Saturday, 22 January 2022



Politics (197)

By Lawrence Njoku, Southeast Bureau Chief/ GUARDIAN.NG

As 2023 beckons, it remains to be seen how the All Progressives Congress (APC) would make its most talked about inroad into the politics of the southeast region going by the outcome of the November 6, 2021, governorship election in Anambra State.

APC, currently in control of power at the federal level, had seen the southeast as the missing link in its quest to become a truly national party. Although it had exercised control of Imo State in 2015, winning the governorship, and some National and State House of Assembly seats, that victory was briefly truncated during the 2019 general elections, as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the declaration of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) won the election. It took the declaration of the Supreme Court several months after for the APC, which came a distance fourth in the election to be adjudged the winner, a development that is still seen in many quarters as “miscarriage of justice.” Its candidate, Hope Uzodinma became the ultimate beneficiary as he was declared the governor of the state.

Uzodinma’s victory was seen as springboard on which the APC would be fully integrated in the region as the 2023 general elections beckon. After his declaration and assumption of office, it did not take long for several politicians in the region to jettison their original political parties to pitch tent with the party. Such bigwigs as Governor Dave Umahi joined from Ebonyi state; former BOT member of the PDP, Joy Emordi, Senator representing Anambra north, Stella Oduah, and incumbent Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Nkem Okeke, among others, joined from Anambra State. Earlier, the likes of former Senate President, Ken Nnamani; former governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime; ex-senator Ayogu Eze among others joined from Enugu State and several others in Imo State.

But in the build-up to the 2021 governorship election held last week in Anambra State, the APC had vowed that it would use the process to launch itself into the politics of the southeast region. It believed that it would do so with the influx of members from other political parties who had joined from the zone since the conclusion of the 2019 general elections as well as the development strides the party had achieved in the zone since it came to power.

However, the outcome of the governorship election conducted on November 6 and 9 indicated that the party still has a long way to go in the zone and would need to review its strategies in convincing people to embrace the APC.

At the conclusion of the election process, the APC ended a distant third with 42,285 votes behind the APGA, which garnered 112,229 votes to win the election and the PDP, which secured 53,807 votes to come second. It did not win in any of the 21 local councils of the state, including the home council of its governorship candidate, Chief Andy Uba. A total of 249,631 votes were cast during the election.

APC’s Failure At Guber Polls Not New
The outcome of the 2021 governorship election was not the first time APC was being rejected in the state during governorship elections. Specifically, the party was rejected first during the 2017 governorship election. In 2017, governorship election, its candidate, Tony Nwoye had contested against the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano of the APGA. Nwoye then polled 98,752 votes to emerge second in an election won by landslide by Obiano who secured 234,071 votes.

It could be said that more people in Anambra state voted for the APC in 2017 than they did in 2021, even when the governorship candidate of the party (Uba) hailed from the zone slated to produce Obiano’s successor. The scenario was the same when Nwoye challenged Obiano in 2017. The difference then was that the political equation favoured a continuation of Obiano for another four years than a fresh mandate for another candidate from the same zone.

However, several factors are being touted to be responsible for the inability of the APC and its candidate to win the state despite earlier permutations of being the one to beat in the elections. The Guardian gathered that the troubles of the party began with the conduct of its governorship primary in June this year. Uba had emerged out of the 14 aspirants as candidate in controversial circumstances. Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun-led APC governorship primary committee had claimed that Uba muscled 230,201 votes of the 348,490 votes cast in the exercise to beat others.

Startled, the other aspirants, in unison, had protested the outcome of the exercise, insisting that there was no governorship primary in the state. They had seen the emergence of Uba as an imposition that did not take into account the will of the people. Their appeal was supported by INEC officials who were sent to monitor the election, which clarified that primaries did not hold.

The national leadership of the party had, however, upheld the exercise. This brought controversy as almost all the aspirants decided to quit the party and picked the forms of other political parties. Those who stayed behind were said to have refused to work for the success of the party at the poll, just as Uba was said to have done little or nothing to pacify the aggrieved aspirants.

Sources said that the grievance led to the institution of a suit in court by one of the aspirants in the election, Chief George Muoghalu who sought the nod of the court to compel INEC to delete the APC from the ballot, alleging that there was no primary election that produced a governorship candidate for the party in the state. The matter was billed to be decided few days to the governorship election but was deferred allegedly on the promptings of leaders of the party following its timing.

At the election proper, it became obvious that the party lied against itself when the over 230,201 delegates which it said allegedly voted for Uba during the governorship primary were no where in the state. There were also no 348,490 members of the APC in the state.

