NEWS AND STORIES
Adams Oshiomhole – National Chairman
Mai Mala Buni – National Secretary
Niyi Adebayo – Deputy National Chairman
Babatunde Ogala – National Legal Adviser
Bankole Oluwajana – National Vice Chairman (South West)
Mohammed Sani – Deputy National Organizing Secretary
Tunde Bello – National Financial Secretary
Ibrahim Masari – National Welfare Secretary
Jock Alamba – Deputy National Welfare Secretary
*North Central: Nelson Alapa (Ex-Officio ); Hassana Abdullahi (National Women Leader ); Zakari Mohammed (Zonal Secretary); Ibrahim Abdul (Zonal Organizing Secretary); Makop Masoic Danladi (Zonal Special Leader).
*North East: Mohammed Abba Isa (Zonal Special Leader); Abubakar Sadiq Ajiya (Zonal Secretary); Mamman Isa Azare (Ex-Officio).
*North West: Nasiru Dano (Ex-Officio); Misbahu Lainan Didi (National Special Leader); Abdulmunaf Mohammed (Zonal Organising Secretary); Tukur Abdulkadir Gusau (Zonal Secretary).
*South-South: Rachael Akpabio (Zonal Women Leader); Koteten Ibadan (Ex-Officio); Johnson Maafo (Zonal Special Leader).
*South -West: Olu Kemi Titilola Nelson (Zonal Women Leader); Olusegun Tomorin (Zonal Youth Leader); Tajudeen Lamboye (Zonal Organising Secretary); Tajudeen Bello (National Financial Secretary); Omolaoye Oluremi Akintola (Ex-Officio); Adelabu Paul Ayolade (Zonal Special Leader).
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has expressed surprise over what it called the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) new found proclivity for spewing falsehood in the name of opposition rhetoric and politics.
“Whatever is left of PDP, after years of suicidal gluttony, can only whine about imaginary persecution while wilfully ignoring the efforts being made to literally clear the mess they created and build a new Nigeria in line with the change agenda promised the electorate,” the APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, said in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja.
Abdullahi was reacting to a recent statement credited to the PDP spokesperson in which the APC was accused of among others; corruption, sectionalism and opposition clampdown, in the leadup to the 2019 elections.
He said the APC had not inherited ‘undemocratic practice’ in its governance style both in its internal politics and the country’s administration, under President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said that it was a ‘widely-known fact’ that suppressing the opposition was the stock in trade of the PDP during its defunct 16-year rule.
Abdullahi said the past PDP administrations used state apparatus to harass opposition figures as seen in the attack on the APC data centre, blockade of the air and road routes to prevent movement of then opposition leaders in the leadup to the 2015 elections, among other clampdowns.
“The PDP without an iota of proof, rather spewing laughable conspiracies accuses the APC-led administration of ‘barefaced looting’. Elections are around the corner and Nigerians are not gullible. They see through the PDP’s diversionary antics aimed at deflecting attention from the wanton culture of impunity and corruption it instituted when it held sway.
“Do we forget the PDP administration’s unwillingness to operate the now implemented Treasury Single Account (TSA) which has greatly plugged government revenue leakages? Do we forget the voodoo economics, reckless fiscal policies and shocking pillage of the public treasury perpetuated during past PDP administrations?
“Do we forget confessions by the immediate-past finance minister and coordinating minister of the economy, reporting “zero political will to save” under the immediate-past administration. Do we forget the $2.2 billion anti-insurgency funds fraudulently diverted and disbursed by the erstwhile National Security Adviser to political associates of the immediate-past President and PDP members, while our military personnel on the frontlines were ill-equipped and demoralized, resulting in many avoidable deaths and the maiming of our gallant men in uniform?
“PDP's narrative is anchored on the belief that if they continue to throw these wild allegations around, somehow Nigerians will forget what they truly represent and the atrocities that they have committed against the country. Alas, Nigerians are wiser now and our memories are longer. We can forgive, but we will not forget.
“Change is perhaps the most difficult idea to implement in our societies, but sometimes, it becomes necessary or even inevitable, just as Nigeria found itself in 2015 because of PDP misrule,” the statement further read.
The party, which urged Nigerians to remain steadfast, promised to propel the country on the path of growth in all facets.
The growing anxiety over the 2019 general elections appears to be having serious effects on the economy. No doubt, whatever happens in the political arena is bound to affect the market positively or negatively. Politicians are therefore warned to desist from actions and utterances that could negatively impact the nation’s fragile democracy and the even more fragile economy.
Feelers from the stock market show that investors have lost a whooping N729 billion to election anxiety in just three months of decline, obviously in response to the rising political intrigues ahead of the elections. The development is contrary to the general expectations of positive earnings in 2018 after the troubled economy apparently emerged from a recession at the end of 2017.
Indication is that the decline occurred between February and April, after a January rise triggered strong anticipations amid improving macro-economic indications in domestic and global economies.
Analysts, operators and investors alike have linked the decline to “extraneous factors” and “profit taking,” because the subsisting market “fundamentals and upbeat economic data failed to support a much-expected healthy stock price recovery.”
As it were, investors and traders who are mostly foreigners are concerned about the political risks associated with the 2019 elections. The fear of the unknown may have forced many of them to prefer to sit on the fence and watch as things unfold.
After the January and mid-February rally, surprisingly, the market reportedly recorded unprecedented reversal in performance contrary to predictions. This has been blamed, not incorrectly, on the tension that has plagued the political space in recent times.
Of particular note are the killings by the Fulani herdsmen and cases of political thuggery, which have aggravated apathy in investment. Investors are expectedly walking in fear of political risks, believing that violence in the country could trigger panic and lead to massive dumping of shares.
There are signs that the political situation is worsening as evidenced in the ward congresses of the ruling party held across the country the other day, which were marred by conflicts and recriminations leading to cancellations and rescheduling of polls in some states. Besides, the Ekiti and Osun state gubernatorial polls in the coming months this year are being mired in an atmosphere of tension.
