- Saraki, Others Right to Block Tinubu’s VP Bid
Some northern elders have said they supported Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai’s staunch opposition to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s vice presidential ambition and a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the 2015 presidential poll.
Last week, Tinubu was reported to have stated that his moves to become President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate was prevented by Saraki and el-Rufai.
Tinubu had in a book, ‘Against the Run of Play’, authored by the Chairman of ThisDay Editorial Board, Olusegun Adeniyi, accused the Senate President and other individuals of prevailing on Buhari not to pick him as the running mate for the 2015 election.
Speaking on Saturday, one of the northern elders, Rev. Bitrus Dangiwa, who is also a chieftain of the Northern Elders Forum, said he was one of those who threw their weight behind those who opposed Tinubu to become Buhari’s running mate.
The cleric, who was the Youth President, Christian Association of Nigeria in the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, stated in an interview with journalists in Kaduna on Saturday that a Muslim-Muslim ticket would have worked against the All Progressives Congress.
Dangiwa described Tinubu as being “selfish” to have thought that a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket would have worked for the party in 2015.
He went further to praise Saraki for ensuring that the Muslim-Muslim ticket as advocated by Tinubu did not work, arguing that a good percentage of the country’s Christian population would have been neglected.
“Tinubu’s thought of becoming (Nigeria’s) Vice President to a Muslim presidential candidate was not only self-centred or selfish, but it would have worked against the APC. We knew Tinubu’s move for a very long time – most northerners contributed to Saraki’s choice of working against a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 2015 poll.
“So, Saraki’s decision not to have a Muslim-Muslim ticket was in the best interest of the socio-political development of the nation. There are still good Muslims and good Christians who mean well for this country, and Saraki is one of such good examples,” the NEF chieftain noted.
His views were corroborated by the National Leader of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima, who spoke to one of our correspondents on Saturday night.
Yerima said that while the country looked forward to a time when religion and ethnic background would not be the determining factors in electing the president of the country, the 2015 presidential election would not have been won by the APC if the party had gone into the poll with a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“There’s no way that Muslim-Muslim ticket could have worked with the current way the country is set up and with Tinubu who wanted to run with Buhari. The APC would have lost the election. While the youths of this country want a situation whereby religion, ethnicity and language do not determine who govern the country, we are mindful of the fact that present realities wouldn’t have given victory to the APC if it had Muslims for its candidates (president and vice president). Everybody knows that Tinubu wasn’t an ideal person to be Buhari’s running mate.
“Making him Buhari’s running mate would have affected the party adversely. It is true that he has helped many people. He has been useful to many causes and people. But I am not sure anybody would have supported him as Buhari’s running mate. As he said during the week that Senate President Bukola Saraki and Governor Nasir el-Rufai blocked his chance of becoming Buhari’s running mate – that wasn’t a bad move because APC wouldn’t have won the election with a Muslim-Muslim ticket involving a Tinubu,” Shettima stated.
In a similar vein, a National Executive Council member of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Mohammed Abdulrahman, criticised Tinubu’s vice presidential aspiration, noting that a Muslim-Muslim ticket would have killed Buhari’s 2015 presidential bid.
He said, “There is no viability for any two people that are Muslims to steer the ship of peace and unity in Nigeria at the moment. Tinubu is a Christian most of the time. It is only when it is convenient for him that he is a Muslim. It is when it is convenient that he becomes Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“He is what we call ‘Christ-Mus.’ He is a ceremonial religious person. But they (APC) would never have made it (with him and Buhari for the 2015 presidential poll). That will not push Nigeria forward.”
Speaking on the issue, another northern elder, the National President of Arewa Youth Forum, Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu, commended Saraki for promoting peaceful coexistence among Nigerians and for truncating the Muslim-Muslim ticket proposed by Tinubu during the 2015 presidential poll.
He argued that a Muslim-Muslim arrangement would not have given the APC the winning ticket in the last presidential election and would not have yielded any positive result in future elections.
“The Muslim-Muslim ticket will only cause crisis in the country. Nigeria is not ripe for a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the nation’s presidency because Nigerians now play politics of religion and ethnicity,” Gujungu stated.
He also said that he would not support a Muslim-Muslim ticket in future presidential races.
Asked why in 1993, Nigerians, particularly Christians, did not raise eyebrows at the MKO Abiola/Babagana Kingibe Muslim-Muslim ticket under the defunct Social Democratic Party, he pointed out that Nigerians then were not into the politics of religion and ethnicity.
According to him, the politics of religion and ethnicity became more pronounced particularly after former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.
Gujungu said it was no longer possible to field two candidates of the same religious orientation in the country.
