Saturday, May 16, 2015

Wukari Crises Victims ‘We won’t return to Taraba’

...Victims abandoned in Jalingo, Benue hospitals
Ayodele Samuel who was in Wukari recently  writes on the unending crisis rocking southern part of Taraba State. Hundreds of lives have been lost in communal strife in southern Taraba councils of Wukari and Ibi in the past three months between the Tiv/Fulani on one hand and the Jukun/Hausa community on the other.

Residents of the community however are still in pains of the two- ethno-religious conflict that pitted the Jukun -Christians and Hausa Muslims communities in Wukari and Ibi local government areas of the state which led to destruction  of  properties worth millions of naira.
Southern Taraba journey to unrest begins April when unknown gunmen laid siege on the town, killing over 50 residents, although the Taraba state police command put the figure at seven.
National President of the Jukun Development Association (JDA), Mr. Benjamin  Danborno  however said not less than 1000 people have been killed in the past three months in the region. 
"At the last count, 51 villages belonging to the Jukun and Tiv people have been completely destroyed and burnt down while farm produce worth several millions of naira destroyed," Danborno said.
During the last crisis, it was gathered that 32 persons were killed, more than 200 were injured, 1,398 houses burnt, while four filling stations and one church were completely burnt to ashes in Wukari.
The crisis, several eyewitnesses said started in Wukari at about 6.30am when youths suspected to be Christians belonging to the Jukun tribe razed down two shops near a church at Angwan Hausa, a community predominantly occupied by Hausa Muslims. The shop owners, said to be owned by two Hausa youth, mobilized others to set the church and other properties ablaze.
In Ibi, a neighboring local government of Wukari, also early hours of same day experienced a crisis in which 11 persons were killed, 21 injured, 167 houses burnt and four churches razed. Also affected were four shops, eight vehicles and three mosques, which were all razed.
Presently more than 2,130 persons have been rendered homeless, as resident flee the crisis ridden region.
"There was an argument between some boys over charging of phones; one thing lead to another and two shops were set ablaze. The next thing we heard was gunshots and several houses were set ablaze," an eyewitness said.
An eyewitness Mallam Bako Useni, said the quarrel was between a Christian and a Muslim and also led to the shooting of some soldiers, who were deployed to quell the fighting.
One of the victims, Kisani Alade, who was shot in the leg, said they were in the church around 6.30 a.m, when the Hausa Muslims stormed their church, the Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria (CRCN) and started shooting sporadically at the worshippers.
He said many people must have died in the process, but that he was lucky to have escaped with a bullet wound, after which some persons managed to take him away Along the Katsina-Ala Jalingo highway are residents in there large dove mostly women and children heading to Zaki Biam and other villages in Benue state.
Residents who spoke with our correspondent on their way out of Wukari accused soldiers in the area of carrying out 'hidden agenda'
A middle age woman said the crisis was escalated by people in military uniform region who descended on the people said all her life earnings have been destroyed in the crisis.
The woman who claim to own a super market in the heart of Wukari said the burning of her shop last week makes it the third attack on her business, "they (the rioters) have destroy my life, I stock my shop last weekend, with goods more than a million, have saved all years to improve my business but they burn everything down.
"its every time they use to fight and am always affected, if I should return their am sure they will kill me, I will not go back to Wukari I will stay with the people of Benue there are more peaceful than my people.
"In April my shop in the village was burnt down, have not recover again my main shop has been burnt again."
Some residents who spoke to our correspondent have accused security operatives of taking sides during last Sunday's crisis. A resident said locals live in fear of reprisal attack, saying, "We don't know what might happen because the tension is very high in the villages and the army cannot assure us of safety because of their role in the last Sunday attack."
Some victims of the crisis are still lying at the Specialist Hospital, Jalingo with are with  bullets in their bodies, bleeding from gunshots and yet to receive adequate medical attention despite promise by the state government to foot their medical bills. 
Sani Ibrahim had five bullets in his body, while Sanusi Mohammed Sankera had a bullet concealed in his buttocks.
Halima Sidi Umaru said they were forced by people, whom she described as illegal security operatives, to quit their homes unprepared.
Umaru, who has just fled Wukari to Jalingo, told our reporter that she had to leave Wukari because, according to her, they were not safe.
"We are living in fear; we are not safe in Wukari. We can't differentiate between original and fake army, so we don't know the real enemy. I can't count the dead bodies I saw but its more than 12″, said another witness.
She appealed to the state government to deploy more security to Wukari to ensure normalcy returns.
Halima explained that youths were mounting road blocks at Gidan Adamu Village near Gyepi to harass passengers.
The Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Rimande Ubandoma Joel explained that it was not in every part of the body that bullets should be removed, because in the process of removing the bullet, more damage could be done to the patient.
Joel said patients who still have bullets in their bodies were given professional treatment and necessary drugs based on what was allowed by laws governing the medical profession and urged their relations not to panic.
He said the acting Governor of Taraba state, Alhaji Garba Umar has mandated the hospital to do everything possible to save lives of the patients as medication were being provided, test, X-rays and surgeries conducted, adding that the patients were not to pay for any service rendered to them, as the government was footing their bills.
But victims relations who besiege the hospital lamented the poor handling of the victims, they said most of the patients where only given pain reliefs.
A senior nurse, who preferred anonymity told Peoples Daily Weekend that there was no directive from the state government to treat victims free but that they were just offering First Aid.
"we only heard of the free treatment from the news, no official communication has been made because we need more drugs and materials to carry out the instruction, our facilities is presently over stretched," she said  
Also 32 persons injured during the ethno-religious crisis  taken to the Federal Medical Centre, FMC Makurdi, for treatment bill is yet to be paid.
Acting Medical Director of the FMC, Dr Peteru Ihiundu, confirmed that many people were on referral  to the hospital from Wukari but said the Taraba state government has not reached out to them on the payments of its bill .
"We had 32 people, who were brought in at a go with various degrees of injuries. The hospital was alerted that we were expecting 32 injured patients and we effectively mobilised the hospital community, who were battle-ready for their arrival. They came in at 4.00 PM and we operated throughout the night."
Ihiundu, who was full of joy that all the patients, except one, who had neck injury, were in stable condition.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Taraba acting governor, Garba Umar, Aaron Artimas, who spoke to one of our correspondents, said the government wants peace in all part of the state, to fast track developmental projects of the present administration.
"There won't be development if there is no peace; we want peace. The acting governor is doing everything to ensure peace returns to Southern Taraba. He recently facilitated a peace pact that was signed by all parties at the Aku-Uka's (Wukari paramount ruler's) Palace, and he has empowered the security agencies, and is meeting with all stakeholders to ensure lasting peace in the region", the governor's spokesman said.
Crisis in Southern Taraba   which comprises of other towns like Takum, Donga, Ussa and Yentu Development Areas has many colourations which have continue to undermine all efforts to restore peace.
In the political arrangement of the state, Southern Taraba   is expected to produce the next governor after Danbaba Suntai who had been bedridden in the one year.  Political stakeholders in the region however said the reoccurrence of the crisis was to make the region unsettle and stable ahead of 2015.
A group, Southern Taraba Forum For A Just Society,  coordinator, Manu Benjamin Caleb, in a letter  postulated that the crisis currently engulfing the zone is a scheme to destabilize the zone. "We are miffed and stupefied by the latest onslaught on the peoples of our zone in Wukari, Takum, Donga and Ibi local government areas. Clearly, the ongoing mayhem is a well worked out blueprint to destabilize the zone and institute a reign of terror, especially now that it is clear that the zone is ready to produce the next governor in the 2015 general elections.
"The march for power shift to the zone is on, and some clowns want to scuttle it with these crises to distract the region. It took a recent outrage by Senator Joel Ikenya over his failure to visit those areas before the acting governor quickly breezed into Wukari and Ibi."
Also Senator representing the zone , Emmanuel Bwacha who recently call for a state of emergency said "The crises of the past were ethnic skirmishes largely between Tiv and Jukun, who have since embraced peace and are even working together today to repel the insurgents. The violence today is being perpetrated by armed insurgents and we have evidence that Ag. governor brought mercenaries to destroy southern Taraba so as to weaken its political base, with a desperate motive to thwart power shift to the zone in next year's election."
JDA National President, Danborno  on his part demanded the immediate evacuation of all Fulani herdsmen from southern Taraba, claiming that the presence of "these violent herdsmen, driven from Plateau, Nasarawa and Benue States, was responsible for the rising cases of violence in their homeland and that the herdsmen must leave for peace to reign in the area."
He threatened that if the herdsmen refused to leave their homeland, they would take up arms against them.
He  said the call to take up arms became necessary due to federal government alleged failure "to check the violence and protect the Jukun people from the clutches of the blood-thirsty Fulani herdsmen, who have been killing, maiming and burning our houses."
Danborno said the spontaneous eruption of violence at Wukari, Ibi and Rafinkada, all in southern Taraba, during worship service last Sunday have further confirmed the group's fear of a grand plan to exterminate the Jukun people.
"Everywhere you go around southern Taraba villages, Fulani herdsmen have taken over our people's farmland commandeering Jukun and Tiv's homes and their live stocks," the JDA president said.
He noted that the Jukuns were aggrieved and disappointed that both the federal and the state governments have not been able to resolve the matter leading to the avoidable bloodshed. Danborno said it is perplexing that in a country where firearms licences are not freely issued to individuals, "these herdsmen openly carry firearms with which they harm and kill innocent people, giving the impression that some people are above the law."
He said documented evidence showed that the violence which began on November 18, 2012; and another on February 23, 2013, April 5, 2013 and April 15, 2014 before the present one on June 15, 2014, are indications that all the peace agreements between the Jukun people and the Fulani herdsmen and the Muslim community of southern Taraba have been thrown to the dustbin as powerful forces are hell bent on throwing the area into political turmoil.
He therefore warned all politicians to steer clear of fueling crisis in southern Taraba especially now that it is the turn of the zone to produce the next governor of the state come 2015.
"We see in all these a grand design by some disgruntled politicians to deliberately heat up the polity of the area and render the zone incapable of being able to produce a formidable candidate for the forthcoming governorship election. Let us assure them that such gimmicks will fail like others before it. "Let us also sound a note of caution that we are all peace loving in southern Taraba and we want justice. Let politicians who are looking towards fomenting trouble for us look elsewhere as we are better engaged in thinking of solutions to the problems besetting our state," Danborno further stated.
It will be recalled that there had been serious crises in Wukari, which led to the signing of the recent peace agreement among Fulani, Tiv, Jukun and Muslims in the area on one hand, and the Taraba State Government on the other.
Also, the acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, has given a marching order to the local authorities in the affected areas to maintain peace or face the music
Umar has directed local government chairmen to be security conscious and ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order in their respective areas.
the acting governor further directed the council chairmen to ensure that traditional rulers in their respective areas were carried along in the fight against insecurity in the state.
He ordered the local authorities to hold monthly security meeting in order to address grey areas for timely intervention.
Umar stressed the importance of traditional rulers in tackling security challenge, saying they could not be ignored. He therefore directed that the royal fathers must be part of distribution of relief materials to displaced persons.
Umar states that preliminary findings indicate that the outburst of the violence was as a result of the negative activities of some youth groups in Wukari and Ibi local government areas.
He also ordered the proscription of all youth groups in Wukari and Ibi local government areas, while security agencies have been directed to ensure the enforcement of the ban.

