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Uzodinma Was A Mole In APC, Says Okorocha

Sahara Reporters - 15 March 2019 - 12:49am


The dust over the 2019 Imo governorship election is yet to settle as Rochas Okorocha, the outgoing Governor of the state, and Senator Hope Uzodinma, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) continue to trade blames over the party's loss at the poll.

Okorocha, who was suspended by APC for his involvement in anti-party activities, said the fact that Uzodinma was among the first set of people who congratulated Emeka Ihedioha, the Imo Governor-elect and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), after he was declared winner was indeed confirmation that Uzodinma "was just a mole in the APC”. 

According to a statement by Sam Onwuemeodo, his Chief Press Secretary, Okorocha said the performance of the party is proof of his claims that Uzodinma worked for the PDP.

The statement read: “I have been vindicated over our repeated claim that Chief Hope Uzodinma has remained a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), both in spirit and in body, and that it was wrong for the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, to have handed over the governorship ticket to him, no matter the deal.

“We maintained that Chief Uzodinma was just a mole in the APC. Today, the governorship election and its outcome have obviously vindicated us.

“Besides Uzodinma working for the PDP, he was one of the first people to celebrate with the PDP candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, after he was announced winner. The video of Uzodinma celebrating with Ihedioha has gone viral on the social media.

“Uzodinma succeeded through Adams Oshiomhole by ensuring that only his supporters were included in the list of party agents given to INEC, and the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Francis Ezeonu, insisted on the list, just to ensure the success of their conspiracy.

“Their target was to destroy APC in the Southeast and in Imo in particular, thereby authenticating claims in some quarters that it is all about 2023. One, therefore, wonders how Oshiomhole feels today, seeing the only APC state in the southeast before he became chairman, taken over by the PDP.

“We also sustained the contention that Imo people would not vote for Uzodinma because they know him very well, but Oshiomhole refused to listen. He came fourth and never showed that he took part in the election. Posterity and history will judge Oshiomhole and Uzodinma for APC’s fate in the Southeast, especially in Imo State.”

However, Uzodinma responded to Okorocha’’s claim, saying the Governor has found a "penchant for tarnishing people’s image".

Speaking through Mbadiwe Emelumba, his media aide, Uzodinma said: “Okorocha is in the habit of lying to tarnish people’s image, but it was he who worked against APC from the beginning."

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Cattle Rustlers Kill 17 Vigilantes In Kaduna

Sahara Reporters - 15 March 2019 - 12:47am


Seventeen members of a vigilante group lost their lives after gunmen attacked Jan Ruwa village in Birnin Gwari area of Kaduna State.

ASP Yakubu Sabo, the Kaduna Police Public Relations Officer (PRO), confirmed the incident in a statement issued on Thursday. 

According to the Police, several cattle were also rustled during the attack.

The statement read: “A team of vigilance group returning from a function in Zamfara State got information that some armed bandits entered Jan Ruwa village, rustled cows, and as a result, mobilised and pursued the criminals into the deep forest. They engaged them in a serious gun fuel following which some of the vigilantes lost their lives.

“A combined team of PMF men, conventional police and vigilantes mobilised to the area for a search-and-rescue mission. In the process, 15 bodies of members of the vigilance group were recovered. Two additional corpses were recovered the following day."

Ahmad Abdulrahman, the Commissioner of Police, made a promise to bring those behind the killings to face the law.

The Police also urged residents to support its efforts by providing useful information that would help in making the state crime free.
 

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Kwankwaso Directs ‘Incoming PDP Governor’ Not To Pay N30,000 Minimum Wage In Kano

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 1:17pm

Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kano and former Governor of the state, has said the incoming Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration in the state will not be able to pay N30, 000 minimum wage to workers as they anticipate to inherit an empty treasury from Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje's administration.

Kwankwaso, who addressed a group of Kwankwassiyya supporters in Kaduna, said the PDP is sure of victory in the supplementary election and will not continue with the payment of N30, 000 minimum wage as promised workers by Ganduje.

“As the leader of the party in Kano, I have directed our Governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, not to pay the minimum wage because that is the APC manifesto and we will not take it," Kwanllkwas said.

"Anyway, we will ensure that workers get their salaries on or before the 25th of every month, but what we will not do is to pay the minimum wage."

At the time the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the Kano governorship election inconclusive, PDP’s Yusuf had polled 1,014,474 votes while APC’s Ganduje had 987,819.

However, the margin of 26,655 votes between the two top candidates meant it was impossible for INEC to declare a winner.”

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Farouk Lawan, Nasiru Garo...Kano Commissioner Names PDP Leaders Who 'Tore' Election Result Sheets

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 12:48pm


Alhaji Murtala Sule Garo, Kano State Commissioner for Local Government and Community Development, has accused Farouk Lawan, a former member of the House of Representatives, and Nasiru Sule Garo, a serving member of the House of Representatives, of destroying the result sheets of Gama Ward in Nasarawa Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.

The Commissioner, who was widely accused of disrupting the collation process at the ward, denied the allegation, and accused supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of destroying the result sheet.

Garo alleged that he was manhandled by PDP supporters at Nasarawa LGA collation centre in their bid to stop him from gaining access to the venue, saying his clothes were torn in the ensuing melee.

He said before himself and the deputy governor arrived at the collation centre, after they got information that some PDP members were at the centre trying to disrupt the process, Farouk Lawan, Nasiru Sule Garo, and other PDP stalwarts were seen tearing the result sheets without resistance from anyone, including the security agents manning the collation centre.

His words: “It is not true. These people, the PDP people, I can name some of them: Hon. Farouk Lawan, Honourable Nasiru Sule Garo, and other members of PDP went to Nasarawa Local Government collation centre, assaulted the INEC officer and tore the entire result sheets of the Local Government. The INEC officer has reported that which you are aware of.

“This Commissioner of Police has been compromised and is selective and we are not going to take it anymore, because he has not been fair to us at all. We were informed by our party agents, that some PDP stalwarts were tearing result sheets of the contentious Gama Ward. That is what prompted His Excellency, the Deputy Governor, who is from Nasarawa to get first hand information.”

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'Being A Short Man, He Hanged Himself' — NSCDC Denies Killing Man Who 'Raped' Daughter

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 12:32pm


The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Ondo State says 46-year-old Rasak Ahmed, who died in custody, "hanged himself to death".

Samuel Oladapo, the spokesman of NSCDC in the state, disclosed this in a press statement issued in Akure, the Ondo State capital, on Wednesday.

