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Independence: Pro-Democracy Group Cautions North East Leaders Against Using Boko Haram as Excuse not to Develop Their Constituencies

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The National Democratic Front (NDF) has challenged political elites from the North-East to provide basic infrastructures in their communities and stop shying away from their responsibilities under the guise of Boko Haram.

The pro-democracy group made the call in a press conference to mark Nigeria’s 59th Independence in Abuja on Tuesday.

In a statement signed by secretary-general, Bolaji Abdulkadir, the National Democratic Front called on the region’s political class to wake up to its responsibility in the war against terrorism.

Instead of fulfilling their obligation, the NDF says these politically embittered persons have continued to empower terrorists, gloriously endorsing their activities.

The NDF was particularly critical of Ahmadu Jaha, the lawmaker representing Damboa/Gwoza/Chibok in the National Assembly who openly sang the praises of the Boko Haram terrorists.

The group, therefore, charged Jaha and his likes to wake up to their responsibility and stop blaming others for the woes they have brought upon their own region.

According to the NDF, it is only when basic amenities are provided that natives can return to liberated communities.

Read full statement below:

The National Democratic Front, NDF, has been following the war against terrorism in the north-east, especially Borno state, with keen interest given its impact on long term peace and security for Nigeria. One worrisome trend we discovered is that the war against terrorism continues be politicised to the point of almost having a war within a war.

In the lead up to the 2019 General Elections, NDF raised alarm over the opposition’s support for terrorists in the hope of using them to discredit the then candidacy of President Muhammadu Buhari by creating the impression that he has failed to secure the country. The elections are now over yet the monster set in motion out of political desperation has continue to grow without those that awoken it refusing to tame it.

In addition to refusing to accept responsibility for re-arming Boko Haram terrorists, it appears politically embittered persons have continue to empower terrorists in the region. They have even scaled up their support to now include endorsement of the terror group by ascribing invincibility to its fighters while demonizing the army that is sacrificing much to restore peace and security to the troubled area.

This unsettling development has been manifesting in the form of media interviews, planted or sponsored news reports and statements that stop short of recognizing Boko Haram as a parallel nation to whom these politicians defer. They have sunken to a new low as demonstrated by a member of the House of Representatives, Ahmadu Jaha, who used Green Chambers of the National Assembly to sing the praises of the terrorist organization, which he rated higher than the military of his own country, and that is assuming he still considers himself a Nigerian and not a subject of an illusionary Islamic State caliphate.

It is tragic that this surrender to Boko Haram by these type of politicians is more deliberate than circumstantial. There was a coordinated willingness to abdicate political responsibility to terrorists. This is why the international media partners of these politicians are able to report that insurgents are providing essential services that politicians have failed to provide for their own constituents, which in turn makes these constituents to become willing informants for terrorists. So it rarely matters that the military continually decimate the terrorists, the collusion of the politicians continue to drive people in the affected areas back into the embrace of Boko Haram. So much as military might, strategy, engagement and persistence has been keeping the terrorists in check, the political will and action to end terrorism are still missing.

NDF is demanding that the politicians in the northeast must wake up to their responsibility and stop blaming others for the woes they have brought upon their own region. They have to start undoing the damage they did to themselves to that they can finally begin to enjoy peace and security like other parts of the country.

A starting point the NDF is prescribing is for the politicians from the north east to cease and desist from giving further support to Boko Haram, whether directly or indirectly. This include these politicians reviewing the money they give out to people that eventually funnel same to the terrorists. They must also cease hostile communication against the military since this only serves to boost the morale of insurgents while depressing troops’. It is trite to say that north east politicians must stop playing politics with the issue of insurgency by waking up to support the military and the rest of the world to end the scourge of Boko Haram.

The next step is for these politicians to unanimously volunteer information that will assist the military and security agencies in a way that will support the decommissioning of the terrorist cells that enjoy political support and protection. It is critical for this to happen since these cells that enjoy the protection of politicians are key tools for recruiting new members for the terrorists.

