The Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh. Lukman, has dismissed claims that the current leadership crisis in the party is as a result of scheming by political gladiators to control party structures ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The APC chieftain, however, attributed the wave of crisis in the party to the intolerance of its leaders in the National Working Committee (NWC)
Lukman in a personal statement signed Sunday in Abuja, also chastised the NWC of the party for its inability to convene important party meetings, saying it is now easier to organize a general election in Nigeria than hold a meeting of the APC’s National Executive Committee NEC.
The forum DG said he was reacting to a commentary by a certain Peter Oparah calling on the APC Governors to sack him for doing a ‘cheap hatchet’, adding that the task of DG of PGF is separate from the responsibility of being a member of APC.
Stating that no one was using him to fight any cause, Lukman said political debates are now reduced to propaganda partly because Nigerians take leadership for granted and expect that people working with leaders must always demonstrate agreement. “Once that is the case, leaders limit themselves to recruiting sycophants to work with them”, he said.
Lukman advocated the need to divorce the politics of 2023 from the current leadership crisis in the party.
According to him; “As Nigerians, we have the constitutional right to freely express ourselves, and by extension, also have expectations that should guide who gets elected. Does that explain the leadership crisis in APC and to what extent does that confirm or otherwise the allegations that those who are against Comrade Oshiomhole are doing it for 2023?
“Inability to manage disagreements and resolve conflicts bordering on leadership disputes is at the centre of the crisis in APC. Unfortunately, these are not the issues being debated. What is being debated is about the personalities in the conflict and who is supporting who. It is not about the details of the disagreements. We may succeed to come to agreement about who should occupy the positions, but will that prevent a situation whereby organs of the party will not meet such that vacancies will emerge and proper processes of refilling the vacancies will not be followed?
“Partly, to blackmail those of criticising Comrade Oshiomhole, all those alleged to have been opposed to him are being accused of nursing or supporting ambition for 2023. False as it is, to avoid falling into the pit being dug to produce intolerant leaders, party leaders and members should not be defensive about their positions. They should be able to ask, since Comrade Oshiomhole is a threat to the ambition of those opposed to him, it means that there is someone he supports. Who is that person and what does that person represent? Is Comrade Oshiomhole’s leadership attributes representative of the orientation of the person Comrade Oshiomhole is supporting?
“We must not allow the debate to be reduced to a simple strategy to conquer and subjugate opponents. The danger here is not that Comrade Oshiomhole may succeed in defeating his opponents, but that if it is part of the strategy to promote a particular person to emerge as President Buhari’s successor in 2023, for instance, based on Comrade Oshiomhole’s style of leadership, it then means that there is a very high possibility that such a post-President Buhari successor will be closer, if not worse than, President Obasanjo’s model of garrison leadership. Is that the type of President we want?,” he queried.
Berating Oshiomhole for reneging on his campaign promises to reengineer the party by activating all its organs, Lukman lamented that it has now become easier to organize a general election in Nigeria than hold a NEC meeting of the party.
He said; “Just as an illustration, it will be useful to recall one aspect of his (Oshiomhole’s) vision statement, which commits him; ‘To promote internal party democracy, we will ensure that all organs of the party regularly meet, as stipulated by the party’s Constitution. For instance, article 25 of the APC’s Constitution provides that National Convention of the party shall be held once in two years; National Executive Committee NEC every quarter and National Working Committee NWC once every month’.
“Yet, when party leaders are criticised for these infractions, it is being translated to mean agenda for 2023. Rather than therefore allow distractions based on highlighting issues of contractual relationship that have no bearing on the challenges, the focus should be on problems of intolerance, which is the source of the leadership crisis in APC. In terms of how it manifests in APC, it is two-fold. The first is, what is it that should be done to ensure that the APC is able to democratise itself and based on its democratic credentials produce the kind of leaders Nigerians are looking for? The second issue is, how can we support APC leaders to re-orient themselves in the direction of democratising the party to produce the kind of leaders Nigerians want?
“The first border on the details of the current leadership crisis in APC. The second is really about challenging our leaders to be much more tolerant and honestly engage the issues. It is not about scheming to dominate. If it is about scheming, then no need to expect internal democracy in our parties and we should be ready to accept all the crude practices of manipulating and producing fictitious membership register just ahead of party primary. Once we encourage our leaders to be intolerant, we should just be ready for every known democratic requirement to be undermined.
“In short, the problem of intolerance, is the fundamental leadership challenge in Nigerian politics. Given all the leadership problems of APC at the moment and against the overriding consideration of producing the type of tolerant leaders who should ‘live in the present, with one eye on the future’ as well as ‘right-brain and left-brain’, through democratic process, the first requirement is for APC to ensure that all organs of the party are made functional and they accommodate as all shades of opinions of members”, he added
Current Service Chiefs More Mentally Prepared To End Boko Haram Insurgency – Security Expert
The efforts of the Service Chiefs at ending insurgency in Nigeria have been commended by Philip Agbese, a Middlesex University London trained human rights lawyer and security expert.
