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Presidency: God has given Obi to Nigeria as last chance- Ortom

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Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State, has all but removed his gloves in his frontal support for Peter Obi, Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Saturday’s election, declaring that his emergence to lead the country at this point in Nigeria’s history, has the divine stamp.

“So, let us not miss this opportunity that God Himself is providing. The youths have told me, my own people have told me – stakeholders here, traditional rulers, party people, across party lines – Obi matter is not about PDP or APC or SDP or any other party, it’s about Nigeria,” Ortom, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said while meeting with some Igbo leaders in his state.

A candidate for Senatorial election on Saturday on the platform of his party, Ortom, said that he was ready to give up his ambition for the upper legislative chambers of the National Assembly, if it was all that would be needed to make the former Governor of Anambra State President.

Hear him: “For me, it’s not even that I’m contesting an election. The forms were bought for me by the people of Benue State and I’ve gone round and they’ve accepted that they’ll vote me. But if I’m to sacrifice my senatorial ambition for Peter Obi to win, so be it.

So, please, I know that if people are connected in this world, they’re Igbo people. This is the opportunity you have. This is it to say that an Igbo man from the South East is President, because some of us believe in the unity of Nigeria, we believe in working together. That is why I accommodate everybody. We believe in the unity of this country.

“So, let us not miss this opportunity that God Himself is providing. The youths have told me, my own people have told me – stakeholders here, traditional rulers, party people, across party lines – Obi matter is not about PDP or APC or SDP or any other party, it’s about Nigeria.

“You are many, you have the population. Thank God from what is unfolding. Peter Obi is a specie that is not guided by ethnicity. That’s why when I hear some people, some personalities castigating Peter Obi for contesting elections – is it not you Ndigbo that are crying that you’ve been marginalised since after the war – opportunity has come today and you’re still complaining. What do you want? What are you looking for? What do you want? The whole country, North, East, South and West are saying that it’s Peter Obi and we hear some people saying we don’t want him. Haba! Those people should be outcasts!

“But, I was praying and one of my spiritual fathers told me something. He said, look, Obi will win the election. And he added, he said, look, God does not want Obi to be Igbo President, he wants him to be Nigerian President.

“Thank God. Nobody is useless, with all the hardship that Buhari brought – Buhari says that he wants free and fair election – that anybody that wins, he will accept. Have you not heard him saying that?

“So, please, I’m sending you to your kinsmen. We here in Benue, we’ve accepted.”

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Why God disgraced Buhari!

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By Sunny Igboanugo

Nna anyi Pope di emefie-emefie. Isi ya wee bulu na Pope ama emenata njo. Unless you’re a Catholic and Igbo, you might not grasp the true depth of this, because it loses a lot of its mystics and mysteries along the way of translation and transliteration. To fully comprehend, you have to be, or assume the place of sub-10-year-old child in a nondescript village some four or five decades ago, whose mental skies, struggled to grapple with all manner of images and imaginations coming from personal experiences and teachings of the older generation.

So, while chanting at the catechism class, Nna anyi Pope di emefie-emefie. Isi ya wee bulu na Pope ama emenata njo, it meant far more than its English translation of the infallibility of the Pope, which the teacher, made the students recite repeatedly.

For me, as for virtually every child in those classes, the only picture comparable to the processing of that teaching of the Pope, his infallibility and sinless state, was the imagery of Christ sitting at the right hand of God – more so, when you had heard some fantastic stories about the Catholic Pontiff himself.

I recall my elder brother, whose story-telling skill, surpassed that of Chinua Achebe, narrating how the world would gather in Rome, on rare occasions, to watch the Pope bring out his hand from a tiny window and wave to a privileged crowd. For no human ever saw the Pope physically. With his propensity for adding salt and pepper to every of his alluring, but mostly, fantastically false, if not mischievous narratives, it is impossible to ascertain how much he knew himself and whether he did not believe those stories either.