“How do you expect the people to vote a party that has continued to lie against itself? How do you reconcile 42, 000 votes with the over 300,000 votes the party claimed it got during the governorship primary? We want to deepen this party to enable it to be owned by the people. That is the way to go. Otherwise we will continue to lose elections,” a chieftain of the party, Chief Nonso Udeogu told The Guardian.

It was gathered that though the governorship candidate poached and secured several members of other political parties to join the APC before the election, the efforts never paid off as many of those who decamped had a shaky foundation. An account of the election indicated that they moved into the APC to partake in the largesse from the party and not necessarily to work for its success in the election as none of those who decamped could win in their polling units.

Another source also hinted that it was difficult to sell the candidature of Uba to the electorate against tested technocrats who had risen to the pinnacle of their career by hard work. References were made to the public debate, which exposed the inefficiencies of the candidate as one unprepared for governance, adding that he could not feature as the best choice from a local council that has two other first class materials gunning for the same position.

APC’s Weakness In Southeast Ahead 2023
The verdict of the Anambra State election is that the APC is yet to find its footing in the politics of the southeast region. Observers expressed the view that with the poor showings made in the two governorship elections, the party is yet to be accepted by the people of the state.

Beyond the façade of the party’s poor showing in the Anambra election, what is now being interrogated is how the APC would rekindle itself and strike a winning streak that could enable it upturn the PDP in the southeast in the 2023 general elections. Does the party possess the capacity to do so?

If winning membership is part of the scorecard of political parties, then the APC should raise its head high as one that should win several awards in the southeast. The truth is that since winning the presidency in 2015, the APC has not stopped gaining new members from the southeast zone.

Such names as former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu; former Minister, Emeka Wogu; former Senator Nkechi Nwogu; Minister Uche Ogar, Chief Ikechi Emenike; Major Gen Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd); former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, former governor, Sullivan Chime, ex-senator Ayogu Eze; Fidel Ayogu; ex-Speaker Eugene Odoh; ex-Speaker Stanley Ohajuruka; incumbent governors of Imo, Hope Uzodinma and that of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi; former BOT member, PDP, Chief Joy Emordi; ex- senator, Margret Okadigbo; Senator Stella Odua; incumbent Anambra Deputy governor, Nkem Okeke, Linda Ikpeazu and Chris Azubuogu, among several other bigwigs have joined the party.

But most of these politicians have come into reckoning as “Popes without Cathedrals” by their inability to win elections even in their wards. Some lack political structure but needed to anchor on the APC for greener pastures. They rarely believe in the party. This is the challenge in the southeast. During campaigns, they are rarely seen in the field campaigning for the APC.

This has seriously weakened the APC in the zone that it is now doubtful if the party can win any election in the zone in 2023, even with the array of politicians in its custody. Most of the state chapters are in crisis by the scale of anomalies that occurred in their congresses, leading to the enthronement of parallel executives.

Although, the party could be said to have taken control of two states in the zone – Imo and Ebonyi, it is on record that the Ebonyi State governor, Umahi took the mandate he got from the PDP into the APC in November last year. As it is, however, the festering crisis in the state chapter since he joined to assume leadership of the party has continued to weaken the party and cast doubts as to whether APC would retain Ebonyi in 2023.

In the run up to the Anambra governorship election, Imo State governor, Uzodinma was appointed to head the party’s campaign council. He was assisted by other governors and some ‘prominent’ politicians in the zone. But no sooner had his appointment been announced than Ngige rose against it, insisting that it was a serious error that could affect the chances of the party in the election.

Those who read the lips of the Minister said that the comments meant that inspite of being governor, Uzodinma’s pedigree has been under serious questioning since his emergence, based on the way the supreme court ruling was decided in his favour.

Speaking on the challenges of the party ahead of the 2023 elections, a former governorship candidate in Imo State, Chief Uche Nwosu, stated that APC should go back to the drawing board and reconcile new members with the founding members of the party. He also said that the party would find it difficult to win elections in the southeast because many of those who joined it have no electoral value.

Nwosu, who stated that the Mai Bala Caretaker Committee was brought in to reconcile grievances in the party, expressed reservations that the committee had succeeded in the assignment and cited the various camps in his Imo State being led by Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, Rochas Okorocha and Hope Uzodinma as examples.

Nwosu also attributed the failure of the party in Anambra State governorship election to the problem inflicted by the party leadership. He said: “What happened to us in Anambra State was self inflicted. We had primary and out of all the aspirants, 90 per cent of them were complaining. I was expecting the party leadership to call them and reconcile them. Those people paid a whopping N23 million non-refundable fee each and they were telling you that there were no primary and you ignored them.