SaharaReporters had reported how the mechanical engineer was tortured to death by men of the NSCDC over an allegation that he sexually abused his eight-year-old daughter.

Ahmed's death has generated a lot of controversy as the family of the deceased are asking for justice.

Family members had explained that the officers of the NSCDC killed Ahmed, their breadwinner, after NSCDC refused to free him from custody.

"It was the NSCDC officers that killed him. I saw about 10 of them using sticks to hit him to force him to confess what he knew nothing about. I am sure it was the result of that beating and maltreatment that led to his death in the custody of the NSCDC. So, this is why we are calling on the media and human rights groups to please help us with this case, because the powers that be are interested in sweeping the case under the carpet," a family member said.

However, a statement signed by Oladapo read: “The suspect was arrested by our men at our out-post station and brought to the state headquarters on Monday for proper investigations. And during our investigation, Ahmed confessed to the offence and attributed it to devil's work.

"Before he was detained in the cell, he was complaining and begging that he should be allowed to put on his 'buba' and 'sokoto' because he had cold, which we obliged. Meanwhile, he was brought to the headquarters around 6pm and surprisingly, when one of our men approached his cell to deliver food brought by one of his relatives, he was found dangling on iron door of the cell, being a short man, having torn his cloth to hang himself.

"It was unfortunate that he was the only inmate in the cell, which made it easy for him to carry out the dastardly act.”

Speaking to our correspondent on the phone on Thursday, Oladapo denied that the NSCDC tortured Mr. Ahmed to death.

He explained that the NSCDC officers were well trained and could not have tortured the man to death.

 

"The NSCDC officials are civil and does not torture suspects, let alone killing a suspect," he said.

SaharaReporters further learnt that Ahmed’s corpse had been deposited at the hospital's morgue.

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BREAKING: Tribunal Grants Buhari, APC Access To Inspect Election Materials

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 12:17pm


The Election Petition Tribunal for the February 23 presidential election has granted access to President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to inspect the materials used for the elections.

Buhari and the APC had applied in separate motions for ex parte orders to be granted to them to inspect the materials.

The applications were made in preparation of its defence team against expected petitions to be filed by Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), challenging the outcome of the election.

Earlier on March 6, 2019, the tribunal, led by Justice Abdu Aboki, granted same order to PDP to inspect the election materials.

In the ruling issued on Thursday, the tribunal granted Buhari and APC permission to inspect the electoral materials and obtain certified copies of the documents from INEC.

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INEC Planning To Alter Imo National Assembly Result, Claims APC

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 11:33am


The Imo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has alleged a plan by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to change the result of the rerun election of Imo North senatorial district.

The election was declared inconclusive after cases of malpractices and rigging were recorded.

A new date was fixed by the commission and the rerun was done on March 9, 2019 at the six Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the senatorial district.

However, reactions have continued to trail the rerun with the APC alleging a plot by the electoral commission to change the results to favour the opposition party.

Francis Udoka, one of the party supporters, faulted the commission for not announcing the winner of the election, five days after the polls, stating that “INEC is obviously acting a written script.”

He said: “The drama that characterised the March 9th National Assembly rerun in Imo North senatorial district seems to be evolving rather than abating, as collated results from the elections and announced at the various Local Government Areas have remained unannounced at the federal constituency level and winners not declared.

“In what seemed like an attempt to provoke the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Honourable Chike Okafor, the INEC Returning Officer for Okigwe South, Professor Duruigbo, who obviously acting a written script, probably expecting to be resisted, so as to claim that they were compelled to announce the result under duress, informed the LGA party agents that they had to relocate to Owerri, the Imo State capital, before they announce the results.”

Francis stated that there was no security threat in the senatorial district that would have warranted moving to Owerri, adding that since the results were moved to Owerri, it had not been announced.

“We are surprised at the collation and wanted to know why the sudden need to go to Owerri for a House of Reps election in Okigwe South, when there was no security threat to the announcement. But the Returning Officer gave no reason and the party agents obliged him, and followed up to Owerri, where they had since mounted siege at the INEC office waiting for the third day for INEC to declare the winners,” he added.

Calls to Mrs. Emmanuella Opara, INEC Public Relations Officer in Imo, were unsuccessful and she is yet to reply messages sent to her.

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AUDIO: Olatoye ‘Sugar’, Slain Oyo Federal Lawmaker, 'Was A Serial Killer' While Alive

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 11:05am


Temiope Olatoye 'Sugar', the lawmaker representing Lagelu/Akinyele Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, who was shot last Saturday, has been accused of masterminding numerous killings as well.

Olatoye was shot in the eye during a clash with thugs during the Oyo State governorship election.

Known for his trademark caps, which usually bore the letters 'SU', Sugar schooled at the Federal College of Education, Osiele, Abeokuta, and later attended University of Ibadan, according to his profile on the National Assembly website.

An audio recording of someone, who claimed to be his landlady, emerged shortly after the incident.

The woman, who was answering questions from a radio presenter on Sugar's person while alive, expressed reservations on his conduct, stating specifically that his death “is the law of karma".

She said: “In fact, it’s the law of karma. It’s what one does that will eventually happen to the person. He killed many people. He’s [Gbenga] Daniel’s thug. They say ‘a powerful man dies like a weakling'. His father [is] a Reverend. I [know] his father and mother.

“They wanted to burn down my house. He killed one fellow called ‘Bukky Boy’, a student of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic. He tied the ‘Bukky Boy’ fellow to a car from Osiele to Egbeda. Before the Police got to the scene of the incident, the fellow had died. People get judgement in this life. Who would have thought that he would be killed like that with all the ‘orisa’ (spiritual protection) he had?”

She went on to lament other atrocities he allegedly committed while alive, stating that at the time, he became untouchable.

However, after he passed, she said she got many congratulatiry calls from people.

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Sanwo-Olu Walks Past As Woman Laments Death Of Her Child In Lagos Building Crash

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 10:36am


The families of some of the victims of the Lagos building collapse have accused some staff of the General Hospital, Marina, Lagos, of demanding money for services such the release of the bodies of their loved ones following Wednesday's tragedy. 

The Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, had promised that the state government would foot the medical expense of victims when he visited the scene of the incident on Wednesday.

However, when SaharaReporters visited the hospital on Thursday, a woman who had just lost her child was crying uncontrollably. She called out to the governor-elect of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to intervene, but there was no response from him.

