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BREAKING: Obasanjo Laments State Of The Nation In New Open Letter To Buhari, Raise Concern On Four Avoidable Calamities [READ]

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Former President, Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo, on Monday, wrote another open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

He lamented the state of the nation while calling for urgent actions to tackle Nigeria’s challenges.

The letter released by Kehinde Akinyemi, his Special Assistant on Media, reads:

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT, GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI

I am constrained to write to you this open letter. I decided to make it an open letter because the issue is very weighty and must be greatly worrisome to all concerned Nigerians and that means all right-thinking Nigerians and those residents in Nigeria. Since the issue is of momentous concern to all well-meaning and all right-thinking Nigerians, it must be of great concern to you, and collective thinking and dialoguing is the best way of finding an appropriate and adequate solution to the problem. The contents of this letter, therefore, should be available to all those who can help in proffering effective solutions for the problem of insecurity in the land.

One of the spinoffs and accelerants is the misinformation and disinformation through the use of fake news. A number of articles, in recent days, have been attributed to me by some people who I believe may be seeking added credence and an attentive audience for their opinions and viewpoints. As you know very well, I will always boldly own what I say and disown what is put into my mouth. But the issue I am addressing here is very serious; it is the issue of life and death for all of us and for our dear country, Nigeria. This issue can no longer be ignored, treated with nonchalance, swept under the carpet or treated with cuddling glove. The issue is hitting at the foundation of our existence as Nigerians and fast eroding the root of our Nigerian community. I am very much worried and afraid that we are on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay. Without being immodest, as a Nigerian who still bears the scar of the Nigerian civil war on my body and with a son who bears the scar of fighting Boko Haram on his body, you can understand, I hope, why I am so concerned. When people are desperate and feel that they cannot have confidence in the ability of government to provide security for their lives and properties, they will take recourse to anything and everything that can guarantee their security individually and collectively.

For over ten years, for four of which you have been the captain of the ship, Boko Haram has menacingly ravaged the land and in spite of government’s claim of victory over Boko Haram, the potency and the activities of Boko Haram, where they are active, remain undiminished, putting lie to government’s claim. The recent explanation of the Chief of Army Staff for non-victory due to lack of commitment and lack of motivation on the part of troops bordering on sabotage speaks for itself. Say what you will, Boko Haram is still a daily issue of insecurity for those who are victimized, killed, maimed, kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery and forced into marriage and for children forcibly recruited into carrying bombs on them to detonate among crowds of people to cause maximum destructions and damage. And Boko Haram will not go away on the basis of sticks alone, carrots must overweigh sticks. How else do you deal with issues such as only about 50% literacy in North-East with over 70% unemployment?

Herdsmen/farmers crises and menace started with the government treating the issue with cuddling glove instead of a hammer. It has festered and spread. Today, it has developed into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and killings all over the country. The unfortunate situation is that the criminality is being perceived as a ‘Fulani’ menace unleashed by Fulani elite in the different parts of the country for a number of reasons but even more, unfortunately, many Nigerians and non-Nigerians who are friends of Nigeria attach vicarious responsibility to you as a Fulani elite and the current captain of the Nigeria ship. Perception may be as potent as reality at times. Whatever may be the grievances of Fulanis, if any, they need to be put out in the open and their grievances, if legitimate, be addressed; and if other ethnic groups have grievances, let them also be brought out in the open and addressed through debate and dialogue.

The main issue, if I may dare say, is poor management or mismanagement of diversity which, on the other hand, is one of our greatest and most important assets. As a result, very onerous cloud is gathering. And rain of destruction, violence, disaster and disunity can only be the outcome. Nothing should be taken for granted, the clock is ticking with the cacophony of dissatisfaction and disaffection everywhere in and outside the country. The Presidency and the Congress in the US have signalled to us to put our house in order. The House of Lords in the UK had debated the Nigerian security situation. We must understand and appreciate the significance, implication and likely consequences of such concerns and deliberations.

No one can stop hate speech, violent agitation and smouldering violent agitation if he fans the embers of hatred, disaffection and violence. It will continue to snowball until it is out of control. A stitch in time saves nine, goes the old wise saying.

