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Call for Interim Govt Unconstitutional, Military Warns

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The Defence Headquarters on Thursday described as unconstitutional calls for an interim government after the emergence of the president-elect.

The Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Musa Danmadami, stated this in Abuja during the biweekly update with journalists on Armed Forces of Nigeria operations.

He condemned the clamour for an interim government by those unhappy with the outcome of the presidential election, stating that the ING was illegal and unconstitutional.

The Peoples Democratic Party, the All Progressives Congress and the New Nigeria Peoples Party supported the military’s pledge to defend the constitution.

Some candidates who lost the election and their supporters had been agitating for the interim government, hinging their demand on the reported malpractices recorded during the presidential election which was won by the APC standard bearer, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Sequel to the protests and alleged inflammatory statements by the proponents of the interim government, the Department of State Services alerted the nation to a plot by unnamed politicians to scuttle the transition and install an interim government.

The secret police said it was monitoring the plotters and warned them against fomenting any crisis in the country.

But responding to questions from journalists in Abuja, during the biweekly update on Armed Forces of Nigeria operations, Danmadami maintained that the Independent National Electoral Commission had conducted elections and declared a president-elect.

The DHQ spokesman said, “On the issue of an interim government, it is rather unfortunate; an election has been conducted and INEC, which is mandated, has announced a president-elect. It is not our responsibility to speak on that issue but I know that several calls have been made by the Presidency that there is nothing like an interim national government.

“So I think people were just trying to be mischievous. It is unconstitutional and all of us know that the Constitution does not provide for an Interim National Government; that is the point the Presidency has been hammering on and that is our stand because that is what the Constitution says. It is unconstitutional, so, anything unconstitutional, as far as I’m concerned, is not applicable.”

Speaking on the security situation across the country, he attributed the recent spike in kidnappings to the reversal of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s cashless policy.

He also noted that ending kidnapping required a whole-of-a-society and government approach.

He, however, added that the military was working round the clock to tame the menace of kidnapping and other criminal activities.

PDP backs military

Commenting on the military position on the election, the PDP Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Ibrahim Abdullahi, said the party agreed with the DHQ.

“Yes, we agree with the military. Interim National Government is unconstitutional and the PDP as a law-abiding party will always be on the side of the law.

“Those pushing for an interim government do not wish this country well. The call is unpatriotic and condemnable,” he said.

Also speaking, Ladipo Johnson, spokesman for the NNPP Presidential Campaign Council, called on security agents to unravel those plotting to plunge the country into a constitutional crisis with their demand for an Interim National Government.

“The NNPP frowns upon any attempt to undermine our constitution. The Interim National Government or whatever you called it has no place in our constitution. But aren’t we tired of talking in the void? We thought by now the security agents would have arrested promoters of this evil agenda. They should be arrested and made to face the wrath of the law,” he said.

Reacting, the ruling APC applauded the military for staying true to its promise to protect the Constitution and the country’s unity.

Speaking with one of our correspondents, the APC Director of Publicity, Bala Ibrahim, warned that those demanding an interim government were inadvertently calling for a coup d’etat, which attracts capital punishment in Nigeria.

He said, “What the Defence Headquarters is saying is reiterating the supremacy of the Federal Constitution. And it is the Constitution that recognises an elected regime. It also recognises INEC as an electoral umpire. It is the same Constitution that says anything contrary to the recognition of INEC with regard to elections is akin to disagreeing with the Constitution.

“So, anyone who comes with something that is alien in the name of an interim government or whatever name not recognised by the Constitution is asking for the overthrow of this Constitution.

‘’Now, the military cannot under any guise support the overthrow of a legitimately elected government. To do that is to call for a coup d’etat and calling for a coup is treason which attracts the death penalty.

“Therefore, in agreeing with INEC’s position, the DHQ is directly agreeing with the Constitution and saying that they remain subservient and submissive to the will of the people as provided for in the Constitution.”

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Tinubu Will Never Be ‘My President’, Vows Tunde Bakare

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The Serving Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has said he will never call the President-elect Bola Tinubu, his president.

The cleric cum politician, during a webinar on Saturday, alleged a series of malpractices during the 2023 elections, saying the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) made a mess of the electioneering process.