Phillip Agbese who is also the President of the pan-Nigerian group, Nigeria First, spoke with select journalists on the sidelines of the occasion of the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebrations in Lagos. He stated that Nigeria has indeed made substantial progress in the prosecution of the war against insurgency in the country and contributed immensely to the global war against terrorism .
” The 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day is indeed a time to reflect on the sacrifices of our soldiers in preserving the territorial integrity of the country, and there is no doubt that the Boko Haram insurgency has indeed brought to bear the invaluable role of the Armed Forces in keeping Nigeria safe and secured for all. ”
He further added that Nigeria had made substantial progress with the present crop of Service Chiefs’ efforts in the country.
“The efforts of the present Service Chiefs have been outstanding so far, and this is largely responsible for the numerous gains that have been recorded in the prosecution of the war against insurgency in the country.”
“I would like to mention that the Nigerian Army, which is at the forefront of the war against the Boko Haram insurgency, has displayed a great commitment which must be acknowledged by all well-meaning Nigerians.”
The President, Nigeria First also noted that competence, character, credibility, and confidence remain the game-changer in the war against insurgency.
“We must admit that there was a time where the Boko Haram insurgents ran riot and took over local government areas in parts of North-East Nigeria. That was also a period where the leadership of the Armed Forces was at its lowest.”
“That there is a turnaround in the fortunes of the country is not by accident, but rather a function of sound leadership provided and the Nigerian Army comes to focus under Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai who led by example in addressing the threats posed by the Boko Haram insurgents.”
“Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai has no doubt redefined the rules of engagement through measures that emphasized competence, strength of character and confidence that indeed boosted the morale of the troops in the prosecution of the war against Boko Haram insurgency in the country.”
“As we all know, there is no Nigerian territory that is under the control of the Boko Haram insurgents, and we are all witness to the fact that the activities of the group have been restricted to the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin region.”
When asked if there is a need to rejig the operational strategy towards ending the Boko Haram war in the country, he stated that current Service Chiefs are mentally prepared to end Boko Haram insurgency.
“For those of us in the security sector, we have followed with keen interest the operational strategies deployed by the Armed Forces and I dare say, it is top-notch and yielding the desired results. If this is not the case, I am sure the Boko Haram insurgents would have run over Nigeria going by the sophistication of their operations and the numerous external support they have been receiving locally and internationally.”
“This is a function of leadership. Like I mentioned earlier, the Chief of Army Staff has indeed distinguished himself in this regard. His strength of character is infectious, and the confidence with which the Nigerian troops display in battle is also worthy of commendation.
He further added that if the current tempo is sustained, the war against Boko Haram insurgency would be a thing of the past by December 2021.
“I am of the considered opinion that the mental preparedness of the present crop of Service Chiefs in leading the war against insurgency is excellent. We should do well to analyze issues objectively. And not until we do that we would still be carried away by the mischievous narrative and propaganda been peddled by associates of the Boko Haram insurgents under various nomenclatures in the country.”
“We must also have at the back of our minds that there are conspiracies against the efforts of the Armed Forces and despite this fact, successes have been recorded in ways too numerous to mention.”
He advised Nigerians to extend their support to the Service Chiefs’ efforts in the final push for the decimation of the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents.
“We all have a role to play. We cannot afford to continue to join the bandwagon of those mischief makers against the country’s interest. We must extend our support and see to the end of the Boko Haram insurgents in the country. As for the Service Chiefs’ mental preparedness, I say that they are more than prepared in this regard and the end of Boko Haram Insurgency might be in sight. This is what Nigeria needs at this critical point of our existence.”
It would be recalled that in some quarters they have been widespread criticism of the commitment and efforts of the Service Chief towards ending the Boko Haram insurgency in the country.
Armed Forces Remembrance Day: Pigeons Released By Buhari Refuse To Fly
The doves, otherwise known as white pigeons, released by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day ceremony, refused to fly despite multiple attempts by the President thereby sparking a debate on social media on Friday.
The President had opened the birdcage at the National Arcade, picked up one of the doves, and thrown it into the air but the bird landed atop the cage and refused to fly.
Buhari, who was eager to let the white pigeons fly, opened the roof of the cage in a bid to send them all out but the birds remained adamant and decided to sit on top of the cage’s roof.
The President, who appeared tired of trying, soon left the birds and returned to his seat. Moments after the President had left, however, some of the birds flew.
The ritual of releasing doves is to commemorate the life of a departed loved one and is common at significant events like funerals or memorials. It also signifies peace.
Studies show that domesticated doves which are used to living in cages are not always keen on flying.
In 2014, the doves refused to fly when former President Goodluck Jonathan freed them. The Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry Enugu, Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka, described the incident at the time as a sign that God had abandoned Jonathan.
The refusal of the birds to fly on Friday, however, sparked thousands of comments on social media.
A former presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, Adamu Garba, said the birds should be eaten if they cannot do what they were trained to do.
“The pigeons are tired and overtime became lazy, they don’t want to fly the spirit of The Nigerian Flag. We should roast them at Suya joint and deploy Crowwe for action,” he said.
Social media personality, Morris Monye, said the Department of State Services would have arrested the pigeons for embarrassing the President if they could.
