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Shettima: Anyone Above 70 Years Should Forget About Contesting For President

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Yerima Shettima is the President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum. In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he speaks on the controversy over zoning for the 2023 presidential election, Southern Kaduna crisis and other issues of national interest. Excerpts:

You have always insisted that the North will produce President Buhari’s successor in 2023 but the President’s nephew, Mamman Daura recently said competence should be considered for the next rather than zoning. What is your perspective on that?

I’m in support of what he said because the issue of zoning has not helped us in the past and it will never help us now. Yes, it is true that it must be seen to be applied in the spirit of justice, equity and fairness to all. But don’t forget the fact that this is the same thing that brought us to where we are today. So, I am of the view that competency can come from any part of the country. If we have any competent hand from any part of the country, we will all queue behind that person and help him succeed so that we can get things right. If we can’t get it right, things can never move forward and we will just remain stagnant on one spot.

So, I concur with Mamman Daura’s view that competency is critical at this particular time without minding the region where that person comes from. In the past, my position has always been that the North will retain the power but when I look at events in the country, between three years ago and last year, a lot of things have really changed. We are more divided than we used to be and so on that basis, I resort to my recent conclusion that let us settle for competency rather than zoning. If we have the best eleven from North- East; South-South; North-Central; South-East; North-West and South- West, let us bring them to the fore and let Nigerians decide. But in the North, we will ensure that we vehemently refuse any arrangement by any political party that will say categorically that it has zoned the presidency to any geo-political zone. We will vehemently resist that. Let there be a level playing field for all. Let everyone bring their best to the table and allow Nigerians decide who they want. This is democracy.

So, in essence you are saying you are no longer rigid on the North producing the President in 2023?

My position now is that the unity of the country is far paramount, and it is that unity that we are taking into consideration when members of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum took the position that it is competence that should now be taken into consideration when picking Buhari’s successor in 2023. Our position now is that the Presidency can go to any geo-political zone in 2023. But whoever gets it must be very competent. He must be a dynamic hardworking Nigerian who is not above 70.

You said the next President must not be above 70 but some Nigerians are saying the two leading Presidential candidates in USA are over 70 and as such experience should be considered. Do you share this view?

If Americans decide that is what they want, that is for America. We are Nigerians, not Americans. So, let us not be making reference to what is happening in America or using it as yardstick for us here. We are saying that the younger generations must be encouraged to occupy the political space. Side by side, let there by synergy between the younger and the older generation, but not when the reverse is the case where the younger generation are being neglected. We vehemently say no.

Are you saying the likes of Atiku Abubakar who are over 70 should forget the 2023 presidential election?

Well, I don’t know if he is up to 70. I don’t want to mention names of individuals here; I am just talking generally here.

Chief E.K Clark said other Nigerians should allow the South-East produced the President as it is their turn. Do you think his argument is worth considering?

This is democracy and everybody is entitled to his opinion. That is Clark’s opinion and I’m also telling you our own opinion. Is Clark’s opinion constitutional? No, it’s not. It’s an arrangement. We can also decide on our own arrangement but the reality is that the constitution supersedes any arrangement. Any arrangement outside the constitution is null and void. It is not legitimate; it is not binding on anybody and it is not constitutiona

Politics

I’m leaving PDP for APC – Gov Umahi of Ebonyi State

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The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, told the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja on Tuesday that he was leaving the party.

He said he would join the ruling All Progressives Congress which he claimed would protect the interest of the South-East in the 2023 elections.

Our correspondent gathered that Umahi told the members of the National Working Committee of the PDP that his decision to join  the APC was irrevocable.

The members of the PDP NWC, who were led to the meeting by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, were said to have tried in vain to convince the governor not to abandon the party.

Apart from Secondus, among those that were at the meeting at the Ebonyi Governor’s Lodge in Abuja were Deputy National Secretary, Agbo Emmanuel; National Organising Secretary, Austin Akobondu; Financial Secretary, Abdullahi  Maibasira;  National Women Leader, Mariya Waziri  and Senator Sulieman Nazif.

The governor was said to be friendly when he received the PDP delegation, but stuck to his decision to leave the PDP when the issue came up.

