A Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, faction has commended Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on steps he has taken to douse tension in the country occasioned by “hate speeches”.
Ahmed Makarfi, Chairman of the PDP faction’s National Caretaker Committee, said at a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja that Mr. Osinbajo deserved to the commended.
Mr. Makarfi, however, called on government to build on the effort by making all sections to be viable and operate an inclusive government.
He advised the government to ensure that its programmes, policies and steps were tailored in a manner that no section of this country would have the impression that it didn’t count.
Mr. Makarfi also called on leaders and governments at all levels to handle emerging challenges confronting the nation in best way possible.
According to him, the emerging challenges include insecurity in the north-east, herdsmen/farmers’ clashes, kidnappings as well as agitations and counter-agitations for secession.
He said the PDP believed that human and national development normally had challenges, but that “handling of such challenges determines the direction that the development takes’’.
“As a country and a people, we have faced several developmental challenges; some have been resolved while many others are yearning for resolution.
“Even after such resolution as it’s typical of the evolution of human societies, we should expect to be confronted by new and emerging challenges.
“It is thus the responsibility of each generation of our leaders to grapple with and handle such emerging challenges in the best way possible. It is always a work in progress,” Mr. Makarfi said.
On herdsmen and farmers’ clashes, he said that while both groups had constitutionally guaranteed rights to existence, government needed to come up with measures that would once-and-for-all address the issue.
“We must, however, be able to differentiate between the business of peaceful cattle rearing and criminal activities and take appropriate steps to protect lives and property.
“We must also secure our borders in order to prevent the influx of foreigners who may not respect the laws of our land.
“Of concern also is the issue of cattle rustling, which is also taking an altogether unprecedented dimension.
“This, unlike the pastoralists/farmers problem, is clearly an issue of criminality, which governments and security agencies need to wake up to, to reassure victims that the state is there for them also.”
On kidnappings, Mr. Makarfi said it was worrisome that school students and teachers had become targets of the criminal act.
He said that the development underscored the urgent need for security agencies to “up their ante’’ in the fight against the scourge.
“Apart from additional funding, equipping and intelligence gathering, capacity of the security agencies must be improved as a matter of priority as this will enable the nipping of this criminal activity in the bud.
“We, however, wish to commend the security agencies for the bursting last week, of a criminal gang of kidnappers which had brought untold hardship and anguish to several Nigerian families.
“It is our hope that this feat is just the start of series of efforts to not only bring this criminal enterprise to an end, but also bring the perpetrators to justice. ‘’
Mr. Makarfi also urged the security agencies and the judiciary to ensure that criminals faced the full wrath of the law.
He said that PDP believed that in any democratic space, allowance must be made for people to express grievances and agitate for the redress of such.
He added that while PDP had no problem with agitations, those calling for succession should respect the legitimate rights and dignity of other citizens.
The chairman described recent altercation which degenerated into the issuance of ultimatum and counter-ultimatum for some Nigerians to leave certain parts of the country as an ill-wind that blew no good.
“Hate speeches either coming from the North, South, East or West must be avoided and be condemned by all of us.’’
Mr. Makarfi, however, prayed for President Muhammadu Buhari and wished him quick recovery.
An Islamic cleric, Aminulahi Seriki, on Sunday called on Nigerians, particularly Muslims to use the opportunity of Ramadan to pray for quick recovery of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He also said the faithful should avoid watching television while observing their daily prayers.
Mr. Seriki, Assistant Imam, Ansarul-deen Mosque, Fadeyi, Lagos, made the call at an annual Ramadan Lecture, entitled ‘`The Impact of Prayers.
The lecture was organised by Moshood Salvador, a factional Lagos State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The lecture was held alongside ‘zakat’ – giving alms to the needy.
The cleric, who said God commanded prayers for leaders, urged Muslims to avoid watching television while praying to avoid unanswered prayer.
“We should fully submit ourselves to God and concentrate when praying to Him.