“George Muoghalu complained. Dr Chris Ngige complained. I don’t think the party was able to reconcile them before we went for the election and you think you can create magic. Any how you look at it, anybody that bought form to participate in that election has supporters and when you undermine the strength of these supporters, it hurts. I think the party should retrace its steps and come back to the drawing board so the party could move ahead.”

Another chieftain of the party, Obinna Ogwuma, corroborated Nwosu’s views, saying that, “we are yet to see those who love this party in the state.”

According to Ogwuma, “If APC ended up the way it did in the Anambra election even with all the people who defected to the party before the election, it means that there are no true party members in the state. It is a sad development.”

Posted On Sunday, 14 November 2021 18:11 Written by

BY Uja Emmanuel/ THE NATION

Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, on Friday instituted a N60 billion suit against the Minister of Special Duties and Inter Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, at the Makurdi High Court.

The suit No. MHC/268/2021 was filed by Okon N. Efut, SAN and four other lawyers.

Governor Ortom is seeking N50 billion as general damages for libel and N10 billion as exemplary and aggravated damages.

The writ of summons was backed by 17-paragraph statement of claim.

In the statement of claim, Governor Ortom is seeking a declaration that the text of Senator Akume’s press conference on 30th August, 2021, in Abuja and the reports in various national dailies is scandalous, malicious and injurious to his person.

He complained that the press conference was intended to lower his estimation before right-thinking members of the society and to expose him to hatred, contempt and ridicule.

The Governor is seeking perpetual injunction restraining the defendant by himself or through any agent, servants or privies from similar or further publication of any defamatory statement against him.

Addressing a press conference on behalf of other leaders of the All Progressives Congress in Benue State on Monday, Akume had called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Benue State, saying that Ortom had lost control of the security situation in the state.

He also condemned what it called the governor’s “penchant for verbally attacking” President Muhammadu Buhari without regard for his age and office.

No date has yet been fixed for the case

Posted On Saturday, 04 September 2021 16:29 Written by

WASHINGTON — Jeffrey A. Rosen, who was acting attorney general during the Trump administration, has told the Justice Department watchdog and Congressional investigators that one of his deputies tried to help former President Donald J. Trump subvert the results of the 2020 election, according to a person familiar with the interviews.

Mr. Rosen had a two-hour meeting on Friday with the Justice Department’s office of the inspector general and provided closed-door testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Saturday.

The investigations were opened following a New York Times article that detailed efforts by Jeffrey Clark, the acting head of the Justice Department’s civil division, to push top leaders to falsely and publicly assert that ongoing election fraud investigations cast doubt on the Electoral College results. That prompted Mr. Trump to consider ousting Mr. Rosen and installing Mr. Clark at the top of the department to carry out that plan.

Mr. Trump never fired Mr. Rosen, but the plot highlights the former president’s desire to batter the Justice Department into advancing his personal agenda.

Mr. Clark, who did not respond to requests for comment, said in January that all of his official communications with the White House “were consistent with law,” and that he had engaged in “a candid discussion of options and pros and cons with the president.”

Mr. Rosen did not respond to requests for comment. The inspector general’s spokesman declined to comment.

Mr. Rosen has emerged as a key witness in multiple investigations that focus on Mr. Trump’s efforts to undermine the results of the election. He has publicly stated that the Justice Department did not find enough fraud to impact the outcome of the election.

Mr. Rosen on Friday told investigators from the inspector general’s office about five encounters with Mr. Clark, including one in late December during which his deputy admitted to meeting with Mr. Trump and pledged that he would not do so again, according to a person familiar with the interview.

Mr. Rosen also described subsequent exchanges with Mr. Clark, who continued to press colleagues to make statements about the election that they found to be untrue, according to a person familiar with the interview.

He also discovered that Mr. Clark had been engaging in unauthorized conversations with Mr. Trump about ways to have the Justice Department publicly cast doubt on President Biden’s victory, particularly in battleground states that Mr. Trump was fixated on, like Georgia. Mr. Clark drafted a letter that he asked Mr. Rosen to send to Georgia state legislators, wrongly asserting that they should void Mr. Biden’s victory because the Justice Department was investigating accusations of voter fraud in the state.

