[ Masterweb Reports ] – Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji, has lauded the state’s performance in the 2013 West African Senior School Certificate Examination, where the State emerged as the overall second best in the official result released by WASSCE.
 
 
The results released by WASSCE showed that 12 states in Nigeria recorded percentage that were above national average in the following order: Anambra State (67.85 per cent), Abia State (65.17 per cent), Rivers State (58.56 per cent), Lagos State (56.03), Cross River State (53.34 per cent), Bayelsa State (51.66 per cent), Enugu State (50.22 per cent), Delta State (46.49 per cent), Imo State (46.03per cent), Abuja (43.9 per cent), Ogun (39.92 per cent), and Kaduna (39.47 per cent).
 
 
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Charles Ajunwa, Governor Orji who expressed happiness over this development, attributed the feat recorded in the 2013 WASSCE by Abia State to the new reforms introduced by government in the educational sector.
 
 
Apart from assuring on his government’s continued support to the educational sector, Governor Orji said he would ensure that all Abians have access to qualitative and affordable education under a conducive learning environment.
 
 
The governor who declared that education remained the only key that would unleash development in all parts of the state, called on parents to enroll their children into primary and secondary schools as doing so according to him, will help to make them become useful to themselves having acquired knowledge.
 
 
“I am elated by the performance of Abia State in the official WASSCE results made available to the public recently. That we came overall second position after Anambra State, only goes to show that our decision to invest in the educational sector, was a step in a right direction. And I believe that we can do better than this. Since Abia State is number one in the country alphabetically, we must strive to maintain the first position in all endeavours.
 
 
“If you recall, during the presentation of the 2014 Appropriation Bill to the State House of Assembly titled, ‘Budget of Legacy Consolidation’, I said that education remained the only key to developing Abia State. To this end, this government is poised to stamping –out every trace of illiteracy in the state by ensuring continuous increased allocation of resources to the sector.”
 
 
 
*Photo Caption – Governor T. A. Orji

[ Masterweb Reports ] - The Honorary Special Adviser to the President and the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi described the Nyanya bomb blast of yesterday as mindless war against innocent Nigerians.

In a statement made available to the press,  Mr. Obi, wondering what the perpetrators of the act stand to gain, Obi said it was worrisome that innocent Nigerians were confronted by barbarians that did not have respect for the sacredness of human lives.  "The strange culture of people killing follow humans without compunction can at best be described as atavistic throwback to the old and superseded ways. To observe those traits of barbarism creeping back to our country calls for concerted efforts to check", Obi said.

Commending President Goodluck Jonathan for promptly visiting the scene and the injured in hospitals, Obi urged him not to relent or be dampened  in his efforts to bring the situation under check. He also commended security agencies for their prompt response  and urged them to do everything possible to fish out the perpetrators of the evil act.

Obi called on Nigerians to offer helping hands to the victims as much as they could and preyed to God to strengthen the families of all those affected by the act, especially those that lost their loved ones
 
 
*Photo Caption – Ex-Governor Peter Obi

[ Masterweb Reports: Akpandem James reports ] – 1. Delegates focus on true federalism: The call for restructuring of Nigeria into true federalism with the different geo-political zones serving as federating units received further boosts on Wednesday as different delegates across different states harped on it.

 
Presided over by the Conference Chairman, retired Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, GCON, the session was a continuation of the debate and comments on the speech presented on March 17 by President Goodluck Jonathan when he inaugurated the Conference.
 
 
Former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, who advocated regionalism, openly prayed that Nigeria would not go the way of other countries of the world that started as one but had to split into parts along the way.

 
Describing the President’s speech as epochal and momentous, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, said the President has set the tone for the Conference and that the burden was on the delegates to stop bickering and think Nigeria.

 
Speaking on the issue of religion, he said: “I am of a Muslim family; my father and my mother were Muslims. In my house, we have as many Muslims as we have Christians and I send many of them to Mecca on the Hajji as one of the five pillars of Islam. We don’t discriminate.
 

“I want to ask a question: why are we suddenly discriminating against ourselves. Religion is being used, as Karl Marx once said, as opium of the masses to oppress the people. It is by the elites of our people.

 
“What is going on in the north east of Nigeria does not seem to concern many of us because we are in the comfort of our homes either in Abuja, or in Lagos, or in Port Harcourt or in Enugu….”

 
Citing a portion of the Holy Quran, he said when the people of Mecca wanted Prophet Mohammed to worship their gods, he told them, “I worship not that which you worship nor do you worship that which I worship. Do not expect me to worship that which you worship nor should I expect you to worship that which I worship. To you your religion and to me my religion.

 
“Let us be united, let us have true fiscal federalism and every other thing shall be added to us. Let us have true devolution of power and strip the federal government of too much power.”

 
On the outcome of the conference, he said the decisions contained in the final report must be subjected to a referendum so that people would have a say on their constitution “because the process of the constitution is as important as the content of the constitution.”

 
Professor Kimse Okoko, former national president of Ijaw National Congress, said the speech by Jonathan was consummate, patriotic and portrayed potential elements for change.

 
While advocating fiscal federalism, Okoko said the 1999 Constitution was fraudulent in every aspect because with so much power being vested at the centre, it created rooms for avoidable wrong doings.

 
Senator Anietie Okon in his comments said the Conference has the potentials to lay the foundation and building blocks towards resolving certain national and local contending issues.

 
While advocating devolution of power with the zones serving as federating units, Okon said the reason for non-functionality of government is that the central government has become too unwieldy. 

 
He urged the Conference to do justice to the expectations of Nigerians.

 
Senator Femi Okurounmu who had earlier chaired the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Conference observed that for Nigeria to return to the path of growth and wholesome values, “we must wipe away all the negative imprints of military rule; we must return to federalism and a balanced federal structure.

 
“The centre must devolve powers to the federating units which are large enough to effectively wield the powers which are to be devolved. The present six geo-political zones or the original 12 states created by Gown are ideal for this purpose.”

 
He said if corruption is to be curbed and accountability restored to governance, “we must jettison the so-called presidential system and return to the parliamentary system under which our nation set the pace in growth and development even for today’s Asian Tigers.”

 
Okurounmu advised the Conference not to clamp itself under constraints that were not imposed by the President; he advised against sending the outcome of deliberations must not be sent to the National Assembly.

 
The delegate said to send it there will defeat the goal of building a new, just and equitable society “because the National Assembly itself is one of those institutions which, as presently constituted, is heavily skewed in favour of some sections of the country and against others.”

 
For Ezinwa Okoroafor, the National Conference provides a sincere opportunity for inter-generational handshake; explaining that while the elders should provide leadership based on experience, the youth should provide the energy required to push the nation forward.

