Shettima Usman Yerima
The President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Alhaji Shettima Usman Yerima has avowed that the Presidency is the north's birthright till 2023.

Yerima made the declaration in a recent interview with the Vanguard Newspaper.

In the interview, Yerima  declared that the ailing President Muhammadu Buhari will be replaced in 2019.

He, however, warns against Nigeria falling into another constitutional crisis that could lead to the Doctrine of Necessity that ushered in the administration of Goodluck Jonathan, then vice president and a southerner, after his principal, President Umaru Yar’Adua, a northerner, took gravely ill.

Yerima said;

"On that, I am neither here nor there because unfolding events in Nigeria today give room for concern. Over and over, we have proved to be good in hoping. And every problem of yesterday becomes small compared to what happens today. It has been a case of our yesterday being better than our today. And the problems, rather than decreasing, are regrettably increasing. And if care is not taken, we are going to run into constitutional crisis of an unimaginable proportion and can be worse than the one we encountered during the Yar’Adua regime."

"The acting president has limitations. And Mr. President, who is our collective property, we don’t know the situation of things with him. No matter how anybody wants to keep his situation under secrecy, it doesn’t work that way because it is our right to know what happens to him. "

"What is being spent to keep him abroad is tax payers’ money. The money belongs to Nigerians. And it is their right to know exactly the state of his health. One time you hear Lai Mohammed saying one thing. Another time you hear Femi Adesina saying another thing while someone else later is saying a different thing and all of them are working with the same establishment! It gives room for a lot of concern.  Our prayer is his safe return. But we have to know what is happening because we cannot fold our arms till we run into another constitutional crisis and start to look for another Doctrine of Necessity."

"We, northerners, need to put people in the right places with a view to finding answers to our problems. We need to have a smooth transition to 2019 and then 2023. The North is unstoppable  for now and we cannot afford to take any chances."

Read the details of the interview from Vanguard Newspaper

Contrary to an earlier report, the reinstated national Chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff has denied hate speech against the duo of Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose and his rivers state counterpart, Barr. Nyesom Wike, declaring he is ready to work with all stakeholders in the party. This is as even he declared that if need be, he is ready to relinquish his office for peace to reign in the party. 

Sheriff was restored to the chairmanship post on Friday by the Court of Appeal, amid controversy. 

At a news conference yesterday in Abuja, he dismissed the rejection of his court-ordered reinstatement by some key stakeholders of the party, stressing that he has commenced broad consultations aimed at restoring peace and unity in the PDP.

“I have been consulting with leaders of the party,” Sheriff told the press conference. “From Monday, I will consult our members in the National Assembly; I will consult the BoT and everybody so that we can work together. I can assure you that within the shortest time possible, we will organise a successful national convention so that people can aspire for whatever positions they want to.”

He said, “I am determined to make my honest contributions to the success of this party. I am ready to make any sacrifice for the success of this party. We don’t want PDP to lose elections again. We need people to patronise our party. Democracy is about people, you either give them their right or they leave. What we are trying to do is to give the party back to the people.”
Sheriff dismissed the statement by the chairman of PDP Governors Forum, Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose, which condemned the appeal court verdict, saying it is a personal opinion that does not represent the position of the governors.

The former governor of Borno State said, though, he had confidence in the country’s judiciary, litigation was not the best way to settle the disputes in the party. He urged those making “misguided statements on the integrity of our judges to desist from doing so.”

Regarding the appeal court ruling in his favour, he said, “I want to assure that nobody is victor and no one is a loser. In fact, I have spoken to almost all the people that are affected by the court decision and assured them of my readiness to work with them to ensure that the party returns as one family.”
Sheriff dismissed the insinuations in some quarter that he was working for the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari. The former governor said from the antecedents of those making the allegations, the public could decipher the truth.

He said, “I don’t believe all those insinuations that were being peddled around. All those that are saying that the APC are responsible for the PDP crisis may have something to hide.”
Sheriff denied reports that he had made disparaging comments about Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Fayose, saying, “This is the first I am making any statement ever since the Port Harcourt court pronouncement, but I have seen many things on the Internet purported to have been said by me against some leaders of the party

“I think people should respect themselves, they should not compound the problems for the party.”
As a mark of his commitment to peace, Sheriff said he would hold a meeting with members of the reconciliation committee headed by Governor Sirieka Dickson of Bayelsa State.
According to him, “The judgement of the Port Harcourt Court of Appeal on Friday does not call for merriment or mourning. In my candid view, there was no victor and no vanquished.

