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NIGERIA NEWSPAPERS: TODAY'S THE DAILY SUN NEWSPAPER HEADLINES [5TH FEBRUARY, 2018].


Below are the headlines found on The Daily Sun Online Newspaper for today, Monday, 5th February, 2018.

Mon, 05 Feb 2018
Barely too weeks after former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek reelection in 2019, ex-Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), yesterday reaffirmed this position, asking the president to complete his current term of office and pave the way for a new breed leadership that will lead the country in the digital age.
In a statement released on his behalf by Prince Kassim Afegbua, his official spokesman, Babangida said inasmuch as he would not deny Buhari his right to vie for election, there comes a time in a nation’s life when national interest must override personal ambition.
This is coming in the midst of another statement purportedly issued by Babangida, disowning the first one, wherein he said it was not his style to go public when he has unfettered access to the highest authorities in the country.
Afegbua, however, insisted, in a counter-statement, that Babangida stood by the earlier position, declaring: “Please, this is to affirm that the earlier statement issued and signed by me on behalf of General IBB stands. We regret the mix-up in a rebuttal issued to contradict the statement. The statement stands.”
Also speaking on a television programme last night, he said: “I spoke with General Babangida after the second statement and he said the earlier statement stands and that the kernel of the statement should be the thrust of discussion.”
Emphasising that his statement was authentic, Afegbua said: “Those are his thoughts. We sat down together and articulated them. I don’t know why anybody would think I generated a statement without his authorisation.”
In the earlier statement by Afegbua, Babangida said the incumbent administration had shown lack of capacity in addressing security concerns and widening disunity in the country and, therefore, should go in 2019.
Said he: “I do not intend to deny President Buhari his inalienable right to vote and be voted for, but there comes a time in the life of a nation, when personal ambition should not override national interest.
“This is the time for us to reinvent the wheel and tap into the resourcefulness of the younger generation, stimulate their entrepreneurial initiatives and provoke a conducive environment to grow national economy, both at the micro and macro levels.
“In the fullness of our present realities, we need to cooperate with President Buhari to complete his term of office on May 29, 2019, and collectively prepare the way for new generation leaders to assume the mantle of leadership of the country.”
Echoing Obasanjo’s position, Babangida lamented that the incumbent administration’s handling of herdsmen/farmers conflicts, which have resulted in deaths, has been unsatisfactory.
He wrote: “The unchecked activities of the herdsmen have continued to raise doubt on the capacity of this government to handle with dispatch, security concerns that continue to threaten our dear nation; suicide bombings, kidnappings, armed banditry, ethnic clashes and other divisive tendencies.”
Still on killings in the country, Babangida further lamented: “In the past few months also, I have taken time to reflect on a number of issues plaguing the country. I get frightened by their dimensions. I get worried by their colourations. I get perplexed by their gory themes.
“From Southern Kaduna to Taraba State, from Benue State to Rivers, from Edo State to Zamfara, it has been a theatre of blood with cake of crimson. In Dansadau in Zamfara State recently, North-West of Nigeria, over 200 souls were wasted for no justifiable reason. The pogrom in Benue State has left me wondering if truly this is the same country some of us fought to keep together.
“I am alarmed by the amount of blood-letting across the land. Nigeria is now being described as a land where blood flows like river, where tears have refused to dry up. Almost on a daily basis, we are both mourning and grieving, and often times left helpless by the sophistication of crimes.”
On how to solve the herdsmen/farmer clashes, he said: “We need to bring different actors to the roundtable. Government must generate platform to interact and dialogue on the issues, with a view to finding permanent solutions to the crises.”
Warning on the consequences of the clashes, the former military president said: “The festering nature of this crisis is an inelegant testimony to the sharp divisions and polarisations that exist across the country. For example, this is not the first time herdsmen engage in pastoral nomadism but the anger in the land is suggestive of the absence of mutual love and togetherness that once defined our nationality.
“We must collectively rise up to the occasion and do something urgently to arrest this drift. If left unchecked, it portends danger to our collective existence as one nation bound by common destiny; and may snowball into another internecine warfare that would not be good for nation-building.”
He emphasised the need for the nation to have new leaders that can reinvent the country, saying: “The next election in 2019, therefore, presents us a unique opportunity to reinvent the will and provoke fresh leadership that would immediately begin the process of healing the wounds in the land and ensuring that the wishes and aspirations of the people are realised in building and sustaining national cohesion and consensus.”
