Below are the headlines found on The Daily Sun Online Newspaper for today, Saturday, 3rd March, 2018.

3rd March 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari and the President of Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Mr. Jean Claude Brou, met behind closed-door on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

They both discussed stability in the sub-region, common market as well as common currency among others issues.

Brou disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting.

Brou who took over as ECOWAS President on Thursday said his visit  was to thank President Buhari on his efforts towards regional integration in the West African sub-region.

He said, “Well yesterday (Thursday) March 1, the handover was done and I took charge. It was important after having taken charge, that I come and visit President Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to inform him that I am the new President of ECOWAS and to thank him for the support that he has continued to give to ECOWAS.

“Nigeria is the host country of ECOWAS and the most important country of ECOWAS, so it is extremely important that we come and thank President Buhari for the continuous support that Nigeria has provided to ECOWAS and inform him of some of the key issues facing ECOWAS.

“There are several activities, programmes and challenges and it is an opportunity to really seek President Buhari’s guidance, advise and how best we can advance the agenda of integration in West Africa.”

On what was the response of President Buhari at the meeting, the ECOWAS President said, “President Buhari of course responded very positively. He is fully committed to promoting the regional integration agenda and he has promised to continue his support so that progress can be made for the benefit of all the population of the 15 member countries of the Economic Community.”

He also said that he discussed some key challenges facing the sub-region with President Buhari.

According to him, “There are several challenges and of course many progresses have been made, many advances have been made but of course we still have to continue to work.

“The Heads of State have given clean orientation to issues such as peace, stability, economic integration, common market and the issue of a common currency.


“Recently, there was the Heads of State meeting in Accra, Ghana; there is a task force to work on this issue, the issue of agriculture and several other issues.

“Of course, if we continue to work together, we will make more progress and consider these issues.”

Present at the closed-door meeting were the Cote d’Ivoire Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs. Toure Nee Konne Nanan and Mr. Diane Mamadi, Special Adviser to the President of Cote d’Ivoire.

3rd March 2018

Imagine a Lagos middle-class family sitting at the table in the evening, parents and their offspring, having a chat like normal folks and suddenly, the first child of the family confronts them with his secret: “Hey, I am gay.”

You can expect a hush to descend on the table.

For that family, one can only imagine how that moment is going to forever impact on their lives, individually or collectively. For a close-knit family, the reality comes with some emotional jag, denial and dilemma for parents and siblings.

The question, how will you react if your son tells you he is gay? ––even when it’s hypothetical––has no easy answer. To the mainstream society, the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) phenomenon remains a conundrum of an undefined proportion. Nonetheless, there is a wide gulf between hypothesis and reality.

On the morning of February 5, two journalists from two different newspapers met with three members of the LGBTQ community in Ogba, Ikeja area of Lagos. The objective of the discussion is to dissect how their families reacted to them when their sexuality was out. Their stories––three narratives depicting three shades of responses from three families––give inside views on the real-life relationship between gay people and their families.


Exposed by a sister

The anecdote of the middle-class family is John’s true-life story. The sum of the story portrays a family overwhelmed by the truth of their son’s sexuality.

Fair-skinned, slim and bespectacled, the soft-spoken youth lives with his family at Ogba, the Lagos suburb where he was raised, though he hails from Mbaise, Imo State.

At 17, John was certain of his sexuality, but he remained in the closet until his 21st birthday when his immediate younger sister guessed correctly and blew the whistle.

While he is not exactly advertising his sexual orientation, John avows he wasn’t exactly hiding. “When I was 18, I had told my mummy I am not going to get married,” he says, “but she didn’t take it seriously.”

He continues:  “I try to live my life as open as I can, especially, with my younger ones.  They are my friends on Facebook so they get to see my posts. My sister first told my mum who woke me up in the night and asked me about it and I denied it.”

According to him, his sister relentlessly continued to dig for evidence, “until the day she stumbled on my texts to my best friend and the messages were explicit enough for her to conclude that I must be gay.”

Attributing his sister’s motivation to sibling rivalry, he recalls: “Last year, on my 21st birthday, I took her and my best friend out for a party. Back at home in the evening, we had a family meeting. My parents were admonishing her over a decision she was about to take and she just flared up: “Why is everyone against me as if I am the black sheep of the family, meanwhile John is gay and no one is saying anything about it?”

