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June 12, The Mandate, By Wole Soyinka

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(As prepared for the formal recognition of June 12, 1993, and conferment of national honours on stalwarts of that struggle).
The annulment of the presidential election of June 12, 1993 was a negative watershed in Nigerian history. It opened the floodgates of distrust, the consequences of which, sometimes in directions that are still in denial, have remained to plague the nation. There is much to remember, and some of this with a measure of satisfaction, even a sense of fulfillment. For many however, much of the memory is unbearable. A number still resort to desperate measures to cauterise the trauma of the consequent season of unprecedented inhumanity, occasioned by sheer lust for unchallenged power and total domination of the national environment. These are individuals who walk among us, with scars of horrendous torture, others whose lives remain permanently disrupted, and yet several more who have been pauperised beyond recovery. Some can never eradicate the ordeal of being compelled to witness the torture and dehumanisation of their relations, forced to watch, in order to force them to incriminate themselves or others, confess to deeds, and/or sympathies to which they were complete strangers. Yet even these victims, direct victims, or sufferers from collateral wounds, may have succeeded in overcoming their ordeal, if only a concerted gesture of recognition, of restitution and vindication of their roles had been offered, a symbolic act towards potential closure, such as brings us together this day, June 12, 2018, a quarter of a century later. It should never have waited this long. It required only a simple capacity for empathy, an act of moral courage, and a sense of belonging to that gamut of humanity from whom sacrifice is often extracted with or without their consent.
That simple gesture, repeatedly advocated by millions, was denied. The burden of arrogance and vaunting self-centredness sat heavily on the shoulders of the beneficiaries of a collective struggle. They harvested, but could not bear to share, or render dues. Or simply lacked the imagination, and were devoid of a sense of honour. They lacked an understanding of history, and trivialised the emotions of fellow humanity. Some could not even bear to name the symbol of that struggle for the restoration of civil dignity that is at the very basis of ordered social existence. That social actuality, the massed will of the people, is the ultimate voice of authority. Civil society must therefore hold itself also culpable, numerous times, for laxity in its exertion. Here follows a simple instance that is not beyond recall of most of us here.
The demand for national recognition of Moshood Abiola was at its most intense during the tenure of the primary beneficiary of Abiola’s sacrifice, one to whom the very name of that political martyr was anathema. I refer to the hosting of the All-Africa Games, COJA, for which I was then cultural consultant for the opening ceremonies. In his lifetime, Moshood Abiola, a man of many parts, many interests, and multiple personifications, was recognised across the continent and outside for his passion, his moral and material generosity to the sporting arena. Such was the magnitude of his contribution that he was conferred with the title of African Pillar of Sports by the Africa Union.
A stadium was under construction in preparation for the games and it was confidently expected, indeed loudly demanded that that stadium should bear his name. Indeed, many assumed that this so obvious, so painless, so inexpensive tribute would be paid him by his own nation. The COJA Games came, and went. I urged the media – you may check the archives – to ignore that president and simply continue to refer to the stadium as the Moshood Abiola Stadium. Keep at it, I exhorted, and it will not matter in the least whether or not the occupant of Aso Rock concedes the posthumous honour so overwhelmingly deserved. The people’s voice remains the ultimate decider, irrespective of the voice of power, petulance and pettiness. Today, I repeat that demand and urge it on this government. History is archived not only by the written word or oral narratives, but by a landscape that is strewn with the precipitates of human attainment.

The media failed to take the bait. Society wearied and moved on. Instead, one of the major avenues of this very capital of the nation still bears the name of that ruler who is near uniformly execrated across the nation and vilified across the world. And I assert this despite recent affirmations of loyalty to that dictator from his erstwhile colleagues. Mr. President, let me state this directly: Loyalty is a virtue, but it also can prove perverse. No matter, today, the plunge is being taken. Belated, yes. With an eye on electoral fortunes, undoubtedly. And somewhat diminished by a number of unsatisfactory details, some trivial, some significant, some debatable, others simply untenable – what matters is that a long evaded step towards the summit of closure has been taken.
One sour note, even today, deserves special attention, since it goes to the heart of this depressing career of denial. How did that word “presumed” as in the expression “presumed winner” of an election, creep into the official communique? That seeming trivia goes beyond semantics. I was on my way to Brazil when pressure for my presence here today commenced and became overpowering by its very logicality. I did not do an about turn, aborting a prior engagement, in order to participate in a ritual of presumptions. That insertion is what we must deem “presumptuous”, even contemptuous of reality. Moshood Kashimawo Abiola was, and remains the acclaimed, not presumed, winner of the Nigerian June 12, 1993 democratic elections, an event that manifested the collective and disciplined will of the Nigerian people in a most unambiguous manner.