He said this while responding during a Question & Answer session after delivering his speech on the Zoom programme titled ‘Building the New Nigeria: The Role of the Diaspora’ organised by the PTB4Nigeria In Diaspora Group.

The meeting, which began 7pm and was monitored by our correspondent, had over 200 participants.

While speaking earlier during the programme, he said the 2023 elections were below acceptable standards.

Asked if he would be happy to work for the new government as a Minister of Diaspora Engagements, the cleric laughed, and said he would say what he said to President Muhammadu Buhari last week.

Bakare said he told Buhari that sometimes he called him President of Nigeria and other times, he called him “My President.”

“Last Wednesday, I was at the Glass House where he (Buhari) has been restricted now because the main house is being renovated. I said I have done that for you.

“I want you to know that, because of the circumstances of your flying into power on the wings of integrity and incorruptibility, but you’re now passing onto someone who does not have that value,” he said.

He said that at “any public lecture anywhere, before this mess is cleared off, I will address Asiwaju (Tinubu) as a President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but I will never call him my president.”

He said he did not participate in the elections, and therefore, no one could say he lost.

Bakare, who participated in the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primary in June 2022, where nomination forms were sold for N100 million, polled no single vote.

Briefly touching this, he said: “I participated in the primary, and there were hundreds (of persons) who participated only by stepping down, so there is no shame in what we have done. We spoke truth to power within seven minutes.”

“I wasn’t there when they voted, I wasn’t there when they scored (me) zero, but we won that badge of zero and badge of honour,” he said, adding that this was because some defeats that were more triumphant than victories.

Answering the question, he said if he was called to be a minister under the incoming government, there would be conditions to it, “but I am not desperate to be a minister, not at all. I was offered before but I turned it down. My life is not just to take photographs with the president and shake hands.

“But we will do if it will benefit even one citizen.”

Tinubu will on Monday, May 29, be sworn in as the President of the country.

On Thursday, Tinubu was handed the transition report by Buhari, where he also promised not to disappoint Nigerians.

He pledged to address the security and power crises, among other challenges confronting the country.

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Buhari’s Tenure Worst in the History of Nigeria – Ortom

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Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has described the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari, as the worst in the history of Nigeria, saying the outgoing president “must be told that he failed woefully and Nigerians are feeling the impact of that failure because we are all suffering.”

He said the president plunged the country into unimaginable poverty and insecurity, unlike what used to flourish under his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan.

Speaking at the commissioning of the headquarters of the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards, BSCVGs, in Makurdi, Ortom said that Buhari took Nigeria from the top to the bottom, making life miserable for all Nigerians.

He said, “I served under the then President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and we all saw how Nigeria flourished under that administration. We all knew what the prices of goods and services were at the time.

“We also know what our exchange rate was at the time and what it is today. I want Nigerians to do a simple comparison and you will realise how bad it has been under this government and how Nigeria has been taken several years backwards by the Buhari government.

“The fact is that never in the history of Nigeria did we experience this kind of bad governance in the country.

“Corruption is so endemic in this government, yet people who steal chicken are thrown into prison, but people in government who are busy stealing the wealth of the people are walking free.

“The President recently apologised to Nigerians; we accept the apology but he must be told that he failed woefully and Nigerians are feeling the impact of that failure because we are all suffering.”

Ortom also lamented the refusal of Buhari to curb the excesses of the armed Fulani herdsmen and designate them a terrorist organisation for being responsible for the killings in the country.

“The President told us he is retiring to tend to his cattle, is it because he is returning to be a herder that he failed to deal decisively with herdsmen? That was unfair to Nigerians,” he added.

The governor assured that he would continue to speak out against injustice in the country.

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Umo Eno: Akwa Ibom’s Omoluwabi Set For the Golden Era

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Michael Effiong

If she was alive today, Prof. Sophie Oluwole would have been brimming with smile, she would have been grinning from ear to ear because I had inserted the Yoruba word “Omoluwabi” to the tittle of this article.

Prof. Oluwole of blessed memory, who was a consistent figure in the Department of Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos. Everybody in the Faculty knew her and her ways.

She usually frowned at people for quoting European or American philosophers, sayings or idioms in articles. For her, Africans, especially Yorubas, have more than enough philosophers, philosophies and wise sayings to use in garnishing any piece of writing.

