Dr. Olapade Agoro is the National Chairman and former presidential candidate of National Action Council (NAC). In this interview with TEMITOPE OGUNBANKE, he speaks on 20 years of uninterrupted democracy in Nigeria, the Muhammadu Buhari administration and declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day
Nigerians on May 29 celebrated 20th years of uninterrupted democracy. What is your take on such achievement, being the first time the country will be under civilian administration for such number of years without interruption from the military?
There is no form of government that is better than democracy. Democracy is a government of the people for the people and by the people, but then I want to give kudos to the military that enabled the subsisting and existing democracy otherwise the democratic process we are managing would have gone. The military would have taken over. But we thank God military saw it as a necessity to be part and parcel of governance through their stay in the barracks which is very good for us. The politicians we have now have offered nothing right from the time they took over from General Abdulsalami Abubakar on May 29, 1999. The civilians saw the opportunity and they became rogues in government and that was why they have offered anything in the 20 years that we’ve had democracy.
Are you saying that we have not been able to achieve what we ought to achieve as a democratic nation in the last 20 years?
As a Nigerian, give me one good example of what we can point to in Nigeria. Just mention it. Is it in education? Is it in infrastructural facilities? Is it in security? Before the military took over, our security wasn’t this bad. Today, we are killing ourselves; we are not only fighting one insurgency or the other, insurgency is taking over. Insurgency has taken over the country and we are now practicing democracy under threat of violence.
Nigeria in the last 20 years has produced four presidents – Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari. How would you assess their respective administrations vis-à-vis the state of the nation?
You cannot judge the leg without thinking of the head. You saw a man with crooked head and you are blaming the leg; you have to first of all think about what is going on with the head. The four persons we had to date were demonstration of funfair without nothing to offer. The first president – Obasanjo – is a brother of mine and a man I love. Naturally he shouldn’t have stayed for four years in government, but he meandered and ran a government of threat and dealt with many people who offender him. That was what he did in his first four years. I believe strongly and seriously that a good government should have something tangible to showcase.
Well, Obasanjo gave us something to write about in GSM, but that is GSM of paying through the throat. Nigerians are just silent people; nobody can do what we are doing in Ghana. He installed Yar’Adua, but it is not possible for us to judge Yar’Adua because he felt sick. Our democracy is democracy of lies; they covered up Yar’Adua’s sickness until he died.
That gave room for Goodluck Jonathan; a man who was never prepared. Jonathan was never prepared to be president. He came in to do what he knows how to do and we had lots of nonsense in governance, lot of terrible nonsense, terrible stealing, terrible pilfering and dipping of hands into the treasury. Jonathan was rushed out of power by Western power.
It wasn’t Jonathan’s government that gave birth to Boko Haram; it was Yar’Adua’s administration and the situation was mismanaged because people thought it was a joke. And now we have been fighting Boko Haram and various insurgencies that have reduced the earning power of the nation negativity. I was reading a newspaper few days ago and I read the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) declaring that the security situation and the elections have brought down the performance of our economy to two per cent. Is that a good story?
Now, we are not only fighting Boko Haram, we are fighting various insurgencies. Anybody can be kidnapped for the fun of it. I don’t know if it is the security situation that is on top of the police or police is on top of the situation. To be honest, I am a senior citizen and at 76 I have done my best. What is happening now is not anything to write home about. It is not what I hoped for.
President Muhammadu Buhari has just been sworn-in for a second term, what agenda would you set for him?
I love Buhari and I like him as a person, but I believe he has to set an agenda for himself. Nobody can set agenda for Buhari. One of those things any serious head of state should ensure is the security of the people, security of lives and property without which the economy cannot be grown. The economy cannot grow and cannot be grown. We are living in a situation of fear and nobody is sure. Accident occurs here and there; our roads are not safe talk less of the sky.
What are your basic expectations from the President in his second term in office?
You can’t expect much from a man having nothing to offer. You can only expect something from somebody who said I can do this. As far as I am concerned, President Buhari has only been talking about security. I believe that for us to expect something from the economy, the security must be well placed. Security is in total disarray in Nigeria. In the last few days, we have seen police killing herdsmen and putting some people in detention. Until we have an ambiance atmosphere of peace and tranquility, and until average Nigerian can sleep with their two eyes closed, we are wasting our time.
Buhari has been talking about security and corruption; let him finish the job on security and corruption. We don’t know what has happened to the money recovered from those arrested for corruption. Buhari told us when he came to power that there were too many aircraft in the presidential fleet. Jonathan left 10 aircraft and Buhari said he was going to sell some of them, we don’t know what has happened in four years and you are asking me what I should expect. He should tell us what he is doing.
