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Lawyers condemn court’s order keeping Sowore in DSS’ custody

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Lawyers condemn court’s order keeping Sowore in DSS’ custody

Some senior lawyers have condemned the court’s order, which permitted the Department of State Services (DSS) to keep the Convener of RevolutionNow, Omoyele Sowore, in custody for 45 days.

The lawyers described the court’s order as a discretion, which was exercised wrongly.

Speaking on the issue, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome, noted that the court-ordered detention of Sowore is bad news for genuine democracy and human rights.

He argued that there was no urgency attached to the case to warrant the court’s decision.

He said: “The court could have ordered Sowore to show cause why he should not be detained for 45 days. I think it was discretion wrongly exercised, not having been exercised judicially and judiciously.

“In any event, Sections 39 to 43 of the Criminal Code and Section 410 of the Penal Code which criminalise treason envision a dire situation where an intention to overthrow a government, or overcame the president or governor of a state (called “mens rea”) is accompanied by overt acts (called “actus reus”), such as stockpiling and possession of arms and ammunition to physically carry out an insurrection, coup de’tat, or to use Sowore and his group’s terminology, ‘RevolutionNow’.

“Do mere uttered words ‘we will cause a revolution’ by Nigerians who are singing, dancing and carrying placards on the streets, shouting “aluta continua, victoria acerta,” without more, constitute treasonable felony? Especially, by Nigerians who are protesting against bad governance and have carefully itemized their grievances in writing?

“Do these amount to treason or treasonable felony? Do you announce a revolution if not for the mischief of some people deliberately reading the word literally rather than figuratively? Didn’t President Muhammadu Buhari in 2014 call for a revolution in Nigeria during campaigns for presidency? Didn’t Chief Bola Tinubu in 2011 call for a revolution? Were they interpreted literally to mean actual overthrow of the then government of President Goodluck Jonathan?

“To me, what all this boils down to is an intolerant government that is gravely and pathetically allergic to respect for and tolerance of criticism, the rule of law, individual fundantametal rights, political choices, plurality of voices, dissenting opinions and independence of the judiciary.”

In his own submissions, another member of the inner Bar, Mr. Seyi Sowemimo, said the court’s decision runs foul of the spirit of the constitution.

His words: “The court has powers to do it, but I think the power that has been exercised by the court is not in line with the spirit of the constitution which guarantees citizens’ right to liberty. This is a wrong exercise of judicial discretion.

“I think the court should have ordinarily allowed Sowore out on bail and the Department of State Services (DSS) can continue with whatever investigation it wants to do. Conditions can be attached to the bail, which will for instance, forbids the man from engaging in any protest and things like that.

“It’s like the DSS want to perpetually keep the man in their custody with its action and the court should not be part and parcel of that. I think if Sowore’s lawyer is not happy with what has happened, an appeal can be lodged against the court’s decision.”

On his part, Dr. Biodun Layonu (SAN), faulted the approach adopted by the DSS to secure the order.

He said: “By the time you are detaining somebody beyond the constitutionally allowed period, it must not be through an ex-parte application.

“The man ought to have been represented in court, so that he would see what evidence is being presented by the DSS to back up its request. The action of the DSS amounts to an infringement on Sowore’s constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom.

“To me, a judge also has discretion in a matter like this to ask the DSS to present whatever evidence it has against Sowore to justify the request to keep him custody for certain number of days.”

A former Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Monday Ubani, said it is wrong for the DSS to seek Sowore’s continuous detention, when it has not provided any evidence to sustain the allegations against him.

His words: “Sowore’s lawyer should bring an application to set aside the detention order. The constitution only allows maximum of 48 hours to keep anyone in detention.

“The proper thing to do by any law enforcement agency with anyone accused of committing any crime is to ensure that it finishes with investigation before clamping the accused person into detention.

“Detention is the final aspect of investigation which we see in other climes but here somebody will first be arrested before we begin to look for evidence. I don’t think that should be allowed.

“If the DSS is saying the man has committed treasonable felony, evidence of such offence must be placed before the court. It is wrong to ask court to put someone in detention while you are still looking for evidence to prove your case against him.

“I don’t know what evidence has been provided by the DSS before the court granted its request to detain the man beyond the time permitted by law.”

Another lawyer and a former chairman of the Public Interest Lawyers League, Dr. Abdul Mahmud, described the ruling as a clear case of the government, through the DSS, fishing for the law to fit its fictional crime.

He said: “Recall that the government through the IGP had claimed that Sowore attempted a regime change by calling for the days of rage protests that it termed a revolution.

“There’s nothing in sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 that make the 5th August protests terrorist acts. Absolutely nothing!

“The 5th August protests passed off without the breakdown of law anywhere in the country. Dictatorship is here; Nigerians must fashion ways of dealing with it as they dealt with IBB and Abacha’s dictatorship.”

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Kogi: Only an enemy will back re-election of Bello – Guber aspirant

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Kogi: Only an enemy will back re-election of Bello – Guber aspirant

Johnchuks Onuanyim, Abuja

 

An aspirant of the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State, Hon. Hassan Abdullahi has said only an enemy of the state would root for the re-election of the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Abdullahi, who represents Bassa and Dekina federal constituency in the House of Representatives, made the above submission at the APC National Headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday.

The aspirant, who fielded questions from journalists, said it would be insulting for anybody to insinuate that he was on the race on the sponsorship of Bello.

