Retired Air Commodore Dan Suleman, the Leader of Middle Belt Forum, has urged Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse, to unite minority tribes in Nigeria with a view to forging common front for the interest of the country.
Suleman made the call on Friday during a visit to the Tor Tiv in Gboko to condole with him over the demise of late Simeon Tarka.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the deceased, the son of the late Joseph Tarka, was a member of House of Representatives during the Second Republic.
He commended the paramount ruler over his patriotic and fatherly role, particularly in attending to matters that have to do with the unity of minority groups.
Suleman alleged that those fueling the crises were common enemies of the region whose mission is to destroy it.
The middle-belt leader said that the region had continued to witness marginalisation in spite of the huge contributions of its people towards ensuring that Nigeria remains one.
He described the death of Tarka as a great loss not just to the people of Benue but the middle belt and the country at large.
Responding, the Tor Tiv, thanked the leadership of the forum for the visit and described it as a reflection of the unity the late Tarka fought and died for.
“I am deeply pained over the death of the late Tarka because it is a great loss.
“I want to sincerely thank members of the powerful delegation of the forum for the condolence visit and for keeping the middle belt flag flying.
“You stood firm when we had challenges in the region and I must commend you for that.
”As a father, I have always encouraged the political class to strengthen the forum with the view to sustaining the identity among our ethnic groups so that we can also have a say in the affairs of the Nigeria,” he said.
Ayatse decried spate of inter and intra ethnic crisis among the tribes of the middle belt and called for more synergy in order to move the region to a greater height.
Killing: PDP condemns killing of DCP, Channels Tv reporter, others
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condoled with family of Mr Precious Owolabi, a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member attached to Channels Television who was killed in Abuja during a clash between Shiites and police.
The party in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, on Tuesday in Abuja, said it was saddened by the death of Owolabi, DCP Usman Umar and other Nigerians.
Owolabi, 23 years, was shot dead during the Monday clash between police and Shiite protesters in Abuja.
Ologbondiyan condemned the continuous killing of Nigerians in avoidable clashes in various parts of the country, particularly the preventable skirmishes between the police and the Monday protesters.
“Indeed, our hearts reach out to his family at this moment of grief.
“The killing of Owolabi, as well as the avoidable deaths of other compatriots, including a Deputy Commissioner of Police, is indeed another sad commentary on the irreplaceable losses and anguish families in Nigeria’’.
Ologbondiyan called on the National Assembly to immediately take urgent legislative steps to unravel how the Monday protest led to the death of yet to be ascertained number of Nigerians.
He also advised President Muhammadu Buhari to take immediate steps that would put to an end the violence ravaging in the country as well ensure a stable, united, equitable and secured Nigeria.
“Certainly, no nation can thrive under an atmosphere of persistent violence, bloodletting and siege mentality on the citizenry’’.
INEC cannot be stampeded to issue Certificate of Return to Uwajumogu, says Okoye
Mr Festus Okoye, Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC), says the commission will not be stampeded to issue certificate of return to the Senator-elect for Imo North Senatorial District, Sen. Benjamin Uwajumogu.
He was reacting to the protest reportedly staged at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja by Uwajumogu and his supporters to demand the release of his certificate.
According to Okoye, “the demonstration is of no significance because we cannot rush to hand over the certificate to him.
“We must study the court judgment before we can comply. As a commission, we must obey court orders. Even if we are not satisfied, we will obey first before we appeal.
“I can recall that the commission was served the judgment of the court on Wednesday, July 16.
“The said judgment could not undergo the regular processes and procedures of the commission and must wait for the next commission meeting.
“The commission will not be stampeded into taking precipitate action or decision that may be detrimental to the electoral process and procedures,” he said.
Okoye also said that the commission had withdrawn and re-issued 87 certificates of return so far after elections.
“The commission withdrew three certificates from the APC and issued to NNPP and NRM.
“The commission withdrew 39 certificates from the APC and re-issued to another APC candidates,’’ he said.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the commission set up a committee to investigate the allegations of misconduct in the senatorial election, after Uwajumogu had been declared winner.
Uwajumogu, who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), however, challenged the action of INEC at a Federal High Court, Abuja.
The court granted his plea and ordered INEC to issue him the certificate but the commission had yet to comply.
Save Ijegun from destruction, extinction, protesters beg Sanwo-Olu, Lagos speaker
The protesters, who stormed the Government House and Lagos State House of Assembly, both in Alausa, Ikeja, demanded compensation for victims of a recent pipeline explosion in the community.
They decried alleged security challenges facing the residents.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the pipeline explosion occurred on July 4 at 5-Junction, Ijegun, as a result of the activities of pipeline vandals.
The explosion claimed lives and injured others.
The protesters, who included traditional chiefs, academics, market men and women, landlords and youth leaders.
They chanted solidarity songs to drive home their demands.
Theyalso scarried placards with inscriptions such as: “Thorough Investigation”, “Compensation for Victims”, “Re-dredge the Canals At Ijegun” and “We Say No To Vandals In Ijegun Community.”
The inscriptions also include: “Petrol Tankers Are Not Allowed between 10.00p. and 5.00a.m.”, “Please Save Our Souls in Ijegun Community” and “Save Ijegun from Fire Disaster and Extinction.”