Babangida said though APC raised hopes of changing the parlous stats of things in the country, it is yet to redeem the promises.
According to him, “when the ruling party campaigned with the change mantra, I had thought they would device new methods, provoke new initiatives and proffer new ways to addressing some of our developmental problems.”
He lamented that things have not changed for the better, stating: “We are still experiencing huge infrastructural deficit across the country and one had thought the APC-led Federal Government would behave differently from their counterparts in previous administrations. I am hesitant to ask; where is the promised change?”
Calling for the restructuring of the country, the former military president said: “Like I did state in my previous statement late last year, devolution of power or restructuring is an idea whose time has come if we must be honest with ourselves.
“We need to critically address the issue and take informed positions based on the expectations of the people on how to make the union work better.
“Political parties should not exploit this as a decoy to woo voters because election time is here. We need to begin the process of restructuring, both in the letter and spirit of it.
“For example, I still cannot reconcile why my state government would not be allowed to fix the Minna-Suleja Road, simply because it is called Federal Government road, or why state governments cannot run their own policing system to support the Federal Police.”
In concluding his statement, Babangida said he was speaking as a “stakeholder, former president, concerned Nigerian and a patriot who desires to see new paradigms in our shared commitment to get this country running.”
Meanwhile, another statement purportedly by Babangida, which Daily Sun gathered, was issued by his friends, said the earlier statement was the opinion of Prince Afegbua.
The statement said: “My attention has been drawn to a press statement on the state of the nation with a particular reference to 2019 general elections and beyond.
“Let me categorically state that as a former President and statesman, I have unfettered access and channel of communication with the highest authorities in the country without necessary going public with a sensational statement. Therefore, the views expressed in the alleged statement are not mine, but that of the writer.”
On the state of the nation, the statement said it was “worrisome that political events and civil unrest in many parts of the country have raised many questions on the governance and unity of our great nation,” adding:
“Indeed, 2018 has been inundated with political clamours and hot debates over the corporate existence of this country. Many of the contributions, including constructive criticisms and engagements, have shown greater concerns for the corporate existence of Nigeria beyond 2019 general elections.”
It said recent happenings and utterances by political gladiators were “alarming and not in the interest of common man that is already overstretched and apparently living from hand to mouth due to precarious economic conditions.”
The statement however, expressed optimistic that the “political actors will play within the ambits of political norms and decorum to ameliorate the problems facing our society now.”
On his belief in democracy, the statement said: “I am a realist that believes in all issues in a democratic atmosphere are sincerely discussed and resolved in the spirit of give-and-take.
“Since after my military years that metamorphosed to being the only Military President in the history of Nigeria and my civilian life, I always have one clear objective that freedom can only be achieved through democracy.
“Some people find this freedom as an avenue for eroding democracy by antics of hate speeches under the guise of religion, tribal or self-imposed mentorship. This trend of pitching political class and the people against one another is unhealthy and must be discouraged by all and sundry.”
Supporting two-party system, he said: “I have been an advocate of a two-party system, but in our present reality in Nigeria, our political parties can fusion into a strong political association or party that can form a formidable opposition to a ruling party.
“As students of history, we are aware that many advanced democracies have two distinct ideological political parties, with a handful of smaller political groupings that serve as buffer whenever any of the known political parties derailed or became unpopular. I still believe in a two-party system as the best option for Nigeria.”
The statement urged Nigerians “to come together to address all communal conflicts and criminality under any guise, so as to unite the country, in line with the vision of our founding fathers.”
Speaking with Daily Sun last night on telephone, Mahmoud Abdullahi, former Chief Press Secretary to ex-Niger State Governor, Abdulkadir Kure, insisted that the rebuttal signed by IBB remained the authentic statement.
He said: “I was with General Babangida in the presence of Brigadier-General Halilu Akilu and Mohammed Babangida, when he denied the statement written and signed by Afegbua.
“He did not get IBB’s consent to release the statement and IBB is really upset that he even went ahead defending himself on television.
“When I saw Afegbua’s statement, I went to see IBB and he told me to write a rebuttal which I did, and he signed it.
“He said he never authorised Afegbua to release such statement, that is the reason for the rebuttal which he personally signed.”