The family’s moment of truth as recaptured by John: “My parents were shocked and confused. For the first five minutes, everyone was silent. Then, my two other younger sisters burst into laughter. Mum spoke first and said, “Okay, I have been hearing this issue for a while.” My dad too said, “I have heard enough of this gay rumour.” Staring directly at me, he asked: “Are you gay?”

John, who avows he had already told his friends of his intention to come out to his family someday––“because I do not want them to find out in future and thought that I had deceived them all along”––decided to use the opportunity fortuitously engineered by his sister.

“I told them that I have been dealing with this for a long time. I had prayed, fasted, done everything, to no avail. I told them I was willing to go through any process they want me to go through just to prove to them that I had tried on my own already.”

He was surprised neither his father nor his mother reacted angrily. Not even a scold. Oddly enough, they felt they needed to pray about it and from that moment onward, he detected in them a degree of behavioural change. “My father and I never had the father-child bonding, but suddenly, he became caring.”

Abruptly, his parents became interested in his sex life.

“They asked whether I had been having gay sex which I denied because it was too much for me––I mean, these are people who never had any sex education talk with any of their children suddenly wanting to discuss my sex and sexuality. It was very embarrassing for me.”

While his father treads gently, his mother came at him aggressively with blunt probes.

“One day, mum and I were talking over the phone about something entirely, and abruptly she said, ‘Wait first, how do you take care of your sexual urges? Do you have a girlfriend?’ I just said, no mom, not today, and I cut the phone. From time to time when she is confused by the news she hears about gay, she would come to me with various questions to verify what she has heard.”

One instance remains unforgettable for him. “When she heard about a church member who separated from his wife after she found out he was gay, my mum asked me: “Is it true that these gay people swear an oath with their partners which makes it difficult for them to stay married to the opposite sex?”

Perhaps at their wit’s end, his parents told his maternal uncle. In an ironic twist, the parents were the ones who came under fire. “His [uncle’s] wife blamed my mum for not taking us to church, for not being a very good mother, and my dad, for deviating from the Catholic Church.”

Family members continue to silently rebuke him on social media. “The last time I posted online in favour of a gay couple, one of my cousins, went into my inbox and sermonized me about what the bible says. Recently, I posted about a Mormon couple that divorced because the man was gay and instantly my post attracted a huge backlash, from my kid sister, my cousins and my mentor who had not commented on my posts in a long time.”

As for his whistleblower sister, he says: “I’d tried to engage her in a debate on my sexuality at one point and she slammed back at me that the bible doesn’t support it. But we are still close.”

Scorched by a mother’s fury

When Ovie, 46, a Delta State indigene, joined the conversation, his words to John were: “You are lucky.”

Unlike John who says he is pansexual, Ovie is gay.

At the time of his outing at 32, the vitriolic attack came from an unexpected quarter: his mother. And for almost a decade, his mother was the scourge of his life. Why? Because she caught him right in the act under her roof.

“She shouted for the whole street to hear in Mushin and I wished the ground had opened and swallowed me.” Ovie’s poignant recollection: “She threw my belongings outside, shouting, abusing and cursing me. I was ashamed. She ordered me never to come close to her and for some years, I went through hell, homeless and helpless.”

That was the first chapter of disownment.

He continues: “My girlfriend at the time was pregnant for me and we were cohabiting. On my own volition, I told her the truth. She was so full of disgust she packed her belongings and left that very day. She reappeared several months later and dumped a four-month-old baby in my house, saying, ‘Take your thing’.”

The child, now 12, lives in Denmark with Ovie’s elder sister.

Between his mother’s scorched-earth fury and his ex’s flaming resentment, Ovie says the latter hurt him more.

He explains why: “She went somewhere else, became another man’s wife and gave birth to six children, and never bothered to ask for this one she had for me. Even if she denies me, must she deny her daughter? Are those other six children more human than our child?”

Before her death, his mum reconciled with his sexuality. “When she travelled abroad and lived with my sisters, what she learnt about LGBTQ mellowed her anger.”

 3rd March 2018
Dateline: September 25, 2011. Nigerians were treated to a theatre of the absurd when the police high command raised the alarm that a self-confessed kingpin of the Boko Haram Islamist sect, which held the nation by the jugular, had surreptitiously slipped out of custody.

Shockingly, the same man is today the head of Benue State local security agency called Livestock Guards.