....Taraba crisis is localised, says CPS to acting gov umar

Kefas Sule is the Chief Press Secretary to Taraba State Acting Governor Alhaji Garba Umar. In this interview with Ayodele Samuel he explains that the government is doing everything possible to ensure peace returns to the Southern part of the state.
What is your principal doing to address insecurity in Taraba State, particularly in the Southern part of the state?
I think we are doing a lot, if you have been following trends in the media, you would have seen the reports emanating from Taraba regarding the efforts that the state government have been making to contain the crises right from the onset as you are very well aware, this crises is not from Taraba state, it came from somewhere in Nassarawa splits into Benue state and then enters Taraba and even long before the crises came into Taraba state, His excellency, the Acting governor of Taraba state has set up several committees and summoned several high power meetings to ensure that crises is not coming to Taraba state but unfortunately for us, it happened and since then, some of the major style have been adopted in the state which includes regular meetings with the stakeholders and by stakeholders I mean the local government chairman, the traditional rulers and other community leaders from the affected areas. In the second measure that was taken, was to make request for additional re-enforcement of security agencies in those area. You realize that the cost of the price especially in the north east is, the number of security on ground has been far over stretched, so far you will discovered that crises will break out in somewhere and you deployed them there and as they are trying to contained it, another one has broken down somewhere else in the latest case that has been experienced. So you now have to now say take some numbers of men from the one you have on ground and take them to the new place so you will discovered that these personnels have been over stretched. Now to remedy this situation, the excellency make the request to the police headquarters and the Nigerian Army headquarters to send in reinforcement which we have done severally, the police I think about two units of mobile policemen were deployed from Gombe and Adamawa state and additional military men were brought in from Adamawa state from benue state to reinforce the number that is on ground. You will recall also if you have been following reports from the media so far the state government has spent 32 numbered trailers loads of relief materials to the affected areas for distribution to victims, you know we are not saying that this should be able to adequately addressed the needs but to alleviate their plight and that has been done to all the affected areas particularly the southern part of the state. Now the other things we did was the launching of operation Wuta-Wuta which I'm sure you also know and at least you are here to witnessed the distributions of motorcycle components of the distribution campaign, the first time, police receive 35 numbered Hilux van, the Nigerian Army on the second batch received 30 numbered Hilux van and other security agencies from the state got 10 bringing the total number to 75. Now, before then, other vehicles have been given, you know 6 numbered, 3 numbered, to the army, the civil defense and the  SSS like that. Last week 180 motorcycles were given to the vigilante groups with the sole aim for them to compliments the role of security agencies in ensuring that the violent conflicts and crimes are brought to the minimum level in our state. So if we aggregate all this efforts, you will discovered that the state government have invested enough resources and so much materials to ensure these crises does not go beyond the level that it will cause a continuous lost of lives and properties.
With the reoccurrence of crisis in some part of the state, don't you think the call for a state of emergency by Senator Bwacha should be reviewed
I don't know why people will call for state of emergency, if the current efforts have helped to stabilized the situation in most of the crises zone, I don't think there is a need for state of emergency in this state. And let us remembered that most of these conflicts are localized, we are not talking of a widespread situation across the state, we are talking of localized isolated cities of crises in Wukari for instance, if they wants to that is why the crises has been resolved but as I speak to you now, His excellency, the acting governor and the various stakeholders are still working on how to find a lasting and final solution to the conflicts and as per our expectations and hope, that the outcome of this last discussion they are going to have will cement the outcomes of all the efforts that have been previously done and we will not hear of conflicts in Taraba state again.