When SaharaReporters probed further, we learnt that the mortuary staff of the hospital where demanding money to release the corpse of some of the unfortunate victims in the collapse.

"They are not collecting money for excursions from us, or taxes to fix our cities but when our children die they will collect money. Is this good?" a woman cried out uncontrollably. 

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was visiting, simply walked past, talking with some of the people who had accompanied him.

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11-Year-Old Girl 'Gang-Raped' By Three 'Keke NAPEP' Drivers In Bayelsa

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 9:52am


The Bayelsa State Police Command have arrested three commercial tricycle (popularly known as 'Keke NAPEP') drivers over alleged gang rape of an 11-year-old girl in an uncompleted building along the Azikoro village road of the state. 

The alleged gang rape, which was reportedly carried out a fortnight ago, was reported to the Divisional Police office at Azikoro road after a 'speak out' campaign initiated by the Dise Ogbise Foundation (DOF). 

The victim, whose name was withheld, was threatened with death by the three tricyclists after she was repeatedly raped. 

Though the details of the alleged gang rape were sketchy, the victim revealed the matter to the coordinator of the DOF, Barrister Dise Ogbise-Erhisere, during the speak-up advocacy campaign tour of private and public secretary schools in the state.

Ogbise-Erhisere, a legal practitioner and Chairperson of the Sagbama branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), also confirmed that through the speak-up advocacy campaign, over 20 cases of defilement were discovered.

"The accused tricyclists and others have all been arrested and we hope that they will be prosecuted soon. This incident occurred three weeks ago," she said.

She said the UNICEF report of 2018 indicated that at least one or more cases of sexual violence by profiles occurred in Bayelsa State daily, with many unreported. The report is further worsened with the fact that the cases between the ages of one month to 17 years declined to speak up, and no report of these cases was made to the relevant agencies for either prosecution or prompt medical attention. 

"Another case point is that of a 15-year-old  girl who was raped on her way to the market and she kept quiet for over four months because she was threatened with death. The end result is a four-month pregnancy," she added.

"The Dise Ogbise foundation embarked on the speak up campaign to all schools in Baylesa State. This is indeed a wake-up call that once a child notices any suspected child molesters around them, our advice is for them to speak up and report to the Police. The speak up campaign also deals with cases of those who have been defiled to speak up as silence of our kids is getting from Bad to worst on daily basis. "

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Ajimobi Hosts 'My Brother' Seyi Makinde At Oyo Govt House

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 9:21am



Abiola Ajimobi, outgoing Governor of Oyo State, on Thursday hosted Seyi Makinde, governor-elect of Oyo State, at the Government House.

Makinde, in the company of other politicians in Oyo State, paid a courtesy visit to the Governor.

Makinde, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), defeated Adebayo Adelabu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Ajimobi is also an APC governor.

Makinde polled 515,621 votes to defeat Adelabu, who polled 357,982 votes in the March 9 governorship election in the state.

Expressing delight on the occasion, Ajimobi wrote on Twitter: "Earlier today, Oyo State’s Governor-Elect, my brother Engr. Seyi Makinde, paid me a courtesy visit at the Government House."

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Five Years After, Mothers Of Thousands Of Men Massacred By Nigerian Soldiers Demand Justice

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 8:59am


The Jire Dole Mothers Network has called on the Nigerian government to ensure justice for their sons who were massacred by officers of the Nigerian Army and personnel of the Civilian Joint Task Force on March 14, 2014.

The mothers also called on the government to provide the whereabouts of their sons, some of whom were arrested as far back as 2011.

At a press conference held on Thursday, the women said the youth were arrested by officers of the Nigerian Army in parts of Borno State, over allegations of being members of Boko Haram.

The group said thousands of young men and boys have been arrested by the military in Maiduguri and surrounding towns in Borno state since 2011, allegedly for being members of Boko Haram.

Their mothers demanded answers from the Nigerian authorities and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the military to release accurate information about those arrested.

"Almost all of those arrested were taken to the Giwa Barracks military detention facility in Maiduguri. No one currently knows their whereabouts," they said. "Some have been in detention since 2011 with no access to their families, lawyers or the outside world. Many have gone ‘missing’ or feared dead since they were arrested by the military at the height of the fight against Boko Haram."

Through the Jire Dole network, the mothers of some of these young men and boys have continued to demand information and justice. Many of the mothers have waited for years to hear what happened to their sons, none of whom were ever taken to court.

Hajja Gana is the leader of the mothers’ network.

Narrating her experience, she said: “Ever since my son was arrested in October 2011, I have been looking for him. I went to Giwa Barracks and saw him a week after his arrest. I filed a case in court, but nothing ever happened. I have never seen him again.

“We need to know what happened, even if our sons are dead. It is time that President Buhari’s government acknowledges that thousands of young men were arrested and died in military custody. They must release the list with all their names and give us mothers the closure we are begging for.”

Hajja Gana is among hundreds of women who came together in 2016 to form a network of survivors and relatives determined to campaign for truth, justice and reparation. The network has been growing bigger and louder, and almost eight years after she said her son was taken away by the military, she remains hopeful for information and justice.

“We know that President Buhari can do the right thing and give us justice. That is why we are today asking him to assist us,” Hajja Gana said.

Giwa Barracks is notorious for being a place of torture, starvation and death of detainees. Since 2011, several human rights organisations locally and internationally have reported on the mass deaths of detainees in the military-run facility, and as such, the mothers of Jire Dole have reason to fear the worst.

Over the years, the detention facility became synonymous to a human slaughterhouse where thousands of people were killed by gunshots wounds, starvation, torture, overcrowding in cells and outbreaks of diseases. In particular between 2012 and 2013, hundreds of detainees died every month. Residents along the Specialist Hospital road and those around the vicinity of the Specialist Hospital can vividly recall the frequent trips by military ambulance to deposit corpses at the mortuary, sometimes two or three times a day.

However, according to Jire Dole, March 14, 2014, stands out as a particular day in this recollection of horror. On this day, exactly five years ago today, Boko Haram made a daring attack on Giwa Barracks in broad daylight and hundreds of emaciated detainees were released from their cells. Some escaped and took the group’s offer to join them. Most others sought refuge in nearby homes. Maiduguri residents gave these former detainees shelter, food and clothes.