His arrest and escape from police custody

While initially keeping the identity of the agency under wraps, the police had said it officially handed over the suspect, Alhaji Ali Teshaku, to a sister security agency via a memo by the then Inspector General of police, Hafiz Ringim, dated July 7, 2011. The police further claimed that the action was based on a formal letter from the unnamed sister agency dated June 27, 2011, which requested release of the suspect to it.

Olusola Amore, the Force Public Relations Officer at the time, explained that the IGP acceded to the request in the spirit of intelligence sharing as is customary in security circles, but was quick to add that the identity of the sister agency concerned would not be given in the national interest.

However, fingers were pointed at the direction of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), whose erstwhile chief, Major General Babagana Munguno (retd), the incumbent National Security Adviser (NSA), reportedly made the request and eventually took over custody of Teshaku from the police. But all the military intelligence chiefs at the time denied having anything to do with the suspect.

In a curious twist of events, the DIA eventually admitted taking custody of the suspect from the police after writing a formal request, but claimed it encountered several obstacles in the process, which were surmounted with the intervention of a former NSA, late General Owoye Azazi, who prevailed on Ringim to release the suspected terrorist kingpin to Monguno.

Interestingly, Teshaku was said to have opened up on the activities of Boko Haram to the DIA and claimed to have revealed same to the police authorities. Reports further indicated that both the then NSA and Chief of Defence Staff [CDS] were notified by the DIA on its encounter with the suspect before he was returned to police custody.

But Nigerians were bemused shortly thereafter, when the DIA reportedly asked for the suspect to be released to it a second time for further investigation, but was allegedly turned down. It was, indeed, a high drama as the police authorities vehemently denied the allegation that Teshaku had been returned to its custody after he was handed over, talk less of receiving a second request for his release to the DIA.

Expectedly, the claims, counter claims and denials between the security agencies were further compounded by reports of the DIA’s eventual admission of taking custody of the suspect at a point in time from the police, and it became a source of concern and embarrassment to the presidency, which ordered a probe into the incident.

Nothing was heard since then about him besides a joint press conference held at the Defence Headquarters to douse public suspicion of mutual distrust and rivalry amongst security agencies. While Hafiz Ringim, the IGP at the time declined comments on the issue when contacted recently on telephone, former police spokesman, Olusola Amore, a retired commissioner of police, gave an insight into the squabble between the police and DIA.

“Let me flashback because I can actually remember now since you said it was that issue that led to conflict between us and the DIA. I know the DSS were also involved, but instead of them handing over the suspect back to us, all we saw was the suspect making some allegations against the police. And we said well, we still believe that the suspect would be returned to us because we transferred the suspect in the spirit of inter-agency collaboration. So, there is no way they would release the suspect without returning the suspect to the police. That was the conflict.

The suspect was arrested by the police in connection with Boko Haram and handed over to the DIA. I think it was the DIA because I was later invited for a joint conference at the Defence Headquarters and the Defence Intelligence Agency, all of us were there. I just sat there, but I didn’t talk. But I said at that meeting that we still believed the suspect is with the DIA, and would be handed over to us. In fact, I didn’t want to go but the DIA was boxed into a corner and they wanted a face-saving press conference. So they wanted the PROs of all security organizations to be there. Sincerely, I didn’t want to go but later, they got in touch with Ringim (IGP); so Ringim said I should go but shouldn’t say a word there. So I attended”, Amore said last week in a telephone chat.

Re-emergence after seven years

Seven years after, the dust over the suspect’s whereabouts seemed to have settled. But a mention of the suspect’s name during an interview last month with Garus Gololo, coordinator of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) triggered an alarm in the reporter’s memory. Gololo had alleged that Ali Teshaku, presently the commander of the Livestock Guards in Benue State, an outfit created by the state government with the enactment of its anti-open grazing law, was a suspected Boko Haram leader engaged to terrorize Fulani herders and evict them from the state.

Tahav Agerzua, Special Adviser to Governor Samuel Ortom on Media and ICT, however, debunked the allegation. “This matter you are pursuing is not necessary at this time. After all, we inherited him from the previous government and the man has been granted amnesty. This is a security issue, but if you want further explanation, you can come over and I will arrange for you to talk to the security people”, he said on telephone when contacted on the issue.

His response fired the reporter’s zeal to probe into the identity of Ali Teshaku, with a view to ascertaining if he was indeed, the suspected Boko Haram leader at the centre of a conflict between the police and the DIA some years ago. The investigation paid off as Saturday Sun got a lead to unmask him. Teshaku, in a telephone interview, confirmed that he was the subject of controversy between the two security agencies. He also confirmed that he was released from detention by the DIA after probing into his background and role in the Boko Haram saga.