The former Deputy Speaker of Kogi State asserted that among all the aspirants for the APC governorship ticket he was the only one who had contested election.

According to him, providence bestowed leadership on the present governor, noting that he never contested election.

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Oyo: Makinde, Ajimobi’s bicker over govt vehicles

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Oyo: Makinde, Ajimobi’s bicker over govt vehicles

The battle of wits between Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and his predecessor, Abiola Ajimobi, witnessed a fresh twist recently over the claim by the incumbent that officials of the immediate past government made away with government vehicles while leaving office. Sola Adeyemo reports

 

I

mmediately Engr Seyi Makinde was inaugurated as governor of Oyo State on May 29, a confounding news hit the airwaves that he and his aides could not get official vehicles to work with as vehicles used by his predecessor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and his aides had been taken away.

 

 

While many people considered that act as a seeming rape of Oyo people’s collective patrimony, Ajimobi and his aides, however, saw Makinde’s expose as “mere storm in a tea cup.” In their claims, other past government officials like them did a similar thing without anybody batting an eyelid.

 

 

Ajimobi specifically said his predecessor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, also went with his official vehicles and he (Ajimobi) never complained or made any public issue out of it. He, therefore, wondered why much ado about nothing.

 

 

The lid was blown off the controversial issue, when the Chief of Staff to Governor Makinde, Chief Olabisi Ilaka, told journalists that Ajimobi, his wife (Florence) and most of their aides made away with their official vehicles leaving him, the governor and even the Head of Service, Mrs. Ololade Agboola, with no option than to use their personal vehicles to carry on with official assignments.

 

 

Interestingly, most of the vehicles carted away were bought brand new about three months to the exit of the Ajimobi administration, so they could not have been said to be so unserviceable to qualify them for auctioning.

 

 

But, Ajimobi’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), which dismissed the allegation, asked Makinde to name anyone who stole or went away with government’s vehicles. The denial stunned many people, who believed that the PDP government was only out on a mission to unduly dent the image of the past administration.

 

 

Amidst the allegation, counter-allegation and denials, the state government surprisingly on July, 12, announced recovery of 13 vehicles among the horde taken away by Ajimobi’s aides. Barely two weeks after, five more vehicles were recovered from some mechanic workshops, where they were abandoned. One of the vehicles was even abandoned close to the Government House without its key.

 

 

The discovery introduced another dimension to the issue as many observers were forced to expect further denial from the APC apologists. Instead of denial, they accused those they described as commissioned loyalists of the incumbent government of waylaying their vehicles on the streets and harassing them. Some of them had to give up by abandoning the vehicles at different locations.

 

 

New Telegraph‘s investigation revealed that a senior official of the immediate past administration went away with a brand new car bought in February 2019 at N35 million, barely three months to the expiration of the government’s tenure. Report had it that the senior official only paid N270,000 to purchase and personalise the vehicle.

 

 

The debacle was trailed by series of debates and analysis, one of which was at an Ibadan-based private radio station Fresh FM, where Alhaji Bola Akinyemi (Director General of Olabisi Ilaka Campaign Organisation), confirmed that the ex-Governor Ajimobi went away with three vehicles, while his wife, Florence, went away with seven.

 

 

A loyalist of Ajimobi and past Chairman of the Omi Apata Local Council Development Area, Adeniyi Oyekunle, eventually owned up, but expressed dis gust at the dust being raised over the issue.

 

 

 

 

 

His words: “Every official that went away with an official vehicle did it legally because they got it through the approval of Governor Ajimobi. All the officials who went away with their official vehicles wrote to the governor, asking whether they should go with their official vehicles as part of their severance allowance and it was granted. The papers are there as record of evidence. It is part of the perks of office and such is done everywhere.

 

“Executive officers of companies are allowed to go away with the official vehicles they use in office. There is no big deal about it. It is one of the ways of appreciating any official, who has served an organisation meritoriously. I don’t know why Governor Makinde is making a fuss out of ordinary vehicles instead of facing the business of governance.

 

 

But, carpeting Oyekunle’s justification of Ajimobi’s action, Akinyemi said: “It is a shame that a public official, who was taken care of for a whole eight years with public funds, would still feel insatiable as to think that property of the government that provided for all his needs for eight years should be carted away. It is simply a thieving idea. These are property bought with peoples’ money. What else would any such public official say he still needs? If anybody is saying that it is the tradition, this PDP government of Engr. Seyi Makinde does not believe in that and will not tolerate it,” he said.

 

 

Recalling that he was part of late Governor Lam Adesina’s government, Akinyemi said every vehicle used by all government officials then were submitted to the traffic poll and accounted for then. To him, it was outlandish and a misnomer to now justify the situation, where government officials would go away with government property.

 

 

Dismissing Oyekunle’s defence, Akinyemi added that company officials could be allowed to go with their official vehicles, “but the vehicles we are talking of here were not bought by any company or organisation, but with the people’s money. Why not allow the people to continue to enjoy their property? Why must some few individuals go away with the property of the masses simply because they held some political offices for few years?”

 

 

Corroborating Akinyemi, the newly-inaugurated Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Kehinde Ayoola, said he returned his official car as the then Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly during Adesina’s administration. “I even have the receipt of the transaction with me till date”, he boasted, wondering why any government official would not see it as preposterous leaving office with property that belongs to the people.

 

 

Also condemning the stand of Ajimobi’s aides, Makinde’s Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, described the justification as “shameless and unconscionable.”

