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NASS leadership and South-East’s quest

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NASS leadership and South-East’s quest

As the battle for leadership positions in the 9th Senate hosts up, OKEY MADUFORO, in this analysis, looks at the chances of the South-East in the power equation

 

The travails of late Senate President Chuba Okadigbo; the Oyi of Oyi at the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly and the horse trading that led to his removal paint a vivid picture of the fate of the South-East geo political zone in the Nigeria power sharing equation in the past decades. Between 1999 and 2007 the Igbo-speaking extraction produced five Senate Presidents.

The traducers of the zone ensured that no Senate President of Igbo extraction lasted up to four years, hence making it a near impossibility to have a political rallying point and standard bearer.

After the 2007 elections, the zone has continued to play the spare tyre, acting under the directives of their principals, the Senate Presidents and such ceremonial positions have continued to be the exclusive reserve of Ndigbo with no bite from its toothless bulldogs.

During the last dispensations the zone could only make do with Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives. In fact, the zone since the First Republic has continued to nosedive from the post of a ceremonial President in the mode of late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe to late Abisinia Nwafor Orizu as Senate President and one-day Acting President to that of a Vice President under late Alex Ekwueme.

In 2015 National Assembly, principal positions of Senate President and Speaker House of Representatives eluded the zone, no thanks to the failure of Senator Chris Ngige to get a second term.

Today the zone is not even in the picture of the Senate Presidential seat and the likes of two-term governor, Orji Uzor Kalu are practically begging for the post of Deputy Senate President which may also become elusive going by the permutations on the ground.

As the heat continues in Nigeria’s political kitchen, the South-East zone is not even looking on the way of who becomes the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives. Apparently after the exit of Imo State governor-elect, Chief Emeka Ihedioha as a two-term Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, the zone can only settle for chairmanship positions of committees, occasioned by the brand of in house politics of both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who would jettison their party divides and embrace the repugnant ethnic politics in Nigeria all in bid to inadvertently subjugate the collective wishes an aspirations of the South-East.

Political watchers have always argued that the South-East has never supported the APC hence the zone does not have any moral justification to lay claim to the post of Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representatives.
But in what appears to be a paradox of fate the South-East has always been the game changer at every general election, playing the cannon folder for the victory of every presidential candidate.

In the eight Green Chambers, augment are that no APC ranking member from the South-East was at the National Assembly and that was why the zone lost the Speakership position.

Interestingly today, the zone has two ranking members and one from Okigwe South Federal Constituency who is in his second term, Deacon Chike Okafor, a former Commissioner for Finance in Imo State is not strange to the gladiators and stakeholders of APC, both at the zone and at the national level.

According to the National Auditor of APC and member of the party’s Board of Trustees (BOT) Chief George Muoghalu; “The young man Chike Okafor is one of the great party loyalists who have shown selflessness in building the party at all levels and his contributions to the fortunes of the party is immense. I do not see anything wrong in his becoming the Speaker of the National Assembly because he has served the party creditably and he is well experienced.”

Former member of the National Assembly, who represented Awka North and South Federal Constituency, Chief Emeka Nwobo further laid credence to the support and capacity of Chike Okafor.
“Anyone that goes about town asking for the caliber of leadership for the National Assembly from the South East must have lost sight of the personality of Hon. Chike Okafor who to me would be the bridge builder in the National Assembly and what more can one say about his political sagacity and creditability.”

Similarly the body under an umbrella of South East Rainbow coalition (SERC) made up some members of the People Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressive Congress (APC) led by Maximus Uzoka, who spoke to reporters in Enugu insisted that the zone should be given the position of speaker of the National Assembly.

“We have four members of the National Assembly from the APC and any of them can be Speaker of the National Assembly. But after due consultation across the APC and PDP we in our communiqué yesterday endorsed the candidacy of Deacon Chike Okafor for the Speaker.”

“He has age on his side and coming from the banking sector and haven managed the finances of Imo State as a commissioner with a four year active experience at the National Assembly it is our belief that the time is now.”

