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If we must remain as a corporate entity, presidency in 2023 must zone to the south – Northern Youth

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If we must remain as a corporate entity, Presidency in 2023 must zone to the South -Northern Youth

Comrade Elliot M. Afiyo is the National Chairman of the unarguably most popular and influential Northern Youth Organization called Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF) the umbrella body of 42 Northern Youth Groups formed by the Northern Political, Religious, Traditional and Military Elites in 1990. NYLF is unarguably the most powerful and influential Youth Organisation in the North in particular and the Nation in general. This Forum has been engineering the processes of determining who the President of Nigeria becomes since 1999. Comrade Afiyo is the third National Chairman of the Forum after Prof. Musa Danladi Musawa and Prof. Sadiq Usman Abubakar. He is also the Secretary –General of the Association of West African Monarchs and a Senior Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).

Question
Comrade, good evening sir. In your last interview that you granted last month, you clearly stated that APC must respect the agreement of shifting the presidency to the South – West in 2023. Do you still believe that it is justifiable?

Comrade Elliot Afiyo
I have said it and I will continue to say it that the presidency must not only be shifted to the south but to the South-West because that was how the agreement was signed. I have not seen the agreement but somebody read it on phone to my hearing. If that was what was signed, so be it. If at all we must remain as a corporate entity called Nigeria. Justice must not only be done, but seen to be done.

Question
In PDP too, you were quoted as saying that the ticket for 2023 presidency should be zoned to the North – East?

Comrade Elliot Afiyo
Yes of course and of course yes. As a determined youth leader, I must say No if No is expected and Yes if Yes is clearly defined because my future and indeed those of the Northern youth are at stake. The North-East zone was denied that opportunity in 2015 by the former President Goodluck Jonathan. By justice, common sense and fairness, the North-West wasn’t supposed to produce another President after Yar’adua. But because the North-East was denied that privilege in PDP, the APC took advantage of it to present President Buhari and the North generally embraced the idea.
When we were shouting and drawing the attention of the PDP on the long term consequences of this action on the political scene, people from the south especially the south-east were mocking us. They went as far as calling us political Almajiris. I remember vividly, the president of the Igbo Youth Movement, Mr. Elliot held a press conference on the 16th of October, 2014 in Enugu and called us retrogressive elements. This is our time to laugh and he who laugh last, laughs the best. PDP has no option than to zone its presidency to the north-east zone if at all it must bounce back to power.

Question
In your interview last month, you claimed that your members from the north-west supported the idea of zoning the presidency in 2023 to north-east (PDP) and south-west (APC). But a group called northern youth forum issued a statement signed by one Alh. Goronyo that you were bought over. What do you say about this allegation?
Comrade Elliot Afiyo
Bought over by who? All through my life, I have been propagating and defending social, political, religious and ethnic justices. No government or an individual would buy my conscience. Check the Punch Newspaper of 17th September, 1997. I was then the National President, Arewa Youth Congress of Nigeria (AYOCON), I held a press conference warning the South against targeting Northern Sole Administrators. I was called and termed a sell out by some of my brothers. My Pastor who is a Southerner, called me and threatened to suspend me. I was part of the organizers of SAP riots during Babangida’s regime despite the fact that two of my Cousins were occupying sensitive positions in that government. My Mentor Prof. Jubril Aminu was the Minister for Education, yet I personally sponsored the riots as a Student. I don’t believe in sentiments. Peace can only be guaranteed if there is justice and fairness.
Of course, we expected reactions from people like Goronyo. In every house, there must be different vessels. The NYLF does not collect money from anybody but gives money to people. You are free to check our accounts from 1990 till date. The decision was taken by NYLF NEC during our meeting in Gombe not by me and I stand by that decision.

Question
There is this argument that the South-West may not have a generally acceptable candidate for APC because of the rift between the gladiators such as Tinubu and Fayemi. Don’t you think that it would affect the chances of the APC?
Comrade Elliot Afiyo
You should know that I am not a card carrying member of any political party and will never be in any way.
I am not supporting any candidate. Let me tell you the truth. This political rift is being engineered and sponsored by forces outside the South-West because of their personal political interests. You can’t imagine the APC lobbying the former president Jonathan to contest. Where are the Lai Mohammed who told us that Jonathan’s administration was the worst government ever produced in this country in terms of corruption. They keep blaming such government throughout the first four years. You are now lobbying the head of that government to come and lead you in 2023. This is simply political ineptitude and madness.
As I said earlier, I am not campaigning for any candidate but I can tell that Bola Tinubu would make a good candidate of the APC because of his boldness, courage and political doggedness. He has demonstrated it under Obasanjo. If Lagos could survive without federal allocation under Tinubu, I think the APC needs to consider him. Besides, he has paid the price than any other person.
Mind you it is my personal opinion not that of the NYLF and I am not endorsing him. The decision of the NEC of NYLF supersedes and overrides any other personal interest.

