The Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom has hinted that there is a plot by the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in the state led by one Gaurus Gololo to allegedly eliminate him.
He stated this when he spoke with journalists in the state after a meeting with his predecessor, Dr. Gabriel Suswam and paramount ruler of the Tiv nation, the Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse.
“There are threats on my life and I have reported that to the security agencies that one Gaurus Gololo and his team who are members of MACBAN was planning to attack me,” Ortom said.
He added; “But I always said life belongs to God, it is God that gives and takes away life so my life is not in the hands of any Fulani man who is not happy with the promulgation of the anti-open grazing law in the state”.
Meanwhile, Governor Ortom has agreed to sheathe his swords and work harmoniously with his predecessor, Dr. Gabriel Suswam for the common good and development of the state.
This followed a reconciliatory meeting convened at the instance of paramount ruler of the Tiv nation, the Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse to mediate in the protracted face-off between the two politicians of the Tiv extraction.
The peace meeting which took place at the palace of the Tor Tiv, started at about 5 pm on Sunday and spilled over to the early hours of yesterday attracting traditional rulers from both Sankera and Minda geopolitical axis from where the ex-governor and his successor hail from.
The meeting excluded journalists but according to sources, the Tiv monarch was said to have expressed deep sadness over the continued disagreement between the two illustrious Tiv sons whom he said are supposed to be attracting development to their people instead of been at loggerheads hence the need to call them together for reconciliation and to hear both sides.
Suswam, it was learnt had told the Tor Tiv that when he handed over to Ortom in 2015, he told him to feel free to approach him on any issue concerning his government, but what followed that was the setting up of a panel to probe him, and noted that the panel came out with frivolous allegations against him and that the governor went ahead and report him to the EFCC and ICPC while all his appointees were sacked.
But Ortom in a reaction was said to have denied ever petitioning Suswam to the two anti-graft agencies. He also said he did not detail the EFCC and ICPC to seize Suswam’s property, stressing that “they are doing that as part of their operational duty”
Speaking with journalists on the outcome of the meeting in his office yesterday, Governor Ortom said he personally agreed to put behind his animosity against his predecessor and work together for peace and development of the state.
Governor Ortom quoted the Tor Tiv as attributing some of the challenges confronting his administration to their inability to synergise and work together as a team, and stressed the need for them to bury their hatchets and contribute their quota for the development of the state and Tiv nation in particular.
“The meeting was convened at the instance of the Tor Tiv and I was there, former governor Gabriel Suswam was also there and principally the meeting was a peace meeting. The Tor Tiv told us that he noticed that for awhile, the relationship between myself and that of the former governor is not good and he needed us as his Tiv prominent sons to work together, that whatever is our differences we should sheathe our swords and work together for the common good of the people of Benue State”.
“He also attributed some of the challenges we are having today in Benue as a result our inability to synergise and work together as a team, and we agreed to work together to see how we can make Benue better than where we are”.
Ortom debunked claims that the reconciliation was because of 2019 political calculations, saying for now he has suspended all political activities pending when the killings by Fulani herdsmen is put to rest and thousands of internally displaced persons return to their ancestral homes.
I won’t surrender my duties to governors –Oshiomhole
…says liquidation of APC won’t happen under his watch
National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has vowed that the leadership of the ruling party would not surrender its functions to influential stakeholders in the party, especially governors.
Oshiomhole, who dismissed insinuations in some quarters that he was leading APC to its doom, however assured that he would lead party to victory in the next year’s election.
The APC chairman has been at loggerheads with some governors elected on the platform of the ruling party.
Last Thursday, the party withdrew its support for the candidature of Senator Shehu Sani and picked Uba Sani, candidate of the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, for Kaduna Central Senatorial District.
Other state governors are also demanding that their candidates be adopted for next year’s election.
In a statement issued on his behalf by Simon Ebegbulem, his Chief Press Secretary, Oshiomhole said the leadership he has provided during the recently-held primary elections was not lacking in integrity and should serve as example in the administration of political parties.
Oshiomhole said if anything, the conduct of APC primaries has sent a very clear message that the party and not pseudo political empires in states, has the power to superintend the primary elections for the nomination of the party’s candidates in the general election.
The party, Oshiomhole said, will not surrender its constitutional functions to any other entity, but will always be ready to moderate the divergent tendencies and mediate among the disparate political camps in the interest of party cohesion.
He assured that under his leadership, APC was in safe hands and the party would march, sure-footedly, to victory in the 2019 general elections.
Oshiomhole said: “This is the overarching mission of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party under his leadership. To be clear, Comrade Oshiomhole did not become national chairman of the governing party to bring it down a notch from the pedestal of its 2015 electoral victory let alone to preside over its liquidation.
“Rather, his single-minded goal, from the outset of his declaration of interest in the position, was to deploy his capacity in helping to strengthen and reposition the party as a truly supreme and disciplined political entity.
“Although, it might appear fortuitous to some persons that he became national chairman at the threshold of the 2019 general elections, the truth is that there is no accident in predestination.
