A founding member of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Osita Okechukwu, has congratulated the party’s northern governors and political leaders for strengthening Nigeria’s unity by endorsing power shift to the South.
Okechukwu, in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja, described the endorsement as uncommon patriotic gesture and principled response to building nationhood.
He said that by the singular act, the APC governors and political leaders from the north have exposed the leaders of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who attempted to harvest from ethno-religious fault lines in Nigeria’s polity.
Okechukwu said that PDP attempt to harvest from primordial sentiments had not only breached rotation convention in its constitution, but had wittingly or unwittingly “dug their electoral grave” in 2023 presidential election.
“It’s my considered view that the sophisticated northern voters, who voted for Chiefs MKO Abiola and Olusegun Obasanjo will in 2023 vote for APC presidential candidate and shame PDP.” Okechukwu said.
Okechukwu, who is also the Director General (D-G) of Voice of Nigeria (VON), noted that the northern APC Governors and political leaders deserve commendation for ceding power to the south; hence hoisting Nigeria’s unity flag and advancing the frontiers of Nigeria’s democracy.
He said that the decision to rightfully rotate power to the South, the northern leaders had upheld the progressive bent of APC and exposed the opportunistic tendencies of the PDP.
“I am very elated. I commend APC Governors and political leaders of Northern belt for their profound patriotic statement, which aligns with the Mr President’s idea of consensus.
“By this singular decision, they have killed three birds with one stone.
“One, they hoisted the National Unity Flag by their position that it is the turn of the south to produce Nigeria’s President in 2023.
“This is about the loftiest way to fly the National Unity Flag at a critical time, when our dear country is highly polarised and in cliff-hanger.
“I must add that this is national healing balm and bridge-building pedigree of APC governors and political leaders of the Northern belt, which they anchored on the doctrine of progressivism.”
The VON D-G added that the northern governors and political leaders from APC invoked the progressive philosophy of APC, by placing national interest above parochial interest.
Okechukwu said the overall patriotic display by the leaders was captured in their statement, where the governors remarked that;
“After careful deliberation, we wish to state our firm conviction that after eight years in office of President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the APC for the 2023 elections should be one of our teeming members from the southern states of Nigeria.
“It is a question of honour for the APC, an obligation that is not in anyway affected by the decisions taken by another political party.
“We affirm that upholding this principle is in the interest of building a stronger, more united and more progressive country.
“We therefore wish to strongly recommend to President Buhari that the search for a successor as the APC’s presidential candidate be limited to our compatriots from the southern states.
“We appeal to all aspirants from the northern states to withdraw in the national interest and allow only the aspirants from the south to proceed to the primaries.”
Okechukwu said that those words on the marble represent new credo for APC in its march towards building on the foundation for national unity, stability, peace and prosperity, which has been laid by President Buhari.
He described the action of northern APC governors and leaders as the most noble way to expose PDP for what it represents.
He said that Nigerians now see that the alleged ‘dollar rain primary’ that produced PDP Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, was a pyrrhic victory that has nothing in store for the new Nigeria of the citizens dream.
He added that the victory at the primary may not lead to ultimate victory, especially with the patriotic stance of Abubakar‘s northern brothers.
He recalled that Abubakar willingly defected from PDP to APC in 2014 in protest of breach of zoning by ex-president Goodluck Jonathan.
He also expressed disbelief that the same Abubakar who benefitted from the zoning convention in 2019 could allegedly deploy huge resources to breach the same zoning convention.
Okechukwu congratulated the APC Northern Governors, political leaders and President Buhari for being true Nigerians.
He added that Nigerians had seen the difference between those who want a better Nigeria and those who want to trade with the nation’s future.