Question
People especially from the South are saying that Nigeria should be restructured before 2023 elections. What is your Forum’s opinion?

Comrade Elliot Afiyo
Nigeria needs restructuring from the ward level to federal level no doubt. But what are we restructuring and how? No one tells us how and what. Some are saying that the powers are concentrated at the Centre, so there is need for devolution of power. What of the states? The state Governors are more like Emperors in their States. The truth is there is no genuine intention to ensure justice or correct the injustices in Nigeria.
Obasanjo came up with a constitutional conference that has a hidden agenda of third term. A new constitution written by three persons was smuggled into the venue even before the start of the business. How do you expect the outcome of such conference to receive general and wide acceptability? That was why I declined or rejected my nomination as a Delegate because I knew the reason why it was conceived.
In 2014, Jonathan came up with another one whose outcome has been written even before the announcement. To perfect the predetermined result, Delegates were carefully handpicked and selected. That was why I deliberately held a press conference in Yenagoa and said that the conference is already dead on arrival because the North was not genuinely and fairly represented.
You cannot restructure the country without first tackling the fundamental problems of political development and management. The corruption and nepotism is more clearly carried out in the states and local governments. Let’s first of all, address these issues bottom-up before talking about restructuring.

Question
Recently the Governor of Ondo State issued a quit notice to the Fulanis to vacate the State. What is your Forum’s stand on the quit notice?

Comrade Elliot Afiyo
First of all I need to correct that error of a quit notice to the Fulanis. Governor Akeredolu did not not ask the Fulanis to vacate the State. The Governor asked the bandits to vacate a particular forest which has become a den of criminals.
It’s very unfortunate that the Fulani nation is being erroneously represented by the Miyetti Allah whose leaders are local herders. The only Fulani leader who is the Sultan of Sokoto has spoken. That supposed to be the position of the Fulani nation. Unfortunately, some of the Fulanis who heads some trivial Fulani Associations do not respect the opinion of the Sultan.

Question.
You talked about the Northern political supremacy in your last interview. What do you mean by that statement?

Comrade Elliot Afiyo.
Let me take you back to 1956 conference. When the Northern Delegates opposed Nigeria’s independence because of the fact that the North was not ready, the Southern Delegates organized Agberos before the closing of the conference to mocking the Northern Delegates. Even Joseph Tarka, Ibrahim Waziri and Aminu Kano were also mocked.
This singular incident made Ahmadu Bello to summon a meeting of all the Northern politicians to discussing the political interest of the North and it was resolved that the Northern collective political interest must be protected, secured and sustained by all means irrespective of our political, ethnic or religious differences.
To demonstrate his commitment to this course, Ahmadu Bello dropped the prefix Alhaji and replaced it with Sir. He appointed Chief Sunday Awoniyi as his Secretary, Kassim Imam was made Governor and he also embraced, sponsored and trained Northerners irrespective of their ethnic, religious or political differences. Many indigenous minority tribes such as Gowon, Pam, Maimalari, Danjuma, Jalo, Dan Suleiman and many others were enrolled into the Military to give sense of belonging. Hausa language was deliberately popularized as a weapon of unity. Since then, the Northern supremacy was established both in the political and military scenes.
This is why every genuine or concerned Northerner must be worried with what is happening in the North now. If we failed to address this security and political issues, our generations will become political slaves in no distant future.
This political supremacy is being passed to generations. If in doubt ask former President Obasanjo who thwarted his third term agenda. Ask Jonathan why he failed to implement the 2014 Constitutional Conference Report who chased him out his massive infrastructural developmental projects and Almajiri schools in the North.

Question
Are you saying that the North would not support Jonathan in 2023 if he decides to contest?

Comrade Elliot Afiyo.
Dr. Jonathan will surely get the support of the APC to get the ticket but he will never get the votes of the Northerners in the election proper and you know what it means. My advice to him is to remain in PDP and be a kingmaker like IBB so as to retain his respect and integrity.

Question
You are a Christian and a Minority from Bachama tribe. People especially from the middle belt are yearning for the presidency. Don’t you think it’s time to think in that direction?

