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How US frustrated Nigeria in Boko Haram war – GDPN Presidential candidate, Akhimien

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Dr. Davidson Isibor Akhimien, the presidential candidate of Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria (GDPN) in an interview with Arewa.ng in Abuja explained that the US deliberately denied the country of arms purchase to confront insecurity in Nigeria.

The former Intelligence Chief in the Nigerian Army said, the Army lacked modern equipment and training to fight insurgency and other forms of criminalities.

Excerpts:

As the 2019 general elections draw close amid heightened insecurity, how do you intend to tackle insecurity differently from the way the current government is doing?

I am going to tackle insecurity from two major fronts which are going to be quite a departure from the style the present government is adopting. Like I always say, we are going to tackle insecurity of terrorism in the Northeast, Nigeria. I am going to have it from the domestic political economy and international political economy. We are going to be looking at our military approach. We are going to be strengthening our armed forces. We are looking at retooling and re-equipping our armed forces, changing our inventory to modern inventory that is required for the 21st century asymmetric kind of war fight. Of course, as it is today, most of the insurgents are trained in modern-day fighting techniques. Terrorists use very modern armaments and so never in our history should terrorists be better armed than our armed forces and we should not allow ragtag army while terrorists are better equipped than them. So when I become President, I am going to re-kit our army in tandem with the 21st-century requirements.

Terrorism anywhere in the world is not fought alone by the affected country, but it seems Nigeria is left alone fighting its own terrorists. Other nations of the world are not interested in assisting Nigeria. What do you think went wrong?

That is what I was talking about in terms of the domestic political economy and an international political economy. If you look at the world today in balance of power situation in international economy, you will find that Nigeria happens to be disadvantaged. Recall when President Barack Obama was in power and Nigerian leadership under Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan asked for arms to be purchased from the United States, we were denied. We went to the United Kingdom to purchase arms, United States prevailed on the UK to deny us and they did. We went to Israel, they denied, we went to South Africa they denied as a result of pressure mounted by the United States, so Nigeria went to the black market and the thing burst. So it is important for Nigeria leadership to understand the interplay of domestic political economy and international political economy when it comes to seeking cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

So if you eventually become the president, would you be doing this immediately in order for the country to enjoy cooperation of other nations in the fight against terrorism.

Your foreign policy has to be astute. Your degree and level of diplomacy have to be in a manner that attracts nations to your nation. We have what we call not only member of international communities, but international non-governmental organisations which go a long way to ensuring that you have relationship with other countries in the international arena. All of these are within the ambit of international political economy.

What legacy would you be remembered for in the next 20 years after you have left presidency for instance?

My legacy would be known for industrialization of the country. Industrialization and empowerment of the youth segment of the society. The entrenchment of the human capacity by a way of modernized educational system. We will put up structures to ensure every child is captured in our educational system and to ensure that never again would there be an illiterate Nigerian.

Has President MuhammaduBuhari led government done anything good that is approved of you?

Yes, if truth be told, this government is passionately fighting corruption and in my view, they are succeeding. They are fighting corruption in every sphere of the system and any right thinking Nigerian should agree to that.

Ahead of 2019 elections, how do you react to the trend of vote buying by some politicians and how can this menace be tackled?

It is important Nigerians should know that the phenomenon of vote buying is an insult to their humanity, an aberration to their humanity, and to their individuality. Why should politicians buy your vote when he needs to earn your vote? I must say that the political class is culpable in vote buying and vote selling phenomenon. A politician that comes to buy your vote is not interested in your welfare. Nigerians should know that kind of politician has made democracy and governance in Nigeria transactional. That is to say, buying and selling, the same way one buys tomatoes and pepper and it means voter has been reduced to a commodity. Nigerians should know that they have more value and worth than that. They should say no to vote buying and any contestant that comes to them for vote buying should be immediately given zero scorecard.

Is the Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria envisaging alliances with other political parties in order to deepen your base ahead of 2019 elections given the fact that GDPN is presenting you as presidential candidate for the first time?

The problem of some political parties in Nigeria is somewhat lack of ideologies. As a new entrant into the political space, we have come with a very strong political ideology; we believe in our ideology and for us, it is a new thing altogether. We have come into politics to play politics of 21st century; politics of development. Politics that would serve as a counter-culture to the existing political culture of underdevelopment. Ours is about bringing a revolution into the political space. We are an ideologically based party. We stand by our ideology and we can align with parties that share similar ideology with us.

What actually do you think went wrong with this country that arouses your deep concern?

You are a young man and you may not know what happened in the past. So many things happened. We have experienced a trajectory of awkward experience and a downward slide in our social life and the economy. The livelihood of an average Nigerian in an international arena has been on a downward spiral since the 80s to where we are now. If you go through your history very well, you discover that we are not where we used to be. Indeed, we are throttling towards an abyss. There is insecurity everywhere. There is the inability of an average Nigerian to push his life forward and the lack of affordable accommodation everywhere in the country. Massive unemployment with over 20 million people should give somebody like me sleepless nights. That is a huge percentage. With about 1.8million Internally Displace Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria as at today, that does not speak well of a country like ours.

If you ask me, ”when I become President, what will I like to do” it’s like rebuilding Nigeria all over again. We are haemorrhaging and bleeding in every area of societal life. Now, my administration will be looking at restoring security of lives and properties of Nigerians so that they can sleep with their eyes closed. Security is a primary responsibility of government as captured in the 1999 constitution as amended.