Mr Osita Okechukwu, a cheiftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to rescue the Naira before it depreciates beyond redemption.Okechukwu made the appeal in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, in reaction to the alleged dollar rain in the just concluded Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Primary.The Voice of Nigeria (VON), Director General (D-G), noted that a nation’s currency was one of the critical indices of measuring the general health of its economy.According to him, when the currency nose-dives, it leads to hyper-inflation, gross unemployment and abject poverty, thereby worsening that country’s security.He cited the comments by one of the PDP aspirant, Mohammed Hayatudeen, a financial guru, after withdrawing from the race.Hayatudeen had advised Buhari to support the use of consensus method in the APC.He said this would ensure that the forthcoming APC Presidential Primary, scheduled to hold between June 6 and 8, did not follow the PDP’s highest bidder dollar rain.Okechukwu recalled that in his speech before withdrawing from the PDP primary, the former banker described the contest as “obscenely monetised”.“Albeit, our sister opposition political party has every constitutional right to elect whoever they want as their flag bearer, it is the dollar rain that is worrisome.“Sincerely, I congratulate Atiku Abubakar on his emergence from the opposition party primary.“But as a patriot and stakeholder in the Nigerian project, I am worried by PDP’s induced dollar rain, which led to unprecedented depreciation of the naira,” Okechukwu said.He also called on Buhari to consider the consensus option to be adopted in the APC presidential primary election to save the naira.He lamented the monumental harm PDP’s use of dollar to buy delegates did to Nigeria’s economy.“If that could happen in a party with about 731 delegates, imagine what will happen if APC with about 2,322 delegates, is allowed to indulge in `dollar rain,” he said.Okechukwu noted that this was the farming season and that the agrarian revolution of the Buhari administration would be at risk if the naira was allowed to depreciate further.He added that prices of fertiliser, seedlings and other farm implements would hit the roof top if the situation was not checked.He stressed the need for the APC to adopt consensus in picking its 2023 presidential candidate, saying that the governors had lost the moral grounds to oppose Buhari if he endorsed that.“Ones appeal is that a politically correct aspirant should be consensually presented,” Okechukwu said.He dismissed insinuations that with Atiku, the APC would not adhere to the rotation convention of electing a presidential candidate of Igbo extraction or a southerner.“The APC is brand A1; we follow the rule of law and rotation convention,” he said.He added that Atiku’s victory at the PDP primary would have little or no impact on APC’s election of a presidential candidate from the East or the South.He, however, wondered what new tangible thing Atiku was bringing to the table in the face of the prevailing daunting economic scenario.
Chairman Southern Senators’ Forum, Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele, has said that he will not take the decision of the leadership of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti to return him back to senate through an unopposed party ticket for granted.
Bamidele made this known in a statement by his Media Office in Abuja on Sunday.
The statement indicates that the Ekiti Central lawmaker disclosed this after he was screened by the APC Senatorial Screening Panel, currently sitting at Fraser Suites, Abuja.
He pledged to do everything humanly possible to ensure that the party emerges victorious at the June 18 Governorship Election in the state.
Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele, Mr Osita Okechukwu DG VON and other senatorial aspirants at the screening exercise
“It is also an acknowledgment by the leadership of the party and members of the party that I could be entrusted with the position of an elected representative of the people and one of the leaders of our people in this tough time.
“It is not that we don’t have equally qualified people or eligible people who can obtain the form.
“But the fact that this has not happened and the leadership of the party has done so much to ensure that I am given a smooth ride to be the candidate of the party, is, to me a sincere and profound effort and from whom much is given, much is also expected.
“It is a call to further and greater duty. I will do everything possible to ensure the unity of the party through meaningful reconciliation where it is still necessary to do so and to ensure to drive a process in which there will be integrity and mutual trust.”
The Coordinator, National Center for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW), retired Maj. Gen. Abba Dikko, has called for media support to address the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the country.
Dikko made the call while paying a courtesy visit to Voice of Nigeria (VON) Director General Mr. Osita Okechukwu in Abuja on Thursday.
In a statement to NCCSALW, Air Commodore Ewejide Akintunde, on Thursday, Dikko praised VON for playing a key role in providing independent and unbiased radio broadcasts in Nigeria.
He said it was imperative that NCCSALW collaborate with VON in incorporating the issues of illicit small arms (SALW) eradication efforts into the national discourse.
The coordinator also called for an effort to collaborate and sensitize stakeholders on the expected results, expected timelines and key performance indicators needed to achieve a peaceful and gun-free Nigeria.