“We must appreciate the fact that it has pleased the Almighty God to place him in the saddle of APC leadership at this time for a purpose. The purpose has begun to manifest in its vast flourish and ramifications: instilling discipline, ensuring party supremacy, promoting due process, dealing with impunity and executive arrogance wherever they manifest to undermine intra-party electoral processes in the states.”
Apparently responding to the alleged rift among some members of NWC of the party, Oshiomhole said he never expected that those who cherished and supported the status quo, which he supplanted, would support the current political order in the party.
Oshiomhole said that party supremacy and discipline were two fundamentals, which had been eroded even before the emergence of his leadership.
He lamented that while he was working round the clock, some stakeholders have thrown selfish political agenda into the mix to threaten the building of institutional capacity of the party.
“The suggestion in some quarters, especially by one of the presidential aspirants on the platform of the party, Alhaji Mumakai Unagha, that APC cannot win with Oshiomhole as published in a national daily is therefore unfair, denigrating and baleful of Comrade Oshiomhole’s persona and commitment to a rejuvenated winning machine that the APC typifies.
“The totality of Unagha’s claims, without necessarily addressing them one after the other, tallies with cooked-up narratives being sponsored by some influential stakeholders in their respective states that Comrade Oshiomhole is responsible for all the problems in APC at the moment.
“These influential stakeholders, according to grapevine, have begun to mobilise to pass a no-confidence vote in the leadership of Oshiomhole, having failed to impose their preferred candidates on the party in the nomination process.
“Rather than resort to needless perfidy at the threshold of a general election, we call on them to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship, bolstered by the fact that the Oshiomhole leadership is propelled more by its interest in propriety in which victory for the party could be grounded. The crime committed by Comrade Oshhiomhole’s leadership is its disdain for impunity and circumvention of due process perpetrated in some of the states at the pleasure of some influential stakeholders.
“Overall, Comrade Oshiomhole has not, since stepping in the saddle, taken any unilateral decision in the running of the party affairs. All decisions, so far taken, passed through the mills of NWC deliberative sessions and enjoyed unanimous resolutions. The records are there. History will justify Comrade Oshiomhole and posterity will vindicate him.
“Therefore, with eyes firmly fixed on the general elections, especially the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in the scheduled February 16, 2019 poll, Comrade Oshiomhole assures all stakeholders in APC of his respect for them. He assures them of his readiness to work with them for the good of the party.
“The comrade chairman also proposes a common front in the general elections and believes that APC, as a governing party, will do a commemorative post mortem next year to appraise and reappraise the political developments and decisions that presaged the election, which it would win emphatically,” the national chairman said.
2019: Atiku will jail treasury looters – PDP
- President: Anti-graft fight meant for people with integrity
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, would not spare those looting the nation’s common wealth.
The party also said next year’s presidential election will be a referendum against the failure of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
But the Buhari campaign organisation said it was not inspired by any anti-corrupt posture of the former vice president.
PDP said in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, that President Muhammadu Buhari has failed on all fronts, and warned those enjoying official cover for corruption to be ready to face the wrath of the law.
“Atiku will open a system-wide fight against corruption as soon as he is elected into office by strengthening the institutions empowered by our laws to do their jobs, while he concentrates on the onerous duty of governance and rescuing our people from hunger, starvation, bloodlettings and wanton killings,” the party promised.
It assured that Atiku would not compromise in fight against poverty and would also be uncompromisingly fight corruption.
The former vice president had said the Buhari administration has failed on the economy, security and on the fight against corruption.
PDP said Atiku would revamp the nation’s economy through the creation of qualitative employment for the youth.
The party said its presidential candidate would also implement the political and economic restructuring of the nation in a manner that would engender unity, inclusiveness in governance and uplift in the general standard of living for the people.
According to PDP, Atiku, upon his election into office, would immediately commence the marketing of Nigeria to the international business community, as well as providing a clement environment for businesses to thrive in our nation.
PDP said: “Atiku will open a system-wide fight against corruption as soon as he is elected into office by strengthening the institutions empowered by our laws to do their jobs, while he concentrates on the onerous duty of governance and rescuing our people from hunger, starvation, bloodlettings and wanton killings.
“A combination of Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Peter Obi, known internationally for their forthrightness, hard work, ingenuity and managerial competencies, guarantees a prudent and result-oriented administration that will liberate our nation from the economic shackles that President Buhari’s wasteful, notoriously incompetent, and deceptive administration has plunged us into.
“Atiku Abubakar comes with the Nigerian resilient entrepreneurial spirit to, once again, open up our economy, attract investments, create jobs and unite our citizenry for a more productive nation.
“Already, our candidate, as a successful entrepreneur, has perfected an economic template that will reduce the cost of governance, plug wastages, tackle corruption, free our national resources currently being squandered by the Buhari administration and channel them for the welfare of the people.
“What Nigerians earnestly desire now is a resourceful president, not an incompetent leader who lacks the capacity to run a complex economy; who stays aloof and completely insensitive to the plights of citizens, while providing official cover for his officials to fritter away trillions of naira from our beleaguered national treasury.”
The party said Nigerian youths are earnestly seeking for a president who will be in charge, not one who rules by proxy.
