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Abiodun, Akinlade to know fate as tribunal delivers judgement Sat

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Abiodun, Akinlade to know fate as tribunal delivers judgement Sat

The Ogun State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has fixed Saturday for judgement in the petition filed by the Allied People’s Movement (APM) governorship candidate, Adekunle Akinlade, against the election of Governor Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

 

The tribunal, led by Justice Yusuf Halilu, on Tuesday, said it has conveyed notice of the judgement to parties in the petition through text messages and telephone calls.

 

Secretary to the tribunal, Henry Sekulla, told reporters in Abeokuta that the case between the APM and APC gubernatorial candidates will be determined on that day.

“The judgement has been fixed for Saturday, September 14, 2019 and we have sent formal notification to all parties, including calls and text messages,” he said in a telephone chat on Tuesday.

The three-man tribunal had reserved ruling after both the petitioners and respondents adopted their final written addresses on August 19.

It will be recalled that Akinlade and his party filed a petition marked “EPT/OG/GOV/01/19” challenging Abiodun’s victory in the March 9 governorship election in the state.

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Gladiators seeking PDP’s ticket ahead Ondo 2020

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Gladiators seeking PDP’s ticket ahead Ondo 2020

As attention is about to shift to Ondo State’s governorship election holding next year, BIYI ADEGOROYE and ADEWALE JIMOH, examine the pedigree of top party leaders and their quest for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket in the state

 

 

 

A

head of governorship election coming up in Ondo State next year, intense consultations and maneuvering are gradually taking the political space of the Sunshine State. The heat currently emanating from the political kitchen of the state is traceable to the two heavyweight political parties in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

 

 

Coming about three years after the party lost the state to the APC in an election characterised by internal wrangling, litigation and even riots in the PDP, which saw its candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, a lawyer, lock horns with another lawyer and business mogul, Jimoh Ibrahim, pundits believe that the party must learn from history in order to succeed this time.

 

 

But the PDP will be buoyed by the party’s success in the last general elections in the state where it produced two senators, Nicholas Tofowomo and Ayo Aknyelure for the South Senatorial and central zones respectively and having won four seats in the House of Representatives.  The party’s standing in the South-West received greater fillip with its victory in the Oyo State governorship election which produced Engineer Seyi Makinde, whose triumph has been described as the beginning of PDP’s rebirth in the region.

 

 

Already, in preparation for the stand-alone election in the jostle to wrest power from the incumbent, about 16 aspirants have indicated their interests to pick the party’s ticket and become its standard-bearer at the 2020 poll with a handful from the northern senatorial zone of the state, a great number of them are from the South while a couple are from the central.

 

 

Of great importance are the factors which may have strong bearing on the election of the candidate of the party in the election, and they include zoning or rotations, pedigree and track records, party loyalty and ability to deliver. Party loyalty and internal unity, a source said, are key, because the two factors sank the party’s chances in the 2016 governorship election.

 

 

Eddy Olafeso

 

 

Prominent among the 16 aspirants is the National Vice Chairman of the party in the South-West, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, an indigene of Okitipupa, and a product of the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife) where he bagged first in the 70s and master’s degree in English and International Relations respectively. 

 

 

Olorogun Olafeso holds a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in International Relations from the Atlantic International University, Hawaii, United States of America in 2008 and has been a recurrent name in societal mobilisation and re-engineering, politics and entrepreneurship in the last three decades.  His corporate performance in the private sector saw him join DHL International in 1985 where he left to co-found RedStar Express in the 1990s.

 

 

He returned from the United States in 2002 where he lived for 15 years to expand the base of his knowledge and business to participate in active politics and was appointed to chair the Board of Owena Motels Ltd and later in that same year to Head the Corporate Affair Division of the Ajaokuta Steel Company between 2003-2004. Olafeso, who has truly lived Napoleon Bonaparte’s ageless assertion that, ‘’a leader is a dealer in hope,” understudied the late Dr Olusegun Agagu, erudite scholar and former Governor of Ondo State, and his mobilisation skills and loyalty to the party earned him the position of the Secretary of the state chapter of the PDP early 2007 and later appointed Hon. Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Mobilisation same year.

 

 

As a member of the PDP National Executive Committee,  (NEC) he has to his credit the resurgence of the party in the South-West in recent elections, and its self-discovery which soared the party’s success in the region in both presidential and governorship elections.