 
Miliscent Okonkwo declared unequivocally: “we have to succeed this time,” adding that everyone must think beyond ethnic box and place Nigeria above everything else.
 
 
A lawyer, Festus Okoye, informed the Conference of the need to analyse what happened in the past to be able to plan for today and today because as he put it, yesterday has a lot of bearing on what we plan today for tomorrow.

 
He said some of the delegates at the Conference were internally displaced from their own states by insurgency and that the security problem facing the country today could be traced to the inability of policy makers to develop a comprehensive national security system.

 
Citing President Jonathan as example, Gabriel Okoye said courage is what good leaders are made of and that the President has demonstrated courage both in his speech and in action.

 
He said those of them in the Diaspora were desirous of voting in every election and suggested establishment of Diaspora Commission by the federal government would help in that regard.

 
Okuniyi Olawale said the Conference, with the caliber of people in attendance, should be able to give Nigeria a direction and stability.

 
Olawale said each delegate must be determined to maximize the opportunity provided by the Conference for the growth of the nation instead of getting distracted by pettiness.

 
One of the women delegates, Bisi Olagbegi informed the Conference that Nigerian women have been treated with ignominy for too long and structured out of relevance.

 
She pleaded that when issues are being discussed at the committee level, matters concerning women and the abuse and neglect of children should be given serious consideration.

 
Okon Osung from Akwa Ibom State raised the issue of resource control and environmental pollution and demanded that both be accorded desired consideration during committee discussions.

 
He painted realistic picture of environmental degradation caused by gas flaring and coastal erosion as a result of the unguarded activities of oil companies in the Niger Delta.
 

Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, in his contribution, said the existence of Nigeria as a nation has been destroyed by past leaders, especially the military; adding, “We need to tell ourselves the home truth.”

 
Retired Major General Paul Omu told the conference that the 1999 Constitution required some tinkering to enable it meet the desired needs of the people.

 
He dismissed as untrue the notion that the military be held responsible for the backwardness of Nigeria explaining that for every military coup in Nigeria, politicians and civilians are always accomplices.

 
President of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, Michael Olukoya lamented that 85% of the delegates who must have benefitted from public primary school education needed to be told what has happened to public schools in Nigeria.

 
He said delegates must rise from the Conference with the determination to revamp public schools although, as he put it, most of the people no longer believe in public schools.

 
Professor Akeem Oyebode described the federal system operated in Nigeria as caricature. He said the Conference must take steps to re-configure, re-invent and re-launch Nigeria.

 
He said the question of federation remains critical to the country, “the military killed federation because federation and military are strange bedfellows.”
 
________________________________
 

2. Journalists Challenged To Put the Nation First
 

Journalists covering the on-going National Conference in Abuja have been advised to be sensitive to Nigeria’s diversity and idiosyncrasies as expressed at the Conference and aim towards building a truly united and cohesive country.

 
Veteran journalist and a delegate to the Conference, Mr. Ray Ekpu, said in Abuja on Friday that journalists must first understand the purpose of the conference and report events with the understanding that Nigeria must come out of its present dilemma characterized ethnic and religious tension.

 
Ekpu stated this at a one day media roundtable organized by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) for editors and correspondents covering the National Conference.

 
He said, “I would like journalists to show extreme sensitivity about the tough issues that this Conference will have to deal with.

 
“How they cover controversial issues such as ethnicity, religion, structure of government, resource control, fiscal federation, rotational presidency, devolution of powers, etc., will determine whether we want a united country or not.”

 
Ekpu asked reporters to demonstrate patriotism, “show a little more sensitivity to the wrangling, the flashes of temper, the disputations and the partisan oratory that you may experience in the coverage of the Conference.”

 
He said when this happens, “You will be contributing your own quota to the efforts that the Conference will be making to solidify the unity, cohesion and integration of the country.”

 
Minister of Tourism and Culture, Chief Edem Duke described the Conference as the building block for the Nigeria of the future and that its success would no doubt reposition the country for accelerated growth and development.

 
In this regard, he said the Nigerian media remain very critical in the effort in view of its proven capacity to inform, educate, mobilize and influence opinions; and that the Conference and what it stands for calls for a higher sense of patriotism and professionalism by the media.

 
Duke said it must be understood that those calling for moderation in the coverage of the Conference are not calling for censorship.

 
He explained, “The media has a professional responsibility to report all issues freely, fairly and objectively within the ambit and orbit of the law; however, what is paramount to all Nigerians in this Conference, is our national interest.

 
“The issue of national interest is particularly germane to the coverage of proceedings of the National Conference because of the volatile and contentious issues at stake.
 
 
“If arguments (on) the floor of the Conference are not carefully and professionally reported, they are capable of sending the wrong signals and igniting explosive reactions from members of the public. This will be a great disservice not only to the Conference but to the nation at large.”

 
Director General of the National Orientation Agency, Mr. Mike Omeri said the media roundtable was put together to sensitise the media on the importance of their role as a veritable link between citizens and the National Conference.

 
It was also meant, according to him, to re-emphasise the need for patriotic agenda-setting and promotion of national interest in media reportage of the Conference; and create a forum for exchange of ideas on the Conference between the media and officials of the Conference.

 
He stated, “It is our firm belief at NOA that media coverage of the National Conference with objectivity and nationalism is the right thing to do, bearing in mind that posterity will judge us all by our contributions to nation-building at critical moments of our national history such as this.”

 
Head of Media and Communication at the National Conference, Mr. Akpandem James, said the media roundtable was put together as a reminder to journalists that they have a role as a group and as a people entrusted with the responsibility of building a sound society.

 
He appealed to journalists covering the Conference to do their job in such a manner that they are not harassed by people who may feel hurt by their reportage.

 
He maintained that in such a large assembly of elders and young people, there would be incidents by the sides, “but I still appeal that we apply high sense of responsibility in what we do.”

 
A traditional ruler, the Etsu Karu, Luka Panya Baba reminded journalists of their role as the mirror of the society and demanded that every report should be a fair and accurate representation of things that happened.

 
“We see the media as the voice of the people. We depend significantly upon the media to be well informed about what is happening,” said the traditional ruler.

 
Speaking on agenda-setting, Tunde Rahman, the managing editor of Western Post, said journalists at the Conference could force attention to certain issues in a systematic way by aggregating the views of the delegates on core issues.
 
 
Such issues, he said include resource control, federalism, regional structure, devolution of powers, role of traditional rulers, among others; adding that journalists must be able to maintain a sense of balance between conflicting views and interests.
 
 
He said unlike most of the delegates who have ulterior motives, “our interest as journalists, I think, must be the interest of the people, the survival of the nation.

