Middle East, Politics, Power, SYRIA

AFP and AP

© Hasan Mohamed, AFP | A child runs along a street in front of clouds of smoke billowing following a reported air strike on Douma, the main town of Syria’s rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta on March 20, 2018.

Text by FRANCE 24 

Latest update : 2018-04-16

Independent investigators were prevented by Syrian and Russian authorities Monday from reaching the scene of an alleged chemical attack near the Syrian capital, an official said.

The incident comes days after the USFrance and Britain bombarded sites they said were linked to Syria’s chemical weapons program.

The lack of access to the town of Douma by inspectors from the watchdog group, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, has left questions about the April 7 attack unanswered.

OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said Syrian and Russian officials cited “pending security issues” in keeping its inspectors from reaching Douma.

“The team has not yet deployed to Douma,” two days after arriving in Syria, Uzumcu told an executive council of the OPCW in The Hague.

Syrian authorities were offering 22 people to interview as witnesses instead, he said, adding that he hoped “all necessary arrangements will be made … to allow the team to deploy to Douma as soon as possible”.

Heather Nauert

✔@statedeptspox

Chemical weapons were used on Syrian men, women, and children in . Reports that  weapons inspectors require special @UN passes are completely false.  and  need to stop the disinformation and allow unfettered access to the attack sites.

28 soldiers handed life sentences in Turkey for participating in a failed military coup in Turkey

international News, Middle East, Military, Politics, Power

A total of 28 soldiers were handed life sentences on Tuesday in three separate cases related to a failed military coup in 2016, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The soldiers were charged with “violating and attempting to overthrow the constitution’’ in relation to incidents in Istanbul and the south-eastern towns of Mus and Sirnak during the failed putsch on July 15, 2016, according to Anadolu.

Turkey remains under a state of emergency, which was imposed after the coup attempt.

This week, the Turkish parliament will vote on extending the state of emergency by another three months, which – if completed – would mean the country has been under emergency rule for two years.

More than 50,000 people are under arrest in connection with the coup, and some 150,000 people have been purged from the civil service and the military.

(dpa/NAN)

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