NEWS AND STORIES
Senator Chris Ngige, representing Central Senatorial District of the eastern Nigerian state of Anambra, has emerged the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the governorship election, scheduled for 16 November.
Ngige garnered 63,255 votes to defeat Mr Godwin Ezeemo, who polled 9,564 votes in the primaries conducted in the 326 electoral wards in the state.
Announcing the result, former governor of Kano State, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, who was the chief returning officer of the election, expressed happiness over the peaceful conduct of the polls.
Shekarau said that the party chose the Option A4 method as provided for in the constitution of the party.
“Because the party has the right to choose what method of election to adopt in choosing its candidate, it went forward to choose Option A4 for the election, this is to ensure transparency,” he said.
In his acceptance speech, Ngige commended the Electoral Committee and the leadership of the party for enshrining internal democracy in the process that elected him.
“What has happened today has shown that we have started our journey to the Awka Government House.
“APC has taken its root in Anambra. The journey is a very important one and we have to cross the red sea.
“My 63, 255 votes plus 9564 votes are the number of foot soldiers other party members would have to contend with in the forthcoming election.
“I extend my hand of fellowship to all of you, even those who did not vote for me.
“I want to thank you all, especially Senator Annie Okonkwo for his support and Mr Godwin Ezeemo for insisting that the ballot must be cast because he insisted on a primary election,” Ngige said.
In his reaction, Ezeemo commended Ngige for his victory, expressing satisfaction with the process.
He said that it was only fair that a primary election to take place in a contest where there were two aspirants.
Those who graced the occasion include, the National Organising Secretary of the party, Sen. Osita Izunaso, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Dr Nyerere Anyim and Chief Romanus Egbuladike.
The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party on Thursday suspended Senator Andy Uba and his brother, Chris from the party.
Also suspended are Ejike Oguebego, Chief Benji Udeozor and Mrs. Tonia Nwankwu.
The five men were accused of conducting a parallel state congress for the nomination of governorship candidate in Anambra State on Saturday.
A letter announcing the suspension of the Uba brothers and others had been sent to the affected party chiefs by the acting National Secretary, Dr. Charles Akintoye.
The acting secretary was directed to write them on their current status having snubbed the NWC which invited them to explain the role they played at the parallel congress.
The letter, dated August 29, read in part, “The NWC at its 353rd meeting held on Wednesday, 28th August, 2013 reviewed the happenings in Anambra PDP regarding the Anambra Primary election.
“It was noted that you organised a parallel state congress which was unauthorised by the party contrary to section 58 (1) a, b, c, f, h and j of the PDP constitution (2012 as amended).
“As a result of this, you were invited to meet with the NWC on Wednesday 28, August, 2013 for fair hearing, but you did not appear.
“In view of the seriousness of the issues involved, you are hereby suspended from the party and the case referred to the appropriate Disciplinary Committee for further necessary action.”
However, sources close to the affected party officers said that the affected party chieftains have obtained a Court order stopping the party from taking and disciplinary action against them but the party had served them with the decision before they got the court order.
Reacting to the suspension, Chris Uba, expressed surprise at his suspension, adding that there was no reason for the action taken by the PDP.
He said, “I was surprised to hear that I have been suspended. I want us to respect democracy and the rule of law. We must protect the rule of law and the judiciary.
“Why the rush in suspending me and the five others? There were more than a million PDP members at the congress. They should have suspended all of us.”
Also, Andy said he had not been served with the suspension from the party and because of that, he would not react to it.
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has assured participants at the National Convention of the PDP and FCT residents that the police would provide water-tight security during the party’s convention taking place on Saturday at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
Consequently, the IG had issued an Operational Order directing the FCT Commissioner of Police, FCT, Femi Ogunbayode, to ensure a tactical and well coordinated deployment of personnel and other operational equipment in order to provide a safe and conducive atmosphere for the convention.
There seems to be no end to the troubles of Senator Andy Uba, a former special adviser on domestic affairs to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as his party has summoned him to face a disciplinary committee.
Andy’s ambition to become the next governor of Anambra State was virtually nipped in the bud by the national secretariat of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party on Monday.
Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, PDP National Chairman had declared that the recognized candidate of the party for the election is former students’ leader, Tony Nwoye.