 

 

Along with other party leaders, he played a major role that enabled the party to defeat the APC in the presidential election in the state scoring 275,901 to APC’s 241,769, electing two senators and four members of the House of Representatives including Hons. Kolade Akinjo, Ilaje Federal Constituency,   Ikengboju Gboluga, Okitipupa/Irele, Adebayo Omolafe, Akure North and South. He is naturally gifted with the power of oration and crisp ideas, his well articulated performance as the mouthpiece of one of the most successful administrations in the state is well documented.

 

 

Eyitayo Jegede

 

 

Akure-born Eyitayo Jegede, a former Commissioner for Justice under Governor Olusegun Mimiko, was the 2016 PDP governorship candidate in the state, who came second after losing to the incumbent Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the APC at the polls. Jegede, a lawyer, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Coor-dinator of Ababakar Atiku Presidential Campaign in the state in the last election, indicated his interest to vie for the PDP governorship ticket following his meeting with party leaders in the state. At one of the meetings held with stalwarts of the party, Jegede hinged is decision to seek the ticket on the revelation by God who he said directed him to contest the 2020 governorship election.

 

 

His words: “I am here to thank you for the support you gave me during the 2016 governorship election. I see myself as somebody who is ready to serve. I contested the last gubernatorial election and we knew the result, the following day we went to church to thank God for how far He had helped us.

 

 

“Now, I consulted God Almighty again, I asked if I should go forward on this project, He answered me that I should go ahead. I am asking you whether to go ahead or not? This is not the time for the campaign. We will surely come back when the time comes. I seek your support for our great party, the PDP and appreciate you for all your efforts both during the 2016 governorship election and the last general elections.”

 

 

Sola Ebiseni

 

 

Another strong contender for the PDP governorship ticket is Sola Ebiseni, a three time commissioner in Ondo State, is a lawyer. Just like Jegede, Ebi     seni, who hails from Ilaje Local Government Area in Southern Senatorial District of the state, in 2016 contested the party’s ticket in the then Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction of the PDP after his fallout with Olusegun Mimiko over the former governor’s support for Jegede.

 

 

Ebiseni, who served as Commissioner for Environment in Mimiko’s cabinet, while declaring his intention to contest the party’s ticket told PDP leaders and supporters at Igbotako, the headquarters of the Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State emphasised that “having the ticket of the party and winning the governorship election goes beyond social media agitations, some of which may even be annoying and offensive.

 

 

“It is the constitutional right of every person or part of the state to aspire to the office of the governor. To get it, we must work hard, engage other local governments, tribes, and groups in a friendly manner with mutually beneficial assurance and put forward our best candidate, in whom other people have confidence, based on robust relationship. This game is not an Olympic event which essence is participation. It is a political World Cup, where only the champion can win both the qualifiers and the ultimate trophy for any nation.”

 

 

Meanwhile, it has been reliably learnt that Ebiseni is also frantically seeking the endorsement of the Pan-Yoruba Socio-cultural group, Afenifere as regards the PDP’s ticket.

 

 

Others

 

 

Another PDP aspirant gunning for the party’s ticket is the former Chairman of Ilaje Local Government, Banji Okunomo. Okunomo, who is the immediate past Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, stated that is desire to govern the state is not due to over-ambition but a genuine will.

 

 

Okunomo, while addressing some youths recently, said he wished to offer himself by participating in the contest to be the next governor of the sunshine state. ”It is my earliest desire to put my energy and whatever talents it has pleased God to give me at the service of the state. My ambition, borne out of a genuine desire to serve is subject to the approval of eminent citizens like you. It is not a desperate ambition. If God decides otherwise I will cooperate fully with whoever is elected to ensure our party PDP, as well as our state, succeeds.

 

 

“I want to be able to mobilise the human resources, the qualitative manpower that abounds in the state to make for even development of the entire state. No discrimination of whatever kind.

 

 

“We must put infrastructure and industrialize at the fastest pace to create employment for the various manpower that we have in the state, and of course, we must encourage agriculture. There is quite a lot to do. I have my programme and I think by the grace of God, you will embrace my programme when I eventually come out with it.”

 

 

Also, within the PDP fold in the state, the name Otunba Bamidele Akingboye is as constant as the Northern Star when it comes to the contest for the party’s governorship ticket. Born on April 2, 1965, Akingboye, who is the Chairman and CEO of Beshore Maritime Service Limited, will be making his third attempt to secure the party’s ticket after two previous failed attempts.

