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By Yusuf Alli, Abuja
He also said it is too early to presume that Senator Ali Ndume, who is standing trial for alleged association with the dreaded sect, had a deal with Boko Haram leaders.
He said the travails of Ndume have made some Northern leaders to stay away from finding solutions to the Boko Haram insurgency.
Ciroma, a former Minister of Finance, broke his silence on the Boko Haram insurgency in a no-holds-barred interview with Newsdiaryonline.com.
He said: “Security matters and security issues are always problems which government has got to deal with. The Boko Haram and the spread of this insecurity, in my view, originated from how parts of this country were mismanaged. The mismanagement, I believe, has spread and the resultant insecurity has also spread. So, it is for government to find solution for dealing with this insecurity.
“When the issues began to be serious in Borno, the elders and leaders of Borno advised the government that they should talk to these people, that they should withdraw the troops from the streets and that they should find a solution to ameliorate the complaints of the Boko Haram elements. A spokesman of the government dismissed their recommendation.
“Since then, similar recommendations have been made in Kano and elsewhere and they have been equally dismissed. The meaning of this is that the government has stuck to its position, in spite of the advice being given from various parts by citizens who want to see peace and security.
“So, the government has to learn how to listen to people because insecurity is a problem which government has to deal with. It affects people in their normal day-to-day life. So, the number one issue is for government to listen to what people are saying because their present policy so far has not succeeded.
“Two, the Boko Haram issue has been related to poverty and other things which affect the well- being of the ordinary people. This issue of poverty has been repeated several times in official circles. Government has got to deal with that.
“Three is about the state governments. They are always having ceremonies and talking about issues but they have not dealt with the problems of education, health, agriculture and other things which affect the ordinary man actively on a daily basis. The state governments have got to deal with this matter in a way which everybody can see that some results are being achieved.
“Every time people compare, what is happening today, they compare with yesteryears. What they are saying is that yesteryears with less resources than we have now were better managed than the present. The government has got to think very hard about it and to do what is right in order to eliminate the problems which people are talking about.”
Ciroma explained why most Northern elders have stayed away from finding solutions to the Boko Haram menace.
He said with what happened to Ndume, Northern leaders decided to tread softly on the insurgency.
He added: “The problem with security matter is that as an ordinary man, if you start intervening, the government people will accuse you of creating the problem. Look at a senator who was part of the Borno Elders who were handling the matter. Now, he is being charged to court for involvement in Boko Haram. So, that is why individuals have got to be careful what they do because government can accuse them.”
Asked if Ndume had no dealing with Boko Haram, Ciroma said: “Well, he is only being charged; you cannot say that he is guilty.
“And for somebody who is a member of the Senate, even if he is talking to someone, he is a member of the Senate; he must always use his contacts and information for the benefit of society. If you arrest him, other lesser people must be more careful.”
Pressed to comment on the political situation in the country, the elder statesman said: “I have no comment to make (A little pause).The general political situation is very confusing and the parties are not well organised. The organised party is the PDP but even the PDP; generally people don’t believe it is doing well.
“So, Nigerians, in my view, want better organised parties that are accountable for what they do and are intended to assist the country move forward.”
On the deteriorating level of governance nationwide, he said:
“It is for Nigerians to elect people who they think can do the job. If they elect people who can do the job, then at the next election, they should choose those people who can do it. You have to keep on doing it until you get it right. That is what democracy means.
Concerning the allegation that ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo might be goading President Goodluck Jonathan to seek another term, Ciroma simply said: “I don’t want to talk about Obasanjo.”
Regarding the plot by the PDP to manipulate the opposition, he said: “The PDP is there to gain power; it has gained power. It is trying to retain its power. There is nothing abnormal about that.
“It is for other people who do not agree with what the PDP is doing or how the PDP is doing it, to make their effort in order to succeed where they failed and PDP succeeded which is to have the chance to exercise power. We hope this will be for the interest of the ordinary people.”
Ladoja confirmed that negotiation was ongoing between his Accord Party and the PDP.
by Tunde Odesola
When the case came up before Justice Oyejide Falola of an Osogbo High Court on Friday, both Adebowale and Eluyera pleaded not guilty to the charge that they were culpable in the killing of five persons in a church in Ile-Ife last April.
Five worshippers were killed inside the church by unknown gunmen on April 2, 2011.
The gunmen opened fire on the supporters of a member of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Mr. Rotimi Makinde, who were in front of his (Makinde’s) residence beside the church.
One of the supporters fled into the church, where some worshippers were having a vigil.
The gunmen fired from outside, killing the pastor, his son and three others instantly.
A drama played out in the court on Friday when Osun State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Wale Afolabi, who appeared for the state government, informed the court that the government was ready to discontinue with the case against Adebowale.
Before the case came up, Adebowale was the only accused facing trial while Eluyera was brought to court for the first time same day.
Afolabi said the appearance of Eluyera in court informed the decision of the prosecution to discontinue with initial charges against Adebowale and file fresh charges when the number of the accused has increased.
But counsel for the defendants, Mr Rowlane Otaru, described the attempt to discontinue with the case and amend the charges as an ambush laid against justice, stressing that the application to discontinue with the case must be in written and not oral form.
Afolabi produced a written application, which was served on the defence, and Adebowale was discharged only for him (Adebowale) to be re-arraigned along with Eluyera for fresh charges.
