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Jega, Utomi, Abdulfatai, Duke, Others Form New Political Party

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Ahead of the 2023 general elections prominent Nigerians have established a third force, Rescue Nigeria Project, RNP, to give Nigerians alternative platform to the All Progressives Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Founders of RNP include former governor of Kwara state, Ahmed Abdulfatai, Prof. Pat Utomi, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, former Governor of Cross River state, Donald Duke,

Senator Lee Maeba, Usman Bugaje, Prof. Attahiru Jega, Amb. Nkoyo Toyo, Yomi Awoniyi, Dr. Rose Idi Danladi, Dr. Sadiq Gombe among others.

Delivering his keynote address, Abdulfatai lamented the state of the nation, noting that the high level of nepotism and lack of inclusiveness have given rise to agitations by different ethnic groups.

He recalled that in 2015, Nigerians embraced change, adding that today, “that change appears to be what we didn’t expect, as insecurity has taken over the nation.”

He said, “It is based on this that we decided to set up this Rescue Nigeria Project. We want to salvage this country and see how we can fix the mess. We want to set a template and key criteria leaders must have before they can attain any political position.

“Despite the great opportunities of the past, Nigeria has failed to live up to the dreams of its founding fathers and the hopes of successive generations of its citizens.

“Perhaps, at no other time have these failings become more apparent than in the past decade or so.

“In 2015, Nigerians overwhelmingly embraced the promise of change. These hopes have not only been dashed, but they have arguably turned out to be the worst political statements ever to  be made in this country. Nigeria today appears set to fulfill all the prophesies of doom.”

He further noted that “Unprecedented nepotism and political exclusion have left the country more divided than ever as evident in the various separatists agitation that are threatening the corporate existence of the country itself.”

Also speaking, Adeniran noted that there is disaster at hand, hence the move to rescue the nation.

He said: “You only rescue when there is disaster and when you fail to rescue during disaster, it is more dangerous.

“We have a disaster in our hands and we need to rescue the country. We need to look back and see how we get here. We know where Nigeria was before now. We know the task is not going to be easy, but we have to determine how to rescue the nation.”

In his opening remarks, the RNP national coordinator, Usman Bugaje, explained that the Rescue Nigeria Project was founded on the premise that the challenges bedeviling the country were largely derived from poor leadership.

Chiding the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government Bugaje said, “when you reduce the problems of this country to what they are, ultimately, it all comes to leadership.

“We have been unable to exit the leadership conundrum precisely because the leadership recruitment mechanism in our political parties is so flawed that, except for accidents, they are incapable of producing competent leaders with the requisite knowledge, discipline and commitment to make a difference. We are living with, or better still, groaning under the consequences of this folly.

“What this means is that any attempt to rescue this country from its troubles must first rescue it from the current leadership recruitment mechanism that seems to leverage on money and connection or ethnic sentiments and no premium on knowledge or competence.

“The challenge is how to introduce a set of criteria or better still re-calibrate the recruitment mechanism in our political parties to prioritize knowledge, competence and character. The deepening crises in the political parties is all the more reason this re-calibration is necessary.

“We must change the conversation about leadership. The first thing we should want to know about our President is not which part of country he or she comes from, rather how competent is he or she? What is the content of his policy document? What is his team made up of?

“We also seek to ensure a seismic shift from the politics of big men to the politics of big ideas. The empty politics of big men have not taken us anywhere but down the drain. We simply can’t continue this way.”

RNP’s vision  is “to reconcile and re-unite our country, win and deploy political power for the purpose of nation building and national development, achieving prosperity for all, and the protection of life and dignity of every Nigerian citizen.”

This is even as the mission is “to reconcile, re-unite, mobilize the nation to build a critical mass of citizens capable of driving real and effective transformation, to translate the mass movement into a strong power base within an inclusive and responsive political framework.”