Patricide: Why would children kill their parents?

Mr Ezike murdered by his son, Ejiofor in EnuguRecent reports have shown how violent children have become in Nigeria, to the extent of killing their parents. Ayodele Samuel in this report writes on the increasing case of Patricide in the society.

Charles Ajayi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, and top pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God RCCG, would never have thought his son, Tolani would send him to an early grave.
Tolani, a 21year-old 300-level undergraduate of History and International Relations of the Redeemers University on July 3, however butchered his father before dumping his remains into the bush inside the camp ground of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), along the Lagos-Ibadan Express road.
According to the police, Tolani confessed that his slain father provoked him by slapping him when he refused to respond to the prayers he raised during devotion. He later got angry and dashed for the kitchen where he took a knife and stabbed his father.
"The incident happened around 1:00 a.m. when the Church community was probably sleeping. It was in anger that I did it. My father just bit me repeatedly with his teeth. There was an argument between us and I stood up to him. He beat me with a stick and bit me with his teeth. Just the two of us were at home, my mother was in Abuja.
"We live in Abuja but I school at the camp (Redemption Camp). He came for a programme then, my school was on break. So, I went to meet him, we were to go back to Abuja together, then the incident happened and here I am now," Tolani said.
While narrating how the incident occurred, he disclosed that his father first hit him repeatedly with a wooden stick, which he took from the kitchen.
"My father went to the kitchen and took a stick (wooden spoon), he used it to beat me repeatedly and I tried to defend myself, then he bit me on my shoulder and I got angry. I used a small kitchen knife, later, I used cutlass to attack him. I regret the action."
Tolani is not the only perpetrator of patricide in recent times, Ikenna Onu in Ugwuoba community, in Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State, also reportedly, brutally murdered his father Mr. Christopher Onu, over an argument on drug use. Ikenna allegedly hacked his father to death with an axe.
Christopher, a farmer by profession, allegedly called his son, Ikenna into his room on July 4, 2014, after returning from the farm and advised him to stop taking hard drugs suspected to be Indian hemp.
According to Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, the State Police Public Relations Officer, the fatherly advice did not go well with Ikenna, who was believed to be under the influence of the hard drug at the time his father was giving him the piece of advice.
Amaraizu disclosed that Ikenna angrily took an axe and cut his father's head wide open, adding that the deceased immediately slumped and bled to death before help could come.
Although Ikenna is currently in custody at the Criminal Investigations Department of the State Police Command in Enugu, the Onu family is still mourning death of their breadwinner.
Also earlier in 2013, 65-year-old Felix Atta, a native of Umuonu Umuida community, Enugu Ezike in Igboeze North Local Government Area of Enugu State, was also killed by his son, Ejiofor.
Ejiofor, according to the police used a machete to slaughter his father after murdering his mother about six years ago. The boy was said to have gone into hiding after committing the crime and security men and family members had commenced manhunt for him till date.
For  25-year-old Kamilu Yusuf of Mortgage Area, Gusau, Zamfara State, his mother, Hajiya Hafsat Yusuf, and his two younger sisters, Amina and Maryam were his victims.
Yusuf, a student of Computers studies at Abdul Gusau Polytechnic, Talata-Mafara, was said to have slaughtered to death the trio on the fateful night.
A family source said, Yusuf accompanied his late mother to a Commercial Bank where she withdrew N800, 000 on the fateful day.
The source said that Yusuf, who was his late mother's favourite child, demanded for unspecified amount out of the money for private use but she turned down the request.
He said that Yusuf, who was unhappy with his late mother for her refusal to give him the money, mobilised three other friends to commit the heinous crime.
Just like Yusuf, Tolani is also said to be his parents favourite, his friends, however disclosed that both the school authority and his parent knew of his weird character, which they have been trying to manage and see if he will graduate from his degree programme.
Tolani's parents, both Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), his friends disclosed, were responsible for his misdemeanor due to the outrageous upbringing they gave him, something they affirmed contributed to his wild behaviour, which, according to them, his parent had been having running battle to contain.
They said Tolani was allegedly caught twice by the authorities of the university, and a panel was set up to interrogate him on the allegations of cultism and drug related matters before he committed the murder.
A female friend, who simply identified herself as Ola, disclosed that Late Tolani's father, Pastor Charles had on several occasions used his influence as a pastor in the Church to prevail on the school authority to allow his son remain in the school after been asked to leave having falled foul of the school rules and regulations many times.
Ola said "Tolani is someone we all know around and it is common knowledge that he has problem with drugs and been expelled from school on several occasions, but his father will use his connection with the high and mighty in the Church hierarchy to return him back to school. He smokes India hemp with some of his friends on the campus.
Also a close male friend, Femi said he had a chat on one of the social media platform on the day his friend chopped off his father's head, and even read out the chat he had with him where Tolani told him his father was at home.
Femi said when he asked why Tolani did not attend Church services on Sundays, he told his friends not to disturb him saying he does not believe in God.
Redeemer's University, Student Affairs Officer, Ademola Ipenko however ruled out the existence of cultist group in his institution in the patricide case.
"You can only talk about cultism when there is a rivalry fight, involving Tolani and some other persons. I think people can see or read a lot of different meaning to this incident, but that is unfortunate.
"As far as I am concerned, it could have happened anywhere. Besides it did not happen in the school nor when the school was in session; instead it happened in his father's house. It is not the fault of anybody."
Ipenko cautioned that acts like this could be the result of a morally sick society, which he said necessitates the need for a morally responsible society, stressing the need for families to uphold high moral standards.
"I believe in good morals, I believe that is exactly what we need in the society. As fathers and mothers, we need to go back to the values which our fore-fathers generations handed to us. We were taught in our days to respect our elders, to leave our seats for our elders to sit, either in the bus or anywhere. But what do we have these days? You see elders being pushed away by the younger ones", he noted.
"We should not see moral decadence as a problem of the Church or school but we should see it as that of the family. The family is responsible for inculcating good morals in the children", he argued.
Pastor Emmanuel Ajayi of the Christ Most High Ministry on his part said "we must know that there are external factors that act as influence on children beyond what we give them. It is not only true strict discipline".
According to him, beating or abusing cannot bring children to imbibe good morals or virtues.
"It must be a combination of a number of factors, dialogue through creation of conducive atmosphere through which parents can show their children possible negative consequences when they exhibit bad traits".
President of the Young People Africa, Ola-Abraham Emmanuel however blamed the decay in moral upbringing of children in the new generation
He also blamed 'too elastic parents' for the erring acts of their wards or children.
"indecency has eaten too deep in the moral fiber of our society, this generation has morally lost it and the blame goes to the parents, most of them believe it's all about wealth and money to be a responsible citizen in the society.
"Children are trained from childhood, even our Holy Books said we should train our children, but most parents are not having time to fulfill this duty, they are busy hustling for wealth and neglecting the homefront.
"Once a person is in the university, he or she is regarded as an adult regardless of the person's age. Some of the bad traits they exhibit in the university have been part of them from secondary school days, they misbehave right under the roof of their parents.
"Though I am not denying the truth that some, who are not strong willed in maintaining high moral uprightness can be easily influenced by peers or friends to succumbing to engaging in evil acts, I still believe the home has failed," Abraham said.
A school owner Akintunde Aliyu urged parents to always take time to consider possible reasons for their children's actions with a view to discussing with them as mature persons.
"As parents, we must know that those things that worked for us when we were growing up in those days may not be still applicable now, so we must always bear that in mind".
Also, teachers should also take more interest in their pupils, check on the influences around them and get to know them better. As parents, teachers, religious leaders and guardians, we should get to know our protégés better and take keen interest in them."
Ogun State Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Ikemefuna Okoye, appealled to parents to always show their children the right path to follow and train them to know our cultural values and morals. He said that it's incredible to hear and even see such a situation where a son would kill his father because of a prayer session or advice from parents.