 

 

Adisa stressed that “the incumbent government in Oyo State issued an ultimatum to officials of the immediate past administration, who illegally carted away government vehicles and other properties, to return such or risk being reported to the security agencies.”

 

 

He added: “The decision was informed by the monumental impunity the new administration in the state has uncovered so far. Even on Inauguration Day, it was so bad that the inauguration committee had to scamper here and there to source vehicles for the new governor and his deputy.

 

 

“As we speak, Governor Makinde and his deputy are compelled to rely on their personal vehicles for use as convoy cars in the discharge of their duties. The same is true of other government officials appointed so far. And that is despite the records which show that huge sums were expended on the purchase of new cars in the last year of the immediate past administration. Indeed, a number of such cars were purchased about three months to the end of that government.

 

 

“This government will not permit anyone to mix up facts in an attempt to defend a strange tradition of ‘vultures in governance’ which is diametrically opposed to the Service Agenda of the Makinde administration.

 

 

 

“There is a clear difference when a vehicle is boarded and the appropriate amount paid. The records at the disposal of government clearly demarcate the illegally taken cars from the boarded vehicles. We also make bold to state that the officials charged with recovery of the said cars and the security operatives have so far been very civil in their procedures and no fewer than 19 cars have been recovered.

 

“Television cameras were on the toe of the officials who recovered the last set of five vehicles and those who took the cars away are well documented. There is no government instrument or law of the State House of Assembly that permits vehicles to be taken away ‘free of charge’ or in the exercise of ‘discretionary powers’ as shown in a memo elements of the past government secretly leaked in a bid to blackmail the incumbent government.

 

 

“Because the government in place in Oyo is all about probity, openness, and accountability, it will not condone attempts to seize public property or distribute them like a Father Christmas in the twilight of his trade.

 

 

“It is disheartening that some persons who have had the opportunity of serving our dear state, a state of Omoluabi, would openly     defend any absurdity or propensity to loot government property in a manner that debases the true Omoluabi culture that defines us here.”

 

 

Confirming that the state government was indeed poised to recover the ‘stolen’ vehicles, a Protocol Officer, Alhaji Adebisi Olopoeniyan, openly admitted that he led some men to track down the recovered vehicles.

 

 

He said: “These people were in government from May 29, 2011 till May 29, 2019 and yet they were not satisfied with all the booties in their care and perks they derived so far from holding positions of authority. I can’t deny that government vehicles carted away by them are being recovered daily. Let them keep quiet or we will be forced to expose the atrocities further.

 

 

“It is true I led people to recover the vehicles, where they were hidden. We got information that if we didn’t arrive where the vehicles were parked, they could be moved away. We know the police may not act on it before they (vehicles) are relocated, because of official demands and other consideration, so I led people there; got their keys and I asked the drivers to take them to government house.

 

 

“It would have been an offence if on recovery of such vehicles as claimed, I asked the drivers I took there to drive them to my house. But this is a case of ensuring that government vehicles stolen by some people are retrieved and taken to Agodi Government House.

 

 

“If the government house was possible to cart away, these people would have done so. The level of their alleged theft of government property was mind-boggling. They ought to have approached the police to invite me for the said robbery.

 

 

“We have gotten more information and lead on more vehicles. We will go after them because those vehicles were bought with tax payers’ money. Some of us feel that denying the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government access to those vehicles will stifle performance of our government, reason we moved against them. We are still going to recover the other vehicles from them.”

 

 

Meanwhile, even the Sallah day’s claim by Ajimobi that the vehicles were properly given away by his government was  condemned by Makinde, who said that his predecessor misrepresented facts. He vowed not to let off on the issue until all the vehicles are recovered to the government’s transport pool.

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Oshiomhole vs Obaseki: Is the storm over?

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Oshiomhole vs Obaseki: Is the storm over?

Edo crisis: The dust settles

 

Respite appears to be on the way for the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the two generals battling for the soul of the party in the state appear to be sheathing their swords. In this report, WALE ELEGBEDE asks whether the conciliatory move between Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki was real or another phantom political antic

 

 

Unlike other human endeavors where the principles of input and output determine results, the business of politics does not operate on the give and take schedule.

 

 

In politics, the best of all impossibilities could overnight become a possibility and vice versa. It’s a game where rules are adopted at the convenience of the players.

 

 

Thus, the currency of exchange in politics is interest and the warehouses for transactions are basically the constituted hierarchies and political parties. They could make or mar any ambition and they usually look to entrench their influence at every power contest and polls.

 

Perhaps, the pursuit for this interest is responsible for the crisis that emanated in the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) when the simmering cold war between the state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole became a talking point across the country.

 

 

Curiously, with both the traditional and online media already screaming about the titanic battle for the soul of the Edo APC, the two gladiators in the fray kept keeping a straight face on the crisis, stating repeatedly that there is no animosity between them.

 

 

With the proxy war pitching the state House of Assembly and Governor Obaseki against the leadership of the National Assembly, it was quite easy for the Oshiomhole camp to externalized the crisis as one that is about due process.

 

 

But the Speaker of the embattled Edo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Frank Okiye, wouldn’t take the saint role adopted by the former governor in the crisis, stating that the wrangling between the state’s legislature is a smokescreen by Oshiomhole and his loyalists to deprive Obaseki a second term.