Already it is being gathered that sustained joint cacus meetings have been on among the National Assembly member across political parties in the zone with the agenda of returning Chike Okafor as the next speaker of the National Assembly. “Of course we are meeting and this time it is not a PDP or APC thing. Even our members-elect from APGA and other Political Parties are being mobilized. If Chike Okafor emerges as our speaker it is better for us all than having a loyal APC member from another geopolitical zone who do not appreciate what we in the South-East are facing since 1999,” a member said

Just recently, an Arewa Group endorsed Okafor as its candidate for the post of Speaker and with the support from the North this speaks volumes of the quality of support and mileage being enjoyed by him at the moment.
But ironically, not much is being known about the level of support the South-East chapter of the APC is giving to their own going by the near docility of the leadership in the area.

When contacted the South-East Chairman of APC, Emma Enukwu dismissed those claims contending that the zone has its eyes on the ball.
“It is not true that we are just keeping quiet and doing nothing. We are on the top of the game and the Speaker position coming from the South-East has been our agenda and we are not sleeping.

“We have credible members of the party at the National Assembly and we have been making moves that are producing positive results. As for Chike Okafor, he is no doubt very qualified to head the ninth National Assembly and the zone is behind him and any other Igbo lawmaker gunning for that position.”

Born in year 1971 Deacon Chike Okafor schooled at Holy Ghost College Owerri where he obtained his O’level certificate and attended Imo State University’s Owerri where he studied Economics.
He joined the banking sector and worked in Oceanic Bank and Intercontinual Bank respectively and has a Master’s Degree in Business Management.
Okafor is a community leaders who as a member of the Federal House of Representative in the last four years, attracted social security and human capacity building and in Okigwe North Federal Constituency and being a true son of Umuokeh community in Obowo Local Government Area of Imo State. History beckons.

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Tinubu: PDP ran 16 years of irresponsible govt

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Tinubu: PDP ran 16 years of irresponsible govt

Deep reflection crucial in political leadership – Osinbajo

 

 

N

ational Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has described the 16 years (1999-2015) during which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ruled Nigeria, as a period of irresponsible, spendthrift governance.

 

Tinubu stated this yesterday in Abuja at the public presentation of “The Challenges of Good Governance in Nigeria,” a book written in honour of Chief Bisi Akande, the pioneer Interim National Chairman of APC and former Governor of Osun State. 

 

The former Governor of Lagos State who bemoaned the challenge of governance in Nigeria even before the rebirth of democracy in 1999, described the period of military rule as one in which few people benefitted unduly at the expense of the majority.

 

According to him, not much changed with the return of democracy as the then ruling party failed to fulfil the dreams and aspirations of the people. 

 

“This process went on for years. It distorted our society. Our institutions became so corrupted that they often worked against their stated purposes. Vice became virtue. Governance turned into misgovernance and then misrule. Wrong became right.

 

The social contract at the core of our collective existence was being disregarded if not discarded, not by the people but by those who led them. But justice and hope do not disappear,” he said.

 

Tinubu recalled that it was that scenario that propelled the formation of the APC to correct the situation of poor governance in the country. 

 

He, however, lamented that certain forces which preferred the old order still erected obstacles to good governance in the first four years of President Muhammadu Buhari, by enthroning reactionary elements – Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara – as leaders of the National Assembly.

 

 

The situation, Tinubu said, created a sour institutional relationship between the presidency and legislature and hampered the delivery of good governance. 

 

 

“You might recall that not too long ago the ability of this government to deliver on key aspects of its mandate was hampered because the National Assembly was controlled by reactionary elements that fought for business as usual and against reform.

 

 

 

“This situation has been corrected by the sovereign will of the people during the last election. What emerged is a new National Assembly leadership committed to progressive reform. As a result, we have seen the quick passage of the historic Deep Offshore (and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract) Act, which substantially amended the financial terms of deep offshore oil production. Because of this, government will gain billions of dollars in new revenue to be used for the development of our economy, its infrastructure all for the ultimate benefit of the Nigerian people.

 

“This achievement is not an isolated occurrence. It is a harbinger of other reforms to come now that the president has a reliable partner in the current National Assembly. History will look back and record this as a key moment in our progress as a nation. However, this moment would not have been possible but for the formation of the APC,” he said. 

 

 

Tinubu paid glowing tributes to Akande, describing him as a mentor and friend, without whom the emergence of the APC could have been thwarted by forces out to frustrate the birth of a new political order.

 

 

“I have had a chance to take a cursory look at the book. The author has identified challenges to governance which are institutional, psychological, political and economic. Many of the issues raised in the book are matters of the deepest concern to our party, APC, and of President Buhari’s administration,” Tinubu said. 