For many of the escaped detainees, it was their first proper food and water in months. And for many relatives, this was also the first time in years that they managed to find out what had
happened to their loved ones in detention. But the respite was short-lived. After the Boko Haram fighters left, the military and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) went on the rampage. In a city-wide man-hunt that ensued, hundreds of former detainees were assembled in various locations across Maiduguri and summarily executed in broad daylight.

Most mothers were unlucky and not reunited with their sons. Some recall rushing to the streets in the hope of seeing their children, only to be greeted by piles of corpses on the streets. No one was allowed to take away the bodies, even if they could identify their sons. It took a whole day to remove all the corpses from the streets for burial in mass graves. Some relatives only later found out about the death of their sons via a video that went viral, showing how soldiers and CJTF members executed recaptured detainees.

A mother of one of the young men killed in one of the videos said: “I know that my son was innocent, but they arrested him and took him, and they have killed him. There has been no justice. If there is injustice, it will carry on. Let everyone know what happened to my son. They have done injustice to him. The government should let the world know what they have done to my son.”

Five years later, there still has been no independent investigation into these mass killings. None of the relatives has been informed about what happened to their sons. The mothers fear that most of their sons have died a long time ago and are currently buried in unmarked graves across Maiduguri.

“It seems as if the military thinks nothing ever happened; as if it is permitted to arrest and kill young men without even determining if they are guilty. Well, we mothers don’t agree. We are clear: it is time for change. Firstly, the authorities should release a full list of all men and boys they have arrested and of those who died in military detention since 2011. Next, the military should make available the full list of detainees kept in Giwa Barracks on 14 March 2014,” said Hajja Gana.

“Year after year, a mother will wait for the return of her son. We will not stop until we know what happened to our children.”

This determination and resolve inspired Hajja Hamsatu Allamin, a peacemaker and women and children’s rights advocate in Maiduguri, to bring relatives and survivors together to form the Jire Dole (Power by Justice) network. Determined to amplify the women’s call for truth and reparation, she added her voice to the women’s call for information.

“We are pleading with the government to do what is right. They cannot bury the truth. Thousands of relatives are waiting for truth and reconciliation. Without truth, it will be very hard to achieve peace,” said Hajja Hamsatu Allamin.

“All former detainees have confirmed to us that the military keep detailed lists of those in detention and those who died. It is time the government ends the secrecy and tells the relatives what they ought to know: what happened to their loved ones.

“We know there are thousands more detainees who have been arrested in the name of the insurgency in Adamawa, Yobe, Gombe and Bauchi states. Like in Maiduguri, they were also never charged to court to determine if they have committed any crime. Their loved ones are also waiting. So, on 14 March this year, thousands of mothers and relatives in Nigeria will remember our missing loved ones. And we will continue to do so in the years to come.”

Jire Dole was joined by the Njakkuno Movement, another network of women who have survived military detention in Giwa Barracks. Together, they are campaigning to tell the world what happened to them and draw attention to the hidden truth of the ongoing fight against Boko Haram in North-East Nigeria. The women networks are complimenting each other in the fight for accountability. The testimonies from these former female detainees confirm what the mothers of Jire Dole already know: ‘Giwa Barracks is a place of death.’

The leader of the Njakkuno Movement said: “When they released us, the military instructed all of us to never speak about our time in detention. But that is not going to result in anything good. Look at the mothers of Jire Dole who have already waited for years for justice. We have decided to join them and strive together for accountability.”

Similarly, the Knifar Movement comprising more than 2,000 women, whose husbands are also being held in various military detention facilities, has lent its support to the calls from the mothers and are standing in solidarity to demand accountability.

In a statement of support to Jire Dole, Kellu Haruna, leader of the Knifar movement said: “Like the mothers of the missing men from Maiduguri, we are asking the government what happened to our husbands.”

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FAKE NEWS: Nasir El-Rufai NOT Involved In 'Ghastly Accident'

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 8:46am

Nasir el-Rfai, Governor of Kaduna State, has not been involved in a "ghastly accident" as being claimed on social media, SaharaReporters can report.

Rumours of the Governor's supposed involvement in an accident began to spread on Thursday after  Twitter user wrote: "Elrufai in a ghastly accident, his driver said to have died on the spot. No one knows the condition of the Kaduna Governor. Please pray for him no matter the differences we have politically."

"It's not true," a Kaduna State Government House source who had seen the Governor today told SaharaReporters.

El-Rufai himself is expected to personally address the rumour any moment from now.

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NSCDC Officers Cry Out After Six Months Of Promotion Without Salary Increase

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 8:21am


Some personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSDC) have raised the alarm on the failure of the government to upgrade their salaries after they were promoted.

According to sources in the NSCDC, affected personnel are those promoted from Level 5 to Level 6.

It was gathered that the delay in the salary upgrade affects NSCDC personnel across the country.

One of the affected personnel, who spoke to SaharaReporters, lamented the non-payment of full salaries, stating that the agency hasdfailed to upgrade his salary for at least four months from N48,800 being received by personnel on Level 5.

“Normally, when we are promoted, according to the rules that guide the agency, as it is in other departments in the public service, salaries are supposed to increase. But in our case, we don’t know what went wrong.

"It has been over four months since we were promoted from Level 5 to SCA, which is Level 6, but we are still receiving salaries of officers on Level 5, which is N48,800."

Another official of the agency described the act as “corruption”, stating that some unknown individuals were diverting the funds to their private purse.

“This is corruption of the highest order and it is also exploitation and abuse of office. The money comes directly from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), but some people have mastered the system and successfully diverted part of our salaries to their personal pockets. That is very wrong,” he said.

Another staff member affected by the issue said they receive lesser than current staff on Level 5, as salaries of Level 5 officers had been upgraded to N50,000 but they were still receiving N48,800.

Further investigation by SaharaReporters revealed that some staff of the agency wrote to officially inform the agency of the discrepancies, but nothing has been done about it.

The staff, hoping that the deductions from their salaries would be paid, pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the agency and check all who have access to the IPPIS to ensure that the illegal deductions are stopped.

They also demanded that those found culpable be made to face sanctions.

All attempts to reach the NSCDC for comment on the matter was futile as the agency did not respond to emails sent to it.

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Probe Army’s Role In Bayelsa Electoral Violence, PDP Tells Buratai

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 6:42am


The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State has appealed to Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, to investigate the role of the military in the violence that occurred in the state during the last general election.

The party alleged that some army officials directly participated in the elections, and called on the military to redeem its image by probing incidents linked to them.