Nwoye and Uba had emerged as candidates at parallel congresses of the party presided over by rival claimants for the position of chairman of Anambra chapter of PDP in Awka, the Anambra State capital last Saturday.
The primary won by Uba, was conducted by the parallel chairman of the Anambra chapter of the PDP recognized by the Independent National Electoral Commission, Ejike Oguebego.
On the other hand, Ken Emeakayi who presided over the primary which produced Nwoye is recognised by the national secretariat of PDP as the chairman of Anambra State chapter of PDP.
Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State presided over the primary held under the leadership of Emeakayi as the representative of the national secretariat.
Following up on Monday’s declaration, the national secretariat of PDP on Tuesday summoned the former presidential aide, Chris, his brother and Oguebego to appear before a disciplinary panel on Wednesday.
They will appear alongside two other PDP officials in Anambra- Benji Udeozor, and Tonia Nwankwu who played prominent role in the conduct of the parallel congress that produced Andy Uba.
Tony Okeke, spokesperson for PDP in a statement on Tuesday that the party “condemns in the strongest possible terms the organization of a parallel primary election to elect a candidate for the November 16, 2013 governorship election in Anambra state other than the one conducted by the Party on August 24, 2013.”
The party added that the only Governorship Primary election it recognized was the one conducted by the Electoral Panel under the leadership of His Excellency, Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema which was appointed by the Party.
“The organization of another Primary election other than the one referred to above is a clear breach of our party’s constitution and is therefore totally unacceptable and cannot be condoned,” the statement said.
The party also called on the Inspector General of Police to “forthwith commence investigations into the illegal procurement of sensitive party materials for the illegal governorship primary election by persons who paraded themselves as working for the PDP.”
Uba and the other Anambra party officials are to appear before the National Working Committee for a preliminary hearing at the PDP National Secretariat on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 10 am, according to the statement “to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against them”.
The All Progressives Congress, Lagos State chapter, says the Peoples Democratic Party’s comment, describing Governor Babatunde Fashola as a dictator, shows that the party is desperate for recognition.
The PDP had said Fashola was a dictator based on the ‘deportation’ of some destitute persons to Anambra State.
The APC said the PDP’s comment, through its acting National Publicity Secretary, was “outlandish and hollow.”
In a statement on Monday by the state’s Interim Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, the party said having failed in 14 years of “regressive politics, the PDP is clutching on to any imaginable straw to survive.”
The party said, “By trying to take advantage of the action of the Lagos State Government to relocate 14 destitute persons to their home states, the PDP through its Acting Publicity Secretary is showing the kind of desperation that has hit the party as it comes in full contact with the fruits of its wanton plundering of state resources to render Nigeria a huge colony of beggars and destitute.
“We ask the Acting Publicity Secretary to help resolve the issues raised by the full disclosure by the Lagos State Government on the resettlement issue, which bordered on communication between Lagos and Anambra state governments on the 14 destitute persons prior to their resettlement.
“Is he not aware that his party (PDP) has shipped out thousands of destitute persons and beggars from the Federal Capital Territory before he embarked on his journey of childish political profiteering?”
The party said instead of raising dust where there was none, the PDP should ask itself why Lagos must take the “army of destitute persons it had been churning out after stealing hundreds of trillions of a 14-year-old oil windfall.”
Igbokwe said, “We are aware that the PDP is scared stiff by the emergence of the APC, the success of its governors and the potential it offers Nigerians in the face of the grand and monumental failure of the PDP.
“But we want to assure this party that nothing will stop their rustication in 2015.”
Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and Deputy National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, said on Saturday that President Goodluck Jonathan was playing ethnic and religious politics to divert attention from bad governance.
El-Rufai, who was guest of the week at a Liberty Radio programme in Kaduna on Saturday, warned that Nigeria could not afford another Civil War.
Besides, he said the Peoples Democratic Party was afraid of former Head of State, Gen. Mohammadu Buhari, and would therefore do everything possible to denigrate him.
El-Rufai said, “It is the political strategy of Jonathan to always use ethnicity and religion whenever there is a problem.
“Whenever there is a big issue about excess crude account or subsidy issue, they bring this issue of ethnicity and religion. But I have not lost hope because I know that Nigerians can see through their pranks and their game and will vote them out in the next election. The challenge for the next president is to build trust among the various ethnic groups so that Nigeria can walk towards one direction.