 

 

Okiye, who spoke with New Telegraph, raised the alarm that the said planned takeover of the Assembly by the Senate, which was roundly condemned by Nigerians, is capable of destabilizing the Big Heart state, urging the federal lawmakers to act as agents of peace and not merchants of crisis.

 

 

He said: “The truth is that the Edo State Assembly and my office are not the real targets of this crisis. The plot is actually aimed at Obaseki and the endpoint is to stop him from getting a return ticket as governor next year.

 

 

“Comrade Oshiomhole is actually after Obaseki; the state Assembly was only a smokescreen to his plans. The idea now is to take over the house, destabilize the state and possibly impeach the governor. The Edo Peoples Movement that originated this crisis has boasted that it will ensure that the governor does not come back for the second tenure.”

 

 

Okiye added that the threat of takeover from the National Assembly was part of the grand plot of Oshiomhole, saying, “I have said it before on several occasions that we know who is beating the drum for them in the National Assembly. They have found themselves in the position of a stooge to make it look like they cannot think outside the box; it’s unfortunate.”

 

 

While the leadership tussles in the 7th session of the state Assembly was tendered as the basis for the current crisis, insiders within the state argued that the cold war between the duo can primarily be traced to Oshiomhole loyalists who are said to have been protesting against alleged unfair treatment by the current governor after the departure of Oshiomhole from Government House, Benin. This line of argument was also enhanced by dismissal of eight commissioners believed to be loyalists of the former governor.

 

 

The Edo Assembly crisis started at the commencement of the seventh Assembly in June when the inauguration of the principal officers of the state legislature became a cause of crisis between the godfather and his godson.

 

 

Obaseki was said to have wanted Frank Okiye representing Esan North East I, as speaker while Oshiomhole was disposed to Vicotor Edoro, representing Esan Central constituency. Incidentally, the APC-led Assembly produced 12 members for Oshiomhole and 12 for Obaseki.

 

 

The 12 members-elect loyal to Oshiomhole, who claimed that they were shortchanged by their colleagues, took the fight to the National Assembly, leading to both chambers directing the governor to issue a fresh proclamation for the inauguration else the assembly would be taken over by National Assembly.

 

 

The Senate took its decision on the plenary before heading for recess giving Governor Obaseki one week to issue a fresh proclamation for the constitution of the Edo State House of Assembly or it would take over its legislative functions.

 

 

The Senate took the decision when it received the report of its ad hoc committee led by Sen. Abdullahi Sabi (APC Niger) which had, in the past two weeks, investigated the crisis in the assembly.

 

 

The committee had initially recommended three weeks for the take-over, but the recommendation was later amended to a week.

 

 

However, Senator Rochas Okorocha (Imo West) faulted the decision of the Senate to take over the House of Assembly, adding that the Red Chamber is overreaching itself on the Edo Assembly issue.

 

 

The immediate past governor of Imo State said: “The National Assembly seems to be overreaching its boundary in this matter. We appear to be in a hurry to take over the Edo State House of Assembly.

 

 

“We should see this as a family affair in APC and we must not ridicule ourselves in public, rather we should look into the matter instead of this position the Senate     is taking.

 

 

“I have been a governor before and I think what is happening in Edo is simply a failure of leadership which can be addressed,’’ he said.

 

 

President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan, while defending the position, said: “The decision is in conformity with the decision of the House of Representatives two weeks ago.

 

 

“If the National Assembly can reach out to the president on any matter, I don’t see any reason the same cannot be done in any state when democracy is threatened.”

 

 

But not in sync with the National Assembly, a group under the auspices of the Edo Youth Vanguard, sounded a stern warning to the lawmakers to either be impartial in its intervention in the contrived impasse in the state House of Assembly or incur the wrath of the youth.

 

 

In a statement signed by the its president, Nosakhare Oseghale, the youth group said; “We have just decided to maintain the peace and order in the state as encouraged and entrenched by Governor Obaseki but we are privy to the shenanigans of selfish and mindless Abuja political merchants and we shall not allow them to dictate to us who the leaders of our House of Assembly should be. Since when did the national party start interfering in the composition of the leadership of a state House of Assembly if not that there is a particular interest that needs to be served?”

 

 

Also baring his mind, former National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, said anyone who opposes Obaseki in the state is undermining the people of the state.

 

 

“What is happening is a mystery to me and for funny reasons, we have been unable to get the story behind the story. All I know is that we have a government and the voice of the people says Obaseki deserves all the support that he can get,’’ he said.

 

 

“If anyone wants to remove him and destabilise the state, it is wrong. The governor is delivering good governance to the people. They should wait until the party primary. I call on everyone to continue to support the governor.”

 

 

To test the veracity of the threat of the National Assembly to take over the state Assembly, the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Yekini Idiaye and Hon Henry Okhuarobo (Ikpoba-Okha constituency), approached the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on the matter.

 

 

Ruling on the suit, Justice Adamu Turaki Mohammed restrained the National Assembly, the Police and the Directorate of Security Services (DSS) from interfering or sealing up the Assembly.

 

 

Ruling on a motion ex parte with Suit No: FHC/PH/CS/159/2019, Justice Mohammed also ordered the Clerk of the National Assembly, President of the Senate and Speaker of House of Representatives from interfering or taking over the legislative functions of the Assembly.

 

 

The court also restrained the Governor of Edo state, Mr. Godwin Obaseki from issuing any fresh proclamation for the state Assembly pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

 

 

The court granted four Order of Interim Injunctions and adjourned the case to August 16 for further hearing.

