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Soliloquy: Dissecting “The Issues” As Presented By Adams Oshiomhole & Dino Melaye

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By Michael Effiong

On Thursday, September 29, 2022, all the Presidential candidates for the 2023 election were invited to Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory by the National Peace Committee chaired by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Retd.).

At that event, the Chairman had said and I quote “I call on politicians to address issues that are fundamental to Nigerians. We want to ensure that there is civility and decency in public discourse… Please avoid the spread of fake news and personal attacks”

Before I go on, I would like to appeal to the National Peace Committee to update its website. It is shocking an utterly embarrassing that what the Committee’s website shows as recent events are the events of 2018! That is not good enough for an organisation that is taking up such a critical national responsibility.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand, it is within the statement made above by General Abdulsalami that I viewed what transpired on Channels TV’s Politics Today anchored by Seun Okinbaloye during the week.

The very popular programme has become a veritable platform for national discourse and agenda setting and has been playing this role so well in the last couple of years.

And of course, politicians who love the limelight like ants to sugar will milk such opportunity for the benefit of their parties and their candidates.

The first person to appear on the show was former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole. The former All Progressives Congress (APC ) Chairman, went well off the mark.

He barely spent the over 40 minutes provided to sell his candidate or his party. Each time the anchor tried to steer him to issues, like the failure of the present APC government, strength of his candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his Renewed Hope Agenda, Oshiomhole who adorned a white shirt which he claimed represented a sign of victory and peace in his homestead, was bent on throwing stones. He was anything but peaceful.

He kept hitting at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

He began by saying that Atiku had no integrity because Governor Wike and four other governors have said he is not trust worthy; he called Atiku a betrayer and went on to discuss Atiku’s family life.

He noted that in 2019, Atiku used his wife Jennifer to campaign in the East, he went on and on, there was no boundary to the verbal punches he threw at the former Vice President during the programme.

According to Oshiomhole, Atiku had no right to go to Ondo to promise to better the education system in because there were many illiterates in his Adamawa State! He even queried why Atiku should own a University?

He called Atiku the weakest candidate and noted that Atiku is battle weary and has become stale.

He was so engrossed on this Atiku attack mode that he did not know when he took a pot shot at his own candidate by saying that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s decision to sponsor and back his wife, Oluremi, as Senator  in Lagos State was his candidate’s idea of selfless service. Of course, the social media had a field day tearing him apart on that one.

I could almost imagine the Atiku Presidential campaign fuming as they watched their principal being rubbed in the mud anyhow, I can bet they were on the phone immediately to the Producers of the show to register their angst and sure enough, the very next day, one of their own former Senator Dino Melaye had his own turn.

Like Oshiomhole, he came out gun blazing. He began by calling Oshiomhole names. He said the former governor was not only morally bankrupt but was a rabid womanizer who is the only known politician that has his genitals flying around via a leaked video on social media.

He did not stop there, he stated that all the women of easy virtue in Edo State know the former Governor and that too became a hit on social media (Oloshos know Oshiomhole). And how his former air hostess wife has left him etc.

He was not done, he went on to discuss Tinubu’s family how his children were from different mothers and how he could not attend his real mother’s burial and so on. It was so painful to watch really.

The too men by now should have been sanctioned not only by their parties but the peace committee. I believe this is not the kind of discourse that we should be watching on our TVs ahead of the elections.

These two men actually back two candidates who on several occasions have met each other in public and exchanged pleasantries. Like they say on the streets, wetin be their own sef?

Either we like it or not Atiku and Tinubu are the front runners in this election and they have both released their manifestoes so there are a thousand and one things that these surrogates could have discussed.

I will like for example to hear Atiku or his surrogates discuss the power problem and what was his role in the N16billion or so spent by the Obasanjo government on power. Senator Dino would have done well to expatiate on this.

He could also have discussed how Atiku intends to go about raising our GDP to $5000 by 2020, creating three million jobs, lifting 10 million poor Nigerians, increase funding for the police etc.

Even his plan to restructure the country, devolve more power to the state which will mean resource control, tax relief, private sector-led venture funds and expanding export opportunities which have been widely commended could have been a powerful foundation to score good points. So he need not have gone to the mundane.