Trump’s Bid to Subvert the Election

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Pressuring state officials to ‘find votes.’ As the president continued to refuse to concede the election, his most loyal backers proclaimed Jan. 6, when Congress convened to formalize Mr. Biden’s electoral victory, as a day of reckoning. On that day, Mr. Trump delivered an incendiary speech to thousands of his supporters hours before a mob of loyalists violently stormed the Capitol.

Such a letter would effectively undermine efforts by Mr. Clark’s colleagues to prevent the White House from overturning the election results, and Mr. Rosen and his top deputy, Richard P. Donoghue, rejected the proposal.

As details of Mr. Clark’s actions emerge, it is unclear what, if any, consequences he could face. The Justice Department’s inspector general could make a determination about whether Mr. Clark crossed the line into potentially criminal behavior. In that case, the inspector general could refer the matter to federal prosecutors.

Mr. Rosen has spent much of the year in discussions with the Justice Department over what information he could provide to investigators, given that decision-making conversations between administration officials are usually kept confidential.

Douglas A. Collins, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, said last week that the former president would not seek to bar former Justice Department officials from speaking with investigators. But Mr. Collins said he might take some undisclosed legal action if congressional investigators sought “privileged information.”

Mr. Rosen quickly scheduled interviews with Congressional investigators to get as much of his version of events on the record before any players could ask the courts to block the proceedings, according to two people familiar with those discussions who are not authorized to speak about ongoing investigations.

He also reached out directly to Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general, and pledged to cooperate with his investigation, according to a person briefed on those talks.

Posted On Saturday, 07 August 2021 21:38 Written by

Our Reporter/ THE NATION

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on Saturday berated Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, for counting the Niger Delta out of Biafra.

The outlawed group dismissed Clark as a general without foot soldiers and therefore lacked authority to speak for the people of the zone.

The Ijaw leader had declared earlier in the week that the Niger Delta could not be part of Biafra, saying: “How can Delta be part of Biafra? In what way? Is Biafra older than or bigger than Delta?”

He added: “How can Rivers State or Akwa Ibom become part of Biafra? They are dreaming thinking about the eastern region of those days. They are very unrealistic boys. To me, IPOB is not pursuing the right thing.”

But responding yesterday, IPOB spokesman Emma Powerful said Clark’s statement was appalling.

He wondered whether Clark knew “that those who own Biafra are those he referred to as South-South or Niger Delta as the case may be.

He said: “How suddenly Edwin Clark has forgotten that it was an Izon man who brought the name ‘Biafra’ to the table for approval which Ojukwu and his Eastern Consultative Assembly approved without hesitation or debate?

“Edwin Clark should know that IPOB, led by our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, did not force any clan to join Biafra. But if his community, clan and tribe refuses to join Biafra through referendum at the right time, they should not blame anybody for their fate in Nigeria.

“By the time Biafra will exit Nigeria through a referendum, any clan in the so-called Niger Delta that refuses to be liberated from the Nigerian bondage should get ready to serve the Fulani as slaves forever.

“We, however, know that Edwin Clark is not speaking for millions of Niger Delta youths, men and women earnestly yearning for their liberation from the Nigerian bondage.

“He is only speaking for his Fulani slave masters, but very soon he will discover that he is a general without foot soldiers.”

Clark had queried: “How can Delta be part of Biafra? In what way? Is Biafra older than or bigger than Delta?”

“How can Rivers State or Akwa Ibom become part of Biafra? They are dreaming thinking about the eastern region of those days. They are very unrealistic boys. To me, IPOB is not pursuing the right thing.

“When this war was fought, I told the IPOB leader he was not born at the time. I’ve never met him, but I have challenged him and he has also challenged me that I was the slave of the north – that was how he branded me.

“I told him he has a good fight, that the people of the East are being neglected. They have only five states, whereas other regions have six. One, in fact, has seven. Based on what? Nobody knows.

“For every appointment that is being made in this country, the Igbo are shortchanged. If they are distributing universities per state, they will have five. South-south and Southwest will have six, Northwest will have seven, but the Igbo formed the third leg of this country when it was created.

“So, they have a good complaint, but not the way they are going about it.”

Kanu’s case resumes Monday

Meanwhile, the treason trial of Nnamdi Kanu is resuming on Monday July 26, his lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, said yesterday.

Ejiofor in a tweet said: “We have just received confirmation from the Federal High Court Abuja that the hearing on Our Client’s case above referred will still go on as earlier scheduled on Monday next week being the 26th Day of July 2021.

“Remember Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the entire Legal team in your prayers. Thank you all and remain blessed.@EjioforBar”

Kanu is currently being tried by Justice Binta Nyako for terrorism, treasonable felony, unlawful possession of firearms and management of an unlawful society.

However, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), has said the charges will be amended.

“He has, upon jumping bail, been accused of engaging in subversive activities that include inciting violence through television, radio and online broadcasts against Nigeria and Nigerian State and institutions,” Malami told reporters in Abuja.

Kanu, he added, instigated “violence especially in the Southeastern Nigeria that resulted in the loss of lives and property of civilians, military, paramilitary, police forces and destruction of civil institutions and symbols of authority.”

The IPOB leader was recently rearrested in Kenya and sent back home after jumping bail in the country.

Posted On Saturday, 24 July 2021 22:24 Written by

The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) has alleged Imo Governor Hope Uzodinma, his Rivers counterpart Nyesom Wike, former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Prof Charles Soludo and Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige were some of individuals who supported and funded the extradition of its leader Nnamdi Kanu from Kenya.

It further alleged some other businessmen from Imo and Anambra States, including billionaire Emeka Offor also betrayed Kanu.

The group added all of them to its ‘traitors’ list, saying they betrayed Kanu allegedly because of their political and economic interests.

It insisted Ngige was part of the ‘plot’ but absolved Anambra Governor Willie Obiano and Victor Umeh from involvement in any move against Kanu as earlier alleged.

In a statement from its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB maintained the ‘saboteurs’ colluded with the Federal Government to extradite Kanu.

The statement reads in part: “Through in-depth investigations and intelligence gathering, we, the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), have uncovered more Biafran traitors involved in the betrayal of our Leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his subsequent abduction and extrarendition from Kenya to Nigeria.

“Other people involved will soon publish to the public, our intelligence units are still working to unravel them some Igbo business men and women who were involved in the abominable act in Anambra State and Imo State will soon be exposed to the public.

“We, however, wish to absolve Gov. Willie Obiano from any involvement in the act contrary to our earlier statement based on preliminary investigation.

“Gov. Willie Obiano was found to be innocent after our intelligence unit conducted further investigations on him. We regret any harm our earlier statement might have caused him.

“We don’t act based on rumour or mere propaganda senator Sir Victor Umeh is innocent of the accusations against him, the voice note going viral where they mentioned Victor Umeh is not true and our people should disregard that voice against him anybody involved in such abominable act should desist from such and repent because IPOB will get him or her who are responsible for this cowardly act.

“We are responsible enough to admit our error any time any day. So, we apologise to Gov. Obiano and Victor Umeh.

“Meanwhile, the following individuals based on our in-depth investigations so far played key roles in the betrayal of our Leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

“They not only betrayed him but contributed funds to sponsor his extra-ordinary rendition to Nigeria. They include: Emeka Offor, Gov. Nyesom Wike, Chris Ngige Imo Governor Hope Uzodinma and Professor Chukwuma Soludo.

“They decided to trap our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu because of their political and commercial interests which they consider above the overall good and emancipation of Biafrans.

“We want to make it clear to them that Biafra will hold them responsible for whatever happens to our leader. They cannot stop us.”

Posted On Wednesday, 21 July 2021 01:52 Written by

By Seye Olumide (Southwest Bureau Chief) /GUARDIAN.NG

On June 5, 2020 when President Muhammadu Buhari called for the dissolution of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and appointed Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala-Buni to head the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), several members considered the move as the best to reposition the ruling party.

The controversial virtual National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, headed by the president sacked the then National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who statutorily represented the zone that produced the party’s national chairman.

Although some members of the party felt uncomfortable with the decision, considering the fact that the new CECPC chairman is a serving governor of northern extraction, the crises that had rocked the APC throughout the two years of Oshiomhole’s chairmanship beclouded the majority from seeing inherent pitfalls in the move. At the time, many party faithful were tired of Oshiomhole’s leadership style and the feeling that the National Leader, Bola Tinubu was using the former governor of Edo State as a proxy to control party machinery. But the yearnings for change also prevented them from realising that a party machinery, which was going to ‘completely’ exclude the southern zone, would be a breach of the party’s constitution.

With the development, the north now controls the presidency, Senate and chairmanship of the party while Southwest holds leadership of only the House of Representatives.

In fairness, the Buni-led CECPC has been able to douse many tensions within the initial six-month frame of its stewardship, putting in place another NWC to steer the affairs of the party pending the congresses and the national convention, the shocking extension of its tenure by another six months in December 2020, had since been generating ill feelings within party ranks.