“If you are in this country and you are an unknown person or from a poor family, these politicians or the security, they can use you and dump you. On this issue, the DIA is made up of serious and experienced people. When they dug into my role and found out what happened between me and the Nigerian security, they knew that I was supposed to be rewarded”, he said.

Two former security goons, however, confirmed in separate encounters with Saturday Sun that Teshaku was at a time on security radar as a suspected henchman of Boko Haram. But the soft-spoken Benue State-born man says his engagement by a former Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations), Mike Zuokumor, as coordinator of a Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in the state as part of measures to curtail the incessant herdsmen/farmers clashes, was an indication that he was not a devil as was being painted by the police authorities.

3rd March 2018
Pa Daniel Kalu, father of Ejindu Daniel Kalu, the 42-year-old man who wedded two brides the same day in Amangwu, Amogudu, Abiriba, a renowned rural agrarian community in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State has expressed shock at what his son did. “We have not seen this kind of thing before,” he told Saturday Sun.

So shall a man leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. And, the two shall be one flesh. That is the biblical standard: a man and a woman. In traditional African society, the marital standard is not different.

But when the news broke out that a man had gone contrary to that age-old standard by wedding two brides at a go, people found it difficult, strange to believe, which is why the story has been trending on social media since it broke. His father and elders of his village find it even stranger. But the man at the centre of the storm is surprised to see people counting it as something abominable that he amended marital tradition a little by adding one more bride to the wedding train.

Comments of people expressing shock on the information about a egroom wedding two brides at the same time in Abiriba ruled the airwaves and social media last week but details about whether the wedding took place in a church or traditional setting was quite hazy. Some people even made reference to the biblical warning that said when strange things like this start happening then the end of the world is near.

Journey to Abiriba

To get the full details of what happened and where the wedding actually took place in Abiriba, you needed to travel. Abiriba is one of the popular towns in Abia State. It used to be said of its population that they were busy making money when other people were busy sleeping.  If you are coming from Umuahia, it takes about two hours to get there by bus. The driver whose bus you boarded terminated the journey somewhere at a junction. After stepping off the locomotive, you began to make inquiries about the man.

The first person you asked, a woman, selling beverages and other provisions at a spot close to the junction, explained that the bridegroom had been living with the two women before he decided to ‘solemnise’ the union by wedding them. She added that although nobody knew whether he did that in the church or village square, the incident has been attracting a lot of attention.

But it was from the commercial motorcyclist who took you to the place that you eventually learnt that the wedding took place, not in a church, but in front of his father’s house. In fact, on arrival at the place, you met the man and his two wives in celebrative mood, entertaining guests who had heard of their unusual wedding and had come to see things for themselves.

Meeting the man of themoment

After exchanging pleasantries, Ejindu opened a refrigerator and without asking you what he should offer you, brought out a bottle of beer and placed it and a glass on the table for you. But on learning of your identity and purpose of visit, he sent for his Personal Assistant (PA), whom he insisted would need to be around before he could say anything.

Not long after his PA arrived, he emerged from the inner room with his two newly wedded wives dressed in white T-shirt with a red collar. They wore it on top of black skirts and blue jeans. They sat together on the settee facing you, with the groom sitting in the middle of the two women.

The interview was about commencing when his PA interrupted and pleaded with you to have it done in Igbo language for the purpose of clarity and understanding of everybody. You acceded to his request. But just when you thought the bridegroom was about telling the story of his strange wedding, he demurred by insisting that the traditional wedding gift which a visitor/well wisher usually give to newly married couple in Abiriba be given to him and his brides before he could talk.

As you did not know of this custom before hand and, was, therefore, unprepared for it, you earnestly pleaded with him to waive it. But when all entreaties to make him change his mind failed, you decided to leave him and go into the community to find out what happened.

But not before he had introduced himself and even revealed that he truly wedded the two women last Saturday. He also disclosed that he was aware that the incident would generate some controversy and was ready for it. But he insisted on not giving further details until he had been presented the traditional wedding gift.

3rd March 2018
Ever listened to an evergreen 1972 hit album ‘Board Members’ released by one of Nigeria’s foremost juju musicians, Ebenezer Fabiyi Obey? In the album he sang about one paragon of beauty, Sade, the wife of Ajala.