 
“I think that in the role of chroniclers of history and agenda setters, the media have assumed immense responsibilities for the next generation. This demands that we must be patriotic. We must eschew our prejudices about the Conference and keep an open mind.”

 
Edith Ohaja of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, said that journalists have a lot of latitude in Nigeria today to do what they consider to be morally justifiable and to publish what they consider important to the survival of the nation.

 
She noted, “What they need is the willingness to act right, to see the desirability of pursuing higher goals in their work and to operate beyond the level of crass commercialism.

 
“Journalists need to rekindle the nationalistic fervor through which the Nigerian press was birthed and nurtured and contribute to the emergence of a stronger, united and prosperous nation. 
 

“They cannot do this if they consistently promote the cause of rabble rousers and people seeking relevance and pretending to be mavericks and stirring endless controversies.

 
“This is the time to make Nigerians proud of their journalists again as we were during the pursuit of independence and the fight by some media and activists to dismantle military dictatorship.”
 

Another speaker at the roundtable, Joseph Ari said the media would create a lot of positive impact regarding the Conference if journalists paid attention to issues rather than personalities.

 
He said most times, uncomplimentary utterances by delegates could be altered to change public opinion and to mobilize for national cohesion rather than divisive tendencies.

 
Ari stated that although the Conference bears the main task of fostering national integration, peace and unity, “the configuration of a collective memory requires the involvement of the media to encourage consensus making.”
 

________________________________
 

3. National Conference Ends Debate On President’s Speech
 
 
Insecurity, corruption, women’s right and the rights of minorities took the centre-stage on Thursday as delegates to the 2014 National Conference rounded off debate and comments on President Goodluck Jonathan’s inaugural speech at the Conference.

 
Also mentioned and debated was the call for the reintroduction of the on-shore and off-shore oil dichotomy which would deprived certain oil producing states of any revenue from oil exploration and exploitation carried out off-shore.

 
However, Nsongurua Udombana, a professor of international law from Akwa Ibom State, shot down the suggestion on the grounds that no international law as cited by the speakers can dictate to a country what to do within its locality.

 
He said instead, sections of the 1999 Constitution that vest authority on the central government with regard to the control of natural resources to the exclusion of the states where they are domesticated should be abrogated in the spirit of true federalism.

 
Udombana stated that the problem of Nigeria was not lack of resources but inability of the leaders to successfully harness these resources for the benefit of the people.
 
 
Mrs. Ramatu Bala Usman in her comments said the Conference must ensure that the 35% gender placement in public service and appointments in favour of women be enshrined in the Constitution so as to give it a legal backing.

 
In addition, she asked for institutionalization of the roles of the spouse of the first citizen, either at the national or state level, whether man or woman, so that if a woman becomes the president of governor, the husband will have a constitutional role to play; and vice versa.
 
 
Usman went ahead to demand a policy that would compel any new occupant of public office to ensure completion of projects and implementation of policies started by his predecessor before embarking on a new one. 

 
Maria Waziri from Kebbi state also spoke glowingly about the oneness of Nigeria and why women education should be given a priority by government at all levels.

 
She said, “The oneness of this nation is absolutely beyond negotiation. I suggest strongly that we must not approach issues with suspicion. We must discuss freely in the overall national interest because Nigeria belongs to all of us.

 
“I stand for oneness, for togetherness and for a stronger indivisible Nigeria which is at peace with its citizens based on mutual respect and understanding amongst our diverse people, irrespective of tribe, ethnic or religion.

 
God has blessed Nigeria with great women; intelligent women; patriotic; determined and courageous women. We must give women more opportunities, collaborate with them and tap into their wonderful potentials. To do all these, women must be educated.

 
“A widow in pains deserves consolation, not humiliation. The wicked act of throwing her out is ungodly, inhuman, outdated and wickedness. I condemn it with all my heart.”

 
Professor Auwalu Yadudu took the delegates through memory lane on the issue of resource control and revenue allocation, debunking certain claims which he believes to be wrong.

 
On his expectations, he said, “Conference must draw up a very clear road-map that spells out the necessary legal and institutional frameworks to guide the implementation of its resolutions.

 
“All Conference resolutions requiring legal and constitutional expressions must be carried out in accordance with the 1999 Constitution and extant statutory provisions.
 
 
“Conference must propose draft legislation for enactment and implementation by the National Assembly; policy proposals and options should go to the executive arm.”
 
 
Tanko Yakassai expressed disappointment over non-effective implementation of the various laws against corruption and how corruption has been allowed to not only give the country a bad name, but create avenue for emergence of armed violence across the country.

 
He said, “The fight against corruption has been largely unsuccessful due to the inability of bodies charged with that responsibility to ensure the judicial sanctioning or punishment of suspected offenders. 

 
“This has to an extent been due to the case glut in our judicial system thereby protracting corrupt-related cases.”

 
Yakassai called for establishment of special courts for corrupt and other related offences; “This will provide the needed impetus to agencies charged with the responsibility of fighting this evil that has defied efforts geared towards eradicating its menace.”

 
On the issue of true federalism and the return to regionalism, he proposed a reduction in the number of states from the present 36 to 12 adding that as things are now, “admittedly, this is a very difficult task to undertake…”

 
Mr Achike Udenwa told the Conference that what would help the country in fighting corruption is for leaders to look back at the root cause of corruption and tackle it from there. He mentioned insecurity, social problems and greed as the causes of corruption.

 
He said public officers steal because they want to create wealth to fall back on after leaving office and be able to pay their bills; they also steal because of social pressure and cited situations where they are made to buy unnecessary traditional titles and honorary degrees from tertiary institutions.

 
Veteran journalist, Chief Onyeama Ugochukwu, challenged the delegates to discuss and make such recommendations that would create a better future for Nigeria by creating a true federalism out of the existing confusion.

 
Ugochukwu said Jonathan has given the delegates the challenge of finding something new that would move the country forward and prayed that the conference would not be another effort in futility.

 
Retired General Anthony Ukpo said he was skeptical about the purpose of the Conference at the beginning but that from what he has seen so far, his new challenge is to work hard and ensure that the result of the Conference would not be put on the shelf.

 
Former President of the Senate, Adolf Wabara said the problem with Nigeria is traceable to ignorance of existing solutions to such problems; and most importantly, the lack of political will to apply existing laws to solve those problems.

 
He challenged the delegates to know that the era of Lord Lugard was over and that the baton of leadership and the responsibility to solve Nigeria’s problems has been handed over to Nigerians of this generation.

 
“I want to remind us here that Lord Lugard is not in this hallowed chamber. Lord Lugard built the house we lived in a hundred years ago, now it is our turn to either rebuild the house or to renovate the house. Our fate is strictly in our hands.”

