Ahead of the 2020 gubernatorial election in Edo State, CAJETAN MMUTA reports that the political terrain in the Heartbeat of the Nation had been so much troubled leaving almost everybody in the whirlwind of uncertainties.
It is not in doubt that the witty battle engaged by Governor Godwin Obaseki against his estranged political godfather, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, for the soul of the party and the state ahead of the 2020 governorship election has left the party members and the state with frazzling experiences.
The two ‘warriors’ have had measured appraisal of mastery of how much weaponry, funds, contacts and connections, strategies and other logistics to expend as time and tide allow them to continue or retreat from the raging political gimmick, which has drawn so much focus, criticisms, confusion and fanfare.
Unfolding events at the popular Anthony Enahoro legislative chambers and elsewhere within the last two months have brought many to ungodly poise, with lots of curiosity and questions about what may have indeed prompted the seeming rumble between the gladiators. Many had expected that either or both gladiators should be raising false alarm if they believe that there was no lion off the cage to force many to run for their lives.
Sadly, the state has been given a steep and deep bloody scratch and no doubt it may take decades to heal. Not a few were recently jolted to their marrow to hear and read what Oshiomhole said, that the media and other interested bodies were behind the quakes and shakes that have left many in fussy guess over the frosty relationship between him and Obaseki. The propriety or otherwise of the inauguration of nine out of the 24 members of the Edo State House of Assembly by the Clerk of the House, Alhaji Yahaya Omogbai, has remained contentious.
The outcome, criticisms, commendations, pretenses, denials, neutrality, bravado and condemnations have brought all the leaders, elders and other stakeholders to a rough edge. While people of the state keep groping in the dark over the brouhaha, the dramatis personae are presumably seeing themselves off with mimicked smiles about what is believed to be swords sheathing in the guise of reconciliation. Reconciliatory efforts The recent peace meeting in Iyahmo in Etsako West Local Government Area of the state on Sallah Day between Oshiomhole and his political son and successor, Obaseki, was a clear but brief attention shift from the tautly ring of still pending rage and rough political tackles ahead and a smokescreen in the long search for an elusive peace by both parties and the stakeholders. Already, sleep had been murdered.
This is so because it is rife that behind the cotton lie the obvious that both sides are armed to the teeth with stiff and steel political daggers hounding for possible scapegoats. While that final time comes having reneged in all fronts to yield to the voices of reason and peace; the day, month and year of the chameleonic adder of death nail is near and no prophesy can stop the warring parties. Interestingly, from all indications, the sword of Damocles is swirling dangerously and irretrievably for its deadly cut of pounds of flesh.
Few weeks back, strong indications emerged of how powerful forces in the Presidency and influential traditional institution, politicians and business mogul waded in to resolve the feud. Findings by Saturday Telegraph revealed that Obaseki in company with his deputy, Hon. Philip Shaibu; the Chief of Staff, Mr. Taiwo Akerele; the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Ogie Osarodion; and some other members of the State Executive Council had visited Iyamho’s country home of Oshiomhole to felicitate with him as part of activities marking this year’s Sallah celebration by the Muslim community.
This annual rite had been seen by many as a reconciliatory move in many circles and an attempt by the state’s helmsman and his aides to beg Oshiomhole to soft pedal. Oshiomhole during the said visit had told the world that Obaseki is his brother and that he had no problems with him. Obaseki on his part had also echoed the same. Oshiomhole had said: “From time to time, we have always been meeting. It is not an unusual visit, the meeting afforded me the opportunity to meet with my brother and with people I have worked with”, adding that it was unfortunate that the media enjoy creating factions for their own gain. On his part, Obaseki said there is nothing unusual about the meeting, noting that it is Sallah Day.
“We have just finished celebrating with former National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, in Benin City and we decided to come here (Iyamho) to celebrate Sallah with my predecessor”, he said, urging those who think there is a rift between the duo to perish the thought. Chairman of APC in the state, Anselm Ojeua, told our correspondent that, “those people saying there is no peace between the governor and APC national chairman are not honest. They met and have said they have nothing against each other.
“My position had been that there is no problem between them. Those who think that they have problem with the governor because he is not bringing money to share felt if they create the problem it will capitulate; it is the third party that is causing the problem”.
He urged Edo people to remain calm as they expected more dividends of democracy from the present government under Obaseki. Waiting on Mr. President The question, therefore, is; on whose account is the lingering crisis in the hallowed chamber of the state Assembly? Insider sources close to the Oshiomhole group of 12 members-elect, who are still holed in Abuja told Saturday Telegraph that all the hue and cry about reconciliation was a ruse as both actors “bid themselves bye after the Iyamho visit” and that, “nothing was ever discussed”. According to one of the credible sources, the members-elect are waiting for the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari on the matter.