“This country has gone through one Civil War; I don’t know of any country that can survive two civil wars and those that are stealing crude oil; buying and stockpiling arms should know it is not the number of arms you have that decides who wins a war.
“I know that Nigeria will survive these bad and incompetent leaders, who steal during the day and drink and womanise at night instead of working for the Nigerian people.
“The PDP has evolved from a party that is trying to be democratic in its practices and to have decency in its governance to one that has become a danger to the people of Nigeria and the only person they are afraid of, who is their nightmare, is Gen. Buhari.
“So, anytime Buhari makes a statement or does anything, the PDP machine will be at work to twist whatever he says in other to destroy his character and give the impression that he is a religious and ethnic zealot.
“The truth is that the PDP is scared of Buhari`s integrity and his track record of doing the right thing and ensuring that people are brought to justice when they break the law. They are scared of that day when he will become President because they are afraid that he will call them and ask them the source of their unexplainable wealth.”
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has suspended Governor Rochas Okorocha of the eastern Nigerian state of Imo from the party “for engaging in anti-party activities.’’
Notice of the suspension was contained in a communiqué signed by the National Chairman of the party, Chief Victor Umeh, at the end of the party’s National Executive Meeting on Saturday in Abuja.
The communique noted that “rising from an emergency NEC meeting in Abuja, APGA unanimously resolved to dissolve the Imo executive committee of the party.
“The party’s NEC has also resolved to appoint a 21-man caretaker committee to oversee its affairs in Imo until a congress is held.’’
It regretted that a governor on the platform of APGA could decide to act contrary to the constitution of the party that voted him into power.
According to the communiqué, the party had approved electoral guidelines for the Anambra governorship primaries for 2013 and fixed its next sitting for Aug. 31.
Alhaji Tayo Sowunmi, the National Vice Chairman of APGA South-West, who read out the resolutions of the NEC meeting, said the party leaders had discussed preparations for the Anambra gubernatorial election.
Sowunmi said barely three weeks after the party invited aspirants who declared interest in the race, 14 of them had already picked the expression of interest forms.
He said that the male aspirants paid N10 million and female paid N5 million.
He said those who had collected the expression of interest forms were expected to pick the nomination forms and then be screened for the primaries.
The communiqué also stated that women were asked to pay N5 million as against the N10 million paid by their male counterparts in order to encourage them to participate actively in politics.
The APGA national vice chairman said the NEC had again restated that the party was not part of APC, adding that some governors had smuggled in the logo of APGA into their advertorials.
“We demand for an apology from Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos and the payment of N20 billion for doing that.
“We also demand N5 billion from Gov. Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State for same offence.’’
The communique urged all the parties involved in the forthcoming Anambra governorship election to stick to the code of conduct signed with INEC and shun negative acts.
Speaking shortly after the NEC meeting, Umeh said the meeting was summoned to prove that the party’s crisis and other important issues bordering the party had been put to rest.
He said that with the return of peace among key stakeholders, APGA would definitely regain the Imo governorship seat in the next election.
“APGA is set to retain the governorship of Anambra on Nov. 16. We welcome all other political parties to engage us in the contest.
“We are calling for a level playing ground because with a level playing ground, we are sure of victory at the end of the day,’’ he added.
• Meet Ekwueme on PDP, Rivers crises, division in NGF
Four of the G-5 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors, yesterday, took their save democracy campaign to Second Republic Vice-President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme.
Governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) and Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto) met Dr. Ekwueme for about 45 minutes in his suite at the NICON Luxury Hotel, Abuja.
The fifth member of the group, Gov. Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, was said to be away in Saudi Arabia for the lesser Hajj (Umrah).
Yesterday’s deliberation took place behind closed door with the governors seeking the Second Republic Vice President’s intervention in resolving some of the crises confronting the nation and the ruling PDP.
The issues include the political crisis in Rivers State, the division in the Nigeria Governors Forum, degeneration of internal democracy in PDP; the need to reorganise PDP if it does not want to lose future elections; and the alleged intolerance of dissenting views by the Presidency.
A highly-placed source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The 45-minute audience was part of the ongoing consultations with critical stakeholders by the five governors.
