President Muhammdu Buhari has been away from Nigeria for over 70 days.
It appears that even the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is also feeling the impact of President Muhammadu Buhari’s prolong medical vacation.
Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara state let the cat out of the bag during the joint APC National Working Committee (NWC) and APC Governors meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, July 19, 2017.
Yari who doubles as the chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum said President Buhari’s illness has delayed the APC national convention.
“We have been on this matter of convention but you know that as a party, the ruling party, the president is the leader of this party,” Yari began.
“Before getting to the convention, there is some kind of process – the national working committee (NWC) – must agree on the time and at the same time, we have to adopt the report submitted by NWC to the larger NEC members which the president must be in attendance as a leader of the party and you know the situation of our president.
“We have been fixing time but because of his illness we are unable to hold the meeting but we have to put a kind of process in place, so that we can at least a mid-term convention, it is not an elective convention. These congresses that is going to commence on July 29 is to come for this convention to fill some vacancies taken in the executive sides, those that died or went for other appointment.
“This has nothing to do with PDP. This convention has no connection with the PDP convention.
“We have agreed collectively that we are going to meet with acting president. Acting president should understand that that he is acting in capacity of the president of the country as well as the vice-president. Tomorrow he is going to perform the function of vice-president as chairman of NEC and the entire issue of security, economy, administration lies on him. So we cannot take him as an easy man to deal with. It’s two in one.
“Therefore, the committee is in place as we are talking today we reinstate that we going to create room for other issues and the issue of convention,” he added.
Yari described APC’s loss in the Osun-West bye election as a wakeup call for the party.
“We discussed the election of Osun which we really know what happened, the media and everyone in the party, we know what happened, it was APC, APC. PDP doesn’t have muscle to win the election and we are on top of the situation. It is a wake-up call on dealing on things like that in the future,” he added.
Emerging report, has revealed that ailing President, Muhammadu Buhari, who left the country to the United Kingdom, UK, on May 7, for treatment over an undisclosed illness, is scheduled to return to Nigeria, on July 27.
Sahara Reporters just tweeted: “Cabals around Buhari make fresh plan for his return from London, allows wife unfettered access, new date is July, 27.”
Sources have alleged that although Buhari has not fully recovered, his Doctors have discharged him, in order to douse the political tension that has been created in the polity, since Mr. President’s departure to the UK.
Lawal Idris has been an ally of President Muhammadu Buhari for over 40 years. He is the one who reportbedly got Buhari to join politics. In this interview at his residence in Kaduna, the 69-year-old political observer and retired businessman said, despite his good intention for Nigeria, Buhari has been hijacked, but that there is still hope. Excerpts:
The story is that you are very close to President Muhammadu Buhari, how will you describe this closeness?
Personally, I have been very close to Buhari since 1972. But I do not know if he is close to me now. Buhari’s presidency started with me alone in year 2000, in my apartment in Arlington, Virginia, United States of America and the reason was simple; of all the people I know (and I know many people), there is no Nigerian that has been tried on so many jobs and was never found wanting like Muhammadu Buhari.
From second lieutenant, MTO in Congo during the war, DST (Director of Supply and Transport) of the Nigerian Army, Chairman NNPC equivalent to minister of petroleum which Obasanjo held for eight years – Buhari did very well. He was holding that office and was also holding the office of Military Secretary and as businessmen, we used to call them “chief clerk of the Nigerian Army.” There was no office as big as that in the military and it was only a trustworthy person that was given that office.
No doubt Buhari is a trustworthy person, not just to me, not just to the North but the whole world. But I do not know now whether he is still my friend; that is for him to decide. I still trust him and as at today, nobody can say that Buhari is corrupt: people around him may be.
You said his foray into politics started in your apartment, how did that happen?
Obasanjo came and didn’t fight corruption. I had an Irish friend who is late now. He said, “It seems your President Olusegun Obasanjo does not know the meaning of corruption so he cannot fight it because everyone knows that what he owns today (then), he didn’t have them before and can anyone ask him to explain how he got it? Was it through inheritance or bank loans? Nigerians are kidding themselves.”
So Nigeria’s problem is elitist; my understanding is that Buhari is not corrupt and he is the only person that can fight corruption. I thought he would go all out for it but then…
How did you approach him on the matter?