Buhari went abroad and spent over three months and kept the presidential aircraft on the tarmac, we don’t know who took care of the cost that was incurred. The way we run the economy makes it impossible for it to make positive impact on the people. President Buhari talked about fighting corruption but it is corruption that is fighting back. So, it will be very difficult for me to say we should expect Buhari to do this or that.
What is your take on the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day?
June 12 can never be Democracy Day.
Why do you say so?
Because you cannot change your date of birth! Our democracy’s date of birth is May 29, given to us by the military. What we are trying to say by declaring June 12 as Democracy Day is that we are changing the history of Nigeria. Buhari cannot change the history of Nigeria. I can go to court over that.
But June 12 has nothing to do with the May 29 hand-over date because it still remains the hand-over date, while June 12 is now Democracy Day…
Hand-over what? With what government has done, it is saying power was handed over on June 12 and not May 29. That is writing false history about Nigeria. They should not confuse our children.
But June 12 was declared Democracy Day in remembrance of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which till date remains the freest and fairest election in the history of Nigeria as well as celebrating the winner of that election, Chief MKO Abiola…
It doesn’t matter, we can name June 12 MKO Abiola Day, not Democracy Day. It happens all over the world. We have the United States declaring Martin Luther King Day. We can declare June 12 as MKO Abiola Day because Abiola deserves it. He died in the struggle as a martyr of democracy. If those behind Buhari are serious, they should declare June 12 as MKO Abiola Day and leave May 29 as Democracy Day. We have our children, who have been told 20 years ago that May 29 is the day the military handed over power to the civilians, so we should not confuse them.
Prior to the 2019 general elections, many political parties were at the front burner, but shortly after the polls, not much is being heard about them. Do we really these political parties?
We now have 91 political parties. Prior to the 2003 general elections, when I wanted to register my political party – National Action Council (NAC) – it was so tough, but now anybody can wake up and say he wants to start ‘cat and mouse political party.’ Let us be honest with ourselves, I don’t see any political party with strong existence in Nigeria; we have only strong money politics. There are people who are buying the conscience of the people. Let Buhari not tell me that he won the 2019 presidential election clean and square and let Atiku Abubakar not tell me that he fought a good battle. Atiku must have spent billions of naira and dollars for the election as our political system has been monetised.
Would you support the call for a reduction in the number of political parties in Nigeria?
There are 91 political parties and 71 contested the presidential election. The vote won by other political parties put together is not even up to one million, while All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had over 26 million votes. How can about 71 parties got less than one million votes and two parties gathered over 26 million votes? The democracy we run now is the more you look, the less you see. It is money politics.
The present Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that conducted the elections should be disbanded. How do you register a political party on the eve of an election? And let us be honest with ourselves, some of the fringe political parties belong to either APC or PDP. They are rabble rousers, not political parties that mean well for the nation.
Bayelsa guber: Gladiators who’ll shape poll
PAULINE ONYIBE writes on political gladiators who will shape Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa State
The political terrain of Bayelsa State has become tensed as the November 16 governorship election approaches. Already the state is locked down with all manner of campaigns including propaganda on the social media.
The governorship election on Saturday undoubtedly is a two-horse race between the candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Senator Douye Diri and his All Progressives Congress (APC) opponent, Chief David Lyon.
Some Bayelsans have been clamouring for change on the ground that the PDP-led administration has not done enough after 20 years, while some are rooting for the ruling party to continue on the account that PDP has not done badly. But despite being a ruling party in Bayelsa in the last 20 years, the election is not going to be a walk over for PDP as APC is not only relying on federal might, but has a candidate most Bayelsans say has impacted on the lives of many.
Unlike the 2015 governorship election, which was mainly between Governor Seriake Dickson, who contested on the platform of the PDP and former Governor Timipre Sylva, who ran on the platform of the APC, Saturday’s election has gone beyond the 2015 event as both of them are battling to install their anointed candidates in Bayelsa State government house come February 14, 2020, when Governor Dickson is expected to bow out of office after two terms in office.
Expectedly, the poll is not going to be a tea-party as some political gladiators in the state will do everything possible to ensure victory for their favourite candidates.
Among the gladiators, who will shape the poll are former President Goodluck Jonathan; his wife, Patience; Governor Dickson and Sylva, among others.
There is no doubt that the former president is one of those who will shape the gubernatorial election. Jonathan is not a novice in Bayelsa State politics. He has seen it all in Nigeria politics, having served at both state and federal levels as number one citizen.
Within 16 years (1999-2015), Jonathan served the people of Bayelsa State as deputy governor and governor before moving to the federal level to serve Nigeria as vice president, acting president and president against all odds.
