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Nigerian overseas based Prof. predicts Peter Obi Labour Party’s victory in 2023

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By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

A renowned Nigerian oversea’s based and international commentator, Prof. Farooq A. Kperogi, has again predicted Peter Obi’s emergence as Nigeria’s President come 2023 with optimism.

Prof. Farooq, in his recent political analyses posted in his twitter handle, @farooqkperogi, revealed that the former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi is inspiring a powerful, social media-enabled youth-led political tidal wave that will radically change the contours of the 2023 election.

But APC and PDP operatives, still inebriated with the overconfidence because of the size and deep pockets of their parties, are sniggering at the suggestion that Peter Obi’s Labour Party will change the game next year.

A journalist turned lecturer, said “They (APC, PDP), comfort themselves with the mantra that there are no polling booths on social media where Peter Obi’s devotees form noisy cyber silos.

“Well, there is no opponent more dangerous than an underestimated one. People who are habituated to the politics of the past may dismiss it, but something fundamentally novel is happening”, he noted.

His words: There’s an unstoppably growing corps of fired-up young (and not-so-young) people who are investing their time, energy, and emotions in Peter Obi. We have seen spectacular spikes in PVC registration and an increase in offline political mobilization, all thanks to him.

Three factors appear to be driving this. One, there is mass disillusionment with the quality and character of the presidential candidates of the two major parties.

They are the same woefully familiar, recycled, unimaginative, self-interested, careerist politicians who are deeply invested in sustaining the dysfunctions that keep Nigeria in the twilight zone between life and death.

They mouth the same flyblown clichés, can’t articulate any grand visions, are indistinguishable from past politicians, have no commitment to any grand ideals, and are in politics to steal from the public till and dispense favors to cronies.
Peter Obi seems to be different. He comes across as down-to-earth, self-aware, committed to transparency and the demystification of governance, and as someone who invests considerable intellectual energies into thinking about— and offering solutions to— Nigeria’s problems.

I am dubious of the facticity of some of his more self-righteous, messianic claims, and suspect that he sometimes hyperbolizes some of the too-good-to-be-true anecdotes about his time as Anambra State governor in order to gain the applause of his audiences.

As a scholar of rhetorical studies, I know that rhetors can sometimes feel an obligation to not violate the expectations of their captive audiences by telling stories that their audiences want to hear even if this means bending or sexing up the facts a little bit.

Nonetheless, compared to Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu, Peter Obi is a breath of fresh air.

The second impetus for the dramatic surge in Obi’s political profile is religious. Many Christians in both the South and the North feel excluded from the presidential tickets of the APC and the PDP. Churches all across Nigeria are drumming up support for Obi in protest.

I think this is legitimate in the interest of representational justice, particularly because Obi isn’t some pastor with a predetermined agenda to advance narrow religious or sectarian causes.

Although Obi is a devout Catholic, he is thoroughly secular and, based on some of his speeches I’ve watched, has a deep understanding of the imperative of separating the sacred and the profane in the business of governance.

The third driver of his popularity is Igbo resentment at their systemic political exclusion. In my April 2, 2022, column titled “Why Nigeria Needs an Igbo President in 2023,” I wrote:
“The Igbo are almost in the same spot that the Yoruba were in in 1998. There is mass resentment among them. Several of them feel emotionally disconnected from Nigeria. And we all know why. Apart from the fact that they have never produced a president or vice president since 1999, Muhammadu Buhari has done an extremely poor job of husbanding Nigeria’s intricate diversity.

“The sense of alienation that a vast swath of Igbo people feel now has made several of them, particularly their youth, susceptible to the murderous wiles of the mentally and emotionally disturbed mountebank called Nnamdi Kanu.”

Some of the secessionist oxygen that sustained Biafra agitation has now been redirected to Peter Obi, and Nnamdi Kanu has now been pushed on the backburner. While some people have put a negative spin to this, I think it is a golden opportunity.

It shows that an Igbo presidency will solve the secessionist agitations and violence in the Southeast. For me, that’s a worthwhile reward for having a president who is Igbo.

Incidentally, in the April 2 column I referred to earlier, Peter Obi was one of two Igbo people I recommended as candidates for the presidency. The other was Kingsley Moghalu who sadly lost the primary election of his party”, he stated.