 

 

In his remarks titled “The Value of Introspection.”, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said deep reflection is crucial in political leadership and is the difference between transformational leadership and the banal.

 

 

“Anyone who has paid attention to Chief Bisi Akande and his political life will notice that he also observes that tradition of documenting his thoughts on governance, on the responsibilities of those who govern.

 

 

“So, you may have come across his books; “A Fresh Start in Osun State”, “Moving Osun State to Prosperity”, “The Inner Minds”, “The Drama of Fate”, where he reflects on the challenges of sub-national governance and his prescriptions based on his experiences.

 

 

“The deeply reflective style always endures and ensures that he always provides the personal human dance of fate and circumstances that attend all human effort in politics.

 

 

“A major benefit to society of the individual reflection of its leaders is that they explain complex ideas with their own peculiar wisdom and expression.

 

 

“So in trying to define this phrase that we use so often and we all seem to know what it is even without defining it, that phrase “progressive politics” or governance, Baba Akande simplifies it as a teacher would and I quote him:

 

“This tradition of converting the birthdays and celebrations of our leaders to moments of reflections is an important one and I urge that our tendencies continue to do so.

 

 

“I was privileged to speak on the subject of reforming our electoral laws at Chief Bisi Akande’s 70th birthday, how time flies. Every year since 2008, we devote the 29th of March to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s birthday to the Bola Tinubu Colloquium where we take as deep a dive, as a one-day event will allow, into matters of importance into governance or our political economy.

 

“It is the duty of leadership to continue to reflect, to write, to debate, the rigour of our thoughts and ideas and the discipline of execution that will lift our people from ignorance and misery to wealth and prosperity,” he said.

 

 

VP Osinbajo noted further that, “A tradition of our political tendency is that of introspection or reflection. By our tendency, I refer to that established by Papa Obafemi Awolowo, which in spite of its various iterations and versions, we all agree to describe as progressive politics.

 

In response to the eulogies heaped on him, Chief Akande expressed appreciation to the author of the book, saying it couldn’t have come at a more auspicious time than now when Nigerians want to ensure that good governance thrives in the country.

 

 

Akande described low quality of education as the greatest obstacle to good governance in Nigeria.

 

According to him, education remained the most important key to unlock human potentials.

 

“In Nigeria today, however, the numeracy and literacy contents of our education is too low compared with those of the people that once colonized and amalgamated our various communities into what they christened as Nigeria over a century ago.

 

 

“Our knowledge of science and technology remains so perverted by our low education that while the global economy is being driven by technology, industrialization and hardworking, Nigerian economy is largely being driven by prayers, rituals, and miracles.

 

 

“The truth is that the most potent and lasting miracles are found in workable planning-based accurate data interpretations, critical path analysis, and devotion to duties.

 

 

“Any country that fails to plan properly is planning to fail woefully. We therefore need to rework our school curricula, retrain our teachers and re-write our laws to give higher quality to our education. We must also reposition and re-restrategise our finances to spread the high quality of education to every corner of our country,” Akande said.

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Reps’ minority leadership crisis and PDP’s dilemma

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Reps’ minority leadership crisis and PDP’s dilemma

The crisis rocking the leadership of minority parties in the House of Representatives took a different dimension last week when the lower chamber resolved to investigate the Kingsley Chinda-led faction.
PHILIP NYAM examines the role of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and why the problem subsists

 

 

 

 

S

ince the emergence of Hon. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta) as the minority leader of the House of Representatives on July 3, there has been no love lost between his team and the leadership of his party and the foremost opposition party in the National Assembly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Elumelu and his team made up of Hon. Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu) as deputy leader, Hon. Gideon Gwani (PDP, Kaduna) as minority whip and Hon. Adesehun Adekoya (PDP, Oyo) as deputy minority whip had unsettled the PDP hierarchy, which consequently constituted a probe panel headed by former Senate President, Senator Iyorchia Ayu to look into the circumstances leading to their emergence and made appropriate recommendations.

 

 

The PDP had endorsed Hon. Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) as a minority leader, Hon. Chukwuka Onyema (PDP, Anambra) as deputy minority leader, Hon. Yakubu Barde (PDP, Kaduna) as minority and Hon. Ajibola Muraina (PDP, Oyo) as deputy minority whip.