Speaking at the party's secretariat in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, Moses Cleopas, the PDP Chairman in the state, said the activities of the army deployed in Brass, Nembe and Southern Ijaw LGAs should be queried by the military.

He wondered why “the army kept sealed lips on the killing of two PDP members in Southern Ijaw LGA without provocation by soldiers”, just as he lamented that PDP members were prime targets during the elections and such situation is "totally unacceptable".

He further took a swipe at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state, wondering why the commission declared three constituencies in Brass, Ogbia and Southern Ijaw, already won by PDP candidates, as inconclusive.

Cleopas, however, said the victory of some candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was temporary and vowed that his party would go to the Tribunal.

He said PDP won all the seats in areas where proper elections were conducted, while alleging that APC manipulated the process in cahoots with the military and INEC to win a few seats in the state.

"The PDP won everywhere in Bayelsa and in places where the APC has been declared winners. We will reclaim our mandate,” he said.

In Ekeremor Constituency 1, Cleopas said a chieftain of the APC invaded the area with soldiers and forced INEC officials to alter results under duress.

He continued: “The APC chieftain came with military men and doctored results and forced INEC to change results to the advantage of his party. This will not stand. Nembe 2 and 3, Bassambiri were taken over by hoodlums. They chased away all PDP members from the community. Policemen, who went there to maintain the peace, were driven out by APC in that area. They wrote results. There were no proper elections there.

"In the areas declared inconclusive, in Ogbia Constituency II, we were winning before military men came and carted away materials in Otuokpoti. Same in Brass Constituency II and Southern Ijaw 4; it was pure abracadabra.

"We are going back for the inconclusive polls, but a situation where armed military men were used to harass our people cannot be tolerated.”

The PDP chairman said he had a personal experience in which military men whisked away INEC officials, who were rounding off elections. He also named a senior military officer as the culprit.

"It is on this note that we call on the Chief of Army Staff to investigate the activities of his officers and men in Bayelsa, because it has become recurrent that army men now chase PDP members away from election points in favour of the APC," he said.

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Nine Things We Know About The School Building Collapse In Lagos

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 6:00am


The Incident

Around about 11am on Wednesday, a four-storeyed building containing residential buildings, a nursery and primary school as well as a shop complex on the ground floor, collapsed at Ita Faji on the Lagos Island, killing and trapping many people inside.

The building, which was described by residents and rescue workers, as "very old" and "marked for demolition since last year", came crashing after giving signs of fatigue. 

A middle-aged woman simply identified as Medinat, who spoke with SaharaReporters, said: "The government should come and demolish all these houses in my neighbourhood; this one that collapsed, they marked it since last year but they cleaned the mark by the government and continued staying there, even the government never came back."

She added: "Do you know that even this morning, this house was shedding debris before it..." She didn't finish, though; she was hushed from further speaking to us by other women who restrained from "saying too much".

Rescue operations

Soon after the collapse, local residents started evacuating victims. "We had done like 25 before the government team came," said Major, one of the dust-stained young people who spoke to SaharaReporters helping in the rescue effort. 

As if to confirm, the Lagos State government tweeted on it's official Twitter handle @followlasg: "Ongoing rescue operations by the Lagos State Rescue Unit at the collapsed building at Ita-faji, Lagos Island" at precisely 12:28PM, almost two hours after the initial incident.

Governor Ambode's Very Brief Visit

As rescue efforts went on in the scorching sun and without much luck, outgoing Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, drove in with his security team to assess the situation. 

He was greeted by some emergency rescue officials from the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) who briefed him about ongoing efforts for about two minutes. 

Shortly after the briefing, Ambode made to enter his car but he was asked by SaharaReporters and other newsmen present to address the press. He agreed, some metres away from the scene.

Speaking with newsmen, Ambode said: "I have been told it is an old and illegal building. It is unfortunate that this happened. Rescue efforts are still ongoing, we appeal to residents to allow rescue efforts go on smoothly".

And with that he melted into the crowd and drove off but not without mild drama from a concerned male resident of the area who at the top of his voice beckoned on the Governor to "do something to end this nonsense". 

The Governor's appearance at the scene lasted a paltry seven minutes or thereabouts. 

Condolences

As shocking pictures and videos of the rescue operation saturated social media, so did condolences and sympathies. President Muhammadu Buhari @MBuhari tweeted: "I’m extremely saddened by the news of the collapsed building in Itafaaji area of Lagos. It touches one to lose precious lives in any kind of mishap, particularly those so young and tender. May God grant everyone affected by this sad incident fortitude and succour."

He called on the Lagos State Government to "do all that is needful, so that such tragic developments do not recur".

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor-Elect of Lagos State, tweeted @jidesanwoolu: "My deep condolences to the families of the children who lost their lives as a result of the unfortunate building collapse at Itafaji. I urge people to cooperate with officials working on rescue efforts. My prayers are with the affected families and the school management."

Rescue Deficit

As rescue efforts got underway, hours passed with little luck, most of it owing to the lack of basic equipment such as flashlights to see through bored holes and crevices.

There was also an urgent call for wrappers by rescue worker in order to form a tight rope cord in the absence of actual ropes. The response: flying scarves and wrappers from spectators.

Hospital Experience

At the Island General Hospital in Marina, worried family and friends littered the parking area, reception, mortuary, wards and anywhere they could get word from, on their relatives currently receiving treatment.

SaharaReporters observed that anytime an ambulance pulled in, the people rallied, some with hope on their faces and others with hands on their heads, waiting for the door to fling open with some news of their loved one.

SaharaReporters counted 41 names pasted by the hospital management of stable victims in their custody.

Federal Government's Response

The FG has sent a delegation of the National Emergency Management Agency NEMA (NEMA), led by Air Commodore Akugbe Iyamu, to the scene of the collapse to ascertain the level of damage.

Speaking to journalists after assessment, he said: "The incident is noted and investigations will be launched to forestall future occurences." He observed with dismay that "locals didn't allow rescue efforts go on as fast as we would have wanted it to".

He said the agency would collaborate with LASEMA to provide relief materials for the victims as rescue operations come to an end.

Casualty Toll

Official figures are yet to be released by NEMA. However, SaharaReporters estimates about 19 people dead with over 41 survivors still receiving treatment.

Current Situation

As of the time of filing this account of events witnessed by SaharaReporters, rescue had come to an end, and the process of clearing the rubble had commenced.

At the Island General Hospital, Marina, the crowd is growing, filled with family and concerned Nigerians who have either come to be with their affected relatives or to collect the body of their dead.