Consequently, there is indifference in the market as foreign investors that play a dominant role have resorted to massive sell-off of shares. Indications are that the weak response to earnings is evidence of low liquidity, given, especially, that Nigeria’s 2018 budget passed only last week is yet to be assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, thereby, leaving the economy to run entirely on monetary stimulus.
One way out of a possible backlash on the economy is that government should adopt pragmatic strategies that would guarantee peaceful campaigns and stabilise the polity to ensure a sustainable market rebound.
Furthermore, it needs to be recognised that insecurity and social disorder are disincentives to investment. Government should rise to the challenge of tackling, with all seriousness, the unfortunate developments in order to restore investors’ confidence.
The polity must be calm. Politicians need to be upright and play by the rule by following due process to ensure a peaceful atmosphere ahead of the elections.
Politicians need not overheat the polity. They need not come up with frivolities that would generate conflict and crises as these affect the capital market and the economy as a whole.
Besides, as the elections draw nearer, law enforcement officers should be more proactive. They should be able to identify flashpoints and ensure that a robust security arrangement is implemented to prevent the breakdown of law and order.
Faced with all the uncertainties, only the most daring of investors could come at this time of uncertainty and fear. Even local investors people are scared of investing.
Government should, of course, stop the growing spate of killings across the country since government alone has the capacity to stop it. There is no way a credible election could be held amid the bloodbath in many parts of the country.
Needless to say that the 2019 elections could make or mar the country depending on how politicians carry themselves. Would they allow patriotism and love for fatherland to dictate their actions and utterances or grant selfish interest to becloud their reasoning? Elections in Nigeria are often associated with gloom.
Certainly, Nigeria’s fragile economy cannot absorb any politically motivated upheaval wisdom demands that elections are conducted in a rancour-free atmosphere and manner, so that democracy and of course, the economy do not go up in smoke.
Mr Hillary Ekeh has been re-elected as Imo APC party Chairman in the just concluded APC state congress in Imo.
The party delegates who described the congress election as peaceful and successful also re-elected Deputy Chairman Mr Ugochukwu Nzekwe.
But Gov. Rochas Okorocha described the election as illegal claiming that there was a court injunction restraining the party from conducting the election.
Okorocha’s Chief press Secretary Mr Sam Onwuemeodo yesterday issued a statement that the governor had obtained an injunction from an Owerri high court to stop the congress.
The party Chairman Hillary Ekeh countered the claim by saying neither he nor any member of the executive was served the injunction notice.
But the Imo police command claimed an injunction notice was served them and appealed that the congress be put on hold.
Andrew Enwerem, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) who disclosed this added that police will not allow any illegal gathering in the state.
Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after the election, Sen Ifeanyi Araraume described the congress election as peaceful and well-coordinated.
He said there was no fracas or any form of violence during the process and commended the party chairman for his re-election.
He also lauded party delegates who in their wisdom decided to retain Ekeh as their chairman.
Asked if he has any idea of the injunction notice, Araraume said there was nothing like injunction stopping the conduct of the election.
“We the party stakeholders have no idea of any injunction, but even if there is an injunction nobody had been served so our election has to move on,” he said.
Sen Hope Uzodinma in a telephone interview said that there was no hitch during the conduct of the election, adding that the congress in Imo indicated that democracy is growing in Imo.
Deputy Governor Mr Eze Madumere said the state congress was held successfully and the mandate of the people has been protected.
But the Deputy Chief of Staff to Gov. Okorocha, Kingsley Uju insisted that a faction of the party went into an unknown place to hold state congress even when a court injunction was served against the conduct of the election.
Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Saturday held two separate congresses that led to the emergence of two executives.
While one congress, the clearly dominant one, held at the party’s secretariat on Acme Road, Ogba, another congress, by a splinter group held at the Airport Hotel, Ikeja.
The congress at the State Secretariat produced Alhaji Tunde Balogun, a former commissioner, as chairman while the one at the Airport Hotel produced Fuad Oki as chairman.
It was not clear whether Oki’s congress was supervised by officials sent by the National secretariat of the APC .
The National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s group produced the Balogun led executive at a congress conducted at the party secretariat on ACME Road, by the State Congress Committee headed by Senator Uche Ekwunife.
At the congress held at the APC Secretariat on ACME Road, Balogun became the party chairman, Chief Sunny Ajose (Deputy Chairman), Chief Funsho Ologunde (vice-chairman, West), Mr Kayode Olusanya (vice-chairman, East), Mr Hakeem Bamigbala (vice-chaiman, Central), Dr. Wale Ahmed (secretary), Ms Olasunmbo (treasurer), Barrister Joana Adebobuyi (assistant treasurer), Mr Joe Igbokwe (publicity secretary), Hon. Abiodun Salami (assistant publicity secretary), Ademola Sadiq (legal adviser).
They were all elected by affirmation, as all of them were consensus candidates.
Chairman of the State Congress Committee, Senator Ekwunife lauded the arrangements for the exercise that ensured that it went on peacefully without any rancour, expressing her gratitude to party leadership in the state for the cooperation and support for her committee, even as she promised to sell Lagos to other states of the Federation on the way to go about having a rancour-free transition.
According to her, “We are going to suggest to others the need to emulate Lagos on how to have a smooth transition,” adding that the outgoing party chairman, Otunba Henry Ajomale, was happy leaving the position for others to take over.
She thanked Ajomale for his leadership role, which she said had seen Lagos growing from strength to strength.
Ajomale, who spoke earlier, thanked party members and leaders for their support and cooperation that had ensured he and his team delivered their best for APC, declaring that the speech he was giving would not be his valedictory since “we are still part and parcel of the party membership.”
Ajomale, while welcoming the state governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode; party chieftains, the about 1,500 delegates, contestants, among others to the exercise, charged incoming leadership to do more and excel, pointing out that Lagos held the prestigious position of being “chairman of chairmen of all state chapters of APC in Nigeria.”