A further requirement is for the politicians to allow money meant for rebuilding the northeast to be used for exactly that purpose instead of embezzling it like they had done funds meant for their constituencies for several decades. They must realize that such funds are not meant for buying bullet proof cars or escaping to the cushy life in Abuja but is rather meant to develop the region so that the people will identify with them instead of being sympathetic to terrorists.

When these other steps have been taken, the politicians must then reset their behaviour to appreciate and focus on what is needed to develop their constituencies. The things that they had refused to provide for their citizens for several decades must now be urgently provided to reverse not just the punishing scourge of terrorism but to also eradicate the sheer human misery that is the existence of people in the area even before the insurgency took hold.

They need to focus on building infrastructure, schools, hospitals, good roads and facilities that will help rebuild the economy of the region. This will also help to return people in liberated communities back to their farms so that they can again become productive to themselves and to the overall economy.

These are the minimum basics that must be provided for the people, who in spite of their situation have put up with selfish politicians that they are saddled with. Morality requires that the politicians wake up to these responsibilities instead of trying to blame the military or the federal government for the problem they created for themselves and their people.

NDF is strongly of the view that the people of the northeast begin to hold their politicians to account in this manner until they learn what their responsibilities are and get about meeting them. The citizens should consider strong monitoring of the finances of these politicians and reporting anything untoward to the nation’s anti-graft agencies. Politicians from the northeast must not continue be the weak link in the safety, security and development of Nigeria.

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Collation Of Results For Edo Governorship Election

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More results arriving at the INEC collation centre for the Edo Governorship elections.

The remaining results from the Edo election are still being ferried into the central collation centre.

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Edo Election: INEC Official Shot, Another Injured In Etsako Central

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An official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been shot and critically injured.

The incident occurred on Saturday while the electorate were voting in the governorship election in the state and was confirmed by Professor Godswill Alan Lukman, the Collation Officer in Etsako Central Local Government Area where the incident took place.

Professor Godswill made the disclosure on Sunday at the collation centre in Benin City, while giving a situation report on the election conducted in the LGA.

He, however, stated that the victim was not dead but in critical condition at a hospital in the state.

The collation officer, who noted that the incident occurred due to violence at the venue of the election, added that another ad-hoc official was cut in the face.

He explained that some hoodlums suspected to be political thugs stormed the venue and disrupted the exercise, forcing the electorate who have come to vote to run to safety.

As a result, the election could not be concluded at the polling area.

Giving a general update on the election in Etsako Central, Professor Godswill said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 7,478 votes while the All Progressives Congress (APC) scored 8,359.

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BREAKING: Trouble Looms for Ordinary Ahmed Isah as Stakeholders Condemn Unguided Utterances Against Nigerian Army, Draw NBC’s Attention

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Stakeholders made up of Civil Society Organisations, Journalists and Security experts have expressed their displeasure over what they termed inciting utterances by radio broadcaster and Chairman of Human Right Radio, Ahmed Isah, popularly called Ordinary Ahmed Isah against the Nigerian Army’s discipline on Lance Corporal Martins Idakpini who was allegedly detained by the Nigerian Army for making a viral video criticising the Nigerian Army and President Muhammadu Buhari in the fight against insecurity in Nigeria. They said the “Ordinary President” as he is fondly called should have known better, that as a broadcaster who is billed to explore the “freedom of information act” should have have been professional and avoid setting the tone for loss of confidence on the Nigerian Army, who on their part are sacrificing all to ensure peace, stability and security in the country.

The Executive Director, Coalition of Civil Society Group for Good Governance (CSGG), Comrade Dominic Ogakwu made this known in a telephone interview with journalists in Abuja on Saturday.

In trying to make case for Lance Corporal Martins, the Ordinary Ahmed alleged that some persons in the Nigerian Army are making a fortune out of the the current insecurity situation of Nigeria.