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Ajimobi, Okorocha, Ganduje: An Unfolding Story By Azu Ishiekwene

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 5:55am


It’s incredible how eight years have ended as a two-word parable: constituted authority. That’s what Governor Abiola Isiaka Ajimobi would be mostly remembered for – the epigram from his encounter with students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH). That episode was perhaps one of the most catastrophic PR disasters of Ajimobi’s eight-year tenure.

A teacher’s strike over the status/funding of the school two years ago left the students stranded for nearly one academic year. When the governor finally met them, all he needed to do was to climb down from his high horse and show some empathy. 

Tell them he felt their pain and frustration, and what he was doing to end it. Tell them that anyone of them could have been his own children and the last thing he would wish was for his children to be out of school for one year, no matter what the problem was, with still no end in sight. Soothe their pain, calm their nerves and come down to their level.

He did not. Instead, as tensions flared and a few in the crowd taunted him, he railed back like a village headmaster, desperately looking for a scapegoat or two among the students to give a few strokes of the cane on bare buttocks. How dare the students challenge “constituted authority!” Never mind that it took this “constituted authority” nearly one academic year to discover that its own university was shut down.

Ajimobi yo-yoed with the idea of unleashing the police on a few vocal students in the crowd, then pulled back when he saw he was playing with fire.

But it was too late. The video went viral and the governor earned himself a new name, a moniker, which I’m told even cabinet members use to mock him behind his back: constituted authority.

Later the same year, the governor expanded his battleground to include the Olubadan in a suicidal political mission to downgrade the palace to his Boys’ Quarters and make the Olubadan just one of the numerous tenants. 

Whatever the governor’s rationale for tampering with the chieftaincy laws, the malicious intent was not going to be forgiven easily in a state with a long memory, a sharp tongue, and a deep, unashamedly old-fashioned attachment to its myths and traditions. 

But Ajimobi still didn’t get it. Not even after the initial ruling by the court that he was out of order and many high-powered representations to dissuade him. He stuck to his guns and increasingly assumed an air of infallibility. He had, in fact, done what Napoleon could not do, so where was the mountain left to conquer? 

He is the first governor in Oyo State’s history to have a second term. And this historic feat had created a certain sense of self-assurance and immortality that banished that intuitive sense of danger, sometimes vital to self-preservation.

The primary question was always, who’s next to conquer? In that sense, the demolition of the music studios of Yinka Ayefele, after the governor’s personal assurances of amnesty to the distraught Mrs. Ayefele who begged Ajimobi in tears in the Government House the night before the bulldozers moved in, was just a blip. There was nothing too hard for the governor to do.

Insiders said the governor came only inches from demolishing the fence of Tribunenewspapers in Imalefalafia, brushing aside attempts to restrain him each time, with the reminder that even if he turns out wrong in the end, “It’s not my money that will pay for restitution. It’s government money!”

The summary of Ajimobi’s eight-year tenure is that he did not know how to talk – and worse, he did not know how to listen. I wish I could say it in elegant English, the Ibadan way. If he killed himself by not knowing how to talk, he might have been redeemed from the political dead by listening before choosing a candidate to carry the party’s flag. Unfortunately, even that potentially redemptive act, became the final nail in his own political coffin.

This is not how it was meant to be. After years of turbulence and rancour, which left Ibadan as a glorified village and most parts of Oyo backward for decades, the coming of Abiola Isiaka Ajimobi as governor was supposed to be a breath of fresh air.

Ajimobi had 26-year private sector experience and was a cosmopolitan as they come. He did not seem encumbered by the provincialism and identity politics that were the albatross of a number of his predecessors. 

A one-time senator and two-term governor, how benefitting it would have been to crown his modest achievements in infrastructure with another ticket to the Senate and a successor to carry on his work.

But that is not to be. Instead, for some time to come, his tenure would be a standard reference in Sunday school on the perils of pride and the vanity of hubris.

Ajimobi is not in entirely without comfort, though. Rochas Okorocha, the outgoing governor of Imo State, is facing his own moment of truth. After eight years of Iberiberism,a homegrown political philosophy which lavishes the state’s treasury on family and in-laws, while using what is left to build statues and honour crooks. Okorocha is finding out the hard way that foolishness digs its own shallow grave.

At a time when he would not pay salaries or pensions, he found money to create Africa’s longest Statues Street, lining up images of whoever he fancied, as if the people would eat statues for their labour. When teachers were on less than half salaries, Okorocha still found enough money to make large billboards, with pictures of himself in benevolent smile over a state in misery. In the summer of 2015, he famously celebrated his visit to the U.S. on Buhari’s entourage by erecting a large billboard in Owerri, with a picture of himself smiling sheepishly before former President Barack Obama.

The lowest points for me were the times when school children whose teachers were on half pay and whose parents didn’t know where the next meal would come from were brought to perform for the governor and to sing his praise. It was iberibeon a whole new level.

Apparently, the fellow doesn’t not know it’s over now; or maybe he knows but just lacks the grace to accept it and compassion for the long-suffering people of Imo. Okorocha still put himself forward to represent Imo West in the Senate; his son-in-law as candidate to succeed him; and his wife as the state’s matriarch-in-chief. 

When it became clear to him that his bid had failed, he put a gun to the head of the returning officer – the same way he has held Imo at gunpoint for eight years – to declare him winner.

Let’s see how far that gets him. 

If the All Progressives Congress (APC) ever sits down to take stock of the 2019 election, it would find that in a number of the states where it lost – or could still lose – its governors were the party’s worst enemies. The only exception, perhaps, is Plateau, where the governor’s obsequiousness in handling the herdsmen-farmer’s clashes could cost him his second-term bid. 

As Governor Abdullahi Ganduje’s fate hangs by a thread in Kano, it is clear that he is not the oracle that he pretended to be. His attempt to humiliate and depose Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi over the so-called dodgy palace expenses; his spectacular fallout with his former boss, Rabiu Kwankwaso; and the controversial video of him lining his pocket with wads of dollar bills, have eroded his popularity and diminished any modest achievements. 

After last Saturday’s election, thanks to an extraordinarily courageous and professional commissioner of police, Mohammed Wakili, it must have dawned on Ganduje by now that the one million people who voted for Buhari on February 23 did so not at the governor’s behest, but in spite of him. 