How was I to know that so soon after, I would be among the privileged, not only to see the waving hands of the Pope, but his whole being, shaking hands and embracing people, not from a window, but in a crowd?

What is more? I have also since discovered that the teaching of the infallibility of the Pope is completely false in the manner it was presented to us by those catechism teachers, whom I assume, knew no better themselves or preferred to believe themselves out of piety for the Catholic faith.

It was much later that I got the context and concept of the teaching. The Pope is infallible only when speaking ex-Cathedra – when he mounts the Papal Chair of St. Peter to make pronouncement. In other words, papal infallibility, in Roman Catholic theology, is described as the doctrine that the Pope, acting as supreme teacher and under certain conditions, cannot err when he teaches in matters of faith or morals. This, some say, is derived from Christ’s promise to remain always with his church and to send the Spirit to “teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” (Jn 14:26).

For this, there are four conditions: “When the Pope (1) intends to teach (2) by virtue of his supreme authority (3) on a matter of faith and morals (4) to the whole Church, he is preserved by the Holy Spirit from error. His teaching act is therefore called “infallible” and the teaching which he articulates is termed “irreformable.”.

What it means in clear terms is that the Pope, as an ordinary human being, is as vulnerable to sin as any other person. In other words, he could commit sins and indeed, commits sins. Further down the line, it also means that if the Pope, the only being, known to have been conferred with this status of infallibility, is himself a sinner, who most often admits to this fact, goes to confession, like any other Catholic. It means therefore that no human being is free from sin.

But Muhammadu Buhari, doesn’t appear to acknowledge this fact of life. My reading of him, both in public conduct and charactersation, conduces of one who had since, not only believed the godlike image conferred on him by a fawning group of followers, but appropriated same to himself. Unlike the Pope, who acknowledges his frailties as human, he appears to see himself as infallible, and seems to frown at any suggestion otherwise.

Granted that he might not have made himself God and did not confer the status on himself, but he not only grabbed it, he hugged it or so it seems. That, to me has proved fatal.

The Bible, reports that this was the sin of Lucifer. He was said to be so beautifully made and possessed everything that not only did pride set in but he became so possessed with and hugged his status, so much that the next move was to rebel against God and take His place. It was for this that he was cast into hell. But here on earth, the world is replete with numerous other examples of how pride and self-conceitedness had pushed people to fall from glory to perdition.

Else, what could account for Buhari being such a disaster in office? What could make Buhari become a reference pointer for monumental failure in all aspects of public engagements as President? What is it that he lacked? Arguably, no other President or indeed elected official in Nigeria enjoyed the type of acceptance that welcomed him to the seat of power eight years ago. Such was the ululation that a certain Dahiru Buba, had to trek from Gombe to Abuja in solidarity.

But what did Nigeria get in return? Woes and tales of woes – uncanny, bizarre and eerie outcomes – sorrow, tears and blood – weeping, wailing, mourning and gnashing of the teeth. Those who rolled out the drums to celebrate, now retreat into their cocoons, fasten their doors as they retire to daily supplications against the dangers outside, praying for an end to their nightmares. The din from the collective hissing as the people turn away their faces, bidding their ears be deaf, now echo resoundingly.

How else could a man be humbled? How else could a man be disgraced? The king, who was so impervious to counsel and forbade his subjects from advising him, has now become a pitiable object of mockery as the flies besiege him because nobody could tell him about the patches of elements from the toilet that have stained his royal robe. Perhaps a lesson to others coming after him.

Already, the ubiquitous professional courtiers, jesters and entertainers, in Aso Rock Villa, at its corridors and elsewhere, who saw nothing wrong in the faux pass of the eight years of the locust, and who told him that he was the best thing to happen to creation, are fast disappearing, perhaps with their eyes on another target.

Yes! The cheerleaders, who chanted that it was the best that The Man of Wisdom – who sees tomorrow sitting in his comfortable couch, should take his time, when Nigerian practically descended into limbo from which it never woke up or recovered, are already shifting ground and brushing off all vestiges of vicarious responsibility of what they helped to create.