By the virtue of his position as a former president, Jonathan is a leader in the PDP, but due to political tussle in Bayelsa, he seems not to be in control of affairs and structure of the ruling party in the state. Therefore, some people believe that he is not keen to see PDP win Saturday’s poll. The former president has been absent from all the campaigns of the PDP.
His absence is hinged on his disagreement and disappointment over the outcome of the PDP governorship primary that produced Senator Diri as the party’s flag bearer.
Jonathan was believed to have supported the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe, but the power tussle between him and Governor Dickson during the primary led to the emergence of Dickson’s candidate, Senator Diri, who is a member of Restoration Caucus, as PDP’s governorship candidate.
Given the controversy over the primary, it has been alleged that Jonathan is working behind the scene to see that APC takes over the state. Of course he had suffered a lot of humiliation from the incumbent governor in the time past and it is believed that he doesn’t forgive in a hurry. So, all the pleas by Governor Dickson may not yield any fruit in convincing Jonathan to work for Diri’s victory in Saturday governorship poll.
Governor Dickson is another force that cannot be brushed aside in Bayelsa politics. He is the leader of the PDP in the state and from every indication; he has succeeded in shoving everybody, including former President Jonathan to a corner.
Dickson dictates what happens as far as the state and PDP are concerned and that is the reason why he is called Ofuruma Pepe (Great White Shark) because he has dominated the political landscape of Bayelsa State.
He is also not a novice in Bayelsa State, having broken many political jinxes in the state. He was the first member of House of Representatives to represent his constituency for two consecutive terms and also serving as governor for two terms.
Governor Dickson dictates who gets what in the state. He was instrumental to the emergence of 19 out of the 24 members of the state House of Assembly. He installed all the chairmen of the eight local government areas of the state as well as their 105 councillors. He even succeeded in ensuring that the local government chairmen, who were not up to 90 days in office to be delegates in the PDP primary governorship primary.
Recently a new speaker, Monday Bulou Obobo from Southern Ijaw emerged in the state Assembly because the former number one, Tonye Isenah, was impeached courtesy of the governor because of his bid to make sure that there won’t be any challenge for Diri to emerge as his successor. The former speaker is from the same local government with Diri and that was not right as far as Bayelsa State politics is concerned.
Also, Governor Dickson picked Senator Diri as the PDP candidate against the decision of many PDP stakeholders. This has made many to leave the ruling party and pitch their tent with the opposition party. In fact, Dickson has dominated the political landscape of the state and he is leaving no stone unturned to make sure that his candidate wins the election.
Sylva is the current Minister of State for Petroleum and former governor of Bayelsa State. He is the undisputable leader of APC in the state and he contributed immensely to the nomination of David Lyon as the party’s governorship candidate.
The plan, according to political pundits is for Lyon to hold brief for Sylva until he serves put his ministerial appointment and come back to take over from him.
Most Bayelsans believe that things were easy during Sylva’s time as almost all the internal roads were done by is administration, but most of the roads are bad now. Things were also moving on fine contrary to now that many businesses have left Yenagoa.
It was against this backdrop that some residents, who spoke with New Telegraph, said that they may vote for APC because of Sylva. They averred that Sylva empowered many Bayelsans when he was governor people and that those people still believe in him till today.
In the last few weeks, many people have defected to the APC because of Sylva. So, the minister is a political force that cannot be overlookedin Bayelsa politics. Of course, he has been around for the the APC campaigns, showing total commitment and surely all his supporters will pitch their tent with him.
Sylva hails from Brass Local Government Area, which is a stronghold of the ruling party at the centre.
The former First Lady from all indications is also a force to reckon with in Bayelsa State politics as her political prowess cannot be underestimated, considering the roles she played in the past to install successive governors of the state.
Though she hails from Okirika in Rivers State, Dame Jonathan’s network cuts across her state of origin as she has used her political influence, especially when she was First Lady to determine who gets what at both the state and federal level.
In recent times, Dame Jonathan has not been seen around the Bayelsa first family unlike before when Sylva was the governor and she really had a good relationship with Alanyingi, the wife of the former governor.
Governor Dickson’s wife, Rachael, is not seen anywhere around the former Nigerian first lady even as reports have it that the former First Lady is supporting Lyon’s candidature and that she has already endorsed him.
Gboriobiogha John Jonah
Rear Admiral Gboriobiogha John Jonah (rtd) is the deputy governor of Bayelsa State, but he has not been seen in any public function since he lost out in the PDP’s governorship primary.
He fell out his principal over the governorship poll. He believed that his principal will hand over power to him, having served as deputy governor for eight years, but was disappointed as Governor Dickson endorsed Senator Diri.
Already, the deputy governor’s younger brother, Gabriel Jonah of Otita Force has dumped the PDP for APC. However, nobody knows the stand of the deputy governor as he is yet to speak.