According to him, VON is the main broadcasting authority and a multilingual channel through which authoritative information can be disseminated to the whole world.
“Collaboration with VON would further ensure access to information, strengthen coordination and build the capacity of relevant stakeholders on their SALW responsibilities.
In response, the Director General of VON said that the creation of the center was in the interest of peace and security, as well as crime prevention and control.
Okechukwu pledged the media team's readiness to support NCCSALW in carrying out its duties to clean up illicit weapons in the country.
He assured that VON will provide its full support to the center in the areas of public awareness and the use of media tools.
Okechukwu described public awareness programs and media cooperation as the main tools that would help combat the proliferation of illicit weapons in society.
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Voice of Nigeria (VON) chief executive Mr. Osita Okechukwu has advised the Forbidden Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) not to threaten containment in the southeast area every Monday.
Okechukwu gave his opinion in a statement Sunday in Enugu.
IPOB, in a statement Friday through its publicity secretary Emma Powerful, said the Monday lockdown was to be labeled: "Ghost Monday."
The statement said "Ghost Monday", which would affect all economic activities, including schools and markets, would continue every Monday until its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, was released.
Okechukwu, however, urged the southeast area to consider the immense infrastructure development undertaken by Muhammadu Buhari's administration in the area.
"Let me for the umpteenth time call on my IPOB brothers to sheathe their swords, because locking up the South-East is simply waging an atrocious war against Ndigbo.
“As a result, it will be a very big mistake for the IPOB to lock in the South East and think that they are difficult, strategic and that they will achieve a meaningful result, capital letter NO.
“IPOB shouldn't cut Ndigbo's nose to upset Buhari's face, because Buhari compensates with the infrastructure.
“The meetings are transitory and the infrastructures are permanent. The standard gauge railways that will soon cover the entire Southeast will demonstrate the efficiency of the infrastructure. IPOB, please wait, ”he said.
He also expressed his support for the position of Ohaneze Ndigbo that the rule of law should prevail in the trial of Kanu, the head of the proscribed IPOB.
“Therefore, the IPOB must be aware that locking down the Southeast is nothing more than punishing Ndigbo; to degrade against Ndigbo, the economy of the South-East, to starve Ndigbo and to resemble the odious doctrine of civil war according to which hunger is the best weapon.
"My brothers of the IPOB clan, put on your thinking hat and be pragmatic, introspect and remember our brothers and sisters who live in all the towns and villages in the country, are doing well, investing happily and prospering with others. ethnic nationalities, ”he said. (NAA)
An All Progressives Congress (APC) Chieftain, Mr Osita Okechukwu, has hailed the defection of Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the party, describing it as a welcome development.
Okechukwu, in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday, said that the governor had made a bold move by joining the ruling APC.
Okechukwu, who is also the Director- General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), said that he (Umahi) had activated the Zikist Eagle Alliance in the South-East geopolitical zone.
“I congratulate His Excellency, David Umahi, for flying the pragmatic Zikist Eagle Alliance, which governed the First and Second Republics in Nigeria.
“It is a welcome development, especially given the fact that he is leading the squad of his colleagues and other prominent Igbo leaders to reinforce the revived Zikist North and East Alliance,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Umahi had announced his defection to APC, alleging that PDP was unfair to Nd’Igbo in spite of their years of loyalty and investment of their electoral advantage on the party.
Okechukwu said: “I agree with the governor entirely, because if you remember that His Excellency, Dr Alex Ekwueme of blessed memory, who was the founder of PDP, was treated shabbily.
“Apart from individual appointments, what did the South-East get in return?
“Personal important appointments in the face of regrettable dilapidated physical infrastructure have contributed nothing to the zone.
“But, the current APC-led Federal Government is carrying the cross of infrastructural development to the joy of our people.”
Okechukwu said that Umahi’s move would guarantee the popular agitation for Nigeria’s president of Igbo extraction, come 2023.
“It will be more than any alchemy; it will facilitate it, more so when he (the governor) is the pilot of gale of defections we are expecting from the zone to APC.
“As the chairman of South-East Governors’ Forum, Umahi is opening the gate for his other brother-governors,” he said.