“President Buhari had during the screening of new ministers promised to wade into the crises in Bauchi and Edo states. He has also asked the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney-General of the Federation to look into the cases in both states. From the 21st of August we shall know the final stand. So, there was nothing like reconciliation; it was a mere visit. The peaceful reconciliation should be left for them. We are waiting for the direct intervention of President Buhari”, the source said. Previously, it was gathered that the timely intervention and pressures mounted on the governor by the Presidency, the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the Oba of Benin, Omo N’ Oba Nedo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare 11, the Ogidigan and other eminent personalities may have forced the governor to take the latest plunge. Sources close to the feuding parties disclosed that the deputy governor had earlier visited the APC national chairman during which he tried to appeal to Oshiomhole to soft pedal on the political impasse between him and Obaseki as well as other key actors in Edo State APC.
This newspaper gathered that the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kari, has personally expressed his displeasure over the seeming soured relationship between Obaseki and Oshiomhole. He was said to have insisted on the need for the governor to take necessary steps to settle with his predecessor. Besides, President Buhari was also said to have seriously frowned at the manner the state government is handling the Edo crisis, particularly as it regards legal issues against the ruling party and apparent disregard of various directives for Obaseki to issue fresh proclamation for the inauguration of the 24 members House of Assembly. Dangote, on his part, was said to have, alongside Deputy National Chairman (South) of the APC and one of the new ministers, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, personally pleaded with Oshiomhole and Obaseki to sheathe their swords in the interest of the state.
At a meeting held earlier at the Abuja residence of the Africa’s richest man, with Adebayo, Oshiomhole and Obaseki in attendance, it was gathered that Dangote and Adebayo, particularly prevailed on Oshiomhole to allow Obaseki visit him during the Sallah holiday, during which both parties in the impasse would click glasses amid talks and bid bye to the over two months old disagreement.
Although this was not to be as this paper learnt that the encounter was merely a cheery one with no serious issue discussed as both the host and his guests had their banter in the open sitting room, it was clear then that the presumed talks for peace between Oshiomhole, Obaseki, Shaibu (Deputy governor), Chief of Staff and the SSG, Osarodion Ogie, among others, did not hold as expected. Sources close to the APC in the state said issues over the running of affairs of the state were identified as the major cause of the problem between Oshiomhole and Obaseki. Also pointed out was the way some key political aides believed to be loyal to Oshiomhole were booted out of office by the governor.
How far the Sallah visit will smoothen glaring rough edges for the governor ahead of the eventful year 2020 gubernatorial race in the state and possibly enthrone lasting peace remains a mirage. There is mutual suspicions among the gladiators. This is as questions are being asked as to what would happen to all the aggrieved parties. In addition, the hanging fates of the 12 memberselect who are presently holed in Abuja following alleged threat to their lives since the onset of the crisis remain a puzzle too. Sadly too, the National Executive Council (NEC) of the APC is also said to be highly embarrassed and unhappy about the situation in Edo state.
At the moment, it is not clear how the matters in court would be resolved. There are three cases in court; one each in Benin, Port Harcourt and Abuja. But unbent as ever, Obaseki is not bulging into all the seeming threats from any quarters including that of the national leadership of the ruling party and Ad hoc committees set up by both chambers of the National Assembly, although one is yet to witness a frightening muscle flexing as the senate and House of Representatives are both on recess and will soon resume to revisit the Edo imbroglio. Also, the Presidency and office of the AGF may soon take decisive actions aimed at bringing all the parties together in the affected states where political crises are taking tolls.
Fears over the battle ahead
In another development, amid the festering stalemate over the barrage of orders from various quarters, there is still uneasy calm and uncertainty. The state government appears set for the worst. It had tagged the recent Senate resolution on Edo Assembly as unconstitutional and a flagrant disregard for principles of separation of powers. It also warned that the said resolution could spark fire that would set the state ablaze.
A chieftain of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Don Obaseki, in his view, urged the state government not to allow miscreants or motor-park touts to feed fat on the resources of the state. A statement issued earlier by the state government described as unconstitutional and a flagrant disregard for the principle of separation of powers, the resolution of the Senate directing Obaseki to issue a fresh proclamation for the inauguration of the state House of Assembly.
In the statement signed by the SSG, the state government declared that the “illegality will not stand” and advised those it referred to as “powerful persons” not to set the state ablaze, “merely to satisfy their thirst for power and control.
The Senate in a step that was not totally unexpected, directed the governor to issue a fresh proclamation for the inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly, and ordering a fresh inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly. “As earlier mentioned, this move was not unexpected in the light of the enormous political pressure, which had been brought to bear on the officers and members of the distinguished Senate by the highly placed and powerful persons who intend to foist their will and choices on the good people of Edo State.