For former Governor Oshiomhole, he could have cleared the air about Tinubu’s health which have raised cause for concern in recent weeks and the nagging issue of Chicago State University and which Bola Tinubu attended Richard Daley College since he was discussing integrity.

He could have delved into Tinubu’s 80-page policy document. How he intends to increase crude oil production to 2.6mbpd by 2027 and 4mbpd by 2030.

Why his candidate wants to construct gas pipelines without gas processing facilities and why fighting the monster called corruption was mentioned in passing in the document.

These are just matters from the top of my head that I have brought up, I am sure Nigerians have many serious challenges that they would have loved to get the views or solutions from the various candidates or their camps.

Issues such as the galloping inflation rate, the astonishing increase in the number of poverty-stricken Nigerians and the calamitous numbers of out-of-school children are there seeking answers. These are the big ticket issues that we want discussed.

Like was noted by the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), we would not allow politicians and their surrogates to engage in any shadow boxing and name calling at the expense of our collective development, it is our duty as members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm to call them out and make them tow the right path when they are going astray.

I do hope that we have hit the lowest of the low with Former Governor Oshiomhole and Senator Melaye, henceforth let the discourse be about real issues. Let us keep it clean please!

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You’ve Nothing to Offer Nigerians, Only Insults, Akwa Ibom Gov Slams Tinubu

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Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, on Monday, replied the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, saying that he (Tinubu) always resorts to abusing and insulting people during campaigns because he has nothing to bring to the table for Nigerians.

He also said that despite being insulted by the former Lagos State Governor, he would prefer to allow peace to reign by ignoring him and focusing on helping install good governance to rescue Nigerians from their present woes.

Emmanuel spoke on Monday evening at Government House, Uyo while inaugurating newly appointed Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen and Members of Boards and Commissions, as well as a Transition Committee to ensure the smooth transition of power to the next administration.

Recall that Tinubu had during his rally in Uyo Monday afternoon, reportedly said, “Akwa Ibom, that boy wey bring Atiku here, wey de call himself Governor, tell him enough is enough! He lives in my backyard in Lagos, If no be say we be one, I would have driven him home. You see that mansion he is living, I would just use lizards, pigeons and scorpions to put him inside.“

But reacting few hours later, the Akwa Ibom State Governor said, “for the country to remain in peace, one party must ‘play saint’ and that is why he would refrain from replying Tinubu.

Emmanuel who is the Chairman of the PDP presidential campaigns said, “I also go to other states, and if you watch our campaigns, my principal (Atiku Abubakar) has never spoken about any Governor, he has never spoken openly about Asiwaju before.”

He added that it was unfortunate that Tinubu, who was granted state-owned facilities such as the airport, security, stadium, and a good atmosphere to come in and sell his manifesto, ended up coming to insult the integrity of over 7.9 million Akwa Ibom people.

The Governor wondered if it is possible for any Akwa Ibomite to go to Lagos that Tinubu stays or the actual state that he hails from, to insult Tinubu in like manner and still be allowed to safely return home, “but here our people at the stadium including some state governors just laughed and applauded him.”

“What makes him think he will govern Nigeria? If I reply him now, people will call me and say, haba oga you are not like that. But I will reply him one day. There is nothing like ‘emilokan’ (it is my turn) here, Nigeria is in God’s hands.”

He maintained further that despite being the highest revenue contributor to the federation account, Akwa Ibom State has not gotten a single kilometre of road from the APC-led Federal Government for nearly 8 years adding that the poor response from the Federal Government also caused the delayed commencement of the seaport in the state.

Meanwhile, the governor thanked the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries for accepting the onerous task of service, and urged them to see themselves as ambassadors and work towards raising the bar of leadership which would encourage productivity and promote good working relationship with subordinates in the service.

“This is one thing I promised Akwa Ibom people that appointment of Permanent Secretaries shall be totally on merit and not by mercy, let those that can do the work be given the opportunity. Permanent Secretary is not a promotion, it is an appointment on merit.

Governor Emmanuel also reiterated his commitments towards enhancing efficiency within Civil Service, noting that during his administration civil servants have been promoted on yearly basis.

He assured that before he exits office more Permanent Secretaries would be appointed into the service to fill vacant positions left by the ones who retired.