 
Senator Daisy Danjuma observed that the greatest legacy of the Conference would be to ensure obedience to the rule of law and separation of powers, enthronement of natural justice, equity and good conscience in the polity.

 
She said the issue of insecurity must be taken seriously because as it is today, investors have been scared away; and even the tourism industry with the capacity to replace oil in revenue yielding is basically dead.

 
Diette Spiff, a retired military officer and traditional ruler said the concept of the National Youth Service Corps should be extended to include every youth from the age of 18 and should include compulsory military training for such youth whether they are graduates or not.

 
He drew attention of the Conference to the fact that no constitution is perfect; explaining that every constitution drafted under any military regime is usually done by civilian lawyers; therefore the military must not always be held responsible for any constitution that has flaws.

 
The former military officer advised Nigerians to live in peace; “we should learn to tolerate each other and live as one big family.”

 
For Goddy Unwazurike, fiscal federalism, state creation and rotational presidency must form part of the recommendations at the end of the Conference. 

 
He was emphatic that no tribe is greater than the other and as such political power must rotate while every geo-political zone must have equal number of states.

 
Richard Uche described the President’s speech as a patriotic call for Nigerians to address issues that have slowed down the process of development. He called for devolution of power in order to make governance more cost-effective.

 
The position of Jerseer Tsumba that the killings in the north central region was carried out by Fulani herdsmen drew a denial from Dr. Bello Mohammed who raised a point order to the effect that such assertion was a mere speculation as it lacked proof. His position was upheld.
 
 
Signed:
 
 
Akpandem James
Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications
National Conference 2014
nationalconfab2014@gmail.com

 
 
*Photo Caption – Ex-Chief Justice of Nigeria, Idris Kutigi, Chairman of 2014 Nigeria National Conference
 
 
 

  [ Masterweb Reports: Obinna Akukwe reports ] - Tobias Idika, the Ohanaeze President of Kano, who was suspected to be poisoned by agents of Boko Haram and state sponsored terrorists, has been slated for burial on the 17 th of April, 2014 at his hometown,  Amuru Abam in  Arochukwu/Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State.
 
Tobias  Michael Idika was the bold and fearless President of Kano Chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and also the Chairman of Ethnic Nationalities in Kano State.  It is estimated that Igbos in Kano alone are up to 2 million persons. He stood like a colossus in fighting against the gradual reduction of population of non-indigenes of Kano State through the activities of Boko Haram and their State sponsored agents.
 
When Boko Haram militants attacked Kano in January 2012, at the peak of Fuel Subsidy protests, Tobias Idika was at the forefront of ensuring that Igbos are not frightened out of the state.
 
When Boko Haram blasted an Igbo dominated bus station at New Road, Sabon Gari, Kano on the 18th of March, 2013, killing over 70 Igbo sons and daughters, Tobias Idika lost his cool. He alerted the international community that the blast was a state sponsored attempt to deliberately reduce Igbo population in Kano.
 
Tobias Idika vehemently condemned the July 30th Sabon Gari Boko Haram bomb blast which killed over 120 Igbo sons and daughters at Enugu Road, Ibo Road and New Road respectively. He condemned the deliberate infrastructural neglect of Sabo Gari . He also condemned the constant harassment of Igbo patent medicine dealers in Kano by agents of Governor Kwakwanso.
 
Tobias Idika also fought against the imposition of an Ezeigbo of Kano by the   Kwakwanso led government. Therefore, Tobias Idika became an enemy of Boko Haram, Kano State Government, Kano State Police Command and the factional Ezeigbo of Kano.
 
His traducers came to the extent of sending people to castigate him before the Ime Obi of Ohanaeze Ndigbo at a meeting held at the National Secretariat of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Enugu on the 17th of August 2013. I followed in lobbying state chairmen of Ohanaeze to ensure that Idika escapes Ohanaeze sanction. Specifically, Idika was accused of crying wolf when there is none, and releasing reports on behalf of Ohanaeze without clearance from the National Headquarters. People fingered the influence of the Ezeigbo of Abuja and factional Ezeigbo of Kano for the planned embarrassment of idika. However, State Chairmen and younger elements in Ohanaeze defended Idika .
I had to equally deploy my contacts within Ohanaeze Ndigbo to ensure that this consummate freedom fighter is not publicly embarrassed by Ohanaeze leadership.
 
Tobias Idika was a highly misunderstood man. He was not crying wolf when there is none. He witnessed firsthand all that I observe each time I visit Kano. Sabon Gari has no electricity- generators are everywhere, constituting noise pollution and distributing sickness to residents. The roads within Sabon Gari, apart from a few, were in deplorable conditions. There is no government schools, no pipe borne water, yet the place constitutes about 75% of Kano State Internally Generated Revenue.
 
The Kano State Government is in the habit of seizing the drugs of patent medicine dealers labeling them as fake and hours later the seized drugs appear at Kano State owned hospitals for distribution. Tobias Idika fought against this anomaly. When news spread that the Kano Blasted Bus Park was to be converted to Islamic School, Idika alerted me and after my on the spot visit and investigations, alerted the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo about the infraction. I also issued a press report on the issues which was given wide publicity by the local and international press. The Kano State Government came out later to deny, claiming that they have already compensated the original owners of the land. At least, the issue of converting Igbo Bus Paark to Islamic School was suspended.
 
Tobias Idika had always complained about the constant seizing of drugs of Igbo businessmen in Kano, lack of electricity, motorable roads and government schools in Sabon Gari  among other  acts of marginalization against Ndigbo,. He asked me to bring Igbo clerics to aid in ameliorating the plight of Igbos in Kano. Due to his constant reports I visited Kano in my personal capacity and later Igbo Bishops and pastors under the aegis of General Assembly of all Igbo Christian Organizations and Ministers (GAAICOM) again asked me to get to Kano with some persons and determine the state of insecurity of Igbos and their property. Ohanaeze Ndigbo also mandated my humble self, Mr Charles Morah and Barrister Emejulu Okapalukwu to do another assessment in Kano but due to tight schedule, I wasn’t able to make it with the Ohanaeze follow up team.  Surprisingly, that Ohanaeze follow up delegation narrowly missed the bomb blast planted at the Emir of Kano’s palace.
 
Through the help of Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife ,  former governor of Anambra State and leader of Ohanaeze in Abuja and the North, Tobias Idika, Emejulu Okpalaukwu and my humble self-ensured that President Jonathan was made aware of the constant threat to Igbo lives in Kano by agents of Boko Haram. We also worked out a defense strategy in case security situation against Igbos escalates in Kano.
 