 

Unfortunately, the Ayu-led panel was also enmeshed in controversy leading to the resignation of its secretary and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Austin Opara before the submission of its report in September. The case of the panel was worsened following allegations of corruption leveled against it by Rivers State governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike. Subsequently, the Board of Trustees (BOT) itself also displayed a divisive posture when it disagreed over the submission or otherwise of the report of the panel. While, chairman of the BOT, Senator Walid Jibrin denied that the panel had not submitted its report, secretary of the BOT, and former Senate President, Senator Adolphus Wabara confirmed the report had been submitted.

 

How it all started

 

 

On July 3, the House of Representatives plenary had proceeded peacefully until Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila attempted to announce the names of minority leaders through a letter written and signed by members of minority parties in the chambers. Hon. Kingsley Chinda, had raised a point of order, citing Order 6 Rule 1 of the house, which says members of minority parties in the house shall choose someone with experience to lead them.

 

He said the leadership of his party had written to the speaker to inform him of its choice for the positions, asking Gbajabiamila to adopt the list sent by the PDP. The leadership of the PDP had written to the speaker to state its preference for Chinda as minority leader, Chukwuka Onyema as deputy minority leader; Yakubu Barde, minority whip and Muraina Ajibola, deputy minority whip. The party said it chose the lawmakers for the positions ‘in accordance with extant laws, House rules, conventions and general legislative practices worldwide’.

 

“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after wide consultations with house caucus, the party leadership from the geo-political zones and the national working committee (NWC) hereby forward the names of the duly agreed and approved house minority leadership as follows,” the letter read.

 

 

But Gbajabiamila said there were nine minority political parties and the PDP alone could not determine who led the minority. He consequently ruled Chinda out of order and moved to read a letter, which he said was signed by 99 members of minority political parties on the leadership positions, but he was booed just as some lawmakers left their seats and started struggling for the mace.

 

 

Members of the sergeant-at-arms rushed in to prevent them from seizing the mace and some lawmakers started fighting in the process. It became a ding dong affair, but the rowdiness did not deter Gbajabiamila from making the announcement as he went ahead to read the letter, announcing Ndidi Elumelu as minority leader, Toby Okechukwu as deputy minority leader, Gideon Gwani as minority whip and Adesegun Adekoya as deputy minority whip. Shortly after reading the letter, the speaker then adjourned plenary to the next day as his supporters praised him while the Chinda group booed him.

 

Elumelu and his team was immediately congratulated by the party’s BOT chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, who later recanted his congratulatory message. Other stakeholders in the party such as elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark also hailed the emergence of Elumelu. But the party’s leadership kicked against it and Governor Wike was also vociferous in condemning the actions of Elumelu and his group.

 

 

It was after this incidence that the PDP constituted the panel led by Senator Iyorchia Ayu to investigate. Other members of the embattled panel were former Senate Presidents Adolphus Wabara and David Mark, former Deputy Senate President Ibrahim Mantu and former Deputy Speaker of the House, Austin Opara, who was the secretary. The party had also suspended the Elumelu leadership alongside Hon. Wole Oke (PDP, Osun), Linda Ikpeazu (PDP, Anambra) and Anayo Edwin (PDP, Ebonyi).

 

 

But before the panel could submit its report in September, the centre could not hold again, and Opara, the secretary resigned his membership and his state governor, Wike dropped the bombshell alleging acts of corruption by the panel members.

 

 

The probe

 

 

The House last week resolved to probe Hon. Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) for allegedly arrogating to himself the title of the leader of the PDP caucus in the House.  The House ethics and privileges committees, which has been mandated to interrogate Chinda is expected to also probe former deputy minority leader, Hon. Chukwuka Onyema (PDP, Anambra), the former minority whip, Hon. Yakubu Barde (PDP, Kaduna) and Hon. Ajibola Muraina (PDP, Oyo) for allegedly parading themselves as leaders of the PDP caucus. 

 

 

The decision was taken followed the adoption of a matter of privilege raised by Hon. Ben Igbakpa (PDP, Delta) at last Wednesday’s plenary. Presenting his matter of privilege, Igbakpa informed that Chinda, Onyema, Barde and Muraina have been issuing statements as leaders of the PDP caucus in the House submitting that the positions are unknown to the rule of the House.

 

 

He argued that the actions of the quartet violate Section 24 of the Legislative Houses (Power and Privilege) Act, as well as the extant Standing Orders of the House.