 

 

The order, signed by the Court Registrar, MS Hassan, also restrained the Inspector-General of Police and the State Security Service or their agents or officers from sealing up the Assembly or obstructing the plaintiffs in whatever manner in the performance of their constitutional duties as members of the Edo State House of Assembly.

 

 

Speaking on the lapse of the on the one-week ultimatum and the ruling of the court restraining it from taking over the Assembly, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, said the development didn’t warrant any urgent need to reconvene in order to review the developments.

 

 

But the crisis took a turn last week during the Sallah celebration when the governor paid a surprise visit to the Iyamho residence of the APC national chairman, a development that many analysts never saw coming.

 

 

Governor Obaseki, who had appeared in company with his wife, Betsy Obaseki at the ISO venue of the reception in honour of 80th birthday of the former APC National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, had hurriedly left his wife to attend the meeting with Oshiomhole.

 

 

Arising from the meeting from the visit which dragged late into the night of Monday, the APC chairman said the media was responsible for creating factions between them for their own gains.

 

 

Oshiomhole, who spoke after the meeting said the rift between himself and his successor, Obaseki was the creation of people with personal interest just as he described Obaseki as his brother.

Speaking to journalists after the closed-door meeting, Oshiomhole said the meeting was not unusual as he was in constant touch with Governor Obaseki.

 

 

“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.”

 

He said it was unfortunate that the media liked creating factions for their own gains.

 

 

Obaseki also noted that the visit to his predecessor was not unusual, saying that he decided to celebrate Sallah with his former boss.

 

 

He said the visit was to celebrate Edo leaders just as the former APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, was celebrated by the state earlier in the day.

 

 

“There is nothing unusual about this meeting; today is Sallah and we have just finished celebrating with the former APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun in Benin City, and we decided to come here to celebrate Sallah with my predecessor,” the governor said.

 

 

He added that people who think there was a rift between him and his predecessor should stop thinking so.

 

 

While some said that the parley is a sign that the two leaders are ready to work together in the interest of the state, others said that the meeting was only a façade meant only for both parties to simmer for a while.

 

 

Will the yet to be inaugurated lawmakers take their oath of office after the parley? What happened to the House leadership, will it be reconstituted or status quo maintained? Is the 2020 second term ticket of Obaseki now confirmed or not? Answers to these questions are in the belly of time.

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POLITICAL NOTES: Need for visionary leaders

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POLITICAL NOTES:  Need for visionary leaders

V

isionary leadership is the principal element, which ensures that government serves as a vehicle for the attainment of citizens’ socio-economic aspirations, but dearth of such in Nigeria has continued to raise questions over Nigeria’s leadership recruitment process.

 

 

With a few exceptions, Nigeria has been struck by a string of inept leaders at the various levels of governance, and who are gradually running the country aground, while less endowed nations that had independence the same time with her, have continued to make progress.

 

 

To most analysts, Nigeria’s problem had never been paucity of funds and resources. With an area of over 923,773 square kilometers, the largest single geographical unit along the west coast of Africa and the largest population in the continent, Nigeria has the most envious economic profile in Africa. The nation is the leading producer of crude oil and gas in Africa and 6th in the world.

 

 

But, close to 60 decades of self-rule, Nigeria remains a land of poverty despite her huge potential. This, many believe, was made possible, mainly by ineffective leadership, which has impeded development as it takes commitment and focus on the part of a leader to deliver good governance.

 

 

According to analysts, a critical look at countries that have made progress showed that they enjoyed visionary leadership at different points in their history. In the case of Nigeria, they put the blame on the process of emergence of her leaders.

 

 

Nigeria, they said, have witnessed more of accidental leaders going by the process of their emergence with attendant poor governance. This, perhaps, explains why Africa’s most populous country has continued to lag behind in an emerging world order that emphasises clear-headed and able leadership.

 

 

No doubt, the situation in the country is different from prepared and vision-driven leadership obtainable in other democracies of the world. It is against this backdrop that some stakeholders have continued to call for a review of the country’s leadership recruitment process.

 

They argued that with a population of over 180 million, comprising over 300 ethnic nationalities and a multiplicity of cultural and religious diversities, Nigeria cannot make do with incompetent leadership.

 

 

They further posited that a country without a visionary leader faces social and economic instability, as leaders with vision inspire citizens and mobilise them for nation building; employ wisdom, foresight, sense of purpose and commitment to galvanise them towards self-actualisation as well as propel the national spirit in them.

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POLITRICKS: Party chieftains flow with the tide

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POLITRICKS: Party chieftains flow with the tide

I

t is hard time for hangers-on, who depend on public office holders for survival. These hangers-on, who usually seize opportunity of any political gathering as time of merriment experienced the shock of their lives during a recent birthday bash by one of their benefactors.

 

 

Expecting that the usual gifts that normally come with such gathering to flow, supporters of the politician, whose party in now in opposition, got the shock of their lives, when their benefactor told them that he would rather educate them on how to key into the various programmes of the government and engage in meaningful ventures that will change their lives than to doll out cash as usual.

 

 

No doubt, the piece of advice didn’t go do well with the hangers-on as there was a sudden switch in their moody, but the party bigwig maintained that it is time people start engaging in meaningful ventures rather than hoping on handouts from politicians.