However, at the parallel congress held at Lagos Hotel, Ikeja, Mr, Fuad Oki, a former Campaign Director for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Raji Fashola and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, emerged as the chairman, while Mr. Sanni Oloye and Mr Wole Oshodi became deputy chairman and secretary respectively.
Oki was also a past vice-chairman (Central) of APC in the state.
In separate interviews, the new chairman of APC, Alhaji Balogun; spokesman Mr Joe Igbokwe and member of the House of Representatives, Abiodun Faleke dismissed the Oki congress. The trio said whichever congress held outside the party office was null and void.
Oki, however said that the congress held by his group was authentic, declaring that the exercise that took place at the Airport Hotel could not be described as parallel in whatever way.
According to him, the congress held at Airport Hotel was the only legitimate one, saying he was not aware of any parallel congress.
‘What we did here was the election of one party, the APC. This is a coalition of different groups, namely; Justice Forum, the Mandate and United Group,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s suggestion that former Edo governor Adams Oshiomhole be elected APC National Chairman is a personal opinion and not an imposition, according to Gov Umar Ganduje of Kano.
“Buhari’s choice on who becomes the APC next national chairman is his personal opinion; it is not an imposition in any way,” Ganduje told newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Buhari, at a meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, asked governors elected on APC platform to support the candidacy of Oshiomhole in the race to lead the party.
Ganduje, while reacting to that, said that everybody was free to contest for the seat just as everybody was free to hold an opinion on who should lead the party.
´´Mr President’s opinion is not constitutional and it is not a non-constitutional opinion as well. He just voiced out his thought which will serve as a guideline to some and otherwise to others,´´ he said.
The governor added that the issue of Buhari’s opinion being undemocratic does not arise.
“There is what we call guided democracy and we regard what Mr President said as such,” he stated.
He, however, said that if President Buhari´s choice of the party´s next national chairman would ensure its stability and avoid a fallout after the election, it would be better for all.
Also reacting to Buhari’s choice of Oshiomhole, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, said that the President’s position would not prevent others from contesting the seat.
Abdullahi, who spoke with newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja, at the end of a closed-door meeting between the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and Governors elected on its platform, said that the race was still open.
He, however, said that the meeting between the NWC members and the governors was to get their commitment toward a peaceful and transparent congresses that would be accepted by majority of APC members.
“We felt that such commitment was necessary because some of the party´s governors are already giving the impression that congresses will not be held in some states,” he explained.
Abdullahi hinted that the party´s leadership may change the dates for its congresses and convention earlier announced to commence on May 2 and end with the national convention on May 14.
“We have agreed that the NWC will go back and take a second look at the timetable and see the possibility for adjustments, because there are other issues.
“The timetable may be reviewed because it coincides with Muslim’s month of fasting; we must be sensitive to the feelings of Muslims who will be fasting in the month of Ramadan. We shall try to avoid conducting any political activities in that period,´´ he said.
The schedule of activities earlier released by the party´s Organising Secretary, Sen. Osita Izunaso, had indicated that ward congresses would hold on May 2, while appeals that might arise from the exercise would be heard on May 3.
It further showed that local government congresses would hold on May 5, with appeals arising from the exercise fixed for May 7.
The states are expected to hold their congresses on May 9, and entertain appeals from dissatisfied members on May 10. (NAN)
A former Special Adviser on Revenue Mobilisation to Chief Bola Tinubu, Dr. Charles Nwadiani, has said the reason he wants to govern Delta State from 2019 is to enable him expand the frontiers of governance and rescue the people of Delta State from oppressive governance.
Dr. Nwadiani who is a governorship aspirant of the All Progressive Congress spoke to newsmen at the Benin Airport.
Nwadiani noted that Governors in Delta State have failed to replicate good governance as applicable elsewhere in the country.
He stated that having helped to lay the foundation for modern Lagos while serving as a Special Adviser to former Governor Ahmed Tinubu in Lagos state, he hoped to replicate the same feat in Delta State.
Dr. Nwadiani said he would focus on improving security, youth empowerment and making the state an attraction hub for investors through massive investment in agriculture.
His words, “The most important thing is bringing the culture of good governance and expanding its frontiers to the Niger Delta, making Delta State, the root of great developmental strides. We have limited our action plans to 4 years and we will implement in these 4 years and successive governments will build on it.
“We will mount surveillance cameras everywhere, make the state safe for investors because if you do not have investors, you will only end up killing the people with multiple taxation and we will achieve this within the first 6 months in office”
“We will create an organ called Delta state emergency agency (DELSMA). The DELSMA will involve us building a microfinance bank for the youths of delta state. The youths will have access to loans of up to 5million Naira to build their entrepreneurial skills, thereby becoming employers of labour”.
“We also will employ a lot of youths into the Agricultural sector. We have vast land in the state that can be converted for agricultural purpose and this, we intend to do. After we have done these, we can then conveniently secure the trust of investors. We will have more investors coming and even those that ran away from the state will come back”
“We will rebuild our industries, our moribund factories through adequate funding and putting competent hands and then, we can begin to look at revenue generation in the next one year”, he noted.
Former Ekiti state governor and current Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi on Sunday says he will contest the July 14 gubernatorial election coming up soon in the state under the APC.
He made his ambition known at a news conference at his Isan-Ekiti country home in Oye Local Government Area of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Fayemi had hosted leaders and scores of members of the party from all the 16 Local Government Areas and the 177 Wards of the state.
He said he was driven by his past records of positive achievements, especially for workers, retirees and pensioners while in office in the state.
He explained that his decision to seek re-election was to deliver the state from incompetent and dubious hands and take her to where its supposed to be.
NAN reports that the former governor becomes the 35th person to formally indicate interest in the governorship poll in the APC alone, aside from dozen others whose campaign posters and billboards are already out on the streets without formal declaration.
Fayemi said he would formally submit his letter of intent to the state secretariat of the APC as soon as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lifts ban on campaigns on April 15.
On the issue of a White Paper, indicting him for corruption and consequently banned him from seeking public office for 10 years, Fayemi said he was not bothered.