 

Citing Order 1(1) and (2) of the Standing Order of the House, Igbakpa maintained that “it is common knowledge that on July 3, 2019, the Honourable Speaker, in line with Order 7 Rule 8 of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives (which empowered the minority parties to nominate their leaders), announced the Minority leaders of the House. This was consequently published in the votes and proceedings of the same date.

 

 

“In spite of this, Mr. Speaker, some members of this House, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, Hon. Chukwuma Onyema, Hon. Umar Barde and Hon Muraina Ajibola parading themselves as PDP caucus leader, deputy caucus leader, minority whip and deputy minority whip have been issuing public statements outside the nomenclature of this House; misleading the general public and causing confusion and disaffection in the House of Representatives. This is a gross abuse of our collective and individual privileges…I hereby call on this House to investigate this and bring the perpetrators to book.”

 

 

In his ruling, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, who presided over the session, referred the matter to the ethics and privileges committee.

 

 

Chinda’s reaction

 

 

But reacting to the decision of the House to investigate him, Chinda insisted that he has the authority of the PDP to function as the leader of the opposition party’s caucus in the House. According to him, “I am the PDP caucus leader in the House with the authority and consent of the party. PDP is a registered political party and a creation of Law and not the Rules of the House. PDP has its leaders in units, communities, amongst students, traders, professionals, and parliamentarians. These leaders are recognised by the party as such. 

 

 

“I have the mandate of the PDP to act as its leader in the House. Other minority parties are free to have their caucus leadership. I don’t see how that offends the Rule or law of the House or the constitution.”

 

PDP’s reaction

 

 

The National Working Committee of the PDP also took sides with Chinda saying its suspension of Elumelu and some of its lawmakers in the House subsists. The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said, “The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wishes to clarify its position on the PDP Caucus at the House of Representatives as follows:

 

“That the suspension placed on some PDP members who connived with others to supplant the party decision with regards to party positions in the House is subsisting and has not been lifted.

 

 

“That the suspended members of the party cannot, therefore, conduct any business of the party at whatever level until disciplinary measures have been concluded.

 

 

“That the National Working Committee (NWC) in its wisdom, knowing that nature abhors a vacuum and consistent with its position on the matter which has not changed, directed that the affairs of the PDP Caucus of the House of Representatives be organised and managed by Hon. Kingsley Chinda, Hon. Yakubu Barde, Hon. Chukwuka Onyema and Hon. Muraina Ajibola.”

 

 

Ologbondiyan also stated that the Chinda group has the mandate and authority of the PDP to lead its caucus in the House of Representatives adding that the PDP “will not reward disloyalty and will not allow anyone other than the party to impose their choices with the sole aim of annihilating or stifling the voice of the opposition.

 

 

“All PDP National Assembly members and organs are to note this and accord the irreversible party choices the necessary support to execute the party’s mandate in distinction as they have been doing so far.”

Elumelu’s fight back

 

 

But Elumelu rose is stout defence of his position saying the statement from the PDP painting him as a disloyal member of the party lacks fairness and is an affront on the rule of law. Elumelu, who spoke through his special adviser on legal matters, Barr. Oyorima Idahosa said “the attention of the leadership of the Minority Caucus of the House of Representatives under Hon. Ndudi Elumelu has been drawn to allegations of disloyalty leveled against it in a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday.”

 

 

He said “This is completely against the principle of democracy, rule of law and fairness upon which our great party, the PDP is founded and known since its formation 21 years ago.

 

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Minority leadership of the House of Representatives was elected in strict observance of Section 60 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Order 7 Rule 8 of the Standing Rule of the House of Representatives.”

 

 

According to him, “Section 60 of the 1999 Constitution unambiguously provides that “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Senate or the House of Representatives shall have power to regulate its own procedure, including the procedure for summoning and recess of the House.”

 

“Accordingly, Order 7 Rule 8 clearly states that: “Members of the Minority Parties in the House shall nominate from among them, the Minority Leader, Minority Whip, Deputy Minority Leader, and Deputy Minority Whip.

 

 

“This, the overwhelming majority of the Minority Caucus comprising nine political parties (PDP, APGA, ADC, LP, SDP, PRP, AA, APM, ADP) did, and communicated their decision to the Speaker in a letter dated 2nd July 2019 and signed by over 100 members of the 147-Member Caucus.”