“The choice of Ekwueme by the governors was strategic because he had presided over the only acceptable reconciliation committee in PDP. He is also respected for his quality advice.
“By meeting with Ekwueme, the governors told the ex-VP that they were trying to demonstrate that their intervention was not sectional contrary to insinuations in some quarters.
“They told the statesman that the crisis in Rivers State portends a great danger for the nation’s democracy. They pleaded with Ekwueme to meet with other statesmen of like minds to hold a meeting with the President and persuade him to accept some of the peace terms they had presented.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “They expressed concern that the vision of the founding fathers of PDP, including Ekwueme, to have a truly democratic and detribalised party was being derailed.
"They insisted that the PDP must be reorganised if it does not want to lose power in 2015. They alleged that the party is losing touch with Nigerians.”
Ekwueme was said to have assured his guests that he and other leaders already visited by the governors would look at the issues raised by them.
“I have noted the issues you have raised, I can assure you that all the leaders you have consulted will address these matters,” he was quoted as saying.
On the achievements of the shuttles by the governors so far, the source added: “They have succeeded in pointing out to elders that the nation’s democracy is under threat.
“As stakeholders, the five governors have privileged information that most Nigerians are not aware of. I think a stitch in time saves nine.”
It was also gathered yesterday that the five governors may meet former military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, after the Eid-el Fitri festival.
Another source, who is part of the ongoing consultations by the governors, said: “I think they will meet Gowon after Sallah next week.”
The governors had first gone to Port Harcourt last month on a solidarity visit to the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, on his travails with the PDP, the Presidency and the State Police Command before going to Abeokuta on Saturday, July 20 to seek the intervention of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Incidentally, President Goodluck Jonathan, with whom they are not on the best of terms was also in Abeokuta that day partly to see Chief Obasanjo but the governors deliberately avoided contact with him by diverting their convoy elsewhere in town until the President departed Obasanjo’s residence.
Thereafter, the governors met with former Nigerian leaders-General Ibrahim Babangida and General Abdulsalami Abubakar in Minna; President Jonathan in Abuja penultimate Saturday and later with Second Republic President Shehu Shagari in Sokoto.
The presidential candidate of Hope Democratic Party, HDP, in the 2011 presidential election in Nigeria, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over an allegation of obtaining the sum of N66 million from Ikechukwu Eze, under false pretence.
Owuru was arrested following a complaint by Mr. Eze who alleged that sometime in March 2011, he paid the sum of N60 million to Owuru who is also a legal practitioner, for a property located at Nzimiro Street, Amadi Flat, Port Harcourt, through Skye Bank, Olu Obansanjo Road branch, Port Harcourt.
However, in the process of taking possession of the property, Eze discovered that a portion had been sold to another person.
At this point, Owuru allegedly asked for another N6 million to settle the other buyer, Chief Austin Omire, which Eze allegedly obliged him.
Since then, every attempt to take possession or develop the said property met with resistance, said the victim.
After receiving the petition and commencement of investigation, EFCC invited Owuru severally but he refused to honour the invitation, which culminated in his arrest.
In a press release signed by Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, the Acting Head of Media & Publicity at EFCC, the commission stated that investigation into the matter is ongoing.
ABUJA— President Goodluck Jonathan, last night, met the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and major party stakeholders as a follow-up to the meeting he had with former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo weekend.
The meeting was aimed at resolving the grouses of senior members of the party. The confusion in the party has led to some Northern governors threatening to leave the party.
Govs to meet IBB, others
Meanwhile, five of the disaffected Northern governors are meeting today with two former heads of state, General Ibrahim Babangida and General Abdulsalami Abubakar as part of their consultations with statesmen on the alleged drift of the party. A meeting with General Theophilus Danjuma is also on the cards, it was learnt.
Last night’s meeting which was in progress at press time came as a result of complaints by the former president and the fact that some of the party’s big wigs were against the emergence of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
Former President Obasanjo and other stakeholders complained of the crises that have gripped the party since the emergence of Tukur as Chairman.
President Jonathan, it was learnt, used yesterday’s meeting as a feedback to party stakeholders on his meeting with the former president in Abeokuta on Saturday. Among those at the meeting yesterday were Tukur and members of the Professor Jerry Gana-led Special Convention Planning Committee.
