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We’ll Shutdown Aso Rock If Obasanjo Is Touched-ADC

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The African Democratic Congress, which has been adopted by Obasanjo, has warned the Federal Government that it will shut down the Presidential Villa if Obasanjo is harmed.

The Chairman of the ADC, Chief Okey Nwosu, said this during a telephone interview with our correspondent on Friday.

Nwosu said having failed to deliver on its campaign promises, the Buhari-led government had resorted to hounding opposition members into submission.

He said when Obasanjo was supporting Buhari during the run-up to the 2015 general elections; he was described as an advocate of change by Buhari and his supporters, but the same man was now being treated as a criminal because he was speaking against the government.

The ADC chairman said, “What we are witnessing is the desperation of a failed government. When you have mediocre persons that are not focused on handling state power, they often go to dictatorial levels to try to achieve their aim but this time, the people of Nigeria and God are on our side and we will do what our country needs.

“President Obasanjo cannot be touched. When in 2014 and 2015, he was in the vanguard of trying to effect change because of the situation then, they were applauding him as the champion of a new Nigeria.”

“Now that things have gone wrong in the area of security and economy and he is speaking out, they are now chasing the champion of new Nigeria. We will mobilize the whole of Nigeria to take over Aso Rock Villa if the government steps out of line.”

But two civil society organizations, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, said Obasanjo should be ready to face trial if there was any evidence of financial mismanagement traced to his administration.

The SERAP Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said the former President’s alarm of a witch-hunt by President Buhari was unnecessary as the anti-graft agencies must carry out their statutory responsibilities.

Mumuni said, “The truth of the matter is that Buhari should not be the one to set the EFCC against anybody; the anti-graft agency should do its job, investigate allegations of crime against anybody and begin prosecution. That Obasanjo is crying foul will not stop the agencies from going after him, if indeed there are admissible evidence against him.

“I don’t think we should listen to Obasanjo. Rather, we should let the EFCC do what is legally appropriate and prosecute anyone who is supposed to be prosecuted. If Obasanjo has a case to answer, he should be ready to have his day in court under the due process.”

Also, the CDHR President, Malachy Ugwummadu, said, “Obasanjo should not play to the gallery. For me, it will be a huge positive development if this government can muster enough courage to take on Obasanjo.

“If the government has credible information or evidence to take on Obasanjo, it will clearly show that all the people in the league of former presidents can be taken up.”

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Garba Shehu – Buhari needs Second Term to Consolidate on Achievements

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The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in this interview with OLALEKAN ADETAYO, speaks on the increasing opposition against President Muhammadu Buhari’s second-term bid, among other national issues

The Peoples Democratic Party has repeatedly accused the present administration of deliberate clampdown on the opposition. How will you react to this?

The accusation is laughable in many ways. The word ‘clamp down’ can only apply in a tyrannical and autocratic regime; not in a democratic dispensation where the rule of law exists and judicial autonomy is upheld.

Besides, it is not in the character of President Muhammadu Buhari to persecute anyone. However, Mr. President has no soft spot for corrupt people and crass opportunists who would resort to name-calling whenever they fall into the steel claws of the law for crimes they had committed against fellow countrymen. The President has no apologies for allowing the anti-crime and anti-corruption agencies do their jobs without sparing any sacred cow. Whatever they call that doesn’t count. Those who commit crimes must be ready to face the law.

In a country blessed with plural political parties, I don’t understand why one out of many claims to be the object of persecution. Those who have not been in power or abused power cannot be probed. It is common sense that government should be accountable and responsible.

It is therefore obvious that officials of an administration that ran the country aground and threw everyone and everything into recession deserve to answer salient questions.

The recovery of huge sums and numerous properties at home and abroad from key players in the previous PDP government attests to the integrity of President Buhari and his administration’s distaste for sleaze and corruption.

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There is the belief that the present administration’s anti-corruption war is selective. Those who hold this belief say corrupt persons join the ruling party to escape prosecution or to be given a safe landing. Why is this so?

It is unbelievable that some people would prefer hearsay to facts which are meant to be sacred. Misconceptions and fake news have sadly taken the front seat of our national discussion. No anti-fraud agency can handle all cases at the same time. Some become top priority due to the magnitude of offences committed and availability of evidence to prosecute the suspects.

Moreover, how can an administrator set out to employ divide-and-rule (tactics) as a strategy for national governance? That would have been a recipe for calamity. Nigeria’s diversity and heterogeneity cannot allow for such. Democracy and its tenets of freedom of speech and association would not condone outright abuse of power.

Those who accuse the APC-led government of selective justice or favouritism towards their party members do really miss the point. How many of such people have explored the whistle-blower opportunity to present substantial evidence to back their allegations, in order to spur prosecutors into action. Most times, the allegations stop at the level of noise-making and blowing of hot air. During this period, members of the party have been in court over one charge or the other. You will be shocked to see the number of senior APC members with cases in courts who sit with the President in party caucus meetings and this President, as you know him, won’t interfere with matters before a judge, neither would he instruct any investigative agency to stop doing its work. There is no room for sacred cows in President Buhari’s lexicon. But it will be foolhardy to punish those that are innocent in the eyes of the law. That apart, false accusation is also punishable in law. Thus, the onus of proof is on those who allege to submit concrete evidence against suspects. The APC is not a safe haven for criminals and outlaws. Such accusations are in the fertile imagination of political adversaries.

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Many individuals and groups, including former Nigerian leaders and the Catholic Church, have advised the President not to seek re-election. Is he in any way considering this advice?

Our President is not the oldest in the world. Neither is he incapacitated mentally or physically. Therefore, if the constitution says he is entitled to two terms, why must he throw away the chance to consolidate and expand the plans he has for the greater good of the greater majority of Nigerians?