Yet, they were the ones that rationalised it when a bemused public began wondering what was happening, after the signs of danger started manifesting. They shouted down petrified compatriots, who dared raise their voice at the early inanities. Those who dared question the rationale of waiting for a whole six months to appoint a cabinet were called names. Even after it turned out that those appointed was an assemblage of funny characters after the world was made to believe that some strange beings from outside space were coming – opportunists, whose only interest appeared to be a seat at the table to share in the spoils of the game, those who complained were denounced and called – wailers!

With these early signs of failure not heeded and him being goaded and egged on, things could only get worse. The government had come in with a blazing record of fanfare and public trust with the mantra of Insecurity, Economy, Anticorruption on its lips. Alarmed Nigerians, who had been crying about the records of the government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), especially that of President Goodluck Jonathan he displaced in 2015, had believed that he was going to wave his magic wand or released the ginie out of the magic lamp to tackle the problems.

But like a possessed emperor, everything took the penchant for an uncanny pattern – decreed with a sort of brainwave. For instance, without warning, Nigerians, who had been encouraged to domicile their individua foreign currency accounts locally, woke up one morning to be told that they could no longer withdraw their money from their banks in Nigeria. The immediate result? Chaos and more chaos. Many citizens, believing that their lifesaving vanishing died of heart attacks and other debilitating ailments developed as a result. The bedlam that ensued as panicking customers rushed to the banks in search of a way out to reclaim their forex became the inevitable skyrocketing cost of forex and the crisis today.

By the time the policy was lifted, the value of the forex had hit the roof as Nigerians in panic, rushed straight to the banks to withdraw every cent they had saved and took their money elsewhere. Today, a dollar that stood at less than N200 is gradually inching towards the N1,000 mark. This was his idea of making the greenback stand at par with the naira.

You heard him boasting the other day how he closed the Nigerian borders some years back. Again, that happened without warning. Nigerians woke up one morning to hear that. What was the reason, you would ask? His answer was that he wanted to end smuggling of rice. The result? More foreign rice found their way into Nigeria, but at higher cost, because the fat cats in charge of the borders, responsible for the problem in the first place, who ought to have been called to question and checked through a fortified and deliberate means, grew fatter as they smiled to the banks, by simply upping ante and raising the stakes for the rice smugglers. That was another of his fantastic ideas!

But there was more. Genuine businessmen, suddenly found it impossible to transact inter-border trades. Consignments they had ordered could not cross into Nigeria, while those to be exported outside got stuck back home. As their capital began to deplete and finally drained out, many obituaries were announced. Again, it was either heart-attacks, suicide induced illnesses. The cost of rice, both local and domestic soared to the level that many Nigerians took what used to be their staple out of their menus or looked for ways of making up. Again, another economic masterstroke!

In the end, for all his economic solution was worth, Nigeria became the poverty capital of the world, with all imaginable economic indices – inflation, employment level, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), life expectancy, money in the pocket, etc – going south.

Don’t forget that at the time he came in, the debate was that Nigeria was among the fastest growing economies in the world and the biggest economy in Africa and the capital for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Whether true or not, at least that was what was on the table by the time Jonathan was leaving office as President. But today, what is the debate all about? Nigeria hitting the bottomless pit – at the very nadir of its economic existence as a country.

Why? Don’t ask me! They have a ready answer to that. COVID-19! War in Ukraine! But in their haste to blight out original local memory, they forget that the nosediving economy of Nigeria formed the major issues of the nation’s debates far before these latter-day events. The presidential campaigns of 2019 was all about how the nation’s economy had his the jagged rocks at the bottom of the valley.

But, they blame it on the crises, other countries found solutions to and quickly moved away from as the moved on. In the first place, they will acknowledge that no other countries across the globe engage in the clandestine lifestyle that became emblematic of their governance model. Which and how many other countries in the world went about borrowing and spending same like drunken sailors within the period in question? How many countries use virtually every kobo or cent they earned for servicing debts?