I did not go direct to him because I knew him so well. What I did was that I spoke to my American friends, they all loved the idea; (John) Paden inclusive (the authorised biographer of President Buhari). There was also a retired colonel Faye Shultz in the US Army; there was Miss Milian, an Ethiopian lady married to an Ethiopian general killed by Mengistu Haile Mariam (leader of Ethiopia from 1977 to 1991). There was also Ahmed Abubakar, a very nice young man who went round and talked to people in the US; he was working in the Nigerian Embassy then.
When I got back to Nigeria, I had a list of people I wanted to talk to. The first person I called for that project was Engineer Usman Abubakar, now the Chairman of Nigerian Railway Corporation. When he came, I told him this is my project. At first, he didn’t buy the idea, but after a lengthy discussion, he was able to buy into it.
So I left for Abuja where I got some friends (some names would not be mentioned because they were working in government and so on); some businessmen as well. I went to Lagos and Port Harcourt and called many people and said this is what I am working on; this is my project. And interestingly, many of my friends said they were with me 100 percent. They said “we are with Buhari 100 percent but there is a problem and the problem is Mamman Daura. Is there any way you can do away with Mamman Daura?” I said no; there was no way I could do away with my relation or friend because people advice me to unless the person is bad. They said they were just telling me and that they were with me and with Buhari. They said Mamman Daura and Mahmud Tukur were the problem and asked if there was a way I could do away with them. But I said no.
When was that?
This happened 17 years ago. I said no I cannot do that but I would find a way to discuss with Mamman (Daura) and Mahmud (Tukur). And God loves me 100 per cent, even if he takes me today, I am very grateful to him. I knew that this project would work when only God knows and I was ready to die for it. My mother and my wife bought the idea of the project; that was the most important thing.
I then did some thinking on whether to write letters to Mamman and Mahmud or go personally and tell them about my project? I didn’t know what to do. Luckily for me, however, Usman Abubakar, Mamman and Mahmud Tukur shared the same office. So I was just sitting one day when Dr Mahmud Tukur came in and said that he wanted to see me and we sat and discussed. He asked why I wanted to bring General (Buhari) into politics. There was nothing he didn’t say to dissuade me but I told him I had made up my mind. That was a rare luck, as I had high regard for Mahmud Tukur but not for Mamman.
It is because I know him very well. When I spoke to Mahmud Tukur, I told him people said he shouldn’t be in the project; he and Mamman. He stood up and I said no sir, please sit down. Mamman is related to Buhari and you are Mamman’s friend.
All the problems of Buhari were caused by Mamman – he is the godfather of Buhari’s problems. I know it, he too knows it but whether Buhari knows or not, I cannot say. Though he is a very sneaky fellow and Buhari may never know; I pray God would let him know and afterwards the choice is his. The next day Mamman came to my house; he had never been to my house before then.
Your house where?
In Kaduna; I don’t have a house in Abuja. He never visited me on his own except with Buhari. Whenever Buhari was coming to visit, either to see me, my mother or step mother to greet them, they would come together. But this time he came alone and I welcomed him. We had a discussion; he said Mahmud told him of my project and I told him it was true. He said why don’t you go and tell uncle (Buhari) and that is why I named him (Mamman Daura) Dan Uncle (uncle’s son) even though he is senior to Buhari. I said I could not tell him because if I told him and he said no, then I would cut my relationship with him because I knew he would be the best for this country then. People wanted him because they know he would not be there to make money out of it, but because he wants all Nigerians to be happy, that is Muhammadu Buhari.
So I told Mamman that when we started, we did not bring any politician into the project; we started with people that had jobs, very independent people that can look up to anybody and tell them their story, not what they wanted to hear, because they were economically strong. They were ready, like I was to be killed or to be the poorest on this project because only Allah knows the best. I said we didn’t want anything from the project; all we needed was good governance, no more, no less.
When we came out and Mamman entered his vehicle, he came out again and said “Alhaji Lawal, even the prayers you are doing and so on, you expect something from God?” I said yes, but on this issue, I do not expect anything. And the other people did not expect anything because I knew it would be very difficult with Mamman around Buhari to get anything. Among those who worked for Buhari, I have not seen anybody that got anything. No one at all unless those chosen by Mamman.
Firstly, Mamman is a sadist and has no respect for anybody, not even Buhari. I worked with Abacha for Buhari to take the PTF (defunct Petroleum Trust Fund) and wanted nothing and got nothing. Abacha told me he wanted to work with Buhari and I said you should talk to him. Abacha said he never worked with Buhari as a military officer. He said I should speak with him (Buhari) as my friend and I said fine. Abacha didn’t know the job he wanted to give Buhari at that time; he only wanted to work with Buhari.