Shortly afterwards Tobias Idika informed me that his life is in danger. According to him, some persons came to his house to assassinate him, but with the help of an Hausa neighbor, he was able to escape. After the incidence, he was hiding around Kano for fear of his life. Later, policemen from No Man’s Land Police Station led by the DPO was looking for him at nights and Tobias believed that they wanted to either assassinate him or poison him, hence he hid for weeks in Kano. He continued to hide till he left Kano for Abuja and then Umuahia where he hid for a while.
 
Having stayed few weeks in Umuahia, Tobias told me that he would rather die in Kano than abandon his people, and returned back to Kano in September 2013, though against my advice to wait till Ohanaeze resolves issues with the Kano and Federal Government.  He returned to his house at no 7 New Road, Sabon Gari and later visited the police in company of Igbo leaders and was granted freedom. However, that freedom was short lived because few days later after drinking with some unknown persons, he developed the illness that killed him.  Tobias Idika was almost dying in his house until a doctor friend visited him and took him to a military hospital where he was till the 21st of December when he was discharged. He was put inside an Umuahia bound luxurious bus on the 25th of December to get back to the East and continue with his sickness.  He arrived on the 27th of December, with deteriorating health conditions, unable to sleep except when induced. On the 4th of January, 2014, Tobias was taken to Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia  where he complained of  uncontrollable acute headaches , migraine, fainting and vomiting which made him  to struggle at a BP of 355, 180 to 160 till he died by 5am of the 13th of January.
 
Tobias Idika hails from Amuru Abam in  Arochukwu/Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State and is slated for burial on the 17th of April with wake keep for the 16th. He is survived by children and siblings.

During his wake keep in Kano, even Europeans came to enquire what killed this consummate freedom fighter. They believed that the man was poisoned and they spoke with a few Igbo leaders. Tobias Idika refused to abandon his people in Kano into the hands of Boko Haram agents and he died in the process. All Igbo sons and daughters must troop to his place and honor this freedom fighter who was allegedly poisoned while fighting terrorism in the north.
 
Obinna Akukwe ( Email: profetobinna2@yahoo.com ) reports.
 
 
*Photo Caption – Late Tobias Idika

[ Masterweb Reports ] - The secretary general of Ohaneze Ndigbo Spain Hon. Uchendu Precious Onuoha has commended and congratulated the newly elected youth leader of Ohaneze Ndigbo worldwide, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro. In his speech with the new chairman and some members of his executive, Hon. Uchendu advised the new leadership to work assiduously to galvanize Ohaneze Ndigbo as to achieve the objectives the founding elders had in mind, and to make Ohaneze youth a formidable force that will be reckoned with, and should always speak with one voice as to earn the respect of the other major ethnic groups in Nigeria. He said that the task ahead is enormous especially in the unfolding political dispensation but believe that God will grant Mazi Isiguzoro and his executive the wisdom to steer the ship of Ohaneze to the best direction for the interest of Ndigbo worldwide.
 
Hon. Uchendu who also spoke to Comrade Chuks Ibegbu the former youth leader commended him for his good sense of leadership, understanding and maturity. Especially for organizing a very peaceful election and hand over to the new leader and executives. He assured the new executive that he will always use his position as a seasoned media practitioner to create awareness and publicity that will enable them work in collaboration with Ohaneze in Spain and in Diaspora.
 
Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro can be reached in Nigeria at 07034380211 or 8028597244. Call to congratulate him.
 
*Photo Caption - Hon. Uchendu Precious Onuoha

[ Masterweb Reports ] – Issues bordering on corrupt practices, unemployment, restructuring of the country into federating units, economic development and national security topped deliberation on Tuesday at the on-going National Conference in Abuja.
 
 
Each delegate who stood to comment on the President’s speech at the inauguration of the Conference also expressed concern over what would happen to the report of the Conference in view of the non-implementation of reports of previous Conference report.
 
 
Former Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet Group, Air Commodore Idongest Nkanga (rtd), in his contribution said the Conference has the capacity to either take the country to where it should be in the comity of nations or push it backward.
 
 
He said the solution to existing problems of ethno-religious and tribal sentiments lies in Nigeria moving from its current practice of fake federalism and restructure the country into real federating units that would relief the centre of the burden that has turned states into parasites.
 
 
Nkanga challenged the delegates to ensure that suggestions and decisions arrived at would not amount to presenting theoretical solutions to challenges that demand practical solutions.
 
 
He said that to build Nigeria where equity and justice would reign; the Conference must advance solutions that would eliminate the concept of first and second class citizens or the orchestrated settlers and citizens’ issue.
 
 
Former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, said in restructuring Nigeria, geo-political zones and not the states should constitute the federating units while the power for creation of local government areas should be left with the states.
 
 
It was his opinion that the Conference must focus on the future of Nigeria by ensuring that the burden of power currently placed on the federal government was reduced and given to the federating units, the states and the local government areas.
 
 
His position for restructuring with the zones serving as federating units was supported by retired Major-General Ike Nwachukwu who said the purpose of the conference was to negotiate for a new Nigeria.
 
 
Nwachukwu said that for the Conference to be a success, everyone must as a matter of patriotism, set aside his prejudices and make sure a new Nigeria emerges at the end of the day.
 
 
It was his view that restructuring of the country will result in national security; employment for the youth as people would stop focusing on the centre and looking inward; women rights and economic development.
 
 
Both Jim Nwobodo and Professor A. B. C. Nwosu who spoke later supported the position of the previous speakers for fiscal federalism and devolution of power.
 
 
Chief Ajibola Ogunshola from the southwest cautioned against the excessive population growth which he said is not counter-balanced with adequate productivity as a major cause of massive unemployment and other social problems.
 
 
He spoke in support of restoration of local, state and zonal policing which was abolished during the military era. It was his view that the possible fear of abuse can be reduced by appropriate legislation.
 
 
On devolution of power, he said the federation should no longer fund local councils directly and that zones, as the federating units, can have as many states and local government areas as they need.
 
 
Former Information Minister, Frank Nweke 11, in a calm delivery, advocated a national economic development philosophy as applied in other parts of the world adding that other countries of the world have practically left Nigeria behind.
 
 
“The world is not going to wait for us. The world is not waiting for us,” said Nweke adding that nations are built by disciplined and committed visionaries and that Nigerians should never indulge in the belief that nations develop by accident.
 
 
He described the conference as a great opportunity for delegates to confront national problems on behalf of all Nigerians and not an occasion to bicker over issues that would take the country backward.
 
 
Moses Mgbale from Adamawa State described the Conference as a chance for the delegates to stand in the gap for every other Nigerian; an opportunity for elders to correct their ways and for the youths to learn from the elders.
 