Mr Wale Akinbo, the Chairman, Joint Community Development Association (CDA), Ijegun, and Mr Saliu Alade, Councilor, Ijegun Ward D, who led the protest, urged the House and the governor to intervene in their situation.
According to the duo, the House and the governor should treat the plight of residents as a matter of urgent public importance to enable them ‘to sleep with two eyes closed’.
In a communiqué signed on their behalf by Akinbo, Alade and the Secretary of Strategic Security Committee, Ijegun, Mr Oguntulu Oluwatosin, the residents called for inceeased security.
In the the communiqué differently addressed to Sanwo-Olu and the Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa the residents urged the state government to also fix roads and canals in the state.
The residents demanded deployment of security personnel around the pipeline routes especially at the 5-Junction.
They added that the government should construct barrier across the entrances of streets leading to the pipeline routes.
“Most of these petrol stations are concentrated in and around residential areas in Ijegun.
“Henceforth, the tanker drivers should be stopped from parking their tankers, along the pipeline routes.
“The government should construct concrete blockages around the preferred spots of the vandals, to make digging difficult and almost impossible for them,” they said.
The residents added that petrol tankers should be restricted from moving into and outside of Ijegun through both Ikotun-Ijegun road and Isolo road, between the hours of 10pm – 5am in the morning.
They requested further that the government should make arrangement for financial compensation for the victims
They added: “The government should look into the dredging of the canal that linked IBA LCDA from Awolumate Street, by Catholic Church in Ijegun, as a matter of urgency.
“The Kabiyesi and the entire people of Ijegun wish to express our profound appreciation to your Excellency, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for your prompt response toward the plight of the community.”
The communiqué said that Oba Nureni Olomitutu (Ilufemiloye), the Kudeyibu I Onijegun of Ijegun land, had inaugurated a strategic security committee anchored around the Ijegun joint CDA.
Addressing the protesters on behalf of the speaker, Mr Rotimi Olowo (APC-Somolu I), commended them for peaceful conduct, saying that the House was concerned about their situation.
Olowo commiserated with Ijegun residents on the death of their neighbours through the explosion, saying that it would be important for the government to look into their requests.
The lawmaker, who was accompanied by the lawmaker representing Alimosho Constituency 1, Mr Bisi Yusuff, promised to convey their requests to the speaker.
Mr Hundeyin Kolawole, the Director, Office of Civic Engagement, who received the communiqué on behalf of Sanwo-Olu, promised the protesters that the matter would be addressed by the state government in due course.
APC scribe: State Chairmen Forum pledges support for Bulama
The Forum of State Chairmen of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, says it will support the election of Alhaji Waziri Bulama as the body’s national secretary.
The Deputy Chairman of the forum and Chairman of APC in Delta, Mr Jones Erue-Ode, disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja on Sunday after Bulama addressed the forum on his ambition to occupy the position.
Erue-Ode, who described Bulama as active card carrying member of the ruling party from Borno State, said that the forum would support him due to his sterling and leadership qualities.
He recalled that Bulama was a former Deputy Director-General in charge of Coordination of the APC Presidential Campaign Council.
“We will work and stand with him having listened to him and watched his tall credentials.
““We need someone who can stand for our party, intelligent and has a lot of things working in his favour.
“We hail his credentials, we hail his integrity and sacrifice for our party as well as his commitment to our party and we said we will stand with him,’’ Erue-Ode said.
Edited by Kamal Tayo Oropo
Eminent Nigerians institute annual prize on leadership
Top Nigerian academics and industry chieftains have instituted an annual leadership prize, in an initiative to groom a replacement generation to tackle Nigeria’s leadership question.
The group, comprising Prof. Anya O. Anya and other eminent people said the idea was to groom role models to nurture the younger generation, to build a better and stronger Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that poor leadership has often been cited by analysts as one of the key problems plaguing Africa’s most populous nation since independence.
Addressing a news conference to inaugurate the body late on Thursday, Anya said the “Nigerian Prize on Leadership’’ would be bestowed annually on role models, who distinguish themselves in service to the nation.
“The leadership prize is a deliberate initiative to groom and raise a replacement generation of Nigerian leaders, based on right values, mindset and character.”
Anya argued that there were still good Nigerians and leaders, who despite the odds, ought to be recognised for contributing to nation building.
The don, who is the chair of the group, lamented what he described as the proliferation of awards in the country, where the wrong persons were often recognised for pecuniary reasons.
“The Nigerian Prize for Leadership is private sector-driven and recipients will be selected from all sectors and strata of society.
“Our mission is to establish and promote a new national culture of leadership in Nigeria, based on shared values from the diversity of our nation.
“We recognise the enormous damage done to the Federal Republic of Nigeria over the years by poor leadership without sharpened capacity.
Anya argued that as long as the leadership question remained unresolved, the challenges of human progress would also remain unresolved in Nigeria.
According to him, the leadership prize targets to institute a credible process of identifying Nigerians, who excel in their fields and will target Nigerians of all ages.
Also speaking, Prof. Jerry Gana blamed the media for promoting bad leaders in society, urging them to key into value re-orientation for the entire nation.
He said the award selection would be such that it would impact tremendously on the younger generation, adding: “the selection process, which will be done by committees and panels will be robust”.
The body, which has Dr Joe Neliaku as Executive Secretary will commence the presentation of prize money from Dec. 12 next year.