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How Buhari and I rigged ANPP primaries against Okorocha in 2003 – Bafarawa

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Attahiru Bafarawa, former governor of Sokoto State, has said he manipulated the presidential primary of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) against Rochas Okorocha to favour Muhammadu Buhari in 2003.

Buhari eventually got the party’s nomination but lost to Olusegun Obasanjo in the presidential election.

Bafarawa, who was doubling as the party’s chairman then, said Okorocha was set to pick the ANPP presidential ticket following a mock primary conducted before the nomination convention.

According to him, Okorocha came first, winning 27 of the 36 states and the FCT, while Buhari could only win five.

He made these revelations in a new book which will be launched on Thursday in Abuja, ‘Politics as Dashed Hopes in Nigeria’, written by Auwala Anwar, PhD, and former special assistant to the president on FCTA from 2004-2007

Anwar narrated how Bafarawa cajoled the state chairmen of the party to support Buhari after they had said they would not vote for him in the primary.

He wrote: “Buhari was not even able to secure all the 7 votes from his geo-political zone (north-west). When Bafarawa saw how dismally Buhari’s performance had been, he not only suspended the meeting for a break but also requested the state chairmen to stay behind for some announcements. He later cajoled the chairmen and explained to them that his preference was for Buhari to emerge the winner. In response, they all assured him that, although they were ready to do whatever he requested, as their leader, they were still not inclined to vote for Buhari.

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“On enquiry, the chairmen explained that it would be foolish for them to vote for someone who did not even know their names. They charged that whenever he came across them, the best he could do to address them was to use generic terms of “Mister” or “Alhaji,” depending on whether a chairman came from the South or the North, respectively. They sensed the futility of supporting someone who did not bother to know them while he was seeking for their support.”

The preview copy of the book, published by Safari Books, quoted Bafarawa as saying in an interview with the author: “I appealed to the chairmen to change their mind because of the prospects of the party at the polls if it were Buhari that emerged as our flag-bearer. I also directed one of my staff, Abdullahi Bida, a relation to Buba Galadima, to give each of them five hundred thousand naira (500,000). I later called General Buhari to meet me at the Niger State Governor’s Lodge, where I was staying. He came around 4 a.m. together with Sule Hamma.

“I informed him about the efforts I had made to turn the table against Rochas. I also explained to him that I had arranged for a private meeting between him and the state chairmen, later at 2 p.m. Furthermore, I begged him to be patient with all the criticisms and the complaints they would lodge against him.

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“Additionally, I gave him five million naira to give them to fuel their vehicles back to their respective states. He collected the money and thanked me for all the trouble that I took to see him through. He later handed over the money to them at the end of their meeting.”

The author continued in the book: “The rigging of the mock election in favour of Buhari was not without resistance. Some of the southern aspirants, who learnt of the private meeting organised between Buhari and their state chairmen, invaded the venue and accused Bafarawa of nepotism. He responded by reminding them how he also arranged for similar meetings between some of them and the state chairmen.”

Southern aspirants withdrew from the convention, including Nnia Nwodo, now president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in protest.

Nwodo famously made his “my heart bleeds for Nigeria” speech while pulling out from the race at the convention ground.

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Boko Haram conflict causing misery to millions 10 years on

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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.

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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.”

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Over 200 Kidnap Victims Regain Freedom In Zamfara – Police

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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.

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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.

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Corps Member Serving With Channels TV Dies In Shiite, Police Clash

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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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