Prospects for a credible 2023 elections and the menacing security easing out in Nigeria, are currently not appearing very positive. The heartless assassination of the Provost Marshall of the Nigerian Army, Maj Gen Hassan Ahmed, by unknown gunmen is a clear indication the security crisis is more severe than previously thought.
Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu in a statement on Friday morning said, ‘’with a heavy heart, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya, and Soldiers of the Nigerian Army regret to announce the passing on of Maj Gen Hassan Ahmed, a former Provost Marshall of the Nigerian Army.
‘’The sad incident occurred when the senior officer’s vehicle was attacked by gunmen while transiting along Lokoja – Abuja road yesterday 15 July 2021. A delegation from the Army Headquarters led by the Chief of Policy and Plans (Army) Maj Gen Anthony Omozoje has visited the widow and other members of the bereaved family. Members of the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association (NAOWA) led by the Deputy National President, Mrs Stella Omozoje have also visited the family to condole with them.
‘’The remains of the deceased senior officer will be accorded a befitting burial at the Lungi Barracks Cemetery on Friday, July 16 by 10.00am”.
While news of the killing of a-two army general greeted the country with shock, a nasty drama was playing out in the Red Chamber of the National Assembly on Thursday as senators of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) technically assassinated the hopes of Nigerians to have electronic transmission of election results entrenched in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill under consideration in the Legislature.
The clause by clause consideration of the controversial bill was going smoothly until the train stopped at Section 50(3) which made discretionary provision for INEC to deploy electronic transmission of election results. Initially, the mood in the red chamber appeared that the lawmakers were favourably disposed to electronic transmission of results.
A curious amendment from Sen. Sani Abdullahi won the gavel and a ruling was made to make electronic transmission subject to the approval to the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Assembly.
While the APC that is desperate to hold on to power beyond 2023 celebrated their victory in the Senate, Northern Governors of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) disclosed that agents of President Muhammadu Buhari’s APC do no longer allow them to rest. According to the aggrieved governors, APC is intimidating them to dump their party to further swell the ruling party.
Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State who disclosed this backstage political development after a meeting with his colleagues in Abuja, on Wednesday, claimed that Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River and his Zamfara State counterparts, Bello Matawalle, were brow-beaten and intimidated into leaving PDP to join APC.
The PDP governors are also accusing the Buhari administration of doing little, if anything, for the North despite controlling political power. ‘’All governors of the PDP who have joined the ruling APC in recent times, did so because of intimidation. Most of our members are also being intimidated persistently. We want the intimidation stopped because we are not comfortable with it.
“We all resolved that the APC government has not provided the leadership needed in the North. And so, we the PDP governors in the North are not satisfied with the leadership of the APC government in the North. And we are drawing the attention that even though the leadership is in the North, our region is being short-changed. We want that observation to be noted.
“We the PDP governors have also resolved that, on our own, to continue to do our best for our people as we have already been doing in our various states’’, Governor Ishaku said after a meeting that was attended by his colleagues: Samuel Ortom (Benue), Aminu Tanbuwal (Sokoto), Bala Muhammed (Bauchi) and Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa).
APC National Secretary, John Akpanudoehede, has however dismissed the PDP northern governors claims, saying, ‘’we do not want to join issues with an opposition which is going into extinction. But let them know that all of those who have so far joined our great party did so on their own volition.
“They have seen the progress being made under the transparent leadership of President Buhari, some have come out to testify openly that the personal integrity of Mr. President was a great motivation. We are expecting those of them who are yet to see the light to do so by joining us.”
While APC is pressing on with its arms-twisting politics, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, took to the global stage to naked the Buhari APC administration on insecurity in the country. The vocal Catholic cleric says Abuja is helpless in tackling the security challenges Nigeria is facing.
In his address to the United States Congress Commission, during which he also said that the current administration has failed to address insecurity which it promised to do before taking power in 2015, Kukah accused President Buhari of appointing more people of his ethnicity and religion into political offices.
His presentation to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington, DC, which was virtual, was on the persecution of Christians in the North by armed extremist groups, pointing out that there was a religious undertone to the security challenges in the country.
“The North, even the whole country, is invaded by armed bandits, kidnappers etc., who attack communities at will. The fact that the government seems to be either helpless or uninterested in dealing decisively with these people has added more confusion. The contradiction here is that the President has blatantly pursued nepotistic agenda and policies that show very clearly his preference for men and women of his faith.
‘’For the first time in Nigeria, the people heading the three arms of government – President, Senate President, Speaker and Chief Justice – are all Muslims. These are all fine gentlemen, but that is not the point. The level of rivalry between Christians and Muslims has worsened. This kind of situation has never happened before’’, he said.
Continuing, he told the US Congress Commission that the persecution of Christians in Nigeria, which has been going on for a long time, has risen in the past 10 years, adding that Christian schools are attacked in the North by extremists who convert the girls to wives, sex slaves and spies, while indoctrinating the children.
According to Kukah, ‘’the story of Leah Sharibu suggests very clearly that there is, in many instances, a relationship between the conditions in which people find themselves and their faith. In 2020, some of our priests in the North were killed. The extremists kidnapped our children and forcefully converted them to Muslims. What is significant here is that we are in a democracy; with weak structures and institutions. These are existential issues. So, we require practical assistance that can help us and our children.’’