Category: Culture

Igbo elders criticize five-day sit-at-home

Residents of the South-East should reject the five-day sit-at-home declared by Simon Ekpa, a Finland-based protégé of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, the Igbo Elders Consultative Forum led by a former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, has said.

The pan-Igbo socio-political organization also described the order as draconian and epitomizing insensitivity to the plight of the people.

Ezeife told journalists in Abuja on Thursday night that it must never be observed or allowed to stand.

According to him, the IECF met, discussed, and made a critical analysis of some national issues and questions that had far-reaching consequences on the peace, unity, stability, and corporate existence of Nigeria in general and Igbo land, including Elpa’s sit-at-home order in the South East.

He said, “The Igbo Elders Consultative Forum has always believed that some faceless individuals in government and other unpatriotic elements who do not wish Ndigbo well and have been working hard with collaborators to truncate the scheduled 2023 general election in the South-East are behind the purported sit-at-home order in the zone.

“The scheduled February 2023 presidential election will be historic in Nigeria because we are optimistic that patriotic and progressive Nigerians will elect Peter Obi of the Labour Party as the next President of this country in a free, fair, and credible election. Hence, elements must never be allowed to use the purported sit-at-home order to truncate next year’s general election.”

The Igbo elders also called on the Independent Electoral Commission to take necessary measures to provide a level playing field for all the political parties and their candidates, as well as conduct a free, fair, and credible election in 2023.

“The people of the South-East, both at home and in diaspora, should all collect their Permanent Voters’ Cards and ensure effective participation in the electoral process next year,” the IECF said.

The Secretary of the Forum, Prof. Charles Nwekeaku, maintained that it was the firm belief of Igbo elders that the release of Kanu was central to peace process initiatives in the South-East, as well as the conduct of a free, fair, and credible election in the zone next year.

He said, “The moment Kanu is released, no person will hide under IPOB and similar organizations to impose any draconian sit-at-home order on our people. We still ask the Federal Government to obey the unanimous and laudable ruling of the Court of Appeal and release our son, Nnamdi Kanu. The Court of Appeal had in a unanimous and historic judgment cleared Kanu of the remaining seven of the original 15 terrorism charges against him.

“Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, FCT, Abuja, had earlier quashed eight of the original 15 charges against Mr. Kanu. The honourable thing for the Federal Government to do now is to release Kanu and stop this wide goose appeal at the Supreme Court.”

The Ezeigbo of Abuja, HRH Igwe Ibe Nwosu, said now that IPOB has publicly condemned and distanced its members from Ekpa’s sit-at-home order, the state governors as the chief security officers of the various states in the South-East must rise to their responsibility of ensuring effective protection of lives and property of the citizenry, as well as freedom of movement of people and goods in the zone.

“The governors should empower and sustain vigilante groups in the state to assist in the internal security maintenance in the South-East. We also call on the traditional rulers, community and town union leaders, the clergy, youth organisations and other peace-loving institutions and individuals to rise to the challenge of ensuring not just free movement of people, goods, and services in the South-East, but also immediate casting of this draconian sit-at-home order permanently to the dustbin of history. The sit-at-home order must never be allowed to come back to the South-East,” he said


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“Circumstances beyond my control” can make me president again – Jonathan

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said he will never contest for the presidency of the country again.

He said he would be diminishing himself if he should decide to begin to lobby people and campaign for election again.

Jonathan said this in an interview published in a book, “My Time as Chaplain in Aso Rock,” presented to the public on Tuesday.

The book written by Nathaniel Bivan contains the accounts of the chaplain of the Aso Rock Villa Chapel during the Jonathan administration, Obioma Onwuzurumba.

“If you wake up tomorrow and see that I am President again, that means there may have been circumstances beyond my control.” But not to go and pick one form and go and start lobbying people and running for campaigns; I can’t do that again. “If I do that, I will diminish myself,” the former President said.

Jonathan said he enjoyed the drama that characterized the rumour earlier in the year that he had purchased a nomination form from the All Progressives Congress to enable him to contest for the party’s presidential ticket.

Ahead of the June 2022 APC presidential primary, a group, the Nomadic Pastoralists and Almajirai Community, led by Ibrahim Abdullahi, purchased the N100 million nomination and filled out expressions of interest in Jonathan’s name.