He declared that the said White Paper cannot stop his ambition, describing the document as final result of several months of political witchhunt launched against him by the Ayo Fayose-led administration that cannot stand the test of time.
“Regardless of whatever anybody may think, I know I am eminently qualified to contest the election, if I am not qualified, I would never have come to tell you I want to contest.
“Most of the negative things Fayose and his government said or alleged of me were deliberately concocted out of malice to either malign my character or score cheap political goal; but the truth will always prevail.
“Same goes for the manipulated debt profile of the state which was a clear case of exaggeration and distortions.
“Can you imagine, Fayose said he issued White Paper banning me from holding public office, but today, I am giving him red card. By the end of the gubernatorial poll exercise, we will know who is right between the two of us,” he said.
The Minister vowed to dislodge Fayose and his deputy in the poll if picked at the May 5, 2018 gubernatorial primary of the party in Ado Ekiti.
He advised other aspirants against divisive tendencies by their followers, stressing that whoever that eventually emerged from the coming primary must be embraced by all since the national secretariat of the party had promised that the whole exercise would be open, free and fair.
He promised to use his second-term to correct all past mistakes and improve on the good ones, saying he had learnt his lessons since leaving office about four years ago as governor.
Fayemi, therefore, asked all those he offended while in office as governor to forgive him, while also saying he had forgiven all those who erred against him, in the interest of the party.
He warned Fayose not to attempt to remove or destroy his campaign posters and billboards the way his government was currently doing to some opposition posters.
The minister was however silent on when he would be resigning his appointment as minister from the Federal Executive Council.
The House of Representatives has lifted the suspension placed on the former Chairman of its Committee on Appropriation, Rep. Abdulmumin Jibrin (Kano-APC).
This followed a letter of apology sent to the House by Jibrin, which was presented by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, at plenary on Tuesday.
The lawmaker was suspended in 2017 for 180 legislative days for allegedly exposing “budget padding” scandal in the legislative arm of government.
Presenting the letter, Dogara said that the suspended legislator had met all the conditions necessary for him to resume his duties.
He therefore said that Jibrin was free to resume his legislative duties whenever he wished.
THE increasingly crowded field battling to replace Ayodele Fayose as the next governor of Ekiti State, just received a different kind of aspirant. Almost all who have indicated interest in the governor’s seat have been male, now a new female challenger has tossed her hat into the ring.
She joins the likes of Dr. Mojisola Kolade of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who has formally declared interest. In the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Biodun Olujimi’s posters have been sighted around the state although she is yet to formally state her intentions.
But real estate consultant and media entrepreneur, Princess Oluwatoyin Aladejana of the Aladejana royal family of Iworoko-Ekiti, is leveraging on more than her gender to make a case for suitability for the office of governor.
The businesswoman who is aspiring on the platform of Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) has this to say about her aspiration in a piece titled ‘A Heartfelt Proposal to My Beloved Ekiti’:
‘I do have aspiration for that section of Nigeria called Ekiti. You may enquire: “What manner of aspiration does she have?”
My simple answer is this: I aspire to see a certain kind of Ekiti. New; Reborn; Prosperous; Peaceful… And that is just the beginning. The vision is as clear as daylight before my eyes. Yes, I do aspire for an Ekiti of my dreams.
I long for an Ekiti that is purposefully optimistic, solution-persuaded and courageous; an Ekiti that will not relent until her people attain spiritual, social, economic and psychological fulfillment.
I picture an Ekiti of decently-grounded folks, tempered by a deep sense of responsibility towards the success of our collective, phenomenal heritage; with patriotic individuals who would therefore seek after her good, and only her good.
I desire an Ekiti of intellectual achievement “firsts”; a state that maintains her cerebral soundness: that replicates the kind of brainy unassailability which caused the late Chief S. L. Akintola, Western Nigeria’s Deputy Premier in the heady First Republic, to acknowledge and assertively proclaim in the midst of his political campaigns that: “O ba di’we EKITI O ka o…” Translation: Par adventure a human being transforms into a book, the Ekiti indigene would read that individual.”
I dream, yes, of an Ekiti where unemployment and lack are viewed as the inconveniences of our distant past, because the comparative advantage in natural and intellectual resources have been effectively harnessed; enabling each local government to be an independent economic hub that is self-sustaining – by providing trading opportunities, employment and commercial prosperity to her immediate environment. This economic reality will be achieved through well-thought out public-private partnerships with patriotic, indigenous investors and their foreign partners.
Igbemo Ekiti then becomes the incontrovertible rice milling and distribution center of Nigeria’s South-West, and her neighboring nations.
I see a fountain of knowledge that encapsulates Igbole as the “Silicone Valley” of Sub-Saharan Africa. The irrefutable hub of innovative inventions and ever evolving brilliance…
In truth, who could put a price tag on Ekiti life, or measure her ingenuity in fiscal terms? Our mind, our spirit, our imagination, our overall worth is priceless. We are fearfully and wonderfully crafted by God Almighty! We keep evolving in indisputably, superior leaps and bounds. We are unstoppable!
I aspire for an Ekiti where the rule of law conscientiously subsists as the “Rule of God;” A place where her people can boast of stability in every facet of the life… administration in, and administration out. After all we only change administrators not the constitutionally enacted systems…
An Ekiti that fearlessly elects her own leaders without pecuniary considerations, but rather with patriotic zeal, integrity and love – knowing that the fate of generations to come depend on the quality of the choices they make.
An Ekiti where love triumphs over all prejudices, where God’s limitless grace, our unconditional affection for one another, and zealous cooperation cause us to rise victoriously above our daunting challenges
O! What delight it would be to live in an Ekiti that recognizes the futility of pointing accusing fingers at the failings of our leaders, but rather embracing their strengths, however minuscule; remembering that these great men and women, practically put their very own existences and that of their families on the line to ensure that our interests as “Ekitians” are substantially served.
