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Restructuring , Not Presidency Will Address Nigeria ’ s Challenges – Bode George

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images 93 1 Restructuring , Not Presidency Will Address Nigeria ’ s Challenges - Bode George

Chief Olabode George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, speaks on the security challenges and the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to kickstart the restructuring of the country ahead of the 2023 general elections. Excerpts:
President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to boost internal security by creating more police mobile force in the country. As retired Naval Commodore, do you think this will go a long way in addressing the myriads of security challenges we have in the country?
The President spoke copiously on the security issue in the country. For me, I believe it is now the concern of everybody, irrespective of which ethnic, religious or political divide you belong to. We are all at the precipice of a total collapse. Everybody is looking at the physical security. I trained with the United States Naval War College and one of the major topic that was taught was national security. When I came back to Nigeria after going to Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Jos, I became a Director, also teaching at the Nigerian War College. I also went to a special training learning about being a retired Commodore. Now, security is not only about physical security, there are so many aspects of security and it is the combination of all that you just refer to as national security. You have food security to guarantee that every Nigerian must be able to find something to eat every day.
There is public health security which guarantees that anybody who is sick will be able to get treatment in any clinic. There is transportation security which ensures that those providing public transportation don’t misbehave or drive carelessly and dangerously to injure their passengers.
Number four is physical security, safety of lives that people can sleep well at night without marauders, that people can travel long distances without being kidnapped and armed robbery. The most important of all is food security”. Yorubas have a saying that ‘Ebi kii wo inu, ki oro mii woo’ which means A hungry person is not a good listener or a hungry man is an angry man’.
What is causing those people to be engaging in what they are doing? It is joblessness and lack of guarantee that they will have half a meal per day. They look around and see people who are overfeeding themselves, yet they cannot have half a meal per day. Let’s give urgent attention to food security. I have gone many times from Kebbi to Sokoto; from Sokoto to Zamfara; from Zamfara to Katsina; from Katsina to Kano; from Kano to Kaduna. Now it’s no longer safe to go to those places. The worst one is the people are now getting educated, they want jobs, housing and good lives; because these things are not provided, you that carnage along those routes. While the federal government is planning to buy fighter jets and bombers, it must first ensure that Nigerians have food on their table; then create employment. Those who are not educated, give them some training in carpentry, mechanic, tailoring and so many things that will keep them busy and put food on their tables.
Some Yoruba elders have called on the Federal Government to restructure the nation, else the 2023 general election will not hold. What is your perspective on that?
I am not talking as a PDP man; I am speaking as a Nigerian. At 75, if I can’t speak the truth to power now, then what am I living my life for? If I don’t say my own, my God will ask me. I have received Number one, the structure we are using as a nation is very, very defective. We are more than 200 million in population. The total number of policemen we have is 400,000. How can that be effective?
There is a need for us to have state police for effective management and protection of the lives of the people. How can we have a policeman who cannot speak the language of the people he is to protect? The way the colonialists set up the police by sitting in Lagos as the overall police boss in Nigeria, that time has gone. While we should have one man as the head in the Federal, there is need to have state police for effective management of protection of lives and property of the people. There is nothing wrong in having Federal police like the equivalent of the FBI in America. Including the FBI, they have the state police and the county police which are in the local governments. The need to have restructuring is now. We cannot postpone it and we cannot continue to run this country under the present arrangement.
What advise will you give to President Buhari on the way forward?
The last two years of President Buhari, he must use it to see how best he can restructure Nigeria. He shouldn’t push the issue of restructuring under the table. The system that the British left for us is not working and has collapsed. That is why we are having cacophony of voices across the country demanding for one thing or another. We are the precipice of total collapse.
The last two years for him is to address this issue. Restructuring is the most topical issue in the country today. There is a constitutional conference report that dealt with a lot of this issue; let him open it up and forget about playing dirty politics. Whether you are from the North, South, East or West doesn’t matter; we are all Nigerians. What is the problem of the federal government collecting all the money and then redistributing to the states? The centre is so strong and Nigeria is so massive. Let us make sure that we sit down and start from that 2014 conference report because most of the issues that are agitating the minds of our people now were discussed there and suggested approvals were given.
Do you see that possible especially now that the zoning of the 2023 presidential election is being debated?
The way we are going, in 2023 we will have another election and people are saying let the Presidency come to the South as if that will bring the solution to our problems . It cannot settle this way. I have been in both sides; both military and civilian governments and I am saying it with boldness it is not working. Look at the British; they existed for long under United Kingdom. But later, they have devolution as a policy. By that, the Scots are now managing themselves; the Welsh are now managing themselves, the Irish are managing themselves but there is still the federal parliament in London. They came here. We have borrowed the American constitution, let us run it the way they run their own. Everywhere you go today, there is so much tension and unease in the land.
Look at COVID-19 for example. When it became so unmanageable for the federal government, they said each state should adopt its programme. If it is working, why are you then telling the states to go and set up their own? Is that not a typical example of what I’m saying? So, for me, the way forward is restructuring, restructuring and restructuring. We cannot continue with the way we are. Look at the number of people in the House of Representatives, with all these committees being set up, purchase of exotic vehicles and so on. Which Nigerian will listen to those stories and be happy? People are hungry and angry. We are in a state of helplessness and hopelessness.