Mon, 05 Feb 2018
LAST Friday, February 2, 2018, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, addressed a press conference, where he made grave allegations against the nation’s media and specifically, The Sun newspaper, accusing it of “promoting hate speeches.”

In a voice dripping with unmasked anger and irritation, Mr. Shehu descend- ed on The Sun, profiling it as a newspaper that was reckless and irresponsible in its coverage of the Benue/herders crisis. He also accused the newspaper of not supporting the government. Mr. Shehu’s broadsides was, to say the least, shocking and unbelievable.

Ordinarily, we would have ignored Shehu’s diatribe, but for the sake of many undiscerning members of the public, who may not be apprised of the issues at stake, and also to set the records straight for posterity, we are constrained to offer a response.

First, what were the deputy spokes- man’s evidences in the press conference? An interview granted to Saturday Sun by one of the Miyetti Allah’s

leaders, threatening that there would be more violence if the anti-grazing law was not repealed by the Benue State government. The second, was an opinion piece by a columnist, Dr. Amanze Obi, calling on the authorities and leadership of the country to rise to the challenge of protecting life and property or they would vicariously have to be held liable for their actions and inactions.
These were the issues for which he descended on The Sun newspaper and hoisted it for public ridicule and opprobrium.
We reject in its entirety Garba Shehu’s hate speech against The Sun as well as tag of promoter of ‘hate speeches,’ which he, maliciously and unfairly, laboured to foist on our newspaper without any scintilla of evidence. We hope this is not a calculated ploy to give a dog a bad name in a bid to hang it.
Shehu, in his press conference, alluded to an interview granted to The Sun by one of the Miyetti Allah’s leaders threatening more violence as evidence against this newspaper. But as we write, we are not aware the man who spoke has either denied making the statement or quizzed for his utterances, if it was considered offensive. The newspaper was merely drawing attention of the authorities to the possibility of a likely more violence, going by the utterances of one of the key parties to the conflict. Nothing more. Our publication can not, by that act, be accused of promoting hate speech, and then publicly pilloried.
One of the emerging absurdities in the journalism profession in Nigeria is the penchant of erstwhile professionals, who, on becoming government officials, mount the high horse and holler pontifications on rules and ethics, which they hardly practised while they were in practice. The man, who accused this newspaper of propagating hate speeches, himself holds a distinguished medal as purveyor of hate speeches. In case he has forgotten, here is what he said about his principal, as spokesman of Atiku Abubakar, in the run up to the primaries: “I don’t even think Buhari is the best candidate, because Buhari as military head of state has the worst human rights record in the country. I will prefer a neutral candidate. I don’t mind, but I will prefer a neutral candidate, because we would, if Buhari becomes the president, even get back to a worse situation than we are going through now. There are many top contenders for the alliance presidential ticket who are really truly democratic, and who we can always support to emerge.”
At this juncture, we wish to reiterate what The Sun stands for (and has always stood for): Pro-people and pro-Nigeria. We are not an ethnic, religious, sectional or politically biased newspaper. We are The Sun. We are voice of the nation. We shine for the benefit of all Nigerians and mankind.
We are not and have never been the mouthpiece or megaphone of a government in power. That is not part of our mandate as boldly enunciated in our volume one, No1 edition of January 18, 2003. Right from the Olusegun Obasanjo era through Umar Yar’Adua to Goodluck Jonathan, we have maintained consistent loyalty to our nation and her people. We are not about to deviate from that.
On the charge of not offering enough support to the administration, our response is unambiguous: Our chairman/publisher’s political leaning has never coloured or blighted our mission and vision at any time since our founding 15 years ago. Even when he was in the PDP and PPA, we remained unwavering in our defence of truth and justice, to the consternation of the powers-that-be then.
In 2014 to 2015, as many Nigerians will readily attest, this newspaper, in its editorial position, solidly sided with the Nigerian people who yearned for change, even when our publisher was a very close friend and ally of the leadership of the country at the time.
And when he moved on to APC, we were categorical of what our position will be: Loyalty to Nigeria and Nigerians. Not to any political party. Not to any other interests: ethnic, political or religious, because as we stated then: “We believe strongly that every newspaper is public trust, which is bigger than the proprietor, the government and the leaders of the country at any time. Governments will come and go; presidents will come and go, but our nation and people remain. We are for nation and people.”
A newspaper with such robust manifesto cannot descend to the gutter of promoting hate speeches, as Mr. Shehu has unfairly alleged.
Finally, we wish to advise government functionaries to be more decorous and civil in their language when addressing public issues. There’s more mileage to be garnered when insults and attacks are not part of communication processes and responses.
Government officials at all levels must continue to remind themselves that they are servants not masters of the people; that it is a privilege, not a right to serve in government of a country with over 170 million people; that they are not the only purveyors of patriotism, simply because they have found themselves in office and power. The media is not lacking in patriotism. The Sun is a patriotic partner in the Nigerian project.