Edited By: Joseph Edeh and
Source: NAN‘Wale Sadeeq
Mr Osita Okechukwu, the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), has expressed optimism over President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years.
Okechukwu expressed this optimism in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria , on Friday in Enugu.
The VON boss, who was reacting to salient points in Buhari’s Independence Anniversary speech, said that the President had already laid down plans and actions in motion to achieve the target.
According to him, Buhari’s revolution in the agricultural industry is already a success story which anyone fair to his administration will attest to.
“Also, we have digital economy drive which is appealing to young Nigerians. It is gradually driving the self-reliance agenda by engaging them in genuine digital and online businesses.
“The government has given thousands of free-interest soft-loans through monies to traders and others growing cottages or family businesses.
“Buhari is also doing everything possible to fix electricity and roads across the country in order to facilitate growth of small, medium and big scale industries.
“The federal government is also relaxing processes and registration fees of businesses and industries.
“The country today has an import policy now that favours local production and consumption 100 per cent, unlike in any other previous administration.
“Nigeria is gradually becoming as precious as Diamond. We are a precious country,” he said.
“All the country should do now is to join hands with Buhari to work together toward lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
“One is happy that the President in his speech re-proclaimed his passion to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
“My fascination with the proclamation to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty is that the agitation among ethno-religious front-lines, gross unemployment and all manner of insecurity can be attributed to abject poverty in the land.
“Poverty and hunger are intertwined and an old English proverb says that a hungry man is an angry man. It is also said that prosperity wipes off tears and enmity,’’ he said.
Okechukwu declared that the most important take away from the President’s speech remained his commitment to invest more in his Agrarian Revolution, Digital Economy Drive and support to medium and small scale industries.
“Investment in these areas remain a sure way of gradually lifting our people out of poverty in their very large numbers,’’ he added.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso and Ephraims Sheyin
Enugu, Sept. 276, 2020 Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has called for a peaceful resolution of the infighting in the Enugu State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Onyeama made the call while addressing party faithful during a meeting on Sunday in Enugu.
He said that he was worried that the infighting had divided the party into factions.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that some chieftains of the party had earlier called for the dissolution of the state executive council of the party.
The minister said that it was worrisome that, for the past five years, chieftains of the party in the state have been working at cross purposes and pitted against one another.
He said that such circumstance had affected the fortunes of the APC in the state.
Onyeama said that he advised a factional chairman of the party, Mr Ben Nwoye, to call the meeting in order to rub minds with the party faithful on how to move the party forward.
The minister, however, said that he was startled to learn that Nwoye was allegedly holding a parallel meeting.
“I earlier made it clear to everyone that there is a red line I should not cross but I have to cross it now, not for personal interest, but for the progress of the party.
“The time has come for us to move forward,’’ he said.
Onyeama said that it was better for party members to put whatever differences they had behind and harmonise APC.
“The National Working Committee of the party has been dissolved.
“It is better for us to find solutions to our problem instead of the NEC to impose a solution on us.’’
Earlier, a former governorship aspirant of the party, Chief Ifeanyi Nwoga, said that the crisis in the party had affected good governance in the state.
Nwoga said that it was time the minister was respected as the leader of the party in the state in order for peace to return.
Also, the Head, Federal Character Commission, South-East zone, Mrs Ginika Tor said that it was sad that the party was still torn by factions.
Tor said that it was disrespectful to the minister that a faction of the party was allegedly holding a separate meeting at the same time.
One of the party leaders in the state, Mr Barth Ugwuoke, blamed the crisis on what he described as ‘lack of internal democracy’.
“Instead of having this problem, Ben Nwoye and Okey Ogbodo, who are the two people laying claim to the chairmanship of the party should go,’’ Ugwuoke said.
However, the Director-General, Voice of Nigeria, Mr Osita Okechukwu, said that the leadership of the party in the state was not in doubt.
Okechukwu, who spoke at another meeting held by a faction of the party in the state, said that Nwoye remained the chairman of the party in the state.
Meanwhile, Nwoye has called on members to close ranks in a bid to improve the fortunes of the party.