No sooner had Adebowale been discharged and stepped out of the dock than Afolabi informed the court of his decision to press fresh charges against the two accused persons.
They were subsequently arraigned again and Otaru applied for the bail of the accused but Afolabi opposed the application.
Otaru presented a medical report on the health of Adebowale, urging the court to allow him on bail.
The judge remanded the accused persons in the Ile-Ife prison and adjourned the case till April 30 for the consideration of the bail application.
He ordered prison authorities to ensure that Adebowale received adequate medical attention at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile-Ife.
By Kunle Akogun
Meanwhile, the Senate President, David Mark, has congratulated the governor-elect of Kebbi State, Alhaji Usman Dakingari, saying that his resilience in the face of challenges demands commendation.
In a congratulatory message to the governor-elect over his victory at Saturday’s governorship election, Mark noted that the election was fought and won in a free and fair contest.
He said; “Your election has proved doubting Thomases wrong. The people have decided and reposed their trust and confidence in you. It is incumbent on you therefore to justify the mandate by working assiduously to improve the economic and infrastructural development of the state. The people expect much from you; put them first in all you do.
“I earnestly implore you to bring your wealth of experience to bear to transform state and leave a positive legacy that will endure.”
He reminded the governor-elect of the need to bring all stakeholders on board in the onerous task of administering the state.
In the same vein, Mark advised those who lost at the election to accept the result in good faith and join hands with the governor-elect to develop the state, saying that Kebbi is endowed with enormous potentials yearning to be tapped.
By Ali Alkali, Kaduna; and Michael Oche, Abuja:
2011: North-East PDP insists on presidency || The Court of Appeal sitting in Sokoto has fixed Wednesday, February 24, 2010, to deliver judgement in the case between Alhaji Mohammadu Maigari Dingyadi and Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto State. This will finally bring to rest the long disputed Sokoto State gubernatorial election petition which has dragged on for over a year.
The court will be delivering judgement on a case filed by the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) candidate in the governorship rerun in the state, Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi, against the decision of the Election Petition Tribunal over the qualification of Governor Aliyu Wamakko to contest in the repeat election.
Dingyadi, the DPP candidate, in the Sokoto gubernatorial rerun is challenging the victory of Governor Wamakko of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the polls as well as his qualification.
While the election tribunal upheld the election of Wamakko, the appeal court, in April 2008, annulled the election of Wamakko and ordered a fresh election.
Wamakko’s election was nullified on grounds that he was not a duly nominated candidate of the PDP as at April 14, 2007, when the election was held.
But the fielding of Wamakko by the PDP as its governorship candidate in the rerun of May 24, 2008, was again challenged in June 2008 by the DPP and its candidate at the tribunal in Sokoto.
The DPP candidate contended that since the Appeal Court had nullified the election of Wamakko as governor, and because he was not a duly nominated candidate of the PDP as at April 14, 2007, he remained disqualified from participating in the election rerun. But the tribunal, in February last year, dismissed the petition. Dissatisfied with the judgement, the DPP candidate filed a case at the Appeal Court in Sokoto.
In a letter of notice served to the counsel of the appellants and respondents, which was signed by the senior registrar of the Court of Appeal of the Sokoto judicial division and obtained by LEADERSHIP SUNDAY, the Court of Appeal said it has set aside Wednesday, February 24, 2010, to deliver judgement.
Already, supporters of both Dingyadi and Wammakko have been engaged in a war of words and the judgment is expected to finally calm the tension in the state.
Meanwhile, North-West Zonal Executive Committee of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, had arose yesterday from a day-long meeting in Kaduna insisting on its right of claim for the seat of the nation’s president as per the zoning arrangement of the party, saying, “The party zoned this position to the North and to the North-West zone in particular. It is our tenure; and we are still laying claim to our eight-year tenure, irrespective of the occupant of the seat.”
Among the PDP stalwarts that attended the zonal meeting are governors of Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto and Kebbi states. Other big shots of the party in attendance were Senator Jibril Amin, Alhaji Aliyu Ikira Bilbis, minister of state for Information and Communications and Alhaji Abubakar Rimi among other uncountable dignitaries.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, North-West zonal secretary of the party, Barr. Baba Lawal Aliyu, said, “The slot being occupied by President Umaru Musa Yar’adua is the slot for the North-West zone for tenure of eight years, as per the tradition of the PDP. So, the meeting unanimously agreed to put our total and unflinching support for Mr. President and pray for his quick recovery and return to continue with his work as president of this great nation.
“The appointment of Dr. Jonathan Goodluck as acting president is pending the recovery and return of President Yar’adua. But, we are not unaware of mischief makers who are trying to make a mountain out of mole-hill by capitalizing on the present constitutional circumstances Nigeria finds itself in, and emphasizing on negative issues,” he lamented.
The zonal secretary told the pressmen, “The entire PDP members of the zone at the National Assembly have also agreed to remain steadfast and give their total support and prayers for the recovery of President Yar’adua to come back and continue with his good work and possibly finish his tenure which we are all aware is eight years on zonal basis in PDP tradition.
“We equally reviewed the performance of our party across the seven states in the zone; and we are happy that the party is waxing stronger and stronger by the day as members from other political parties are continuously decamping to PDP en-mass.”