Mon, 05 Feb 2018
Former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu has said that President Muhammadu Buhari came to power at a time there was recession all over the world, adding that the situation was made worse by the fact that the president equally met an empty treasury.
Kalu, who spoke on AIT monitored programme said the President was putting every necessary stimulus into the economy to ensure that the country exits recession by 2019. He disagreed with those who said that the country was already out of recession, saying, “When I see people who said they are economists saying we are out of recession, I say they don’t understand what they are talking about because we are not out of recession. Government already has a roadmap to be out of recession and I can assure you that this government is determined to see it happen. But, you can’t just tell people that we are out of recession; you can’t do that because the indices are there. What the president and the government are doing is to continue to pump in stimulus, which is what the economy needs to come out of recession. And I can see us moving out of recession in 2019.”
The former governor also said that the president is under pressure from the international intelligence communities not to say more of what he had seen about looting in Nigeria. “The president is restraining himself because if he opens his mouth to say what happened in NNPC or central bank, Nigerians will not feel good about governance,” he said.
Kalu equally said that the problem in Libya, which led to upsurge of emigrants into Nigeria and the president’s health challenges, caused a lot of havoc on his plan for the country. He said: “And secondly, with the world recession, you also had problem of people migrating into the country from Libya because of the problem there, and some of them came in with a lot of arms. You also see that the president became sick and the medical attention also caused a lot of havoc on his plan. I am not speaking for him because I am not his spokesman but as a party man, I believe he has done well in some areas.”
He noted that the president has not done very well in terms of economy, but added that “he is grappling with it. There is a lot of stimulus going into the economy.”
On why he ventured into politics, having achieved so much before the age of 29, he said he went into politics to help communities and serve the people. “That is why when people talk, I laugh at them because by the time I was going into politics, I have worked anywhere I liked. I was a member of First Bank, Hallmark BanK and Oando boards. I was also chairman of two banks and I was solidly a cocoa trader, a rice trader and a successful industrialist. I have one of the largest furniture factory in Maiduguri and the Happy Home furniture in Kirikiri, Lagos,” he said.
As the governor of Abia State, he said his major achievement was giving education to the people of Abia and its environs. “I was able to give education to our people; they had no education and I am very proud to say that. The kids get excited when they see me on the road today,” he said.
He also narrated an incident where a young lady openly accepted that what she got in Abia State under his administration was real free education. He also stated that Abia State under his administration had started with free education up to the secondary school level even before former President Olusegun Obasanjo introduced the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme.