Investigation revealed that back then, it was a big deal if Ebenezer Obey or King Sunny Ade (Chief Sunday Adegeye) mentioned you in a record. It meant that the person was important and if not, the person would become important and popular.

The album was released 46 years ago at a time musicians have not started audio-visual recording of their songs, but only audio. This made it probably impossible for the general populace to match the name with her face, except those that were active players in the music industry then.

In search of Sade

Where is the beautiful Sade today? Where does she live? What does she do for a living? How did she manage her fame and beauty? What about her family? These are some of the questions those that have heard about the beauty of Sade have not been able to find answers to for many years.

However, few days ago, a post went viral on the social media on the pretty Sade that Obey eulogised her beauty in the album. The post was accompanied with her blurred picture at the gate of the Nigerian Red Cross building, Onireke, Ibadan.

The post read: “Do you remember Sade in the evergreen Ebenezer Obey’s record? ‘…Ore mi ka ma paro, ka mu tegan kuro, Sade dara lobinrin…Ajala travelled all over the world….’ That pretty Sade is now a destitute being catered for by the Red Cross in Ibadan. …”

In the album, she’s simply referred to as Sade: ‘Ore mi kama paro, ka mu t’egan kuro, Sade dara l’obinrin’ (My friends, to say the truth, without flattering, Sade is a very beautiful lady).

Obey sang about one Sade Ajala in the same track he also sang about one of the foremost Nigerian icons, Olabisi Ajala, a globe-trotter, who supposedly travelled to 87 countries. The title of the track is ‘Ajala-Alhaja.’

The lyric goes thus: ‘Alajala mi Omo Olola, Alajala mi Oko Alhaja Sade; Alajala mi Omo Olola, Alajala mi Oko Alhaja Sade; Ore mi kama paro, ka mu t’egan kuro, Sade dara l’obinrin; Ajala travel all over the world, Ajala travel all over the world, Ajala travels, Ajala travels, Ajala travel all over the world.’

As gathered, Sade was one of the wives of Ajala, which made Ebenezer Obey to mention her in the track, he sang for Ajala 46 years ago. But Ajala reportedly died on February 2, 1999.

Some reports published after his demise stated that only two of his children were by his bedside at the time he breathed his last, adding that for more than a year to his death, Ajala suffered from stroke, which left him paralyzed on his left limb, and that his first wife, who resided in Ikotun in Lagos could not find time to see him before he died in his rented apartment. He was said to have been buried in Central Lagos and his grave is not any different from the others.

Till date, the name Sade, still rings bell in the ears of lovers of Obey’s music, and it is synonymous with beauty, the same way Ajala’s name has become a metaphor for people that travel often. But it is imperative to investigate the recent post about the Sade currently in Ibadan, whether she is the same person  that Obey sang about.

Encounter with Sade

Saturday Sun, however, went to Onireke in Ibadan with a view to meeting the woman.  On getting there, an old woman was seen sitting down quietly at the gate of Nigerian Red Cross Society building, besides the headquarters of Ibadan North West Local Government Area, Onireke, Ibadan.

The woman already has wrinkled face and like the proverbial man at the beautiful gate in the Holy Bible, she looked up to those going into the Red Cross premises and other passersby to render one form of monetary assistance or the other to her.

Efforts made to get information from the Red Cross officials on when and how the woman got to the building and how the organisation has been catering for her in terms of feeding and accommodation did not yield positive results as the officials met on ground said they were not authorised to speak for the body.

For two consecutive days, official information could not be obtained on the woman. But Saturday Sun spoke to the woman herself. But the answers she gave to some of the questions were incoherent.

3rd March 2018
Founder, Oodua Peoples Congress, Dr Fredrick Fasehun has challenged Nigerians accusing him of being ‘settled’ by Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, Chief Security Officer to the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha to come out with proof or stop disparaging his name.

Throwing the challenge in this interview conducted by TUNDE THOMAS, Fasehun lamented that some Nigerians who were shocked by his decision to forgive Al-Mustapha who was part of Abacha’s regime that tortured and detained him have been spreading falsehood over his decision to forgive the former CSO.

“It is my own decision and I have no regret over it. Those saying I collected money from Al-Mustapha are spreading falsehood. I challenge them to come out with proof, otherwise they should keep quiet for ever,” he said. The OPC leader also spoke on other national issues.

What is your reaction to recent comments by the APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, and Kogi State governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello that there is no alternative to President Buhari in 2019?

