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[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - President Muhammadu Buhari is currently meeting with a delegation of the All Progressives Congress from the Southeast. The closed-door meeting is taking place inside the Council Chambers of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The delegation was led by the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonaya Onu.
Details soon.
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari

[ Masterweb Reports: John Chuks Azu reports ] - A Federal High Court in Abuja has refused an application by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) challenging the proscription order banning its activities.
Justice Adamu Kafarati yesterday held that the proscription order made ex-parte on September 20 last year was properly brought by the Attorney General of the Federation with the approval of the President.
He ruled that the application seeking to vacate the proscription order was unmeritorious and deserved to be dismissed. He also awarded the sum of N500, 000 cost against IPOB.
IPOB counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor had argued that the September 20 gazette was invalid as it was signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, when under the provisions of Section 2 of the Terrorism Prevention Act, only the President can give such approval.
Meanwhile, Ejiofor has expressed intention to appeal the judgment of the court.
*Photo Caption - Map of Defunct Republic of Biafra

[ Masterweb Reports: SKC Ogbonnia reports ] - The Hand Shake Across the Niger summit has come and gone. Though the event was fraught with strategic shortfalls, the move ought to be encouraged by all, because disunity in Southern Nigeria has been a stumbling block to Nigeria’s democracy.
Here is why and how:
A definite problem that dogged the Nigerian democracy for ages was lack of dynamic opposition due to prefoliations of political parties. This phenomenon contributed to systemic dictatorship and, by consequence, a history of power abuse. The god of democracy came to the rescue by provoking the creation of the All Progressive Alliance (APC). Unfortunately, however, the desired outcome has been elusive because of another dimension of dictatorship in form of primordial ethnic tyranny.
The gist is that disunity in Southern Nigeria has emboldened a minority group in the North to assume absolute authority in the affairs of the nation. Instead of the government of the people by the people, Nigeria has become a government of a Northern oligarchy by the oligarchy and for the oligarchy. The result has been an absence of the checks and balances central to an effective democratic governance and, of course, continued abuse of power.
Think of any debate or policy on Nigeria, be it constitutional amendment, restructuring of the country or what have you. When all is said and done, the final decision is hardly based on the salient points raised through the debates but simply on what the North wants, whatever that north means. Worse still, instead of the "North" considering the opinions or the needs of the Northern masses, the final say in the region—or rather Nigeria as a whole—is typically the sole province of the Northern oligarchy, a clique of wealthy Northern traditional leaders and retired army generals.
The problem does not end there.
The Northern oligarchy exploits the disunity in the South to a satanic proportion. It does not care to turn a Southern Judas into a Muhammad insofar its agenda is accomplished. Notice how the "North" embraces notoriously corrupt Southern politicians once they claim solidarity with any vision of the oligarchy. Also consider that any consequence for corrupt elements in Nigeria depends on the degree of their relationship with the same shameless plutocrats.
The cumulative effective is a whistling impunity in the land, and no region has been insulated from the after-effects. The most unfortunate, however, is that the innocent Northern masses are the worst victims.
The solution is where projects like the "Handshake Across the Niger" come in. Similar to the path to effective leadership in a multiparty democracy, there is the need for regional equipoise between the North and South. Such approach has the potential to checkmate the perceived Northern hegemony over the South, reduce culture of impunity and, consequently, allow genuine development in the country.
In short, the Handshake Across the Niger is designed for the South to emulate its Northern counterpart to finally demonstrate common sense in terms of unity. For instance, though the North is made up of a multitude of ethnic groups, the region typically speaks with one voice through central organizations. In other words, instead of masquerading with beggarly ethnic antiquities, such as Ohaneze Ndigbo, Afenifere or the various Niger Delta outfits, the entire South should simply promote central bodies akin to the different umbrella Arewa groups.
The Southern leaders must be careful to avoid a fall before the rise.
The recent Hand Shake Across the Niger is a bold step forward, no doubt, but its strategy is tangentially myopic. Such strategy has already given rise to the emerging nickname, "The Igbo/Yoruba Summit", which is enough to create peppering mistrust among the minorities in the South. It can be misconstrued as sowing seeds of socio-cultural hegemony—so soon—by the Igbo and the Yoruba over not only the smaller ethnic groups in the South but also other like minds in the true North. That is why the Southern leaders must learn to embrace umbrella southern organizations over tribal charters. One hardly hears of Hausa Union or Fulani Assembly. Neither does one hear of separate fora for North-West, North-East or North-Central governors or their legislators. What we know is North or Arewa, an Hausa term for the north, not minding that the region is far from being monolithic, ethnically or religiously.
The South should also guard against unrepentant sycophants who, in attempt to curry favor from the Northern oligarchy, will stop at nothing until the vision for southern unity is frustrated. That is precisely how they frustrated the original Southern Governors Forum initiated in 2001 by the visionary Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Unity in the South must not be seen as a coup against any group. It is only a means to an end; the end being the overall unity of Nigeria and effective democratic leadership. It can also be convenient to continue to heap blames on the Northern oligarchy and its minions—most of whom are the beneficiaries of bad leadership in Nigeria—for thwarting unity in the South. But that is foolhardy. The blame lies squarely on the South, which has historically allowed itself to be used to frustrate the desired Southern unity.
SKC Ogbonnia, an APC presidential aspirant, can be reached via:
*Photo Caption - SKC Ogbonnia