 
He said for a stronger Nigeria to emerge from the Conference, every delegate must be determined to be a builder, not a destroyer and that this can be done through objective contributions and suggestions at the committee levels.
 
 
Hajiya Fati Mongonu, who said her father was kidnapped by the Boko Haram insurgents, alleged that unlike what used to obtain before, the military today has been infiltrated by the same malaise afflicting the larger society such as tribalism and sectionalism, an allegation that was immediately dismissed by Ike Nwachukwu as absolutely untrue.
 
 
Alexander Mshelbwala said President Goodluck Jonathan took a big risk to convoke the conference without minding what the outcome would be. He described the action as a show of courage.
 
 
Dr Junaid Mohammed said although the President did not raise issues that agitate his mind, like security and corruption, he hoped that the outcome of the conference will not go the way of other conferences.
 
 
Lamido Adamawa, Muhammedu Barkindo Mustapha said delegates must take a cue from the President’s speech instead of theories propounded by the west which were mainly meant to enrich them; and that the roles of traditional rulers need not be enshrined in the Constitution.
 
 
Mustapha Abdullahi in his contribution said the main problem with Nigeria and Nigerians is that “we emphasise our differences and de-emphasise those things that bind us together.”
 
 
Leadership as a panacea for a stable and progressive Nigeria was the focus of a short comment y former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba.
 
 
He said whatever the outcome of the Conference, except there is a political will guided by a sense of patriotism on the part of the leaders, nothing positive would be achieved.
 
 
In the same vein, Asabe Baba Nahaya said a situation where Nigerians keep cursing their leaders on the excuse that they do not have confidence in them was bad as that curse will continue to take the nation backward.
 
 
Leader of Labour Party, Dan Nwanyanwu put the issue squarely when he said: “we are the cause of our problems,” and that both tribal and religious inclinations constituted the main reasons Nigeria has not moved forward.
 
 
He cited examples of Nigerian professionals in different disciplines who have won international recognition but cannot come back to operate in Nigeria because of the tensed environment characterized by hatred and favouritism based on ethnic lines.
 
 
Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chibudom Nwuche, told the Conference that Nigeria and Nigerians have exhibited signs of a failed state for a long time; and that it was time to arise and build.
 
 
Nwuche challenged delegates to ask the basic questions: where did we go wrong, at what point did we take the wrong turn. He traced the cause of the problem to a faulty structure which he said was not too late to correct.
 
 
He said Nigeria needs a structure that would enable its best to step forward and provide the required leadership; “history beckons, we have one more chance to right our wrongs.”
 
 
Former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili said solving Nigeria’s problems is like treating a patient in a hospital and that “you cannot treat an ailment you have not correctly diagnosed because for the treatment to be effective, the ailment must be properly diagnosed.
 
 
He said the Conference would only emerge with sound and acceptable report if the delegates place justice on the table, talk and listen to each other and sincerely address the fears of each group.
 
 
Bayo Ojo, former Justice Minister spoke in support of the devolution of power that would ensure a weak centre and strong geo-political zones. He advocated free and compulsory primary and secondary education.
 
 
For rights activist, Joe Okei-Odumakin, the Conference must produce a constitution because, “it is going to be a colossal waste of time and resources if we don’t have a constitution emerging from this Conference.”
 
 
Nduka Obaigbena, publisher of THISDAY newspaper lifted the morale of the Conference with a powerful speech that centred on the achievements of Nigeria and Nigerians both at home and abroad.
 
 
He said every country has challenges and that what to do is for the Conference to consciously figure out how to deal with the situation instead of lamenting over it, pointing out that poverty goes with corruption while unemployment incites violence.
 
 
 
Signed:
 
 
 
Akpandem James
Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications
National Conference 2014
nationalconfab2014@gmail.com
 
 
 
*Photo Caption – Map & Flag of Nigeria

[ Masterweb Reports ] – Deliberations on the speech by President Goodluck Jonathan as a road-map for the on-going National Conference continued on Monday with delegates dwelling on hair-raising issues that were either controversial or of national significance.
 
 
For instance, a delegate on the platform of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Nurudeen Lemu, pulled the hall to its feet in a standing ovation (which was a breach of the Conference Standing Rules) when he combined sound logic and eloquence to deliver a message that touched the need for religious harmony in Nigeria.
 
 
Lemu told the delegates that God Almighty is neither a religious nor ethnic bigot and that the problem with Nigerians is that both Muslims and Christians always over-estimate their virtues while down-playing the goodness in others.
 
 
He almost drew tears in the hall when he condemned both the murdering and the murderers of Christians and Muslims in the country under the cover of religion.
 
 
Here is a part of what he said, “as a delegate and as a people representing people of faith in God from Islamic perspective, one thing we believe is that God will protect the community that stands for justice even if they are not Muslims and God will not protect the community that goes contrary to justice even if they call themselves Muslims.
 
 
“God is not a religious bigot. He is not a male chauvinist. He is not an ethno-centric tribalist. God is not the oppressor of anyone. God is with those who care, those who want for others those things they want for themselves.
 
 
“One tendency for people who claim to follow a religion is to slide into the position of believing that they are better than the others. We over-estimate our virtues and under-estimate the goodness in others.
 
 
“The tendency is for us to be spiritually arrogant and forget that others are people like us. And if you are in other person’s position, you probably will be like someone else.
 
 
“As delegates from the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, we condemn the murder and the murderers of all Christians; we condemn the murder and the murderers of all Muslims; not because they are Christians or Muslims but because they are all human beings—creatures of God.
 
 
“There is no compulsion in religion. We all own Nigeria. We all belong here. And we all have rights to self-determination. We should respect that right and do onto others what we will do onto ourselves.
 
 
“Every ethnic group is an oppressed minority somewhere. Every majority or settlers is an indigene somewhere. In one way or the other, we are all settlers.
 
 
“We just don’t remember where we came from and why we came. But ultimately, we are all visitors to this planet; from God we came and to Him we will return.
 
 
“As Muslim delegates, we come against the exploitation of religion and religious sentiments; we come against stereotyping, stigmatizing and dehumanization of each other. We come against the use of religion as a political decoy and distraction from the critical things that bedevil our nation.
 
 
“I pray that at the end of this conference, we will all grow in our humanity and respect for each other.”
 
 
On a seemingly controversial note, Mrs. Yemi Mahmoud-Fasominu called for the establishment of a special court where issues of rape and other criminal acts against women would be addressed.
 
 
She went further to demand that a law setting up such a court must specify that convicted perpetrators of such a crime should be castrated to serve as deterrence to others.
 
 
At this point, the hall exploded either in cheers or in jeers. It was difficult to determine.
 