It is more than two months that the primary took place and the deputy was yet to sort out his differences with the governor. Already there is tension in Nembe, the hometown of the deputy governor as the PDP campaign team is yet to visit the local government as at the time of filling in this report.
Alaibe, a former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), is also among those who will determine the outcome of November 16 governorship election in the state.
He is a popular in the state and has contested for the number one seat on many occasions, but is yet to actualise his aspiration.
During the PDP governorship primary, many Bayelsans clamoured for Alaibe, but he came second in the exercise. He didn’t actually feel satisfied with the outcome of the exercise and he headed to the court.
Although the matter is still pending, Alaibe said he is not going to leave PDP but nobody is sure whether he and his supporters are working for party or they are sitting on the fence. For now, nobody knows what the outcome of the suit would be.
Senator Diri is the PDP governorship candidate, therefore he will do everything within his power to ensure that he wins the election and inaugurated as Dickson’s successor come February 20, 2020.
Though Diri is getting support from many gladiators in Bayelsa State, some people have described him as a stingy man, who may not deliver the PDP, considering the opposite nature of his APC counterpart.
Political pundits have said that he is not marketable despite being a current member of the Senate, representing Bayelsa Central Senatorial District and one-time member of the House of Representatives.
Diri may be stingy to some people but definitely he must have impacted on the lives of others and his people are not likely to abandon him.
The gubernatorial candidate would be throwing all he has to the battle for the number one position of the oil-rich state.
Lyon was not known in the political arena of Bayelsa before now, but almost everybody is clamouring for him as almost every household acknowledges how he empowered either their brother or sister.
Definitely those people would be forced to vote for him. So, if his political popularity doesn’t deliver him, his philanthropic gesture may work for him.
Senator Ehwrujakpo, the PDP deputy governorship candidate is a former commissioner for Works in Bayelsa State and he currently represents Bayelsa West in the Senate, serving as Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on National Planning and Economic Affairs.
Though his emergence as Diri’s running mate generated some concerns as some people believe that the deputy governorship seat should have been zoned to Bayelsa East or another local government since Senator Ehwrujakpo is from the same local government with Governor Dickson.
Despite this, some Bayelsans have confidence in him and that will go a long way to help advance the cause of the PDP.
Senator Degi-Eremenyo, who is currently representing Bayelsa East in the Red Chamber, is the running mate to David Lyon. He is Vice Chairman of Senate Committee on Special Duties.
Many believe that he has something to offer in determining who wins the governorship election. For instance, members of his congregation- Brotherhood of the Cross and Stars will want to vote for their member. Of course the population of that church is overwhelming.
Senator Lokpobiri has been an active participant in Bayelsa State politics since 1999 till date. He was a member of the state House of Assembly between 1999 and 2003, and while in the House, he served as speaker between June 1999 and May 2001.
He also represented Bayelsa West in the Senate between 2007 and 2015. He was also a one-time Minister of State for Agriculture and contested in the last APC governorship primary but lost the party’s ticket to Lyon.
Although higher powers chose Lyon, he wasn’t comfortable with that and he also headed to court. But, he has been canvassing for support for the APC.
Governor Dickson’s wife, Rachael is not left out as she has her own way of wooing the women. She organises prayers every Wednesday, where she always prays for the success of Restoration Government and tells the women to support her husband’s choice of candidate so that all his achievements would be consolidated.
The women also believe in their “Madam” and with her level of sensitization on these women, definitely PDP will surely get votes from them and it is expected they will persuade their relations to vote for the party.
The Amayanabo (King) of Twon-Brass, His Royal Majesty Alfred Diette Spiff is also a force to reckon with in Bayelsa politics being the chairman of Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council.
The retired naval officer was appointed military governor of old Rivers State in May 1967 at age 25 during the military administration of General Yakubu Gowon and was at the helms of affairs till July 1975.
As a royal father, some of his subjects are likely to listen to him by voting whoever he chooses.
Hon. Ebebi is regarded as one of the powerbrokers in the oil-rich state. He was a former Speaker of Bayelsa State House of Assembly as well a former deputy governor of the state. He was in PDP before he decamped to the APC. Ebebi has a lot of supporters and they will definitely follow him.
Okoko was one of the PDP aspirants during the party’s primary. Although he came third, he has decided to support Diri and has told all his supporters to work for him.
Others who may not have been satisfied with the outcome of the primary have gone back to their bases, as most of them are not being sighted at the campaigns.
Aganaba also aspired to govern Bayelsa State on the platform of the APC, but was aggrieved that he was not given a level playing ground to test his popularity as an indirect primary option brought in Lyon. He however headed to court to challenge the outcome of the exercise.