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PDP Now Controls 16 States After Winning Edo, APC 19 States

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images 76 2 PDP Now Controls 16 States After Winning Edo, APC 19 States

*PDP states*
(1). Edo State – PDP
(2). Rivers State – PDP
(3). Delta State – PDP
(4). Bayelsa State – PDP
(5). Cross River State – PDP
(6). Akwa Ibom state – PDP
(7). Enugu state – PDP
( . Ebonyi state – PDP
(9). Benue State – PDP
(10). Oyo State – PDP
(11). Adamawa state – PDP
(12). Bauchi State – PDP
(13). Abia State – PDP
(14). Zamfara State – PDP
(15). Sokoto State – PDP
(16). Taraba State – PDP
*APC States*
(1). Borno State – APC
(2). Imo state – APC
(3). Kano state – APC
(4). Kaduna state – APC
(5). Nasarawa state – APC
(6). Kogi state – APC
(7). Niger State – APC
( . Plateau State – APC
(9). Jigawa state – APC
(10). Kastina state – APC
(11). Kwara state – APC
(12). Kebbi state – APC
(13). Lagos – APC
(14). Ogun state – APC
(15). Yobe state – APC
(16). Gombe state – APC
(17). Ekiti state – APC
(18). Osun state – APC
(19). Ondo state – APC
*Anambra state is APGA.*
Geopolitical Zones:
North Central – APC 5, PDP 1
North East – APC 4, PDP 2
North West – APC 5, PDP 2
South East – APC 1, PDP 3, APGA 1
South South – APC Nil, PDP 6
South West – APC 5, PDP 1
2023 permutation begin!

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Tinubu, Oshiomhole quiet days after APC loss in Edo

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Tinubu Oshiomhole 880x536 1 Tinubu, Oshiomhole quiet days after APC loss in Edo