I’m surprised by the comments credited to both of them. They are speaking like Nigerian politicians. They are saying what should be expected from them. These are politicians that people refer to as Agip politicians. That is politicians supporting any government in power. And in Oyegun and Bello’s case, they must speak in support of their principal and ally, President Buhari.

Now coming to their comments, both of them have goofed. Oyegun and Bello have goofed. How can Buhari be Nigeria’s messiah? Nigeria’s messiah in what way? Does Oyegun know the true meaning of a messiah? A messiah means somebody that has come to save and protect. But can Buhari be described as a savior or a protector when Nigeria has been turned into a killing field under his watch?

The news coming out of Nigeria daily since Buhari took over in 2015 is very scaring. It is news of innocent Nigerians being killed all over the place by bandits, kidnappers, and Fulani herdsmen. Nigeria has gradually been turned into a killing field. From Benue to Taraba, Taraba to Adamawa, Adamawa to Kaduna to Zamfara, it is tales of gory killings and bloodshed. It is as if Nigeria is without a leader, and yet Buhari is there as President, and it is under his watch that all these killings and loss of lives are taking place, and yet some callous and heartless Nigerians like Oyegun could have the boldness to describe him as Nigeria’s messiah – this is very sad and unfortunate. I wonder if Oyegun is a genuine Christian, I wonder if Oyegun is a man with conscience. It is only a heartless man that will describe Buhari as Nigeria’s messiah.

Again, what are the criteria Oyegun is using to describe his principal and ally, as a messiah. Does Buhari deserve the accolade of a messiah when millions of Nigerians are dying of hunger daily? Hunger, poverty, unemployment, suffering and hardship are what millions of Nigerians have come to know since 2015 when Buhari became President.

For Yahaya Bello to say that there is no alternative to Buhari in 2019 is a big insult to Nigerians. Governor Yahaya Bello and others in his shoes saying that there is no alternative to Buhari are saying rubbish. They should apologise to Nigerians. How can Yahaya Bello say that there is no alternative to Buhari in a country of over 170 million people? There are hundreds of alternatives if not thousands of alternatives to Buhari in Nigeria.

However, I’m not shocked by Bello’s comments, he is only trying to sing praise of Buhari who is his benefactor and God-sent helper. The bitter truth today is that millions of Nigerians are not satisfied with Buhari, and his party APC. Both have disappointed the nation – they have performed poorly – they have failed Nigerians. In fact, I wept for Nigeria the day Buhari was elected President.

But what those supporting President Buhari’s reelection are saying is that he should be voted for a second term to enable him consolidate on his current achievements …

Cuts in … Which achievements? As far as I’m concerned, Buhari has not done anything to merit a second term in office. Buhari has failed, and APC has also failed. To ask Buhari to continue in office for a second term will only mean one thing, and that is prolongation of sufferings for Nigerians. Millions of Nigerians that voted for APC and Buhari in 2015 are now regretting their action. They are now angry and they are now waiting for 2019 to punish APC and Buhari with their votes. Honestly, Buhari and APC have shortchanged Nigerians, and that’s why the song on the lips of many disappointed Nigerians now is change the changers. That’s to tell you the extent to which APC has become a big bundle of disappointment. My sincere advice to Buhari is that he should forget 2019. He should just do his first term and retire to his village in Daura.

With your disappointment with APC, are you in support of the return of PDP to power as some Nigerians and PDP supporters have been canvassing?

No. None of the two parties should be in power again. Both PDP and APC have disappointed Nigerians. PDP was even better. But I believe that it is time for Nigeria to have new a party in power. We have over 69 political parties. From these, we can have alliances that will bring up a new political party that will provide dividends of democracy to Nigerians.

With the way APC has disappointed there is no way I will canvass for APC to win 2019 general elections. PDP and APC are birds of the same feather. Both parties should quit the stage for a new political party to take over.

Honestly, Buhari and APC have nothing to offer again. We need a new political order to take Nigeria to the next level.

What’s your view on the Coalition for Nigeria Movement that former President Olusegun Obasanjo floated as a way of providing an alternative to PDP and APC?

Obasanjo should stop interfering in Nigeria’s affairs. Nigerians should be allowed to decide their own fate. Obasanjo can’t divorce himself from some of the problems confronting us in Nigeria today. He was part of the problem. Obasanjo should leave Nigeria alone, enough is enough. Although as a former leader, he has a right to talk and offer advice but I believe he should leave Nigerians alone – Obasanjo has paid his dues, it is time for him to quit politics. He should retire from politics.
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3rd March 2018
Former Niger Delta militant leader, Alhaji Mujadid Asari- Dokubo has tipped ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP’s best candidate to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC in the 2019 general elections.

