NWODO, WABARA LEAD 20-MAN OHANAEZE COMMITTEE ON RESTRUCTURING The apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has picked former Enugu State Governor, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, and former Senate President Adolphus Wabara to lead a 20-man committee which will articulate a position for Ndigbo in the proposed restructuring of Nigeria. Other notable members of the committee include: former Imo State governor, Ikedi Ohakim, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, Senator Ben Obi, Senator Julius Ucha, Barrister Dan Nwanyanwu, Prof. Epiphany Azinge, Prof. Charles Nwekeaku, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, Chief Osita Chidoka, among others. Inaugurating the committee on Wednesday in Abuja, the president general of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, urged members to give the assignment the seriousness it deserved. He said, “I’m therefore of very strong believe that restructuring of Nigeria is a social, economic and cultural imperative. Many other groups in Nigeria have continued to make demands for secession from the country. “Such demands have come from the Northern, Western and of course, Eastern part of Nigeria. “Once the structure of Nigeria is right, all these demands and agitations will stop and Nigeria by God’s grace will be one of the greatest countries in the world. “Today, I have therefore, a great pleasure and honour to inaugurate a committee comprising a very distinguished and illustrious Igbo sons and daughters under the leadership of His Excellency, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo the former Governor of Enugu State to review past discussions, make wide contacts with Igbos as Igbo position on a restructured Nigeria.” He said the task assigned to the team is very sublime and critical to the future of Igbo in Nigeria. “I pray the Almighty God, who has led our people through past perilous times, guide you as you carry out this sublime duty of producing a structure that will make the Federal Republic of Nigeria a happy country for all of us.” Iwuanyanwu, who reflected on past agitations before and after the Civil War, however dispelled long held notions about the position of the defunct Eastern Region during the Aburi Conference.He said contrary to notions, the late Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, who led the delegation to the Aburi conference with General Yakubu Gowon, never asked for secession from Nigeria but for restructuring to give component parts of the federation greater autonomy.


CONSTITUENTS BEAT UP LAWMAKER FOR FAILING TO DELIVER ON CAMPAIGN PROMISES Olusoji Adetunji, the House of Representatives member representing Ifelodun/Boripe/Odo-Otin federal constituency in Osun State was allegedly beaten by his constituents during a recent visit to his hometown. In the video that went viral on social media, the lawmaker is seen being attacked by residents who alleged that he neglected their well being, even though they (the people) came out enmass to vote for him during elections. It was also observed in the video that some constituents surrounded him, screaming and calling for the representative to be beaten. A woman could be heard trying to caution the man filming against recording the incident. However, the person behind the camera insisted on filming, insulting the representative and other politicians. @Tenibegiloju202 said: “D pple of Ada in Boripe LGA of Osun ambushed their HOR member and descended on him heavily for failing them. Unfortunately, Tinubu’s ancestral town, Iragbiji is d capital of Boripe, they are angry.” Another user who corroborated the incident, @DefenceTimes1, said: “Seems like the poor have started eating the rich in Osun state as people of Ada in Boripe LGA of Osun ambushed their HOR member and descended on him heavily for failing them.” The incident prompted mixed reactions as other commenters also chipped in: @codshalom77 wrote: “If every Constituency can hold their HoR members and their Senators accountable like this, Nigeria will change within a short time. “Unfortunately, most people in their constituencies will rather roll out the red carpet for the thieves in NASS for the little crumbs they’ll sprinkle on them when he arrives than hold them accountable!” @ManuelPeniel1 wrote: “This is just the begining… Hunger will make all of them have sense.. can Tinubu increase the price of fuel to #2000 per litre, everybody must have sense.”@ogiemegha71751 wrote: “Nigerians please stand up for your rights, let’s keep doing this to them and they will learn in a hard way.”