I fully subscribe to an environmentally conducive, bountiful Ekiti; whose luxuriant soil defies drought, desertification, and famine. The Ekiti with an unending row of trees set to capture harmful carbon dioxide, leaving us with wholesome air to breathe.
I envision the awesomeness of living in an Ekiti where even a toddler understands the life redeeming benefits of recycling and, therefore, practices it as he tosses his empty coke can into the neighborhood recycle bin.
How refreshing would it be, waking up to an Ekiti whose lush and lofty hills have become the majestic domain of sky high windmills with rotational prowess’ that call forth electrical power; to behold a “Fountain of Knowledge” where The Creator’s solar that keeps humanity warm is transformed by technology into energy that powers the day and illuminates the night. I could go on…
Mere dreams? Not likely, if we can promptly snap out of our apathy and take the bull by the horns. If we can embrace with fierce urgency the needs of Ekiti now! How? By taking our own destinies in our hands. By firmly and decisively grasping the fast approaching relay baton from the hands of professional rogues masquerading as politicians and proceeding with precision to determine the sustenance of our prestigious heritage.
Finally, precious folks! I propose a resounding toast to an Ekiti whose latter day glory far exceeds the former – in reach, depth, width and length.
Ekiti a ro wa l’orun; ni oruko Jesu! Amin.
Former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, has said the President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government is bereft of ideas on how to move the country forward.
Lamido who was in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, to solicit for support as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential flag bearer in next year’s election said it was for this reason he was offering himself for service to salvage the country from collapse.
Lamido who visited Governor Ben Ayade described the PDP as the party owned by Nigerians with genuine concern for the welfare of all Nigerians irrespective of their tribe or religion as in the case by the ruling party.
“Today we witness the collapsed of governance because they were not prepared in the first place. They only came together to grab power at the centre without proper planning, that is why today we have hunger-haram in the country,” he said.
Three former ministers are leading an exodus of top members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after efforts to heal the wounds of the last national convention of the party hit the rocks.
Ex-Information Minister Jerry Gana,ex-Education Minister Tunde Adeniran and ex-Niger Delta Minister Godsday Orubebe are moving to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) which is merging with the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Peoples Salvation Party (PSP) to form a formidable party ahead of next year’s elections.
More chieftains of the PDP are expected to join them, The Nation gathered yesterday.
The Olusegun Obasanjo-inspired Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) is in talks with the SDP to work together.
The likes of Gana, Adeniran and Orubebe, all founding members of the PDP, are still displeased with what they see as the hijack of the party by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and others during the party’s last national convention.
Adeniran was defeated in a bitter chairmanship election by Wike’s candidate, Uche Secondus.
A high powered committee headed by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State to reconcile the aggrieved members could not help the situation.
The aggrieved party chieftains launched into a marathon meeting/negotiation with the leadership of SDP on Thursday night in Abuja for a merger.
The meeting ended early yesterday with the the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the coalescing group at Ladi Kwali Hall in Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.
Joining Gana from the PDP are a former Military Administrator of Katsina State, Sen. Joseph Akaagerger; a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Peter Godsday Orubebe; Chief Mike Oghiadhome, who was a former Chief of Staff to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan; ex-Governor Saminu Turaki of Jigawa State; and ex-Minister of Defence, Dr. Olu Agunloye and a former Deputy Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, Hon. Dare Emiola.
Also teaming up with SDP are a former member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Junaid Mohammed; Sen. Bassey Ewa Hensaw; a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Olamide Oni; Supo Shonibare (South-West Zonal chairman of SDP), Hon. Dipo Olaitan (a former leader of the Alliance for Democracy in the House of Representatives); a former Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Kehinde Ayoola; Amb. Yemi Farounbi; leaders of the Middle Belt Forum; Mr. John Dara; the leaders of the National Intervention Forum led by Dr. Tafawa Balewa; Amb Bejide; Shehu Gabam who gave the vote of thanks.
A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae is a stalwart of the SDP.
Although ex-Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and a former Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ibrahim Mantu were part of the preliminary talks, it was unclear why they were not at the signing of the MoU.
A highly placed source in the group said:”As a matter of fact, Mantu propped up the name of a party which should be included in the merger but it was rejected. He attended the initial meeting but by the time the MoU was signed, he was not there.
“We are hopeful that he will be at our subsequent meetings. Some of our leaders are suspecting that Mantu may chicken out because he has been begging Adeniran and Gana not to leave PDP.
The MoU entered into by the leaders was obtained yesterday by The Nation.
Jointly signed by Falae (for SDP) and Prof. Gana (for Movement for a New Political Order), the MoU reads in part: “Whereas on the 12th Day of February 2018, a joint resolution was adopted at Sheraton Hotel Abuja, for working together to ensure the emergence of a new and credible political order to deepen democracy, good governance and genuine development, with peace, security and social justice. The said meeting also unanimously resolved to build:
a)a restructured, balanced equitable and truly functional Nigerian Federation:
b)a humane, free, seIf-reliant and democratic society;
“Whereas, it was also agreed that the proposed movement shall be directed, driven and defined by such core values as: 1. Justice, fairness, equity and progress; 2. Democracy, good leadership, good governance and sustainable development; 3. Transparency, integrity, truth and honour; 4. Accountability and zero tolerance for corruption; 5. Respect for human dignity, human rights and sanctity of human life;; and 6. Peace, security, harmony, cooperative solidarity, within the rule of law; and 7. International cooperation for a common humanity within a secure and peaceful order.