Asari- Dokubo in this interview with FEMI FOLARANMI in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, dismissed some names being touted as the PDP likely presidential candidate and warned that if the party fails to pick a strong candidate that can rally the people for the general election, it would lose the polls.

Considering the position you took prior to the 2015 elections, objecting the candidature of President Muhammadu Buhari, has anything changed?

There is nothing that can change. This is because a few people and I knew that the packaging of Buhari to run as President was not right, but this packaging swayed many people. Look at Nigeria, look at the type of life people are living. It clearly shows and justified the position some of us held. Nigerians can no longer afford anything again, not just food. Life is extremely brutish and people kill each other at the slightest provocation. It has never been like this before. So we have been vindicated.

There are suggestions in some quarters that former President Goodluck Jonathan threw the presidency away. Two books; Against the Run of Play by Olusegun Adeniyi and On a Platter of Gold by Bolaji Abdulllahi contained facts on this line of thought. What do you think were the things or policies Jonathan did that threw away his presidency? 

Jonathan as far as Ijaw people were concerned did not rule firmly. Apart from that, Goodluck Jonathan, Gowon and maybe Shagari might pass off as the best that happened to Nigeria. Theirs was a time Nigerians have justice. Nobody was afraid of the government. Goodluck Jonathan brought laws that aided democracy. There was the Freedom of Information Act, Human Rights Commission. He set up institutions and polices like the TSA, BVN, Card Reader, preparing the ground for an all inclusive democratic system. So, is this why he threw the presidency away? Bolaji that is talking and writing, look at what his principal, Saraki is being subjected to. I know Bolaji well; he was a Minister under Jonathan. He had free hand and was enjoying.  Do the present Ministers have the same free hand enjoyed under Jonathan? Government officials, Ministers and Governors are openly complaining that they cannot access Mr Buhari.  Goodluck Jonathan was too soft for them; if that is what they mean by saying he threw the presidency away, yes, I will agree. People take advantage of people who are not ready to shed the blood of others. That is the truth, which was why he lost. If it had been someone like me, I would never have lost, because I know how to use power to treat these irritants.

Issues like Boko Haram kidnap of Chibok girls and Jonathan’s body language on corruption were identified as the low points of the administration that caused its downfall

There was nothing like the kidnap of Chibok girls. This is even the most corrupt government. Where is the budget implementation?  It is under this Buhari government we have heard of budget padding and missing budget. There are things unheard of before in Nigeria. Aso Rock clinic since 2016, we have been budgeting billions more than what is given to all the teaching and tertiary hospitals in Nigeria combined. There is no how you can tell it. It is like egg that has broken, and there is no way we can bring it back. Nigerians are witnessing the years of the locust and I wonder when we would get out of this.

There were allegations that Jonathan surrounded himself with Ijaw people which spelt doom for his government     

I am simply an Ijaw man that stood behind a fellow Ijaw man and I am not even an insider in the government. So who were the Ijaw people he surrounded himself with? All the people that have been alleged to have collected money from Dasuki, have you heard of one Ijaw man’s name? All the people on trial that collected money from Dasuki and Diezani, have you heard of one single Ijaw person’s name? So, where are the Ijaw people that Jonathan surrounded himself with? They want to put us on trial and kill us. Buhari said he would give us the Boko Haram treatment. If Buhari has his ways, all Ijaw people would have been dead. This is why those Ijaw people who went and followed him to betray Jonathan have not been given anything significant in his government with all their contributions. Minister of state for Agriculture and Rural Resources is what Buhari feels we Ijaw people should have.  There is no government that I remember of, from the time of Gowon that would not have four to five Ijaw ministers. But now we don’t even have a Minister. What we have is someone without portfolio and it is even Minister of state for Agriculture. If Buhari has his way he would have wiped out Ijaw people. That is why he wants to cause confusion between us and the Itsekiri and backing Bini people to seize Ijaw people so that when we stand up against oppression, he would bring his Army. But he has known us that we are not afraid of his Army. Every Nigerian knows that Ijaw people are not afraid. We are not people that Fulani would come and kill and we would be crying. If you do us, we shall do you back very well.