“I see the judgement as a golden opportunity for a sincere renewal of our sense of unity and fraternity. No doubt, we have come a long and tortuous road wherein some of us have been bruised or outrightly wounded and are hurting. I understand also that for some of us, our ego has been agitated.
“Yet, I dare say that we can put all of that behind us and come together with one accord and move our great party, the PDP, forward.

“All of us are winners, Sheriff is not the winner and Makarfi is not the loser. I have received calls from our party leaders, the governors and members of the National Assembly.

“It is not about me or any ambition; it is about the survival of our great party. On this score. I can assure you that I shall be willing to make any sacrifice that can guarantee peace in our party.”

He continued, “This morning I have spoken to Governor Dickson, who is the chairman of the peace committee, and former Deputy Senate President Ibrahim Mantu on the development and how to get back the peace process on track. Court has made its pronouncement, right, but what is important is how we proceed to organise our successful convention. First of all I must make consultations with all the leaders of the party.”

Sheriff stated that his leadership will move to reopen the party’s national secretariat, which has been locked by the police following clashes by the two factions of the party. He said he would pursue the matter in court this week.

Meanwhile, a stakeholders’ meeting has been called for tomorrow by chairman of the PDP national caretaker committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi. The committee was appointed during the contentious national convention of May 21 last year in Port Harcourt to oversee the affairs of the party after Sheriff’s ouster. The notice of the meeting circulated yesterday, signed by the national publicity secretary of the committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said it would discuss “crucial party matters.”

It is widely believed that the decision of the appeal court, which went against the Makarfi leadership, would be a key subject at the meeting scheduled for 2pm at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. Those invited include members of the National Executive Committee, members of the Board of Trustees, National Assembly members, former governors of PDP, former ministers under the platform of the PDP, former National Assembly members, and party elders.

Sheriff won a major victory on Friday in the protracted leadership tussle in the PDP, which broke out after his removal at the Port Harcourt convention. Despite the victory, he said he would pursue peaceful measures aimed at reunifying the party.

In a related development, the youth wing of PDP in the South-east has rejected the judgement of the Court of Appeal that reinstated Sheriff as national chairman of the party. The South-east zonal youth leader of the party, Comrade Chidiebere Goodluck Egwu, said the youth of the zone would not recognise Sheriff as national chairman of PDP. Egwu said they still recognised the Makarfi leadership, stressing that they are optimistic that the Supreme Court would set aside the judgement of the appeal court.

“We, the South-east PDP youth, stand with Alhaji Ahmed Markafi, PDP caretaker national chairman,” the youth leader said.

Ben Bruce And Sheriff
In a move that could be described as 'smart', the renown Bayelsa State Senator and media guru, Ben Bruce has dumped the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, thereby queueing behind the Ali Modu Sheriff's.

The Appeal court on Friday had declares the former Borno Governor as the authentic national Chairman of the party. the ruling which does not go down well with majority of the leadership of the party.

Senator Ben Murray Bruce threw his weight behind Sheriff yesterday.

He offered, via his Twitter handle, to work with the former Borno State governor.
In a tweet which he entitled ‘My Position on the Appeal Court’s judgement concerning the Leadership of the PDP,’ he said the PDP has embarked on the path of destruction.

“Concerning the PDP, the current bickering is childish and irrelevant,” he said.

“I am not in support of anymore litigation. We will work with Ali Modu Sheriff and go to a convention. Right now, PDP is on a course towards destruction and abiding by the judgement of the court is the only thing that can save us.

“In the first place, it is never the job of the judiciary to choose the leader of a party. I therefore call an end to the fighting. And I am supporting Ali Modu Sheriff because it is the only way to preserve the party. Right now, what Nigeria has is a one-party state – there is no opposition. Enough is enough. This is the time for PDP to unite, we are a formidable force.”

But the Makarfi camp insisted on having nothing to do with Sheriff.

Spokesman for the group, Prince Dayo Adeyeye said in a statement that the Appeal Court judgment cannot stand as it is nothing short of a “travesty of justice, a mockery of valid facts, miscarriage of justice and an invidious attempt to destroy the PDP.”

