By ABBA MAHMOOD —
The people of Gurguzu village, close to Maguzawa, a suburb of Rigasa area near Kaduna, will never forget Monday, June 27, 2016. On that day, gunmen numbering about five and riding on two motorcycles stormed a farm, killing five people and injuring six others. Mustapha AbdulAziz, a staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Minna depot, was among those killed. Others were Suleiman, Usman, Umar and Idris. They were all killed in cold blood by hooded gunmen on the farm around 6pm that day.
A friend had told me about someone who took four workers to his farm on Kaduna-Zaria road to help him plant seeds but, on coming back, he found that they had all been kidnapped and held for ransom. On Abuja-Kaduna road also, on Friday, July 1, the deputy high commissioner of Sierra Leone to Nigeria was kidnapped for ransom. Two Indians were similarly kidnapped in Gboko, Benue State. Cattle rustling has also deprived many herders of their means of livelihood. There is so much insecurity everywhere. What is really happening?
President Buhari has advised that we should go back to farm to at least grow what can feed us in Nigeria. But it appears that is not possible with the level of insecurity around the country. The rainy season appears to be good and many are looking forward to bumper harvest, but this kidnapping business is really going to stop the gains of the farmers. Nigeria will experience its greatest food insecurity unless a solution is found on the spate and spread of insecurity around the country.
In Abia State, the issuance of certificate of return to Dr. Uchechukwu Samson Ogah as governor by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has aggravated tension and confusion generated by the governorship crisis. Many believe that INEC erred by issuing Ogah the certificate despite the fact that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu had filed an appeal against the court judgment that sacked him, the incumbent. Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on June 27 delivered a judgment sacking Ikpeazu as governor of Abia State in a case of falsification of tax receipts, in a suit filed by Ogah.
Both the party’s constitution and electoral guidelines require a candidate to show evidence of tax payment as and when due for three years running. In supplying those documents, Ikpeazu was believed to have lied on oath in claiming to have paid tax on a Saturday, which is a non-working day for civil servants all over the country, including Abia State. In another instance, he gave an outrageous annual taxable income different from what was stated in his letter of appointment. He also gave a tax certificate that showed that all the taxes were paid in one day.
But the hasty manner which INEC issued a certificate of return to Ogah, even when Ikpeazu had gone on appeal, is yet another manifestation of the impulsive actions of the current INEC leadership. Since the new INEC leadership came to office, it has never conducted an election that is conclusive. And now, by their decision to issue a certificate to another candidate when there is an existing governor who has not exhausted his legal options, INEC wants to create anarchy in Abia and indeed Nigeria. There can’t be two governors at the same time anywhere, but Yakubu’s INEC wants to make world history by getting us into this situation in Abia.
The crisis engineered in the Senate by the illegitimate Senate leadership assumed a dangerous dimension last week when Ike Ekweremadu wrote a letter to the US ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, reporting about the happenings in the Senate to the ambassador for his intervention. Many of us thought that Ekweremadu was only good in faking Senate Standing Orders; we never knew that he also did not know the law, even though he is said to be lawyer and even a lawmaker!
Ekweremadu should know that Nigeria is a sovereign nation and has been independent of foreign domination for over half a century now. It is therefore not only infantile but indeed pedestrian for a so-called lawmaker to report the Nigerian president to a foreign entity. Ekweremadu does not even know that it is the National Assembly that has the power to call Buhari to order if he ever breaches the constitution. So much for a “distinguished” senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
The current Senate leadership has only one more duty to Nigeria, which is to resign and go to clear their names for forgery, among other crimes. For even the fake Senate rules being used now has been breached by them. The Standing Order prescribes for 57 Senate committees but this lawless Senate leadership has created 65 committees so far and has been going about its business without any regard to the age-old ranking order of the senators. The looming anarchy in Nigeria is largely as a result of the absence of lawful Senate leadership. This is because a fake Senate rule can only produce a fake Senate leadership, and a fake Senate leadership can only create fake committees. Thus, none of the committees can invite anyone, let alone the chief law officer of the federation, as they are all illegal and therefore illegitimate. It is really shameful and indeed disrespectful.
Barka da Sallah!
Ojo Maduekwe: A Tribute
Nigeria lost one of her brilliant sons when Chief Ojo Maduekwe died in Abuja last week at the age of 71. The only Ojo east of the Niger was a brilliant mind and a great patriot. You could say anything about the late Chief Maduekwe but one thing you can’t take away was the fact that he was never corrupt. As a former member of the House of Representatives in the Second Republic, and as a ruling party secretary, as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in various ministries (the last one being foreign ministry) and as ambassador to Canada which was his last appointment, Chief Maduekwe has paid his dues in nation-building. We met last in the US during which he was his usual cheerful and humorous self. I didn’t know it was my last meeting with him. May the good Lord grant the soul of Ambassador Maduekwe eternal rest. Amen!