The September 19 , 2020 Edo State governorship election has come and gone but the embers of the episodic event continue to glow in the glade of public discourse.
Although 14 parties fielded candidates for the poll , the result of the election showed it was a two- horse race between the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress .
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission, PDP candidate , Governor Godwin Obaseki , polled 307, 955 votes to defeat his closest rival and APC candidate , Osagie Ize – Iyamu, who got 223, 619 votes .
The electoral umpire on Sunday subsequently declared Obaseki as the winner of the keenly contested election . INEC also on Tuesday presented certificates of return to the re -elected governor and his deputy, Philip Shaibu, at INEC office in Aduwawa , Benin City, the state capital .
The President , Major General Muhammadu Buhari ( retd. ) , has since congratulated Obaseki on his re – election . The APC national body has also conceded defeat and congratulated the opposition PDP and its candidate .
But while the congratulatory messages poured in for Obaseki and his party , nothing has been heard from the quarters of former National Chairman of the APC , Adams Oshiomhole; and former Lagos State Governor , Bola Tinubu , who were active political actors during the electioneering process that preceded the election .
how Tinubu , in a televised broadcast a few weeks to the election , accused Obaseki of not being a democrat and how he had asked the people of Edo to reject him at the polls.
Tinubu , an APC chieftain , had also said Obaseki committed an impeachable offence in the heat of the crisis that rocked the Edo State House of Assembly weeks before the election .
On his part , Oshiomhole, who was Edo governor from 2008 to 2016 , was instrumental to the emergence of Obaseki as his successor . The two, however, soon fell out and Obaseki , who was elected on APC platform in 2016 , defected to the PDP on June 19 , 2020, after being denied APC ticket owing to intra – party squabbles .
Oshiomhole during the build – up and politicking to the 2020 governorship election in the state had said he sold a bad product to the people of the state in 2016 when he campaigned for Obaseki.
Armed with a megaphone at a rally late July 2020 , the former APC national chairman , who vigorously campaigned for Ize – Iyamu this time around , had gone on his knees and had asked his supporters to repeat a prayer after him .
He had said , “ To those I sold the product that turned out to be fake , God you know I didn ’ t know he was fake . Only time shall tell who a man is. In the name of the poor he has borrowed to consultants he transferred the money .
“ With our broom , we shall sweep him out . Together, we will bring your servant who is God – fearing , who will not repeat his mistakes and will complete the project of taking Edo to the next level . All these and many more we say in the mighty name of our Lord Jesus Christ .”
Meanwhile , despite the fact that the APC national body conceded defeat in the election , the party in the state rejected the outcome of the poll , alleging foul play and citing alleged “ strong – arm tactics ” .
Ize – Iyamu also said he was still “ studying the results along with other party members” and will announce his next move soon .
When contacted , Oshiomhole’ s media aide , Victor Oshoke , told in a telephone interview on Tuesday evening that his principal has no comment or reaction to make on the outcome of the election .
He said , “ The result has been announced and the party in the state is consulting ; the position of the party will be released very soon . Oshiomhole does not have a personal opinion to make on the election now – he is waiting for the party ’ s position. ”
Oshoke added, “ We have a candidate and we are waiting for the candidate’ s statement . When the candidate speaks , Oshiomhole will align with the candidate’ s decision . Edo APC is waiting for our candidate to speak. ”
On his part , Tinubu ’s spokesperson , Tunde Rahman , told our correspondent in a telephone interview on Tuesday evening that his principal would speak “ at the appropriate time ” .
“ Asiwaju has not spoken . At the appropriate time , he will speak on that election , ” Rahman tersely responded when asked of his principal ’ s reaction to Saturday’ s poll .
In the meantime , Obaseki on Tuesday called on Oshiomhole, Ize – Iyamu and other APC members to put their differences aside and work for the betterment of the state.
“ We have no malice, the only thing we disagreed on is in the approach in moving Edo forward ,” the re – elected governor said .

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Lose Akeredolu If You Will , But Do Not Push Ondo To 1983 – Segun Showunmi

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images 67 1 Lose Akeredolu If You Will , But Do Not Push Ondo To 1983 - Segun Showunmi

The news coming out of Akoko in Ondo State, where the thugs of the All Progressives Congress’ Rotimi Akeredolu, under his supervision, ran amok in front of the Oba’s palace, shooting and destroying the vehicles of his rival, Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party, requires the attention of all men of goodwill, especially President Muhammadu Buhari.
History must not repeat itself, as this ugly incident draws my mind back to 1983 when another Owo man was governor like Akeredolu in Ondo State. Those who were around then would shiver when they think back and remember the public disorder that became known as ‘wetie’.
A piece by Bayo Olupohunda in The Punch of November 8, 2016, captures the issue.
“The Second Republic, which was barely four years and three months old, was truncated when the military struck again in December of 1983 to bring to an end another corrupt and violent civilian regime. Once again, Ondo State, which had been carved out of the old Western Region as one of the five states created by former military ruler, Yakubu Gowon, erupted into an orgy of violence during the election of that year. One of Awolowo’s protégés, Adekunle Ajasin, was contesting re-election under the umbrella of the UPN. His deputy, Akin Omoboriowo, who had also fancied his chances had defected to the ruling NPN.
“He was backed by the federal might of the Shehu Shagari-led government. At the election, Ajasin had a clear lead, but the NPN, intent on taking the state from the UPN, had put Omoboriowo in a clear lead as a result was being announced. Then, the inevitable happened. The widespread protests that followed the announcement of Omoboriowo turned violent, and the state became a war front. Political thugs and supporters of both parties turned the state into a theatre of war.
“There were fears and apprehension as people loyal to one of the parties were targeted and killed. Houses were torched. The security agencies were powerless in a bid to rein in the perpetrators of the violence. In the end, Omoboriowo was driven out of the state and spent some time in exile. The 1983 violence was a repeat of the Western Region crisis. The effect of the violence was instant. It provided a further excuse for the military to put an end to the Second Republic that was already wracked by monumental corruption.”
Ondo is different in the Yoruba nation. They have demonstrated the ability to act their intention. They are brave, independent and fearless. Whosoever allows Ondo to go the way of violence risks too much. Mr President, you have a duty to read the riot act to all parties. Ondo must not go to the dogs. Rotimi Akeredolu, lose if you will, and go in peace, that you may salvage whatever is left of your battered image.

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