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Obasanjo not democrat –Attah

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From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

As the issue of who owns the oil resources in the Niger Delta rages, former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, has declared former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, is not a democrat.

Speaking in an interview on Arise TV Morning Show against the backdrop of exchange of letters between Obasanjo and foremost Ijaw leader, Edwin Clark, Attah claimed Obasanjo‘s concept of federalism is suspect.

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Making reference to the former president’s dictatorial style inherited from his military background and actions in and out of office, he pointed out that Obasanjo carried out many undemocratic acts.

“Let me refer specifically to the letter written by Obasanjo. We all know that He is not a democrat. His letter talked about federalism, his letter talked about sovereignty. I would like to deal with those because those are the fundamental things that have taken us back as a country.

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“I say he is not a democrat and I will give you my reasons. If you look at the frequency in which he changed the chairmen of our party. And the same applies to the presidency of the Senate. I think almost every Igbo senator became president of the Senate because if Obasanjo doesn’t want you, you cannot be president of the Senate. And the manner in which he was changing it was far from being democratic.

“But the worst aspect was after he left office, he now decided to come and take over the chairmanship of the Board of Trustees by muscling out Anthony Anehin. And the way he did it was far from being democratic. Now, when he doubles away from democracy and you begin to look at federalism, his understanding of federalism is very suspect.

“Anybody that subscribes to federalism could have done what former President Obasanjo did with the funds that belonged to Lagos State local governments. “That is one. Two, there is no way he would have understood and practiced federalism and would be able to assemble a few legislators from a state in Abuja and have them impeach a properly elected governor of a state. That doesn’t happen in federalism. Those are the things that really worry me when I hear him talk about federalism and the Federal Government and all of that. Because those things don’t just happen, there is a system by which they should happen and that system does not include what happened to me in my issue of oil wells. Look at the way he took the oil wells that belonged to Akwa Ibom State and distributed them to Rivers and Cross River states and decided that we were not oil producing state which is far from the truth. His concept of sovereignty is what worries me the most. He seems to think there is something called sovereignty that owns Nigeria.”

Attah, while insisting that Nigeria should revert to the 1963 Constitution and modify it to suit the present circumstances, maintained that the oil resources in the Niger Delta region belonged to the Niger Delta people.

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Fire guts new Lafia Motor Park

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By Sunday John

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An inferno has razed shops at the new Lafia Motor Park, Nasarawa State, destroying goods worth millions of naira.

A NAN correspondent who visited the scene of the incident learnt that the fire started on Friday night and lasted till the early hours of Saturday.

It took the personnel of the Fire Service in the state several hours to put out the fire.

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Speaking on the incident, the State Coordinator of Fire Service, Mrs Hanatu George, said they got a distress call on Friday night and responded immediately.

George, however, said that although no life was lost, an investigation had begun to ascertain the cause of the fire.

One of the victims of the fire disaster, Ejike Igwe, a car spare parts seller, said his entire shop was razed by the inferno.

Igwe, who said he could not quantify his goods lost to the fire disaster, appealed for assistance from spirited Nigerians.
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Ortom flags off Benue Digital Aerial Photography project

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From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on Saturday, flagged off the Digital Aerial Photography of Benue State as part of the process for the take off of the Benue Geographic Information System (BENGIS) Project.

The Governor who was earlier at the Makurdi Airport to inspect the process of air survey of the entire state assured the people of the state that the project would be completed and become operational before the next democracy day.

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Speaking to newsmen shortly after inspecting ongoing work at the headquarters of the Ministry of Lands and Survey, the Governor who commended the contractors for the quality of work done so far said when completed, the state would enjoy several benefits from the project.

“What you saw us doing at the airport was to inspect the process of air survey of the entire Benue State. We are targeting all the local government headquarters in the state and some mini urban areas so that they will be captured on our system.

“Our intention is to also fastrack this and try to qualify for the World Bank grant which is estimated at five million dollars. We have paid more than half of the money that was required for this project. I think the total sum is about N6 billion and we have paid more than N3billion and our intention is that by April or before the next democracy day, this project should be commissioned and operation going on.

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“And because of the importance this government has on completing this project, the benefit of having five million dollars is not a small thing. If you multiply that by our current exchange rate, you can imagine what we are going to get. So, for me, anything that is to add more to what we have is appreciated.

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“And the second one is that once this project is completed, we would have succeeded in computerizing the entire land mass in Benue State and then, the administration of land in the state is computerized. You can seat in your office and be able to do every other thing.

“And this issue of duplication of certificate of occupancy and all that will be eliminated completely. Several advantages that we are going to get from this. And above all, revenue generation and collection will become easier for us. And this we believe we should be making billions of naira every year once this project takes off. That is why even with the paucity of funds, we feel that this will be a revenue yielding program.

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“The contractors have done well. I’ve looked at the quality of work that has been going on here. And if government has fulfilled it’s obligation by giving them their certificate and all the money that was required, I’m sure by now, we will be talking about roofing. That’s where we are standing while we are still working with the bank.

“Because this project is sponsored by Access Bank. While we are working with them to get the remaining funds, I just told the Commissioner that within a week, we should be able to make available another N500million for the project so that it will continue. This is where we are and I believe that we shall achieve our target,” he said.

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