 
Zamani Lekwot, a retired general, said beyond the courage and wisdom by Jonathan to convoke the conference, selection of delegates has accorded every section of the society an opportunity to be represented.
 
 
He did a quick analysis of the security situation in Nigeria especially regarding the murderous insurgency in northern Nigeria and concluded that the creation needed what he called a standing frontier force to protect the Nigerian borders.
 
 
Lekwot said the functions of the force should include curbing illegal movements in and out of the country and most importantly halting with military precision any infiltration by insurgents and other criminals.
 
 
Ambassador Yusuf Mamman said the violence in the north that has led to several deaths and loss of property presents an ideological challenge that has defied the use of military force and that the conference must find a way out.
 
 
On education, he said beautiful as the issue of the Almajari school concept may sound, government should de-secularise education by bringing the Almajari education in the mainstream curriculum instead of giving it a special treatment.
 
 
Ambasador Hassan Adamu in his comments said the Conference presents a good opportunity to talk rather than to fight and declared his belief that something positive will emerge from the Conference.
 
 
He said the Conference should focus on job creation; peace and security; elimination of corruption at all levels; justice for all, patriotism, qualitative education; and security of residents in every part of the country; adding, “Nigeria is waiting for us to offer solutions.”
 
 
Another delegate, Adeniyi Akintola, said it was pathetic that whenever the issue of corruption was being discussed, those who should be in jail for corrupt practices are the most vocal.
 
 
Akintola disclosed that if government were to compare the assets of public office holders between when they entered public service and at the time of departure, all of them, including former state governors, would be in jail.
 
 
He said sometimes, public officers declared in their assets form what they do not have and on entering public office would begin stealing desperately to meet the target earlier declared. He said there should be a way where assets and tax payments should be put side by side as a way of checking fraudulent declarations.
 
 
Wednesday session however started with a motion by Dr Bello Mohammed asking the Federal Government to take drastic action against people engaged in the act of kidnapping and other violence.
 
 
He drew the attention of the Conference to last week’s abduction of Chief Edwin Clark’s son and prayed that the Conference should send a letter of felicitation to the 86 year-old delegate after the release of the son last weekend.
 
 
Engineer Adefemi Kila, who seconded the motion, said the ineffectiveness of the local government administration in the country is to be blamed for the high rise in crime rate nationwide.
 
 
He said, “These kidnappers, these Boko Haram members, they are not spirits; they live with us. They can be identified.” He called on the federal government to do more in the area of security, adding, “our lives also are not safe.” While contributing later, Kila described Nigeria as being very sick in abject poverty; sick in the spiritual sense “and that is why we have problems of how to serve our God; it is a terrible spiritual poverty.”
 
 
Still on the issue of local government status, Nasiru Ibrahim Jinju said it was high time government ensured in practical terms, the autonomy of local government councils.
 
 
So far, he said, state governors have held council areas by the neck by not allowing them to function independently. He explained that most of the security problems faced by the nation could be traced to non-functionality of local government councils.
 
 
Professor Sambo Junaido from Sokoto described the President’s speech as comprehensive and that it touched on several aspects of the lives of Nigerians. He appealed for speedy implementation of the resolutions that would be arrived at in the course of the Conference.
 
 
Is’haq Modibbo Kawu of the Nigerian Guild of Editors told the Conference that poor economic management is the main cause of Nigeria’s problem; he described a situation where a state governor is richer than the state based on his ability to steal.
 
 
Ibrahim Khaleel was of the opinion that insurgency is a product of the bastardisation of the local government structure which has made it impossible for people at the grassroots to feel the impact of governance.
 
 
Remi Kuku called on every Nigerian to repent. She said if Nigerians were to love one another as their religions teach them, there would be no room for bickering and religious enmity.
 
 
Mohammed Kumalia reminded the delegates that the spirit of the speech made by Jonathan was for everyone to put aside their prejudices and parochial feelings and talk Nigeria instead of their ethnic groups.
 
 
He said if representations at the Conference were through election, it would have been impossible for most of the delegates to have been there to discuss issues of national importance as they affect their different groups.
 
 
Ledum Mitee from Rivers State reminded the conference of the need to attach practical solutions to issues raised at the Conference and for government to act in accordance with the wish of the people.
 
 
He told a story of how he met some Niger Delta youths during an awareness campaign and confronted them on why they were breaking pipelines only to be told that since all government plans are always in the pipeline, they were breaking the pipelines to bring them out.
 
 
Bello Mohammed in his contribution said there was nobody in the north who does not know about the environmental problems faced by the Niger Delta people; and that no southerner could claim ignorance of existing poverty and illiteracy in the north.
 
 
He said what is required is for both groups to agree on solution to the existing problems both in the north and in the south instead of behaving as though only one part of the country has problems.
 
 
A 24 year old girl, Yadomah Bukar Mandara, who said her father died exactly one year ago, moved the hall with her presentation when she spoke concerning the rise of insurgency in the country.
 
 
She said, “so many children have turned orphans. So many women have turned widows. We must unite to fight our common enemies. Our common enemies know no Christian. Our common enemies know no Muslim. Let us unite against them.
 
 
 
Signed:
 
 
Akpandem James
Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications
National Conference 2014
nationalconfab2014@gmail.com
 
 
*Photo Caption – Ex-Chief Justice of Nigeria, Idris Kutigi, Chairman of 2014 Nigeria National Conference

[ Masterweb Reports ] - Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, former Youth Leader of Ohanaeze Youth Abia State yesterday at Ohanaeze Secretariat, Enugu won the leadership (Chairmanship) of Ohanaeze national/worldwide youth leadership in a highly contested election.  Isiguzoro’s victory did not come to Masterweb as a surprise as we had the opportunity of meeting him in Nigeria on several occasions as Ohanaeze Abia youth leader. On one of such meeting, our reporter described him as the kind of leaders Ndigbo dearly needed. Masterweb welcomes Isiguzoro’s emergence as Igbo youth leader and is confident that he will in due course emerge an Igbo national leader. Isiguzoro trounced seven other candidates to win the exalted youth seat. The outgoing Acting Ohanaeze Youth Leader, Comrade Chuks Ibegbu will hand over to  Isiguzoro and swear-in the new executive on a date to be announced later.
 
 
Ohanaeze Women Youth election that was scheduled to hold today at Ohanaeze Secretariat, Enugu was postponed to a date to be announced later. Isiguzoro can be reached in Nigeria at 07034380211 or 8028597244. Call to congratulate him.
 
 
*Photo Caption – Ohanaeze Ndigbo logo

[ Masterweb Reports ] – More issues emerged on Wednesday at the on-going 2014 National Conference in Abuja as the debate on the inauguration speech by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan continued.
 