“We will certainly appeal to the Supreme Court. No reconciliatory effort will stop it. We need the Supreme Court to make a pronouncement on the issue once and for all,” he said.

“We maintain that this is a continuation of the attempt to kill the PDP and thereby destroy all opposition in Nigeria. The rebels in the party who were favoured by the two justices of the Appeal Court are snakes within the house working for the ruling party, the APC.
“The great conspiracy to silence the PDP is an assault on the Nigerian democracy. We are however determined to resist this onslaught to the very last. The struggle continues.”

The APC through its National Publicity Secretary Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi denied having a hand in the crisis rocking the PDP.

The party said it has no interest in who emerges as the national chairman of the opposition party or how the PDP handles its internal affairs.

Abdullahi insisted, in an interview, that the crisis within the PDP is of no interest whatsoever to the APC or the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and urged the opposition party to stop looking for who to blame for the glaring division in its ranks.

He said:”What is happening in the PDP is their internal problem. I am not a member of their party and I can tell you that APC is not interested in the cries. We have no interest whatsoever in who emerges as the national chairman of the opposition party or in how the PDP handles its internal affairs.

“Whoever is alleging that APC has a hand in the crisis or the judgements does not know what he or she is talking about. I will just want the world to know that APC as the ruling party is not interested in what goes on in the PDP, especially their internal scheming. We also do not care how they get to settle their problems.

“I will also challenge those making the allegations to be specific by mentioning names of person who intervened in the said judgement as alleged. It is when we all get to hear such names if any exists, that we can all look at how APC is involved. Until then, I want to advise PDP to find solutions to their problems without mentioning APC. Above all, I want to say the allegation is laughable,” Abdulahi said.

The Appeal Court, in declaring Sheriff the rightful national chairman of the PDP, also nullified the National Caretaker Committee of the party led by Senators Ahmed Makarfi.

Two of the three-member Appeal Court, Justice B.G. Sanga and Justice A. Gumel, in their judgment said the Port Harcourt convention on May 21, 2016, was an abuse of court process.

Delivering the lead judgment, Sanga said that PDP did not follow the provisions of Article 47(3) of its Constitution in the removal of the Sherrif-led National Working Committee.

Justice Theresa Agbadua Orji, in her own judgment, said she found it difficult to agree with the positions of the two judges on the matter.

She argued that the contentious issue in the matter which was the judgment of July 4, 2016 by the lower court did not constitute any abuse of court process by the respondent as alleged.

She maintained that Sheriff actively participated in the screening exercise of the party before he backed out, emphasizing that he had no power as an individual to cancel or postpone the national convention because he was not the party.

The fate of the beleaguered Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may be sorted out tomorrow at an emergency meeting of the expanded National Caucus of the party in Abuja.

The meeting summoned by the Ahmed Makarfi faction is in response to weekend’s ruling of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt which sacked the Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee and reinstated Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the rightful national chairman.

Five options have been listed for consideration at the meeting, The Nation gathered authoritatively, yesterday.

Sheriff offered yesterday to make sacrifices to ensure the unity of the party and branded the court’s ruling as victory for all.

“Sheriff is no winner and Makarfi is no loser, because there is no winner and there is no vanquished. It’s a misunderstanding within our fold,” he told reporters in Abuja.

Sheriff got the backing of Senator Ben Bruce (Bayelsa East) who called the bickering in the party as childish and irrelevant.

He said no to further litigation to resolve the crisis.

At tomorrow’s meeting of the expanded caucus of the PDP, members are scheduled to consider the following options and build consensus on the most practicable to save the party.

They are:

  • File an appeal against the Court of Appeal’s ruling which declared Sheriff as the valid National Chairman of PDP
  • Allow the status quo to remain with Sheriff in charge of the party till August
  • Negotiate with Sheriff’s faction to find amicable political solutions to the crisis
  • Leave PDP en masse for Sheriff.
  • Leave Sheriff to tow the path of honour and bow out as he promised in the past.

Expected at the forum are PDP governors, members of the National Executive Committee (NEC), BOT members, ex-Ministers, party members in the National Assembly especially principal officers, and chairmen of the state chapters of PDP.

The Board of Trustees of PDP is also likely to follow suit on Tuesday and the Forum of ex-Ministers on Thursday.

