Nigeria’s literary icon, Prof. Wole Soyinka has said that he will not vote for the presidential candidates of the of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Muhammadu Buhari and that of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar in next month’s presidential election.
The Nobel Laureate stated this on Thursday at an event organised by Citizen Forum, held at the Freedom Park on Lagos Island, Lagos State.
Soyinka noted that it was time for the nation to move into a new direction different from that of the PDP or APC.
“For the avoidance of doubt, let me make my position quite clear because I don’t want any ambiguity; I Wole Soyinka will not be voting for either the two so called contesting parties [PDP or APC]. I find both of them worthy of absolute rejection,” Soyinka said.
“For a number of reasons which I will not go into here, I’m not interested in a comparative assessment. My position is simply that it is time for a totally new direction. And obviously, I’m not the only one, as I’m speaking, there is a coalition having its meeting in Lagos from which they hope to produce a consensus candidate.
“There is another group meeting in Abuja, also at the end would send us their consensus candidate. Things have been going on quietly in the background to try and change the direction of this nation in a very positive way, and to make the public understand that they do not have to be enslaved permanently to the old discredited order. It is my sole business in this election.
“I don’t believe in what is called negative vote which means, for me, throwing your vote in a wastebasket, I believe instead in a creative vote, not a protest vote, not a negative vote but a creative vote. And a creative vote means that the will to at least sow a seed through your vote that will germinate eventually. The pace of germination is beyond the control of everyone, but it is never too early to make a beginning. It has happened before in other societies. When a dark horse emerges from nowhere and trumps all the political juggernauts caterpillars and so on with their performers, worthless, their capacity for violence and treachery.”
Boko Haram conflict causing misery to millions 10 years on
Ten years since the beginning of a violent insurgency in northeast Nigeria, the living conditions for displaced people are continuing to deteriorate at an alarming rate due to inadequate and overcrowded facilities. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) calls for increased efforts to improve their living conditions and prevent an imminent cholera outbreak.
Ten years after the first attack launched by the armed group Boko Haram, more than two million people remain displaced from homes in northeast Nigeria, the highest number of any time over the last decade.
“Every week, people continue to flee violence and insecurity in northeast Nigeria. Many settle along the roadside or on empty strips of land, devoid of proper sanitation and water points,” says Eric Batonon, Country Director at the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Nigeria.
Hundreds of thousands of people are living in overcrowded displacement sites far below international minimum standards and without proper access to latrines and clean water. Some have put up shelters made of wooden sticks and pieces of ripped fabric. These improvised shelters provide no protection against wind or rain and offer almost no privacy or security. Many don’t even have a door – leaving women, men and children highly vulnerable to intrusions and attacks.
More than 180,000 people are currently in need of shelter in Borno State with many sleeping in the open or in deplorable makeshift homes. As the rainy seasons gets underway, fears of another deadly outbreak of cholera are looming. Last year, 10,000 cholera cases were confirmed along with 175 recorded deaths, although the real figure is likely to have been much higher.
“People in Nigeria need safe pathways back to their homes and much better living conditions in the meantime. Displacement sites are dangerous, chaotic and entirely unsuitable for children. It is critical to decongest these overcrowded sites, provide people that have been forced to flee with safe, dignified facilities and prevent another deadly cholera outbreak,” Batonon adds.
The NRC is calling on donor countries to increase their financial support for relief to families trying desperately to survive in one of the world’s most volatile regions.
“Ten years on, it is harrowing to see families still crowding into make-shift shelters with inadequate drainage systems to remove rain water. The global humanitarian community, local and national authorities have to do much more and much better to improve the lives of these people,” says Batonon before concluding: “The world needs to scale up the relief work and send a message of hope to the more than seven million people in need of humanitarian assistance in northeast Nigeria. After a decade of conflict, we need to show them that they have not been forgotten.”
Over 200 Kidnap Victims Regain Freedom In Zamfara – Police
The Commissioner of Police in Zamfara, Mr Usman Nagogo says over 200 victims of kidnap have been received from their abductors in the last three weeks in the state.
Nagogo made this known at a news conference in Gusau on Monday.
The police chief said the bandits willingly returned and handover the victims to him as the leader of a peace and reconciliation initiative recently set up by Governor Bello Matawalle.
He explained: “Since the beginning of the peace and reconciliation initiative team assignment about three weeks ago now, we have received over 200 kidnap victims from Fulanis and Yansakai.
“We have sat with all the warring factions and they have understood that peace is the most important aspect of growth and development which is why they willingly return the victims,
“and await the promise made by the governor to re-establish grazing reserves, build hospitals and veterinary clinics, provide good drinking water and other amenities at Fulani settlements.
“At the moment, all the factions go to the markets that were closed due to the armed bandit activities while farmers go to the farms without any hindrance or threats,”.
The commissioner of police who urged residents to continue to pray for the success of the peace process and sustenance of peace in the state, cautioned politicians against politicising the effort so as to allow security agencies carry out their operations without diversion.
Some of the rescued victims told newsmen at the police command that they were tied like animals and without any shelter against rain or sun.
Some of the victims spent more than seven months in the hands of their abductors.
After their rescue, the victims were camped at the Government House, Gusau, where they received medical and psycho-social support services before they were reunited with their families.
Corps Member Serving With Channels TV Dies In Shiite, Police Clash
Unfortunately, a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) serving with Channels Television, Precious Owolabi, is dead.
The 23-year-old died of a gunshot wound he sustained while covering the clash between the police and the Shiite protesters on Monday in Abuja.
The management and staff of Channels Television are greatly saddened by the untimely and unfortunate death of such a promising journalist.
They pray that God will grant his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss, and avail his soul eternal rest.
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