APPEAL COURT DISMISSES YAHAYA BELLO’S CASE AGAINST EFCC BOSS The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Thursday dismissed a previous ruling made by a Kogi State High Court against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and its Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, concerning a contempt case and restraining order filed by the former Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello. In a lead judgment delivered by Justice Joseph O.K. Oyewole, the appellate court held that “a court of law cannot preclude the EFCC or any Law Enforcement Agency from investigating and prosecuting crime.” “This is a fundamental jurisdictional point that cannot be shoved aside as it borders on the doctrine of separation of powers. The argument of the Respondent that no ground covers this point cannot stand in view of the instant circumstance,” the judge ruled. Naija News reports that the EFCC had approached the Court of Appeal to halt the execution of an order of Justice Isa Jamil of the Kogi State High Court summoning Olukoyede to defend allegations of disobedience of court orders. The anti-graft agency also challenged another order of the court restraining it from harassing, arresting or detaining Bello pending the determination of the substantive suit. The appellate court on Thursday allowed the EFCC’s appeal and overruled Bello’s preliminary objection. The court stated that it should not be drawn into the well of technicalities and granted the Commission the authority to continue its prosecution of Bello. The appellate court also awarded a fine of N1,000,000.00 (One Million Naira) against Yahaya Bello. Recall that Justice Jamil had on April 25, 2024, in an exparte ruling, ordered that Olukoyede should be summoned to appear before him to answer to a contempt charge.According to him, Bello tendered exhibits before his court that Olukoyede and the EFCC “carried out some acts upon which they have been restrained by this Court on February 9, 2024 pending the determination of the substantive motion on Notice before this Court”.


EMIRATE TUSSLE: POLICE BAN DURBAR ACTIVITIES IN KANO The Kano State Police Command has issued an order banning all Durbar activities throughout the State for the upcoming Eid-el-Kabir (Sallah) celebrations as part of enhanced security measures to ensure public safety and peace in the State during the festive period. In a statement released on Thursday by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, the Police Command said the ban on Durbar activities, a significant traditional events post-Eid-el-Kabir, followed extensive security reports and consultations with relevant stakeholders. “This measure is taken as a result of series of security reports obtained and wide consultations made with relevant security stakeholders to ensure the safety of the larger community,” the Command explained. This is the first time the durbar has been cancelled since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The three-day durbar is the largest festival in the state with a splendid display of horseback riding and cultural activities that always draw a large crowd from within and outside Kano State. The event is usually hosted by the Emir of Kano. Despite the restriction on Durbar activities, the Command has, however, advised worshippers to proceed with their Eid prayers at designated Eid prayer grounds as done in previous years. “Worshippers are advised to conduct their normal Eid Prayers at the various designated Eid praying grounds, traditionally done in the past,” the statement noted. The Command urged residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the nearest Police Station. The statement emphasised the importance of continued collaboration and cooperation from all stakeholders to maintain a secure environment. “Adequate security deployments have been put in place to ensure no breakdown of law and order in all parts of the State before, during, and after the festive period,” the statement assured. LEADERSHIP reports that the latest development comes on the backdrop of a request by the deposed 15th Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero, to the State’s Police Command, asking for special security arrangements for him to host the upcoming Eid-el-Kabir festivities in Kano Emirate in a letter addressed to the Commissioner of Police dated June 10, 2024. Bayero was dethroned by the Kano State government about three weeks ago, and in his place, the 14th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, was reinstated by Governor Abba Yusuf. The former has, however, refused to let go and continued to lay claim to the Kano throne from a mini palace in the commercial city, a development that has put Kano on the edge ever since.Both Sanusi II and Bayero have continued to hold courts and conduct ceremonial activities from their separate palaces in the state amid a legal tussle to outdo each other.


TROOPS ARREST SUSPECTED KILLERS OF 5 SOLDIERS IN ABA Troops operating in the southeast region of Nigeria have achieved a significant breakthrough by arresting the perpetrators responsible for the deaths of five soldiers in Abia State. This operation was carried out during a raid on hideouts belonging to the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network (IPOB/ESN) fighters in Abia State. The Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj-Gen Edward Buba, made the announcement during a press briefing on Thursday, June 13. The incident leading to the soldiers’ deaths occurred when some gunmen attacked and killed five soldiers in Aba on 30 May. These gunmen were reportedly enforcing a sit-at-home order issued by IPOB in commemoration of the annual Biafra Day celebration. In response to these attacks, intelligence-based operations were conducted, resulting in the discovery and elimination of several IPOB/ESN camps across the South East region, including the Igboro forest in Arochukwu, known for sheltering IPOB/ESN fighters. Maj-Gen Edward Buba emphasized that the arrested IPOB fighters have been providing valuable assistance in locating other camps and individuals linked to the outlawed group. He also highlighted the military’s continued efforts in maintaining pressure on these terrorist groups, ensuring they have no respite and taking the fight directly to the enemy. According to The Nation, Maj-Gen. Buba said, “We have sustained the momentum against the terrorist and their cohorts which is crucial to military operations and it is the reason we take the fight to the enemy and allow them no respite.“Our operations are based on focusing on our war efforts, mobilization, and air strikes on terrorists. The combination of these efforts has resulted in several achievements on the battlefield.”