I drove to Buhari’s house in Kaduna from Abuja without even going to my own house. I told him, sir, I am coming from Abacha and this is my discussion with him. I said first, how do you rate Abacha’s government? Typical of Buhari, he said, “Well it is a thieving government, Abacha steals and the family steals, they are just for themselves.” I said no, sir, this is not the way to go about it. I said people say Nigeria lacks good leaders and that includes you. He said “me?” And I said yes, including you. We can say you were there but Nigeria was failing, unless you people as leaders join hands together and work for the betterment of this country and stop the blame game. He said “what should I do? Should I go to Abacha?” I said no, you are a former head of state he has to invite you.
So, he brought out a piece of paper and wrote his phone number and said I should give it to Abacha. From there, I went to Malam Yahaya Gusau’s house and when he saw me, he said “Alhaji Lawal, I was looking for you; they said you are close to Abacha,” and I said no sir. Abacha is not my friend but his younger brother Abdulkadir is my friend. He said, “I heard you are close to Abacha, tell him to hold Nigeria’s monies; he should not be squandering the monies.”
The next day I went to Abacha and said sir, I went to Malam Yahaya Gusau and he is extending his greetings to you. He interrupted me saying “Dattijo” (gentleman). And I said I also visited Buhari and this is his number, so you can call him. Abacha said he really wanted Buhari to come into his government so that it could be stabilised. I said fine, you can talk to him and I can also talk to him, but it is better you talk to him yourself.
After sometime, I went to Buhari again. There was going to be the PTF but he said he was not going to work for Abacha. I told him, you are not working for Abacha. If I were you, I will not work for him but for Nigeria and you can demand to be given free hand. And he got free hand. So, up till today, there are people blaming Buhari for many things, but I have never heard anyone accusing Buhari of corruption.
Nobody has said Buhari is corrupt. The problem started after the election victory in 2015 when it appeared that he was no longer in control…
Very well; the problem is that the godfather never sleeps, which is Mamman Daura.
Why Mamman Daura?
Number one, when Buhari was sworn-in, he swore by the Qur’an that he would be fair and we believed him. He said he belonged to no one but I knew he belong to Mamman Daura, Abba Kyari and Mamman are failed bankers and failed industrialists. As at 29 November, 2016, Abba was still a Director of Exxon Mobil; Abba is Buhari’s Chief of Staff, he is a member of the Board of Directors of NNPC what a super brainy, workaholic?
And Abba is Mamman’s poodle; whatever Abba is doing, it is Mamman that controls it. I know it and they know that I know it and they know me very well.
President Buhari has ministers; he has other staff, so why blame these two people only?
I am even blaming only one; that is why I am calling Abba Kyari a poodle of Mamman. How did he (Buhari) get some of the ministers? Many were through Mamman Daura. How did he get some of the staff around him, it was through Mamman Daura.
How sure are you sir?
I am more than sure, Buhari knows I know and Mamman knows I know. I am an insider, not an outsider. I started this project because of the faith I had in Buhari. And I will tell you something; Mamman never wanted Buhari’s presidency.
How do you mean?
I will only use one example and I wish Mamman Daura was alive…to deny it.
(Cut) You mean Mamman Daura?
Buhari has an elder brother, Mamman Daura, very few people ever heard of him and he was the best Mamman Daura I knew. I knew that one in 1970, he and President Buhari had the same father and the same mother. This other Mamman Daura is just a joke. I said this Mamman never wanted Buhari’s presidency because a week after Buhari was sworn-in, on Friday, we met at a mosque here in Kaduna. I walked to Mamman to greet him; there was this confidence that had taken a better part of him like he is now Mr President. Mamman told me that he and Mahmud didn’t like Buhari’s presidency. And I said ‘ranka ya dade’, you don’t like it’ and he said “yes”. I was surprised and he saw the surprise on my face. He just changed the topic and said “you know uncle (Buhari) does not like politicians and politicians don’t like him”. I said sir, but election has been won. Whether politicians like it or not, whether Buhari likes it or not, he has to work with politicians and politicians have to work with him for the betterment of our country. For me, God has given me what I wanted.
When Mamman told me that, I offered suggestions on even the way to get finances for the party. I said the way they were going was not the way they should. Now there is no APC in a way and Buhari is ill. Luckily Buhari has a very good vice president.