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POLITRICKS; Frustrations of a 2019 campaigner

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POLITRICKS; Frustrations of a 2019 campaigner

P

olitical appointments serve two distinct functions. One is to reward supporters and the other to control the state. The reward function of political appointment is a feature of many traditional patronage systems, where the political party that wins an election rewards its supporters with appointments and other favours.

 

 

Such is the character of politics that to the victor belong the spoils. But, this has not been the case for some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as most of them are in a fix over how they would be rewarded for their efforts during the 2019 general election.

 

 

One of these loyalists, who hails from the south eastern part of the country, could not hide his frustration after the President forwarded the list of ministerial nominees to the Senate for screening and confirmation.

 

 

He emphatically told Politricks that he never envisaged that he would be treated shabbily by the APC leadership despite his commitment, material and otherwise during the elections.

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Group tasks judiciary on election petitions

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Group tasks judiciary on election petitions

T

he National Convener, Project774ForAtiku2019, Dr. Sani Adamu, has expressed confidence that the nation’s judiciary will ensure justice to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

 

 

This is just as the Director General of the Atiku Abubakar Democratic Institute, Dr. Adetokunbo Pearse and the Secretary General, Movement for NigerianRestructuring, Barrister Fred Nzeako said the country’s judiciary is now focus of attention of the whole world and, therefore, the need for it to rise above the board and deliver a credible judgement without bias.

 

 

Dr. Pearse described the case now before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal as a litmus test, urging Nigerians, democrats and all advocates of rule of law the world over to pay close attention.

 

 

Addressing a World Press Conference in Lagos State, Dr. Adamu, who is the convener of the group, hailed well-meaning Nigerians for maintaining peace and remaining hopeful that their mandate would be returned to them soon, recalling the exploit of the PDP/Atiku legal team and the steadfastness of the witnesses and technical experts, which  he described as convincing.

 

 

“Most Nigerians have witnessed our efforts at the tribunal. The brilliance shown by our legal team and the steadfastness of our witnesses and technical experts have indeed convinced us beyond reasonable doubt that Atiku is coming,” he said.

 

 

Adamu, in his lecture titled: “Stolen mandate will never yield any good for Nigeria,” equally said the whole world had focused on the nation’s judiciary, looking forward to how the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal would deliver justice without fear or favour.

 

 

He expressed oncern over the arrest and continued detention of Sahara Reporters publisher,  Mr. Omoyele Sowore and other Nigerians for planning a simple civil disobedience, saying this act to forcefully suppress any opposing view, portend a looming danger in the country.

 

 

“This press conference will be incomplete if we do not speak out against the looming anarchy in the country as a result of the president’s actions to forcefully suppress any opposing view, which is guaranteed by our constitution. I am referring to the unlawful arrest and detention of Mr Omoyele Sowore and other Nigerians for planning a simple civil disobedience,” he said.

 

 

Lamenting that the police and Army had become government’s instruments of suppression and unconstitutional actions against lawful protest, Adamu urged the government to unconditionally release Sowore without further delay.

 

 

“I call on the government to unconditionally release Mr. Sowore without further delay. The government must guarantee his safety and well-being and those of his comrades. Enough of these unconstitutional behavior,” he said.

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Impeachment: Kogi deputy gov, Achuba, sues Assembly

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Impeachment: Kogi deputy gov, Achuba, sues Assembly

 

 

 

T

he Deputy Governor of Kogi, Elder Simon Achuba, has dragged the State House of Assembly to court following impeachment noticed recently served on him.

 

 

Achuba approached the State High Court, Lokoja to challenge the purported impeachment notice served on him by the Kogi State House of Assembly, on grounds that it was served out of time and marred with irregularities.

 

 

The case is set for hearing on the date to be announced soon by the court.

 

 

It would be recalled that the State Assembly had commenced an impeachment process against the Deputy Governor over alleged gross misconduct.

 

 

The impeachment notice was read by the majority leader of the House, Abdullahi Bello (Ajaokuta, APC) as a petition on the floor of the Assembly.

 

 

He said the petition was based on three grounds of criminal indulgence, financial misappropriation and non-performance.

 

 

Meanwhile, the Kogi State House of Assembly has requested the state Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah, to constitute a seven-man Panel of Inquiry to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against the Deputy Governor of the state, Elder Simon Achuba.

 

 

The Assembly made the request in a resolution reached at plenary on Tuesday in Lokoja, following the adoption of a motion by the Majority Leader, Abdullahi Bello-Balogun (APC-Ajaokuta).

 

 

The motion called for an investigation into the allegations, which is a second step toward impeachment of the public officer.

 

 

Presenting the motion, Bello-Balogun said the motion was sequel to issuance of a Notice of Allegations to the deputy governor on Aug. 8, 2019.

 

 

He explained that the deputy governor evaded service of the Notice of Allegations on him and also directed that none of his aides should receive any correspondence from the Assembly on his behalf.

 

 

Bello-Balogun said that the prayers calling for investigation in the motion were in line with Section 188(3) which stipulated that the House should resolve by motion, supported by not less than two-third of members, to request the Chief Judge to set up the seven-man panel to investigate the allegations.

 

 

He added that the deputy governor’s attack on Gov. Yahaya Bello and the State Government as well as the alleged discrete and open support for candidates of the opposition parties during the Presidential, National and State Assembly elections in February and March, amounted to gross misconduct.