No doubt, the political gladiators will shape the outcome of the poll, but the electorate will be the ultimate decider. Already, some have said that they are going to vote for the highest bidder at the election ground, while others said they will vote for change.
OPI: How Reps moved against exercise
PHILIP NYAM reports on expectations in the House of Representatives as its Committee on Army submits its report on the military exercise code-named “Operation Positive Identification”
Fresh from a three-week recess, the House of Representatives in response to the public outcry against the planned nationwide implementation of Operation Positive Identification (OPI) by the Nigerian Army, rejected the exercise and consequently advised the army hierarchy to shelve its implementation, insisting that it will amount to trampling on the rights of Nigerians.
However, the House mandated its Committee on Army to interface with the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, to develop a pro-people strategy in combating crime. It equally called on President Muhammadu Buhari to review the situation and stop the army from commencing the planned operation.
Although, the committee met with the army and expressed the fears of the House concerning the OPI, the army maintained that the programme was in national interest and went ahead to kick-start it on November 1. As the House prepares to receive the report of the committee on today in plenary, all eyes are on the lawmakers to see how they would react since the OPI has already commenced.
The resolution was taken following the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance brought by the minority leader of the House, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, who described the planned operation scheduled to commence on November 1, as a recipe to possible militarilisation of Nigeria.
Presenting the motion, Elumelu posited that such plan by the army would lead to the infringement on fundamental rights of Nigerians as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
He argued that the plan, if followed through, would downgrade innocent Nigerians to suspects and conquered people in their own country; strip them of their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of movement and instill fear, anxiety and panic in the entire polity.
Elumelu, who posited that the constitutional duties of the Nigerian Army is defending the territorial integrity of the country, urged it to allow the police and other relevant agencies such as Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) to handle regulatory issues relating to internal security.
He also noted that the nationwide operation will also amount to an indirect imposition of a state of emergency across the country by the army adding that such operations that involves direct contact and regulation of civilians is likely to result in abuses and serious safety issues, especially at this time the nation is battling with the scourge of victimisation and extra judicial killings.
Speaking further, the minority leader pointed out that the operation will expose many Nigerians, particularly those living in the rural areas, to harassment as they do not have proper means of identification just as there has not been enough public sensitization for the operation.
While noting the security challenges the nation is faced with and the efforts by security agencies to safeguard lives of citizens, Elumelu however, insisted that the planned implementation of OPI across the nation will only worsen the situation in the country.
Supporting the motion, the deputy minority leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), who insisted that identification of citizens is not the duty of the Nigerian Army, noted that the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC) as well as other security agencies is already saddled with such responsibility.
Also speaking in favour of the motion, Hon. Jaha Ahmadu Usman (APC, Borno) decried the lack of awareness of the planned operation and notes the difficulty Nigerians encounter in obtaining, also maintained that it will amount to the violation of rights of Nigerians.
Usman also noted the difficulty Nigerians face in obtaining the national identity card, added that the operation will subject them to untold and unwarranted hardship.
In adopting the motion, the House also urged the army to develop pro-people strategies in combating the country’s security challenges instead of measures that would further victimise citizens.
Barely 48 hours after the resolution was taken, the House Committee on aArmy led by Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, summoned the Chief of Army Staff to shed light on what OPI entails.
At the session that lasted for over three hours, the army stood its ground and insisted that the planned military exercise in different parts of the country, will not be suspended. Lt. Genreral Buratai, who appeared before the committee explained that the army’s insistence that all Nigerians must identify themselves “positively” is targeted at members of the terrorist group, Boko Haram.
He stressed that the operation, is in line with the army’s constitutional mandate and will curtail the operations of the terrorist group as intelligence report shows that its members have planned to infiltrate other parts of the country.
Represented by the army’s Chief of Civil/Military Affairs, Maj. General Usman Mohammed, Buratai said the OPI is one of several operations aimed at smoking out and eliminating terrorist activities across the country though it is primarily directed at the North-East zone.
His words: “Besides the OPI, the military is involved in operation Lafiya Dole in the North-East, Operation Ayem Akpatema in the North Central, Operation Crocodile Smile and Atilogu Dance, in the South-South and South-East.
“However, the OPI is based on intelligence. We decided to come up with the initiative because we got the intelligence that Boko Haram terrorists were infiltrating the civilian population, not only in North-East, but other parts of the country.
“But the exercise is not new; I’m surprised that we are getting the alert now. We actually started it on September 22. We are using it to checkmate criminality. It’s not new. The OPI is an intelligence led operation.”
The army chief countered opinions from the committee, doubting the propriety and legality of the OPI. “We are covered by the constitution. The exercise is constitutional. What we are doing it in line with the 1999 Constitution,” he said
Giving details of the programme, he explained that “so far two arrests have been made in Kogi and Lagos states and several other arrests would be made in the course of the last quarter of the year.