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - The Presidency on Wedneday declined comment on the health condition of President Muhammadu Buhari's son, Yusuf, who was involved in a bike crash last December.
The president's son, who broke a limb and sustained a head injury, had undergone a surgery in an Abuja hospital.
An online medium today reported that he would be transferred to Germany.
Asked to confirm this, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, told State House correspondents that it was purely a private matter.
"I am sure you know that this it is purely a private matter. I am sure you will appreciate that," the minister said.
Also, when contacted on the telephone, the Director of Media in the Office of the Wife of the President, Sulaiman Haruna, told our correspondent that he could not comment on the issue.
*Photo Caption - As seen.

[ Masterweb Reports: Hameed Oyegbade reports ] - Scores of people were injured in a ghastly motor accident at the Ayegbaju International Market along Gbongan/Ibadan road in Osogbo, capital of Osun State on Tuesday.
A Toyota car with registration number Lagos BDG 377 CH hit a mini commercial bus with registration number Osun SGB 477 KA. As a result, the bus skidded and three persons were injured as the bus rammed a motorcycle into the road median.
One of the victims, Mr Adebayo Fatai while narrating his experience said the driver of the Toyota car was driving recklessly and that he caused the accident.
Another victim of the accident who is a police officer reported the incident to the State Traffic Section at the Dugbe Divisional Police Headquarters in Osogbo.
The incident caused traffic gridlock for about 30 minutes. Policemen from the state traffic section and the Ataoja Divisional Police Headquarters stormed the scene of the accident immediately and rescued the victims.
The sympathisers called the emergency number of the Osun State Ambulance Services (O-Amblance) and an ambulance arrived at the scene immediately and rushed the victims to the hospital.
*Photo Caption - As seen.


[ Masterweb Reports: Comrade James Ezema reports ] - Nigeria's Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Turkur Buratai has won the Africa Man of the Year 2017 Award for his personal commitment to anti-insurgency war in Nigeria and, by extension, West Africa sub-region as well "for being rare officer, a real gentleman, whose patriotic zeal in executing the war against Boko Haram is exemplary".
He was named as the Africa Man of the Year while the Nigerian Army won the Best Institution of the Year 2017 for their supreme sacrifices and relentless efforts to clear the country of not only the Boko Haram insurgents but all forms of criminal elements for citizens to coexist peacefully.
The confirmation of this prestigious honour on the Chief of Army Staff and the Nigerian Army as an Institution was announced in Abuja by the Pan-African amalgam, the Coalition For Governance and Leadership in Africa.
According to a statement signed by the group's Award and Privileges Committee Chairman, Okpokwu Ogenyi, the coalition also noted that as an infantry officer, Lt. General Tukur Buratai's "professional approach to operational planning to fight insurgency is highly plausible.
"For us, the successes so far made in the war against terrorism in Nigeria came as a combination of good leadership enhanced by motivation through enhanced troops morale by the land forces under General Buratai.
"Records available to to us show that, General Buratai's personal sacrifice, commitment, zeal, and determination towards eradicating insurgency in Nigeria, and by extension the whole of West Africa, have not only resulted in the defeat of Boko Haram in Nigeria but has promoted regional peace and stability across African Nations", the coalition stated.
The group added that "Pockets of attacks by degraded and fleeing Boko Haram insurgents not withstanding, the Nigerian military as an institution have made unquantifiable supreme sacrifices and given their all to ensure that we all coexist in peace and harmony in the year under review."
The Coalition For Good Governance and Leadership in Africa noted that the winners emerged after its Award and Privileges Committee "considered numerous nominations from various organizations and individuals across Africa, disclosing that after a tedious screening exercise, the two nominees came tops.
The leadership award is an annual Honour bestowed only on two African Leaders or institutions that have distinguished themselves in promoting regional peace, infrastructure, wealth creation, food security, education, and health, among others.
Some eminent Africans who have received the honour in the past included Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr. Atta Mills (late), Mrs Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Monday Riku Morgan, to mention a few.
Comrade James Ezema ( Email: Phone: 08035823617, 08175047979 ) is a veteran journalist, Media Consultant, Social Engineer and Community Development Volunteer.
*Photo Caption - Lt. General Turkur Buratai