“This is borne out by the recorded statements made by one Seid Oshiomhole (a member-elect and younger brother of the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole) wherein he boasted that both the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, had been instructed on what to do in this matter. Ogie also noted that the Senate failed to take cognizance of the existence of a valid injunction in Suit No FHC/B/OS/70/2019 wherein the Federal High Court restrained various parties from interfering in any manner with the activities of the Edo State House of Assembly.
“The Edo State Government is further aware that in suit No. FHC/ABJ/ CS/815/2019, wherein the Clerk and the National Assembly are defendants before the Federal High Court in Abuja, the National Assembly and the Clerk have not only been duly served with the processes but have entered appearance in the matter.
“It is unfortunate that the distinguished Senate would act in flagrant breach of these various court orders and purport to come to factual and legal conclusions concerning a matter in which the parties are already before the courts and therefore subjudice. “We are also concerned that the members of the distinguished Senate appear to have very scant regard for the principle of separation of powers as enshrined in our constitution, which is manifested by their taking over the functions of the judiciary in dispute resolution and giving directives to a governor of a state who is certainly not subject to the supervision of the National Assembly.
“The Edo State Government maintains that there is nowhere in the constitution particularly Section 11(4), which enables the National Assembly to “take over” any House of Assembly or in this respect, the Edo State House of Assembly.” The SSG added that: “It must be further observed that it has always been the contention of the Edo State Government that the power to issue a proclamation for the inauguration of a House of Assembly as set out in Section 105(3) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was duly and completely complied with and it is not within the power of the governor to recall same once issued or to perform the same act multiple times. Once the governor issues a proclamation letter, his job is done. “It is the duty of the Clerk of the House of Assembly to inaugurate the House of Assembly and he has since performed that task. He has further approached a court of law to seek a validation of his actions.
The pronouncements of the distinguished Senate on the subject (with respect) is clearly misconceived and will amount to interference in the role of the courts, which may in fact constitute contempt with which the governor would not wish to be associated.
“The Government of Edo State firmly believes that our state is not a colony or a vassal of any person or persons exercising power in Abuja and we shall take all necessary steps within the ambit of the law to defend and validate our position and actions on this matter. “We call on all persons of goodwill to call the powerful wielders of ‘power and authority’ in Abuja and elsewhere to refrain from acts, which are clearly unconstitutional, undemocratic and a flagrant disrespect for the principle of due process and separation of powers.
“These powerful persons should not be allowed to set our state ablaze merely to satisfy their thirst for power and control. As we have always maintained on this subject: – This illegality will not stand!!!”. As the fire keeps glowing amid chest beating and bragging, all eyes are watching to see how best the entire crisis and the clash of interests will come to an end.
Group raises alarm ahead of Bayelsa polls
*Says vote buying, deployment of arms are early danger signs
Pauline Onyibe, Yenago
A non-governmental organisation, YIAGA Africa, under its ‘Watching the Vote (WTV)’ programme, has said it has identified early warning signs of trouble ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa State with its observers noticing the deployment of political thugs and stockpiling of arms.
Speaking on Thursday in Yenagoa, the state capital, during a media parley were the group reeled out their findings so far ahead of the election, the representative of the NGO, Cynthia Mbamalu said that earlier the group had deployed about 520 observers to the eight local government areas of the state for the purpose of monitoring the election.
‘Watching the Vote’ she said is a comprehensive study of the electoral process which included the observation of the political parties’ primaries and pre-election environment across the state.
YIAGA Africa said that it was therefore foreseeing the outbreak of violence in Yenagoa and Sagbama LGs because of the recruitment of thugs.
Already their fears played out on Wednesday at Nembe Local Government where many were feared dead, including a media worker, after a clash by supporters of the two main parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) during a rally there.
Mbamalu also said that the observers noticed physical and verbal violence in Southern Ijaw, Yenagoa, Brass, Nembe, and Sagbama local government areas.
On trading of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), Cynthia Mbamalu said: “In Yenagoa, MTV findings revealed that some voters in Opolo and Gbararian areas were selling their PVCs for between N500 and N1,000.”
Bayelsans deserve continuity of good governance – Dickson
Mr. Moses Dickson, a lawyer and entrepreneur, in this interview with TEMITOPE OGUNBANKE speaks on the Saturday governorship election and why Bayelsans should vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, Senator Douye Diri
What is your take on this weekend’s governorship election in Bayelsa State?
