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Saraki, Bafarawa, Dankwambo go to the hilltop to stop Buhari

By News Desk,

Presidential aspirants in the Peoples Democratic Party, such as Attahiru Bafarawa, Ibrahim Dankwambo and Senate President Bukola Saraki, appear to be competing for the endorsement of retired leaders of Nigeria, hopping from Minna to Abeokuta, where coincidentally the ex-leaders have their homes on the hilltop.

Only one PDP presidential aspirant has made a distinctive difference: adding former President Goodluck Jonathan to his endorsement itinerary. The others have made Minna and Abeokuta hilltop palaces, their favourite destinations.

Senate President Saraki, who is still coy about his presidential ambition, was the second among the latter group to join the endorsement train to the hilltops, when he visited former military president General Ibrahim Babangida on Wednesday 8 August.

Former governor of Sokoto, Bafarawa had beaten him to the front seat, when he visited Obasanjo on Sunday 5 August. As he confessed, he had learnt from Obasanjo leadership school in the past, a lesson that made him to save about N11.5 billion in his state, which he bequeathed to his successor. He came to learn more as he hoped to clinch the PDP presidential ticket to square up to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari in next year’s February election.

Obasanjo, who considers himself probably the best leader Nigeria ever had, even gave his guest some extra leadership lessons. He charged Bafarawa to strengthen the leadership qualities he identified in him, including humility, diligence, selflessness and lack of discrimination

Saraki followed on Wednesday 8 August to the Minna Hilltop home of Gen. Babangida.

In a tweet about his mission, Saraki said he “Dropped in to pay my respects to General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. Always happy to be with a father and leader”.

On Monday, Saraki surfaced in Abeokuta to meet former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who has floated his own party and has turned himself into a rallying force for anti-Muhammadu Buhari politicians. Cornered by media men on the purpose of the visit, he dropped a not too-honest excuse. He said he came to see the grand Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, which was formally opened last year.

“You know I missed the official opening of the library and that is why I have decided to come and see the place and honestly it is beautiful. We are very proud of what he has done here,” he said.

A day after Saraki left Abeokuta, Gombe governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo also came knocking at Obasanjo’s hilltop home, along with a retinue of aides. The two-term governor and former accountant-general of the Nigerian federation is the latest declarant for the highest position in the land.

He is expected to jet to Minna Hilltop soon, following the trail of other aspirants.

In Minna on Monday night, General Ibrahim Babangida also hosted another presidential aspirant, Attahiru Bafarawa, former governor of Sokoto State. Bafarawa visited Obasanjo last week, with the former leader urging him to improve on his leadership weaknesses.

Yusuf Abubakar, Director Media and Publicity for the Bafarawa Campaign Oragnisation(BCO) said the Minna trip was in continuation of Bafarawa’s political consultations on his presidential aspiration.

Abubakar said that Babangida and Bafarawa, met behind closed doors at the host’s hilltop residence and their discussion was fruitful.

The media aide said that Bafarawa was accompanied on the visit by the Director General of BCO, Sen. Paul Wampana, Mrs Becky Igwe, Alhaji Sani Kabiru, Dr Amanze Obi and Dr Iliya Stephen, among others.

Atiku Abubakar, another presidential aspirant who paid a second visit to Babangida on 2 July and had used all available fora to earn Obasanjo’s blessings got his hope dashed when Obasanjo openly opposed his ambition.

Obasanjo said Atiku should never count on his support.

In an interview with Premium Times, Obasanjo swore he will never support Atiku and the doctor of theology also invoked  God to buttress his position:

“How can I be on the same side with Atiku?” Obasanjo asked. “To do what?”

“If I support Atiku for anything, God will not forgive me. If I do not know, yes. But once I know, Atiku can never enjoy my support,” he added.

“I know Atiku very well. And I have mentioned my position with Atiku. My position has not changed,” he said.

On a personal note, he added, “If my children are getting married, he has sent representatives. If his children are getting married, I have sent representatives. That is social. That is not political.

But “on political ground, my position has not changed. If I support Atiku for a political office other than the one I supported him in the past when I did not know him,” maybe, but not “now that I know him, God will not forgive me.”

Since 4 August came out openly to disrupt Atiku’s campaign, campaign activities and footworks have slowed down a bit.

AIG, MOPOL ordered to kill me – Fayose

By News Desk,

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, broke down on Wednesday while accusing policemen of beating, shooting at him, and brutalising Peoples Democratic Party supporters in the state.

Fayose made the allegation in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital at a rally organised by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“They (the police) are beating anybody who has any sign of PDP on them. They are not picking our calls; they’ve made up their minds to do this evil.

“I am in pain, I am in severe pain. I can’t turn this neck anymore. If anything happens to me, the Inspector-General of Police should be held accountable,” the governor told reporters while crying at the rally.

The governor spoke after security operatives dispersed supporters of the PDP from the popular Fajuyi Park in Ado Ekiti where they had gathered for a rally ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in the state.