“We have details of arrests being made through the operation, but the operation won’t amount to additional roadblocks. It’s still based on credible intelligence. We’re actually getting intelligence from outside sources. We’re surprised when we got this alert from you that it’s fake news. It’s not fake. It is going on and It will assist us in conducting our operations,” he said.
Buratai, however, admitted that the insurgency battle “is not an easy war to win, but we will win. Insurgency has never succeeded anywhere in the world.”
He informed that the exercise will be launched nationwide between November 1 to December 24, with the full backing of other security agencies and the Federal Government, assuring Nigerians across zones not to be jittery as according to him, the target is not law-abiding civilians, but insurgents.
According to him, “200 most wanted Boko Haram terrorists may have been arrested in Kogi, Lagos and elsewhere. There is no specific way arrests are made. I would want to elaborate and say that other security agencies have their challenges. When they are absent and deficient, we must step in to do our bit.
“Even I don’t have a national ID card. I registered, but I have only a slip. We’re not happy doing police work at times, but when there are challenges, we step in,” he explained.
Although Buratai agreed that the military is not the lead agency for identification, he explained that the military is involved because of the “peculiar circumstances” the country is in at the moment.
Responding, the chairman of the House Committee on Army, Hon. Namdas warned that considering the weight of battling insurgency in the country, the army may be biting more than its statutory share, by extending its operations to identification of Nigerians.
He said: “Given the quantum of your responsibilities, we are shocked that the military is still adding to the responsibilities by taking up the role of other authorities.”
Namdas, however, constituted a sub-committee to liaise with the army on the details of the operation.
Some analysts are of the view that since the OPI borders on national security and is aimed at wiping out Book Haram, which has constituted a clog in the wheel of security in the country, the intervention from the House may not achieve any purpose because the army has already commenced the operation.
However, the Namdas committee has a date with the House and whatever findings and recommendations it presents today, the legislators will debate and decide on it.
Lyon promises electricity, security
All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Bayelsa State, Chief David Lyon, has promised to provide electricity for communities in Nembe Local Government Council of the state if voted into power comes on Saturday
He gave the promise at the weekend during APC community-by-community 2019 governorship campaign to the ancient cities of Ogbolomabiri and Bassambiri in Nembe Local Government Council.
Speaking at the campaign rally held at the King Koko Square in Ogbolomabiri, Lyon also promised to provide security that would attract investors, and create jobs for the many unemployed youths.
Lyon further urged the people of the area not to succumb to the ungodly attempt by the incumbent Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government to buy their votes, saying no civilized society folds its arms and watch its government use money meant to develop the people to buy votes during election.
He said the PDP, knowing it has lost the trust and support of the Nembe people, has resorted to falsely accusing the people of the area of chasing away their own brothers and sisters, noting that “as we can all see today, Nembe is at peace with self, contrary to the many lies the PDP is trying to spread.”
While interacting with Opu Nembe Council of Chiefs at the First Nembe Town Hall in Bassambiri, Lyon thanked the people for the overwhelming support they gave the APC during the last presidential, National and State Assembly elections in state in spite of intimidation from the PDP state government.
He said because the people have suffered from total neglect by government as a result of their support for the APC, he would ensure that the swampy areas of Bassambiri are sand-filled in order to create room for further expansion of the city.
“Once I assume office, I will provide alternative means of livelihood for you, I will partner with multinationals in your area to give electricity that would aid small and medium scale industries, I will provide soft loan for our women to support farming and boost food production,” he said.
Explaining to the mammoth crowd why he dumped the PDP for APC, former Senator who represented Bayelsa-East Senatorial District on the platform of the PDP in the sixth senate, Chief Nimi Barigha-Amange, said his decision was part of his resolve to join other Bayelsans agitating for freedom in the state.
Kukah sues for peace as gov faults INEC
A head of the November 16 Bayelsa governorship election, the Alternate Chairman of the National Peace Committee and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah has enjoined Bayelsans to imbibe a peaceful spirit to engender a peaceful and credible election.
Speaking yesterday in Yenagoa when candidates in the November election signed peace accord facilitated the National Peace Committee, Kukah said “I want to enjoin you and call upon you to please ensure that we all imbibe the spirit that only the living can participate in politics, and enjoy the dividends of democracy.
“And as we continue in this election, the beauty of democracy and the idea behind the cycle and the time table is so that we will all have the opportunity to imbibe what is called a political culture, which is an attitude that goes with politics”
“So every election should actually, hopefully as time goes on make us better students and working hard to make sure that violence does not occur.
“Our prayer is that the best candidate should win the election and that subsequently he or she will help to make Bayelsa a much more peaceful state”, Kukah pleaded.
