The 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has called for the merger of opposition political parties.
Atiku, who made the call in a statement by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, on Tuesday, warned against the likelihood of Nigeria slipping into a one-party state.
According to the statement, the former Vice President made the remarks when he hosted the National Executive Committee of the Inter-Party Advisory Council Nigeria.
He said the project of protecting democracy in Nigeria was not about just one man.
“You have come here today to say that we should cooperate in order to promote democracy. But the truth of the matter is that our democracy is fast becoming a one-party system; and, of course, you know that when we have a one-party system, we should just forget about democracy,” he stated.
Atiku, therefore, tasked the leadership of IPAC, led by its National President, Yabagi Sani, on the need for the opposition political parties to come together and create a more formidable front that will salvage Nigeria’s democracy from sliding into a one-party state.
He said, “We have all seen how the APC is increasingly turning Nigeria into a dictatorship of one party. If we don’t come together to challenge what the ruling party is trying to create, our democracy will suffer for it, and the consequences of it will affect the generations yet unborn.”
Atiku also berated the Independent National Electoral Commission for allegedly conducting the worst general elections in the country.
He stated, “Recently again in the off-season election in three states, INEC doubled down on its disregard for the tenets of our democracy.
“We all can see how INEC declared a result in Kogi State where the total number of votes cast is higher than the total number of accredited voters in one local government. We cannot have a healthy democracy in an environment where all INEC does is to deliver for the ruling party at all costs.
“That is also why I will urge you all to appeal to lawmakers of the various opposition parties in the National Assembly to sponsor legislation that will advance the course of the constitutional and electoral reforms agenda that I shared in my recent press conference. The issue of electronic voting must be the urgent priority of the National Assembly because countries that are far less advanced than Nigeria are already doing it.”
Sani, while speaking on behalf of other members of IPAC, said, “Notwithstanding the glaring shortcomings associated with our elections, democracy remains the best form of government.”
Japa: Feel free to leave, Bishop Kukah tells Nigerian youths
The Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah, has advised young Nigerians wishing to leave the country (the popular Japa syndrome) not to hesitate.
However, he prayed that the right and conducive environment be created so that those left behind can compete favourably with their foreign counterparts.
Bishop Kukah, the Pro-chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of Veritas University, Abuja, said this while addressing graduands of Veritas University, on Saturday. It was the school’s convocation ceremony.
The Bishop said: “I encourage young people who want to leave Nigeria to please, feel free to leave. The country is big enough. We can assure you that by the time you settle down in the United States of America or wherever you have gone, you will discover that Nigeria needs you.
“And for those you left behind, our hope and prayer is that they will be competing at the same level with you. We have everything that it takes to turn the corner.
“We are Veritas University will continue to inspire and shape the new generation so that the change we expect in our country is not the change we expect from politicians.
“It is the change that will come with a big intellectual understanding of the complex nature of this country. So every graduate who walks out of the portals of Veritas will be truly equipped mentally and intellectually to conquer Nigeria.”
Kukah tasked the graduates to remain focused and remember the school they were leaving behind. He also appealed to teachers to strive to be role models for the students.
According to him, “The quality of help and support you will get from the alumni will be determined by how they left this university.
“As you prepare to spend a new chapter in your life, I encourage you to remain focused on your dream. Do not forget your alma mater because you are standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before you. Do not forget the sacrifices you have made.
“This is why we also appeal to teachers to become sources of inspiration because the quality of help and support you will get from the alumni will be determined by how they left this university. If they leave this university feeling sorrowful, they are not likely to look back.
“So we want to encourage you parents to please endeavour to serve as models and mentors to these young people. Remember it could have been done anywhere. It’s not by accident that they are in Nigeria,” he added.
He noted that some teachers were sacrificing to give their best to the country. Kukah said contrary to the claim that teachers’ rewards were in heaven, they are here on earth, appealing to them not to rest on their oars.
‘How pilot delayed plane for me’
He narrated an experience: “I have a personal experience of coming late to catch a flight to Sokoto. I was the last person to get on the plane.
“Miraculously, the plane continued to wait and when I got to the aircraft, the pilot was waiting at the foot of the plane.
“I tried to take my seat and knelt to greet me. I was quite embarrassed because I had never seen this gentleman in my life. But he said, ‘Well, Bishop, I have to kneel and greet you because you are the one who recommended me over 10 years ago for the job as a pilot’.
“We never know as teachers. Do not fall victims to the claim that your rewards are in heaven. Your rewards are actually here and they will also be in heaven.”