Governor Fayose attempted to lead the supporters back to the park but the move was thwarted security operatives who reportedly fired gunshots into the air again.

As a result, the supporters moved to the Government House for the rally.
Addressing party supporters there, the governor, who showed up wearing a neck brace, called on the international community to intervene and protect the people.

“I am in pain but I prefer to bear these pains because of you. I plead with the international community, Nigeria is in trouble, Ekiti is in trouble,” he said.

“Please arise and stand for justice. They have arrested so many teachers, they have arrested so many Okada(motorcycle) riders. They have arrested so many PDP members.”

Buhari honours Moshood Abiola, others

By News Desk

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday gave national honours to MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election.

Abiola was bestowed with a posthumouse award of Grand Commander of Federal Republic.

Ambassador Babagana Kinginbe, who was Abiola’s running mate was also decorated with Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger.

Similarly, human rights lawyer, late Gani Fawehimi got GCON.

The conferment of the honour on the late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola comes 25 years after the election, which is recognised as the freest in the country’s history.

It comes almost 20 years after Abiola died in detention after being jailed by military dictator General Sani Abacha for trying to claim his mandate.

Germany Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and her devotion to humanity

By: Maryam Onida

Throughout 2016, the world was tested with various challenges, from terrorism, political uprising, refugee management among others, so much that United Nations (UN), kept clamoring for a united front to tackle these problems, calling them an affront on world collective humanity because people were dying in their billions each day.

A call, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, heeded to and thus, has earned her The Guild World Hero for 2016.

Merkel, despite widespread criticism, shown unparalleled devotion to humanity by her resoluteness in providing safe haven for refugees fleeing their country of origin to find relief in European countries.

The German woman braveness as exhibited in 2016 has cast doubt on what a man can do, a woman can do better philosophy, out of her opposite sex minds and razed status of other women in societies across the globe; and the US Democrat Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, would have second her had it been she did not lose to her Republican contender, president-elect, Donald Trump.

The Chancellor, a doctor in physics, started active political career in 1989 when she joined the Democratic Awakening. After the first multiparty election of East Germany state, she became deputy spokesperson of the pre-unification caretaker government.

In 1990, she was elected to the Bundestag, a constitutional and legislative body at the federal level in Germany. She was also Minister for Women and Youth and later Minister for the Environment and Nuclear Safety.

She continued active politics as leader of opposition party, CDU in 1998. During the period, she led the party to various victories and ultimately in 2005, She emerged German Chancellor.

The three term Chancellor started an open door immigration policy to allow more refugees majorly fleeing war-torn Syria and Iraq to seek asylum in the country, saying it was an humanitarian duty to help and support refugees.

Due to the policy, Merkel faced criticism from political counterparts and lost popularity among the German citizens that her political party, Christain Democratic Union (CDU) lost in regional elections to opposition, Alternative for Deutscheland (AfD)

Markus Soeder, a senior member of the CDU, in an interview with a German magazine said, “Even with the best will in the world, we won’t manage to integrate so many people from totally different cultures.”

He posited that Germany should send the refugees back over the next few years instead of allowing their families into the country.

In addition, Former Bavarian Prime Minister, Edmund Stoiber accused Mrs Merkel of not considering citizens’ fears, saying she no longer represents the majority.

Corroborating him, Foreign nationals who have lived in Germany for decades have also called for Mrs Merkel to deport migrants who have arrived in the last two years noting that crisis has wrecked their standard of living.

One woman who identified herself as a National Democratic Party voter said: “Today’s refugees get social housing, welfare payments. And this, and that, and this. Why? I’m a foreigner myself.”

Consequently, Far-right movements have also led campaigns against Germany’s welcome of refugees, blaming them for an increase of crime in several cities.

“People are very unhappy with her refugee policies,” said Helmut Schroeder, a 61-year-old unemployed locksmith in Greifswald. “It’s astonishing that one woman could take such a momentous decision on her own. We are not a monarchy.”

Despite terrorist attacks recorded in 2016 which according to whole of opposition was as a result of migrants influx, it is believed by others that her open door policy would help protect the country from terrorist attacks in the long run.

They argue that by showing compassion to hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees, the German Chancellor has sent a message to the world that Germany is not at war with Islam.

Hence, more importantly, this means that the vast majority of Muslims resident in Germany have every reason to cooperate with the security services in fight against terrorism.

Though, Merkel admitted that the open door policy might have had its pitfalls, she maintained in her New Year message that Germans must in a firm resolve take a stand against terrorists’ world of hate with more humanity and solidarity.

Expressing her resolve on immigration policy, she said, “And as we are confronted with images of the bombed-out city of Aleppo in Syria, we reiterate how important and vital it has been for our country to take in those who truly needed protection, and to help them become integrated here”.

With this singular action of hers, regardless of its shortfalls, she has dared and questioned the sincerity and integrity of other leaders in the Western world, a feat History must give her credit for.