The BoT, the PDP Governors Forum and the Forum of ex-Ministers are all on Makarfi’s side.

They said in separate statements at the weekend that on no account can they work with Sheriff.

The spokesman of the Forum of ex-Ministers, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman, said: “We are holding an Expanded Caucus meeting on Monday to review the ruling and chart a way forward whether to file an appeal at the Supreme Court against the decision of the Court of Appeal on Friday or allow the status quo to remain.

“We have many options on the table but those in favour of taking the battle to the Supreme Court are in the majority.

“But some have asked for political solutions because they are tired of litigations. They think that the prolonged court case is affecting the fortunes of the party.

“It is when we meet that we will try to build consensus on any of the alternatives which we may consider viable and realistic.

“No one knows how long the case will take at the Supreme Court and Anambra State Governorship poll is around the corner. We need to do a lot of work to reshape the party.

“Some of our leaders are saying if Sheriff means well, if he is working in the interest of the party, why can’t he take a bow?”

Asked if PDP leaders might leave the party for Sheriff, the ex- National Planning Minister said: “The possibility is remote. I don’t see the possibility for now.”

However, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff yesterday asked Senator Ahmed Makarfi to join him in fixing the party.

Sheriff, at a press conference in Abuja declared the judgment a no-winner-no-vanquished situation, adding that he was ready to make sacrifices to ensure the unity of the party.

His words:”It’s victory for all. Sheriff is no winner and Makarfi is no loser because there is no winner and there is no vanquished. It’s a misunderstanding within our fold.

“This is the beginning of good things to come. I am not interested in sitting tight in office as national chairman but to ensure the conduct of credible convention to elect leaders for the PDP.”

The former Borno State Governor however parried questions regarding the expiration of his tenure as chairman, saying: “my tenure as chairman is immaterial. I am not talking about my tenure.”

He hinted that he would open consultations with the governors, the BoT, the National Assembly caucus and the various reconciliation committees set up by the party.

According to him, the consultations will start immediately, adding that his team would ensure the re-opening of the party’s secretariat which was sealed off by the police last June.

Sheriff maintained that the consultations would lead to the process of drawing up a programme for conducting national convention and congresses in states where the last exercise was inconclusive.

The party chairman cautioned the various stakeholders against making inflammatory statements that could further compound the party’s problems.

“Well meaning Nigerians want the PDP to be united. My hands are clean and I have nothing to hide. I am ready to make sacrifices to ensure the unity of the party.

“We want the culture of impunity to stop, we should learn to do things the right way by giving the party back to the people”, Sheriff added.

With Sheriff at the briefing were Senator Hope Uzodinma, Chief Chris Uba, and Senator Seidu Kumo, among others.

Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) reacting to allegation by prominent members of the Makafi faction of the PDP that it engineered the court ruling dismissed such views as laughable.

The APC said it is none of its business who heads PDP.

In the twilight of the Goodluck Jonathan presidency, not a few Nigerians had concluded that Boko Haram and its brand of terrorism had come to stay and that it will even spread to other parts of the country. That impression was reinforced by the trend whereby any news about the terrorist group was about its ascendancy, it was advancing to new area with each news report of depravity. For many at time, the expectation was for a group that may never be defeated again and potentially with the capacity to spread to other countries.

The foregoing accounted for the pessimism that initially greeted the military exploits that first degraded Boko Haram, later led to its fighters leaving villages they had occupied before the group's defeat in Camp Zero of Sambisa Forest which was its last organized base. The remnants of the group continue to launch attacks even as they took flight from the military – being terrorists, no one knows for a certainty how or where the attacks would be. 

There has however been a return of pessimism that borders on despondency. People think in relative terms, so any attack that the Boko Haram successfully carries out is not interpreted against the background of the group's overall campaign of terror but seen against the now. The fear that proceeds from this perception, therefore, becomes fuel for the fire that the terrorists want to set to the soul of the nation. It thus gets a new lease to advance its evil ideology. 

We must, therefore, begin to interrogate. The terror group was easily rolled back from all other parts of the country to which it had spread, even the neighboring Cameroon, Chad, and Niger suppressed this cancer. So, why has Boko Haram refused to leave Borno? 