And when the CECPC came up with the idea of registration/revalidation of party membership, it sent tongues wagging, with party faithful alluding to sinister motives. Former interim national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, who is also a strong associate of the national leader, frowned at development, alleging a game plan. But he was criticised by those who felt President Buhari was on the right track by granting support to CECPC’s tenure extension.

The Guardian has, however, learnt that most party members, who initially hailed the Buni-led committee and the presidential support it had been receiving since June last year are beginning to grumble, with indications that the party may be heading towards tough congresses and rancorous national convention. It further gathered that the leadership of the party is currently afraid to hold its national convention.

One of the strong sentiments against the CECPC is the fear that President Buhari may likely use it to shift the goal post and retain the presidency in the north or North Central after the expiration of his eight years in office in 2023.

The sentiment is further fueled by the manner Governor Yahaya Bello is going about his 2023 presidential ambition in defiance of the unannounced gentleman agreement of power shift to the South among the founding members of the party.

It is assumed within party ranks that Bello must be getting nudges from the presidency judging by the relentlessness in pursuing his presidential ambition. Another concern is that the presidency, seen as the deliberate creator and director of the CECPC, might be using it to deliberately shut out perceived enemies it does not want to cede power to or allow to contest for the party’s presidential ticket in the run up to next elections.

As a member put it, “There are two ways to it. The CECPC has succeeded in practically weakening the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) such that if the presidential election is held today, irrespective of voters’ desire, the ruling party will retain power.

“Another suspicious agenda of the committee is to ensure that even if power must shift to the South, the next presidential candidate will be at the discretion of the north and not necessarily those willing to contest. A ripple effect of these moves is that the south, especially southwest, has been so divided in the rank and files of the ruling party.

“For instance, Ogun APC is sharply divided among supporters of Governor Dapo Abiodun and his immediate predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. In Osun State, Governor Oyetola is in a cold battle with his immediate predecessor, Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. In Ekiti, Governor Fayemi is not on good terms with another camp allegedly loyal to Tinubu while in Lagos, one of the groupings, Lagos4Lagos is audaciously challenging the political hegemony of the national leader.”

It was gathered that the conduct of the CECPC and the body language of the presidency must have been one of the factors that compelled the 17 Southern Governors Forum to recently insist that power must shift to the south in 2023 irrespective of their different party affiliations. The source also said the national leader is a principal target in all the scheming.

Jostle For National Chairmanship Despite Uncertainties
THE CECPC has unfolded plans to hold the party congresses but it is still uncertain how it hopes to achieve it. In spite of the uncertainties, The Guardian gathered that some party members, especially from the north, are intensifying bids and making moves to vie for the position of the national chairman.

A competent party source listed some of the chairmanship hopefuls to include former Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Almakura, another former Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Adamu; one-time governorship contender in Niger State and delegate to the National Convention, Senator Sani Musa; former Gombe State Governor, Danjuma Goje; former Borno State Governor, Modu Sheriff, and a former deputy national chairman of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Mohammed Mustapha.

Tanko Almakura is yet to declare his intention but sources said the chieftain of the defunct CPC is a strong contender. He may stand a good chance being one of the old allies of Mr President. It could not be ascertained whether he will also emerge as the candidate of the APC Governors’ Forum.

In terms of experience and maturity, former Nasarawa State Governor, Adamu is regarded as a party elder endowed with qualities to lead as the chairman. He is seen as a no-nonsense politician, who knows his onions. After serving as governor for eight years, he was elected senator. In 2007, he was a presidential aspirant on the platform of PDP.

Senator Sani Musa, a 56-year-old indigene of Paikoro in Niger State, is said to be on an extensive party-wide consultation and mobilisation. A loyal party man, he has been described as a man of integrity. He is a one-time governorship contender in Niger State, a delegate to the National Convention, and a member of the APC Presidential Election Campaign Committee for 2019.

As senator, he had canvassed the revolution of the electoral system through the use of the card reader and Permanent Voter’s Card just as many have described him as a bridge builder with immense interpersonal skills. He has also served on some Senate committees including Appropriation, Petroleum Resources, Foreign and Local Debts, and Water Resources. In the APC, he served as a member of NEC, Contact and Strategic Committee, and Constitution Review Panel.

The Business Administration graduate from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he was the President of Zodiac, has also served as Special Adviser on Investment and Infrastructure in Niger State; director of Niger State Development Company Limited; Chairman, Task Force on Environmental Management and Managing Director, First Pacific Nigeria Limited. He possesses a Certificate in Conflict Analysis from the United States Institute of Peace.