Addressing Chairmen of Boards and Commissions, Governor Emmanuel who described them as pillars in government, acknowledged their commitment particularly, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection & Waste Management Agency, Prince Akpan Ikim, for winning laurels for the state through his outstanding performance in keeping and making the state the cleanest in Nigeria for five consecutive years from 2018 through 2022, and tasked others to create an impact that will stand them out.

In the same vein, the Transition Committee members were handed the task of ensuring a seamless transition of government to an incoming administration, and also verify all projects executed by the present administration.

The newly appointed Permanent Secretaries are; Mfon Inuaesiet Edemekong Esq., Dr. Stephen Effiong, Atim Chelly Okoko, Iquo Okon Abia Esq., Uwem Sunday Andrew-Essien, Isaiah Robson Ntekim and Emaeyak Nyong Akpan as Auditor-General for Local Government.

The Transition Committee has Mrs. Ekereobong Umoh -Chairman, Uko Udom SAN, Prof Augustine Umoh, Dr. Ini Adiakpan, Mrs. Nsemeke Daniel, Dr. Nathaniel Adiakpan, Mr Elijah Udoiyak, Mrs. Esther Inyang, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien, Mr. Isaiah Ntekim, Mr. Effiong Ekpenyong and Mrs. Bella Akpanya as members.

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PDP Condemns Attack on Buhari in Kano, Blames Tinubu, Ganduje

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The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council, has blamed the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attacks on the convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari, during a visit to the state on Monday.

The spokesperson of the campaign council, Dino Melaye, who shared one of the videos from the reported attack, wrote, “The fight between Tinubu and Buhari is entering a new dimension. The attack in Kano was properly coordinated and funded allegedly by Asiwaju.

“The meeting to push Buhari to submission or face sponsored attack in the north was said to be hatched in Bourdillon. Me, I am busy with Atiku.”

A political activist, Deji Adeyanju, who shared another video of the reported attack, said, “They are showing Buhari and APC Shege in Kano and many northern states.”

Similarly, the PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, on Monday also blamed Tinubu and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attack.

According to the party, the attack was designed to undermine the Presidency, cause confusion, trigger violence in the country, disrupt the conduct of the 2023 general elections “and derail our democracy having realised that he cannot win in a peaceful, free and fair electoral process.”

The statement read in part, “The PDP invites Nigerians to note how Governor Abdullahi Ganduje attempted to abridge President Buhari’s movement and even tried to stop him from visiting Kano State.

“More disquieting is the fact that the APC Presidential Campaign sought to humiliate and harm President Buhari while performing his official duties in Kano.

“It should be noted that the APC presidential candidate has been displaying open aversion and making inciting statements against President Buhari since Mr President’s declaration, in line with democratic best practice all over the world that Nigerians should freely vote for any candidate and party of their choice in the 2023 general elections.

“The apparent frustration of Asiwaju Tinubu to resort to encourage or condone violence is fueled by his entitlement mentality, that it is his turn to be President, despite his numerous ineligibility and disability baggage.”

Ologunagba reminded Nigerians about Tinubu’s infamous statement in London where he declared to his supporters that “political power is not going to be served in a restaurant, it is not served a la carte.”

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Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu Battles for Freedom, Appears in Court Tuesday

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A former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, will on Tuesday appear again in court in the United Kingdom where he has been accused of human trafficking.

The lawmaker was in June 2022 arrested at Heathrow Airport in London after Staines Police Station received a report from a young man claiming to have been trafficked into the UK.

The young man, who made the report shortly after arriving in the UK from Nigeria, also alleged that he was made to undergo some medical tests, none of which he consented to.

Ekweremadu was immediately arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court for bringing a child into the UK to harvest his organs.

While the lawmaker had been in custody since June 23, his wife, Beatrice, who was arrested with him, was granted bail by a criminal court in London shortly after their arrest.

Monday (today) makes it 221 days since Ekweremadu was placed in the custody of UK authorities.

The case against the lawmaker which had been slated for May was later scheduled for January 31.

The 60-year-old, who denied the allegations against him, will again appear before High Court Judge, Mr Justice Johnson.

His daughter, Sonia, had on November 7, 2022, appeared in court to defend the accusation of trafficking a homeless man into the UK to harvest his organs for herself.

According to Daily Mail, the 25-year-old, who is battling a kidney-related illness, pleaded not guilty to the charge level against her when she appeared again in court on January 13.

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