“Whereas, the movement further resolved to be inspired and motivated by the ideals of social democracy, with great emphasis on: the triumph of social justice; the nobility of human dignity; the harmony of fairness and equality; the power of working together in solidarity; the excellence of good governance, driven by good leadership; the wisdom of reforms and transformation far beyond mere growth; the horror of poverty, demanding eradication; the dignity of prosperity; the imperative of democracy and the security of peace with justice
“Whereas with due reference to these objectives, core values, and ideals, a Strategy Committee was mandated to search for a suitable, popular, meaningful and widespread platform, with a name that already resonates with the people and to make appropriate recommendations; and
“Whereas, the Strategic Committee, comprising representatives from all the six geopolitical zones of the Federation, have met and submitted their report, unanimously recommending the adoption of Social Democratic Party(SDP) vehicle by the movement for a new political order:
“Therefore, we hereby resolutely agree to: (a) Fuse together into one political form; (b) adopt the Social Democratic Party(SDP) as the political vehicle for the fused political formation; (c) Convene a non-elective convention for Saturday, 14th April, 2018; (d) authorize the National Working Committee to serve as the Interim Management Committee until the said convention; Set up a National Steering Committee of 12 members to guide the Interim Management Committee during the transition period; Raise a Constitution Review Committee to consider all necessary amendments to the party constitution.”
Speaking with our correspondent last night, Dr. Junaid Mohammed said: “Those involved in SDP are the Peoples Redemption Party(PRP), Peoples Salvation Party(PSP), the Social Democratic Party(SDP) and some elements of Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). It was like a merger but we do not want to call it so because the All Progressives Congress(APC) has destroyed the concept of merger.
“I am an optimist, I believe SDP will make a great impact. The main reason I want to be associated with it is because it is ideologically driven. Even it was not ideologically driven before, it has to be ideologically driven.
Asked if some governors and National Assembly members have subscribed to SDP, Mohammed added: “It is not compulsory to have governors or members of the National Assembly in a party to succeed. There are about 65 to 67 parties thereabout in the country. In terms of electoral performance, most of the parties are not on ground. The two parties which have led the country are not doing well. They have impacted negatively on the economy and our political life. A three-party or a four or five -party system will be better.”
A top source in the SDP said: “The SDP has been approached by the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) which has been founded by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. We are hopeful that our ongoing talks will be fruitful.
“We share common ideals with the CNM on how to move the nation forward.”
The special press statement of former President Olusegun Obasanjo urging President Muhammadu Buhari not to run in 2019 drew more flaks yesterday. At a news conference, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, a former Nasarawa State governor urged Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to pull the brake to avoid a self-inflicted injury and personal tragedy of slipping into irrelevance.
In early February this year, former President Olusegun Obasanjo published an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari titled: The way out: A clarion call for coalition for Nigeria movement. In it, he raised three fundamental issues.
One, he called on the President to forget his re-election ambition -an ambition which he has yet to declare in 2019 because of his failure on many fronts.
Two, he expressed his loss of faith in the capacity of our two biggest parties, APC (All Progressives Congress) and PDP (Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to drive the nation’s development.
Three, he advocated the formation of Coalition for Nigeria, a movement according to him, “that will drive Nigeria up and forward.”
Two weeks or so later, former President Ibrahim Babangida’s media aide, Kassim Afegbua, issued a statement on his behalf in which he claimed that the general too advised the President to bury his ambition for a second term in office because of his alleged failures and because the nation needed a digital and not an analogue leader.
The general promptly denied authorising the statement. Both Afegbua’s statement and Babangida’s are still wrapped in controversy. Afegbua insists his statement remains authentic.
In his own signed statement titled: “My Counsel to the nation”, the former president advised the political parties to play by the rules and the government to be proactive in matters of security challenges.
Perhaps, we should read his denial between the lines. While I am prepared to give Gen. Babangida the benefit of doubt for now, I would like to point out that he and his aide appear to have been encouraged to issue their separate statements by Chief Obasanjo’s letter. It is as if they wanted to take advantage of this to say what they had been itching to say about the president all along. I wish to remind the general that although men have short memories; history has a long memory. We can trace nearly all our present economic and political problems to his transition programme. We cannot forget SAP (Structural Adjustment Programme) that sapped the economy, or the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election for which the nation is still paying a stiff price. It is not always advisable to be holier-than-thou.
l have listened to and read the various responses to Obasanjo’s letter. I am encouraged by those responses because they point to our willingness to engage in a national dialogue, be it organised or informal, on matters that affect our country and our collective interests.
I can think of no single Nigerian who does not want our country to make the great leap from a struggling third world nation to a first world nation.
We are all in a hurry for our country to make that leap. Nigerians have never been found wanting in offering informed suggestions on what should be the focus of our political, economic and social development such that we could meld the multiplicity of tongues into a modern nation in which, to borrow from the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, “we are judged by the contents of the mind and the brain and not by tribes and religions. Nation-building remains a work in progress in all countries. This is often slow and frustrating when the process itself impinges on our individual ambition.”
I believe that it was in this same spirit that Chief Obasanjo issued the letter. It would be uncharitable to ascribe anything other than the purest of patriotic motives to his recent outing. As former military head of state and as a civilian president, Chief Obasanjo is a respected and illustrious son of our soil. He would be morally remiss should he choose to keep quiet when he sees things going wrong in the land.
For a total of eleven and half years in power, he too struggled with the daunting challenges of our national development. He knows the challenges of ruling a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation faced with the crises of under-development.
I would like to believe that he is in a better position than any of us to appreciate the difficulties that anyone in Aso Rock faces today. I believe he, more than the rest of us, should have some sympathy for anyone grappling with the historically depressed economy and the complex dynamics of national development and progress.
I decided to dialogue with the movers and the shakers in our news media this morning/afternoon on the issues raised by the former president. I am not here to defend President Buhari.
He is quite capable of, and in a better position, to defend himself much better than me. I have initiated this press dialogue for two reasons.
The first is to underline my belief in the power of dialogue as a veritable instrument through which we can freely contribute to the resolution of our problems and address our challenges.
Human societies are best served with’ the aggregation of ideas that shape their focus. The late president, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, once put this very well when he said it was “better to jaw-jaw than to war-war”.