Now to my topic: Pastor Umo Eno is many things to many people, but there is no doubt that he is the kind of man that the Yorubas will call “Omoluwabi”.

An Omoluwabi is a person of honour who believes in hard work, respects the rights of others and gives to the community in deeds and action. In addition, an Omoluwabi is a person of integrity. Omoluwabi translates to that person who is a paragon of excellence in character.

Some of the principles usually exhibited by an Omoluwabi include: wisdom in the use of words, respect, compassion, truth, bravery and intelligence.

If we consider all these traits of an Omoluwabi,  no one can argue that Pastor Umo Eno fits the bill perfectly, and  Akwa Ibom is lucky to have such a man as Governor-elect.

From a very humble background, Pastor Eno began life in the barracks. His father, a police officer, died when he was finding his way in the world and thus, he had to grow up quickly.

When his mates left secondary and went on to higher institutions, he had to work to eke a living and augment the income of his parents.

So a lot of people, in today’s political arena, who have enjoyed what is now known as the “soft life” cannot relate to his kind of situation. They think it is odd for one to leave secondary school and bag a university degree 20 years later!

Pastor Eno had no hesitation putting his personal wants, aspirations and goals in abeyance and that was the Omoluwabi ethos at play.

For those who don’t know, after working for years, rising to the position of Group General Manager, he started his own business, Royalty Hotel, from scratch and has built it into a conglomerate of businesses, called Royalty Group.

His trajectory can be traced. He did not come into sudden wealth through government contracts or inherit wealth, he worked his way to the top through painstaking hard work, focus and the grace of God.

He was at a time the second highest employer of labour after the state government and very few people knew him.

He was savouring his busy but private life and enjoying his time as a seasoned entrepreneur, committed Church shepherd, dedicated father and grandfather.

When he was invited to become Executive Director, Directorate of Agricultural Investment, Akwa Ibom Investment Corporation by Governor Udom Emmanuel, he gave it his very best. One of his major achievements in the course of that assignment was the enumeration of all farmers in the state.

He thought that he would quickly conclude that duty like he did under Governor Victor Attah, when he was appointed Chairman, Akwa Ibom Hotels & Tourism Board and return to his normal life without drama.

That was not to be because not too long after, he was made Commissioner of Lands and Water Resources and even given the mandate to set up Ibom FADAMA Microfinance Bank. As Board Chairman, he helped midwife the bank.

It was barely one year in that office, that everything changed. While some were busy telling everyone that the position of governor was Ogun mi (It is my inheritance)  and others were shouting emi  lo kan (It is my turn) . Pastor Eno was probably humming some part of the refrain in Evangelist Ebenezer Obey’s popular song, Aimasiko,  where the legendary musician sang, O ro mi lowo Oluwa lo wa (My destiny is in God’s hands)

Indeed, God changed the whole course of Pastor Eno’s life on January 30, 2022, when as he had promised, Governor Udom Emmanuel declared to a hall filled with Akwa Ibom’s crème de la crème that God has revealed that his successor will be Pastor Umo Eno.

Immediately the announcement was made that Sunday evening, the naysayers went to work. First, they queried the reason he had to kneel down to greet his political father, the governor. They made so much hullabaloo over the picture.

Pastor Umo did not say a word. Like an Omoluwabi, he knows full well what it is to be respectful and give respect to whom it is due.

The next line of attack was body shaming. He was said to be too fair-skinned. Imagine?

Anyway, at her birthday thanksgiving service,  his dear wife, Pastor (Mrs.) Patience Umo Eno openly declared that his traducers can call him whatever, but he is her ‘Golden Boy”! The narrative changed immediately. What they thought would be used derisively, became a positive and popular sing song. The moniker has stuck till today.

That was not all, they claimed that a man who was Senior Prefect in his Victory High School, did not attend the school or possess a WAEC certificate. How preposterous!

The certificate lie, as laughable as it seemed, was taken all the way to the Supreme Court by a PDP aspirant and I am told that in the history of the state, no candidate has faced the avalanche of court cases that Pastor Umo Eno has faced.

Just imagine a man which such a sterling reputation and pedigree being riddled with all manner of nasty and hurtful lies.

Despite all the attacks, as an Omoluwabi, he was the one urging his supporters and campaign team to sheath the sword. He consistently told them to steer clear of any negative narrative and he too stayed on message.