Whatever Ganduje promised Buhari or thinks Buhari owes him, he forgot that in Kano politics, it’s charity and honesty, above all. That’s how it’s been since Aminu Kano. Kano does not follow the crowd; it creates its own crowd and makes its own choice. It voted Buhari not because of what he has done or not done, but because Buhari promised to jail thieves. Now, voters are pointing him to a piece of red meat in the Kano Government House.

The wind that swept away Ajimobi in the south west and claimed governor Okorocha’s senatorial ambition in the south east, has just arrived in Kano. It’s hard to see how Ganduje will survive it.

 

Ishiekwene is the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview and member of the board of the Global Editors Network

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Where Is My Son? By Hajja Gana Suleiman

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 5:46am


Walid turned seven last January. He is my grandson. He was in his mother’s womb when soldiers snatched his dad away from us. More than seven years ago.

I have not yet had the courage to tell him what happened to his father.  It’s hard for any grandmother to explain to their seven-year-old grandchild, the absence or disappearance of that child’s parent. Whether it’s their mom or dad. But when the disappearance was caused by soldiers that are meant to protect them, the explanation becomes even more complicated.

So for over seven (7) gruelling years, I have not been able to tell my grandson where his father is and why he could not see his daddy.

My youngest son, Mustapha Saina, was arrested on 10 October 2011 at the mosque in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria. He was 25 years old at the time. He was my breadwinner and supported me and his sisters. Prior to his arrest, he was a businessman. He was happily married. In fact, his wife was six months pregnant with their first child.

On that day, soldiers came to the mosque just after morning prayers and selected 35 young men. My son was among them. His wife heard about it and rushed to the mosque. When she asked the soldiers why they had arrested him, they slapped her in her face, even though she was six months pregnant.

A week later, I saw him there in Giwa Barracks. He asked me to get him out of that place. The army promised they would release him as soon as they had finished their investigation. I got a lawyer and we applied for bail. Nothing happened.

Soldiers told me to bring money and promised they would release him. First I paid N250,000. A soldier said they would take him to Damaturu and I could collect him there. But it never materialised. Then they asked for another N50,000 to trace his records. Next they said they would put him inside the ambulance with the corpses and I could collect him at the mortuary. What a terrible thing to suggest to a mother who fears for her son’s life! But of course, I paid N200,000 hoping I would see him, alive, in the mortuary. But again, it never happened.

Like every mother, I would do anything to rescue my son. So I sold my possessions to pay them. I paid them so much. It took me long to realise that they were just thieves, who were only interested in money.

Over the years, I learned there were so many other mothers who like me, had lost their sons to the military. Almost all of the men and boys were arrested between 2010 and 2015, and no one has ever heard what happened to them. And like my grandson, there are thousands of other children who grow up without their fathers. Not all are as lucky as my grandson to go to school. Many beg in the streets and grow up without any formal education.

There is a whole generation of fatherless kids roaming the streets of Maiduguri and other major towns and cities affected by the Boko Haram insurgency. Many of these children are innocent victims of the deeply flawed counter-insurgency approach adopted by the Nigerian government. Seeing these kids fills my heart with a combination of fear and sorrow. I fear that kids like my grandson will grow up realizing what the Nigerian military has done to his father and think of revenge. I feel sorry for the hundreds of mothers like me who keep waiting for the slow wheels of justice to turn in our direction, but who deep down know that we may never see our sons alive again.

As if 10 October 2011 was not sad enough for people like me, then came 14 March 2014.

On that fateful 14 March 2014, many families in Maiduguri finally got an opportunity to reunite with their missing sons. Boko Haram had attacked Giwa Barracks and told the detainees to either join them or leave. Hundreds of emaciated detainees came out of the detention centre, looking for the safety in their family homes or wherever they could seek refuge.

People gave them food and clothes and tried to hide some of the young men and boys who has escaped. But the military and CJTF started a hunt for them and one by one they were recaptured and taken away to the outskirts of Maiduguri. Almost all those who were recaptured by the army and the CJTF were executed. That day, soldiers killed hundreds of men and boys in broad daylight, some in the full view of onlookers and bystanders.

While the soldiers and CJTF were searching for escaped detainees to re-arrest and kill, us mothers were also simply looking for our sons, dead or alive. I looked everywhere and asked anyone who could listen, but I did not find my son. In many cases, the soldiers and CJTF found our sons and took them away before we could have the chance to see them. Those mothers who managed to see their dead sons were not allowed to bury the corpses. The soldiers took them away and buried them in mass graves.

Personally, it’s been extremely hard. But in all these years, I have not lost hope. I still hope he’s alive. I continue to wait for his release.

My hope is fuelled by the fact that none of the other released detainees have mentioned that he died in detention or was killed on 14 March. So, I believe he is still somewhere in detention.

Last year, I received an anonymous call from a man, who asked if my boy had been in detention. I said yes, and he confirmed that he had been detained in the same cell with him for three years. He said my son asked him to tell me that he was still alive. But before I could get any details, he ended the call and I have not been able to reach him again.

I have come to realise that the military doesn’t want us mothers to mourn for our sons. They don’t want to tell us what happened to our sons in detention. They don’t want to tell mothers whose sons have been killed, where they are buried. And they don’t want to take any responsibility for the death of thousands of young men in their detention facilities. They just want to move on, as if nothing happened. As if lives have not been wasted and destroyed, as if our sons never existed.

But as mothers, we have not forgotten, and we have not given up. That is why hundreds of mothers like me have decided to inform the world about our ordeals and our ongoing fight for justice in Nigeria. We have decided to fight and demand for justice, not necessarily for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren. I want to be able to look my grandson in the eyes and either tell him that his dad is dead or that his dad is in military custody.

We believe strongly that information is power, and that truth is fundamental to justice. So, we have formed a group of mothers of the missing men. Even if our sons are dead, we have the right to know it.

Today, I am using my voice as the loudspeaker to call for justice for the thousands of young men that have been arrested since 2010. The vast majority had nothing to do with the insurgency but were arrested in mass arrests and without any due process. All of them were presumed guilty from the moment of arrest and were never given the opportunity to prove otherwise in a competent court of justice.

So on this day, we have come together to stand in solidarity with the thousands of children whose fathers never returned from military detention. We have come together as mothers to demand information about the whereabouts of our sons. We have come together to let the world know that we want closure. The Nigerian army must come clean about what has happened in the fight against Boko Haram. They must come clean on what has been happening inside the cells of Giwa barracks and they must come clean on what they did on 14 March 2014.  