Like any other Bayelsan, I am excited at the auspicious opportunity presented for us to determine who succeeds Henry Seriake Dickson, the first democratically elected governor of the state to serve out his two terms. I am delighted at the stability and growth the state has enjoyed these past almost eight years and the window the forthcoming elections provide to determine our collective future as Bayelsans. It is my sincere hope that this election produces a winner that will sustain and surpass the quantum leap the state has made in the last almost eight years. I hope the electoral umpire will conduct a free and fair contest tapping from their experiences of this same exercise in this state and beyond and that security agencies will exude professionalism in support of a peaceful and credible election.
Who among the governorship candidates will you support and ask the people of Bayelsa State to vote for and why are you supporting and endorsing your chosen candidate?
Having studied the candidates vying in the next elections, I have reached an informed conclusion to support the Senator Douye Diri, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and enjoin Bayelsans to do the same. The reasons for my choice are not farfetched. Bayelsa needs a governor, who will hit the ground running and not a novice coming to experiment with the position. Senator Diri stands shoulder high above other aspirants in this regards as he has acquired and demonstrated competence, capacity and experience from years of long service in government at many levels.
Senator Diri’s candidacy should also be supported to sustain the long-established tradition of political justice that provides the opportunity for power rotation among the different senatorial zones of the state and the constituent local government areas irrespective on numbers and don’t forget that this same ideology granted our state and region an opportunity to produce a president of this country. It is instructive to note that SDD is from Kolokuma/Opokuma local government area in the Central Senatorial district which is one out of the remaining two local governments that has not produced a governor; acting or substantive in the history of Bayelsa State. He is a man with a listening ear and an impressive and sustainable policy document if implemented diligently.
What do you think Bayelsans will benefit if they return the ruling PDP in the state to power?
In the immediate, Bayelsans can be assured of the completion of projects initiated by the Restoration government by voting for Senator Diri. Educational milestones like the University of Africa, Medical University, the life changing boarding schools in all the senatorial districts not to mention the Ijaw National Academy, the free school feeding and other massive and aggressive educational initiatives such as the school loans and scholarships at all levels be sustained and improved on. Similarly, this election provides an opportunity for Bayelsans to enjoy the gains of sustainability in governance for the first time. The discontinuation of laudable policies and programmes by successive administrations has been identified as a major challenge to the development of any area. Bayelsans with this election should vote the Diri/Lawrence ticket to ensure the sustenance of the current pace development in the state.
Do you see the APC governorship candidate, Chief David Lyon stopping the PDP candidate?
It is important to clarify that there is just a single party on ground in Bayelsa and that is the PDP. Suffice it to say that the party has been in power since the return to democracy in 1999. In these years, the party to its credit has impacted positively on every household in Bayelsa. This, in turn, has translated to a viable and tested structure that ensures the mobilization of our people in support of the party. The PDP as a party has immensely championed the course of the Ijaw nation over the years. A clear demonstration of the commitment of the PDP to the Ijaw people is the platform provided for the emergence of an Ijaw man as Nigeria’s president despite our “minority” status. The APC as it is today is an assembly of disgruntled politicians driven more by an ambition to secure power than the need to foster the development of our dear state.
The good thing in all of these is that our people can see beyond the smokescreen and will again rally round the party that has shown the greatest commitment to the development of Ijaw land. Quote me any day that there is only one party our people know and trust and that’s the PDP and am glad to say even the business community I belong to have worked hand in hand with policymakers over the years to advance the cause of entrepreneurs and we feel committed to continue this partnership with the incoming governor, Senator Diri and his team.
What is your reaction to the disqualification of the APC deputy governorship candidate, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, on account of presentation of false information to INEC?
The legal effect of the disqualification of the deputy governorship candidate of the APC in Bayelsa State under the Constitution and the Electoral Act except reversed on appeal, simply implies that the APC has no governorship candidate at all for the gubernatorial election. Justice Inyang Ekwo disqualified Senator Degi-Eremienyo over false information given in his Form CF001 submitted to INEC. The suit was instituted by the PDP against the APC candidate and the judge found and held that he gave false information in relation to his educational qualifications and went ahead to depose to an affidavit to correct the discrepancies. The judge held also that all his documents bore different names and therefore disqualified him from contesting the election.
By virtue of section 187(1) of the 1999 Constitution, a candidate for the office of Governor of a State shall not be deemed to have been validly nominated for such office unless he nominates another candidate as his associate for his running for the office of governor, who is to occupy the office of deputy governor and that candidate shall be deemed to have been duly elected to the office of deputy governor if the candidate who nominated him is duly elected as governor in accordance with the said provisions.