TINUBU RECEIVES DRAFT BILL ON REGIONAL GOVT TODAY President Bola Tinubu will today receive a draft bill seeking a return to a regional system of government for Nigeria. The proposed legislation authored by a chieftain of the Yoruba socio-cultural association, Afenifere, Akin Fapohunda, and titled, “A Bill for an Act to substitute the annexure to Decree 24 of 1999 with New Governance Model for the Federal Republic of Nigeria’, seeks among others, new extant laws to be cited as “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria New Governance Model for Nigeria Act 2024.” The said bill was disowned by the House of Representatives whose spokesman, Akin Rotimi, and the Chairman, Committee on Rules and Business said had not been listed for deliberation in the ongoing moves to review the 1999 Constitution (as amended). However, Fapohunda said on Thursday that the bill would be transmitted to the President on Friday. “I’m submitting my letter (draft bill) today but I will wait for seven days before releasing it to the public,” he said. Meanwhile, Fapohunda who also represents the Coalition of Indigenous Ethnic Nationalities told The PUNCH that the organisation was proposing the division of the country into eight geo-political regions with approximate interim boundaries. The proposed regions. according to Fapohunda. include the southern region to be made up of Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, and Cross Rivers States and “Optional inclusions of the Annang, Effik, Ekoi, Ibibio, Oro Ohaji/Egbema in Southern Imo, the Adonia, Efemia, Ijaw, Ogoni, Bini, Ishan, Isoko, Urhobo and the Ijaw-speaking people in Northern Ondo State with land contiguity.” He continued, “The South Eastern region consists of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo States. The Western region comprises Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, and Ekiti States, incorporating the Yoruba-speaking people in Kogi and the Igbomina people in Kwara State. Additional options would be the Itsekiri people of Delta State and Akoko-Edo people of Edo State to make their respective choices.” Others include the Mid-Western Region “Made up of Edo and Delta States, possibly incorporating the Anioma people and the Eastern Middle Belt Region comprising Northern Cross River, Southern Kaduna, Southern Borno, Adamawa, Benue, Kogi, Plateau, Nasarawa and Taraba States.” The Western Middle Belt Region comprises Southern Kebbi, parts of Kwara and Niger States while the North Eastern Region will be made up of parts of Borno, Gombe, Bauchi, Jigawa, and Yobe States. The North Western Region, according to the Afenifere chieftain, comprises Kaduna, parts of Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara States. Fapohunda said the coalition envisaged a two-tier government, federal and regions, adding that the latter would be at liberty to manage her affairs, “Including the creation of sub-entities, based on the stipulations that are agreed upon and embedded in their respective constitutions.” In its proposed governance stipulations, CIEN stated that “In the quest for re-configuration and downsizing, an option to consider might be to retain the present boundaries of the 36 States, as would have been adjusted, but to creatively downgrade the paraphernalia of political administration as follows: “To introduce a new regional government framework with executive and legislative functions and bodies with the headship title of Premier. “In the new dispensation, the present States (for example the six in the Western region) would be converted to provinces. Governance at this level shall be by Provincial Councils that integrate executive and legislative functions, with Chairman and Support Specialist Administrative Officers. The regions shall be at liberty to create provinces, subject to viability and self-sustainability. “The present Local Government Areas are to be transformed into divisions, with divisional managers and specialist administrative officers; to operate as socio-economic development institutions. The new provinces shall also be at liberty to create divisions, subject to viability and self-sustainability.” The coalition also proposed a new constitution…