He proposed that all Bayelsans should join what he described as Great Bayelsa Party, GBP, where the common objective would be to make Bayelsa a great and peaceful state.
Speaking earlier, governor Seriake Dickson had passed a vote of no confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission,(INEC) and the security agencies.
He regretted that while the Peace Committee was concerned about a peaceful election in the state, the electoral umpire, INEC, and security agencies were not towing the same path.
“Bayelsa is peaceful, but a peaceful Bayelsa is not possible without a peaceful and credible election. Why are only political parties and their candidates asked to sign peace pact, why not INEC, why not the REC, why not the representative of the INEC National Chairman; why not the security agencies because our experience shows that our people are not the problem. Our people are also victims of electoral brigandage and terrorism.”
APC no match to PDP in Bayelsa, says Dickson
Bayelsa State governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, has expressed confidence that the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will convincingly coast home to victory on Saturday during the governorship poll in the state.
Governor Dickson who stated this during a live media chat in Yenagoa, said his confidence of the landslide victory for PDP was hinged on the overwhelming support shown by the people during the constituencies based campaigns of the party.
The governor in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, said the dominance of the PDP in Bayelsa politics was not under any threat from the APC.
He gave thumbs up to the exceptional performance of his administration especially in the area of enthroning a tolerant political culture that treats all politicians including the opposition with respect.
According to Governor Dickson, the Restoration government has made history for providing an enabling environment for all political parties to campaign round the state without any breach of the peace.
He said that the campaigns of the various political parties have been smooth without any incidence of violence and killings because of the deliberate policy of years of sustained investment in security by the Restoration Government.
Governor Dickson also urged the good people of Bayelsa to cast their votes for Senator Douye Diri in order to sustain the prevailing peace, stability and other enduring legacies of his administration.
He also called on traditional rulers to be neutral and not to heat up the polity by adopting a political party as all the candidates are their subjects.
The governor who urged Bayelsans to vote wisely, reminded them that the election was about the future of their children, which the PDP would protect.
Highlighting his performance in office, he said his administration’s achievements have surpassed that of his predecessors adding that Bayelsa and the Ijaw nation would be better off voting the PDP.
The governor who described the state international airport as the single biggest investment located in the heartland of the Niger Delta, called on the people particularly the Southern Ijaw, Yenagoa and Kolokuma/Opokuma local government areas to vote the PDP.
Oyo guber tribunal: Confusion as Appeal Court allows Adelabu’s appeal, fails to upturn Makinde’s victory
* APC seeks S’Crt interpretation
There was judicial confusion on Monday in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, after the Federal Appeal Court allowed the appeal filed by Adebayo Adelabu, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the March 9, 2019 governorship poll against the sitting governor, Seyi Makinde, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The court, however, ordered status quo in the lower tribunal’s judgment, meaning that the return and declaration of Makinde as winner of the March 9,2019 governorship poll in Oyo State remained.
The four-man panel of the Appeal Court, led by Justice Abubakar Yahaya, ruled that there was miscarriage of justice in the decision of the Oyo State Election Petition Tribunal which upheld the victory of Makinde, against the petition by Adelabu, though could not order a retrial or give any consequential order to the effect. It also refused to make any order for re-hearing of the election petition.
It held that the tribunal erred by not considering every document submitted by Adelabu to prove his case and lumping them together as one.
In its ruling, the Appeal Court resolved all the four issues raised by Adelabu in favour of Makinde, noting that it allowed the appeal because there were issues of miscarriage of justice at the lower court but added that a judgement must be given after considering the situation in its entirety.
Three of the four-person panel of the Court of Appeal resolved all issues in the favour of the appellants. But there was a dissenting judgment from a judge with a proviso that the panel could not nullify Makinde’s election, as according to him, the 180 days mandated for the tribunal to deliver its judgment in election petition had lapsed and there was consequently no reason to touch the ruling of the lower court.
Adelabu had filed an appeal through his counsel, Yusuf Alli (SAN), against the judgement of the tribunal upholding the victory of the PDP and its candidate, Makinde.
Bayelsa guber: Kukah sues for peace as Dickson passes vote of no confidence on INEC, security agencies
Ahead of Saturday’s Bayelsa governorship election, the Alternate Chairman of the National Peace Committee and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah has enjoined Bayelsans to imbibe a peaceful spirit to engender a peaceful and credible election.
Speaking on Monday in Yenagoa, when candidates for the election signed a peace accord facilitated the National Peace Committee, Kukah said: “I want to enjoin you and call upon you to please ensure that we all imbibe the spirit that only the living can participate in politics, and enjoy the dividends of democracy.
“And as we continue with this election, the beauty of democracy and the idea behind the cycle and the time table is so that we will all have the opportunity to imbibe what is called a political culture, which is an attitude that goes with politics.