So, any ticket devoid of a joint running mate is automatically invalid, null, void and of no effect whatsoever because it is simply unconstitutional. The constitution envisions and has deliberately made a governorship candidate to be a tied with the deputy governorship candidate in any election, sharing the same unbreakable fate for better and for worse. One without the other is not competent to contest. So where a governorship candidate cannot, therefore, produce his running mate, his candidature lapses into natural and immediate extinction. My view then is that the APC has no candidate arising from that judgement and I am happy that many of my senior colleagues also share the same view.
What is your advice to Bayelsans as they come out on Saturday to elect a new governor?
I will ask Bayelsans to come out en masse to exercise their franchise via the ballot on Saturday. Furthermore, I would ask our people to reflect on the state of our nation at this time. Specifically, I would ask them to consider the promises the APC made to attain power at the federal level and what has become of those promises today and I am asking my friends in the business community here to understand that our businesses rest on policies of the government which either help our businesses grow or wind down. So, it will be regrettable if anyone believes the APC will achieve in Bayelsa, what it has failed to do with the enormous power and resources it controls at the centre and I am more concerned about my state.
We have made a lot of progress as a state. We are having an airport that will boost our businesses and link up more opportunities for us all and our state, we are having a Brass NLNG, we are making giant strides towards stable power for our businesses, we are having a seaport that will drive all other sectors and many more all under a stable government under PDP in the last seven years and we have to continue this stable and sustainable governance train.
I will also ask Bayelsans to vote for Senator Diri to ensure that the current peaceful and harmonious relationship is sustained in the years ahead. A vote for Diri is a guarantee that Bayelsans will continue to enjoy freedom of expression and association irrespective of their place of origin, religious or political persuasion. I believe Bayelsans from all walks of life will again affirm with their votes their preference for the party that has contributed immensely to the development of the state. I believe Diri, like Dickson, will leave behind a better Bayelsa than he met it.
Oshiomole to Bayelsans: Vote massively for APC
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday urged Bayelsans to vote massively for the party in Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
Oshiomhole, who spoke in Yenagoa during the grand finale of the party’s governorship campaign, advised Bayelsans not to make the mistake of voting for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which according to him, kept them in darkness for eight years.
Accusing outgoing Governor Seriake Dickson of mismanaging Bayelsa State resources, the APC national chairman further alleged that the governor was intoxicated by power to the extent that he disrespected even leaders who helped him to power.
He added that Dickson belongs to history because the election for his successor would be decided by the electorate and warned the governor against resorting to violence, saying such desperate move would further plunge him deeper into problems.
His words: “Dickson is panicking. How can he not panic when the real Lyon has arrived? Who will not panic when you cannot point at the schools you have built and a Lyon is coming?
“Won’t you panic when you borrow as much as Dickson has borrowed to do things that people cannot see and now a Lyon is coming to ask questions?”
“He knows the meaning of poverty and he understands how poverty dehumanizes. He has struggled against forces and he is an example of what is possible when a man is focused.
“I believe that the people of Bayelsa State by coming out to vote for Lyon, will be making a bold statement that in democracy anybody who is focused, determined and relate with people and community can be supported to a position of authority.
“Dickson will soon find out that democracy is a leveler and an equalizer. In an election, you are either a winner or a looser. As we come out on Saturday, come out and cast your votes for APC. David Lyon is a home-bred man. He has been using his resources to take care of his people. When he becomes governor, Bayelsa will change.”
Also speaking, a former governor of the state and Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, said Dickson has received over N1 trillion since he came on board, but there is nothing to show for it.
Insisting Dickson’s government was a failure, Sylva accused the PDP of attacking APC members in the state and shopping for court judgements to stop the opposition from contesting the election.
He said: “Governor Dickson said he had built an airport. A few days ago, he brought some people to come and walk on the tarmac. I thought he was going to bring planes to land on the tarmac. The biggest shame is that the airport is the most expensive airport in the world.
“So far, Dickson has spent N91 billion. He owes N58.2 billion on the airport to banks. So, you can see why Dickson is very desperate because he knows that he has taken Bayelsa people for a ride. He knows that he had done nothing and he had taken us into debt more than anything else.”
Lyon, in his speech, said he has what it takes to take the state out of the woods. “I’m close to you people and let me assure you that Bayelsa will see light under me. For eight years insecurity has been the order of the day, but I have what it takes to solve the problem of insecurity. APC is not coming to deceive you people like PDP did for eight years.”
Boro’s kinsmen declare support for DIri
Kinsmen of late Ijaw freedom fighter, Major Isaac Adaka Boro, yesterday, declared support for the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri.
They stated their position at the historic and symbolic town of the Ijaw struggle during the party’s mega rally in Kaiama, headquarters of Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area.
Governor Seriake Dickson, who addressed the rally, expressed joy that victory is already awaiting the PDP in Saturday’s election.