Comrade Elliot Afiyo
I would like to state here very clearly that I don’t succumb to sentiments of any kind because I believe and strongly too, that I will give account on the judgment day. There is nothing wrong in identifying yourself as Middle belters. But it is totally wrong, misleading and unacceptable for middle belters to identify with PANDEF, Ohaneze and Afenifere against ACF. The truth is that whether you are a Middle Belter or not, as far as you are a Northerner, the Igbos will call or refer to you as Onye Hausa. Yorubas will call you or refer to you as Mallam.
Senators David Mark and Jonah Jang contested for PDP’s presidential primaries at the prompting of the middle Belters. Ask them how many votes they got from Benue and Plateau States?
As you rightly said. I am a Bwatiye man from Adamawa. Ask the Bwatiye politicians who contested for political offices in Bwatiye land to tell their experiences in the hands of fellow Bwatiye men and women.
The Bwatiye from the Central Zone of Adamawa State are perpetually and systematically being marginalized, dominated and frustrated politically. That is why we have resolved this time around to produce a Governor from the Central Zone irrespective of religious or ethnic background. We must team up with our Fulani, Kilba, Vere, Yungur and our Lala brothers to produce a Governor under any political party come 2023. I am very sorry for descending to the level of state politics but I can’t be securing the interest of the North while my people are being denied of their rights and inheritances because of ethnic and religious considerations.
Question
But sir, you don’t sound as a Pastor putting into consideration that majority of RCCG Members are Southerners?
Comrade Elliot Afiyo.
I am a Pastor and a true Oracle of God that is why I am saying the truth no matter whose ox is got. John 10;32 says you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. James 4:18 says anyone that knows how to do good and failed to do it is a sin. I can’t know the truth and keep quite because of fear. I cant go to hell because of somebody’s sin.
In our Church the RCCG, we are fortunate to have a Father Pastor E. A. Adeboye and our Regional Pastor E. A. Adeyemi who don’t use the pulpit nor allow the pulpit to be used by any Pastor for political issues and I am not a bastard nor a disobedient child. I relate with my Members purely on spiritual and other issues definitely not on political issues.

Thank you sir
Comrade Elliot Afiyo
You are most welcome.

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Opinion

UN-POLAC Appoints Dr. Adamu Dodo As Editor-in-Chief

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UN-POLAC Appoints Dr. Adamu Dodo As Editor-In-Chief

Nura Mohammed

The Senate of the United Nations-POLAC has approved the appointment of Dr. Adamu Muhammad Dodo as Editor-In-Chief of her new magazine; POLAC World.

The appointment letter dated February 24, 2021, signed by the UN-POLAC Director General/Advisor, Prof. (Obong) Halo B. Eton revealed that the appointment was sequel to the resolution to float both online media and mainstream magazine.

“In view of the above and based on your expertise in newspaper and online publications, you are hereby appointed the Editor-In-Chief.

“You are to work out the modalities for the rake off of the magazine,” the letter reads.

Dodo the head of information and media relations FMC Yola, ADAMAWA state, northeast Nigeria, the lead publisher of the Periscope Global, publishers of both online and Mainstream newspaper and the interim chairman, North East Online Network NEON, was appointed Peace Ambassador with the United Nations-POLAC on Saturday, December 12, 2015.

Dodo’s contributions in actualising POLAC’s peace mission and vision associated with restoration, promotion and strengthening of cultural heritage, earned him the position of state coordinator in charge of Adamawa state and national programme manager in the year 2016.

Dodo has won the best POLAC state coordinator awards for two consecutive years; 2017 and 2018.

Owing to his pieces and projects on peace and conflict resolution, Dodo has in 2018 bagged another honorary doctorate degree in Sociology of Peace by the UN-POLAC Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution. The same year he was upgraded to the position of North East Coordinator and Country Deputy President (Northern Nigeria). The position he holds to this day.

Dodo the communication tsar and public relations consultant is a governing council member of the Institute of Business Diplomacy and Financial Management IBDFM among so many professional bodies he belongs to as Fellow member.

POLAC stands for Positive Livelihood Award Centre established as an international autonomous institution in 2001 with the UN and UNESCO following General Assembly resolution, declaring 2001-2010 as a decade of peace and non violence.

It has the mandate to enhance the effectiveness of the UN millennium development goals, now sustainable development goals and UNESCO Culture of Peace Programme particularly the maintenance of peace and security and the restoration of human dignity.

It has the following goals:

  • To defend human rights and restore dignity to all persons

*To contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among groups and individuals through culture and education.

*To enhance the position of family heads through recognition as Peace Advocates for proper family upbringing.

*To recognise people (both late & alive( as legends to encourage the incoming generations for peace and sustainable development.

  • To stimulate reactions in all spheres of life.
  • the advancement of the international understanding, Goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons United in the ideal of service for peace

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Opinion

The closure of miringa market by the military and the agitation so far!

