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Igbo rejected Nnamdi Azikiwe as president – Paul Unongo

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Chairman of Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Chief Paul Unongo, yesterday, paid glowing tribute to one of Nigeria’s founding fathers and first president, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, describing him as Nigeria personified.

He also berated Igbo for rejecting Azikiwe as presidential candidate during the 1979 elections.

Speaking at a lecture organised by Chief Charles Udeogaranya and Ohanaeze Ndigbo to mark Zik’s post-humous 113rd birthday in Lagos, Unongo said: “I will talk Nigeria on Zik’s birthday. I remember the first time I saw Zik, when he came to Tiv land, it was in 1946. My father obliged me and took me there. I remember, I had six shillings and I was so moved, I donated the entire sum to his cause, as espoused.

“His speeches influenced me so much that I used to read his papers, particularly, The West African Pilot, more than my school notes, and got caned regularly for reading the “subversive” papers we were forbidden to read by our expatriate British teachers.

While thanking Chief Guy Ikokwu for convincing the principal organisers of the birthday celebration, Udeogaranya and Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, to invite him, Unongo who perceives himself as “this little son of Zik” praised the influence of Zik in the promotion of national unity in Nigeria and the galvanisation of African nationalism against colonialism.

Unongo said: “Truthfully, the political history of Nigeria is incomplete without acknowledging the towering role of Zik in the political movements and parties in colonial and post-colonial Nigeria, notably the Nigerian Youth Movement, Zikist Movement, National Council of Nigeria and Cameroons and Nigeria Peoples Party, of which I had the privilege of being its first secretary-general.

“We miss Zik today as we grapple with the challenges of nation-building and the resurgence of the national question. We miss Zik today, when we need national bridge builders. This great man, Igbo-speaking, who was born in Zungeru in Northern Nigeria and made his most profound political mark in Western Nigeria was a true Nigerian patriot, who resided in Lagos.

“We miss Zik, the man of intellect, the man of profound humour and creative deep thought. He was innovative and big enough to compromise for the good of his country and people, when the occasion called for compromise.

“He touted the philosophy of pragmatic federalism and Nigeria did not listen. They called him names and ended up fighting a horrendous and most destructive civil war.

“Currently, Nigeria is at it again, embroiled in various agitations, including self-determination, restructuring, referendum, quit notices, recall notices, resource control, secession and federalism, among many other issues.

“Debates in Nigeria, however, for now, have centered principally on two concepts—restructuring and federalism.”

Unongo praised Zik’s leadership qualities, which he said convinced him to work for him.

“It was this conviction that made me take the Rt. Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria canvasing for votes, to make him the Executive President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the elections of 1979. To my greatest surprise and shock, I found the greatest resistance to my presidential candidate in the Igbo speaking area of Nigeria! The majority of Igbo people told me that no Igbo man could become President!”

According to him, “those agitating for restructuring, purely based on political and ethnic considerations are averse to competition. Nigerians have competed very well in the economic and academic spheres regardless of location. They must not be afraid of competing in the political sphere as well.

“Let a true, committed patriotic Nigerian Igbo person, and there are many, stand now. Let him/her lobby, campaign and canvass the votes of Nigerians and ask Nigerians to vote him/her as President. I believe the people of Nigeria, if convinced, will vote that Igbo man or Igbo woman President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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Crime

BREAKING: Scores feared dead, many injured as PDP, APC supporters clash in Bayelsa

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There was pandemonium on Wednesday in Ogbolomabiri community in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State following exchange of gunfire between supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) during a governorship rally organised by the ruling party.

A staff of the Bayelsa State-owned radio broadcasting corporation, Radio Bayelsa and driver of the outside broadcasting van identified as Simon Onu was hit by flying bullet and died on the spot while trying to maneuver his vehicle from the troubled spot.

Five others identified as supporters of the PDP mobilised from Yenagoa, the capital city were reported killed in the bloody shooting. A policeman was reportedly shot in the leg, while another mobile police was also shot in the stomach.

The governorship campaign rally of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which was slated to hold in the area was disrupted and party faithfuls chased out of the area.

DAILY POST Bayelsa State’¢ correspondent with other journalists who attended the event were held hostage in the Nembe forest for several hours until the military came to their rescue.

Governor Seriake Dickson, who was billed to attend the rally in company of the candidate of the party, Senator Douye Diri, however, condemned the bloody attack.

DAILY POST learnt that trouble started when some supporters of one of the political parties started defacing posters and flags of the rival political party at the King Koko Square venue of the rally.

Serious shooting by armed men reportedly rocked the King Koko Square venue of the campaign as party supporters waiting for the dignitaries to arrive took to their heels.