Mon, 05 Feb 2018
A former militant leader, Ambassador Kingsley Muturu, has urged the Federal Government not to terminate the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
He urged the Federal Government to relocate oil facilities out of the Niger Delta region should it go ahead to implement the proposal to terminate the PAP by the end of this year.
Speaking in his capacity as the Chairman, Amnesty Phase 11 in Delta State, Muturu said the ex-militants’ opposition to the planned termination was based on the fact that the federal government must have been wrongly advised on the proposal considering the negative consequences it might have on the peace so far being enjoyed in the region.
According to him, “the ideal of peace and development of the Niger Delta for which late President Musa Umar Yar’Adua laudably offered and implemented the Amnesty programme remain far from being achieved.
“With the groundswell of anger in the land, we wish to serve notice that we cannot guarantee the safety of oil installations in the Niger Delta should the federal government go ahead to implement this proposal.
“Accordingly, before terminating the PAP, we advise the federal government to relocate all oil facilities from the Niger Delta to another safer haven.
“This advice is intended to avert consequences of military deployment by the federal government which unfortunately believes more in thrust of physical force to spill blood of innocent people of the oil-bearing communities in the Niger Delta.
“Instead of leveraging on relative peace in the Niger Delta from leadership interventions for development and reintegration of ex-militants with jobs.
He alleged that the amnesty programme suffered declining fortunes under General Paul Boroh who was arm-twisted by agents of the federal government to the detriment of Niger Deltans.
Muturu further alleged that politicians and bad advisers were preventing Boroh from meeting with leaders of the militants for which the programme was designed.
Meanwhile, Ijaw youths from nine states of the Niger Delta region yesterday rose in defence of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Implantation Committee Brigadier General Paul Boroh dismissing allegations of shoddy implementation of the presidential amnesty programme.
The Ijaw youths, who are members of Serving and Leading Without Bitterness (SLWB), in a statement signed by Nature Keighe, Paulinus Albany and Teke Iyala, said the funding and implementation is paying off with the existing peace in the region.
According them, though the criticism of the present administration and Boroh was due to the alleged fraudulent attitude of some officials of the amnesty office, implementation of the programme in the region under the Buhari administration is on course.
They, however, warned that despite the performance of the administration, cases, such as the alleged short changing and depriving qualified beneficiaries, will throw spanner in the wheel of progress of the Amnesty Implementation Committee.
The statement read in part: “The fragile peace being enjoyed in the region is due to the fulfilment of the promises made by President Buhari and the doggedness of the Amnesty Implementation Committee, headed by Boroh to use our scarce resources to execute training, post-training and educational advancement since the administration started funding the programme. But when some persons at the helm of authority starts playing to the gallery for immediate gains, it may scuttle the  good works of President Buhari in the Amnesty office and Niger Delta region and plunge it into another round of pandemonium if immediate  steps are not taken.”

Mon, 05 Feb 2018
Senator Gbenga Aluko represented Ekiti South senatorial district in the fourth senate in 1999 as the only Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) legislator from the south-west. Now a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), SGA as he is fondly called wants to be governor of Ekiti State to do things differently in the state he said has not made progress in the past 40 years. 

He has a blueprint for industrialising Ekiti through solar and modular power generation. He also says the herdsmen matter is blown out of proportion and capped with sentiments because President Muhammadu Buhari is Fulani.
You want to be governor of Ekiti State. What informed the interest?
I have been in the field since January 22, 2016, that is technically for two years now. I was in the Fourth Senate, 1999 to 2003; I am an old hand in the senate. Regarding why I want to run for governor of Ekiti State, I entered Form 1 in a school called Christ School Ado Ekiti in 1973. While I was in Staff School University of Ife, majority of us wanted to go to Christ School because it is a very reputable school. It is amazing that Ekiti State has not changed generally since then. I entered Form 1 at age nine, I’m 55 now so we are talking about 46 years ago and the city of Ado Ekiti has not changed. It is terrible and makes people like us upset that a state reputed to be one of the educationally advanced states is so backward; no power, no good roads, no industries and no jobs. The education we claim to be leaders in, is in dilapidated state, everything is in shambles and we have had democracy since 1999.
There is lack of proper leadership that will improve Ekiti State. We must put in a standard where Ekiti people can start from. I don’t want to start running around for elections when I’m 70. So I’m giving it a last shot to develop my state appropriately. I have already shown it by example. I own the only industry in Ekiti State whether government or private that is producing. Maybe the only other one will be the bottled water plant located near the water spring but they are just bottling what God created. So I’ve shown by example, not just by words but deeds that we can establish industries in Ekiti and create jobs. I haven’t been on public power for the past eight years, I use generators and it’s not a profitable process but at least I’ve shown example and I can only get better.

Mon, 05 Feb 2018
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