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THE CLOSURE OF MIRNGA MARKET BY THE MILITARY AND THE AGITATION SO FAR!

By Musa Salihu Kachallah, arpa

On behalf of the good people and law abiding citizens of Mirnga District, I write to appeal to the government of Borno State under the leadership of a selfless leader our amiable Governor Professor Babagana Umara Zulum the Executive Governor of Borno State to call the attention of the present Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru to in the name of almighty Allah as a matter of urgency to reopen Mirnga Market that was shutdown by the Military for close to 3 years under the guise that some suspected elements of Boko Haram terrorist do visit the market to shop for their daily need to resume for business activities.

Though we are not in anyway disputing the intelligence gathered by the Military authority in this regards, but I can categorically said without missing words that since the beginning of this Boko Haram crisis in North East Nigeria no single Boko Haram fighter was ever seen or arrested in Mirnga town or in the market the records are there for everybody to see but our market remained close for this unjustified reasons.

Your excellency sir, as you know Mirnga District is a peaceful Community full of people with integrity and positive thoughts as well as willing businessmen and women who are ever ready to struggle to earn money legitemately but this singular action of the military authority has plunged many families into poverty and lacking as our Fathers, Mothers, Brothers and Sisters who carryout petty trades are gradually loosing their means of survival and it is going to be irrational if the market further remains closed.

Sir, I want you to see reasons for ordering the reopening of the market bcoz millions of your subjects are continually loosing their means of livelihood for this act as you can see many people today cannot afford to care for their families anymore especially our energetic grain bag loader known as (Yan’Dako), Wheelbarrow pushers, Water Vendors and many more who feeds from my hands to mouths bcos until they go out for this activities before they earn some money but theirs means of survival has been thwart.

Furthermore, it may interest you to note that Mirnga Market is the central market that connects people from far and near like businessmen from Adamawa, Gombe and Yobe States respectively as well as our neighborhood like Biu, Damboa, Sabon-Gari, Mandaragirau, Gunda, Bumsa, Madlau, Buratai to mention but a few but this primitive decisions by the Army is not taken with a second thought or weigh the multiplying effect before closing the market for flimsy reasons that can be controlled bcoz we all know closing of Mirnga Market will not in anyway hinder Boko Haram logistics as they have many ways of getting stuffs, so why suffering our people unnecessarily.

In conclusion sir, we are begging you to please in the name of almighty Allah to investigate the rational/motive behind closing our Market and order for reopening as soon as possible. I write this appeal with dismay bcoz as we speak now all the markets that was closed along with Mirnga market that time from Biu Main Market down to Yadi-Buni Market all have resumed operation in full activities but for Mirnga Market reversed is the case and despite the attacks on Buni-Yadi, Buratai and others by Boko Haram terrorists in the past yet their market was open for commercial activities but Mirnga that had never has any and is relatively peaceful our market remained closed why? .

Finally, sir we are praying to Almighty Allah to grant you good health, guide and protect you and to give you more wisdom to discharge your duties with just to all sundry as you always justify in your governance.

Long Live Khadimul Unman!
Long Live Borno State
Long Live Federal Republic of Nigeria

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Opinion

Nigeria and presidential democracy: any better alternative? (2), By Hassan Gimba

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Nigeria and Presidential Democracy: Any Better Alternative? (2), by Hassan Gimba