Let me testify that I was actually in Europe, at a conference, at the same time as the then secretary-general of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku. We shared the same hotel. As the results were being formally collated, posted and released, he continued to share them with me. There was no ambiguity about who was headed for outright victory – and so it proved!
Despite the last-minute efforts to terminate the process, the voting proceeded and was concluded. A clear winner emerged, without presumption or contestation. Even his opponent openly conceded defeat – that is, until he was pressured to backtrack and challenge those results by those whose interests lay outside any known democratic impulsion. I call on the media to ensure that that word “presumed” is blotted out permanently, in any existing and future dispatches. I therefore echo the call of legislators to have those results fully published, so as to lay the ghost of that presumptive qualifier. Dictators are free to annul the succession of day and night, the succession of drought and rains, but no mortal power, either in this world or in any other human habitation, can annul the truth of that election.

It was that truth that nerved Moshood Abiola to emerge and re-present himself to the people in the famous declaration of Epetedo, saying: My name is Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, and I am here to reclaim my mandate. Today, that mandate conferred upon Abiola is being reclaimed on his behalf. Whatever the motivation, the credit is undeniably yours.
What matters for this nation is that after the inertia and avoidance of nearly two decades and a half, justice begins to find place in the agenda of governance. A principled step has been taken towards closure. In finding the courage to assume the mantle of redress, let it not matter to you in the least whether or not such a gesture translates into votes. In any case, you will never find out with any degree of certainty – only in the presumptions of pundits. What will go down in memory and history is that you finally confronted a political entitlement, long evaded, treasonably annulled and imprudently postponed, confronted the spectre of negative memory, and offered the nation a glimpse of the potential of healing. The rest lies in the unpredictable future.
It only remains to me to pay tribute to hundreds of other protagonists of human liberty and the right of political volition. Only a few weeks ago, we celebrated the memory of one of the most consistent of such warriors – Gani Fawehinmi, senior advocate of the masses – also befittingly honoured today. And two weeks ago, we gathered at the graveside of Kudirat Abiola on the anniversary of her brutal murder. And there was Musa Yar’Adua, who mobilised resistance from within a legislature that appeared cowed, submissive and compromised. They read Sanni Abacha the riot act, sent him an ultimatum. Yar’Adua was unquestionably murdered in prison for his dare. And there were assassinations with a dictator’s blooded palm prints all over the corpses – Alfred Rewane, Felix Ibru, Onaguruwa (a case of mistaken identity) and so on and on. Nor must we ever forget the hundreds of others, many of them unsung, even nameless.
For special mention however, I cannot avoid recalling, with pride and nostalgia, our late Comrade Ola Oni, who is very rarely evoked these days. Yet it was he who mobilised others and led the massed resistance in Ibadan – the epicentre, some may recall – being the propitiously named Liberty Stadium, where he and a sparse but dedicated gathering, after an all-night convergence, moved out at dawn to stall the roller-coaster of a manic ruler in its tracks, thus stemming the spreading tide of civic surrender. Let those highlights remain in our memories, such as that routing of a would-be life dictator on a campaign to entrench himself in power through co-option of slavish surrogates. Let each and any one of our known resisters – Bagauda Kaltho, Chris Ubani, Beko Ransome-Kuti and all others – always serve as recollection prods in our minds for massed resistance in face of any massive state terror machine, however ruthless. These martyrs deserve a collective memorial, as a sign that the struggle for human freedom admits no statute of limitations. Reverses yes, often unavoidably – that is the nature of struggle – but abject surrender? The answer is pre-eminent in the words of one man who stood tall as he toured the streets of Lagos in an open vehicle, declaring:
“My name is Moshood Abiola. It is time to reclaim my mandate.”

Wole SOYINKA is the first Black Nobel Laureate in Literature.Premium Times

 

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PDP’s Secondus appoints ex-minister Chidoka SA on strategy

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By Emmanuel oloniruha
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus has appointed former Minister of Aviation and former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Chief Osita Chidoka, as his Special Adviser on Strategy and External Engagements.
A statement issued by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Friday in Abuja, said that the appointment was with immediate effect.
“Chidoka, who is well reputed for his ingenuity and organisation skills in public office, is expected to bring to bear his analytical expertise and wealth of experience in political strategy development, coordination and implementation, as the PDP sets for the 2019 general elections,” he said.