How many countries gave open license to a group of people in their countries to kill compatriots, simply because they have recourse to a President, who would admonish the victims to live peacefully with your neighbours? Yet this was a General who went about the insecurity mantra and promised to tame troublemakers.

They would remind you readily that 14 local governments were in the hands of insurgents by the time they came into office. But ask them, was there any local government that election in 2015 did not hold before they took over? They sing a song about how the North East have been liberated from Boko Haram? But speak to experts and hear a somewhat more plausible explanations.

You would hear that after announcing their presence through bombings in Abuja and other cities in the North, terrorists, especially Boko Haram, which has since coalesced with the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP), simply changed gear, farmed out their soldiers and spreading out across the country, such that today, no single day passes without records of kidnapping and slaughtering Nigerians in different parts of the country.

Today, the Genelismo, is leaving behind a record of close to 70,000 of his countrymen slaughtered in cold blood – in peacetime to boot? That is even the official record. Some argue that unofficially it is far worse, putting the figure  at  double or even triple of that. Recall that at the beginning, he had ordered the military to end Boko Haram in three months. The long and short of the story story is this damning figure.

The rest of the picture is painted in the bombing of a Nigerian train and kidnapping of hundreds, the breaking into the best fortified jails in the country and releasing some blood-thirsty killers, who are today prowling through the forests and local villages, milling through the streets and roads to decimate the people to the extent that today road travels have become the worst nightmare of Nigerians.

Even the anti-corruption on which his entire personality derived its essence, he didn’t fare any better. In fact, it turned out a ruse. Under him was a systematic bastardisation of the entire concept and process of fighting corruption. While the institutions, erected by previous administrations became huge public theatres where macabre dramas were churned out almost every day, his own appointees in various positions, were no less ready to join in the circus.

That was when you heard of how men of the Department of State Services (DSS) broke into the homes of judges in the thick of the night and roused their scared lordships from their bed, some of them in their birthday suits with their spouses, while still asleep. It was a time the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), regaled an entirely stunned nation with their own version of the drama.

On occasions, it was either caches of dollars rolling out from conveyor belts at the airports or stashes of local and or  foreign currencies discovered inside uncompleted buildings. The anti-climax was the  discovery of a whopping N13billion hidden in a residential apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos. But wait for it, till date, the selfsame agency has continued to keep sealed lips over the identities of the owners. Just like in other cases.

Remember, that drama took place in 2017, six years ago. But since then, mum has remained the word. Instead, the next stage of the drama was that Ibrahim Magu, the theatre director and curator, became a character in the obscene drama himself, when he was suddenly arrested and hounded out of office in the most controversial manner.

In the end, just as his appointment became mired in controversy when, in spite of being denied confirmation by the Senate on the declaration of the DSS, which forbade it, his end, saw him practically being dragged on the floor to the Justice Ayo Salami panel, where he was made to face charges of monumental corruption. What an irony.

You did also hear more recently of how his successor, Abdulrasheed Bawa was accused of demanding a bribe of $2million from the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle. The governor, who made the disclosure with his full chest out, in a BBC Hausa Service interview, had dared him to do his worst about it and face further revelations, with evidence. Have you heard anything else since then? Never! For all you might know, an olive branch must have exchanged hands to cease fire, for obvious reasons. That was the texture of the anti-corruption war.

If you were still at sea as to the colour of corruption a la Buhari, turn to the COVID-19 era. It was an ear-full! You’d hear all kinds of funny tales – how tens and hundreds of billions of naira, were disbursed to your fathers and mothers, uncles and aunts in your villages and how they danced in the streets thanking your Buhari – how your children and those of your relations were fed well on daily bases, with an egg a day in tow. The funnier part is you’ll be declared a liar and hater of the President, if you as much as asked for proof. If you asked which child and continued searching for the schools where the goodies were being distributed in your locality, you’re quick to be labelled a hater.