“They look forward to a president who will give hope in the face of a consuming despair and one, whose words resonate with their aspirations in life.
“Nigerians seek a president who will not watch helplessly while marauders and insurgents kill our brothers and sisters in their numbers; whose only achievement is plunging our nation into economic recession, collecting foreign loans and accumulating debts with nothing to show.
“This 2019 election is, therefore, a direct referendum on these failures and the determination of Nigerians to choose a new leader who will rescue our nation from the throes of hunger and starvation,” it said.
PDP said the 2019 election would not be about character assassination or mouthing some worn-out sloganeerings about corruption, but will be about a demonstrable capacity to deliver on the mandate.
“Nigerians are not buying their smear campaign against Atiku Abubakar as Nigerians have seen that what the presidency had done in its almost four-year term is paying lip service to fighting corruption while its members swim in an ocean of corruption.
“Instead of this unnecessary fixation on our candidate, the PDP challenges President Buhari to step out and give account of his stewardship; how he ran down a once robust economy in a space of three years; why he is running a corrupt administration; why his administration failed to protect our slain compatriots and how trillions of naira are stolen under the cover of his Presidency.
“Finally, the PDP forewarns all looters in the Buhari Presidency, including those involved in the alleged stealing of over N14 trillion from several sleazy oil deals; the alleged undisclosed oil revenue leading to the deadlock at the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC); alleged stealing of funds meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) among other sleazes covered by the Buhari Presidency, to get ready to vomit their loots and face the law in no distant time.”
Spokesman for Buhari Campaign Organisation, Festus Keyemo (SAN) noted that the fight against corruption must be led by somebody who has track record of integrity.
“The fight against corruption must be led by a leader who has the track record of honesty,” he said.
According to him, 2019 would be a referendum on the record of Atiku as Nigeria’s former vice president and President Buhari who refused to be corrupted either as a president or his immediate family.
“It would be a referendum that Atiku as former vice president compete with his former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo on the establishment of private universities.
“We had a president and vice president who were competing among themselves who would be more corrupt – one established Bell University, and the other established America University of Nigeria,” Keyamo said
He further added that it would be a referendum whether Nigerians want a return of that era where the nation was being looted or not.
Obanikoro, ex-bank MD, 20 others to testify against Fayose
Barring any last minute change, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) would today arraign the immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, Peter Ayodele Fayose, before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of a Federal High Court in Lagos over alleged N2.2 billion fraud.
Fayose was flown to Lagos last night. He was sighted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja, yesterday evening.
The anti-graft agency had equally listed a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, a former Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc., Alex Otti, and 20 others to testify against the former governor.
An 11-count charge bordering on fraud and money laundering has been slammed on Fayose and his company, Spotless Limited, by the EFCC.
Some of the counts as contained in the charge read as thus:
“That you MR. AYODELE FAYOSE and MR. ABIODUN AGBELE (now facing another charge) on or about 17th June, 2014 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, took possession of the sum of N1, 219, 000, 000.00 (One Billion, Two Hundred and Nineteen Million Naira) to fund your 2014 gubernatorial campaign in Ekiti State, which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: criminal breach of trust/stealing and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) and (4) of the same Act.
“That you MR. AYODELE FAYOSE on or about 17th June, 2014 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, without going through the financial institution received cash payment in the sum of $5, 000, 000 (Five Million Dollars) from SENATOR MUSILIU OBANIKORO, the then Minister of State for Defence, which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Sections 1 and 16 (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 16 (2) (b) of the same Act.
“That you MR. AYODELE FAYOSE on or about 7th April, 2015 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did retain in your fixed deposit account No: 9013074033 with Zenith Bank Plc, the sum of N300, 000, 000.00 (Three Hundred Million Naira) which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: criminal breach of trust/stealing and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.
“That you MR. AYODELE FAYOSE and SPOTLESS LIMITED between 17th June, 2014 and 4th August, 2014 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, took control of an aggregate sum of N317, 000, 000.00 (Three Hundred and Seventeen Million Naira) by depositing same into the Zenith Bank Plc’s Account No: 1010170969 belonging to SPOTLESS INVESTMENT LIMITED, a company controlled by you and members of your family and which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: criminal breach of trust/stealing and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”
“That you MR. AYODELE FAYOSE between 26th June, 2014 and 27th August, 2014 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, took control of an aggregate sum of N305, 760, 000.00 (Three Hundred and Five Million, Seven Hundred and Sixty Thousand Naira) in your Zenith Bank Account No: 1003126654 which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: criminal breach of trust/stealing and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.
“That you MR. AYODELE FAYOSE between 18th June, 2014 and 23rd June, 2014 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did procure DE-PRIVATEER LIMITED and one ABIODUN AGBELE to retain in their Account No: 1013835889 domiciled with Zenith Bank Plc, Apapa branch, Lagos, an aggregate sum of N719, 490, 000.00 (Seven Hundred and Nineteen Million, Four Hundred and Ninety Thousand Naira) on your behalf, which sum formed parts of proceed of an unlawful act, to wit: criminal breach of trust/stealing and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act”.
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