The attackers, it was also learned opened fire on the protocol bus of the Bayelsa State Government House along the junction between Bassambiri and Ogbolomabiri communities.

Some journalists, including James Akam of the DAILY POST and Mike Taiyese of the Daily Asset Newspapers, covering the rally were also caught in the cross fire as many others sustained different degree of injuries.

Confirming the shootings, the incident, spokesperson of the Nembe Chiefs Council, Chief Nengi James, said there was a clash between rival supporters of the PDP and APC in Nembe resulting in injuries.

He said: “I can confirm that supporters of the PDP and APC clashed in Nembe with some persons sustaining various degree of injuries, but however, no death has been recorded.”

Also, a prominent indigene of the area and former senator representing Bayelsa East senatorial district, Senator Nimi Barigha-Amangi, has condemned in its entirety the act of provocation and violence released on the community by supporters of the People Democratic Party (PDP).

In his statement Chief Senator Nimi Barigha-Amangi noted that the approved venue for the PDP rally was King Koko Square and instead of going about their normal business of the day, went about chanting war songs around the community terrorising and molesting passers by.

Chief Barigha-Amange said that this was uncalled for, because other patties did use the same venue for their rallies which was very peaceful and rancour free.

He, however, warned that no individual should hide under any political platform to breach the already existing peace and harmonious relationship amongst the people in Nembe.

He called on the various security agencies in the area to redouble their efforts in stopping troublemakers from further terrorising the peace-loving people of Nembe in name of politics as no group would be allowed to over run the Nembe community.

The Police Public Relations officer, Asinim Bustwart, was yet to respond as at press time.

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Nigeria vs Benin Republic: Super Eagles begin 2021 AFCON qualifier with win

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Nigeria began their quest to be at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, with a narrow 2-1 win over Benin Republic on Wednesday.

The Super Eagles had to fight from a goal down, as the Squirrels opened scoring at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.

Stephane Sessegnon latched on a defensive error to make it 1-0.

Victor Osimhen made it 1-1 from the penalty spot, shortly before half time.

Samuel Kalu grabbed the winner, with a fine solo goal.

Nigeria will now take on Lesotho on Sunday in their next Sunday.

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Law

Nyako vs EFCC: What happened in court on Wednesday

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Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, Counsel to the 3rd defendant in a suit filed by EFCC against Murtala Nyako, former Adamawa State Governor, and others; has appealed to the Federal High Court, Abuja, to order the EFCC to produce three of its witnesses for cross-examination.

Maikyau made the oral application, on Wednesday, before Justice Okon Abang.

Nyako is the 1st defendant, his son, Sen. Abdulaziz Nyako, is the 2nd defendant while Zulkifik Abba is the 3rd defendant in the case.

The EFCC had charged the former governor, along with others, with N40 billion fraud.

They were arraigned on a 37-count charge bordering on money laundering allegedly perpetrated while Nyako was Adamawa governor.

Also arraigned along with them was Abubakar Aliyu and firms allegedly used to perpetrate the fraud which were joined as the 5th to the 9th defendants were Blue Opal Ltd, Pagoda Fortunes Ltd, Tower Assets Management Ltd and Crust Energy Ltd.

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, had indicated his interest to close his case, having taken the evidence of Kobis Arithimni, who was Secretary to Adamawa State Government during Nyako’s administration, via video link in the last sitting.

DAILY POST reports that Justice Abang had, on Oct. 30, granted EFCC’s prayer to take Arithimni via video link.

Arithimni, who presently resides in the United Kingdom (UK), gave his testimony on Nov. 5.

However, Maikyau, who opposed to the closure of the case, on Wednesday, told the court that since the prosecution was unable to call all its witnesses on its list, the prosecution is under obligation, upon request by the defendant, to present such witnesses for purpose of cross examination by the defence.

“I stand to make the application on behalf of the 3rd defendant that the prosecution be directed by this honourable court to make available witnesses number 12, 26 and 27,” NAN quoted him as saying.

The lawyer, who noted that these witnesses were yet to be called by the EFCC, said the call became necessary in the spirit of fair hearing.

He acknowledged that though the prosecution is not bound to call all the witnesses listed by it, Maikyau said the 3rd defendant wanted to take advantage of the principle of law that has been made available to the defence which is only consistent to the principle of fair hearing.

Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Jacobs, who opposed the oral application, sought for more time to respond to the prayer and the earlier request by the 2nd defendant, Abdulaziz Nyako, to travel abroad.

Justice Abang adjourned until Nov. 19 to hear the prosecution’s reply.

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