The urgency of last night’s meeting, it was learnt, followed insinuations that the PDP could soon implode, especially in the North, given warnings from President Obasanjo that some Northern governors could soon be leaving the party.
Nyako to leave PDP this week
Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, it is believed could in fact be leaving the PDP as early as this week upon a resolution reached by his associates last week to abandon the party upon alleged ill-treatment from the Tukur-led national leadership.
During the closed-door meeting with Jonathan in Abeokuta, the former president was reported to have expressed strong reservations on the drift of the party and the bare-knuckle tactics employed by Tukur and President Jonathan to deal with their opponents.
Following the meeting between Jonathan and Obasanjo, four Northern governors, who had in the past pledged not to support Jonathan for a second term, met with the former president. All four – Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Sule Lamido (Jigawa) are also close political associates of the former president.
The four governors who arrived Abeokuta on Friday, a night before Jonathan’s visit, it was learnt, opted out of a meeting with Jonathan and arrived Obasanjo’s residence only after Jonathan had departed.
Though the four governors met Obasanjo only after Jonathan had left, it was believed that they had earlier relayed to the president their misgivings through other channels.
One of the issues allegedly raised was the continuing onslaught against Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State since his re-election as chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF.
The four governors, it was learnt, also conveyed to Obasanjo the hostility they received when three of them visited Amaechi last week during which they were pelted with stones by supporters of Nyesom Wike, the Minister of State for Education.
In his meeting with Jonathan, Obasanjo it was learnt, conveyed to him the agitation and misgivings of party stakeholders and the determination of some like Nyako to leave the party in the face of continuing antagonism by the national leadership.
Crisis in Adamawa
The party in Adamawa State has been in crisis since the emergence of Tukur as National Chairman with the party factionalised between supporters of Governor Nyako and others lined up behind Tukur.
Nyako was also reported to have told the former president of moves by Tukur to doctor the 2012 list of delegates in such a way that would remove Nyako’s supporters as delegates, thereby denying them a voice in the party.
Northern govs push for Presidency in 2015
The four governors who met Obasanjo, told him of their determination to push one of them (name withheld) for the presidential election in 2015.
Former President Obasanjo had in the run-up to the 2011 presidential election canvassed the election of Dr. Jonathan and reportedly brokered a deal between him and northern political stakeholders. However, Obasanjo is now believed to have distanced himself, following his shocking resignation as chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT).
Dr Frederick Fasehun, founder and President of the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, yesterday took on his critics, especially the Yorubas, who criticised him on his support for Major Hamza Al-Mustapha and Alhaji Lateef Shofolahan over the brutal killing of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola.
Fasehun who spoke on his role on the non-guilt verdict passed on the former Chief Security Officer, CSO, to late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha by the Court of Appeal, said he played the role to defend justice and equity.
At a press conference attended by some Ijaw youths, led by Coordinator of Ijaw Monitoring Group, IMG, Comrade Joseph Eva in Lagos, Fasehun said the evidence and the judgment of the appeal court clearly vindicated his earlier position that Al-Mustapha was a victim of “some power that be.”
He argued that contrary to the position maintained by his critics, he had supported Nigeria’s progress and democracy, as well as Yoruba interests than anybody else in the region.
He noted that facts abound that he always had sympathy for the Abiola family, especially the children of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, who he said, “joined OPC at the dawn of the group, and actively encouraged the growth of OPC. We worked together in NADECO.”
He said however, going by the evidence before the court and uncoordinated evidences from the prosecution witnesses, there was no doubt that Al-Mustapha and his co-accused knew nothing about Kudirat’s death.
He therefore charged the government to look for Kudirat’s killers rather than waste taxpayers’ money in further prosecuting the case.
He said: “The real killers of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola is still at large, out there. A fresh hunt must be launched to unmask her real killers, as well as those responsible for killings of Bola Ige, Harry Marshall, Alfred Rewane, Funso Williams, Odunayo Olagbaju, Ogbonnaya Uche, Theodore Agwatu, Barnabas and Abigail Igwe, Bisoye Tejuoso, Aminasoari Dikibo, Philph Olorunnipa, Ayo Daramola, Olaitan Oyerinde and MKO Abiola”
Speaking further on Al-Mustpha’s freedom and why he went to Kano, Fasehun said, “I went to Kano to hand over Al-Mustapha back to his people safe and sound, through Governor Rabiu Kwakwanso and the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero. It was a request Al-Mustapha made, and one I was too glad to grant.