 

 

He contended that: “By parliamentary rules persons so elected become the leaders of the party caucuses in the legislature. While the party can GUIDE their elected Members through the zoning of various Minority leadership offices, it is not in the place of the party, by the provisions of the Constitution, House Standing Rule, and parliamentary traditions, to Appoint or Foist Minority or Majority Caucus leadership on its Members.

 

 

“The conduct of the lawmakers in choosing their leaders, therefore, falls within the framework of the spirit, ideals, beliefs and underlining principles of the PDP and our founding fathers, who championed the enthronement of the tenets of democratic practice in Nigeria.

 

 

“It would be recalled that a similar attempt by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to foist leadership of the Majority Caucus on the National Assembly in 2015 could not stand as such obnoxious action was vehemently resisted by the Senate, which stuck to the list of elected leaders of the Majority Caucus submitted by APC Senators. 

 

 

“The stand of our great party, which also had Prince Uche Secondus, the current National Chairman, as the Acting National Chairman at the time, is still very fresh on the minds of Nigerians. The PDP strongly criticised and lampooned the APC for impunity and meddlesomeness in the internal affairs of the parliament.

 

 

“It is, therefore, ironical that the same party, under the same Chairman, has now chosen the same path for which they pilloried the APC in 2015.

 

 

“It is even more distressing that the same party, under the same Chairman, has now branded the Minority leadership and their colleagues who transparently elected them, as disloyal for the simple reason that they strictly followed the Constitution, the Standing Rule of the House and best parliamentary traditions.

 

 

“Such malicious allegation is therefore totally insupportable as Hon. Elumelu and his colleagues in the PDP remain loyal and law-abiding members of the party.

 

 

“It is equally curious that over four months after various organs of the party set up Committees to investigate this matter and related issues bordering on PDP National Assembly Caucus within two weeks, the party has been reluctant and/or refused to consider the reports of these various Committees so that the issues can be laid to rest.

 

 

“Moreover, the endless suspension of loyal party members outside the provisions of the PDP Constitution, 1999 Constitution, and rules of parliament as palpably oppressive.

 

 

“In this regard, Hon. Elumelu and the members of the Minority leadership in the House respectfully urges the leadership of our great Party to weigh its actions and not allow certain individuals with vested personal interests to destroy the reputation and democratic foundations of the PDP, a party Nigerians look up to for direction at a time like this.

 

 

“Indeed, those who stand behind the scene spurring such disorder in our great party for their personal interests do not wish both the PDP and our dear nation any good.”

 

 

The confusion

 

 

It is surprising that the PDP as a party is dilly-dallying on the report of the panel and has been unable to take a decision almost four months after the crisis. Now, with the Chinda led group, being endorsed as the party’s caucus leadership in the House, a decision that did not go down well with the Elumelu’s minority leadership, which saw this as a ploy to undermine their authority, the opposition in the lower chamber would be further weakened.  This is the first time in the history of the House since 1999, that the biggest minority party would have two leaderships; one controlling the entire minority and another claiming to be in charge of the party. This scenario has been fostered by the inability of the PDP leadership to take a definite position on its stance on the emergence of the minority leadership.

 

 

Although the Chinda’s faction is laying claim to the superiority of the party, the Elumelu leadership hinges its position on the provisions of the standing rules of the House, which states that only lawmakers can choose their party leaders in the chambers.  And with the leadership of the House led by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, standing firm on the provisions of the House standing orders and rules, both the PDP and the Chinda faction may be fighting a lost battle and the PDP will be further polarised. Besides allegations of corruption, no leadership has ever been unseated in the House on account of not being the choice of a particular party. In 2011, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and Hon. Emeka Ihedioha (now governors of Sokoto and Imo), against the directive of the PDP contested and won election as speaker and deputy speaker respectively. The same scenario played itself out in 2015 when Hon. Yakubu Dogara and Hon. Suleiman Lasun Yussuff, went against the All Progressives Congress (APC) zoning arrangement to emerge as speaker and deputy speaker at the expense of Hon. Demi Gbajabiamila and Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno.

 

 

In both circumstances, the parties felt slighted but they had to allow sleeping dogs to lie because the majority of the lawmakers were solidly behind them. It is instructive to observe that Hon. Elumelu and his faction have the support of majority of the lawmakers from minority parties. In fact, from the figures presented when he crisis emanated, Hon. China’s faction does not enjoy the backing of any lawmaker from the other eight minority parties. Analysts are of the view that instead of forcing the Elumelu led leadership to resign, the PDP should have reconciled Elumelu and Chinda in order to forge a strong opposition in the chamber, if not the Gbajabiamila led leadership may not experience any strong opposition in its tenure.