 

 

Akingboye, who has declared his intention to fight for the party’s flag, emphasized that he is the oldest when it comes to contesting the PDP’s ticket, stressing that he has what it takes to lead the party into the election.

 

 

According to the Okitipupa-born politician, his background as a businessman gives him an edge over others, stating that he has what it takes to govern the state.”Among the lots for the ticket in the PDP, I am the oldest in contesting. I have what it takes. The only thing I am agitating for is a free and fair election and I will beat all of them fair and square.”

 

 

Meanwhile, the party has dismissed the insinuation of zoning of the party’s ticket to a particular senatorial district area of the state; an action some party stalwarts believe may spell trouble ahead of the primaries. Attention has now shifted to party leaders like Chief Bode Olajumoke, Chief Clement Akinboyede, the state party chairman and its two senators.

 

 

As the party becomes upbeat about victory, without discountenancing the capability of the incumbent APC, Mr. Ayo Fadaka, Publicity Secretary in the South-West, said they will leave nothing to chance. “As at the last count, we have about 16 aspirants jostling round the state to contest for the PDP ticket. Of course, I won’t deny the fact that amongst them we have very high profile politicians, strong party men and even between them are those that cannot be considered as such.

 

 

“I know that at the end of the day, when the party shall get to a congress to elect its candidates, the strong candidate shall emerge, that will go into that elections and win the election for PDP. There is no reason why we should be afraid that we will not win the next election in Ondo State,” he said.

 

 

 

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Almajiri system fueling insecurity, says Gov Lalong

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Almajiri system fueling insecurity, says Gov Lalong

Simon Lalong is Governor of Plateau State and Chairman, Northern Governors’ Forum. In this interview with journalists to mark his 100 days in his second term in office, he speaks about the menace of armed banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping now ravaging the region and efforts to tackle the challenges. MUSA PAM was there

 

 

It is over 100 days you were sworn in for your second term in office, you are yet to form your cabinet, why the delay? How are functioning without a cabinet?

 

 

Well, let me say that indeed it’s over a hundred days into our second tenure and we are almost concluding on the constitution of the cabinet. People say there is a lot of delay but to me, we had an arrangement to prepare well for the next four years. In doing this, we had to come up with a development plan. Now when people ask:  Why the delay?  My response is that it’s not about rushing and putting a cabinet in place. It is about a focus on what we want to do in the next four years. Now when I came in for my second tenure, I had to engage Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to develop a development Plan for the people of Plateau State. They have done that. I was waiting for them to come up with their report to enable me from their recommendations formulate policy in terms of economic empowerment for the state. Based on this, appoint my commissioners and what ministries, we will have.

 

 

I have already started. Immediately I got the preliminary report, I set the ball rolling and I quickly appointed the Secretary to the State Government and the Chief of Staff who are the engine room. So technically like I said during the swearing in of the Secretary to the State Government and Chief of Staff, I have list of my cabinet. I am only waiting for Mr. Speaker who travelled out the country to come back. As soon as he is back, I will submit it to him, you know the Assembly is a powerful place, you don’t submit to any one, you submit it to Mr. Speaker. So very soon, you will hear the announcement and screening of Commissioners.

 

 

The last time you nominated commissioners, concerns were raised by some people that portfolios were not attached to the names of nominees you presented to the House of Assembly. What should we expect this time around?

 

 

I was a Speaker for about 8 years. If you look at the laws, it didn’t say that you must attach portfolios before you submit to the House of Assembly. Sometimes we look at it also on performance. As a former speaker, I know some instances where we screened Commissioners with the Governor having almost made up his mind on where to deploy them, but after the screening, he changed his mind because based on the interaction with the law makers, the Governor came and said, this nominee should be in this or that place different from where he had thought of. So when nominees for Commissioner appear before the house, let everyone be judged by his performance. In my administration, anybody can be assigned anywhere except of course certain professional ministries like the Attorney General of the State which has exceptions.

 

You are now the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum and quite a lot is happening in the North, How are you tackling insecurity in the region?