Two, I too, being a humble political leader in my own right, as a two-term governor of my state, Nasarawa, and as a ranking senator of the Federal Republic, I have as large a stake as anyone else in the progress and the development of our nation at all levels. I, too, cannot keep quiet when I see attempts by anyone or a group of persons to undermine the integrity of the Office of the President, the integrity of our government and the integrity of our political system. I have earlier said it would be unfair not to accept that Chief Obasanjo was motivated by the good of the country. In his letter, he said, “Some may ask what does Obasanjo want again?” He proceeded to answer the question in the third person thus: “Obasanjo has wanted nothing other than the best for Nigeria and Nigerians…”
Was he entirely motivated by that noble sentiment? I find that hard to believe. Motives are not always as honourable or as altruistic as one might be made to believe, particularly when such a man as this is so highly placed that we tend to place him above the shenanigans of petty politics. I found it difficult to completely ignore what appears to me like the dark motives hovering over his action because I see it as a behavioural pattern that began with his 2014 letter to the then President Goodluck Jonathan, titled: “Before it is too late”. It seems to me he believes that that letter alone cost Dr. Jonathan the presidency. So, if he is fatigued by President Buhari, he can resort to the same weapon with probably the same consequences. It is a long shot.
No one can deny him the right to criticise a sitting president but, his method leaves much to be desired. He cannot, therefore, escape the charge of impure motive and that he took this step, not to try and set things right for the sake of the nation but to promote Obasanjo for the sake of Obasanjo.
Being a former president, he has an unimpeded access to the president and can, therefore, seek to influence him in the privacy of the seat of power. Indeed, in the early years of the Buhari administration, Chief Obasanjo was a frequent presence in Aso Rock. I believe he frequented the seat of power in support of the administration. I now wonder why he suddenly decided to turn a friend into an enemy and rubbish everything the President has done so far in a little over two and half years.
In a civilised political culture, it is taboo for former presidents to openly take a sitting president to the cleaners. Our former head of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, has faithfully kept to this time-honoured culture of a former ruler not washing the dirty linens of a current ruler rather gleefully in the public. So, have former President Shehu Shagari and former head of state, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar.
The implications for the polity of a former president regaling the public with a litany of the failures of a sitting president is a calculated and unholy effort to destroy him politically.
The question is, if Chief Obasanjo meant well for Buhari, his administration and Nigeria, why did he not choose the option of quietly offering his advice to the president? In taking his case to the rowdy market place of sensationalism, he clearly intended to score cheap political points at the expense of the President. He intended to undermine the Buhari administration, subject him to public ridicule and impugn his moral strength and integrity to lead the nation.
As he must have obviously expected, his statement was intended to heat and is heating up the polity and causing confusion at this critical time when the myriads of our national challenges commend themselves to our statesmen and women for sober reflections rather than indulgence in crass sensationalism. It is a disservice to the country.
No one, not even Buhari’s most rabid supporters, would be unfair to themselves enough to suggest that everything is right with the administration. It is true that the government has not met the expectations of the generality of Nigerians. But, it is not for lack of capacity or the unwillingness on the part of the President to respond to the needs of the people and those of the country. I know that we invested high expectations on the Buhari administration but is it fair and realistic for us to expect the administration to solve all the problems it inherited in less than three years? Human and resources management towards achieving a desired result is not amenable to the waving of a magic wand.
No administration is a total success and none is a total failure. Chief Obasanjo cannot honestly claim that he ran a perfect and totally successful administration because he did not.
Every administration grapples with problems thrown at it by circumstances beyond its control. President Buhari inherited an economy that was unsteady on its feet. He also inherited the security problems such as Boko Haram, armed robberies and kidnappings.
Yes, I agree, that under his watch these problems should grow less, not more. But the solution to problems such as these is a slow and agonising process. He has no powers to simply make them disappear overnight.
The President was fully aware of these problems and challenges when he sought the consent of the electorate in 2015.
He did so in the hope that with the support and the goodwill of all Nigerians, he could tackle them. I know he has not given up on that. I do not think he intends to leave a bleeding, disunited nation and disarticulated socio-economic development at the end of his tenure.
He seems to be overwhelmed by the problems because while problems rain down, solutions to them take time to be effective. I think the President, in the circumstances, deserves support and encouragement rather than antagonism from a constituency that should give him that support and encouragement as he seeks to address these and other problems in his own way.
I do not intend to comment on all of Obasanjo’s letter seriatim, I will deal with three of his allegations, namely: the president’s alleged clannishness, his management of the economy and his anti-corruption war.
Before I do so, let me say at this point that I am worried by the antics of Chief Obasanjo and his penchant for promoting himself as the only competent Nigerian leader. Since he left office on October 1, 1979, to local and international applause Chief Obasanjo has systematically sought to undermine every federal administration after him.
He has today set up himself as the moral conscience of the nation. He believes he has acquired the wisdom of King Solomon and has consequently imposed on himself the right to decide who rules us and how we should be ruled.
Perhaps, part of the reason is that before leaving office in 2007, his party, the PDP, conferred on him the titles of “Maker of modern Nigeria and father of the nation”. Such titles do have a heady way of making a man seeing his head bedecked in the halos of self- righteousness.
There is a process for changing our governments through the instrumentality of elections. Chief Obasanjo, one of the architects of that process and a beneficiary to boot, ought to support that process and let the people decide who they want to rule them. It is not for him to decide for the people or the President.
No one should arrogate to himself eternal verities in the administration of his country. It is his consuming ambition to have his hands on the levers of power under all our presidents. When he loses that grip, he turns against the incumbent in office. He undermined Gen. Babangida’s economic programme – SAP, with his statement that SAP should have a human face and the milk of human kindness. He denigrated Gen. Babangida by advising people to whom the former president says good morning to check their wrist watches to make sure it is morning.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic obliges the president to compose the executive council of the federation in a manner that reflects the federal character. I do not see that the council is dominated by people from Katsina, the President’s home state.
Nor do I see that the major ministries such as finance, power and steel, housing, transport are held by people from that state or his part of the country. All these ministries are held by competent men and women from the southern parts of the country. What does this say about Buhari’s clannishness?
I am aware of criticisms that the President appointed only northerners as heads of his security agencies. There may be some merit in a national spread but a president reserves the right to fill such positions with those who command his implicit trust and confidence. That is neither unconstitutional nor a moral crime.