I wrote: “The second is Peter Obi. In a March 25, 2022, article titled ‘Peter Obi: Applying to Be Driver of a Knocked-Out Car,’ I mentioned that listening to his speeches has captured my imagination. He appears to have a handle on Nigeria’s problems, and what I’ve read of his record as governor of Anambra State inspires some confidence that he isn’t just a talker.
“I can’t speak to his cosmopolitanism and commitment to seeing all of Nigeria as his constituency. That’s up to voters to find out.”

If Obi’s political momentum holds steady until February next year and the election is free and fair, I predict that he will cause a runoff.

If he leads with the youth, Igbo, and Christian votes (I know there’s an overlap in some categories), he will upset both the APC and the PDP to the point that none of them can win in the first round of the presidential election.

If he doesn’t win or qualify to participate in the runoff, whoever he supports will be the winner. So, an intelligent political party won’t antagonize him or his supporters just yet.

But there are dangers for Obi, though, should he somehow defeat the structural impediments on his way to become president. First, his devotees call themselves “Obidients” and demand “Obidience” to him. That’s horrible. They would be worse than Buhari’s BMC trolls.

What is needed in democracy is critical citizenship, not “obidience.” “Obidience” in democracy suggests a surrender of one’s critical faculty, which is what precisely what Buharism is. It’s the death knell of democracy.

Obi’s rise to political stardom is propelled by anger at the political establishment. That’s the literal definition of populism. Populism instrumentalizes anger for politics without being able to transform the lives of the angry in any meaningful way.

Obi’s devotees imagine him to embody the solutions to Nigeria’s problems and expect him to wave the magic wand and make them disappear. As he himself admitted in a previous public appearance, Nigeria’s problems are structural and systemic and can’t be resolved with a mere change of the personnel in the corridors of power.

If his presidency violates the expectations of his devotees, they will turn against him. In other words, he is riding the tiger of populism, and it will devour him when he dismounts from it”, it stated.

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EDSG Trains Batch- 9 Vigilantes, Hunters.

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….. As Gov Obaseki Signs Edo Security Corps Bill into law

By Sim Omo- Benin City

As part of efforts to combat crimes, criminalities, cultism and other social vices bedeviling the state, the governor Obaseki led administration has commenced training of batch Nine hunters and operatives of Vigilantes, bringing a total of over ten thousand Vigilantes and hunters so far trained by the state to tighten security in every nook and cranny

Similarly Governor Godwin Obaseki has signed the State security Corps Bill into law

Speaking at the commencement of the batch- nine training exercise at the Police Training School in Ogida, the State Co-ordinator of the Edo security and Vigilantes network , Col. Kole Omomia( Rtd) commended Governor Obaseki and the state government for prioritizing security in the state and its continuous commitment to providing the necessary logistics for the state’s security apparatus to function

He noted that the training of the corps operatives which included the hunters, as in the instance of the batch- 9 who are currently here today, are concerted effort and determination of the state government to put her citizens at the fore front to enjoy peace, tranquility and have an enabling environment that would promote growth, development and investments.

Col. Omomia reiterated that the trainees would undergo series of exercises such as medical fitness, bio-data, teekwando, Judo, Drills, Parades and mental fitness and other activities ancillary to the job

According to the State Cord, the training would cut across the three senatorial districts in the state , with about One thousand, three hundred,(1300) Vigilantes and hunters expected to be trained in Batch- 9

He, however,urged the trainees to key into the program with keen interest and participate fully.

Recall that only recently, the state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, singed the Bill establishing the State security Corps, formerly known as the Edo State Security Vigilante Network,ESSVN, into law

By the establishing Act, the Corps is now a statutory body recognised by law and would perform its roles as provided by the Act

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HAILING THE SUPREME COURT ON LG ALLOCATION JUDGMENT

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Prof Mike Ozekhome, SAN,CON, OFR

The supreme court judgement on

July 11, 2024, directing the Federal Government to pay allocations due to Local Government Areas directly to their account thereby abolishing the old practices of State-Local Government Joint Account,is timely and courageous.