Weighing in on the issue, a former spokesman for the ACF, Anthony Sani, said he did not support a Muslim-Muslim ticket because of the present “atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion which tends to promote cleavages of the nation along ethnic and religious lines.”
Sani said, “When there was mutual confidence and social contract among groups in Nigeria in the past, it was possible for SDP to field Abiola and Kingibe, who were both Muslims, and it came to pass but for the annulment.
“I would not have supported not only a Muslim-Muslim ticket but also a Christian-Christian ticket until such a time mutual trust and social contract among groups would have been restored in the polity.
“The duo (Saraki and el-Rufai) advised against such tickets due to prevailing circumstances. And Tinubu himself accepted the advice without any demur. And that explains why he gladly nominated Prof. Osinbajo to be the running mate to Buhari.”
Reacting to accusations that Tinubu was self-serving in wanting to be Buhari’s running mate, the senator representing Oyo South Senatorial District, Adesoji Akanbi, told one of our correspondents that it did not matter what people said about the APC chieftain, noting that their actions and reactions were that of envy.
“It is jealousy – Asiwaju Tinubu is a man well-loved nationwide. He is not a sectional or religious leader. He warmly embraces all religions in the spirit of love and peace. He is the only member with fantastic influence across the country. Most of the other leaders in the party cannot boast of the influence Asiwaju wields. Let people say what they want to say.
“Those railing against Asiwaju Tinubu want to rewrite history. Can they achieve that? No. It is sheer jealousy to want to reduce Tinubu’s efforts to selfish acts – that’s incorrect. The APC would not have achieved any success without Tinubu in the 2015 presidential poll; there’s no doubt about that. Reasonable people will continue to praise whatever efforts and sacrifices that Asiwaju made. Remember what ex-President Goodluck Jonathan said about Tinubu that a man he feared most in the APC was Tinubu,” Akanbi stated.
Attempts to get a response from Tinubu’s media aide, Mr. Tunde Rahman, did not yield the desired results. Repeated calls to his mobile telephone were neither picked nor returned as at 9:57pm.
A response to a text message sent to him on the subject was still being expected as of the time of filing this report.
Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the reopening of its passport application and payment portal.
The assistant comptroller of immigration, Mr Amos Okpu announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
In the statement, Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the service, said the portal became effective for new applications from 12 midnight on Tuesday.
Babandede further said that the portal would allow eligible applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of passports of their choice.
Mr Muhammad Babandede explained that with the reopening of the portal, a new passport application and payment regime had begun.
The statement in full:
“The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Muhammad Babandede MFR, has announced the reopening of the Passport application and payment portal effective 8th June 2021 by 12 midnight to allow eligible Passport applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of Passports of their choice.
The Passport portal was closed following the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 17th of May, 2021to afford the Service the opportunity to clear all backlogs of applications that have piled up across Issuing Centres in the past few months.
With the reopening of the portal, a new Passport application and payment regime have commenced. Under the new Passport regime;
Applications and payments for Passport services shall be made through the Service website www.immigration.gov.ng;
- applicants are expected to visit the portal to apply and upload their support documents for vetting and processing;
- a chat room facility to guide applicants through the application and payment process has been provided on the portal;
- upon successful applications, applicants shall make their online booking interview/enrollment appointment on any day, time and location they consider convenient;
- that the new timeline for Passport production and issuance after a successful enrollment at the selected Issuing Centre shall be six weeks for Fresh applications and three weeks for Re-issue (Renewal applications);
- that no applicant who is yet to make an online application and payment shall be allowed into any of the Passport Issuing Centres for Passport processing;
- applicants will be contacted through email and phone number they provided during application when their Passports are ready;
- a helpline with the number 08021819988 has been provided for feedback mechanism on any challenges.
The Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede MFR wishes to use this medium to call on Nigerians and indeed Passport applicants to avoid patronizing touts as the entire process has been made seamless for effective and efficient service delivery. He warned Passport racketeers to desist from acts capable of undermining the reform efforts to avoid very strict sanctions.
Signed AMOS OKPU MNIPR
ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER OF IMMIGRATION
SERVICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
For: COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION 8TH JUNE, 2021″
INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.
Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).
He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.
He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities
He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.
“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.
“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.
“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.
“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.
He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.
“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”
Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.
According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.
“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.
“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.
“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission
“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.
Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.
Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.
“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.
“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria
“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.
He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.
In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.
Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.
“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.
“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.
“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said
Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.
Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.
Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum
The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, has given the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it.
The committee also issued same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh.
The summon was issued on Monday, after Mr Emefiele and the others failed to appear before the committee.
The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), said they failed to forward letters to that effect.
He said allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be akin to allowing “impersonators.”
“You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives,” an angry Mr Adeogun said.
Moving a motion to give the agencies 72hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), said the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the committee.
Mr Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.
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