“You don’t watch television or look at things going on around you while praying; such things are the causes of unanswered prayers,” he said.
Mr. Seriki said Mr. Buhari needed prayers of Nigerians for restoration of his health and God’s guidance to rule.
He also urged Nigerians to unite to pray for the peace and unity of the country.
“I call on Nigerians to continue to pray for sound health for President Buhari so that he can quickly return to the country and continue the business of governance.
“I want my Muslim brothers to use the opportunity of the blessings the holy month of Ramadan offers to pray for the president and for national peace.
“God requires us, as believers, to always pray for our leaders because He gives power to them.
“We should obey this command and pray for the president and his men so that they can lead us well.
He said most people did not have solutions to their problems because they underrated the power of prayer.
Mr. Seriki said prayer remained a medium of communication between man and God.
He commended Mr. Salvador for organising the annual lecture, saying it would go a long way to uplift participants spiritually.
In his remarks, Mr. Salvador said that he had been organising the lecture and the zakat in the past 20 years.
He said the aim was to remind Muslims of the need to renew their commitment to God and extend a hand of brotherhood to the needy.
The PDP chieftain said the zakat would be expanded next year to include disbursement of empowerment items in Surulere, Lagos, and environs.
He urged affluent Muslims to assist the poor.
“I want to urge wealthy Nigerians particularly Muslims to always remember the less privileged.
“Allah has commanded us to do so. If you help your brothers in need, you are fulfilling a religious obligation.
“The cloths and food items we are giving to over 3,000 beneficiaries today are to ensure that people around us have a reason to smile especially during Ramadan,” he said.
Senator Kanti Bello is a former Senate Majority Whip, who represented Katsina North Senatorial District on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before joining the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), one of the legacies parties that formed the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state, has described ex-President Goodluck Jonathan as one who cannot “take responsibility for anything”.
El-rufai was reacting to a statement credited to Jonathan, who accused the governor of having “an incurable knack for lying”.
EL-rufai had accused Jonathan of being partial in the distribution of the N2 billion ecological fund, saying 16 out of the 17 states that got the money were controlled by the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Kaduna governor, who is chairman of the National Economic Council (NEC) ad hoc committee on the fund, made the accusation at the monthly NEC meeting held at the State House in Abuja on Thursday.
Reacting to the claim, Jonathan in a statement signed by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, said: “Nemesis catches up faster with liars than any other agent of evil. El-Rufai was probably led by the gods against his own sinister plot to confess in another breath that states under non-PDP parties like APGA and Labour Party also benefitted.”
However, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, el-rufai said accused Jonathan of trying to divert attention from the “skewed” pattern of allocating the ecological fund.
“While this is unfortunate and calculated to draw the headlines, Dr. Jonathan strained to explain away this strange pattern of fund allocation. But the facts are not deniable. They are in official records, and cannot be erased by slinging mud at people,” el-Rufai said through his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan.
“As chairman of the NEC ad-hoc committee on the ecological fund, Nasir el-Rufai wishes to advise Jonathan to wait for the presentation of the final report of the committee before he responds.
“Former President Goodluck Jonathan is not a man that can take responsibility for anything. In March 2015, not long after making a concession call to President Buhari, he summoned his party and asked its leadership to reject the results of an election whose winner he had congratulated in private. That effort at duplicity failed spectacularly and the will of the people prevailed.
“So, no one should be surprised that he is denying presiding over the skewed distribution of ecological fund. His denial begs the question. What special circumstances ensured that only states that were controlled by the PDP and its allied parties qualified for N2bn each?
“Almighty God made it possible for the sun to shine on all. But Jonathan exercised his powers as president as if he governed for only his party or his family. The Jonathan government was so conscious that there was something untoward with sharing public funds in that manner that they did not publicise the payments to their preferred states.
“Thankfully, Dr. Jonathan did not deny that the N2bn payments were skewed to certain states. His mindset in trying to create an equivalence between those payments and federal support for the green wall projects in some of the northern states can be easily seen as a disingenuous argument.”