”Something frightened me about Kano –the crowd. Ladies and Gentlemen, I have seen crowds in my lifetime but nothing I ever saw compares to the huge mass of humanity, that turned out to welcome Al-Mustapha back home to Kano.
”It justified everything I did to fight for this Military officer. Can you imagine if this man had died in Lagos! How would that crowd greet the news of his death? What degree of reprisal wouldn’t they have unleashed on the millions of Yoruba people in their midst? Would we not have sentenced our kinsmen to certain death –avoidable death? Today, the Yoruba in Kano walk tall.
”In Kano, Governor Rabiu Kwakwanso described me as the ONLY BRIDGE-BUILDER Nigeria has ever known. When I left Kano last Sunday, 45 Northern dignitaries escorted me to the airport. Such appreciative gestures not only compensate for all the insults I received over the Al-Mustapha case, they indicate that I had achieved my quest for a-handshake-across-the-Niger.”
On the trial, he said what culminated to the freedom of the accused persons were: ”the inordinate delay of the trial, and retracting of supposedly confessional statements erstwhile made by principal prosecution witnesses.”
He said the case would easily rate among the longest in the annals of Nigeria’s justice system.
He noted, “several paradoxes cropped up in the course of the trial to show that the Prosecution actually was taking not just Al-Mustapha but the entire nation for a ride.”
He also listed contradictions in the case to include : “Conflicting witness accounts, prosecution witnesses’ refusal to return for cross-examination, failure to tender any ballistic report on the murder weapon, the inability to provide the actual murder weapon and absence of a voluntary confession from Al-Mustapha.”
He therefore called on Nigerians to now”put Mustapha case behind us and forge the way into the future. The Lagos government must stop wasting taxpayers’ money and immediately dismantle the team it assigned to prosecute the case.”
Olalekan Ishau Abiola, the first son of late Alhaja Kudirat and Moshood Abiola, in this interview, insists his mother’s killers are still living large and walking the streets freely. Excerpt:
What’s your take on the Appeal Court judgement which freed Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan?
In our religion, we were taught that speculation is the worst kind of speech. Unless you are in a room with the conspirator, it is very difficult to say there was conspiracy to jeopardize the case. I think the Lagos State Government did the best it could under extremely difficult situations.
The killing of my mother happened during the Abacha regime, which means that those investigating the murder were investigating the people that perpetrated the act.
One of the things the Appeal Court said was that there was no police report. Probably, the police did not investigate the case in the best way. So, that was the major problem that the Lagos State Government had in pushing the case forward.
But we were fortunate that the principal actors, the person that shot my mother, Sergeant Rogers, admitted it; the person that drove the car admitted it, people that were present when the order was given admitted it. Their confessional statements were written in the dailies. But the weakness in the Nigerian judiciary system that allows the defense lawyer to delay cases, adjourn and make all kinds of motions, delayed the case and within that time, it was messed up.
The same Sergeant Rogers and every other person that confessed, initially, reversed their confession that they were under duress to confess because of the delay in the judicial system.
Besides, it was not only my mother that Sergeant Rogers confessed to have shot in the head. He confessed to have shot the late Alex Ibru, the Guardian Publisher; he shot at the car of Abraham Adesanya. Unfortunately, all the evidence was buried.
The case of late Bola Ige has been buried as well as other high-profile cases. Where are the cases of ex-Governors accused of embezzlement, corruption? None of them have been convicted.
This shows the weakness in the judicial system. Aside that, many witnesses that might have testified in one way or the other might have died, some are nowhere to be found.
So, the weakness in the system has to be addressed for Nigeria to move forward. When my mother was alive, she was receiving threatening phone calls. But she was optimistic that she had a place in Allah’s paradise. And I know that Allah would give her the paradise. So, whether convicted or not, it does not change where she is.
But as human beings, we should discourage this act of injustice for the purpose of the future of this country. Right now, the Nigerian judiciary does not convict people enough. We have become a nation where anything can happen.
I don’t know the kind of signal we are sending as a nation. Nobody has been arrested or convicted for the murder of over 30 students in Yobe State. There are several illegitimate killings going on in the country without anybody being convicted.