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Killing of Sound Engineer: Sanwo-Olu Bans OKada Operation in Lagos

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The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has placed an indefinite ban on commercial motorcycles popularly called Okada operations across six Local Governments after a sound engineer, David Imoh, was allegedly lynched and burnt to death over N100 in Lekki axis of the state.

Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the Lagos Police Command and other security agencies have been placed on the alert to commence enforcement of the ban beginning from June 1, 2022.

The six local governments where their operations were outlawed by the governor include: Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island, and Apapa axis of the state.

Sanwo-Olu, who described Imoh’s death as unfortunate, stated that the ban was to ensure that such incident would not repeat itself and that it was in the best interest of Lagosians.

The governor, who gave the order to all Divisional Police Officer (DPOs) and Area Commanders across the State on Wednesday, at the Lagos House, Ikeja, noted that other security agencies would join in the enforcement of the order in all areas indicated.

Earlier before the ban, the Chairman of Lagos State Taskforce, CSP Shola Jejeloye was said to have stormed the Lekki axis in a sting operation where 123 motorcycles were seized for flouting the State Traffic laws of operating on restricted routes and plying the State’s Highways.

Jejeloye emphasized that as part of the agency’s effort to clamp down on uncooperative and killer okada operators in the state, it would continue with its mob up exercise to rid Lekki axis and the entire State of unscrupulous Okada operators who have refused to heed the sound of warning and carried on with their illegal operations.

“This operation will be a continuous one not just in Lekki but in every other part of the State, and we will make sure that their activities are truncated till they abide by the rules. They will never be above the law no matter how large their numbers are” he said.

The chairman further urged residents of the state to join efforts with the Government in ensuring that the fight to restore and maintain sanity on Lagos Roads is won collectively in order to improve security.

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FG Amends Charges Against Nnamdi Kanu, Indicts Lawyers

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The Federal Government has once again amended the charges against the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

A counsel for the IPOB leader, who made this known also said the Federal Government listed some lawyers representing Nnamdi Kanu as accomplices of the defendant.

Among the lawyers said to be indicted by the Federal Government are Ifeanyi Ejiofor and Maxwell Opara.

The IPOB legal team member said the government claimed that the indicted lawyers were constantly in contact with Nnamdi Kanu after he allegedly jumped bail and fled the country.

Nnamdi Kanu, who is at the Federal High Court, Abuja, is expected to be re-arraigned on the fresh charges.

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Presidency Blasts Northern Elders Forum, Describes Body As ‘So-Called’

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The presidency, on Tuesday, slammed the Northern Elders Forum for what it called “delusional arrogance” over its call for some sections of the country to secede, referring the forum as ‘so-called’

According to a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the presidency insisted that only democratically elected leaders can take decisions that steer the nation, and no one else.

The statement was titled “Statement on the call by ‘Northern Elders Forum’ asking a section of the country to leave the federation.”

It read in part, “We are aware of the latest statement from the so-called ‘Northern Elders Forum.’

“We wish to reassure Nigerians that it remains their democratically elected leadership which takes the decisions that steer our nation–and no one else.

“No self-appointed and unelected group can take this right from Nigerians – no matter how much coverage they might enjoy in the media. Nigerians listen to elected leaders, not opinionated tin-gods who have no traction with any responsible group.

“It is a delusional arrogance that would lead such a group to publicly state terms and conditions for the existence of our nation.

“Who gave them the right to ask for the exclusion, or expulsion of any one, group or section of the country from the Federal Republic of Nigeria?”

The presidency noted that the Nigerian government does not take guidance or invitations from such groups–only from the Nigerian people who put governments in office.

It said while any group can refer to itself as “leaders”, the government will not recognise it as such “if you have not been elected by Nigerians to a leadership role.”

The statement further noted that like many other countries around the world, Nigeria is feeling the strain of the current period of volatility and uncertainty.

Therefore, “Now is not the time to seek to exacerbate divisions amongst Nigerians. Rather, we call on all Nigerians to come together and work to overcome the challenges we face as one nation, one people.”

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