Dimgba Igwe: Another Pen is drained

From Ayodele Samuel,Lagos
Dimgba Igwe
The media industry has since slipped into mourning after the death of one among its finest, Vice Chairman of The Sun Newspapers, Mr. Dimgba Igwe.
Igwe died at 58, last Saturday after he was knocked down by a hit-and-run driver while he was performing an early morning exercise around his house located around Okota, Lagos State, Western Nigeria.
He sustained serious injury, according to a statement on the website of the newspaper organisation, which said he was jogging when the car hit him.
He was rushed a private hospital where he underwent surgery but died few minutes after the surgery was done.
According to the statement, Orji Uzor Kalu, chairman of the Sun Publishing Limited described the incident as "the darkest day in the history of the organisation."
Dimgba Igwe, together with his bosom friend, Mike Awoyinfa, managed the media organisation from inception and he grew to the position of Vice Chairman before his death.
Igwe and Mike Awoyinfa added verve to Nigerian journalism when they set up Weekend Concord in 1989. The duo pioneered The Sun Newspapers in 2003, with Awoyinfa as Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief, and Igwe as Deputy Managing Director/Deputy Editor-in- Chief.
Igwe was appointed Vice Chairman of the company last year. Before joining the Sun, he had worked with the Concord titles, where he made the Saturday title a must read as deputy editor.
Igwe died a committed Christian, as Deputy General Overseer of Evangel Pentecostal Church, Okota, Lagos.
The prolific author and columnist, was a Fellow of the Nigerian Guild of Editors. He is survived by a wife and four children. Though his burial plans is yet to be announced, tribute has continued to pour in his honour, with many of his associates tasking the Nigerian police force to track down his killer.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, called on the police to find and bring to justice, the driver of the vehicle that knocked down Pastor Igwe while he was jogging around his residence, while consoling family and friends of the late Pastor Igwe.
The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria on its part described his death as tragic irony, that a gentleman, who was exercising to keep fit and live well, ended up being knocked to death by a vehicle.
IPC Director Lanre Arogundade, said "Dimgba Igwe was a distinguished editor and columnist; he was a quiet diligent worker who happened to be one of those that the younger generation of journalism professionals looked up to for inspiration. His death is therefore a major loss to the Nigerian media community."
Also Ndigbo Cultural Society of Nigeria (NCSN) said the Igbo nation will deeply miss 'the igwe of journalism'
According to NCSN, President Chief Udo Udeogaranya there is no argument that our country and Ndigbo nation will have to grapple with the challenge of an irreplaceable vacuum that no other person can fill in, except the departed.
"Our heartfelt condolence goes to his family and fans all over the world, while we pray to God to console the family and fans and give them the fortitude to bear the loss."
A Non-governmental organization- Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) however wants the Federal Ministry of Information, the Nigerian Union of Journalists and the Nigerian Guild of Editors to jointly work out comprehensive policy on how to immortalize the memory of this credible and cerebral creative writer and quintessential journalist, who edified the practice of what we may call stylistic and humorous and comical writing of otherwise very serious thematic issues
to the admiration of millions of readers.
HURIWA through the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Director of Media Affairs, Ms. Zainab Yusuf also wants the proposed headquarters of the Nigerian Guild of Editors in Abuja named after Mr. Dimgba Igwe because of his immense contributions to journalism in Nigeria even as it called on the Nigerian University Commission to erect a professorial seat in the faculty of mass
communications in one of the Federal Universities to document and pass on to generations yet unborn, the large volumes of journalistic activities of the late scholar and journalist.
Besides, the Rights group has called on state governments and the ministry of the Federal Capital Territory to restore the once admired right of way for pedestrians and bicycle ridding citizens in the planning and execution of city and township's infrastructure to save pedestrians from the menacing threats of extinction by rough and sometimes drunken drivers in most Nigerian cities. This was contained in a statement in reaction to the report of the killing of the famous journalist and a clergyman.

Cabals hiding Suntai in TY Danjuma mansion in Abuja – Sources

Published On: Thu, Sep 18th, 2014

Cabals hiding Suntai in TY Danjuma mansion in Abuja – Sources

From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
Cabals are currently hiding ailing Taraba state governor, Danbaba Suntai from the public, including the state acting governor, Alhaji Garba Umar and a delegate from the presidency, in the house of retired military general and elder statesman TY Danjuma in Asokoro Abuja sources have alleged.
Peoples Daily last night gathered that the cabals, allegedly led by former Defence minister, reportedly turned down a delegate sent by President Jonathan to visit governor Suntai.
A member of the delegate last night said, "We could not get clearance to enter the compound from the governor associates. The delegate, after spending hours at the gate left in anger.
Sources around the state Acting governor said all effort made by the Umar to meet with his principal ailing Governor Danbaba Suntai days after he returned to Nigeria are been frustrated by the cabals around him.
Peoples Daily also gathered that Governor Suntai was deliberately brought into the country to frustrate the acting governor from emerging the PDP flag-bearer for the 2015 governorship election in the state.
Governor Suntai, who was flown into Abuja on Saturday night, in activities shrouded in controversy, has been housed at the multi million mansion of General TY Danjuma in Abuja.
Sources said Suntai's deputy, who is currently acting, has made several efforts to meet with his principal but Governor Suntai's associates has continue to denied him access to his boss.
The cabals had earlier deliberately misinformed the acting governor details of the governor's arrival on Saturday night.
The acting governor was kept waiting for his boss arrival at domestic wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, in Abuja, while the chartered plane convening Governor Suntai was landing at the International section of the airport.
The governor was reportedly whisked away before the arrival of the state government delegation led by the acting governor.
"The acting governor has not meet with his boss, he's has made several efforts but the people around the man are blocking him.
"They started by giving us wrong information about his flight; we were waiting at the domestic terminal of the Abuja airport, but he was received by the cabals at international terminal.
"The acting governor made efforts to join them but they left leaving us at the airport since then no communication has been established between Suntai and the acting governor," the source said.