It seems the family is not satisfied with the judgement. Are you thinking of going back to court?
We never went to court in the first place. It was the Lagos State government that took the case to court. We never put pressure on the Lagos State government or anybody. All we wanted from the beginning was a fair trial.
But, in this case, we cannot say we have gotten a fair trial. A situation where those believed to be involved in the murder of my mother were discharged and acquitted is a total injustice. This means they are telling me I never had a mother or that she never existed? Who shot my mother? I can’t be happy with the fact that all those who had confessed to have been involved in the murder of my mother are free.
But I am willing to forgive anyone who did it. As moslems, we are mandated to forgive those who trespass against us. But, in this case, nobody has admitted he is guilty. Those who admitted were not convicted. The only good thing is that Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan spent 14 years in jail.
I also appreciate the Judge at the Lagos High Court who was brave enough to pronounce the death sentence on Al-Mustapha and Shofolahan because they did everything within their power to frustrate justice. The fact that the Appeal Court threw the case out has not changed anything. When the death sentence was passed, it was appreciated by many people. But when the Appeal Court threw it out, people were shocked.
If the Lagos State government decides to go to the Supreme court, I will support it because the Supreme Court started the dismantling of this case.
The first time Mohammed Abacha said was that he had no case to answer. The Supreme Court accepted that he had no case to answer which was ridiculous. A case that had not been judged at the lower court was hijacked at the Supreme Court. The case has been messed up. But my candid opinion is that going to court is a waste of time.
Do you think Al-Mustapha was actually involved in the murder of your mother? The Appeal Court said there was no concrete evidence to prove he was guilty.
Speculation is the worst kind of thing. I believe the initial confession by Sergeant Rogers about how Al-Mustapha gave the gun and the order to carry out the operation. I believe he was not only involved in my mother’s killing but in the killings of other people.
So, if he likes, let him go to Kano and present himself as a hero. Let the Kano State Government give him a title or make him Imam of their Central Mosque. But I know that the Almighty Allah will judge the case himself.
If he had a hand in it, he should make his repentance to Allah but the chances of his repentance to be accepted by God are very slim because it has to do with blood. He has a case with God and the injured party. In this case, the injured party is dead, so no one can compensate a dead person. The fact is that they deprived my mother of her life unjustly and of motherly role.
Even if they had upheld the death sentence, no governor would have signed it. Since democracy was brought back to Nigeria, the only governor who had the nerve to sign a death warrant was Oshiomole of Edo State. No other person has done that because they are all cowards. So, the case would have been buried. But, if Al-Mustapha had a hand in my mother’s death, I know he will not go scotfree. And whoever had a hand in the killing of my mother will be punished by God.
What is your position on his status in the Army?
They can make him a General or Chief of Army Staff, I don’t care. But it is very unfortunate. My mother fought and gave her life and she knew that her life was at risk. We were begging her to leave Nigeria but she insisted. This woman fought for the democracy that Nigerians are enjoying today, but it is unfortunate that the present government could not ensure that she got justice. Her fight was successful, but it is a shame that the Nigerian democratic government could not repay her for the justice she deserved.
Patience Jonathan has kicked off political campaign for her husband and Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, ahead of the 2015 Presidential elections despite the warning by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, against such campaigns ahead of 2015.
Patience’s presence in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, southsouth Nigeria, has become a liability to residents and those doing business in the state since Saturday, 15 June because of the security presence in the state capital.
She paid a courtesy visit to the Apiti of Rumueme and President-in-council Rumueme Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nyenwe-Eli Omunnakwe Nyeche Nsirim, on Tuesday, 18 June. While there, she called on the people of Obio Akpor to give her husband massive support anytime he declares his interest to re-contest for the presidency in 2015.
“My husband is also your son and by the grace of God, we’ll not disappoint you and will never forget you. I thank you people so much for supporting my husband. I thank you people for promising that if he comes out by 2015 that you will stand by him. I am happy to thank you people for that. I always know my people will always stand by me, your daughter, and my husband is equally your son.”
The President’s wife also advised the people to be law abiding because no meaningful development can take place in a crisis ridden area.
In his remarks, the Paramount ruler of the Rumueme kingdom, Nsirim, advised those who want to go to the North to do so but added that they should allow those who wish to remain in Rivers State enjoy peace in 2015.