With the death of Funke, Chief Fasoranti’s daughter, some sympathetic Nigerian groups are saying “enough is enough”. Prof. Anya, a distinguished Nigerian merit Laureate, has this to say “We can no longer say with certainty that we have a nation”. Niger-Delta leaders, South-Eastern leaders, Middle-Belt leaders and Northern Elders Forum have not remained quiet. Different ordinary Nigerians at home and abroad are calling for different measures to address or ameliorate the situation. All the calls and cries can only continue to be ignored at the expense of Nigerian unity, if not its continued existence.

To be explicit and without equivocation, Mr. President and General, I am deeply worried about four avoidable calamities:

  1. abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram type;
  2. spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened.
  3. similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom;
  4. violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to dismemberment of the country.

It happened to Yugoslavia not too long ago. If we do not act now, one or all of these scenarios may happen. We must pray and take effective actions at the same time. The initiative is in the hands of the President of the nation, but he cannot do it alone. In my part of the world, if you are sharpening your cutlass and a mad man comes from behind to take the cutlass from you, you need other people’s assistance to have your cutlass back without being harmed. The mad men with serious criminal intent and terrorism as core value have taken cutlass of security. The need for assistance to regain control is obviously compelling and must be embraced now.

A couple of weeks ago at a public lecture, I had said, among other things, that:

“In all these issues of mobilisation for national unity, stability, security, cooperation, development, growth and progress, there is no consensus. Like in the issue of security, government should open up discussion, debate and dialogue as part of consultation at different levels and the outcome of such deliberations should be collated to form inputs into a national conference to come up with the solution that will effectively deal with the issues and lead to rapid development, growth and progress which will give us a wholesome society and enhanced living standard and livelihood in an inclusive and shared society. It will be a national programme. We need unity of purpose and nationally accepted strategic roadmap that will not change with whims and caprices of any government. It must be owned by the citizens, people’s policy and strategy implemented by the government no matter its colour and leaning.

Some of the groups that I will suggest to be contacted are: traditional rulers, past heads of service (no matter how competent or incompetent they have been and how much they have contributed to the mess we are in), past heads of para-military organisations, private sector, civil society, community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past Heads of State, past intelligence chiefs, past Heads of Civil Service and relevant current and retired diplomats, members of opposition and any groups that may be deemed relevant.”

The President must be seen to be addressing this issue with utmost seriousness and with maximum dispatch and getting all hands on deck to help. If there is failure, the principal responsibility will be that of the President and no one else. We need cohesion and concentration of effort and maximum force – political, economic, social, psychological and military – to deal successfully with the menace of criminality and terrorism separately and together. Blame game among own forces must be avoided. It is debilitating and only helpful to our adversary. We cannot dither anymore. It is time to confront this threat headlong and in a manner that is holistic, inclusive and purposeful.

For the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians, I pray that God may grant you, as our President, the wisdom, the understanding, the political will and the courage to do what is right when it is right and without fear or favour. May God save, secure, protect and bless Nigeria. May He open to us a window of opportunity that we can still use to prevent the worst happening. As we say in my village, “May God forbid bad thing”.

OLUSEGUN OBASANJO
July 15, 2019

BIG STORY

2,191 COVID-19 Patients Yet To Report For Treatment —– Lagos Govt

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The Lagos State Government has said that 2,191 COVID-19 patients who are located across communities have yet to submit themselves for treatment at the state care centres.

The state Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, who disclosed this on Friday, added that residents of the state must continue to take the responsibility of wearing face masks in public in addition to regular handwashing and physical distancing.

Abayomi said on his Twitter handle that the total number of COVID-19 tests conducted in the state stood at 45,490.

He said, “The new cases bring the total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in Lagos to 11,537 as of Wednesday. Also, 2,191 active cases in communities have yet to turn up for admission in COVID-19 Lagos care centres. For a greater Lagos, we take responsibility by wearing our face masks when in public spaces in addition to regular handwashing and physical distancing.

“Stopping the community spread of COVID-19 begins with you. Staying alive and safe together begins with us. 1,753 of the confirmed cases have since been discharged from COVID-19 care centres following full recovery while 7,059 of the confirmed cases are being monitored in communities by the COVID-19 Lagos response team.”