[ Masterweb Reports: Emma Elekwa reports ] - Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state has reiterated his administration's commitment to clamping down on miracle centres across the state.
He said the fight against all forms of examination malpractices in the state is irrevocable.
Speaking during the third convocation ceremony of Paul University, Awka, the governor, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Nkem Okeke, regretted that miracle centres held sway in the state before the advent of his administration.
"My administration is committed to holistic development of all sectors of the State economy, as well as continued advancement of the standards of education in the state," he stressed.
While urging students to devote time to their studies, Obiano pointed out that valuable formal education remains the greatest asset that can be bequeathed to any child.
*Photo Caption - Governor Willie Obiano

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - Thirty eight licensed privately financed greenfield and mini-modular refinery investors have so far indicated interests in establishing refineries in the Niger Delta region, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed.
The vice president said at least ten of the licensed refineries investors were at an advanced stage of development.
He quoted a report received at the end-of-the-year meeting of the Niger Delta Inter-Ministerial Committee at the Presidential Villa in Abuja before the holidays, according to a statement Saturday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.
"The advanced stage of development means that these projects have passed the Licence to Establish (LTE) stage, while some have the Authority to Construct (ATC) licence or close to having it because they have met some critical requirements in the Licensed stage. There are three stages in the process of refinery establishment," he said.
"So far, 10 modular refineries are located in five out of the nine states in the Niger Delta region; namely Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Imo states. Also, two out of these 10 - Amakpe Refinery meant to be located in Akwa Ibom, and OPAC Refinery to be based in Delta State - have their mini-refineries modules already fabricated, assembled and containerized overseas, ready for shipment to Nigeria for installation. The total proposed refining capacities of the 10 licensed refineries stands at 300,000 barrels," the statement explained.
*Photo Caption - Niger Delta map