Anxiety as tougher time clouds manufacturing sector in 2015

Hopes for manufacturers to have a blooming 2015 is on the bleak as experts says the crashing down of Nigeria's local currency at the international market portends a tougher 2015 for the manufacturing sector, Ayodele Samuel writes.
2015 is a significant year for Nigeria, aside been a transitional year for government, the manufacturing sector has been neglected by policymakers and politicians to battle for votes despite various challenges steering the sector in the eyes.
The recent devaluation has hiked production costs while threatening job losses and reducing competitiveness of local products in the global market, Nigeria's manufacturers are in for a tough year ahead.
But more worrisome is the fact that manufacturers have now been barred by the central bank from accessing dollars through the Retail Dutch Auction Scheme (RDAS), thus pushing them into inter-bank and parallel markets where dollar is costlier. Stakeholders say this will further balloon production costs in the New Year and could reverse all the efforts made so far to steer the sector.
Former minister for Commerce and Industry and Immediate Manufacturers Association of Nigeria MAN President, Chief Kola Jamodu expressed concerns over the outlook for 2015 especially for the manufacturing sector, stating that key investment inflows are domiciled in the capital market rather than in the real sector.
"There are a lot of challenges in 2015. Demand is extremely sluggish and with the way the currency is dangling, I will advice Nigerians to avoid dollar exposure. The volume of export is dropping and this remains a source of concern to manufacturers".
Like Jamodu, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) also predicted a tougher time ahead for manufacturers in the country based on the continued drop in the cost of crude at the international market and the devaluation of the Naira.
NACCIMA National President, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, said the country is beset with so many challenges arising from falling crude oil prices, which have precipitated the proposed austerity measures and devaluation of the naira while insecurity in the North-East has also remained a serious challenge.
Abubakar noted that due to a lot of pressure on the Naira as a result of high demand, the CBN devalued the Naira to an official Rate of N168 perdollar, but said the interbank exchange rate still goes as high as
N185per dollar as at December 22 while Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), he said, has gone up to 13% as against 12% in the 1st half of this year and Crude Oil price continues to fall, noting that it currently stands at $60.12 per barrel as against $102 per barrel as at August 2014.
"As can be seen, the macroeconomic fundamentals are less stable than they were in the 1st half of this year and this has serious implications on the progress of the real sector of the Nigerian economy," he said.
He also noted that there still exist a gap between the savings and lending rate, saying that the cost of funds currently hovers between 22 – 35% depending on the profile of the firms, which he said is too high for any productive venture and has significant implication on the global competitiveness of Nigerian firms and their products.
Abubakar explained that the macro-economic indicators show a disparity in the state of affairs of the nation's economy and citizens' well-being.
While the challenges abound, he noted that the country might have to depend heavily on local manufacturers that source their raw materials locally without exposure to the forex market.
"The falling price of crude oil is expected to affect the price of imported commodities like the premium motor spirit and the likes, but the real sector remains heavily affected.
"Slow-paced growth should be expected till after elections. But with early budget implementation, there is a lot to be done. The economy should not be ignored in the face of elections. The first quarter may be rough but the effect should be mitigated.
Also the Lagos Chambers of Commerce, Industry, LCCI, in annual economic review for 2014 and outlook for 2015 noted that the country's inflation rate may cross the double-digit mark in the first half of 2015 as the combined austerity measures introduced by the government and tighter monetary policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria will put additional pressure on consumer prices.
The LCCI said with the unfolding oil price slump and the consequent exchange rate depreciation, it was plausible to predict higher inflation conditions in the new year.
"There will be pressures on production and operating costs across sectors. High cost of imports will also be a major factor. As a result of the import-dependent character of the economy, the sharp declines in exchange rate will naturally push up the operating costs of enterprises in the economy. Many firms are already feeling the heat across all sectors," the LCCI said.
According to the chamber "a natural outcome of the depreciating exchange rate in an import-dependent economy is inflation. Cost-push inflation will begin to manifest in the next few weeks of 2015. This will be driven by high cost of production and high cost of imported finished goods.
"The tight monetary policy may continue into the 2015 and this will keep the interest rate high in the economy."
The group noted that in the past few weeks, the naira exchange rate had depreciated by about 11 per cent in the interbank market and over 12 per cent in the parallel market, adding that the impact of the depreciation on operating costs would be very profound in 2015.
Aside the fall in Naira , the Common External Tariff (CET) billed to begin in the new year remains another threat to the nation's manufacturing sector.
Although ECOWAS members had agreed that tariff across the 15 member countries will now be uniform to usher in a common regional market and free trade zone across the sub-region, stakeholders are of the opinion that the regime threaten Nigeria's manufacturing sector that is facing challenges due to its tough business environment.
NACCIMA National President, urged manufacturers to belt up for a challenging year in 2015, saying that production cost will go up amidst the challenges of infrastructure, porous border and the battle against cost push inflation, which is inevitable.
"Giving these scenario on the state of the nation, it becomes obvious that the ongoing socio-economic reform programmes of the Federal and State Government must be intensified and appropriate policy framework put in place through public private partnership (PPP) arrangements to drive the process towards achieving the desired growth of the economy that will positively impact on the country's realization of its Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF)," Abubakar advised.
Also MAN President, Dr. Frank Jacobs on his part urge manufacturers to take cautious efforts before initiating international transactions that may expose them to the forex market, even as he urged government to give considerations to the real sector in the course of policy formulation.
Other stakeholders urge government to promote conducive business climate, such as ensuring the provision of steady electricity supply, as well as mount pressure on the banks to reduce their lending rates, saying that with cost of finance with a high interest rates and frightening COT charges on accessed funds, there is no way manufacturers can survive in their businesses in the new year.