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, has said the state government will on Monday come out with its reaction to the cancellation of the West Africa Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations by the Federal Government.

Adefisayo, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone, said the state was still reviewing the Federal Government’s decision and would soon make its stance known.

She said, “We are still reviewing the situation and will let you know our decision on Monday. I don’t want to say more than that; give us time. It is something we can’t respond to now. There is not enough clarity; so it’s better to speak when I do.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control said on Friday that the country recorded 575 new COVID-19 cases nationwide to bring the total cases to 31,323. The NCDC noted that 12,795 patients had been discharged while 709 deaths had occurred.

The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, during the press briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday, announced that the 2020 WASSCE conducted by WAEC would hold between August 4 and September 5.

But Adamu said on Wednesday that all federal schools would remain closed until it was safe to reopen them.

He also urged state governments that have announced school’s resumption plans to rescind such.




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COVID-19: Emirates Airline To Cut Up To 9,000 Jobs

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The scale of Covid-19’s impact on Emirates Airlines has been revealed for the first time with the carrier’s president saying they will “probably” have to cut up to 9,000 jobs.

Emirates, according to the report, had 60,000 staff prior to the crisis and announced on May 31 it had axed roles but did not reveal how many jobs were cut.

Sir Tim Clark told the BBC that the carrier had removed a tenth of its staff, which would leave 54,000 jobs after 6,000 were removed.

However, Sir Tim added: “We will probably have to let go of a few more, probably up to 15%.”

Prior to the cuts announced in May, Emirates was the sole holdout among the Gulf’s three major East-West carriers on retaining staff.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad and Doha-based Qatar Airways axed staff as countries shut down their airspace as the virus spread.

Sir Tim acknowledged to the BBC the carrier, owned by a Dubai sovereign wealth fund, was “not as badly off as others” and was “heading for one of our best years ever” prior to the pandemic.

Announcing the cuts in March, the company said it would treat its staff “with fairness and respect”.

Its statement added: “We have endeavored to sustain the current family as is … but have come to the conclusion that we, unfortunately, have to say goodbye to a few of the wonderful people that worked with us.”

The number of total losses expected at Emirates comes the day after the British Airlines Pilots’ Association slammed proposals by carrier easyJet to use sick days as a factor when deciding which pilots to axe as part of its wave of redundancies as “unnecessary and wrong”.

Job losses have stretched far beyond the travel sector and throughout the entire UK economy.

A day after Chancellor Rishi Sunak set out his “plan for jobs” it was found that almost 10,000 posts are at risk at household-name firms on the high street as a result of the pandemic.




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BIG STORY

APC In Ondo, Who Do We Send? —- Moyo Odunlami

Peter Okunoren

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In the last couple of weeks, the race for who would win the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket has been on in earnest and many wonders who would emerge at the primaries scheduled to hold July 20.

Asides needing a creditable candidate, Ondo APC is in dire need of rescue and ultimate restoration. Presently, the word on many lips is that among the list of 12 candidates, one man that distinctly ticks all the right boxes is Olusola Oke; he is marketable, beloved, and honorable.

Not a man new to the intrigues of politics, Olusola Oke, in many quarters has been known to be a bridge-builder, a party man, and an excellent patriot.

Having previously run against the last two governors of the state and graciously accepted defeat, his reemergence is like that of a phoenix ready shine from the embers of the political turmoil in which APC has been embroiled in over the last few months.

Asides being a well-loved, quality scion of Ondo, Oke’s right to candidacy does not only stem from his political know-how, but he has also built key friendships and partnerships that would bring unimaginable goodwill, both to APC and Ondo as a whole.

No doubt, the emergence of such a man as the APC gubernatorial candidate would do much to repair the reputation of the party as a beacon for good governance in Ondo State.

Oke as APC gubernatorial candidate would also recall lost party members who had previously decamped. He would be the rallying point for all, including those who are certain to decamp from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo.

Ondo APC is a party in dire need of a facelift and the reality is that Olusola Oke is the man, the only man that can restore it to its old glory, breathe new life into it, and ensure that the party retains its supremacy in the Sunshine State come October 10.

Moyo odunlami writes from Alagbaka Akure




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