“Those who want to drag us to the North because the position and money they are collecting should know that Rivers State people are not fish and nobody can sell us,” he said.
The paramount ruler is the father of Prince Timothy Nsirim, the suspended Chairman of Obio Akpor Local Government. He was suspended by the Rivers State House of Assembly for alleged financial misappropriation.
P.M.NEWS can report that since Mrs Jonathan arrived the state capital, a part of Government Reserved Area, GRA, which is a few minutes’ walk from Government House, Port Harcourt has been cordoned off by soldiers and with Police Trooper Vehicles manned by officers and men from anti-riot and anti-terrorist squads of the police.
Several roads within the area that links Mrs Jonathan’s mansion with the Forces Avenue, Isaac Boro road and Amassoma road have also been blocked.
Similarly, the road just after the office of the Department Of State Security Service, DSS, that also links to her new mansion where the First Lady is putting up close to a Port Harcourt school newly built by Governor Amaechi, has been blocked at both ends by anti-riot policemen.
The Commissioner for Education, Ms Alice Lawrence Nimi, was on Wednesday, 19 June, disallowed by armed soldiers from driving into the newly built Port Harcourt Secondary School, the venue of one-day advocacy and orientation workshop for teachers on the structure and effective implementation of the new Senior Secondary School education curriculum.
All attempts to drive her official car bearing Rivers Government plate number into the venue were scuttled. She was ordered to park near Orosi House that was gutted by fire a few years ago, far away from the venue and trekked to the school to declare open the one day workshop.
Professor Godswill Obioma, Executive Secretary, the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, (NERDC)who was represented by Mr. Omitade Salami, South-South Coordinator NERDC delivered the welcome address.
Meanwhile, the mansion of President Jonathan’s wife has become a rallying point for the anti-Amaechi opposition politicians.
FACTIONAL chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Jonah Jang, on Monday said he never claimed to be the governor of Rivers State; hence he could not be accused of impersonating Governor Rotimi Amaechi.
Jang spoke in response to an accusation by Amaechi that he (Jang) was impersonating him by calling for the meeting of the NGF.
Amaechi had said he read in the media that Jang called a meeting of the governors, adding that such amounted to impersonation because he (Amaechi) as the chairman of the NGF did not call any meeting.
He therefore called on the governors to disregard Jang’s call for a meeting since he (Amaechi) did not send the notice.
“Am I claiming to be the Governor of Rivers State? How am I then impersonating him?” he asked in Abuja while responding to journalists questions after he presided over the meeting of his faction of the NGF.
At the meeting were the governors of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Delta, Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Taraba, Bauchi, Ondo and Imo states.
Benue State governor was however represented by his deputy.
The governors were later led by Jang into a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa.
Journalists were barred from the meeting which started at exactly 10pm on Monday.
Missing at the meeting were governors of Niger, Kano, Sokoto, Ekiti, Osun, Lagos, Oyo, Osun,Edo and Rivers states. The governors that were not at the meeting called by Jang and also absent at the meeting with the President were those loyal to Amaechi in the NGF.
The NGF became polarised after the Forum’s controversial election last month with both Jang and Amaechi claiming victory in the election, but the Rivers governor was said to have polled 19 votes, while the Plateau governor was said to have had the support of 16 of his colleagues.
However, President Jonathan has recognised Jang as Chairman of NGF. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party has suspended Amaechi for alleged anti-party activities.
The Rivers governor had accused the PDP of a witch-hunt, saying it was only in the PDP that a governor could be suspended without being given the opportunity to defend himself.
Meanwhile, the President on Monday met behind closed doors with five PDP governors in the fence-mending committee set up by Jonathan.
The governors are those of Bayelsa, Dickson; Akwa Ibom, Godswill Akpabio; Abia, Theodore Orji; Delta, Emmanuel Uduaghan; Bauchi, Isa Yuguda; and Katsina, Ibrahim Shema.
They were led into the President’s office at about 5pm by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim; and the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Dr. Ahmed Gulak.
Vice-President Namadi Sambo also attended the meeting.
A source told one of our correspondents that the meeting provided the governors an opportunity to report back to Jonathan on their assignment.
They came out of the President’s office at about 6.20pm without talking to journalists.