Nwoye, who addressed members of the party during a parallel meeting, said that it was time for peace to reign in the party.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
The Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, has urged socio-political critics to avoid heating up the polity but join hands with President Muhammadu Buhari to proffer pragmatic solutions to the nation’s challenges.
Okechukwu, who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), made the call while addressing journalists in Enugu on Sunday on former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s statement titled; “Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over.”
He said that Nigeria needed credible inputs now, and not fueling of crisis by “those who by commission, or omission, planted the reprehensible seeds that were manifesting today in the country.”
He appealed to Obasanjo and other patriots to join Buhari in building pragmatic-consensus solutions by adhering to the imperatives of Utopian Solutions Distancing.
“True! True! Things are hard, no doubt. I wholeheartedly agree with our elder statesman, Chief Obasanjo, that things are tough for us Nigerians; and `ground is not level’.
“But the truth is that the Buhari I know is not happy about the insecurity in the land or happy that Nigeria scored the infamous position of world poverty capital,” Okechukwu said.
According to him, his (Buhari’s) efforts may not be the best. However, he is working round the clock on how best to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
“Hence the unprecedented Buhari’s Agrarian Revolution, one of his pragmatic-consensus solution, fixing of physical infrastructure and his effort on releasing monies accruing to local councils and state judiciary nationwide directly,’’ he said.
On what he means by Utopian Solutions Distancing, Okechukwu said., “I sincerely mean that we are in liberal democracy.
“And as such, one appeals to eminent patriots like our revered Chief Obasanjo and the leadership of Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders’ Forum, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Pan-Niger Delta Forum and their clan to as a matter of urgent national importance adhere strictly to the imperative of Utopian Solutions Distancing and cultivate fate in our fledgling democracy.
“One, is it not Utopian to make laws in Nigeria today in isolation of the extant provisions of the 1999 Constitution? Methinks the constitution is the grand norm, is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Our constitutional democracy has engrained provisions for periodic elections and subversion of this maxim may set Nigeria on fire,’’ the VON D-G warned.
Okechukwu wondered how we would avert the tipping over when Obasanjo, instead of prodding, persuading and lobbying the National Assembly to do the needful, was hailing the Northern Elders Forum and Yoruba Summit Group for disparaging the same National Assembly’s push toward amending the constitution?
He added that Nigerians elected the members of the national assembly and must at all times persuade and lobby them to do their biddings. Alternatively, Nigerians vote them out in the next election.
When reminded that Obasanjo was saying that it was waste of funds, that previous efforts by the National Assembly to amend the constitution, failed woefully; Okechukwu said,“
The VON D-G, however, maintained that change in democracy throughout history had been incremental and not a quickie; adding: “Democracy is not a revolution, but evolutionary in the real sense, so instead of condemning the National Assembly, we should join in persuading them to do the needful.”
Okechukwu warned that any other option outside the provisions of the 1999 Constitution; whether we hate or like any section of the constitution is null and void, and therefore utopian.
He reminded Nigerians that Buhari with Executive Order 10, which is designed as first line charge of funding of the local councils and state judiciary nationwide directly, had incrementally commenced the true devolution of powers.
The APC chieftain expressed optimism that support from governors and the National Assembly would give life to Executive Order 10.
“All Buhari needs today is credible inputs, not fueling of angst; especially by those who by commission or omission corrupted the health of our democracy via questionable elections, 3rd Term gambit and imposition of candidates.
“Chief Obasanjo was at the helm of affairs when Sharia was declared in certain sections of the country against our secularity, and looked the other way. The ignoble seeds he planted yesterday, possibly, are the seeds regrettably manifesting today,’’ he said.
Okechukwu said that the country needed pragmatic-consensus solutions more along class lines not ethno-geopolitical lines to arrive at a true nation-state.
“Therefore, for our elder statesman, Obasanjo to mount the podium and proclaim that, these manifestations are the products of recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country’ is absolutely false,” he said.
Okechukwu also said that aside blame games, it would amount to self-denial or selective amnesia to distant Boko Haram from gross unemployment arising from planless and squander mania of past decades and the mishandling of Sharia declaration.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Peter Ejiofor)