Former Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Dame Pauline Tallen, has turned down her nomination as an ambassador by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to her Facebook social media wall at the weekend, Tallen said: “I am fully committed to nation building and completely loyal to the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as its leaders. I count myself privileged to serve our dear country as an ambassador of change.
However, family comes first and as such my decision is borne out of the love for my ailing husband who needs the support of his family. God bless Nigeria.”
She also appreciated the president for counting her worthy to serve Nigeria in the capacity of an ambassador. “It is a hard decision I had to take, but I have to, because he is my primary responsibility,” she said.
Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, yesterday, served a fresh warning to the Federal Government that it would resume bombing of oil facilities if government made any further mistake to enter into negotiation with selfish leaders in the region that represented themselves instead of the interest of the people.
This came as Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, endorsed the October 31 meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, aimed at finding solutions to the current Niger Delta crisis. But a group, Urhobo Common Cause, UCC, in Delta State, led by Henry Obukohwo Tafri, rejected the representation of PANDEF, led by the former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, saying it was concerned about alleged “internal colonialism perpetrated by the leadership of Chief Clark.”
The Avengers in a statement accused some unnamed selfish but vociferous Niger Delta leaders and groups of appropriating the overall interest of the region to themselves and cronies while the majority wallow in penury.
A spokesman for the NDA, who gave his name as Col. Rightman Hudson Opukurowari, warned that any attempt by the government to engage in any form of dialogue with Niger Delta leaders who had allegedly hijacked the commonwealth of the people for their selfish interest, would be resisted.
Opukurowari said: “Since we had agreed to suspend bombing oil facilities and enter into genuine dialogue with the government, the administration has not shown any seriousness in talking to the right set of people to move the peace process forward.
Two months after the ceasefire, it has become clear to the world that this government has not been sincere and serious in meeting the simple demands of the people to put in place a concrete plan of transforming the landscape and giving us any sense of hope despite our critical contribution to the commonwealth of the nation.
“From the way the government is going after we had suspended bombings, it is clear to the world that the Federal Government is not ready to make peace with us as earlier promised and we are under pressure to resume our attacks. It is obvious that the Muhammadu Buhari administration has rather chosen to be nonchalant to the dialogue and has deliberately decided to invite only their political friends for a dinner in the name of dialogue, by their own selective measures, thereby ignoring the chance for real peace and dialogue with the appropriate persons and groups.
“The Government is trying to avoid a holistic approach to addressing the real issues affecting us and finding solutions to them but merely taking time off to engage those we see as “Niger Delta Vultures” sitting in Abuja with their sponsors, taking credit for our genuine agitations.
We have watched and observed that with the body language of the President and the composition of the so-called dialogue group, no meaningful solution will be proffered unless the government invites all concerned and genuine individuals and groups for the purpose of finding a lasting solution to the crisis in the region.
“We hereby warn that any action taken by the government to provoke us to resume hostilities would be more brutal than before until we enter the promised land. “We are concerned because these same persons invited for the scheduled dialogue have become Federal Government dialogue contractors and they do not represent the interest of the generality of the people.”
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Factional candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November 20 Ondo State governorship election, Jimoh Ibrahim, yesterday alleged that an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) demanded a bribe of $1million from him in order to list his name as a candidate, despite a recent court judgement which recognised his candidacy ahead of the polls.
But, in a quick response, the chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, described the allegation as uncharitable and ungodly. He added that two other officials of INEC, who witnessed the encounter between Ibrahim and the INEC official, noted that the governorship candidate had tried to impress the court judgement on her.
Ibrahim and Hon Eyitayo Jegede had emerged candidates of PDP in Ondo State. But a court judgement had last Friday ruled that INEC should recognise Ibrahim as candidate.
Addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, Ibrahim made available a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing the acting legal adviser of INEC, Mrs O. O Babalola, of demanding a one- million-dollar bribe from him to give effect to a court judgement, which had certified him as the candidate of the PDP.
He also said he had reported the incident to the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Mahmud Yakubu.
Ibrahim’s petition dated 21 October and addressed to the president stated in part that: “this petition is written to inform your excellence of the demand by one Mrs O.O. Babalola of INEC for the payment of one million US dollars before she would obey a court judgment marked exhibit A attached”.
Ibrahim who insisted that he remains the authentic candidate of the party in the election, also added that INEC is not an appeal Court, therefore cannot determine who is the PDP candidate in the election.
He expressed concern that an electoral body, which had said it would obey the court judgement immediately it was served, suddenly started to change its earlier stance.
He said: “After the service, the music changed. INEC should not allow one governor to destroy its reputation. We are not saying that INEC will not obey the court judgement. One of the officials demanded for one million dollar bribe from me to process the court judgement.”
The PDP chieftain also demanded the removal of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ondo State, saying that he is card carrying member of the party. Jimoh said he could not be trusted to conduct a free and fair election in the state.
However, in his reaction Ibrahim, the chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said: “It is not true that Mrs Babalola demanded $1million bribe from Jimoh Ibrahim.
Two other officials of INEC witnessed the encounter between Mrs Babalola and Jimoh Ibrahim.
Jimoh Ibrahim brought a copy of his judgement and wanted to impress it on INEC to collect it.
But we told him that we already have it. It is uncharitable and ungodly of a businessman of his stature to make this kind of allegation.”