The governor, who was full of praises for the people of the area, expressed confidence that PDP would emerge victorious at the poll.
His words: “Your massive turn out is a clear indication of your total support to the PDP and I am sure that you are ready to give your votes en bloc to Senator Douye Diri, who is an illustrious and worthy son of Kolokuma.
“I want Kolokuma/Opokuma people to remain focused, peaceful and united and rally round Senator Diri because the task ahead is a collective one.
“I urge you all to turn out in your numbers this Saturday to deliver him as the man I will hand over to come February 2020 as the next governor of the state.”
Chairman of the state PDP, Mr. Moses Cleopas and the Director General of the PDP gubernatorial Campaign team, Dr. Nimbofa Ayawei, urged the people to reciprocate the huge investments that the PDP-led government had made in their area by giving the party bloc votes.
In their separate solidarity speeches, the immediate past speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Tonye Isenah and a former Special Adviser to on Domestic Matters to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Hon, Waripamowei Dudafa, urged the people to work for the Diri/Lawrence ticket.
Earlier, Governor Dickson had presented Senator Diri as the PDP governorship candidate to the Ibenanaowei of Kolokuma Kingdom, King Agara Onya Mozi at his palace, where the royal father gave his blessings.
Wada charges electorate not to be deterred by threats of violence
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for this weekend’s governorship election in Kogi State, Engr. Musa Wada, has urged the people of the state not to be deterred by threats of violence and come out to vote.
He gave the charge yesterday at a rally in Ayingba, Dekina Local Government Area of the state.
Attributing the huge crowd at the rally to the people’s determination to vote out the APC-led government in the state, Wada said: “Nobody gave you one naira to come here. You are here because of interest, determination and desire to end maladministration, poverty, lack of salary payment and development decay that characterized the APC government in Kogi State.
“I want to assure you that your sacrifice to liberate the state will not go unnoticed because my first priority as governor, if Allah permits, will be total human and physical development.
“I want enter into covenant with you that I will not compromise in the provision in my ‘rescue mission’ agenda as I will review all the injustice done to you by the present APC government in Kogi State.”
Wada, who assured the people and the electorate that their votes will count, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), police and other security agencies to be professional in the discharge of their duties before, during and after the election.
It won’t be a taboo for Bayelsa to have a female governor – Clement
Blessing Clement is the candidate of the Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN) for this weekend’s governorship election in Bayelsa State. In this interview with PAULINE ONYIBE, she speaks on why she wants to govern the state
Nigeria has never had a female elected governor. What is your driving force in the contest for the Bayelsa State governorship position?
I am a grassroots politician and I have been in politics since 1999 and I have contributed a lot to the development of Bayelsa State. Some people say there is no way a woman will be a governor of a state, but in other countries, women are involved in governance more than men. The idea of a woman becoming governor is not a taboo, but should be seen as a welcome development. So, I think the time for Bayelsa State to produce a female governor is now.
Considering the performance of previous governors of Bayelsa, what is that distinctive difference you intend to make to change the political narrative of the state?
You know that we women don’t play politics of violence, rather we play academic politics and we reason very well. I will reshape the political landscape of Bayelsa State and that would be achieved through peace. You know that women are peacemakers. If you go to the National Assembly, women are there and they are also in the states Assembly. There are also women serving as ministers. So, if I become the governor of Bayelsa State, there is nothing wrong with that. Women don’t fight; we don’t carry guns, so we can use women to bring positive changes in Bayelsa State.
How would you ensure peace in Bayelsa if you become governor given the volatile nature of not only the state, but the entire Niger Delta region?
I have a nine-point agenda that covers areas such security, jobs for the youth, education, infrastructural development and health, among others. When all these are in place, there will be absolute peace in the state. Through empowering the youth, we will ensure because violence comes as a result of hunger. If you come across someone, who is hungry and you say just one word to that person, violence occurs. I have intimated the people about my agenda and everyone is overwhelmed that I am the only one talking about peace in Bayelsa State.
Who is your political mentor given the role political godfathers’ play in Nigeria’s politics?
I will say that God is my political mentor because we said that we don’t need the godfathers. We need just God on our side. You know that godfathers run Bayelsa politics and we only respect the elders and royal fathers. Those are the people that we will look up to as our mentors.
You said you have a nine point agenda,what exactly is your plan for the agriculture sector in the state?
In 1999 when Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was the governor of the state, he bought tractors, but all those tractors are there unused. We have good land for farming. So, we will register every farmer in Bayelsa State and distribute the tractors to them. We will also give loans to the farmers. Gone are those days when we used machetes and hoes to work until we are tired. When you go to the North, you see tractors to clear farmlands and that explains why they have food.