Finally, while we remain hopeful for our sons, we would like to call on President Buhari to intervene. As Commander-in-chief, he should instruct the army to release the names of all detainees arrested since 2010. And as a dad himself, we would like him to make sure that the orphans of this conflict know the truth about what has happened to their dads. But importantly, we call on him to ensure that all children, like my seven-year old grandson whose fathers never returned from military detention, get education, a safe home and care.

 

*Hajja Gana Suleiman, I am a mother of a victim still missing, Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria. 

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2019 Election Of Retirement Of Godfathers? Saraki, Okorocha, Akpabio Out By Fredrick Nwabufo

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 5:40am


Fredrick Nwabufo

Fredrick Nwabufo

To an extent, what the 2019 general election has established is that the people are still the repository of power.  

Really, has it been an election of "retirement"; "retirement" of political godfathers?

The revolution in Kwara evidences a people’s defiance to a long political hegemony.  But what is stupefying is the strength of this tide. The tide swept off Senate President Bukola Saraki’s in all the local government areas; his governorship candidate and his political structure in the state.  

Although, I concede that there might have been some manipulations to the elections in the state, but the margin of loss and the geography of the defeat throw up questions. Could the elections have been “manipulated” easily if the people still had confidence in the one they called “Oloye”? How sweeping could the manipulations have been that the loss rippled in all the local government areas in the state, including that of the godfather?

The story of the election in Kwara will be a diadem in the political history of Nigeria. It will be told and retold for its power to shock and to surprise.

Also, the outcome of the national assembly and governorship elections in Imo state have proved that electoral rigging, intimidation, harassment and venal machinations can capitulate to citizens’ power. 

Before the elections, Rochas Okorocha had bragged of how he owned the state; how his people were enchanted by him and how he had them in his thrall. He boasted that his son-in-law was “governor in-waiting”. 

But despite rousing “hell and earth” in an attempt to win, the people torpedoed his vanity and high hopes. His anointed one lost the governorship election. And his attempt to get into the national assembly stalled. 

The inventor of “iberiberism” then blamed the army, the police and the DSS for “subverting” the will of the people. But he forgets that he is the chief security officer of the state and an ally of the president, who commands the security agencies.

And in Akwa Ibom, the fallout of the election has shown that the even loudest and toughest godfather can be tamed and made to whimper.  Godswill Akpabio, a vociferous politician, had boasted that he would deliver 10 million votes to President Buhari. But not only did the president lose the election in the state; he had just 175,429 votes against his challenger’s 397,831.

And the shocker - Akpabio lost his bid to return to the senate, where he was very influential, despite not being a ranking senator.

Power is still with the people.

No doubt, these three politicians are the biggest losers in the 2019 elections. But one thing about the humbling situation in Kwara, Imo and Akwa Ibom is that such magnitude of loss was unexpected, considering how larger-than-life the political hegemons in the states appeared.

Perhaps all politicians are overrated until swift defeat comes.

 

Twitter @FredrickNwabufo

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Letter To Pius: You Are Not A Dead Man By Adedokun Seyi

Sahara Reporters - 14 March 2019 - 5:24am


You don't know me. I am sorry for introducing myself after sitting at your table, eating all your beverages and wallowing in your bathroom basin of lots of soupy dishes. I have made it a responsible for myself to pay you the truest respect, which won't even be the last. I have said, even in the grave, you remain forever. For now, till after a year, I am still seeing a mirage of the news that you've gone to prepare a final place, where your wealth of knowledge would be dished out to us like a sandwiched crayfish. I am still in the dream that you only had a mere leg dash and it's healed already. That you're gone would only be the bad news that summarizes the world.

On March 9, I was at Iseyin, imagining what you would say if you were there. From Iseyin to Iwajowa, there are large expanse of land, even to Itesiwaju, natural resources must have hidden in some of the soil areas, but nobody could even come to dig deeper into these riches. But over there, they dig deeper into how to make people run mad or die. On a street, I've seen people, they appeared normal, but talked to the other side of the world. If you were there, maybe we would have more of the artistic rendition to these places.

While we bounced into March, nobody was in my gravy heart. Before kissing the rain of 2019, I never wished to hear anyone dead, but early in the morning, while I was reading for my examination, at the corner of the most prestigious library, I felt the incompleteness. It appeared like something was lost. I checked the shelves in the library, not because I needed a book, but I noticed that some books - which I didn't have an idea of what their back covers look like - were supposed to be on those shelves. Secondly, some imaginary books got lost, and I searched within, to see them at the corner of my undergraduate, all I could see was darkness, clobbered around, satiently telling me that it was a dead light, whispering to me to follow the shadow, and there stood a man, in his tucked shirt with tuxedo, and a brown golden shoe that no Nazarene had, writing on the wall of memory, and leaving the chalk with its particle standing still on the space.

Until I heard, “I have completed my work”, then I checked where I've fallen from this fifth floor of dreams, and sound of sonorous songs, ganging up to draw these books to their solace. What for? He's gone. What? Pius. Which Pius? Check your phone? A bit of tears didn't drop from this deserted eyes, but I fell, I fell, I fell into fate - a fate of losing the great “books” the world is building. A book that awaits to have thousands of pages in our carved heart. The books that contain only one name, that we admire and cannot do without reading a sentencr of his. They told me you're gone.

Even though you don't know me, but I'd promised to meet you one day. To meet you at the most beautiful solace, where to dish us your mind and greet us with hope us being fine. Right at your table, some foods are still lying uncooked. If we can bring them over, I don't think it's a crime. I am sorry, what you left behind are enough, we don't have such currency to cross boarder as you boldly did in a twinkle. We were not paying attention when you told us that the son of man would be caught up anytime. We procrastinated on asking what the color of death is. We wanted to ask why death take the good ones and leave the bad to pay them “last” respect.

You left without a good bye. You left without giving us your good tears. You left with the stones hardened on the ground, terrifying us, and telling us that the day is near.

Wherever you are: from Nigeria, to Ghana, to America, to Canada and taken up on your way to Ethiopia by the chariot of fire, ministered to after a faint from ministration, we know you're not dead. We are on a journey, to get those books back, sit them in the old library, to make it new. Even this cup is old, your wine will freshen it. You're a drop that fills the heart, a dew that greens the leaves, and lastly, a cracked wall that is saving us from the rushing wind of ignorance. You live forever, yes, you live and you're just on a journey. 

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