“So every election should actually, hopefully as time goes on make us better students and working hard to make sure that violence does not occur.
“Our prayer is that the best candidate should win the election and that subsequently he or she will help to make Bayelsa a much more peaceful state,” Kukah said.
He proposed that all Bayelsans should join what he described as ‘Great Bayelsa Party, (GBP)’, where the common objective would be to make Bayelsa a great and peaceful state.
However, speaking earlier, governor Seriake Dickson passed a vote of no confidence on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies.
He regretted that while the Peace Committee was concerned about a peaceful election in the state, the electoral umpire, INEC, and security agencies were not towing the same path.
Ogun APC asks APM, others to work with Abiodun
*As Appeal Court validates gov’s victory
Ogun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Monday, urged politicians and non-political actors who genuinely desire peace and progress to join hands with Governor Dapo Abiodun.
The party made the call following the judgement of the Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State, which dismissed the petition filed by the Allied People’s Movement (APM) against the victory of Abiodun in the March 9 gubernatorial election.
In the lead judgement, read by Justice Muhammed Ambi-Usi Danjuma, the court held that the 10 grounds filed by the APM and its governorship candidate, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade, lacked merit.
But addressing a press conference in Abeokuta shortly after the judgement, the Ogun APC described the verdict as a reaffirmation of the divine mandate given to the party and the governor at the polls.
Noting that Abiodun believes in politics without bitterness, the ruling party called on well-meaning people to collaborate with the governor as he continues with his inclusive administration.
“The party believes that the latest judgement from the Appeal Court will put an end to the side distractions of this budding political association touting unmerited mandate,” Tunde Oladunjoye, state Publicity Secretary of the APC Caretaker Committee, said.
Oladunjoye assured that the unconditional support of the people will not be taken for granted.
He said: “In line with the campaign promise of the governor, the administration has been running and will continue to run an inclusive government. It therefore behoves politicians and non-politicians who genuinely desire the peace and progress of our dear state to join hands with our governor, who believes in politics without bitterness.
“For the first time, we are running a government that is not winners take all. It is not a government of me, my family and my friends. It has been a government of inclusiveness and it has really been very inclusive.”
Bayelsa guber: APC accuses PDP of releasing 100 inmates, plotting other rigging technics
Ahead of the Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has alerted security agencies and the general public on the secret release of about 100 awaiting trial inmates from Okaka Prison in the state capital, Yenagoa by the state government.
The APC also alleged of the plot by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government in the state to lure voters with N20,000 each, deploy fake police and military uniform personnel, clone Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) among others to rig the governorship election.
According to a statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Monday, APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabena, said Bayelsa State govvernor, Seriake Dickson, recently ordered the secret release of 100 inmates awaiting trial from Okaka Prisons to work for the PDP during the Saturday’s governorship election.
The APC deputy spokesperson said apart from the intelligence report gathered, some members of the inner circle of governor Dickson’s camp have also volunteered some of the information on how the PDP is planning to rig the Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
Nabena said: “A member of the Bayelsa Governorship Special Purpose Election Committee (SPEC), which was set up and secretly working for Governor Seriake Dickson, resigned recently from the committee and has reported the governor’s plans to rig the election to us.
“So, I hereby alert the general public and security agencies to the revelations by the former member of the election committee.
“It should be noted that fake Navy, Army and Police uniform personnel have been procured to kit political thugs recruited by the PDP-led government in state. The Navy uniform personnel have already procured speedboats that will be used by the thugs on the waterways.
“We are also in the known that Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to be used with the 47 stolen card readers are being cloned massively at the government house. A certain amount of money is also said to have been stashed in government house for vote buying. The plan is to lure voters with N20,000 each, through the PDP agents.”
My govt has created 157,000 jobs in three years, Obaseki declares
Commenting on some of his numerous achiements within the past three years in office, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Godwin Obaseki, disclosed Monday that his governmrnt has so far created 157,000 jobs within the period.
Obaseki stated this at the Alaghodaro 2019 Youth Summit as part of activities to mark his three years in office held in Benin, the state capital.
He pointed out that his administration built the job creation programm in six key areas such as the people, education, sports, arts and culture.
According to the governor, the jobs were created through job tracking for organisations, job matching and placement, skill acquisition and entrepreneurship and Edo Innovates programme.
Obaseki stated that many people doubted his ability to create the jobs when he made the promise three years ago but he took the risk.
Speaking on gains in the education sector Governor Obaseki stated that by next academic session, he would establish 300 stand alone Junior Secondary Schools where vocational training would be offered.
He said any student that passed through the schools would have learnt a skill or a vocation that would ensure they would be able to earn a living.
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