It was gathered that the PDP delegation impressed it upon the governor that there was no need leaving the PDP for the APC, which they argued had become unpopular.

Sources at the meeting, however, said the governor was not convinced, insisting that  the APC was planning to zone the 2023 Presidency to the South-East.

He was said to have promised to stay in the PDP if the party could make a pronouncement that it would zone the Presidency to the same zone.

One of the sources said, “I think his (governor’s) mind was made up. We told him there was no need for him to abandon the party that had made him a deputy governor, state chairman of the party, two-time governor and all that. But he refused.

 “He wanted us to unilaterally zone the office of the Presidency to his area. We cannot do that. Parties are not run that way. He told us he was leaving. That is what we got from him.’’

When contacted, Secondus confirmed that the party’s leadership met with Umahi.

 He, however, refused to declared the details of the meeting, insisting that the meeting was on ‘‘national issues.’’

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Crime

We Spent ₦2.2 Billion On Prayers Against Boko Haram – Adariko

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An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission investigating officer, Adariko Michael, on Tuesday, alleged that N2.2 billion was spent on prayers in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia to win the war against Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
Mr. Michael was giving evidence as the first prosecution witness (PW1) in the trial of Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (ONSA) to President Goodluck Jonathan, in the alleged two billion dollars arms deal fraud.

Others charged with Mr. Dasuki, a retired colonel, are a former General Manager with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Baba-kusa, Acacia Holdings Limited, and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited.

The EFCC charged them with 32 counts bordering on misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, dishonest release and receiving various sums of money before Husseini Baba-Yusuf.

Led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, Mr Micheal said N750 million was allegedly transferred from the ONSA special account to Reliance Referral Hospital Limited’s account with First Bank.

He added that N650 million was also transferred to Acacia Holding Limited’s account with EcoBank, while another N600 million and N200 million were transferred to the company’s account with UBA.

“Between September 27, 2013, and April 16, 2015, N50 million was credited to Reliance Referral Hospital’s account.

“Based on responses from the banks involved, as investigating officer, we found out that money was transferred to several individuals and companies.

“When we went through the account statement, we asked the second defendant (Aminu Babakusa) the reason for this.

“He informed us that the money was used to hire clerics to pray for the nation as regards Boko Haram crisis.

“When we asked him to provide the names, contacts and phone numbers of the clerics he hired to pray for the nation, he mentioned only two,” he said.

Mr Dasuki spent four years in detention, following his arrest in 2015 over alleged misappropriation of N2.2 billion meant for arms purchase during his time as National Security Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan

After the Federal Government had consistently failed to honor court orders granting him bail, including an ECOWAS court judgment in 2016, he was finally released on December 24, 2019

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Politics

This is why we froze accounts of 20 EndSARS protesters – CBN reveals

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sought an ex parte order to freeze the account of 20 members of the EndSARS movement in what has been generating a whirlpool of reaction. The reason for the action has now been unraveled as contained in a case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, filed before Justice A. R. Mohammed of Abuja Federal High Court Legit.ng reports

The affected individuals have been identified as Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise, and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.The affected individuals have been identified as Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise, and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye. Others are Saadat Temitope Bibi, Adegoke Pamilerin Yusif, Umoh Grace Ekanem, Babatunde Victor Segun, Mulu Louis Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Akpevweoghene Jacob, Victor Solomon, Idunu A. Williams, Gatefield Nigeria Limited, Bassey Victor Israel and Wisdom Busaosowo Obi.

Read Also: #EndSARS Protest, a fallout of COVID-19 Pandemic, says UN

It has now been revealed that the apex bank, while requesting the court order, argued that the funding of the EndSARS movement might have emanated from terrorist activities, The Punch reports.

CBN said the money flow into the account of the EndSARS protesters was found ominous following investigation by head of the economic intelligence unit, Joseph Omayuku. “There is a grave allegation that the defendants are involved in suspected terrorism financing via their bank accounts in contravention of the provisions of extant laws and regulations. The aforesaid transactions undertaken by the defendants, using their bank accounts, can cause significant economic and security harm to the public and the Federal Republic of Nigeria if left unchecked.”

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