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Iwuanyanwu says he’ll retire from politics if Atiku wins

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A leader of the Peoples Democratic Party and businessman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu said he will retire from politics once Atiku Abubakar becomes Nigeria’s president.
Iwuanyanwu, who will be 76 on 4 September, declared his support for the presidential aspiration of former Vice President of Nigeria.
Chief Iwuanyanwu in company of other leaders of the PDP in Imo State received Atiku in Owerri during his visit to the state in continuation of his nationwide consultations with PDP stakeholders across the country.
“Atiku’s political journey has come a long way and he is particularly cut out for the demands of the time at this juncture in Nigeria’s political history. I will only retire finally after Atiku is installed. Atiku is an intelligent leader and he is the only one who can be fair to the Ibos,” Iwuanyanwu said.
Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and governorship aspirant in Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha said that Atiku will be the best president Nigeria will have in 2019.
Atiku, in company of a delegation led by the Director General of his presidential campaign organization and former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, visited Owerri for a meeting with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders in Imo State in continuation of his nationwide consultations.
While welcoming Atiku into the state, the former deputy Speaker noted that “Atiku is well prepared to be president of Nigeria and he remains the best president Nigeria will have in 2019.”
After a close door private meeting with Chief Iwuanyanwu, Atiku proceeded to the PDP secretariat in Owerri where he met with the State Executive Council led by the state’s party chairman, Barrister Charles Ezekwem.
In his remarks, Atiku commends the warm welcome he and his entourage received from supporters in Imo State.
He said that his aspiration to become president in 2019 is borne out of his belief that Nigeria deserves a more competent leadership.
“Today our country is at a critical condition. The economy is not working as expected and millions of jobs have been lost. There is so much division everywhere and we need a leadership that can unite the country.
“If I secure the ticket of our great party and subsequently elected president, I am ready to listen to and appreciate the feelings from every part of the country. These are the challenges we face today and I am very humbled by the endorsement from leading party members from this state to my aspirations and I am even more determined in this mission to restore the country to prosperity and unity,” Atiku said.

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Kano PDP Supports Dankwambo Presidential Bid

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Members of the Kano state People’s Democratic Party, PDP, have declared their support for the presidential bid of the Gombe state governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo.

The members who were on a visit to Gombe acknowledged the achievements of the Gombe state governor stating the projects would bequest a legacy for the future.
The PDP stalwarts described the governor as the leader of the party in the North.
Gombe state governor Dankwambo thanked the team their support democracy.

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2019 : APC Spits Fire

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The All Progressives Congress says the nation will not go back to the pre-2015 days nothing that Nigerians have not forgotten how the country was destroyed by the then ruling party, People’s Democratic Party.

The All Progressives Congress was reacting to recent allegations of misrule and incompetence levelled against it by the People’s Democratic Party
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Yekeni Nabena on Sunday says the PDP has failed in its role as opposition to offer constructive criticism but has instead indulged in trying to distract president Buhari in his efforts to return the Nation to it’s prosperity days.
The APC said it was amazing that the party which held the country prostrate for 16 years had the audacity to make comments on the current administration.

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Kaduna Deputy Speaker, One Other Lawmaker Dump APC, Join PDP

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The Deputy Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, John Audu Kwaturu, representing Kachia, and another lawmaker, Junaidu Yakubu, representing Kudan, have defected from All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The defection of the deputy speaker was announced in a statement on Friday by the spokesman of the Reformed APC in Kaduna State, Mock Samuel Kure.

Kure said Kwataru had tendered his resignation from the APC and moved to the PDP.
Deputy Speaker Kwaturu later confirmed his defection to PDP in a phone conversation with THISDAY.
Hon. Yakubu announced his own defection in a letter dated August 7, 2018 and addressed to the APC ward chairman in Hunkuyi Ward, Kudan Local government area of Kaduna State.
In his letter of withdrawal from the APC, Yakubu said his decision to leave was informed by the fact that the leadership of the party at the state and local government levels had become draconian.
“I write to withdraw my membership of the APC with effect from today, August 7, 2018. This becomes imperative in view of the draconian leadership of the party at state level and the local government level as well. I feel I will not serve the interest of the people in my constituency under the said leadership” Yakubu stated in his letter.
He added that the decision was taken after consultations with the people in his constituency.
Sources said six more lawmakers in the Assembly were on their way out of the APC and were expected to make a formal announcement on their defection next week.