Didn’t you see that video where one Hajia Sadia Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, had stacks of money, from which she was handing out stipends to those women dancing and singing in appreciation? We even heard on one occasion how about N2.6billion was shared out in one day. Funny?

In fact, the bazaar of that era became so widespread that tracking became almost impossible. Don’t even attempt to count the figures. Was it the N60billion for the revival of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), N100-plus-billions for aviation, or the N30billion from Ca-COVID warehoused by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for infrastructure and essentials? Where would the counting start or end? It was a situation of the proverbial elephant meat where people came to take their own cuts. All you heard were billions and more billions.

It even got to a point where Nigerians, who could no longer wait started breaking into warehouses and started helping themselves. A particular warehouse in Lagos was actually invaded to retrieve cartons of palliatives meant for the people. Even in their various states of damage due to long storage, they were carted away all the same. The strange part was the same item was already bearing the image of a certain Lagos lawmaker and high society woman, preparatory as giveaways for her birthday. Of course, she was not alone. While moneys disappeared into thin air, most probably finding their ways into banks abroad, food items, medicals and other essential products, meant to be shared were taken to private homes or even repackaged and sold in the markets. Consequences? Find it!

What consequences could be meted out to those involved in mere pilfering of pittances when the main brigands who completely shut the nation out of its very economic livewire were neither identified nor punished? Or didn’t you hear that in the last three years, not a single kobo accrued to Nigeria from oil sales. They simply disappeared into oblivion. Every single cent of oil sold! During the period, oil thieves, said to have existed for decades, simply went haywire, graduating from mere piping of products into local barges to allowing shiploads coming into the country, lifting the oil and taking off to their destinations without batting an eyelid.

Even when one of the ships was caught in the shores of another country and sent back to Nigeria, what did we hear? It was said to have completely burnt down, of course, with probable evidence destroyed. But don’t even bet on it. That could even be a decoy. The same ship in question, might have set sail again, this time under cover. The patrons of the banditry could have also procured an old carcass from somewhere and set it ablaze to confuse Nigerian. Even beyond the drama, have you heard anything again?

Don’t even talk about the case of oil subsidy. That has since become an old, worn-out story. What is new is that the thievery have become more pronounced and stakes gone higher. As the heist went on in the oil industry, other sectors were not spared. You probably didn’t hear about the can of worms opened up at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), when the former Director General Hadiza Bala Usman launched her book, recently. Find and read her tales.

You’d also may not have heard how the Abacha loot controversies – how each of the millions of dollars returned from foreign countries became mired in a morass of inane tales – how they developed wings. The recent we’ve heard is how Abubakar Malami was being drilled by members of the National Assembly on the loss of $2.4billion unremitted oil revenue.

If you didn’t or have not been following, you’d certainly be unaware of the current case of the Nigeria Air, a project in which multiple millions of dollars were buried only for planes owned by another entity to be brought into the  country. Read that up also. That would help you understand the damage of the Buhari regime.

What could be more petrifying than the 2023 general elections? In fact, Nigerians would have forgiven him if after destroying virtually all things he touched, he had bestowed the country with a credible election as he not only promised them but boasted to the world. But like Pharaoh, whose heart remained hardened in spite of the afflictions of his people of Egypt, he was determined to punish Nigerians further – the reason he conducted the worst election in the history of Nigeria.

As the curtains fall on his inglorious era, the world could only scoff at a Buhari, who got everything he needed to be great, but who is leaving the stage totally disgraced for failing to perform. It was with with his hands that he destroyed the mystery of a Spartan, no-nonsense nationalist, and replaced same with an unforgiving, petty leader, who went as low as to arrest and detain a compatriot for naming his dog Buhari. That’s his record.

He also would be remembered for running the most divisive and nepotistic government in history, where unless you were either a Fulani or Muslim, you must take the short end of the stick, where the likes of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho would be hunted down, hounded and clamped into detention or sent on exile, for airing their opinions but Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, who wiped out whole communities are released and handed down privileged positions.