Why do you think things are slow despite the fact that Buhari has given all powers to the acting president?
It is simple. I told many of my friends from the beginning, including many of Buhari’s associates but they did not believe me. I told Buhari even before the election was won that ‘evil people have possessed you’. When we started this project, I took Buhari to the Brookings Institute Washington D.C. After that I took him to Qatar and other places; he had so much faith in me and I had same in him. I have known this man since 1972.
At what point did you stop communicating with him?
I did not stop communicating with him. I communicated with him even before he travelled out; I do not want to communicate with him through anyone that Mamman has put there; it would never get to him. I don’t have any problem; they are the ones that have problems.
Late Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian president, said that those in need of nothing are their own masters. I do not need anything from anybody except from Allah.
Are you disappointed?
I am disappointed but I am still hopeful. I have a problem really and as my late father used to tell me ‘there would always be change in one’s life, unless he is dead, so hopefully Buhari can change and do away with Dan Uncle.
What do you think the president should do now?
As long as Buhari cannot get Mamman away from his side, his problem will continue. And the most important one, if I were Muhammadu Buhari, in whatever way I can communicate is to tell Nigerians to please forgive me’. It is a very hard thing to do.
What do you think Buhari should apologize for?
It is not apology; this is what I have been telling people long ago. We made Buhari a super human, including myself. I kept asking God to make Buhari president; I never asked God to lead the presidency for him and God seems to have said ‘this is your Buhari now, if that is what you want, you got it.’
And what is the way out?
The way out is for Buhari to talk to the people. There is nothing wrong for me to say I have wronged you forgive me.
Most Nigerians believe no one can fight corruption except Buhari. The people who are corrupt believe that Buhari is their problem. But we are a country where the right becomes the wrong and the wrong becomes the right; meaning the corrupt believe they are right. Buhari as a person is fighting corruption because he believes he is not corrupt. But Buhari is the only one person; corruption should be fought by all Nigerians irrespective of their party, tribe, or religion. It is simple, the giver, the taker, are all guilty.
Among the people you started this journey with, who is still close to Buhari?
None at all.
What about the foreign allies?
They wanted to see a better Nigeria. We started on corruption in 2014, then later, Mamman and his group started saying insecurity and economy and corruption came third; but corruption is the cause of insecurity that destroys the economy.
How worried are you that Buhari is sick?
I am worried but there is nothing you can do and there is nothing I can do. There is nothing he (Buhari) can do. I am worried and I am hopeful and prayerful that Allah will see him through.
Aisha Buhari once made scathing statements alluding to the fact that his husband’s government had been hijacked. She was referring to a cabal controlling the government discreetly. She was indirectly referring to Mamman Daura, one of the arrow heads dictating the affairs of government.
The Lagos State Government has announced restriction of vehicular movement in the state on Saturday, July 22, 2017, in view of the election that will hold across the 20 local governments and 37 local council development areas of the state.
In a press release on Sunday by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, the restriction of movement would be enforced between 8am and 2pm to allow for a smooth conduct of the polls.
The release also quoted Governor Akinwunmi Ambode as urging Lagosians to perform their civic obligations.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday called on Nigerians to be united, saying this was the only way the nation could attain greatness.
Osinbajo made the call in Ila-Orangun at the fidau held for the late Mrs Omowunmi Akande, the wife of a former Osun governor and elder statesman, Chief Bisi Akande.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the deceased, aged 73, died on Tuesday evening at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, following a brief illness.
Osinbajo was in the Ila-Orangun country home of the Akandes to commiserate with the former Interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“I assure you all that the present administration is not just poised at giving leadership in the country but to give quality leadership built on morals and integrity,’’ Osinbajo said at the event.
The acting president also prayed for God to grant the deceased eternal rest and the family the fortitude to bear the loss.
Also speaking, Alhaji Jamiu Kewuyemi, the Leader of the League of Alfas in Ila-Orangun, urged political leaders in the country to imbibe the fear of God in all they do.
Kewuyemi, in his sermon, also called on Nigerians to embrace righteousness so as to prepare for a better life after death.
“Death is inevitable and we all shall taste it. We must all embrace the righteous path in the interest of our hereafter.
“We thank God that our mama lived a fulfilled life. May Allah forgive her shortcomings and grant her eternal rest,’’ he said.