The management of the economy has always been a frustrating experience but gallant efforts have been made at critical times to reposition the national economy. SAP was one of such efforts intended to structurally reform the base of the economy.
The late Gen. Sani Abacha’s Vision 10-10 and 20-20 was initiated for the same purpose. So was Chief Obasanjo’s own NEEDS. If these efforts had succeeded in the past, President Buhari would have had an easy ride on the management of the economy today. The recession, for instance, was not Buhari’s making; nor can the security challenges be laid at his door.
Poor management of the economy in the recent past birthed the recession. I cannot think of any steps the President has taken with deleterious effects on the economy. And to put a fine point on it, the minister of finance and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are not from Katsina State.
President Buhari knows only too well that if he does not get the economy right, he would have a tough time trying to get anything else right. He is struggling with that challenge with my personal sympathies.
Chief Obasanjo touts himself as the champion of the anti-corruption war. It is fair to give him some credit for waging the war with the setting up of EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission). It was the right step towards caging the monster that has wrecked immeasurable havoc on the country. But, as laudable as that was, Chief Obasanjo soon turned the commission into an attack dog against his known and suspected political enemies or detractors. He used it to undermine elected governors in Plateau, Oyo, Bayelsa and Anambra states. The lawmakers in those states were induced or forced by the commission at the behest of Chief Obasanjo to remove their governors from office in a manner that insulted our constitutional government.
In each of those cases, a handful of legislators, sitting either in a hotel outside the states or in a private house removed the governors from office. We must thank their Lordships Justice Niki Tobi of blessed memory and Justice James Ogebe for stepping this egregious abuse of legislative powers when they, as chairmen of the appeal court panels sitting in Ibadan over Ladoja’s appeal against his unconstitutional removal from office, quashed his removal and affirmed that the court was the primary custodian of the constitution; not the president. That ended Chief Obasanjo’s apparent reign of presidential terror tactics against the state governors.
Chief Obasanjo said that President Buhari is selective in his anti-corruption war. I agree with him because if the President were not selective, Chief Obasanjo himself would be in the dock today on trial on charges of corruption arising from the corrupt practices in the pursuit of his third term gambit in the National Assembly in 2006.
Today, he denies that he ever nursed such ambition. And being a man much favoured by God, he has repeatedly said that if he had wanted it and asked the almighty for it, he would have given him the third term.
He knows as well as I, and other leading members of the PDP, that he badly wanted it and initiated the process of constitutional amendment. He bribed each member of the National Assembly who signed to support the amendment, with the whopping sum of N50 million to make the constitutional amendment scale through.
The fresh, mint money was taken in its original boxes presumably from the vaults of the CBN and distributed among the legislators. The money was not his and it was not appropriated by the National Assembly as required by law. I, therefore, agree that in failing to make the former president account for that money. President Buhari is waging his anti-corruption war selectively.
Nor, should we forget that President Buhari has also not bothered to interrogate Obasanjo’s role in the Haliburton scandal for which some Americans are cooling their heels in jail.
Perhaps, President Buhari might look into the Siemens affairs in which the Obasanjo administration was indicted and for which people were on trial. What became of the trial?
I worked closely with Chief Obasanjo in his eight years in office as president when l was governor of Nasarawa State. I found many things to admire in him. I admire his patriotism and his hard work. But, he systematically sabotaged his legacy by bending the system to his personal service and promotion.
I do not admire his single-minded determination to promote himself as the strongest and the most incorruptible leader Nigeria has ever had. He waged his anti-corruption war in a manner intended to rubbish all our revered institutions such as the court and the National Assembly and leave him as the only Nigerian without palm oil on his hands.
His lack of democratic temperament and his refusal to honour the mother of all our laws, the 1999 Constitution as well as the constitution of the PDP, birthed the culture of impunity in our country.
He had no respect for the rule of law and, therefore disobeyed court orders at will. This once prompted the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mr. Justice Muhammadu Uwais, to say that a government that did not obey the courts was a bad government.
In his eight years in office, Chief Obasanjo did not run a constitutional government, partly because he had no patience with the niceties of democracy and partly because he believed the law should serve him, and not he the law.
At almost every turn, he undermined the various pillars of constitutional government. For instance, contrary to the provisions of the constitution, he imposed a state of emergency on Plateau and Ekiti states.
He had no powers to do so but since he saw himself as both the law and the last strongman standing in our country, he assumed unchallengeable powers. The courts quaked over his constitutional rampage. Our democracy is passing through a wrenching experience of constitutional government today because at the end of his eight years in power, Chief Obasanjo left our democracy in a lurch.
He was like a wrecking ball. In 2007, he alone decided his successor in office contrary to the rules of the game. He imposed governorship candidates of the party too in 2003.
You would recall that the PDP gave Chief Obasanjo its platform for eight years from 1999 to 2003. Yet, when the party began to have problems in 2014, Chief Obasanjo jumped ship and publicly tore his party card into pieces. He owes whatever he is today to the party. I thought a man made by the party should sacrifice his time and effort to save it from imploding. We wonder if ingratitude has a better definition than that. But, with Chief Obasanjo, ingratitude has a different meaning, obviously.
His Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) is a red herring across the path of our constitutional government. He is free to form a political party and pursue his ambition of being the power behind the throne but such a national movement would achieve no discernible purpose in the economic management and the social administration of the country.
I believe that Chief Obasanjo is too high and too big in the estimation of the people to permit himself the continued sickening indulgence in political skullduggery.
I believe that the Nigerian people and the Nigerian state have been most kind to him. Chief Obasanjo has a moral obligation to make the country succeed in solving its myriads of problems.
That, I believe, is one way he can give back to the country that has given him so much. As a friend, I wish to advise the former president to pull back from the dangerous path of rubbishing all presidents that came into office after him. Bringing everyone down is not a patriotic duty. I fear that if he continues along this path, he would, sooner than later over reach himself and begin the inevitable descent into national nuisance and irrelevance. That would be a self-inflicted wound and a personal tragedy.