As he exits power, it would be the end of an inglorious era – the end of body language which heralded the beginning – the end of Mai Gaskiya (the Man of Truth) – the end of deceit and lies. Hopefully, it will also be the end of the killins – the sorrow, tears and blood in Kaduna, in Jos, in Benue, in Owo, in Anambra and other places!

Yes! His aides and hangers-on will defend him and give him titles, but for millions of Nigerians, he remains the worst the country has ever witnessed. That fact will come home soon when the coterie of courtiers as cheerleaders must have disappeared and history begins to take its full count. Yes! The haze would soon disappear to leave a disgrace, lonely man who earned his place for not only being wicked to his people, but playing God!

Lessons? They’re already dressing Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the one on whom he conferred a stolen mandate with the same robe. They call him great names – lullaby him as The Wise Man of Bourdillon, The New Aso Rock Jagaban – the new God. Will he hug the title? We watch!

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BREAKING: Tribunal to Atiku: Our court, not a stadium for entertainment! Nails live broadcast

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Justice Haruna Tsammani, on Monday killed the attempt by Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic (PDP) and Peter Obi, his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, both presidential candidates, respectively in the February 25 election to get Nigerians watch the proceedings at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, currently sitting in Abuja, live.

The court court, ruling on the plea that originated from the former Vice President, who had argued that it would give integrity to the process and was later joined by Obi, in a unanimous ruling, held that the application was without merit, adding that televising court proceedings is not provided for in any extant law in the country.

Tsammani, Chairman of the five-man panel of Court of Appeal Justices, sitting as PEPT, who read the lead ruling, while adopting the arguments of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, his All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which declared him winner of the election and which also railed against the move, agreed that it would not make the outcome of their decisions any cleaner.

To him, the court sitting in public did not mean that it should sit in a stadium or in marketplace and that  there was no way televising the proceedings could advance the interest of fair hearing for parties or advance the interest of the petitioners in relation to issues raised in their petition, adding that granting the request by Atiku and the PDP could trivialise the serious business of the court.

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BREAKING: Kalu’s Senate presidency quest runs into trouble, suffers APC hammer

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Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia State and current Chief Whip of the Senate, may be kissing his quest to lead the National Assembly in Nigeria by becoming 10th session Senate President goodbye, if the attempt to strip him of his All Progressives Congress (APC) identity succeeds.

Kalu, seen as one of the front runners for the nation’s number three citizen, was among the party stalwarts suspended by the ruling party on Thursday, alongside Ken Nnamani, former Senate President, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Sullivan Chime, former Governor of Enugu State.

Alongside former Speaker of Enugu state House of Assembly, Hon Eugene Odo; Director General Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu and former Commissioner in Enugu state, Joe Mammel, the APC bigwigs, who had earlier been slammed with their fate shortly after the 2023 general elections, had their suspension sustained by the party’s South East caucus.

The ratification of the suspension of the chieftains from Enugu and Abia States, who were initially slammed for allegedly engaging in anti-party activities, according to the APC Zonal Secretariat came after South East Executive Meeting on April 16, 2023.

Ijeomah Arodiogbu, National Vice Chairman (South East), who gave the reason for the action, as the need to enforce discipline in the party, in order to strengthen APC in the zone, listed other names to include: SA to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Flavour Eze, former chairman of the party in the state, Ben Nwoye; former deputy state chairman, A. C. Udeh; Obodoeze Ocho; Chukwudi Igwe; Kingsley Uduji; former Military Governor of the state, Joe Orji; Maduka Arum (A.K.A Mama) and Chidera Obed.

Others suspended alongside Kalu in Abia, included Sam Nkeire, Uche Sampson Ogah, former Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Senator Nkechi Nworgu, amongst others.

Ezeanyawu Michael, spokesman of the party in Enugu State, while stating that it was the right thing to do, said: “I want to further use this opportunity to call on the APC leadership, at both the state and national levels, not to relent in its efforts to rid the party of saboteurs.”

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