UGWU-ONYEAMA: ANOTHER BLOODY SCENE CAUSED BY ARMY CHECKPOINTS, BY DONS EZE Once again, another bloody scene was witnessed on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, at the “notorious” Ugwu-Onyeama, a hilly stretch of road of about five kilometers from Enugu Metropolis, enroute the Ninth Mile Corner, along Enugu-Onitsha Expressway. On that particular day, an articulated vehicle was said to have lost control while descending the hill, probably due to break failure, and in the process, rammed itself on long queue of vehicles at an army checkpoint. Immediately, the entire place burst into flames, while most of the vehicles on the queue, and their passengers, got burnt. Reports of casualities differed. While some reports said that 25 persons lost their lives as a result of the incident, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), said they counted four dead persons. Our concern, however, is not necessarily on the veracity of the figures reported in the present instance, but on the frequency of accidents at Ugwu-Onyeama. No week passes without such ugly reports emanating from the place. The road is becoming synonymous with Golgotha, a deadly scene. At a stage, it was suggested that some “evil forces” were dwelling at the place, and that they were responsible for the frequent accidents on the road. This made some church people, and some “spiritually gifted” individuals to start going to the area to offer sacrifices at night. But this would not end the ugly spectacles. For us, however, we believe that the frequent accidents at Ugwu-Onyeama are man-made. They are caused by human beings through their actions and inactions. For several years, that particular stretch of road has been under construction, but still remains uncompleted. In consequence, it becomes an uphill task to try to navigate or to drive vehicles along the road, due to its very poor state. For many motorists therefore, it is simply a matter of survival of the fittest, where everybody will be struggling for where to put their tyres on the very rough edges of the road, and in the process, accidents occur. Unfortunately, most of the articulated vehicles that navigate through Ugwu-Onyeama will not hold their brakes, and they will be running on top of their speed while descending the hill not minding the state of the road, which very often result to accidents. When, however, relief seems to have come, when one side of the Expressway was virtually completed, instead of leaving the people to heave sigh of relief, the Nigerian Army and other security agencies, as well as the construction company building the road, carried heavy barricades to block it. This often has resulted to very long queues witnessed on both sides of the road, every moment of the day. At present, there are three check points on each side of Ugwu-Onyeama – two on top of the hill, two at the middle, and two at the base – all being manned mostly by personnel of the Nigerian Army. On each of these checkpoints, there will be long stretch of vehicles waiting to be passed, not minding the steepness of the hill. The resultant effect has been frequent accidents, when some vehicles descending the hill will ram on these long queues. And there will be loss of human lives, destruction of vehiles, and valuable properties. One wonders what is so special about Ugwu-Onyeama that security agencies will mount three checkpoints on each side of the less than five kilometers of road, thereby create unnecessary traffic hold-ups, which frequently result to accidents. Till date, we have not been told how many criminals that have been apprehended as a result of these check points. While we have come to live with the reality of the garrisoning of the South East through several checkpoints mounted…


LG AUTONOMY: SUPREME COURT REFUSES TO JOIN STATE ASSEMBLIES, RESERVES JUDGEMENT The supreme court has refused a bid by the state houses of assembly to join as defendants in the suit by the Federal government seeking full autonomy for Nigeria’s 774 local governments. The 36 states of the federation are the defendants in the suit marked SC/CV/343/2024. The governors were sued through their respective state Attorneys General. At the resumed hearing on Thursday, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Maikyau (SAN) applied on behalf of the Speaker of Kebbi State House of Assembly to be joined as a party in the matter. But the apex court held that the Houses of Assembly have no business to be in the matter for reasons of law and jurisdiction. The states, which were represented in court by their attorneys-general and lawyers, thereafter, adopted their respective processes and prayed the court to dismiss the suit. The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, AGF, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) had, on behalf of the Federal Government, initiated the legal action against the governors, primarily seeking full autonomy for local governments as the third tier of government. The AGF, in the original summons which he personally signed, is praying the Apex Court for an order restraining state governors from unilaterally, arbitrarily and unlawfully dissolving democratically elected local government councils. He is also praying the Supreme Court for an order to allow the funds in the appropriations of the local governments to be channelled directly to them from the Federation Account in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution against the alleged illegal joint accounts created by the governors. He also sought the order of the Apex Court to prevent the governors from constituting inner committees to conduct the affairs of the local governments, against the democratically recognized and guaranteed system. The Federal Government is also seeking an order prohibiting governors, their agents and privies, from receiving, spending or handling funds released from the Federation Account for the benefit of local governments when no democratically elected local government system is in place.The suit is predicated on 27 grounds, which include the fact that the Federation of Nigeria is a creation of the 1999 Constitution, with the President as the head of the federal executive arm of the Federation and sworn to uphold and implement the provisions of the Constitution.