Dignitaries present at the fidau included APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as well as Governors Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun) and Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo).
Also present were retired Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Chief Segun Oni, APC National Deputy Chairman (South) and former IGP Tafa Balogun.
Osun Deputy Governor, Mrs Titi Laoye-Tomori and Nuhu Ribadu, a former EFCC chairman, were also there.
This was confirmed in a statement during a condolence visit to Kano state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, over the death of Maitama Sule.
According to a report by Premium Times, Tinubu said: “Although I am not the spokesperson of the president and I am also not in the presidential team, the president is healing very fast and God willing, he is coming back very soon.”
On the ongoing power tussle between Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and the Nigerian Senate, Tinubu said: “I had been there before and what is happening is a normal interface, it is normal in democracy. The Executive has its role and the Legislature has its own role, they should work for the betterment of the country.”
Meanwhile, Senator Shehu Sani has called on Nigerians who have gone to court to compel the Senate president to set up a panel over the health status of President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw their case. President Buhari’s absence from the country to the UK for medical treatment has spurred criticism in the country with many calling for his resignation.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) senator in a facebook post urged those people taking legal action to withdraw their case.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has disclosed that he left prison broke in 1998, after he was released by former Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar following the death of General Sani Abacha, then head of state on June 8, 1998.
Obasanjo, who claimed he had no money by the time he regained his freedom after serving in Kirikiri, Jos and Yola prisons for about four years however revealed that the Ford Foundation and the founder of the Cable News Network (CNN), Mr. Ted Turner, surprisingly gave him a lifeline through the sum of $150,000 that was donated to him and which enabled him to settle the tuition fees of his children, whose studies were almost truncated by his incarceration.
The former president, who shared agonising memories of his prison experience at a recent programme organised by Christ The Redeemer’s Friends International (CRFI) of the Redeemed Christian Church of God at the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, however revealed how he became born again in prison and won souls for Christ.
Obasanjo was sentenced to life jail in 1995 by the Abacha junta after he was tried by a military court on trumped-up charges of felony and conspiracy to overthrow the Abacha government, an allegation the former president denied with evidence.
But exactly one week after Abacha passed away on June 8, 1998 under unclear circumstances, Obasanjo was released from the Yola Prison by the administration of Abubakar.
Giving the testimony on how God rescued him from Abacha’s plot to inject him with viral poison at the fellowship recently, Obasanjo said he was broke immediately after he regained his freedom from the Yola Prison, revealing that he had no cash at that time to settle the tuition fees of his children, who were studying in the US.
Before he left the Yola Prison, Obasanjo said he resolved “to live a new life – quiet, peaceful and possibly private. But it was surprising when I got to the airport; a presidential aircraft was already waiting for me. I did not believe it. When I arrived Lagos, two cars with pilots were waiting to convey me to my residence. I held my peace.”
Shortly after he returned home, Obasanjo said he decided “to travel to the US for two reasons. First, I needed to see my children. When I was in prison, they could not pay their tuition. One of them was not allowed to continue because he could not pay his tuition.”
On this ground, the former president said it was very urgent that he travelled to the US to visit his children, even though he was confronted with the paucity of funds to settle their tuition.
“I did not have money after I returned from prison. And the experience was agonising. I did not even have money to settle their tuition and upkeep. As a father, I decided to travel first to see my children after a long time and second to encourage them, even though I did not have much with me at that time.
“To my surprise, the federal government provided me a presidential aircraft to take me to the US. I was equally surprised at the way the federal government then treated me. My transformation was so sudden. I said this is not ordinary. It is God in action.”
Obasanjo cited the need to appreciate former US President, Jimmy Carter, an American media mogul, Mr. Ted Turner, Ford Foundation and other associates that tirelessly fought for his freedom as the second reason he decided to travel to the US.
He disclosed that he first visited Carter, whom he said, played significant roles in the global campaign for his release and subsequently Ted Turner, whom he described as his good friend.
“Both Carter and Turner fought hard for my release. When I got to Carter, he was happy to see me. Before we started discussing, he asked me if I had seen my friend, Ted. I said I had not seen him. He said Ted had been asking of me. He advised me to visit him before I travelled back to Nigeria. I assured him that I would visit him. He also told me about the roles Turner played to secure my release from Abacha’s claws. He said he really tried for me and that I should visit him in appreciation.
“After I left Carter’s place, I visited Ted. Oh, Ted was so glad to see me. He said you would need some money.
