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Prepare for uprising worse than #EndSARS if you hike fuel price, Abdulsalami warns Buhari

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Nigeria’s former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), has warned that the soaring hardship in the country might result into another nationwide conflagration, worse than the 2020 #EndSARS protests against police brutality.

He cautioned the Federal Government against increasing pump price of fuel, saying a rise in petrol price now will push more Nigerians deeper into poverty.

Abdusalami, who ruled Nigeria between 1998 and 1999, said this, yesterday, at the 19th Daily Trust Dialogue with the theme: ‘2023: The Politics, Economy and Security.’

While noting that the past three months had seen an improvement in economic growth rates and inflation, Abdulsalami, however, said the impact of these numbers on the lives and wellbeing of the ordinary Nigerian is suspect.

He said unemployment and underemployment remain at record levels, adding that over 80 million Nigerians are still caught up in needless poverty.

He said: “All of these tend to have negative effects on security. In fact, Nigeria now faces a food security crisis that is compounded by COVID-19 pandemic and banditry in many states in northern Nigeria.

“These have disrupted the fragile value chains across the country and negatively impacted the ability of Nigerians to produce, process and distribute food. The result is a continuing rise in prices of food items beyond the reach of many families.

“On top of all these, fuel prices are expected to rise significantly in the coming months as announced last November. When this happens, as the government has planned, it will push many millions deeper into poverty.

“Young people and women are the demographic groups most affected by the country’s dire economic outlook. For example, estimates by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that while the national unemployment rate stood at 33 per cent by the end of 2020, unemployment for young people between ages 15 and 34 years was 10 per cent higher at 42.5 per cent.

“If not carefully managed, the frustrations of these groups could easily boil over into a national conflagration worse than what we saw months ago during the #EndSARS protests. However, these are not doomsday predictions, but a warning to which all stakeholders must pay heed.”

On insecurity, Abdulsalami, who is also the Chairman of the National Peace Committee (NPC), stated that the situation has overstretched the country’s security forces and has led to the death of thousands.

He noted that major cause of insecurity is the proliferation of all calibre of weapons in Nigeria in particular, and in the West Africa sub-region generally.

Quoting the Global Conflict Tracker report compiled by the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, Abdulsalami said some 350,000 persons have been killed and three million displaced directly or indirectly in the conflict in the Northeast since 2009.

As the 2023 election draws closer, the former military leader urged all politicians to watch their words and deeds carefully, and avoid saying or doing things that will further heat up the polity.

He said: “I have not seen this country in serious challenges of its existence as seen at this time. I have witnessed the Nigerian Civil War and not even that was so much a threat to our existence like we are witnessing today.

“And of course all attention is focused on the political class. The solutions to all the problems that have been highlighted particularly security and economy are problems the politicians are expected to solve.”

FORMER Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, said the country needs a capable leader who will address the problems facing the nation.

Also speaking at the Daily Trust dialogue, he said: “What is important now is to identify a competent leader that can get us out of these crises.

“We have the capacity to pull this country out of her present predicament. We must do the needful and most importantly, I believe a leadership that will prioritise education is desirable.”

IN his remarks, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, urged Nigerians to be part of politics and governance, as the institutions are too important to be left for politicians alone.

“We learnt in military training that war is too important to be left to the soldiers alone. Therefore, national development is too important to be left to the politicians alone,” he said.

Abubakar, who is also President of the Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), stressed that dialogue remains the best option to resolve issues.

He said: “What wars cannot resolve, dialogue can resolve it. I am an advocate of dialogue and I cannot be tired of dialogue. Without security, you can’t develop, you can’t even worship God. We cannot get tired and we must not get tired of talking peace.”

Speaking, spokesman of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said the situation in the country has shown Nigerians that the country does not need an ethnic president in 2023.

While expressing concerns over the tension in the polity in the buildup to the general elections, Baba-Ahmed said 90 per cent of Nigerian governors have no business being anywhere near power.

According to him, most of the governors don’t have the preparation, background, and competencies to govern.

“One of the worst things you can do is to create huge additional anger around the cost of living, the cost of fuel, cost of prices, pushing the citizen into more depression and you want to have elections just a few months after”, he stated.

While calling for restructuring of the country, he added: “What we really need to do is put the federal system on the table and ask what is wrong?

“What is it that makes it impossible to reduce the powers or to regulate the powers of governance, restructure the country but this is a word that is anathema to a lot of people in power today.”

For Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, Nigerians must look into the possibility of selecting good leaders rather than the elections itself.

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2023: Buhari may meet Osinbajo, Tinubu, Amaechi, others

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President Muhammadu Buhari would this week meet with all the preidential aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The meeting was called with a view to reducing the number of presidential hopefuls and also ensuring that all of them pledge to accept the outcome of the primary as was done during the APC presidential primary in 2014.

“The President will meet with the aspirants a few days to the primary with a view to ensuring that there is unity and harmony. He will also meet with the governors separately. The date is not fixed yet, but it should be this week if INEC doesn’t extend the deadline for the primary as we are all hoping,” said an APC chieftain who wished to remain anonymous.

“The President has a candidate. How to present the idea to the likes of Tinubu will be the challenge,” he added.

Buhari’s most senior spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, had said last week that the President indeed had a preferred candidate.

He stated, “In a previous interview when the President was asked whether he had a favourite candidate, he answered yes; but he will not mention him because mischief may happen to that person.

“That shows you that the President himself is interested in the process and he has a preferred candidate; but whether he will impose his candidate is what you cannot determine at the moment.”

When contacted on the telephone, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said he was not aware of any meeting the President would be having with the aspirants.

“I am not aware of any meeting as of now,” he said.

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Gunmen behead abducted Anambra lawmaker from Governor Soludo’s constituency, hang head in motor park

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Gunmen who abducted a member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Okey Okoye, have beheaded him.

After beheading him, his head was reportedly displayed at a motor park in Nnobi, Idemili South Local Government Area of the state.

The incident, which happened on Saturday, created panic in the community, which had been witnessing a series of violent killings since last year.

Sources added that his body was not there and indications were that the killers removed the body.

“The Anambra lawmaker representing Soludo’s constituency, Okechukwu Okoye who was earlier kidnapped, has been beheaded by gunmen; the late lawmaker’s head was mounted at Chisco Park in Amichi community,” a military source said on Saturday.

Gunmen had last Sunday abducted the lawmaker who was representing Aguata II state constituency in Aguata alongside Cyril Chiegboka, his campaign director.

Governor Charles Soludo had said during the week that efforts were ongoing to rescue the Anambra lawmaker from his abductors.

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MC Oluomo allegedly demands N100million to support re-election of Oshodi Rep member

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Chairman of the Lagos State Parks Management Committee, Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly called MC Oluomo, is allegedly demanding N100 million to support the re-election of the member representing Oshodi Federal Constituency 1 in the House of Representatives, Hon. Bashiru Dawodu.

Dawodu, a medical doctor, rode on the back of MC Oluomo to win the election in 2019 after series of attempts in the past.

Dawodu presenting his Certificate of Return to MC Oluomo

Both, however, fell apart few months after Dawodu was elected due to irreconcilable differences .

MC Oluomo is said to be angry with Dawodu for not honouring agreements he (Dawodu) had with him prior to his victory in 2019.

MC Oluomo, who is seen as de-facto leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oshodi was said to have vowed to work against Dawodu’s re-election in 2023.

He is believed to be working for the emergence of a former Chairman of Oshodi/Isolo Local Government, Afeez Ipesa Balogun to emerge as the APC’s candidate for the House of Representatives election in the constituency.

However, party leaders in the local government including the Chairman of the council, Kehinde Oloyede Almoof had appealed to MC Oluomo to tone down his opposition to Dawodu and support his re-election.

It was gathered that MC Oluomo did not turn down the fence-mending approach because he said he did the same with Oloyede who was his former arch-enemy.

It was further gathered that MC Oluomo demanded N100 million from Dawodu before he gets his support.

The money according to MC Oluomo is to settle his aides and loyalists, who supported Dawodu in 2019 but were abandoned by the Rep member.

According to sources at the various fence-mending meeting, appeals to MC Oluomo to reduce the amount were rebuffed.

Another dimension has, however, been added to the involvement of Oloyede in the matter.

The sources revealed that the council chairman, Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own interest.

Oloyede has been eyeing the Rep seat before his election as the council chairman.

Oloyede’s calculation according to the sources is that should Dawood gets the second term, it would be easy for him (Oloyede) to contest for the seat in 2027.

One of the sources who does not want his name in print because of backlash said : “Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own personal interest. He believes supporting Dawood may work for him in 2027.

Continuing, the source noted that Oloyede would rather support Dawodu over any other candidates because others eyeing the seat are first timers, who may want to seek for re-election in 2027.

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