PETER OBI THROWS VEILED JABS AT TINUBU, SOYINKA, OKUPE, SOLUDO Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 presidential election, Peter Obi, on Wednesday, displayed his sense of sarcasm when he threw veiled jabs at President Bola Tinubu, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka and the former Director-General of his campaign council, Doyin Okupe. Obi, who was a guest on an Arise TV political programme in commemoration of the 2024 Democracy Day, was asked to give his honest assessment of the Tinubu administration and he promptly said: “President Tinubu has kept his campaign promises of continuing from where Buhari stopped. “He has done very well and is excellent at continuing from where Buhari stopped. Everything has gone up.” President Tinubu Has Kept His Campaign Promises; Continuing From Where Buhari Stopped He has done very well and is excellent at continuing from where Buhari stopped. Everything has gone up. While speaking on the recent criticism he has faced from the likes of Soyinka, Okupe and Anambra States governor Charles Soludo, Obi said: “On Wole Soyinka, Doyin Okupe and Soludo’s criticisms, I don’t like to coment when my fathers talk. I will leave the assessment to the people to make. “He (Wole Soyinka), is an elder and I don’t talk when elder talks. But when I get to that age, I would like the younger generation to respect me and I would put myself in a position to be respected. “But I am fit to be the president of this nation. I am competent in both private and public service. I am one of the most successful business men in Nigeria. “I can stand and compete against anyone in terms of my education and background.”Peter Obi: “The first thing you do as a leader who inherited a difficult situation is to lead by example.”


JUNE 12: EXPERTS CALL FOR URGENT REFORMS IN NIGERIAN DEMOCRACY, DECRY NEO-LIBERAL ECONOMIC POLICIES After 25 years of civilian rule in Nigeria (since 1999), the entrenchment of the ethos of democracy in governance is still a far cry. This is not unconnected with unfavourable policies and actions or inactions of some unpatriotic politicians, which have not only brought the economy to its knees but have adversely affected every average Nigerian, especially in recent times. As the Nigerian government sets aside June 12 for the commemoration of Democracy Day, some economic experts have identified factors militating against democracy vis-a-vis the ideals of June 12 and called for immediate and intentional action from both the government and the people to tackle the menace. In the 15th Open Forum Town Hall meeting/National Dialogue on the practice of democracy in Nigeria in commemoration of Nigeria’s 2024 Democracy Day, the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Prof Akpan Ekpo, explained that democracy can never be deepened when the Federal Government engages in what he termed “palliative and neoliberal economic policies.” Ekpo, who is a professor of economics, noted that the humongous amount the Nigerian government expended on palliative rice could have been used to lessen the burden of transportation, education, health, or any other social amenity that would positively affect everyone in society. Presenting a paper on the theme: “Deepening Democracy In Nigeria: The Struggle Between Politics And Governance,” Ekpo said the struggle between politics and governance has, over the years, brought untold hardship to the vast majority of Nigerian citizens. He regretted that the ruling class seemed not to know when politics ends and good governance begins, insisting that the country cannot deepen democracy and grow economically when it does not respect the rule of law, which produces better economic outcomes. He explained that 133 million Nigerians are multi-dimensionally poor, 85 percent of the citizens have no access to the basic necessities of life, and the unemployment rate is at 38 percent, whereas only 10 percent of the citizens are benefiting from the vast resources of the country. Prof. Ekpo further explained that there is nothing wrong with the government subsidizing any product or chosen natural resource, as bigger democracies do the same. He noted that the problem with the fuel subsidy in Nigeria was the fraudulent manner in which it was managed. He, therefore, called for restructuring so that states would have more economic power. His words: “What we need is federalism, give the state more powers. You cannot deepen democracy when you are building a palliative economy. In all the states they distributed rice to, how are we sure rice was their problem? The money the government is wasting on those things could provide cheaper transportation and education. “You cannot deepen democracy by what I call neoliberal economic policies. Let me tell you, there is nothing wrong with subsidies if they are well managed. In bigger democracies, there is a subsidy; you go to their canteens and eat food at a subsidized rate. If a country, for example, makes a resource from petroleum, why can’t the people enjoy it? Just that the subsidy they were having in Nigeria was a scam, it wasn’t well managed. “The elites in power do not feel what ordinary people, the poor masses, are feeling.” In the same vein, another Professor of Economics and former Commissioner for Economic Development in Akwa Ibom, Emmanuel Onwiduokit, noted that if Nigeria is not restructured, the problems bedeviling it would not be resolved even in the next 100 years. He attributed the economic crises in Nigeria to bad leadership, urging the people to be wary of recruiting leaders whose character and antecedents are in doubt. He emphasized that any Nigerian who seeks to…