2015 Polls: Torrent of promises for manufacturing sector

2015 Polls: Torrent of promises for manufacturing sector

Buhari and JonathanAyodele Samuel writes on the various political promise made to stakeholders in the manufacturing sectors, as politicians scramble for votes.
Nigeria's Manufacturing sector has been facing hard times since the return of democratic rule in 1999.
Faced with various challenges, the sector has been neglect to rot as various companies relocates to neighboring counties due to high cost of production and unconducive business environment.
At every election years, members of the organized private sectors OPS becomes the toasts of politicians makes
The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), told OPS members at a meeting in Lagos that his government would effectively grow the nation's economy.
This according to the former head of state is to ensure that majority of the people feel its impact, thereby positively addressing their standard of living on a sustainable basis.
Specifically, he stressed that if voted into power, his administration would galvanise the economy to enhance productivity through improved electricity generation, transmission, and supply; empowerment of Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs); and enthronement of a regime of favourable investment climate.
Essentially, Buhari said job creation would be accorded its deserved priority, to ensure that the productive segment of the populace is positively challenged through a well-designed manpower training, development and utilisation programme.
According to him, the policies for implementing his administration's commitments would be guided "as practical as it is possible to do so" by the highest consideration of how they create jobs in the country.
To create jobs for the textile and shoemaking industries, Buhari said equipping and resourcing the nation's security personnel would not be limited to the provision of arms alone, but would include uniforms, boots and other accouterments,
He said his administration would seriously commit itself to power supply, as a means of quickly galvanising the economy back to productivity.
Although the APC supports privatisation of power utilities, Buhari said the party believes that privatisation must go further to include transmission of power.
He expressed regrets that nothing much had been achieved beyond the signing and handing over of the power assets, pointing out that after the ceremonies, which, according to him, took place a few years back, the real work of generation, transmission and distribution of power had not been done.
"The reason why the success seems elusive is that apart from the signing ceremony and handover of the power assets, the hard work to connect the various parts of the power chain, gas supply, transformer installation of substations, has not been done," he said.
Noting that based on a study carried out by the APC, the nation would need no less than 200,000 trained personnel to support the initiative to provide power and light up Nigeria, Buhari said apart from the inherent direct employment that it would give, the reduction in cost of production, and the savings from self-generation by Nigerians would reduce the burden on their disposable income.
To Buhari, such savings engendered by reliable power supply would help the average Nigerian spend his or her money on other basic necessities of life and reduce poverty.
"We will support this initiative because a local refinery means many things, including availability of jobs locally at a Nigerian refinery instead of a refinery abroad, local fuel supply and national security, reduced importation, less demand for foreign exchange and strengthening of the naira," he said.
"Road construction alone will unlock a value chain of opportunities in relevant industries for construction companies, builders, engineers, architects, quarry operators, material suppliers," he said.
"The successful opening up of Nigeria by the construction of new roads and highways will revive road transportation; truck and tyre manufacturing; engine oil and brake pad production on one hand and also create a demand for jobs for mechanics, drivers and those engaged in transport support businesses."
He reiterated that his administration would give priority to agriculture, mining and infrastructure, to provide jobs for the nation's teeming youths.
He said for the fact that majority of the youths who, he said, constitute 40 per cent of the population, are jobless is a dangerous situation.
Buhari promised that an APC government would set up industries to produce tomato puree in the country and stop its importation, adding that he would also set up facilities to preserve the tomatoes for transportation to markets across the country.
"I was shocked to hear how much was being spent in importing tomato puree, even as I observed that while driving from Kaduna to Kano, a large quantity of tomatoes wasting while awaiting being harvested and transported to markets across the country," he said.
He said those issues were interconnected with mining, agriculture, infrastructure and job creation, in the sense that not much could be achieved without security and eradication of corruption.
Nigeria, Buhari noted, is too vulnerable, considering that at this moment, the country has to import fuel to move her planes, her tanks and her men, adding, "You can see that we also have to import arms. We are vulnerable because our troops also depend on imported food."
For President Goodluck Jonathan, showing off his achievement he felt would give him OPS members votes.
Jonathan also at a meeting with sector stakeholder said his administration provided no fewer that 1.4 million jobs annually in the last three years to close the unemployment gap and had empowered many in the informal sector, such as the Nollywood.
The president said that if returned in 2015 Nigeria would be totally transform through the on-going diversification in various sectors.
Jonathan added that his administration "has partnered with the private sector and critical stakeholders to move Nigeria to the next stage," which according to him, justified the drive of his administration "to create the enabling environment and build an army of young entrepreneurs though the You Win programme."
His finance minster Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said the transformation agenda of the administration "is a diversification agenda''.
She said that Nigeria remained the largest economy in Africa which was achieved by the Jonathan administration.
She said agriculture, housing and other economic activities had been diversified to generate higher income than oil adding that the focus now was to diversify the income sector.
She said the rail transportation had been revived successfully and attempts were being made to open all rail corridors in the country for easy haulage of goods and services.
Despite all these OPS member are anxious to see improvement in the manufacturing sector, as Nigerians go to the polls.

World Tobacco Day: How effective is anti–public smoking law in Lagos?

World Tobacco Day: How effective is anti–public smoking law in Lagos?