 
Issues bordering on national security, economic development, true federalism, restructuring of the polity, among others took centre-stage as delegates spoke passionately on the need for the country to look back before going forward.
 
 
As the debate opened on Wednesday, Professor Titi Filani asked rhetorically: “How did we get to where we are today; what did we do or what did we not do right.”
 
 
Chief Joshua Fumudo, former national president of Ijaw Youth Council, as if in an answer to the question said Nigeria must be restructured as it were before and after the 1960 Independence before the military struck in 1966.
 
 
He said the central government must let go its grip on the states; and that the only way out was for the Conference to work out what he called a genuine constitution-based federal structure.
 
 
This position was re-emphasised by Nigeria’s former Permanent Representative to the United Nation, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, when he said that Nigeria was yet to meet the visions of the founding fathers almost 54 years after independence.
 
 
Gambari noted that the way out would be structural and policy changes in such a manner that poverty would be eradicated and unemployment will cease to exist while investment in education should receive serious attention.
 
 
In addition, the respected political scientist said no change will succeed as expected except there is attitudinal change in the citizenry such that crimes like corruption can be eliminated.
 
 
He cautioned that it was immaterial whatever argument people would propound at the Conference, rather the most important thing would be to use the God-given opportunity to advance practical suggestions that will pull the country out of the woods.
 
 
Professor Jerry Gana, former Minister of Information said the speech delivered by President Jonathan on March 17 presented a true picture of the “kind of Nigeria you and I have been yearning for,” adding that the Conference provides a historic opportunity to effect changes in the polity.
 
 
Gana told the delegates in no uncertain terms, “we have to be creative and put on our thinking caps. We can do it, and by the grace of God, we must do it.”
 
 
Lawal Hassan, Professor Onje Gewedo and Sule Yahaya Hamman said the issue of devolution of power must be given a place of importance both during debate and when suggestions are to be made to the federal government.
 
 
They believed the issue of restructuring of the country was long overdue and should be the focus of the Conference so as to ensure peace, stability and growth of the country.
 
 
The issue of religion based on ethnic configuration surfaced again on the floor with a word of caution from the Emir of Ilorin, Sule Gambari who said religion should not raise tempers but should be handled maturely as a very sensitive issue that is capable of tearing the nation apart.
 
 
Binta Eunice Garba, who introduced herself as a Christian while her parents are Muslims, said she has won elections twice in two states of the north based on merit and not on religious consideration.
 
 
She said the issue of religion based on ethnic or political divide must be de-emphasised as it was more a matter of perception than reality in most cases.
 
 
Garba said, “We must salvage this nation so that our children tomorrow can have hope. We must keep religious and tribal sentiments aside so that anywhere we go, we can be proud to say we are Nigerians.”
 
 
Gaskiya Jaye from the civil society group said class division as manifested in the gap between the rich and the poor; poverty and unemployment present more threat to the existence of Nigeria than religion.
 
 
He called for the right of citizens to good health and employment, explaining that “if we restructure this country and there is no fairness and equity, we would be restructuring poverty.”
 
 
For Haruna Andrew, religion has no region. He said if all the missionaries who stationed in the southern part of Nigeria had come into the country through the north, all the emirs and imams found in northern Nigeria would have been pastors and bishops.
 
 
In the same manner, Andrew told the Conference that if the jihadists who brought Islam to the northern part of the country had entered Nigeria through the southern part of the country, all the pastors and bishops would have been Muslims.
 
 
He therefore advocated the removal of all the discriminatory policies associated with religion from both the constitution and from public places to emphasise the secularity of the Nigerian state.
 
 
Nosakhure Isekhure from Edo State said religion is a family-based concept and that God is neither a Christian nor a Muslim while Isaac Ighure was of the opinion that no one should fight for God because “God can fight His own battle, He does not need anyone to fight for Him.”
 
 
Leaders of youth groups, both the National Association of Nigerian Students and the Nigeria Youth Council urged the Conference to take decisions that would stop strike in higher institutions of learning and provide jobs for the jobless.
 
 
They said it was high time the Conference decided on ensuring the full implementation of suggestions to be advanced at the end of the Conference and that such suggestions must take the issues of Nigerian youths seriously.
 
 
One of the youth group leaders, Yinka Gbadebo, said 90% percent of the delegates may never have experienced strike during their days in tertiary institutions and as such would not understand what it means to be left at home because of strike by teachers.
 
 
He said the utmost priority issue to any Nigerian youth today is acquisition of education and employment and that these two would ensure the emergence and growth of a great nation.
 
 
On security, Kashim Ibrahim Imam from Borno State lamented over the state of killings and destruction of means of livelihood by the Boko Haram sect in the state.
 
 
He said government should establish a N300 billion reconstruction fund for the rebuilding of the state and that the solution to the issue lies in job creation and mass literacy development.
 
 
Senator Florence Ita-Giwa said it was time to re-launch Nigeria. She explained that Nigeria’s problem was caused mainly by politicians who consistently refuse to accept election results in which they lost.
 
 
Signed.
 
 
Akpandem James
Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications
National Conference 2014
nationalconfab2014@gmail.com
 
 
 
*Photo Caption - Ex-Chief Justice of Nigeria, Idris Kutigi, Chairman of 2014 Nigeria National Conference

[ Masterweb Reports: From Abia State ] – An Umuahia Magistrate Court Monday issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Mr. Ebere Wabara of the Sun Newspapers for failing to appear in court over charges of sedition against the Abia State government.

 
 
He was granted bail after initial arrest by the police and was expected to appear in court today but jumped bail prompting the Chief Magistrate, John Ukpai of Magistrate Court 4 to order his arrest and that of his surety, Mr. Chuks Onuoha also of the Sun Newspapers.

 
Briefing journalists at the end of the court session, counsel to Abia State Government, Chief (Barr) Chukwunyere Nwabuko explained that Mr. Wabara is being arrested for disparaging the Abia State government and inciting the populace against the persons of the Governor and his family members through the Sun Newspapers and his Internet publications.

 
According to the Government lawyer, Mr. Wabara was arrested by the police to disclose what he knew about his allegation that Engr. Chinedu Orji, son of the Governor ordered the killing of the Governor’s aide, Mr. John Ndubuka as well as the killing of perceived opposition which he has been publishing in his accomplice on-line site, The City Reporters by one Don Norman.

 
Barr.Nwabuko pointed out that Wabara had initially denied owning the Internet online site, The City Reporters, but was indicted following police investigation of the on-line site.

 
The matter was adjourned to 10th of April due to the absence of the accused.
 
 
 
 
*Photo Caption - Ebere Wabara