In Nigeria and Presidential Democracy: Any Better Alternative? (1), we touched on how cries of marginalisation permeate the air. Partisan interests are placed above national interests while divisions along ethnic and religious lines have become the norm just as the struggle for power and its retention have taken a “do or die” dimension, affecting almost everything, including the neutrality of the judiciary, the supposedly last hope of the common man.
We also observed that the communication gap between the average Nigerian and his representative in government has widened so much it seems they live in two separate worlds with nothing in common except, perhaps, religion and tribe or party and town.
And then we asked if we can continue this way, going on to query if the fault is that of the system and to seek a better one, if so. But in doing that, should we look inwards? Will a system in tandem with our inner being be the answer to our multifaceted and ever-growing problems as a nation? Perhaps we have been imposing on ourselves systems that are alien to us, to our culture, to our souls? Of course, some believe the problem with us is not so much the system as it is the people. Well, could be. But can people be true to what is not their nature? Well, yes, if they put on an act. One can act like a saint but can the actor live the life of a saint? People are always at their best when they are true to themselves. Being yourself does not always give room for hypocrisy. And time has proved to us that it has a way of exposing hypocrisy.
Britain, which gave us the parliamentary system in 1960, still practises it. While the parliamentary system is over 750 years old there, ours lasted six years before it was scuttled by the march of the jackboot.
Surely while ours was an imposition, a sort of a deliberate wholesale adoption of a set system, Britain’s parliament was not created from a “conference”. It naturally evolved as out of daily necessities. Therefore, one is not far from the truth if one insists that the parliamentary system, which started in 1265 with the Simon de Montfort Parliament, is in the blood of the Briton; it is part of him. While the representative system began with the de Montfort (Earl of Leicester) Parliament, fifty years earlier, the check on impunity by leaders was rolled out. In June 1215, the Magna Carta was issued to become the first document to put into writing the principle that the king and his government were not above the law.
We can see how the homegrown parliamentary system has served Britons well.  It is because they looked inwards, derived from their nature which was in tandem with their inner being, rather than copy, adapt, borrow and impose on themselves a system that is alien to their culture, to their being. And so it works for them because they are at home with it. It is their roots.
America is another example. The democracy it is practising and proudly imposing it on other nations around the world is homegrown. After freeing itself from Britain, its colonial overlords, the leaders of the revolt set out to build its enviable democratic culture. In an article written for the Smithsonian Magazine of September 20, 2011, Joseph Stromberg said, “The dawn of American democracy didn’t come in 1776, with the declaration of Independence. It didn’t come in 1788 when the constitution was ratified by the states, or in 1789 when George Washington took office.” He continued, “According to Harry Rubeinstein, chair and curator of the Division of Political History at the American History Museum, the symbolic birth of our system of government didn’t come until its noble ideals were actually put to the test…” And that test was Washington’s resignation and handing over to John Adams in 1783.
We need not look far to see that nations tend to develop when their system of governance correlates with their innate way of thinking. Arabs in general, historically and by tradition, live in communities with close ties, respect family lineage and thrive under a strong paternalistic leader. The Arabs of Libya and Iraq that wanted to leave their roots and take up the American system are now rueing their folly. Despite America’s maximum pressure, arm twisting, blackmail and sometimes condescending cajoling, China, Russia and now Iran are holding tight to their roots. And they are stronger for it.
Therefore, one way for a political arrangement to work for a people is for it to originate from them. But humankind is a broadminded, flexible and adaptable species. Because of these and many other plausible positives, man can adapt and get adapted to any political plan for his development but with a proviso. That proviso is that he is sincere and patriotic.
And this is why we have seen thriving countries that borrowed alien systems of governance; their honesty in implementing the system and the love for their country have made it work to their benefit. You can count the Asian Tigers, many European, South American and African countries among them.
As all people evolve, the peoples of Nigeria were all developing at their paces and consolidating the substances that enhanced their lives. Colonialism came and disrupted our slow and steady but sure growth into modernity. It uprooted us, leaving us dangling in the air. We have left our roots but we are yet to grab the ever-elusiveĺ colonialists’ branches.
A ready example can be taken from the textile industry. We had ways of processing cotton and converting it to thread. There was a fabricated machine made from wood for that. From there, we formed yards that were used to sew dresses. Then, even the Whiteman bought them and transported them to his land. We also had methods of colouring clothes. Had our “primitive” textile industry been left alone, it might have evolved into something bigger than what the Whiteman has now.
But because we lack confidence in ourselves, we jettisoned ours that was improving by the day as our knowledge base got expanded, and embraced the Whiteman’s contraption. A contraption we cannot make or repair displaced what we were manufacturing. A contraption we cannot own supplanted ours. Such missteps took place in our iron smelting industry and in all other sectors of the economy. And so, like the bat which is neither a bird nor an animal, we became neither here nor there.
But our neither here nor there-ness does not just stop with our industries. Our dream became to behave like the Whiteman whose morals we see as worthier than ours. Our cultures, traditions and norms we saw as archaic and were ashamed to showcase. Even in our dressing, what is “corporate” to us is Whiteman’s idea.
This hankering for the foreign we knew not, understood not and which was never in sync with our nature also reared its head in our political preferences. Agreed we were conquered and made to live under the conqueror’s will but we have gotten our independence and with that our thoughts, presumably. They did divide us because they never wanted us united, to begin with, but we should know that for our sakes, and forge a united front.
Before the advent of the colonialists, the various peoples that constitute today’s Nigeria were practising various forms of governance. We had our ways of administration; we had our leadership structures and our economic systems. Perhaps, had our march not been truncated by colonialism, we would have continued to improve a system that is natural to us and possibly even export it. Recent actions of some politicians in the United States of America show that their political interests are bigger than national interest; surely, we could have taught them a thing or two. There is little doubt that a homegrown political system would have served us better in our current confusing, seemingly hopeless and daunting circumstances as a nation.

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