Speaking on the controversy that trailed the group’s decision, Jonathan said, “I was enjoying the drama.” At least they are not insulting me. After all, I was chased out of the office because I was not good enough. So, if now Nigerians are saying, “Oh, this man should come,” that means they are cleaning me up. So, let me enjoy the drama.

“I was not disturbed.” I know I cannot go and start struggling to be president again. It wasn’t only Nigerians who were asking me such questions; even most of the top ambassadors—the American ambassador, the UK High Commissioner, France, and all of them—were asking me such questions. They came to ask me whether I would contest. I don’t think I would contest any election.

He added that the only roles acceptable to him now involve stabilizing democracy in troubled African states.

He added, “Assuming there’s some confusion, and sometimes things like that happen in countries. So they tell me to come and play a role in stabilizing things; a stable democracy where one leader hands over to another is what we all want.

“Let us go through that process and not interrupt the democratic processes.” We pray that such things should not happen. Otherwise, to go and say I’m contesting on the platform of any party at all No!”

Jonathan argued that the APC’s same-faith ticket would eventually lead to a lapse in the representation of Nigeria’s religious diversity.

He said, “When I took over as the vice president, the tradition then was that if the president were a Christian, the vice president would be a Muslim, and vice versa.” We have religious festivals in Nigeria and, of course, National Day, where there will be Jummah prayers and Christian prayers.

“Nigerians are religious people; this is why I get worried about the issues of Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian tickets.” Yes, Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian can run the state. But I always ask, “Who will represent this other bloc whenever we come to the national days that we celebrate?”


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FG plans six-month lecturers training over new curriculum

The Federal Government has concluded plans to train university lecturers for six months following to ensure the proper implementation of the new curriculum for institutions, GOGAN TV reports.

The training aims to make sure that the lecturers thoroughly adopt the strategies for the successful implementation of the new curriculum.

GOGAN TV had earlier reported that the government on Monday announced the inclusion of four new disciplines to be run alongside the 13 existing disciplines in the Nigerian University System.

The recently added fields include media and communications studies, allied health sciences, computing, and architecture.

The introduction of the new disciplines was based on the recommendation of a committee of the National Universities Commission.

The NUC in 2021 inaugurated a committee of experts drawn from various disciplines in Nigerian universities to create the new core curriculum and minimum academic standards for universities.

According to the NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, the Federal Ministry of Education, through the commission, embarked on a radical re-engineering of curricula in Nigerian universities to meet global standards and international best practices aimed at preparing Nigerian graduates for relevance in the fourth-revolution world economy with the skills needed for the future.

According to Rasheed, the CCMAS, which was unveiled to the public on Monday, provides 70 percent of what should be taught along with the expected outcome, while the university will provide 30 percent based on its contextual peculiarities and characteristics.

In the program for the implementation of the new curriculum, it was noted that phased implementation will commence in January 2023.

“Capacity-building workshops to train university staff in the development and validation of 30% of the courses allowed each institution to reflect its uniqueness in terms of mission and contextual peculiarities (January–March 2023).

“Capacity building workshops to train staff of universities in techniques of effective implementation of the CCMAS is scheduled for April–June 2023,” it stated

This signifies a total of six months for staff training.


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Sultan, CAN assure 2023 elections won’t divide Nigeria

The Nigeria Interreligious Council on Tuesday dismissed fears in certain quarters that the 2023 elections may make or mar the country.

Rather, NIREC, under the joint leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, expressed optimism that with the collective action of critical stakeholders and the people, a national rebirth for Nigeria could happen after the election.

The NIREC co-chairmen dismissed the fears in Abuja during its 4th quarterly meeting with the theme, “Peaceful and credible elections for national renaissance.”

At the event, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, assured stakeholders that the elections would be conducted peacefully and credibly.

Abubakar said, “A lot of people made comments about the 2023 elections as a make-or-break election for Nigeria, and I don’t believe in that. I refuse to believe that. The forthcoming polls are just an election in which people will go out, cast their votes in peace, and then whoever emerges as the winner, as the Almighty Allah decided, will be the leader of this country and the states where we all come from. I don’t believe it’s a make-or-break election.

“We should not and must not play into the hands of those enemies of Nigeria who keep on parading or bringing up such issues.”

The CAN President said the ugly history of pre- or post-electoral violence would not be repeated in 2023 if all critical stakeholders decide to halt the trend through a strategic conversation that appeals to the conscience of the political class.