[ Masterweb Reports: Evulocha Kemdi reports ] - There is no doubt that a new political paradigm is shapping the world of politics globally. Conventional or political establishments are fast losing their firm grip on power because of the re-awakened political consciousness among the electorates.
As a result, it has become a common believe among the electorates that members of the political establishments say one thing and often do another thing. This contradictory pattern of politics has become synonymous with members of the ruling class especially when they are running for political offices. Because they make promises they do not intend to keep, voters have become disillusioned with them because of the backlog of failed promises. As a remedy, the electors are now looking up to the ''political outsiders'' as better alternatives.
The electorates tilt towards the political outsiders because they believe they are more sincere and genuinely sympathetic to their plights than members of the establishments.
For Instance, in the run-up to the Republican primaries in the United States, despite the fact that Republicans or the GOPs are conservatives by ideology, members of the party embraced the message and personality of Donald Trump, an accomplished business man and political outsider over the choice Jebb Bush, a former governor of Florida and member of the political establishment.
Also, despite the fact that Jebb Bush, a son of a former President and a brother of a former President had more members of the political-action committee otherwise known as Super-PAC and donors than Mr. Trump, the GOPs still went for Mr. Trump despite being a political outsider.
One remarkable feature that was less pronounced during the GOP primaries was the fact that Mr. Trump spent lesser to win each primary conducted compared to Mr. Bush. In other words; where Donald Trump spent $40 per delegate to win the primary, Jebb Bush spent $1200 per delegate, yet Mr. Trump got the nomination of the Republicans before going to win the general election against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The same scenario of rejecting political establishments and embracing political outsiders repeated itself in the last French Presidential election where Emmanuel Macron, an investment banker and another political outsider defeated his opponent, Marine Le Pen.
Hence, as Nigeria gears towards the 2019 general elections, political parties who are smart enough must key in to the wind of change blowing across the globe. This is because when change is on the move, it is better to align with it rather than try to resist it. Also, history has shown that those who tried to resist change only ended up becoming victims of change while those who aligned with it ended up becoming masters of change thereby moving them from the position of ordinary people to extraordinary persons.
In lieu of this, some political parties who really understands the melody of change have started reaching out to political outsiders to run for elective positions on their platforms.
For some months now, several parties have been reaching out to Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, OON, President, Masters Energy Group to run for governorship election in Abia State on their platform since what can be called as Nigerian factor denied him victory in his first attempt, but the young oil magnate and industrialist with enormous goodwill have kept such rapprochement in abeyance because according to sources close him; the Abia-born billionaire is presently obsessed with thoughts of building solid political structures for the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the southeast region.
For example, Mr. Ogah confirmed this when he said: ''You know after the Supreme Court decision on the 2015 Abia Governorship election, I took time to rest and after careful consultations, I decided to finally join APC even though many political parties had approached me to join them.''
''I believe in change. As long as Abia State is concerned, the state needs a change for better governance and to achieve this, Abians voting for APC in 2019 is the answer.
Similarly, of the three governorship elections conducted since 2015 general elections, results have shown that Nigerians are tilting towards the political outsiders as against the mainstream politicians or the political establishments.
For Example, the Edo State governorship election where Godwin Obaseki, an investment banker and political outsider emerged victorious at the polls over a candidate of the political establishment is a classical case in point of outright embracing of political outsiders over mainstream politicians. This was because the people were fed-up with the politics of statuquo.
The same political trajectory was applied in the Ondo State governorship election where Rotimi Akeredolu, a lawyer and political outsider emerged victorious over his main challenger who is a product of the mainstream politics or political establishment. The exact political paradigm that played out in Edo State repeated itself in Ondo State.
However, the Anambra State experiment was different for APC because it fielded Comrade Tony Nwoye who is a bonafide product and member of the political establishment in Anambra State. In fact, since he left school, there had never been dull moments in Nwoye's political career as he has been moving from one position to another. Even after losing the Anambra election, Mr. Nwoye is still a member of the House of Representatives and has nothing to lose. That was why Anambrarians went for Chief Willie Obiano, a political outsider before becoming governor in 2013.
Perhaps, in about six months time, active political activities heralding the 2019 general elections will start in earnest, but APC as the party of progressives should avoid the type of mistake it made in Anambra State. Political outsiders like Dr. Uche Ogah OON should be fielded as candidates in other to win election for the party in the Southeast region. Apart from the fact that Dr. Ogah has the financial muscle to win election for APC in Abia State, his goodwill which is an intangible asset for APC will make the party to sweep the entire southeast region just like what the Trump and Macron effects are doing across the Atlantic, Ogah's effect will give leading advantage to APC in the Southeast thereby giving President Buhari full assurance of victory in the region come 2019.
Evulocha Kemdi ( Contact Email: ) reports from Aba, Abia State.
*Photo Caption - Uche Ogah

[ Masterweb Reports: Victor Edozie reports ] - Gunmen yesterday abducted the paramount ruler of Mgbuolua in Rundele community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, Eze, G.A.O Omodu. The hoodlums abducted the traditional ruler from his residence in the early hours of yesterday and whisked him away in his car.
A source close to the family, Alex Igbeni, who confirmed the incident to journalistsa, said the car was later recovered between Rumuji-Ndele axis of the East-West road.
Igbani disclosed that the youths of the community had swung into action by invading the forest in search of the monarch, adding that the kidnappers had not contacted members of the victim’s family.
He said, "Around 2.30am today (Tuesday), unknown gunmen invaded the house of the paramount ruler of Mgbuolua, who just travelled home with his family yesterday (Monday) for Christmas and kidnapped him and also made away with his car. But his car was found at the boundary between Ndele and Rumuji community axis of the East West road. We believe that the kidnappers took him through the bush. Let the security operatives help us."
The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said security operatives had been deployed to the area to ensure rescue of the victim.
*Photo Caption - As seen.