“….Ahmed Isah is well respected by Nigerians and I will expect that given the fact that he knows a lot on the value of security, and what the Nigerian Army represent, he should rather make an attempt to reach necessary authorities to gain more knowledge to avoid making unguided statement that can trigger issues of insecurity the more…yes we agree that there are issues but the Army are doing very well to solve them and I think that the Onus is on Ahmed Isah as a lover of Nigeria and as a populist, to ensure that his utterances did not instigate some miscreants against the most revered and respected and sustaining institution like the Nigerian Army….” Ogakwu said.

“….So I will advice that he should as a matter of urgency readdress that matter by getting the necessary clarifications and verifying all the necessary facts to avoid making statements in error…yes a lot of rumours are being peddled against the Nigerian army, but it behoves on the media especially the one that is very close to the people to ensure that it did not rise on the waves of the moment on emotions, they should not “emotionalise” reportage….” He added.

He said “…reports must be balanced in perspectives and they must see to all sides, before actually drawing to conclusions, so as a matter of urgency I think the most respected Ahmed Isah should have known better that Nigerians are listening to him and as a man who is patriotic, who loves this country he should not be too emotional when it come to issues of security because he understands that in his programs, he explores all sort of emotions and that to me even though the people love it but then issues of national security, sensitive issues, issues that can set this country ablaze should be very guided….”

Undisclosed sources from the Nigerian Army who also frowned at the inciting utterances by Ahmed Isah threatened that the country’s Army will be forced to take legal action against the broadcaster if he continues in that unpatriotic line.

“….the drive by the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to obliterate hate speech should be exercised on this issue, this is outright incitement, Ahmed Isah must put himself together and desist from sabotaging the Army’s efforts…” the source said.

For investigative journalist and “Accountapreneur”, Emmanuel Bagudu, “…the Nigerian Army is a family and any attempt to come in between a family amounts to incursion….” “….The “Ordinary President” is duty bound to be diplomatic. He must know that as a relevant stakeholder in this country that patriotism is key in his business. He must join in the quest for boosting the morale of the troops as well as advocating for trust and support for the Nigerian Military as a whole….” Bagudu said.

Youth Ambassador for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Austin Peacemaker shares the same thought “…. Ahmed Isah should not forget that the Nigerian Army is playing a very significant role in sustaining our beautiful democracy and strengthening our national security, even at the ECOWAS regional level, as such deserves our honour, respect and fairness, especially when reporting issues around National security. They deserve balanced reportage from Journalists including Ordinary Ahmed Isah, who is well respected by many of his listeners….” Peacemaker said.

“…He shouldn’t lose that respect by misleading or misinforming his listeners and Nigerians, in a bid to make his programme entertaining and exciting. Lance Corporal Martins Idakpini broke the very code and ethics of a regimented institution he swore and took oath to abide by, and also defend. There are measures to channel your grievances in any organisation, and not by doing a video and uploading on social media. That is the highest form of indiscipline for any soldier. No father, CEO, Boss or Employer will condone that in any revered establishment.”

“…Let’s be fair in our judgment. No matter what he has to say for me he has discredited himself first by insulting all his superiors, even down to the President. My investigation reveals that Lance Corporal Martins is a ceremonious soldier in the music band of the Army who has never been to any battlefront, so doing a video to discourage and dampening the morale of his brave colleagues in the battlefront equals treachery, sabotage, and lack of patriotism for his country. We should not forget that Nigerian Security Forces are respected across Africa and the world at large, if we downplay their efforts, successes and sacrifice to our motherland then we are unknowingly running down ourselves and Nigeria as a country….” Amb. Austin Peacemaker said.

Recall that Lance Corporal Martins Idakpini was reportedly arrested in June 2020 shortly after he made a viral video where he allegedly said that the Nigerian Army and other security services are not doing enough to end the Boko Haram war. He also insulted the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari.

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