What is your plan for education?
Education is the most powerful tool for development and the most potent weapon to fight poverty. So, I will declare free education at the nursery and primary levels and reduce the cost of school fees for students of secondary and tertiary institutions. I will adequately pay the teachers’ as well as take care of pensioners’ gratuities.
How do you intend to tackle youth restiveness in the state?
That is why I am talking about security and job creation. I will engage the youth in community policing and they will partner with police. You know when you engage these youths; they won’t have to think about criminality. There is so much criminality in the state because these youths are not gainfully employed. Also, we will establish skill acquisition centres in the various local government areas of the state.
How do you intend to boost the revenue base of state in order to fund the programmes you intend to embark on?
Apart from oil, we have enough sand in Bayelsa State to produce glasses, so I will ensure an enabling environment that will attract investors. You know that industries will bring more revenue, so industries like the plastic factory would be revived for our youths to be employed.
Do you intend to run these industries through Public Private Partnership (PPP) or as government owned ventures?
Bayelsa State receives about N20 billion or more every month and the question is: how much is the state’s wage bill? But despite the allocation which the state receives from the federation account, workers in Bayelsa are not being paid. I can’t partner with other companies. I am a businesswoman and I know how much it took me before I become an entrepreneur. I came here since 1989 and some people just came to this state and became governors because they have godfathers. When there is no godfather, all these I have listed can be done. I can’t partner with any company because after some years, they will take all their money back and the company will close down because it is not our own. Go to Akwa Ibom State and see what Governor Udom Emmanuel is doing. He is not running those things through private partnership.
You said that the state receives more than N20 billion every month from the federation account, but sometimes government claims that there is no money to run the state…
If anybody tells you that there is no money to run the state, that person is being economical with the truth. Let me tell you, there is no way you will say that there is no money to run this state that has eight local governments. I don’t want to believe that. I am telling you that I came here in 1989 and I know the problems of Bayelsa. As a businesswoman, I know the capacity I have and you are talking about a state. Do you know that I can bring an industry by myself ?
What is your plan for the Oloibiri oil well?
My leadership will not be for only Ogbia. My concern will be for Oloibiri. That oil museum has to be built. The president has to visit where the oil was first found. That oil well was the first in Nigeria, but that place is now a forest and criminals can hide there. The Oloibiri oil well is just like a first child in Bayelsa State and in the entire Nigeria, but as I talk to you, I don’t think that President Muhammadu Buhari knows where that oil well is.
What is your idea about a local refinery?
A local refinery may not get the approval of some people because of oil pollution, but I will liaise with the Federal Government to do it and be paying taxes to the federal government
Do you believe in resource control?
That is what our people are fighting for. But that is not a day’s job because the same resource has been bringing problems. So, that will be followed gradually.
The Bayelsa State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (BASOPADEC) is supposed to have been on ground to ameliorate the sufferings of the oil producing communities through the 13 per cent derivation. Other oil producing states have established theirs, but Bayelsa is yet to do that. Do you intend to see to its take-off if you come on board?
I will ensure the establishment of the commission because the process is on even though it has not been completed.
What are your plans for the women folk?
I have 40 per cent position for the women, while the remaining 60 per cent will go to the men.
Vote buying has become a norm in Nigeria’s politics. What is your take on it?
Our people are wise now enough not to sell their votes and I am assuring you that not only members of my party, but members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are the ones, who will vote for me in this election. The PDP and APC will bring the money, but the people will collect it and still come out tovote for Mega Party of Nigeria (MPN) because it is the party of the people.
What is your advice to the youth ahead of Saturday’s election?
I have already counseled the youth in the state on the dangers of allowing themselves to be used by politicians. In all my campaigns, I have been telling them that these politicians have their children abroad, but when elections come, they will use the ones at home to perpetrate violence and even use them to kill their brothers and sisters. After the elections, they will abandon them and they will become sea pirates and armed robbers. I have already educated the youths. I have been sounding this warning and I think that explains why a lot of them are now becoming sensible.
What is your expectation as we go into the election?
Every one of us should abide by the law because the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and police authorities have persistently stressed the need for all the political parties to play the rules, but you know that the APC and PDP are the two parties that always cause crisis.
What do you expect from the security agencies?
The security agencies should take their duty very seriously because they have been deployed to secure every one. They are not coming here for only the APC or the PDP. They are coming here for all the contestants. Of course, we know those going to the field. It may not be more than four of us, but as the iron lady of Bayelsa State, I am going to win the election.
What would happen to the projects initiated by the present administration, which are likely not to be completed before it leaves office?
I will not abandon any project because I will continue from where Governor Seriake Dickson stopped.