Musa is held in esteem in the senate as an organised, dedicated, passionate and hardworking politician. He is said to be goal-oriented, focused and patriotic. Testimonies about his conduct in the Senate portray him as a detribalised person who could ride on his wave of integrity to lead the party if given the opportunity. Another sterling quality he possesses is his ability to foster unity across ethnic nationalities, which he is said to have demonstrated in the upper chamber since joining.

“As a member of the APC Presidential Campaign Team 2019, Senator Musa donated the biggest Presidential Campaign Office in Northern Nigeria not to mention his championing of the usage of the PVC during the voting process,” the source added.

Another aspirant is eminent politician from Gombe State, former Governor Goje, who served as former Minister of State for Steel Development and is now a senator. Bold and fearless he is also a former PDP chieftain.

Former Borno State Governor, Modu Sheriff served as a senator for two terms before becoming governor in 2003. He defected from the APC to PDP, where he was briefly the national chairman. There were allegations that he wanted to use the position as a stepping stone to the realisation his presidential ambition. When he was shoved aside as chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi became the PDP caretaker chairman. Some months ago, Sheriff retraced his steps to the APC.

Mohammed Mustapha, 48, hails from Gambari District in the Ilorin East local government area of Kwara State. He has distinguished himself in business, politics and humanitarian services. He founded the Saliu Mustapha Foundation to serve as a platform for human empowerment and community development.

Mustapha is a former deputy national chairman of CPC. He played a role in the merger of the CPC with other tendencies that gave birth to the APC. He was a signatory to the merger agreement on behalf of the CPC in the coalition. Before he became the deputy chairman of the CPC, he had served as an Ex-officio and a founding NEC member of the party.

He was the National Publicity Secretary of the Progressive Liberation Party (PLP) between 2001 and 2002 under the leadership of Dr. Ezekiel Ezeogwu. In 2003, Mustapha and other like-minds formed the Progressive Action Congress (PAC). He was the National Publicity Secretary of the party. He was a member of The Buhari Organisation (TBO) and the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO).
Posted On Monday, 19 July 2021 01:10 Written by

By AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna/ THE NATION

The kidnapped Emir of Kajuru in Kajuru Local Government area of Kaduna State, Alhaji Alhassan Adamu, has been released by his abductors.

One of the kingmakers of the Emirate Council, Dahiru Abubakar, confirmed the development to The Nation.

The Emir was released on Monday afternoon, few hours after bandits demanded N200 million ransom for the monarch and 10 other family members kidnapped with him.

Abubakar did not however say whether the N200 million ransom was paid or not before his release.

The Nation reliably gathered only the 85- year- old second class Emir was released with the bandits said to be holding on to other abductees.

The Emir, according to another source, addressed his subjects immediately he returned to Kajuru.

Posted On Tuesday, 13 July 2021 01:36 Written by

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Abuja/ GUARDIAN.NG

Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, has urged the Federal Government to embrace caution and strict adherence to the rule of law in the handling of Nnamdi Kanu’s issue.

The Senator in a statement released by his Media Adviser, Uchenna Awom, in Abuja on Wednesday, also advised the federal government to be guided by the provisions of Section 31 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

Kanu was on Tuesday remanded in DSS custody by the Federal High Court as the Federal Government re arraigned him and re-arraiged in continuation of his trial.

Abaribed said the said the relevant section and charter presupposes that the detainee should be humanely treated while in the custody of the state.

“What it means is that it is the duty of the government in this instance to protect him and ensure the respect of his fundamental human rights while his trial lasts. For now, it is trite law, that he is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Abaribe said.

However, the Minority Leader called for calm saying that the recent events presents ample opportunity for dialogue and for the federal government to address the contending issues that seems to challenge the peace and unity of the country.

Posted On Thursday, 01 July 2021 17:38 Written by

By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja/ THE NATION

Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) has argued that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is not eligible under the constitution to contest for President.

The AGF argued that, having not been born a Nigerian or by Nigerian parents, and having not met the provisions of Sections 25(1) &(2) and 131(a) of the constitution, Atiku would be violating Section 118(1)(k) of the Electoral Act should he put himself forward as candidate.

These form part of the AGF’s arguments in support of the suit filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja by the Incorporated Trustees of Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA).

The EMA is challenging Atiku’s eligibility to contest for President and praying the court to hold among others, that considering the provisions of sections 25(1) &(2) and 131(a) of the constitution and the circumstances surrounding his birth, the former vice president cannot contest for the top office.

In documents filed for the AGF by a team of lawyers, led by Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN), it was agreed that, as argued by the plaintiff, Atiku is not a Nigerian citizen by birth.