Okoh said, “Even people with no coherent political ideology or development agenda of any kind also engage in do-or-die politics.” The other issue is the lack of transparency in the electoral process and the ungodly alliance of some security agents with the political class to subvert the process and confer an undue advantage on one political party against the others.


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Atiku, Kwankwaso, Obi clash at debate

The presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, and his counterparts, Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigerian People’s Party, have proffered their respective solutions to the incessant strike actions by lecturers at public universities in the country.

They also promised to increase investments in the education sector to reverse the growing number of out-of-school children in the country and revitalize the health sector.

The candidates spoke on Sunday during the Arise TV presidential town hall series on “education, healthcare, poverty, and human capital,” which was monitored by GOGAN TV.

Atiku noted that the government should work with relevant agencies to avoid a bottleneck in the funds earmarked for the education sector in a bid to end the constant strike actions of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

In his contributions, Obi lamented that the country’s investment in education is low compared to other nations, adding that the government needed to go back to its agreement with the ASUU and design a sustainable funding mechanism.

In his contribution, Kwankwaso stated that his party’s blueprint addresses the issues raised by ASUU.

On how he will solve the issue of out-of-school children, especially in the north, Atiku stressed the need for more funding and investment.

In his contribution, Obi said, “Throughout these six years, our budget in education has not reached 10 percent.” With the level of people we have out of school, for me, I think we can have a different budget.

On his part, Kwankwaso stated that he believed that more investments should be made in education.

As regards healthcare, Atiku said, “What is required are the basic health centres to cater for the greater population of our people.” This is where we need to focus as far as our health is concerned.

Obi also called for an increase in investment in the country’s healthcare.

On how to stop medical tourism, Kwankwaso said, “We need to do two things: one is put our house in order by improving the government-owned institutions. The second is to encourage private sector participation. Leaders also need to set a good example and seek treatment at home.


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FG release new universities curriculum

The Federal Government, through the National Universities Commission, is set to release the newly developed curriculum for Nigerian universities on Monday (today), a source confirmed.

Local media reports say that the NUC inaugurated a committee of experts in 2021, drawn from various disciplines in Nigerian universities, to design the new core curriculum and minimum academic standards for universities.

The date for the unveiling was contained in a letter to stakeholders and signed by the NUC’s Deputy Executive Secretary, Administration, Chris Maiyaki.

According to a copy of the letter obtained by our correspondent on Sunday, the unveiling is part of activities marking the commission’s 60th anniversary.

The message partly reads, “On behalf of the management and staff of the National Universities Commission, the Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, invites all its stakeholders to celebrate 60 years of meritorious service to the Nigerian tertiary education sub-sector and the nation.”

“The event is scheduled to take place on December 5 and 6, 2022, at the NUC secretariat.”

“The event will feature, among others, the launching of the new core curriculum and minimum academic standards of universities; the inauguration of the national steering committee on transnational education; and the recognition of past and present champions of higher education in Nigeria.”

Speaking during a recent event in Abuja, Rasheed noted that the new curriculum, core curriculum, and minimum academic standards were brought about after a comprehensive review of the benchmark minimum academic standards currently in use.

He had said, “The Federal Ministry of Education, through the National Universities Commission, has embarked on a radical re-engineering of curricula in Nigerian universities to meet global standards and international best practices for preparing Nigerian graduates for relevance in the fourth revolution world economy with the skills needed for the future.”

“The Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards has been revised to Core Curriculum and Minimum Academic Standards.

“The CCMAS, which will soon be unveiled to the public, provides 70 percent of what should be taught along with the expected outcome, while the university will provide 30 percent based on its contextual peculiarities and characteristics.”


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FCDA repossess Ghana, Malaysia, Thailand plots

The Federal Capital Development Authority has withdrawn the plots provided to Ghanaian, Thai, and Malaysian embassies for impeding the building of a significant motorway in the nation’s capital, a source reported.

The FCDA’s Executive Secretary, Shehu Ahmad, acknowledged the development over the weekend while updating the media on the organization’s efforts to deliver essential national infrastructure.

He asserted that the properties in question, which are in Abuja’s diplomatic district, were designated for a replacement many years ago to make room for the Ring Road One interchange’s development on the busy Inner Southern Expressway.

Ahmad said replacement plots were offered at some of the new layouts, which the authority was developing at Guzape ll, to assuage the embassies affected by the major infrastructural project.

He noted that the issues had been resolved at the diplomatic level, with the affected missions accepting the offer of replacement plots to pave the way for the construction of an interchange on that section of road.