He congratulated the management and staff of the university, headed by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ichoku Hyacinth.
Kukah said the VC’s outstanding leadership and qualities “have been very clearly enunciated on how far the university had travelled.
“We hope that this university will achieve the elasticity that all those who started with Veritas will be able to secure the place.”
He appealed to the bodies that regulate university admissions to expand the opportunity for some universities, including Veritas University so that they can contribute their quota to the education of the citizens.
… to parents
Turning to the parents and guardians, Kukah said: “As a chairman of the Council, I’m fully aware of the sacrifices that people have made. (I am) also taking notes of the rising amount of internally generated revenue without necessarily punishing anybody.
“These things, we don’t take for granted. I, therefore, salute the management and staff of Veritas University for their courage and determination in fulfilling their obligation.
“As Pro-chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Veritas University, we assure you of the unequivocal support of the council for the ongoing development of Veritas University.
“Once again, we appeal to you to please let your name be printed somewhere in this university. It doesn’t matter how big and how little. Step forward and make your commitment because it is through this that we can expand the frontier of knowledge through Veritas University.”
Lagos seeks youth involvement in tackling security challenges
The Lagos State Government has stressed the need to involve a greater percentage of youths in addressing security challenges to ensure a safer and secure environment.
This was disclosed in a statement posted on the website of the Lagos State Government on Saturday.
According to the statement, the Secretary to the State Government, Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin, made the call on Friday during her maiden meeting with the leadership of the Police Community Relations Committee, Lagos State Command held at the Cabinet Office, Alausa, Ikeja.
It read, “The SSG told the PCRC Chairman, Kehinde Showemimo, and the Supervising Heads of the 14 Area Commands that statistics have proven that Nigeria has a huge youth population and to enjoy the demographic dividends, the youth must be positively engaged as the future of the nation.
“She said, ‘The youths are known for their strength and energetic presence anywhere they are, and bringing them on board will further make the work of the PCRC and other stakeholders easier.’
“She added that the youths are also technologically savvy and can bring their knowledge to bear in the area of infrastructural security that will further change the narratives of security in Lagos State and Nigeria.
“The youths can also be engaged in carrying out the PCRC mandate of interfacing between the Police and the citizens.”
Salu-Hundeyin also used the opportunity to assure residents and investors of adequate security through collaboration with PCRC and other security agencies to enable a more secure Lagos.
Anti-Corruption Day: EFCC vows to adopt prevention-focused approach strategy against corruption
The Sokoto zonal command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has announced that it has exceeded its target of 60%.
It said that the target was set in order to adopt a prevention-focused approach rather than a prosecution-focused one, adding that increased focus on prevention is aimed at upholding professionalism and ensuring strict adherence to the rule of law and helping restore investor confidence and promoting economic growth.
Speaking at the weekend in Sokoto in commemoration of the 2023 International Anti-Corruption Day, ACE I Aliyu Yunusa, the zonal commander of the commission, stated that the commission is primarily focusing on responsive perspectives in order to advance its cause against corruption and other financial crimes.
He said: “We are committed to working with corruption preventive template recommended by UNCAC through active professional collaboration and synergy with relevant stakeholders and ensure strict adherence to rule of law in all activities of the commission.
“This has braced our abilities in the command to achieve remarkable success hence exceeding our target. Currently, we have achieved not less than 80% prosecution.”
While noting that corruption was a threat to the growth and development of individuals and nations, Yunusa said: “No one is immune to the contagion of corruption which is why nations are united in finding solutions to the common ailment.
“This, we have to as a commission, be more diligent and resourceful in our assigned tasks and will not fail to punish infractions traceable to unethical practices.
“We must also seek new ways to identify with the clarion for unity by UNCAC to enable us to destroy all threats to development in our nation.”
The Sokoto zonal command, in collaboration with ICPC and CCB officials, organized a reawakening sensitization campaign trek against corruption.
The theme of this year’s event is “UNCAC @ 20”.
The trek covered a distance of over 2 km, starting from Sama Road, going through Gusau Road, Lodge Road, Garba Duba Road, and finally terminating at the Commission’s Zonal Headquarters. The event was attended by CSOs, NYSC clubs advocating for zero tolerance to corruption, integrity organs, youths, and student anti-corruption clubs from various institutions across the state.
He added: “We are united against corruption, Let unite against the demon of you see or hear something, say something, and EFCC, ICPC, CCB will do something”, these were some of the inscriptions on the banners displayed during the sensitization trek that attracted the attention of residents in the caliphate.”
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