 

 

Some have argued that the PDP cannot afford to thrive on controversy as an opposition party and must, therefore, mend its fences especially now that her presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has also lost at the Supreme Court against President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

 

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Bayelsa guber: Ijaw Leaders Forum endorses Douye Diri

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Bayelsa guber: Ijaw Leaders Forum endorses Douye Diri

A group known as Ijaw Leaders Forum, in collaboration with the coalition of civil society, faith based organisations and some other groups, on Tuesday endorsed Senator Douye Diri the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Saturday’s governorship election.

Speaking in Yenagoa, at a press conference, the group, through it’s leader Timi Ogoriba, said that they decided to endorse Diri after a thorough assessment and evaluation of the unfolding political developments and electioneering process, the so far.

“We are convinced that Senator Douye Diri has the requisite pedgree, administrative knack, exposure, qualification and reach to turn around the fortunes and developmental challeges of the state,” they said.

Accepting that there were some mistakes in governing the state, the group maintained that: “In this connection, we wish to appeal very strongly particularly to the organised labour, professional associations, trade unions, artisans, students, women and youth groups and the Bayelsa State electorate to vote for Senator Douye Diri.

“A vote for Douye is a vote for prosperity, light, massive infrastructure and human capital development.

“We therefore endorse Senator Douye Diri, the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP, for Saturday’s election.”

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Ex Gov Aliyu asks Sani Bello to account for N1.4bn saved for 5-star hotel

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Ex Gov Aliyu asks Sani Bello to account for N1.4bn saved for 5-star hotel

Former Governor of Niger State, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu has again asked his successor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello to account for the N1.4 billion set aside in an “escrow account” for the construction of the Minna International 5-star hotel.

 

 

This is coming barely two weeks after the former governor raised the issue of $181million Islamic Development Bank loan which he facilitated for the dualization of the Minna-Bida Road.

 

He made the disclosure while speaking to journalists on Tuesday as part of activities to mark his 64th birthday in Minna, that he left the money in what he called an “escrow account” of the state.

 

According to him: “The N1.4 billion was left in the escrow account and was for the payment of the contractor when the job had reached a certain level.

 

“To my surprise, the contractor was invited by this government and given the whole amount, after two months he (contractor) disappeared from site and has not returned to finish the job.

 

 

“Am I to be held responsible? The government that invited and paid the contractor should be asked to account for the money.”

 

Furthermore, Dr Aliyu maintained that the vexed $181million was secured during the twilight of his government and must also be accounted for.

 

 

Accordingly, he said: “I negotiated and secured the approval for the $181million Industrial Development Bank (IDB) loan. The facility is not only for the dualization of the Minna-Bida Road, the other component of the loan was the construction of a Bilingual Language Centre in Minna; we presented five items before the IDB team only two were picked.

 

 

“I went to Jeddah to negotiate for the loan with some of my officials then, some of them are still part and parcel of this APC government. He, (Governor Sani Bello) can cross check from these people.

 

 

“The issue on the ground is not about EFCC or ICPC; let the government come out clean that it has not collected the money.”

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Last minute court judgements won’t affect Kogi, Bayelsa polls – INEC

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Last minute court judgements won’t affect Kogi, Bayelsa polls – INEC

*PDP: Come out on modalities for the election

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has taken steps to ensure that this weekend’s governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states were not affected “by any 11th hour judgement.”

 

This is just as the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wants the commission to come out clean on the modalities for the conduct of the elections, particularly on transmission of the results.

 

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, at a stakeholders’ meeting in Lokoja, Kogi State Tuesday assured that the commission’s preparations would not be affected by court judgements delivered few days ago.

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, last week, ordered INEC to include the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Kogi State on the ballot for this Saturday’s election.

 

But Prof. Yakubu said such judgement was at variance with the decision of another Federal High Court in Abuja delivered earlier which affirmed the propriety of the commission’s action in a similar case by another political party.

 

“However, we will consider legitimate steps to address the conflicting judgements by courts of coordinate jurisdiction in the interest of our electoral jurisprudence,” he said.