I asked him why he was asking such question when I just returned from prison and I had no money. He looked at me and smiled.
“Turner, then asked his secretary to give me $50,000. After I received the cash, I looked somehow unhappy and I did not say anything. He discovered I was not too excited about the money he asked his secretary to give me. He asked me why I was not looking happy.
“I told him directly that the money was not enough. I said you knew your friend had been in prison for a long time and that the money you gave me would not be enough. He smiled at me again and directed his secretary to add $50,000. I received $100,000 from Ted alone. I was relieved that I got some money to settle my children’s tuition.”
From Turner’s office, Obasanjo said he visited the office of Ford Foundation in New York, because he was the sole African on its Board of Trustees before Abacha framed him in a coup plot that landed him in prison.
At Ford Foundation, Obasanjo said: “I was well-received. After we had short discussion, I was asked if I had checked my account balance. I said there was no need to check it because I did not have any money in my account. I was advised to check my bank account.
“I did not know Ford Foundation was paying honorarium into my bank account. Ford was treating me as though I was attending its conferences, programmes and seminars. I was surprised to find a balance of $50,000 in my bank account. I got $150,000 during my trip to the US.
“Oh, I was so happy that I had more than enough to settle my children’s tuitions and other outstanding issues. I later visited my children, and they were all happy to see me after a long time. At some point, there was no hope of meeting again with what Abacha did to me. I settled their tuition. I shared my experience with them. I encouraged them to always trust God. And I returned to Nigeria after my mission. At the time I was released from the prison, I was really broke. But Ford and Ted rescued me from financial mess.”
After he returned to Nigeria, Obasanjo said pressure was mounted on him to contest the 1999 presidential election, which he said, was difficult to resist at some points where leaders from different parts of the country kept calling him to consider contesting the election.
When he could not resist it, he said he had to travel to South Africa to seek advice from the late President Nelson Mandela and an Anglican Bishop and social rights activist, Bishop Desmond Tutu.
When he sought Mandela’s advice, Obasanjo said the late president simply told him “to do whatever my instinct told me. I did not argue with him. But I was comfortable with Mandela’s piece of advice.
However, he explained how Tutu strongly encouraged him “to contest the election if my people wanted me to serve them. If your people said they wanted you to be their leader, you had to do what they wanted or do you want to disappoint them?
“Tutu told me to go back home and honour my people. I was not really comfortable with his piece of advice. Honestly, I was more comfortable with what Nelson Mandela told me than what Desmond Tutu told when I visited at different times.”
But Obasanjo said he made up his mind to contest the 1999 presidential election the day he opened his Bible “to the Book of Esther and read about the elevation of Mordecai and Haman.”
After reading Mordecai’s story, he said he came “to a conclusion that God was talking to him. I also came to a conclusion that God wanted me to serve my fatherland again. Despite what some people said, I served two terms and Nigeria is still together.”
In spite of his agonising experience during incarceration, Obasanjo said he decided to live the rest of his life for God, which he said, explained why he became pastor at the Kirikiri Prison.
While at Yola Prison, Obasanjo narrated how he met an inmate, Baba Ali, stating that “Baba Ali was a hardened criminal. He was the leader of Arewa Boys, a group of armed robbers in the North. Baba Ali commanded so much respect in the prison.
“If an armed robber came to the prison, he must first of all pay homage to him. If he was going out, he would go to him and ask for instruction on what to do next. I preached Christ to Baba Ali. He said I should not worry him because God can never forgive him.
“Baba Ali told me not to bother him at all because he had killed so many people in his life. He said he had drunk the blood of so many people. He said he had eaten the flesh of so many people. He said God would never forgive him. He said I should not waste my time.
“I left Baba Ali for a while. But I told him one day that you are not coming to fellowship. I encouraged him to start coming to the fellowship. He repeated what he told me at the first time that God would never forgive him, citing different evils he had done in life.
“I said Baba Ali, whether you killed only one person or a thousand people, you are a murderer. Have you forgotten that Moses was a murderer, but God used him to bring His people of Israel out of Egypt? David was a murderer, but God called him a man after my heart.
“Baba Ali was touched. He eventually surrendered to God. When I was leaving the prison, I promised to send Baba Ali to Bible College if he was able to make it. Baba Ali was released three years after I left Yola Prison. But I had become President then.