 

 

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As Senate romances Presidency

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As Senate romances Presidency

CHUKWU DAVID reports how the Ninth Senate is making desperate efforts to court the attention and friendship of President Muhammadu Buhari, apparently to reduce the age-long acrimony between the Senate and Presidency

 

 

The Ninth Senate was inaugurated on June 11, 2019. The inauguration was carried out under a very peaceful atmosphere, even though there was palpable apprehension in the camp of Ahmad Lawan, who eventually emerged the President of the Senate and Ovie Omo-Agege, the Deputy President of the Senate.

The apprehension in Lawan’s camp and indeed in the camp of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), stemmed from the fact that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), publicly declared support for Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South), who defied the choice of Lawan by the APC leadership and President Buhari, to contest for the position of Senate President.

However, at the end of the day, the wishes of the party and the President came to stay as Lawan beat Ndume, while Omo-Agege defeated the former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu.

Meanwhile, Lawan has been trying to convince Nigerians and the entire world, that the Senate under his leadership will not be a rubber stamp assembly. While stressing that his administration would strive to assert the independence of the National Assembly, he has also promised to ensure that the Senate is on the same page with the presidency.

Many Nigerians have been wondering how the Senate can manage such relationship where it asserts its independence and at the same time, please the presidency in a country that the executive arm always wants to subjugate the legislature and the judiciary, and be the lord.

Analysts have pointed out that it would be near impossibility for absolute harmony to be achieved between the two rival arms without serious compromise on the part of the Senate.

These analysts are of the opinion that the Senate can succeed in minimizing the constant quarrels between it and the executive, but cannot totally have absolute peace with the latter if it must safeguard its constitutional powers and freedom.

Already, there have been signs on the part of the Senate, indicating that the present Assembly won’t be able to keep to the words of Lawan that the Upper Chamber can assert its independence while romancing with the Presidency.

The state of the country’s democratic development is such that the executive always wants to control the other two arms of government, and attempts to resist such dominance have always been the reason for the bickering between the executive and the legislature in particular.

Apart from the unprecedented crackdown on some highly placed judicial officers in the first four years of Buhari’s administration, the judiciary is not always conspicuous in warring with either the executive or the legislature.

Since the return of the country to civil rule in 1999, the National Assembly had always had frosty relationship with the presidency, but the situation got messier in the Eighth Assembly, under Bukola Saraki as the President of the Senate and Ike Ekweremadu as the Deputy President of the Senate.

This was because Saraki and Ekweremadu emerged as presiding officer of the apex Assembly, contrary to the choice of the leadership of the APC and President Buhari, who actually preferred Lawan for the post of President of the Senate in 2015.

Following the controversial circumstance under which Saraki and his deputy emerged, they faced unending battles till the end of their tenure, leading to the defection of Saraki to the PDP on July 31, 2018.

However, not willing to face that kind of battle in the present dispensation, Lawan and Omo-Agege, are now making frantic efforts, convenient or otherwise, to make President Buhari happy in order to enjoy his friendship and support in the next four years.

Accordingly, the two presiding officers have separately visited the President in his country home, Daura, in Katsina State. They recently paid him independent visits with some other stakeholders in the Senate and the APC.

For instance, the leadership of the Senate led by Lawan, last Friday, visited President Buhari in Daura.

In the entourage of the President of the Senate were Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi; Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Borrofice; Deputy Whip, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi; Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, and the Minority Whip, Philip Aduda.

Others were Deputy Minority Whip, Sahabi Alhaji Ya’u; senator representing Katsina South, Bello Mandiya; senator representing Katsina North, Ahmad Babba Kaita and senator representing Katsina Central, Abdullahi Barkiya.

Earlier on Wednesday last week, the Deputy President of the Senate, Omo-Agege, also visited Daura, alongside other APC chieftains including governors to pay homage to Buhari during the Sallah celebration.

While in Daura, the Deputy President of the Senate assured Nigerians that the 9th National Assembly will provide an enabling environment for the implementation of the Next Level agenda of President Buhari for the benefit of all Nigerians.

He called on Nigerians to continue to work for the peace, unity and progress of the country, pointing out that he went to Daura to represent the President of the Senate, who was in Saudi Arabia to perform the hajji.

His words: “We felt it was right since the Senate President is far away in Saudi Arabia, offering prayers for this country and the National Assembly leadership, for us to come in here representing him and the Senate to express felicitations with Mr. President as he celebrates this feast.

“You know it has not been very easy for us as a country in terms of the challenges we faced but this notwithstanding, Mr. President has managed to steer the ship of state very successfully; so, we decided on visiting him at home, to felicitate with him and congratulate him.

“It is also to reassure him that going forward, the National Assembly is ready to provide the enabling environment for the contents of the Next Level agenda to be implemented.”

Some analysts, who have commented on the development, are of the view that the romance of the Senate leadership with the Presidency is the panacea to the long standing rift between the two arms of government.

However, others have reservations that such relationship, if not controlled, is the shortest way to compromise the independence of the parliament and make it a rubber stamp or an appendage of the executive.

Whatever the ongoing “honey moon” between the Ninth Senate and the presidency will result in, Nigerians are waiting to see a relationship that will translate to mutual respect between the two arms, without any of them encroaching on the constitutional powers of the other, with delivery of good governance to the people as the ultimate goal.