Kogi guber: Deployment of Bello’s ex-ADC invitation to violence, PDP tells IGP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the deployment of CSP Usman Musa, former ADC to Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello to coordinate security in Saturday’s governorship election in the state is an invitation to violence and bloodletting.
The party in a statement Wednesday by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, alleged that CSP Musa has been compromised and directed by the governor and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to use excessive force, intimidate and arrest voters.
CSP Musa had been transferred to Lagos but PDP said he was deployed for the election to do the biddings of the governor and the APC.
“We have also been made aware of directives by the APC and agents of Governor Yahaya Bello to shoot and kill during the election to aid the manipulation of the electoral process for the APC,” PDP further alleged.
It called on the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to immediately reverse the deployment as it could lead to a breakdown of law and order.
Edo APC crisis: NWC sets up Fact-Finding/Reconciliation Committee
… Gives nod to suspension of state party chairman
To address the crisis in the Edo State All Progressives Congress (APC), the National Working Committee (NWC) has set up a Fact-finding/Reconciliation Committee.
The party took the decision after its meeting Wednesday but, however, it did not give the names of the members of the committee.
In the statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the NWC upheld the suspension of the Edo State APC chairman, Hon. Anslem Ojezua by the factional party executive in the state.
The factional state executive had on Wednesday suspended the state party chairman, Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, his Deputy, Hon. Philiph Shuiabu and the Secretary to Edo State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie.
The NWC was, however, silent on the suspension of the governor, his Deputy and the SSG.
Onilu, in the statement said: “The NWC has watched with grave concern the political development within the party ranks in Edo State and is deeply disturbed by the recent turn of events. We note that this is happening in spite of the various steps the party has taken to find an amicable resolution.
“Recall that party leaders such as the Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Chairman, Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) and Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Abubakar Bagudu, and other eminent party leaders, had all tried at various times to ensure that the issues do not escalate.
“Sadly, these interventions have not yielded the desirable results.
“However, the immediate concern of the NWC is how to ensure that unity returns to the ranks of the party in Edo State. In achieving this, we have decided to constitute a high-power fact-finding and reconciliation committee of party leaders to meet with all disputing parties to ensure that all issues are addressed and resolved.
“Meanwhile, the meeting of the NWC, which held today, Wednesday, at the Party’s National Secretariat received a notification of the suspension of the Edo State APC Chairman, Anslem Ojezua by 11 of the 16 members of the Edo State Working Committee (SWC). We have reviewed the process they followed and conclude that they have fulfilled the required conditions.
“We therefore uphold the suspension of the Edo State APC Chairman, Anslem Ojezua while we await the outcome of the Fact-finding and Reconciliation Committee.
“Please note that the NWC’s objective and cause of action is strictly to address the root causes of the disputations and reconcile all parties to make our great party even stronger.”
Kogi poll: Large crowd at Ayingba for PDP rally
It was the ‘mother of all rallies’ on Wednesday at Ayingba, in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State, when the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engr. Musa Wada held his final campaign rally against Saturday’s election.
The mammoth crowd, which came from the nine local government areas in the Eastern part of the state, arrived the CMML Senior Primary school at Ayingba where the rally took place as early as 8am, to listen to the PDP candidate and his running mate, Hon. Sam Aro.
Our correspondent who was at the rally ground reports that the governorship candidate, who arrived Ayingba about 2:30 pm, could not get to the venue of the campaign ground until about 4:30 pm, due to the size of the surging crowd.
Engineer Wada, while addressing the people, attributed the large number of crowd to the people’s determination to eradicate the hungry-laden government of the APC in the state.
“Nobody gave you one naira to come here, you are here because of interest, determination and desire to yourselves, and the entire people of the state, from maladministration, poverty, lack of salary payment, development decay as characterised in the APC government in Kogi State.
“I want to assure you that your sacrifice to liberate Kogi State will not go unnoticed, because my first priority as governor, if Allah permits, will be total human and physical development,” said Wada.
Give chance for peaceful elections, NGO tasks Bayelsans
A nongovernmental organisation known as Search for Common Ground has tasked all the relevant stakeholders involved in the Bayelsa State governorship election to give peace a chance as Bayelsans go to the polls.
Speaking in Yenago on Wednesday, the Media and Communications Coordinator of the NGO said it was greatly concerned with this bad development, seeing the provocative actions of political party supporters and hate speeches coming from the two major parties in the state.
The group said: “This constitutes serious danger to the election and period beyond. For instance the carrying of coffins during campaigns with inscription of another parties name on it. The numerous verbal attacks by the governorship candidates and party supporters using online platforms to post derogatory comments about their opponents.”
The group said that women have expressed fear to vote after witnessing a violent campaign that included open death threats between opposition party supporters.
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