“Baba Ali came to Aso Rock to meet me. I reminded him of my promise to send him to Bible College. He said he was ready to go to the Bible school. So I sent him to the seminary, Baba Ali spent two years in the seminary. Today, he is a pastor of a Baptist Church.
“What is more? He was the sixth of the 11 children his parents had. He lived a terrible life, but God changed him. Maybe, he was one of the reasons Abacha sent me to prison. Baba Ali’s younger brother took after him. He has also become a pastor.”
Apart from evangelising in all the prisons he served and pastoring the fellowship in prison, the former president said he eventually wrote a book, ‘Sermon from the Prison’, which gave detailed account of his evangelistic and pastoral activities while in the prisons.
CRFI, a non-denominational fellowship was established by the General Overseer of RCCG Worldwide, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, with a mission to reach men and women in the middle and upper echelons of every society worldwide with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
National Coordinator of CRFI, Pastor Edmond Ayoola, explained that Pastor Adeboye established the fellowship out of concern for those, who occupied privileged positions in politics, business, industry, commerce and government so that they could benefit from the gospel of Jesus Christ and escape the wrath of the end time.
Ex-aviation minister Chief Femi Fani-Kayode says President Muhammadu Buhari dead and that there’s a plan to make Acting President Yemi Osinbajo the President while Nasir el-Rufai becomes the vice president.
Fani-Kayode claimed that former British Prime minister Tony Blair is in Nigeria for the transition of power to Osinbajo and El-Rufai;
“Whilst the werewolf sleeps in London, Tony Blair arrives in Kaduna where the vampires gather to share Nigeria’s flesh and drink her blood. “When Buhari is declared dead the plan is for Osinbajo to appoint Nasir El Rufai as his VP. “Tony Blair has come to Kaduna to convey British approval of that plan.
“El Rufai is slotted to take over from Osinbajo in 2019 but God will shock them. “When will the British leave us alone? When will they stop manipulating us and interfering in our affairs?
“The blood of the Christians and Shiite Muslims of S. Kaduna speaks against Nasir El Rufai and the Buhari admin..
“They are finished and all their plans will fail. “The Lord shocked Buhari. He will shock this lot too. “Their power is broken and their time is over.
NIGERIA is Africa’s most populous country, a designation it wears with pride. It had more than 182m citizens in 2015, according to the World Bank, and is poised to have the world’s third-largest population, behind India and China, by 2050. But that figure and the extrapolation are based on Nigeria’s 2006 census, which was probably exaggerated. Parliamentary seats and central government money are handed out to states based on population, giving politicians an incentive to inflate the numbers. In 2013 the head of the National Population Commission (NPC), Festus Odimegwu, said that neither the 2006 census nor any previous one had been accurate. He resigned soon after (the then-government said he was fired).
Counting Nigerians has caused controversy since the colonial era. The country was stitched together from two British colonies: a largely Christian south and a Muslim-dominated north. In the lead-up to independence in 1960, the British were accused by southerners of manufacturing a majority in the north, which they were thought to favour. In 1962 unofficial census figures showed population increases in some south-eastern areas of as high as 200% in a decade. The full data were never published and northern leaders held a recount, which duly showed they had retained their majority (their region had apparently grown by 84%, rather than the originally estimated 30%). This politicking led to coups, the attempted secession of what was then known as the Eastern Region and a civil war.
The north-south divide has remained salient; there is still an unwritten rule that the presidency should alternate between a northerner and a southerner. Allegations that the north has manipulated its way to a majority continue. The censuses of 1973 and 1991 were annulled. In 2006 arguments flared when 9.4m people were counted in the northern state of Kano, compared with just 9m in Lagos, the commercial capital. The Lagos state government conducted its own, technically illegal, census and came up with 17.5m (probably a vast overestimate). A new national census has been repeatedly delayed. It is now scheduled for 2018, but the NPC’s estimate that it will “gulp” 223bn naira ($708m) may mean the count is put off indefinitely.
Even by other methods, Nigeria’s population has proven tricky to pin down. Africapolis, a French-funded research project, used satellite mapping to estimate the population of towns and cities in 2010. It found several cities, mostly in the north, had hundreds of thousands fewer people than the 2006 census counted. But even those data are not entirely trustworthy: it later transpired that the researchers had underestimated urbanisation in the densely populated Niger delta. Until there is an accurate, impartial census it will be impossible to know just how many Nigerians there really are. That means government policy will not be fully anchored in reality and it will not be possible to send resources where they are most needed.