Although the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2019 was filed before the 2019 presidential election, it is yet to be heard and determined.

However, it was mentioned on March 15, during which Justice Inyang Ekwo noted that the suit was ripe for hearing and fixed May 4, for that purpose.

The AGF in the affidavit said: “The first defendant (Atiku) is not qualified to contest to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The first defendant is not a fit and proper person to be a candidate for election to the office of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The first defendant was born on the 25th of November, 1946 at Jada, at the time in Northern Cameroon. By the plebiscite of 1961, the town of Jada was incorporated into Nigeria.

“The first defendant is a Nigerian by virtue of the 1961 plebiscite, but not a Nigerian by birth. The first defendant’s parents died before the 1961 plebiscite.”

In his written address, the AGF argued that the effect of the June1, 1961 plebiscite was to have the people of. Northern Cameroon integrated into Nigeria as new citizens of the country, even after Nigeria’s independence.

He added: “This qualified all those born before the 1961 plebiscIte as citizens of Nigeria, but not Nigerian citizen by birth. Consequently, only citizens born after the 1961 plebiscite are citizens of Nigeria by birth.”

He cited provisions of the 1960, 1963, 1979 and 1999 constitutions and noted that the “reasoning of the lawmakers in ensuring that the persons to be the President of Nigeria is a citizen of Nigeria by birth is because such a person is the number one citizen and the image of the Nigerian state.”

The AGF argued that, where it is revealed that a person was born outside Nigeria before Nigeria’s independence in 1960, in a location which was never part of Nigeria until June 1, 1961, as it is in this case, such a person cannot claim citizenship of Nigeria by birth.

“This is even more so where his parents do not belong to any tribe indigenous to Nigeria until their death. The facts of his (Atiku’s) birth on the Cameroonian territory to Cameroonian parents remain unchallenged.

“At best, the first defendant can only acquire Nigerian citizenship by the 1961 plebiscite. The citizenship qualifications under Section 26 and 27 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), by implication, has limited the first defendant’s privileges or rights and cannot be equal or proportional to the privileges of other citizens who acquire their citizenship status by birth.

“This would include the legal preclusion of the first defendant from contesting for the office of the President of Nigeria.

The AGF noted that the only situation where Atiku could have acquired Nigerian citizenship by birth under the 1999 Constitution was if both or either of his parents and grand parents were Nigerian citizens by birth.

He added that another way would have been “if either his parents had become Nigerian citizen by virtue of Section 25(1) of the 1999 Constitution, which must be in compliance with Sections 26 and 27of the same constitution.

“With no concrete proof of compliance, we submit that the first defendant cannot contest election to the office of the Nigerian President.”

Section 26 contains the process of obtaining citizenship by registration, while Section 27 provides for the process of obtaining citizenship by naturalisation.

The AGF argued that Atiku, having contested election to the office of the Vice President before now, knowing that he is not a Nigeria citizen by birth, committed an offence under Section 118(1)(k) of the Electoral Act.

Atiku and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on whose platform he contested the last election, have denied the plaintiff’s claims and prayed the court to dismiss the suit for lacking in merit.

They also filed a joint notice of objection, in which they insisted that Atiku is “a bonafide citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Atiku stated that aside serving as Nigeria’s Vice President from 1999 to 2007, he held many public/private offices, including serving as Governor of Adamawa State and as a Commissioned Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service.

He said both his parents, grandparents and great grandparents were born in Nigeria and they lived, died as Nigerians and were buried in Nigeria.

Atiku argued that he is qualified and eligible to be elected into the office of the President of Nigeria, adding that the plaintiff filed the suit in bad faith and in an attempt to malign his person and integrity.

He queried the plaintiff’s right to challenge his nationality, arguing that it failed to show the interest it has above other citizens of Nigeria to be entitled to approach the court on the issue.

Posted On Tuesday, 06 April 2021 19:42 Written by

By Alao Abiodun/ THE NATION

Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi and former President Olusegun Obasanjo are in a meeting in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital.

Obasanjo’s spokesman, Kehinde Akinyemi, confirmed the meeting.

“I am not there and the meeting is still going on,” Akinyemi said when asked what the meeting is about.

“It is not just the two of them present; it is stakeholders meeting holding at his residence here in Abeokuta.”

The meeting, according to sources, may not be unconnected insecurity in the country.

Gumi has been meeting with various stakeholders to solve the security challenge.

He has been advocating amnesty for bandits, arguing they should not be treated as criminals.

Posted On Sunday, 04 April 2021 16:33 Written by
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