He must have told himself that this assignment is bigger than himself, it is for the good of all and meant to connect the dots, while furthering peace and prosperity in the state.

Truth be told, Pastor Umo Eno was the hardest working candidate. Despite being from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), which is the dominant party in the state, he took nothing to chance.

He began by paying consultation visits to prominent indigenes, political leaders, religious fathers and traditional rulers. He visited all three Senatorial Districts more than once in the course of the campaign.

Early enough as a man of vision,  he  gathered a  team of experts and shared his thoughts about his aspirations for the state. Those forward-looking ideas were encapsulated in an economic blue print document called the ARISE Agenda.

ARISE stands for Agricultural revolution, Rural development, Infrastructural maintenance/advancement, Security management & Educational advancement.

According to the document, he wants to expand and encourage Agri-business, create food security and sufficiency. Invest in crop, fishery and animal husbandry from raw material production, processing, off-taking, complete with storage and delivery facilities. While also exploring the huge job and wealth creation benefits of the blue economy.

Being a tourism investor, he wants to develop the shoreline for tourism purpose and make the state a tourists’ haven and hub. His target is to ensure people come and spend their money in the state.

He is very keen on rural development, women and youth empowerment and intends to stem the tide of rural-urban drift by providing facilities and incentives in the rural areas..

He believes that a secure environment is a fertile ground for growth and investments. It is also a fertile ground for sound ideas. Therefore, security will be a major priority.

His plans also include skills development and support for SMEs, while creating a conducive environment for investors to thrive.

 

His agenda also involves a deliberate policy of training people to fit into strategic sectors to ensure that available jobs are taken up by Akwa Ibomites. A more efficient and purpose-driven public service is also part of his plan. For Pastor Umo Eno, all he wants to see is a big leap in the economic wellbeing of the people.

He was the first candidate to make his people-centered vision public, a sign that he is a man of more action, less talk.

Little wonder that when he was asked why he settled for Pastor Eno, in a February 2022 interview, Governor Udom stated confidently:  “ We were looking for my successor not a surrogate and he fits the bill.  Umo Eno is a highly respected person; he has enormous capacity, is an epitome of humility, and is blessed with the common touch, a compelling story and is God-fearing.

“He is a successful entrepreneur who has employed our people, lifted thousands from poverty to prosperity. He has an economic blueprint that will further guarantee employment. His life story resonates with the story of most ordinary Akwa Ibom people”.

Governor Udom was spot on about his assessment because this serial investor is a man with competence, capacity, character and above all, compassion.

He is a serious-minded achiever and that is why immediately after filling out and submitting his nomination forms, he again set up a body of experts who went round the LGAs on a needs assessment expedition.

Perhaps drawing from his experience as a Rotarian and member of Rotary International, he knows full well that by delivering projects that communities desire, he will be impacting their lives significantly and also ensuring sustainability of such a project.

He was therefore well informed when he began his campaign. He went to all 31 LGAs and each time, hit the mark with his message. He also visited critical organisations and groups, rounding it off with a bus tour. No other candidate achieved that feat. It was no surprise therefore, that his victory was overwhelming.

Despite the fact that the people spoke loudly and clearly on March 18, 2023, he immediately extended a hand of friendship to all, as an Omoluwabi.

His effort at rapprochement has been accepted by some, while others have gone to the tribunal to regurgitate worn out pre-election issues.

Despite the fact that his olive branch is being rebuffed, he has remained cool and calm.

The reason for his cool mien could have been explained by Prof. Oluwole as Pastor Eno showing his traducers that Bi bi re o se fo wo ra , meaning, good upbringing or breeding is priceless. It cannot be bought with money.

Thus, because of his upbringing and parental training, as they go low, he, as Michelle Obama stated, has decided to go high.

As he prepares for his inauguration and swearing in on May 29, 2023,  Pastor Eno, his Deputy Governor-elect, Senator Akon Eyakenyi and team are firmly focused on the task of ushering in the golden years and creating the enabling environment for the people to enjoy happy hours of achievements in different spheres of their lives. For him as a true Omoluwabi, it is forward ever, backward never.

Effiong, a journalist is the Editor, Ovation International Magazine

 

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