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Kwara story on ease of doing business will change — AbdulRazaq

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Kwara story on ease of doing business will change — AbdulRazaq

•       Gov lists strategies to change course

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has pledged to implement reforms to ease business climate in the state, saying the current narrative about it ranking lowest in the North Central region is unacceptable.

 

AbdulRazaq, who was represented by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi, said various concrete steps are already being taken to make business transactions a lot easier and faster to attract investors.

 

The governor spoke on Tuesday at the North Central regional engagement on Ease of Doing Business which was organised by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) and the Kwara State Government.

 

The event was attended by the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business Dr Jumoke Oduwole; Secretary to the Kwara State Government Prof Mamman Saba Jibril; Chief of Staff to the Governor Aminu Adisa Logun; Kwara Commissioner-designates; PEBEC Enabling Business Environment Secretariat Project Manager Ayokunnu Ojeniyi; representatives of federal government agencies; several small and medium-sized enterprises; and regulatory bodies from across the region.

 

The governor expressed dismay at a World Bank report in 2018 which ranked Kwara 30th out of 37 states including the FCT — and the lowest in the North Central — in the ease of doing business.

 

“On the national average, according to the report, Kwara ranked the lowest among its peers in the North Central. In terms of starting a business, Kwara ranked 7th out of the seven states sampled in the zone, including the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja). In dealing with construction permit, we ranked 4th out of seven; in registering of properties, Kwara ranked 6th out of seven; and in terms of enforcing contract, Kwara ranked 7th out of the seven states/places,” AbdulRazaq said.

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Bayelsa guber: Act expeditiously on H’Court judgement, Secondus tells INEC

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Bayelsa guber: Act expeditiously on H’Court judgement, Secondus tells INEC

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to act quickly on the Abuja High Court ruling, which disqualified the deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress,  (APC), Bishop Degi.

Secondus in a statement by his media adviser, Ike Abonyi said the electoral umpire should invoke the relevant sections of the constitution and the Electoral Act and disqualify the APC candidate.

According to him, what court ruling meant was that APC has no validly nominated candidate for Saturday’s governorship poll.

He also called on the military to show professionalism in the Saturday’s governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.

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Gombe Assembly Deputy Speaker impeached

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Gombe Assembly Deputy Speaker impeached

Hon. Shuaibu Haruna, the Deputy Speaker, Gombe State House of Assembly has been impeached by his colleagues.

Haruna, who was impeached on Tuesday, has been replaced by the member representing Kwami West, Sidi Buba.

The motion to impeach the former deputy Speaker was moved by Adamu Pata, member representing Yamaltu East; and was seconded by the member representing Billiri West Tulfugut Kardi.

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Stop campaigning for 2023, APC chieftain urges politicians

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Stop campaigning for 2023, APC chieftain urges politicians

A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Nduka Anyanwu, has called on political stakeholders to stop the campaign for 2023 presidency to allow President Muhammadu Buhari concentrate on good governance to Nigerians.

Anyanwu, who is the APC Ex-official representing South-East, gave the advice in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that posters of notable politicians like the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State and APC National Leader Bola Tinubu were sighted in some parts of the country.

He said that it would be unfair and a distraction to the president for some people to start campaigning for 2023 six months after the 2019 elections.

Anyanwu urged politicians in the ruling APC and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to avoid heating the polity.

Anyanwu cautioned that if the distraction was not curtailed, it might have negative effects on the good intention of the president for the nation.

“Politics should be about the development of our land. We just finished an election about six months ago and people are already heating up the polity, this is not right.

“Buhari is laying a solid foundation for the betterment of our nation, so we must commend the judiciary for upholding the will of the people,” he said.

He appealed to party members and other Nigerians in opposition parties to give the ruling party a chance to deliver.

“The Supreme Court has determined the winner and the loser, it is time to develop our nation, let all, irrespective of our political affiliation, support the Buhari-led government and the APC to take the country to the next level,” he said.

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JUST IN: Appeal Court reaffirms Gov Sule’s election

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JUST IN: Appeal Court reaffirms Gov Sule’s election

The Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital on Tuesday reaffirmed the election of Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State.

Consequently, the court dismissed the case brought before it by candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), David Ombugadu and his party.

The court held that the March 9, 2019 governorship election, which returned Sule as governor, was conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act 2011 in disregard to the allegation by Ombugadu that the election was conducted in gross violation of the Electoral Act among other allegations.

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