The other thing we are going to be looking at is education which is very key for me. For me as an individual, I weep and I consider as a denial of fundamental human right of any citizen that is deprived of education. When you talk about a country of 200 million people, we should be talking about 200 million highly developed minds and what I mean is with sound education. Unfortunately, the percentage of illiterate people is within a neighbourhood of 60% of the entire population and this is not good enough. The level of educated people is directly proportional to the development of that country. When we are talking of building infrastructure, minds must be developed to maintain that infrastructure, if not, you find out that all your investment in that infrastructure will not be sustainable. Education is key. Educate a man and you have started the building blocks of a nation, because he will know how to comport himself, even, the consequences of population explosion.

The history of governance in Nigeria has been the history of protecting the interest of cabals than delivering dividends of democracy. How would you strike a balance between these two as President?

They are cabals everywhere in the world. In any power system, cabals exist. But it takes the personality of any leader to break through any cabals. It takes the vision, the tenacity and temerity to break through cabals that stand in the way of interest of the nation. Who are those that stand in the way of a leader in the guise of cabals? You are voted in as a president and you must not allow cabals to stop you from discharging your responsibilities.

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Arewa

Buhari issues fresh order to military over banditry

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President Muhammadu Buhari Saturday in Katsina, Katsina State, charged the military to be more spontaneous in restoring peace to the country, particularly states troubled by bandits, ordering them “not to spare bandits’’ that have been killing, maiming and extorting innocent citizens.

Addressing 15 officers and 160 soldiers of the 17th Army Brigade and Nigerian Air Force 213 Operational Base in Katsina, under the “Operation Hadarin Daji’’, at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Airport, President Buhari, said:

“This group was formed by the military to secure the geo-political zone from the activities of bandits. Fundamentally, it is your responsibility to secure the country.

“As the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, I believe you are capable of doing it. I don’t think you should spare any bandit. Identify and eliminate them. Pursue them anywhere you can find them and eliminate them,’’ he said.

“Nigeria deserves peace. The rainy season is good and we are already achieving food security, but we need peace. The money saved from food importation will be used to purchase arms for operations,’’ he said.

The President, flanked by Governor Aminu Bello Masari, assured the troops that the Federal Government will provide all the necessary support for restoration of peace in the country.

“We will give you all the right equipment so that you can deal with them with despatch. I appreciate all your efforts but you can do more. I don’t want any bandit spared,’’ he added.

President Buhari said the government and all officials were being sustained in office by the ordinary people, and they owe the people a duty to protect their lives and property.

“Please give my regards to your families. The earlier you finish with the bandits, the earlier you will return and stay with your families,’’ he said.

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Ekweremadu speaks on attack on him by IPOB members in Germany

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Ike Ekweremadu, the immediate past Deputy President of the Senate has confirmed a physical assault on him by some members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, in Nuremberg, Germany, on Saturday.

Ekweremadu confirmed the attack in a statement released by his Media Assistant, Uche Anichukwu in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a 64-second video about the attack had gone viral on the social media earlier on Saturday.

NAN further reports that there were initial speculations on the veracity of the video where the senator was attacked with eggs by the irate IPOB members.

The Senator who also gave an account of the event on his social media handle, @iamekweremdu, however, assured that he was safe.

He condemned the attack and said he had immediately reported it to the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Mr. Yusuf Tuggar.

He said: “I attended the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention organized by Ndi-Igbo Germany in Nurnberg today where I was billed to give a keynote address along with the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who, however, could not make it eventually.

“I was given a resounding welcome by Ndigbo in Germany and everything went smoothly until some men, who identified themselves as IPOB members stormed the venue and began to complain about the killings in the South East, stressing that there would be no Igbo event at the venue.

“I tried to engage them, but when they became unruly, I had to leave the venue. The organizers also invited the police and I was accompanied out of the venue.

“Much as I am disappointed in their conduct, especially as I am one of the persons, who have spoken up on justice for Ndigbo, the Python Dance, judicial killings in Igbo land and elsewhere both on the floor of the Senate and in my written and personal engagements with the Presidency and the media as well as rallied the southeast Senate Caucus to secure Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s release with Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe taking him on bail to douse tension in the South East, I nevertheless do not hold this to the heart against them, for they know not what they do.

“I have received thousands of solidarity calls and messages from well-meaning Ndigbo. I want to assure them that I am hail and hearty. I have also spoken with the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar.”

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Crime

Army vs Police: Military issues strong warning to Nigerians

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The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has warned Nigerians against comments and actions that could pit the Nigerian Police Force against the Nigeria Army.

The warning became necessary following the controversies and public criticism that greeted the killing of three policemen and a civilian last week by soldiers on the Ibi-Wukari Road in Taraba State.

Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, the Acting spokesman for the DHQ, Colonel gave the warning while reminding Nigerians that the police and the army are two very important services in the country.

He said that concern should be geared at ensuring the joint panel constituted undertakes an exhaustive investigation.

When asked by The Nation about the captain alleged to have been responsible for the unauthorised shootings and release of the suspected kidnapper, Nwachukwu said, “That information did not come from me. Our concern is to allow the panel do a thorough job and avoid comments that heat up the situation. We are trying to apply some restraint on this issue to avoid pitching the police against the army.

“These are two very important institutions in Nigeria and it will be most unfair to this nation to pit them against each other or the personnel of each service against the other.

“What is important is that lives have been lost and this is a difficult time for the families of the victims. We should be more concerned at looking into the human angles, the psychological traumas these families are going through.

“Our concern should be that the panel does exhaustive investigation and gets to the bottom of the matter. So, I would not like to begin to make comments that would pre-empt the investigation or its outcome.”

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