“I guarantee you… If it was possible, the DSS would arrest the pigeons for such an affront on the President. But really, is there peace, harmony, and security in the land?” he asked.
A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, who is a known critique of the President, also tweeted, “Hmmm. Even the pigeons in Nigeria.”
Capitol Hill Has Exposed Amnesty International, Falana, Others Hypocrisy Against Nigerian Military – Group
The invasion of the United States’ Capitol by pro-Trump protesters has exposed the hypocrisy of Amnesty International, Femi Falana and others in the forefront of the EndSARS movement against the Nigerian military.
This was the submission of the March4Nigeria Movement in reaction to the violent attack of December 6 at the U.S Congress aimed to overturn the presidential election.
In a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Richard Augustine Adie, on Thursday, the group wondered why AI, Falana, Omoyele Sowore, Aisha Yesufu and others have suddenly gone mute after troops were deployed to forestall law and order in the Capitol.
Adie recalled that these group had criticised the military for doing the same in Nigeria despite more wreckage, arson and killings.
According to Adie, the Capitol invasion shows that it isn’t unlawful for the government to deploy troops when the other agencies have been overwhelmed in a situation that requires urgent action.
The group, however, advised the activists and all the EndSARS protesters that the country will no “longer tolerate their madness as the government lives up to its responsibility of protecting lives and property”.
It also warned those who want to destabilise Nigeria that a tall task awaits as they will be met with “Citizens’ Soldiers” who will address their madness on the streets of Abuja without hesitation.
Read the full statement below:
The so called international human rights and civil rights groups and their leaders in Nigeria are not sincere.
During the Anti-SARS protests which rocked major cities and towns in Nigeria last October, these so called civil rights activists and groups frowned at the deployment of troops to quell the violent riots which had claimed the lives of innocent persons and some security agents.
To people like Lagos based lawyer, Femi Falana, online publisher, Omoyele Sowore, BBOG campaigner, Aisha Yesufu, Amnesty International and the rest, it did not matter that people were being killed and multi million dollar edifices and other facilities were being burned while economic activities were grounded.
The only evil they saw was when the government deployed troops to disperse the mob who have overpowered other security agents and restore normalcy.
Then, it was common to hear from the tribe of these activists, that in saner climes like the US and UK, the government would not send troops in such circumstances, but would have invited the rioters to negotiate ways of discontinuing the protests.
Falana even described the mobilization of troops to contain the excesses of the hooligans who had taken to the streets and were burning public property as illegal saying it is oppressive and despotic.
When the Nigerian army announced its plan to carry out operation “CROCODILE SMILE V1” from 20th of October to the 31st of December 2020, the civil rights groups misinterpreted the action and said it was targeted at the EndSARS protesters even when the army explained that it is a yearly exercise that is pre-planned regardless of what is going on in the country.
Said Falana, “The so- called Crocodile Smile VI exercise should be shelved as it cannot be justified under the Armed Forces Act.”
Amnesty International on it’s part says it has been investigating alleged rights violations by Nigerian forces and disapproved of the deployment of troops saying it would rather that the police be strengthened to handle such matters.
The Nigeria Centre for Liberty, led by one Ariyo Dare, also complained about the measures taken by the government to restore normalcy in Lagos.
But the hypocrisy of these activists have been exposed with the recent invasion of Capitol hill by supporters of President Donald Trump in part of an insurrection aimed at shutting down Congress as it formalized President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
The insurrection, just like the EndSARS protests led to several deaths including that of a Capitol Hill police officer, after the pro-Trump mob overwhelmed security lines at the Capitol.
As the hoodlums broke into the complex, the US Government immediately mobilised a quick-reaction force assembled by the Defense Department which moved against the rioters. The Force was stationed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and authorized for use by acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller.
It was also established that the Pentagon also approved the use of 154 members of the National Guard at the Capitol who were sworn in to work with Capitol Police.
The combined forces were able to arrest people suspected of involvement in the breach and through that, brought the situation under control. It has been reported that more arrests are expected as investigators scrutinize photographs, videos and social media posts to identify the protesters while the F.B.I. has received more than 40,000 tips, including photos and videos of suspects.
To forestall further breaches, the Pentagon is even moving ahead to review agents who will be a part of the security detail for the Jan. 20 inauguration to ensure security.
From these, the Nigerian activists should know that Nigerians have now realised that there’s nothing wrong for a government to take an action that would ensure the safety of citizens and prevent chaos.
Nigerians now know better how their government should handle any security threat and that what matters is the overall interest of the country.
They know what constitutes unpatriotic actd and that it is not unlawful for the government to deploy troops when the other agencies have been overwhelmed in a situation that requires urgent action.
In the past, the civilian government of President Shehu Shagari had deployed troops to quell the Maitatsine riot in Kano when the police were overwhelmed.
The deployment of troops in the US, serves as warning to people like Falana, Sowore and the rest who would rather the country goes up in flames.
These activists and all the endsARS protesters should note that Nigeria and Nigerians will no longer tolerate their madness as the government lives up to its responsibility of protecting lives and property.
Those who want to destabilize Nigeria will from now on have a tall task as they will be met with Citizens’ Soldiers who will address their madness on the streets of Abuja without hesitation.
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