No-Smoking-SignThe World celebrated World Tobacco Day at the weekend; Ayodele Samuel, in this report, takes a look at the effectiveness of the anti-public smoking law which banned smoking in public places in Lagos, last February.
Smoking in public Smoking in public is as old as the act of smoking itself and it is a habit that smokers like Akinila Ibrahim can't stop no matter how hard he tries. "It is part of my life, it's something I have done for a very long time and I don't think I can ever stop smoking. I can't hide it, so I smoke anywhere I can," says Akinila, 35, who lives with his family in Lagos state, where smoking in public is said to be a crime punishable by law and attracts a fine of N20, 000 or three months jail term.
It will be recalled that the state government earlier in the year banned cigarette smoking in public places such as public toilets, tertiary institutions, public transport/motor parks, shopping centres, stadia, restaurants amongst others. The law also makes it a criminal offence to smoke in front of minors.
However since the signing into law of the bill, public places across the mega city are dotted with smokers who seem to be ignorant of the law just as the government appears not to be prepared about enhancing its implementation starting from the 17th of August this year.
Akinila who is not unaware of existence of the law is less worried because according to him, security agents too smoke freely in their stations, which are also public places.
"I know the government has said we should not smoke in public but who will arrest me for smoking on the street? Is it the police officers who smoke freely in their offices," he wondered.
The case of Akinila is not unique, many other Lagosians have continued to engage in the act publicly unmindful of the consequences stipulated by the law.
Bassey Friday, another tobacco addict boasted that the law cannot make him stop from doing what he derives pleasure in doing. "I know am going to quit smoking in the nearest future, but I don't know when it will be. For now, I cannot do without my cigarette, government law cannot stop anything. I will get my cigarette where I always get it from and smoke anywhere I find myself."
Visits to several public places in some parts of Lagos by Peoples Daily showed that the law only exist on paper.
Operators of such places are also showing lack of enthusiasm in enhancing the law as they do not display the "NO SMOKING" sign on their premises as required by the law, while most motor parks in the state still play host to tobacco smokers and sellers.
Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW , Ikeja chapter, Alhaji Muyiwa Okunola said its union is collaborating with the state government to enforce the anti tobacco law, while disregarding presence of tobacco sellers at their various parks, saying however, that "It is an offence to smoke while driving, smoking is totally prohibited for drivers; obviously it is not just for safety reasons it is also for health reasons because we are moving towards banning smoking in all public places.
"It is an offence to drive while drunk; if you've been taking drugs, this law provides for blood test to determine whether you have ingested drugs which are inconsistent with your ability to drive.
Traders who deal in tobacco products and local gin said the law is an attack on their source of livelihood.
"I felt a big blow, our sales had reduced earlier", said a trader who refused to disclose her name at the Ikeja motor park, but who heaved a sigh of relief that smokers are now making a comeback in a big way as they can now smoke their cigarettes without offending the government or anybody.
Tinuke Ojo, who also sells tobacco/cigarettes in Ogba area of the state showed lack of awareness about the law banning cigarette smoking in public places but recalled that her sales dropped at a point.
''There was one time people stopped buying cigarettes from me, I didn't know what happened to my customers then but everything has changed now, I am selling very well now. I get customers everyday and sell up to fifteen packs of cigarette a day''
Experts are however worried about the enforcement of the law.
President, Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Osahon Enabulele, is worried about how the public will comply given "the sub-optimal levels of public awareness and health education on the dangers associated with tobacco smoking."
"We are also worried over the absence of cigarette smoking withdrawal programs, particularly as it affects the fate of citizens who have not been prepared for the drastic withdrawal from the highly addictive and cancer inducing substances contained in cigarettes," he said.
He noted that nicotine patches and e-cigarettes that mitigate the withdrawal symptoms in smoke quitters are not readily available in Nigeria.
Also the national chairman, Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN), Professor Tanimola Akande explained that non-smokers who are exposed to second hand smoking in restaurants, government buildings and health care facilities die as a result of complication arising from tobacco epidemic.
Besides, several others suffer poor quality of life sequel to tobacco related sickness.
Akande also disclosed that about 18 million children are exposed to second hand smoke in their homes while 27 million are exposed in public places.
He said that the recent Global Adult Survey (GATS) carried out in Nigeria revealed that most people were exposed to second hand smoking in public places. "Worldwide, the tobacco epidemic kills nearly six million people each year while many more suffer poor quality of life from tobacco related sicknesses.
"Not only smokers die from smoking as evidence shows that for every eight smokers who die from smoking, one non-smoker die from second hand smoke."
However Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, LASEPA says anybody caught smoking in public places in Lagos State will be arrested and prosecuted from the 17th of August.
General Manager, LASEPA, Engr. Rasheed Shabi, said enforcement would begin on 17 August, 2014, reiterating that government did not ban smoking in Lagos, but banned smokers from smoking in public places.
He said when the smoking bill was signed into law by Governor Babatunde Fashola on 17 February, 2014, six months grace was given to enable proper sensitization to be carried out before enforcement.
"We have engaged hoteliers and told them to create a place where smokers can smoke and such places must be ventilated. Industries, event centres and others should carve out specific places where smokers can smoke but not in public places.
"We are the agency that will implement this law and enforcement will start on 17 August. Our staff will go round to ensure that people comply with this law by not smoking in public places. We are up to the task and if there is need for more staff, we will request for such," he added.
"We will unveil the non-smoking signs that will be put in public places to stop people from smoking in such places and we will be doing this sensitization in collaboration with the British Tobacco Company," he added.

Lagos 2015: How far can Jimi Agbaje go in PDP?

Ayodele Samuel in Lagos ex-rays the chances of Jimi Agbaje clinching the Lagos PDP ticket in the next election.
Since his entry into the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos political permutations have taken a new dimension. Jimi Agbaje is not new to Lagos politics; he was a staunch member of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) and Action Congress (AC) until 2007.
In 2007, Agbaje was touted to fly the ticket of the AC until the party under the control of the then Governor of Lagos state, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu decided to do otherwise. Incumbent Babatunde Fashola surprisingly emerged as the party flag bearer for that election.
Agbaje in his unrelenting desire to govern the center of excellence, took his interest to the Democratic People Alliance (DPA) where he contested the election and came second after Musiliu Obanikoro who flew the PDP kite at the 2007 poll.
Since then Agbaje has been the bride of all opposition parties in Lagos state.
Agbaje, finally decided to join the PDP after apparently being promised the party's governorship ticket by the leadership of the party at the national level.
Before finally deciding on the PDP, Agbaje had flirted with the Labour Party (LP) but apparently realizing that the party may not help his aspiration of governing Lagos state, decided on the PDP but not after serious politicking and negotiation with the leadership of the party.
Agbaje, disclosing why he chose to achieve his governorship ambition on the platform of the PDP, in 2015, described PDP as the most viable platform he needed to bring about the desired change by Lagosians.
"I decided to choose the PDP to realize my political ambition based on the common and aggregated opinion among the core of my supporters across the state that the party was the most viable platform interested in causing the change desired by Lagos people."
The decision to bring Agbaje to PDP was hatched by the trio of former National Deputy Chairman of the party, Chief Bode George; former Minister of Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe; and the Chairman of the state chapter of the Subsidy Re-investment Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), Chief Bode Akindele. The trio was allegedly disturbed by the growing influence of the Minister of State for Defence, Senator Obanikoro.
With his position as the Minister, Obanikoro has automatically assumed leadership of the party in the state which has not gone down well with George, Ogunlewe and Akindele.
They therefore brought in Agbaje who they believed was the only aspirant that can face Obanikoro when the chips are down.
The trio might not be far from the truth, Agbaje, a pharmacist-turned politician since 2007 has maintained his cozy relationship with larger blocks of Afenifere, the pan Yoruba group, where he rose to prominence as an Afenifere foot soldier, serving the umbrella Yoruba socio-political group as treasurer.
Agbaje did not go into oblivion after the 2007 poll. He remains relevant in Lagos politics despite his decision not to contest against Fashola in 2011.
He was able to build a large support base among youths in the state who perceives him as a role model and mentor. Today he's seen by young people of the state as an actor without blemish and tainted pedigree. Agbaje maintained a good relationship with his supporters across the state.
Bode George and his political gladiators, several sources said; impressed it on President Goodluck Jonathan that only Agbaje can deliver Lagos for the PDP.
At the meeting with President Jonathan, Agbaje insisted that he would only join the PDP if assured of the party governorship ticket without having to go through the process of party primaries.
It was alleged that President Jonathan was not strictly positive on that but was reported to have promised a ministerial ticket even if the governorship ambition failed.
However, Bode George and his group reportedly came back to Lagos and informed the leadership that President Jonathan had approved that Agbaje be given the party's ticket on a platter of gold.
However, the party's leadership in the state smelt a rat and have thus insisted that a level playing ground primary will be organized for all aspirants to test their popularity.
The party chairman in the state, Olatunji Shelle, reportedly told Agbaje when he officially presented himself as a member of the party, that the party will organize a primary to pick its candidate.
Shelle was reported to have even sworn with a Bible on the occasion that the party will not reneged on conducting primary to pick all its candidates for the coming elections.
Also, all the aspirants of the party including Bode George's protégé, Ade Dosunmu, who was the party's candidate in the 2011 governorship election in the state, have vowed not to withdraw for Agbaje, saying he is ready to battle the new decampee.
Dosunmu, a former Director General of NIMASA said "We will all go to the field to test our popularity. Nobody will withdraw for any aspirant. Let us all go to the field.
"One thing I know clearly in this party is that there is no imposition. There is nothing like imposition in PDP. Everybody is welcome into our party. We received the news of Agbaje's defection to our party. He is welcome.
"If the present governor is ready to join the PDP, we will go and give him our membership card. In politics, I believe in the school of thought that the more the merrier. Joining a political party is one thing. Ambition is another thing. He must first join PDP. He must first belong to the party. He must first contribute to the building and development of the platform on which he wants to contest.
"But there is no discrimination in PDP. If you come in today and intend to contest, you are free as long as you meet the requirements in the constitution. So, we have no problem with anybody coming in. We will all go to the field. It is the field that will determine who wins at last.
"What the party basically needs is a credible candidate that will be able to win the governorship election. It is the primaries that will produce a candidate. It is not outside the primaries. It is the primaries that will produce a candidate just like what we all witnessed in Ekiti," he said.
Another aspirant, Adedeji Doherty, told confidants that there is no way he will step down for any aspirant as he has all it takes to win the party's ticket at a level playing primary.
The Obanikoro camp has remained quiet but it has perfected its plan to ensure that the Minister of State for Defence picks the party's ticket for the 2015 governorship election in Lagos state.
Although Agbaje's followers are skeptical about his alliance with the PDP, many of them believed it would amount to moving from frying pan to fire, if he is denied the ticket.
With these mounting oppositions on Agbaje's road to Alausa, Lagosians are waiting to see how far his passion for good governance in Lagos can go.