As for those advising the President not to seek re-election, they are entitled to such opinions, but no man can take away the inalienable rights of an individual from him or her without consent.

Besides, the teeming population of Nigerians, who love the change agenda of PMB and are daily urging the President to continue for stability and unity, must also be listened to. So, President Buhari will not be fair to dash their hope and aspiration. Mr. President, as a genuine statesman and patriot, would not want to abandon ship shortly after exiting the country from a parlous and painful recession. The President has declared his intention to continue to offer good leadership to the nation, and so it shall be.

On the $16bn power projects, former President Olusegun Obasanjo said presidential aides should read his earlier response to the case and educate the President in the language he would understand. As a presidential aide, what is your reaction to this?

With due respect to the former President, no story is complete without a chance of hearing from the other side. The wisdom of the late prominent playwright and essayist, Chinua Achebe, comes handy here. He once wrote that “until lionesses become historians, the story of hunting will always make heroes of hunters.” Mr. President is not given to much talking. He asked, “Where is the power?” Truly, if $16bn was drawn from the national treasury towards power supply, how many Nigerians would accept it as money well spent? More so, as uninterrupted power supply is still an El Dorado best imagined.

By the way, a retiree does have a lot of time at his disposal to dramatize his feelings and should be allowed to enjoy just that. It is not in the character of President Buhari to insult or denigrate others. Like a soldier in the war front, President Buhari really does not have the fleeting moment to bother about mosquito bites and political innuendos. He is focused on fixing the wrongs of the past and placing Nigeria on a new pedestal of equitable growth and development.

Buhari’s open support for Adams Oshiomhole’s aspiration to become APC chairman is believed to have contributed to the crisis in the party. As the party’s leader, is he supposed to be partisan in such an open manner?

Politics is a dynamic discipline and very interesting too. Not too long ago, many people frowned on the President, a converted Democrat, staying away from the leadership tussle in the National Assembly. Some even said Mr. President was not a proper politician. This time around, President Buhari should be permitted to exercise his political right to association and freedom of choice. This does not, in any way, take anything away from the rights of others to lobby members or contest positions. The President is just one person. The beauty of democracy is in citizens’ participation and it is ingrained in the constitution of our country.

Why did the President spend $496m to procure fighter jets that won’t be delivered until 2020 when same money can be used for productive activities that could make an impact in the lives of Nigerians?

Matters bordering on national security are not subjects for public discourse. And it is like that all over the world. Sophisticated military weaponry and combat gadgets are of high technology that requires time and space to manufacture and customize to the needs of clients. Tucano jets are not tricycles that one can easily buy from the shop.

We are all witnesses to what obtained in the past when no advanced country was prepared to sell arms and ammunition to Nigeria. That actually prolonged the war against the Boko Haram insurgents and caused the country precious lives and property.

Since Mr. President’s first role is to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria and cater to the welfare of Nigerians, he did the needful by purchasing those badly-needed war equipment. And he deserves accolades for that. After all, no business can thrive or survive in the absence of peace and tranquility.

There have been several calls for the removal of the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris. Why is the President still keeping the IG?

President Buhari takes his time to choose his aides. And once that is done, he allows them free rein to operate. He gives them the wherewithal to do their jobs. However, the President commands respect and loyalty from his team. Everyone knows that they cannot taint the integrity of Mr. President without concomitant punishment. He is aware of the powers of his office and knows what to do in dealing with situations of appointments or dismissals. Mr. President is a patient leader who does not do things on impulse.

What will you be telling those who believe that President Buhari is too old to seek re-election?

President Buhari isn’t the oldest man at the helms of his country. What the constitution says is that a man that is fit mentally and physically has a right to contest an election. President Buhari has been certified fit and he still has the unfinished business to improve the lots of Nigerians. Age is not the issue, but a man with a kind heart to do good for the people.

Source: The Punch

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Odigie-Oyegun Says – Why I withdrew from APC Chairmanship Race

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National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, John Odigie-Oyegun, has explained why he withdrew from contesting afresh the party’s national chairmanship position in the forthcoming National Convention slated for June 23. He said his decision was “in the party’s interest.”

He stated this on Friday night in Abuja while speaking with newsmen, adding that he arrived at the decision after wide consultation with close political associates and family members and not because of intimidation.

He said that the tenure extension that the party’s National Executive Committee had agreed to suffer a setback following President Muhammadu Buhari’s opposition.

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According to him, the tenure extension would have helped to stabilize the party in the face of some of its challenges and might have prevented the crisis that followed its recent congresses in some states of the federation.

He said that some of the party leaders ought to have considered the tenure extension to be in the best interest of the party.

This, he said, would have ensured that the party enters the 2019 elections as a united fighting force, rather than one that is potentially weakened by internal conflicts arising from competitive congresses and convention.

Odigie-Oyegun urged party leaders to close ranks and to make the party a strong fighting force ahead of the 2019 general elections.

“Now that the Convention Committee has invited interested aspirants to obtain forms to contest various national positions in our party, it has become necessary for me to state my position.

“I have consulted widely with my family, friends, and associates, even though I had the desire to re-contest as the national chairman of the party.

“I have decided that it is ultimately in the best interest of the party for me to withdraw from the race.

“I believe that the party faces difficult days ahead, and all critical stakeholders in its leadership would be required to bind together for a common purpose,” he said.

He advised that a less-contentious convention would be better for the party, adding that he had always sought to be a part of solving the party’s problems.

“I do not intend to be part of the problems for APC to solve. It is for this reason that I hereby declare that I will not be seeking re-election as the national chairman.

“However, I will continue to perform my functions as the national chairman of the party till my tenure officially ends on Monday, June 25, when a new set of party executive will be inaugurated,” Odigie-Oyegun said.

Source: The Punch

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