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Babangida: The General soldiers on @78

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Babangida: The General soldiers on @78

Former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, turned 78 at the weekend. Felix Nwaneri, in this report, takes a look at the man who led Nigeria between 1987 and 1993

 

Former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, needs little or no introduction. Undeniably, his name rings a deafening bell across the land. Born on August 17, 1941, Babangida, who is popularly known as IBB, was Nigeria’s military ruler between August 27, 1985 and August 27, 1993 after his regime’s annulment of the presidential election held on June 12 of that year.

Though a chain of events trailed the poll’s annulment, which was after a painstaking eight-year transition programme to return Nigeria to democratic rule, Babangida later explained that he was compelled to nullify the election because of security threats to the enthronement of a democratic government at the time.

He pointed out that the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) he headed then knew that Abiola, if installed as president would be toppled through a military coup, which his government did not want.

According to him, his regime decided that it would be the last that would ascend the seat of power through coup, adding that it would make no sense to install a democratic government that would be truncated within another six months.

He, however, admitted that the poll was the best ever conducted in Nigeria’s history, saying: “June 12 was accepted by Nigerians as the best of elections in Nigeria. It was free and fair. But unfortunately, we cancelled that election. I used the word unfortunately, for the first time. We were in government at the time and we knew the possible consequences of handing over to a democratic government. We did well that we wanted ours to be the last military coup deta’t. To be honest, the situation was not ripe to hand over at the time.

“The issue of security of the nation was a threat and we would have considered ourselves to have failed, if six months after handover, there was another coup. I went through a coup deta’t and I survived it. We knew that there would be another coup deta’t. But not many people believed what we said. They could have allowed me to go away and then they (coup plotters) would regroup and stage another coup.”

But, annulment of the 1993 presidential election is not all about Babangida. He served Nigeria in various capacities before his emergence as head of state. 

The Niger State born former military ruler joined the Nigerian Army’s officer corps on December 10, 1962. He was the Chief of Army Staff and a member of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) under the administration of Major General Muhammadu Buhari (now president).

Babangida would later overthrow Buhari’s regime on in a bloodless coup, with a promise to bring to an end, human rights abuses and to hand over power to a civilian government by 1990.

One of the major economic policies of his regime was the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), which was launched in 1986. The policies entailed under the SAP were the deregulation of the agricultural sector by abolishing marketing boards and the elimination of price controls, privatisation of public enterprises, devaluation of the Naira to aid the competitiveness of the export sector, and the relaxation of restraints on foreign investment.

Between 1986 and 1988, when these policies were executed as intended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Nigerian economy actually recorded appreciable growth.

It is also to his credit that some developmental programmes such as the Peoples Bank of Nigeria (PBN), National Directorate for Employment (NDE), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Directorate for Food Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI), Better Life for Rural Women and National Economic Reconstruction Fund were established.

In retirement, Babangida has not relented from contributing to national discourse. In the heat of the debate for restructuring of Nigeria, for example, he described it as an appeal whose time has come. He also called for devolution of powers to give more responsibilities to the state as well as state police.

The former military ruler who was reacting to the tension in the country then over hate speeches emanating from different quarters, warned against the consequences of war, citing the effects of the devastating Nigerian Civil War, which he said lingers till date.

In a statement entitled: “I am a Nigerian,” Babangida also warned against demolishing the foundation of nationhood as a result of the country’s inability to realise her potential.

He said: “That we have not fully realized our potentials as a great nation is not enough reason for us to want to demolish the foundation of our nationhood or rubbish the labours of our heroes past; both of which are borne out of our collective efforts to build a truly great nation, and great people. If we have repeatedly done certain things and not getting the desired results, we need to change tactics and approach, and renew our commitment. It is our collective responsibilities to engender a reform that would be realistic and in sync with modern best practices.

“For example, restructuring has become a national appeal as we speak, whose time has come. I will strongly advocate for devolution of powers to the extent that more responsibilities be given to the states while the Federal Government is vested with the responsibility to oversee our foreign policy, defence, and economy. Even the idea of having Federal Roads in towns and cities has become outdated and urgently needs revisiting. That means we need to tinker with our constitution to accommodate new thoughts that will strengthen our nationality.

“Restructuring and devolution of powers will certainly not provide all the answers to our developmental challenges; it will help to reposition our mindset as we generate new ideas and initiatives that would make our union worthwhile. The talk to have the country restructured means that Nigerians are agreed on our unity in diversity; but that we should strengthen our structures to make the union more functional based on our comparative advantages.

“Added to this desire is the need to commence the process of having state police across the states of the federation. This idea was contained in my manifesto in 2010 when I attempted to contest the presidential elections. The initial fears that state governors will misuse the officers and men of the State Police have become increasingly eliminated with renewed vigour in citizens’ participation in, and confidence to interrogate power.

“We cannot be detained by those fears and allow civilization to leave us behind. We must as a people with one destiny and common agenda take decisions for the sake of posterity in our shared commitment to launch our country on the path of development and growth. Policing has become so sophisticated that we cannot continue to operate our old methods and expect different results.”

He also added his voice to the campaign for generational power shift ahead of the 2019 general election, when he called on Nigerians to reinvent the will and tap into the resourcefulness of the younger generation to stimulate their entrepreneurial initiatives and provoke a conduce environment to grow national economy both at the micro and macro levels.

According to him, that will provoke fresh leadership that would immediately begin the process of healing the wounds in the land and ensure that the wishes and aspirations of the people are realized in building and sustaining national cohesion and consensus.

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