In a paper, The Life Cycle of Terrorist Organisations, Peter J Philips posited that "A theoretical explanation of the life cycle of terrorist organisations must encompass several critically important things: (1) the importance of grassroots support for the survival of the terrorist organisation; (2) the intensity of the terrorist organisation’s competition with the government for grassroots support; (3) the relative intensity of this competition for grassroots support in the early stages of conflict; and (4) the ‘natural’ life cycle of terrorist organisations—the historical fact that terrorist organisations in general have come and gone over time. Within such a theoretical framework, the terrorist organisation emerges only to eventually decline and fade away. This sequence of events may be compressed into a very short time or may occur gradually over a very long period. There is, theoretically, no limit on how long a particular terrorist organisation may exist." 

On the factors that affects the lifespan of terror groups, Philips, in the literature review wrote "The factors that may be responsible for bringing about the end of a terrorist organisation have been studied. Cronin (2006, p.17) lists the following seven factors: (1) capture or killing of the leader; (2) failure to transition to the next generation; (3) achievement of the group’s aims; (4) transition to a legitimate political process; (5) undermining of popular support; (6) repression; and (7) transition from terrorism to other forms of violence." 

We must therefore begin to look at Boko Haram's refusal to leave Borno in a different light and beyond the successes of military operations. The people of the area in which Boko Haram operates remain key to disrupting the supply of fresh recruits for the terror group and they are also crucial to shopping current members to the military intelligence. 

The military, one must say, along this premise should prioritize neutralizing leaders of the two factions of Boko Haram with contingency plans to similarly take out anyone announced as a successor within hours of such pronouncements. Corresponding plan should be on to have taken out those potentially in line to succeed any neutralized leaders of the group. 

Since Boko Haram will never achieve its goal of having a widespread implementation of strict sharia law across Nigeria, remnants of the group should consider – as part of possible negotiation with government, a transition into a legitimate pressure group that eschews violence. The other options like transitioning to other forms of violence would not work as it would meet with a response worse than the present insurgency has attracted. 

The federal government must on its part begin to intervene with policies that cuts off local population support for Boko Haram by people conflicted about giving up their relations that are affiliated with the group. 

Collectively, we must explore more to pinpoint why Boko Haram is persisting in Borno then move to the stage of fashioning strategies that effectively help in speeding up its demise. This suggestion is premised on the knowledge that like a living organism even a terror group has a life cycle, a life span that could be accelerated to a desired end.

Agbese, a human rights activist writes from the United Kingdom.

Diplomats have claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari routes his official trips via London, to enable him see his doctor and avoid declaring medical leave all the time.

According to a Reuters report, these unnamed diplomats are believed to be from Western countries.

Buhari is currently in the UK for a medical vacation.

He was scheduled to return to the country on February, but he sent a letter to the National Assembly, asking for an extension to the initial 10 days.

“Diplomats say Buhari has made several visits to Britain to see his doctor, routing official trips even to destinations as far afield as Asia via London so as not to have to declare medical leave all the time,” Reuters reported.

Several high-profile politicians have visited the President since he traveled to the UK.

Some of them include: National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu; Senate President Bukola Saraki and House Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

"Why We Knock Before We Enter Into The Mortuary”
Photo Source: Dreams Time
The proprietor of Emeka Mortuary, Okunmi Community, Cross River State, Mr. Kalu Ben Chima, popularly called Emeka Ambulance, has revealed the spiritual combats that morticians, go through with occultists and members of some secret societies before their corpses were embalmed in his mortuary.

The Arochukwu-born mortician, whose mortuary is located along Ikom-Calabar highway, revealed that dead bodies, especially those of occultists and members of secret societies “do give us trouble while being embalmed because their bodies have been ‘fortified’ by the devil or some spiritual forces.”

He disclosed;

“In such cases, we have to pet and persuade them by talking to them to allow the chemicals to penetrate their bodies, but if they remain stubborn, we have to employ our own spiritual force and of course, power pass power and we can then embalm them,”

According to him, he learned the trade in Onitsha General Hospital, Anambra state, and had come to know that some dead bodies were so “powerful” such that they do not allow others to lie close to them and he was always careful when attending to such bodies"

He said; “Some powerful people do not allow other dead bodies to lie close to them, so in the night, they will remove other bodies near them and dump them far from where they are or they would go to an isolated place and lie there – all dead bodies are not the same, which is why we knock before we enter there.”
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