 

 John Shiklam in Kaduna

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PDP Welcomes Saraki, AbdulFatah, Ibeto

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Nigeria Ambassador to South Africa, Alhaji Ahmed Ibeto

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has welcomed the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, the Kwara State Governor, Ahmed Abdulfatah and the Nigerian Ambassador to South Africa, Alhaji Ahmed Ibeto, to its fold.
In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan on Tuesday, the PDP said the defection came at a time when “the nation requires the input of genuine patriots that will save it from an impending decline”.
It also said, “The PDP notes the harassment and intimidation that the duo of Senator Saraki and Governor Ahmed had suffered from the lords in the disintegrating All Progressives Congress (APC) which they helped to build and nurture to win elections.
“Senator Saraki, in particular, has conducted the affairs of the Senate in reflection of the wishes of the silent majority of Nigerians and had emerged a hero of democracy”.
The PDP, therefore, noted that it “has no doubts that Senator Saraki, Governor Ahmed and Alhaji Ibeto will contribute immensely to the new order that engender good governance in our nation”.
The party assured all the returning members of all the rights and privileges accruable to every member.
Furthermore, the PDP called on all Nigerians who are desirous of rescuing the nation from what it described as “the incompetent administration of President Buhari”, to join them ahead of the 2019 elections.

 

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Kwara State Governor Ahmed Defects From APC To PDP

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Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Ahmed left the ruling APC alongside Senate President Bukola Saraki who announced his defection on his official Twitter handle @bukolasaraki.
Ahmed also announced his defection using his official Twitter handle @AbdulfataAhmed. He said his decision to join the PDP follows consultations with major stakeholders.

Governor Ahmed is currently in a closed-door meeting with Senate President Saraki at his residence in Ilorin, Kwara State capital.

Details Shortly…

 

Channels

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Court Stops Swearing In Of New Imo Deputy Governor

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Eze Madumere

Reports from Owerri, the Imo State capital say the government has acknowledged that a court order has stopped the planned swearing in of the new Deputy Governor, Calistus Ekenze.

Briefing newsmen at the Executive Chambers of Government House Owerri, venue of the planned swearing in ceremony, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Miletus Nlemedum says the governor nominated Calistus Ekenze following the impeachment of Eze Madumere and that the nomination was unanimously approved by the State House of Assembly.

The Attorney General notes that his attention has just been drawn to an interim order stopping the State Chief Judge from performing the swearing in ceremony.
Nlemedum however adds that the state government has taken necessary steps to quickly vacate that order.
The government says the swearing in ceremony of the Deputy Governor is shifted in obedience to the order of court.

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Former Jigawa Governor Sule Lamido Accuses APC Of Using The Police As A Political Tool

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Taraba state Governor Darius Ishaku says the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is the only nationalistic party in the country.

The governor was speaking when he received former Governor of Jigawa state Sule Lamido who says the All Progressives Congress has undermined the tenets of democracy in the country.
Speaking in Jalingo during a visit to the Taraba state governor, the former governor of Jigawa state said the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari under the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a repetition of the style of his military rule in 1984.
Lamido also accused the APC of using the police as a political tool to punish perceived opponents.
The former Jigawa state governor added that Africa and the world looks up to Nigeria and the country cannot afford to fail.
Taraba state Governor Darius Ishaku described the visit of former Governor Lamido is a homecoming.
He said the PDP is a true nationalistic party that encompasses the interest of all Nigerians.
Governor ishaku assured that the party is set to correct it’s mistakes and reclaim its past glory.

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Kano House Of Assembly Speaker Impeached

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Kano House Of Assembly Speaker Impeached

Speaker of the Kano State House of Assembly, Abdullahi Atta has been impeached.
The impeachment took place this Monday morning.
The new Speaker, Kabiru Rurum has been sworn in and already presiding over plenary.
Kabiru Rurum was the deputy Speaker and immediate past Speaker that resigned last year over bribery allegation.
He was later exonerated by the committee set up to investigate the allegations.
More details and Visuals after plenary

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Odenjiji Ndi Igbo

Minister Mary of Carnaby London delivering a bag to Biola Okoya, daughter of Razaq Okoya – the renowned Nigerian industrialist, owner of Eleganza Group of Companies and Aare of Lagos

Minister Mary of Carnaby London delivering a bag to Biola Okoya, daughter of Razaq Okoya - the renowned Nigerian industrialist, owner of Eleganza Group of Companies and Aare of Lagos

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