Part of the challenges hampering the performance of the Buhari government is the rot left by the Jonathan government. Do you agree?

Which rot? Jonathan left Nigeria as the fastest growing economy in Africa.  When you campaigned to take over power, you should be prepared to govern. Was Buhari not Head of State before? When he left, was Nigeria like Sweden, Norway or UAE? These people are clowns and they think other Nigerians are idiots. They are talking because people did not want to stand up to them. Someone like Buhari should just keep quiet. He was a governor in North East made up of the States where Boko Haram is presently domiciled. These are among the most educationally backward states, Buhari was governor there. He was Minister of Petroleum and was in charge of refineries which as we are talking today are outdated. He was GOC and left an Army command structure that is a disgrace. As Head of State, there was widespread hunger, human rights abuses and draconian laws. As PTDF Chairman, he served under the most corrupt government in this country. Let them back their facts, Jonathan ruled for five years, three months, from 1956 when we had self government so it was Goodluck Jonathan that left rot in government?

3rd March 2018
For two days, the entire country took note of the transformational revolution taking place in Rivers State.  The recognition of the country came in the form of two priceless awards –The Silverbird Man of the Year 2017 and the Sun Newspaper Governor of the Year 2017.

On Friday, February 23, 2018 and February 24, 2018, well-meaning Nigerians across party lines and professions, gathered at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos to honour a distinguished administrator who has redefined the governance process.  In a country where development has  been relegated to the backwaters by a non-performing APC Federal Government, the entire country resolved to honour a man who believes that development is the right of the people. The essence of the two awards was to encourage other non performing governors, especially those of the APC to rise up to the challenge of leadership.  The two awards from the two leading media organisations followed international best practices. 

Silverbird Man Of The Year 2017

Following the nomination of Governor Wike and other eminent Nigerians, the Silverbird Group opened an online voting process.

The voting portal was open for the  entire country  to monitor proceedings.  After weeks of online voting, Nigerians overwhelmingly voted for Wike.

The decision was quite easy for the voters. Governor Wike has deployed the resources of Rivers State to improve road  infrastructure, health facilities, educational institutions, training of health and educational professionals, development of key special projects and improvement of security.

They also voted for Governor Wike for attracting foreign direct investment, developing Rivers State as a sporting destination and ensuring the pride of the Rivers person.

Chairman of Silverbird Group, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce said the Rivers State governor emerged the Silverbird Man of the Year on the strength of votes by the people.

“This award was voted by the people of Nigeria.  In other words, it was earned. I am honoured to know a man called Governor Wike. He is a terrific governor, Mr Projects”, he said. Senator  Murray-Bruce said Governor Wike focuses on the development of the state through delivery of projects and programmes.

Accepting the award, Wike declared his commitment to the sustained growth of the state.  The governor maintained that the rapid transformation of the state remains his ultimate focus. He said that his administration was inaugurated during a period of financial crisis, but he chose to be different, instead of giving all manner of excuses like the APC Federal Government.  The governor said: “We could as well advance all sorts of excuses for non-performance as the current Federal Government is doing in justification of its massive failure to deliver on its promises.

“ But, we decided to be different and we’ve been quite different in our approach to governance. While we refused to be daunted by the level of rot we met, we also believed that promises are sacred and that with prudent and targeted management of available resources, we can deliver much more for our people.

“ Today, the testimony is everywhere that in Rivers State where we govern, things are working and working very well for our people, especially in the area of road, education and healthcare infrastructure” He dedicated the award to the people of Rivers State and his wife.

Sun Governor Of The Year 2017

Governor Wike made history as the first governor to win the Sun Newspapers Governor of the Year back to back. 

His second victory emphasised  the quantum  of quality infrastructural development taking place in Rivers State.  The Publisher of The Sun Newspapers, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, an APC Chieftain informed the audience how he attempted to stop the epoch making award, but the editorial board of the newspaper insisted that it was a merited award. Presenting the Sun Newspaper Governor of the Year award to Governor Wike, the Publisher of the Sun Newspapers said the Rivers State Governor deserves the award in view  of his performance.

Nobody who has the opportunity to visit Rivers State will ignore the quality and number of interventions going on across the sectors. There is no single local government area thet has been left behind in the projects galore. Governor Wike has made every local government area to enjoy a sense of belonging.

ERIC TENIOLA There have been claims and counter claims on how Kogi state was created. In the book titled,
Naija Newspapers
Naija Newspapers

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