“We had some challenges with diplomatic plots. At Ring Road One, we were supposed to have an interchange there, but we had challenges there due to diplomatic plots.

“When you have an issue with an embassy, it is like having an issue with the government of that nation.” “There were a lot of diplomatic moves made to ensure the resolution, but we have replacement plots and they have indicated their readiness to accept this, and we will soon develop our interchange there,” Ahmad said.


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APC youths pledge support for Tinubu, Sani

All Progressives Congress youths drawn from the North-West geo-political zone have vowed to mobilize votes for their presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the Kaduna governorship candidate, Senator Uba Sani, in the 2023 general elections.

At a meeting held on Friday to strategize for Tinubu and Uba Sani ahead of the 2023 general elections, the APC Zonal Youth Leader for the North-West, Abdullhamid Umar Oscar, promised to bring Tinubu and Uba Sani to power.

“We are here to discuss the strategy of bringing Tinubu to power. We are assuring him that the North-West youths are with him 100 percent. “We want to return APC to power from top to bottom and bottom to top,” he said.

According to him, the youths in the zone will ensure that they give their all to the party’s presidential candidate as well as the governorship candidate.

On his part, Kaduna State APC Youth Leader, Aminu Na’anty, said, “The reason for this meeting is to support Tinubu to become president of Nigeria and Uba Sani to become the governor of Kaduna State.”


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Build strong political base – Christian group

The Nigeria National Christian Coalition has urged Christians across the country to build a strong political base that would protect their interests and welfare.

The convener of the NNCC, Apostle Titi Oluwadare, made the call on Saturday during a press conference that took place in Ikeja, Lagos.

Oluwadare added that Christian leaders from across the nation would convene in Lagos on Friday for a summit to discuss the importance of the church’s voice being heard at the national level.

She said, “There is a need for Christians in Nigeria to build a strong political base.” The body of Christ, because it does not have a base, is therefore lacking in the ability or capacity to negotiate or place a demand that can achieve or help achieve their objectives; hence, the church has little relevance at the centre of affairs in Nigeria, and consequently, the church and Christians end up being used as pawns in the political chess game.

“As followers of Jesus Christ, and using the scriptures as our base, it is time to come out of oppression, multiply, be fruitful, and have dominion.” We must become spiritual. “Spirituality is not isolating ourselves and absconding from responsibility.”

In his remarks, the Regional Coordinator of the NNCC, South-West Region, Bishop Taiwo Ajose, called for more political participation among Christians to tackle the social and moral ills in the country.

“One of the ways we can correct the ills of Nigeria is to actively get involved in the governance of the country because one of the core problems of Nigeria is leadership,” he said.

On his part, the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Kaduna State chapter, Rev. John Hayab, noted that church leaders should correct the impression of politics being a ‘dirty game.’


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Farmers/Herders clash in Borno records eight deaths

The Borno State Police Command has confirmed that eight people lost their lives in a clash between farmers and herders over alleged land encroachment in the Bayo Local Government Area of the state.

The Commissioner of Police, Abdu Umar, said the incident at a meeting with leaders of the farmer association and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, on Friday, in Maiduguri.

He said the report indicated that violence erupted on November 30 over the alleged encroachment of farmlands and the murder of a farmer by unidentified assailants in the area.

“Eight persons killed including children while 47 houses and six motorcycles were burnt,” he said.

He said the police had restored normalcy to the area and arrested some suspects in connection with the disturbances, adding that the state government had provided relief items to the affected persons.

“This is a source of concern to the government and security agencies; the meeting is aimed at providing lasting solutions to the problem.”

“At the end, we shall come up with modalities to check the movement of wandering herders into the state, especially in areas that witnessed violence,” he said.

According to him, a committee will be set up to enhance surveillance and monitoring as well as promote peaceful coexistence between farmers and herders.

He said membership of the committee would comprise representatives of security agencies, farmers and herders associations.

In his remarks, Ahmadu Musa-Karube, Chairman of the MACBAN, called for proactive measures to address the root cause of the problem.

Musa-Karube said that the lack of cattle routes and encroachment on farmlands were largely responsible for farmer-herder clashes in the state.

Also speaking, Hassan Musa, a farmer representative, advocated a ban on night animal grazing in the state.

He also called for closer collaboration between the leadership of the farmer and herders’ unions to address the problem.


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