What the judgement has done is more like interpreting section 162 of the Constitution, which provides for a joint State-Local Government Account. In which case, money is normally paid to state governors’ accounts and then for them to disburse to the local governments for them to share. But what has been happening is that, as I noted in 2020,over three years ago, the state governors, have been behaving like ”bandits”, waylaing local governments funds along the way and thus impoverishing them leaving them with nothing to work, just a little for salary. And nothing to actually work for the people whom they represent.
I agree totally with the judgement of the supreme court to grant full financial autonomy so that money is released and paid directly to the 774 local government councils which constitute the third-tier of government,to develop their places because the LGAs are grassrooted and nearest to the people. Rather than allow overbearing state governors throw their weight around and muzzle the local governments and seize their purse,they will now allow LGs breath some air of freedom.

If you take a look at our situation, Nigeria is operating a very lopsided federation,more like a unitary system of government. Where the federal government is supposed to be a small government,it is controlling 67 items on the exclusive legislative list. That is why the federal government gets the lion share of the federation account , the lion share of the money that comes to the federation account to the tune of 52.68%. The states get 26.72% while the entire 774 local government councils in Nigeria get just 20.60% of the monthly allocation by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RLASMC.

The question is, what is the federal government doing with almost 53% of the national income? That is because it is a government that is behemoth.That is elephantine. A government that intrudes and intervenes in areas that should not concern it at all. What is the federal government’s business with licensing cars and trucks for states? What is its business with the Marriage Act, dealing with how people marry and wed in Nigeria and how they live together as husband and wife and separate or divorce? What is the federal government’s business with unity schools? A whole FG operating secondary schools? What is their business? Why is the FG not allowing states generate their own power, operate their own railway stations, if they have the capacity? Why should the federal government not allow states have their own police force? Even for the local governments to have their own police force as we have in the United States and other advanced countries of the world where even tertiary institutions have their own police?

The truth is that the federal government is overbloated and overpampered. That is why it is using too much money and make the centre become too attractive,eating deep into funds that ought to be meant for the states and local government areas. The states take not only that which belongs to the states, but also waylays at source that which is meant for the local government areas. No Nation grows that way.

So, I see this judgment as epochal,having

far-reaching effect because money will now be made available directly to the local government areas who will no longer be subservient, like fawning slaves to state governors. In fact, the judgement even went further to say that no state government has the power henceforth to dissolve local government areas. This is because we have been seeing cases where inspite of the provisions of section 7 of the 1999 constitution that give autonomy to local government areas, states normally go ahead and dissolve local government areas ND appoint caretaker committees for them.This is whimsical and capricious.The Supreme Court has said this can no longer go on and that henceforth, no state government should ever be able to dissolve any local government area in Nigeria for any reason whatsoever and howsoever.

The judgement is salutary, timely and regenerative. It should be upheld by all governments and people in Nigeria for better democratic dividends.I see this as victory for our wobbling democracy, even if we are far removed from true fiscal federalism where the federating units control and utilize their God-given resources while paying royalty or tax to the central government. This case is one big plus for tested court room gladiator, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation, who initiated the case at the apex court, invoking its original jurisdiction.Surely,to jaw-jaw is better than to war-war. God bless Nigeria.

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Ex+Abia gov, Senator Kalu backs part-time legislature

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Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has backed calls for part-time legislature at both federal and state levels.

Senator Kalu (APC Abia North) said this would help the nation cut costs and enhance the citizenry’s trust in the polity.

The former Abia governor said this in an interview published on his verified Facebook page over the weekend.

On calls for part-time legislature, Senator Kalu said, “I think it will be a very good idea if my colleagues and other members of the Houses of Assembly will agree that we can sit for three months and do constitutional amendment first.

“So we can sit four times a year and if there’s any emergency, there will be emergency sitting. We can come to do a presidential bid on that basis and go back instead of sitting on a full-time basis.

“Not only the Senate and the House of Representatives, but all the legislative houses in Nigeria will be part-time.”

Senator Kalu maintained that this would be part of austerity measures to reduce cost of governance, arguing that regional government is another viable alternative.

“If we’re going for regional government, it also means that the ministers, the legislators, will be the same. I’ve been tinkering with the idea of how we can save money to run Nigeria because the country needs money.

“I will encourage the President, the National Assembly to make these kind of laws. This will help him, and this will help the system, and this will help everybody,” he said.

The ex-governor explained that contrary to misconceptions among Nigerians, senators are not paid enough.
U
“But I want Nigerians and my colleagues to do a quick constitutional amendment so we can go and be a part-time sitting Senate and part-time sitting House of Representatives, and other 36 state houses of assembly in Nigeria.

“That will bring trust and bring relief to the Nigerian people,” the ex-governor said.

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