Buhari campaign: A carnival for change in Lagos

Despite the early shower of the first rain in the year 2015 in Lagos State, last Friday would continue to remain memorable in the political heart of members and supporters of All Progressives Congress (APC) who filled the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere to its brim, for what it called carnival for charge. Ayodele Samuel was there.
They defied the heavy traffic that took over all roads leading to the stadium; they thronged out in their thousands, with pomp and pageantry to receive the All Progressives Party (APC) presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari who had came to inform them of his plan if elected into office.
At about 8:10am, party members arrived the venue with various party branded attire waving their brooms and dancing to live music supplied by King of Fuji music, Wasiu Ayinde (Kwam 1) and other musicians who delighted supporters in the drizzling rain.
The crowds were also entertained by comedians, Nollywood artists, including Adebayo Salami, Jide Kosoko, Yinka Quadri, Davido, Olaminde, Mevins Crew, Fathia Balogun, Femi Adebayo Afonja Sanyeri among who also endorsed the APC candidates.
Food hawkers, petty traders also made brisk businesses at the venue as they sold food, drinks ,brooms, T shirts and APC branded hats to party members and supporters.
Not missing in action were representatives of the physically challenged persons who expressed displeasure over none signing of the physically challenged bill into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Their message reads: "Nigerians should vote Buhari and Osinbajo because Jonathan refused to assist us on the physically challenged bill. Adding that they went to Abuja twice but the president did not assist them on the bill to be passed into law."
Kick starting the rally, Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign and governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi lampooned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of being afraid of going to the election because the APC is fully ready, insisting that election must hold on February 14th. He said Nigerians will defend their votes.
"Any governor or president that cannot show what he has done for people should not be allowed to come back. PDP is afraid of election. They have seen that the people are with us, if they rig the election, we will stand by our election without leaving the polling unit. Our prayer is that Jonathan should not come back.
"When the President came to Rivers, he admitted that did not do anything in the state. When he comes, he should point out one thing he has done and I would point out many things that I have done. He made a promise to the people of Rivers in 2011 and he failed. We don't want a man who cannot fulfill his promises and that is why he cannot return as president," Amaechi told the crowd.
In his speech, a former governor of Lagos and the national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu said that Buhari was chosen as the candidate of the party because he has been very consistent.
According to him, "Gen Buhari would have chosen to sit back and relax at home and not bother about what is happening in the country, but it is patriotism that has made him to agree to contest. It is about the future of the country so we should not play the politics and tribe of religion. Buhari was chosen not because I was not interested in becoming the president. I am very capable, intelligent, honest and richer. But Buhari was chosen because he has remained consistent and he is the change that Nigeria needs right now.
"In the past 16 years of democracy, we have seen all sorts of political games, but Buhari has remained steadfast and consistent. He is an advocate of change and a voice for the poor. I pray that those who talk about his age will live as old as he is.
"We are in great crisis in this country and we have faced a lot of challenges and we need someone with the will to effect change. When South Africa was about to disintegrate, Nelson Mandela, who was 75 years old was called to rescue it. When America was in crisis, they called a 70 years old Ronald Reagan to come and rescue America.
"When Britain was in crisis, they didn't call a man who is in the parliament, they called Winston Churchill who was 75 years old then and who was a retired general to rescue it.
"When we started the APC, people thought that the merger would not work, but I told them that there was a storm coming and we have appealed to Buhari to step in and rescue the country."
"One man that has been consistent and steadfast, courageous and advocate of the poor is Buhari". Tinubu said that he knows Nigeria will get better with his kind of leadership.
Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on his part, stressed the need to create a producing industry rather than consuming what is not produced in the country.
"Jobs cannot be created by wrong policies. We need to revive the industries, to ensure that we begin to produce and not consume alone. Rather than creating jobs, they created fraud. It is time to bring in the trusted person. For us to fight corruption, we need someone who hadn't stolen before."
However Rochas Okorocha, the Imo State Governor, in his own words, said politics should not be based on religion or tribe. "We must not play politics of religion and tribal issues."
Chief John Oyegun, national chairman of the APC, admonished that people should go and collect their PVCs, without which they may not be able to vote leaders of their choice.
"I have seen people's sweat of change. My prayer is that no one should be stupid enough to ignore this momentum of change. I urged you to obtain your PVC."
Not taking the back stage, Mrs Aisha Buhari, wife of the APC presidential candidate, said the electorate must be educated on how to thumb print. "As we are all yearning for change, and for change to be actualized, we must educate the electorate on how to thumb print," she said.
On his part, General Buhari however stressed that his party has identified three major problems to tackle if elected, saying that the issues identified are insecurity, the dwindling economy, bribery and corruption, while promising that the issue of the dwindling economy and the devaluation of the naira will soon be a thing of the past.
The former Head of state said "my party has identified three major aspects in dire need of solutions which are insecurity, the dwindling economy, bribery and corruption. When I become president, these things will become a thing of the past.
"What is happening in the North-eastern part of the country is unacceptable. I know that the Nigerian Police and the military are capable of restoring peace in the country and it is very important that they are well equipped to do that.
"In terms of corruption, whatever my administration is able to save when all the leaking holes are plugged will be diverted to the building and equipping of schools.
"The Nigerian Airways is no more, our railway system is moribund and the level of power supply we have is not more than what was inherited in 1999, so we need to vote the PDP out for the change we need to take place," Buhari said.