 

 

That is another big challenge. When I was elected as the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, I said wow! I have a headache here in Plateau State and another one is being added. However, I said by the grace of God, I would do best by applying the wisdom that He gave us to deal with the challenge here in Plateau State. We would extend to the other parts of the North. And if you recall, from the very day I was appointed the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, I set up a Committee on Security chaired by Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari. Since then, he has also had to contend with insecurity in his State. However, that committee is working very well, I have also prepared that we will soon have a meeting of the Northern Governors Forum which will be my first meeting and formally receive the report of the committee and decide the way forward. Right now we have the challenges of banditry, cattle rustling, and kidnapping which are very prevalent in the North. So we shall be receiving the report of the committee and also preparing for a Northern Security Summit. Aside from that I have always been in touch with the IGP. He is doing well because part of the recommendations we made so far, they are implementing it. I attended the meeting of the North West Security Council and it was very wonderful. In some cases you need dialogue to succeed, because it is not always responding with confrontation. I will ensure that the success of such engagement is extended to the North Central. The IG has gone to the South West where he did the same thing. We are preparing to have our own in the North Central just like the North East is already established even as it is being taken care of by the Federal Government. One of the areas too that is a problem and needs to be tackled is the Almajiri System. We have set up a committee that will bring about how to address the Almajiri System. In a society where you have a large population doing nothing but roaming the streets, that is another cause of insecurity not only in the North but in the nation at large. So we have also set up a committee to look at it, and once we conclude on the issue of the Almajiri which also goes with the issue of employment, we shall have some respite.

 

 

During your first tenure, your heart was on Five (5) Point Agenda; Security, good governance, physical infrastructural Development and sustainable economic rebirth. Why are you pruning them from 5 to 3? 

 

 

You should understand that the first tenure was also part of taking over from another administration. Why we created five was partly to look at what we inherited and then examine some of the challenges that were on ground. Therefore, the five – point Policy Thrust was to help us carry out a holistic approach of what we promised the people. During campaign, you promise the people many things and by the time you get into the office, you see a different picture which you were not privy to. In that scenario, we had to come up with the five – Pillar Thrust to help us settle down for governance.

 

 

Now after staying in office for 4 years and we are coming back for tenure, we realized that we have taken care of some of the challenges we inherited.  Having taken care of such things, you now have to remain focused for the remaining four years as you cannot do everything, but at least you must do about 60% to 70%. I always don’t want to say I am perfect but I must strive to do my best to hit within the level of B, or A. If I get B, fine but if I get A that is excellent. Now we have reduced the five – Pillar thrust to 3 namely: Peace, security and good governance; physical infrastructural development; and sustainable economic rebirth.

 

 

Plateau State is being referred to as a Civil Service State. But since your administration has paid attention to economic growth and internally generated revenue between 2015 and 2018 recorded 100% increase. What are the strategies?

 

We have put in a lot of strategies. First, I told you that we engaged the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to prepare a development plan which they have done. After that, we are also planning an Economic Summit which I think would be the first of its kind in Plateau State.

 

 

Secondly in terms of Revenue, I have also engaged a consultant, the woman who did the magic for Kaduna State, Mrs. Ofueko Omoigui Okauru. She was one time chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). She is already in Plateau State to prepare and put in facilities for the improvement of our Revenue and that will take another 4 years, so we are not joking, when we say we are determined to take away Plateau from being a Civil Service State and that is why when we mention economic rebirth, we are talking about infrastructure and enabling environment. When you create this kind of environment for people, the private sector will invest. If you continue to say we are a civil service state and you go and sit down in your office and wait for 4:00 clock and then you leave after eating lunch that does not make the state productive. We are thinking out of the Box. As a civil servant you must be able to get something doing outside the office. That is why we are emphasizing on skill acquisition and a lot of other empowerment programmes.

 

 

Is the mindset of people is changing in that regard?

 

 

I must say I am very happy because without the cooperation of the people, we would not achieve what we are doing. So, I thank them for the level of co- operation particularly in ensuring that there is peace in the State but I am emphasizing that we should do more just as I am also doing my best.

 

 

In the recent past, Plateau State has witnessed crisis and violence, how do you intend to change Plateau people’s perception to the original Plateau as the Home of Peace and Tourism?

 

 

Yes, we have done a lot in terms of and addressing the causes of the problem and sustaining the peace. Sustaining peace goes along with dealing with poverty. You see, stomach insecurity leads to physical insecurity and we have a lot of youths out there who are not working. So we have a special package, you can see that I am the only State that created the Peace Building Agency. So we are developing that to sustain the peace and conflict management in the State.

 

 

As part of the scheme, we are talking we are also talking about industrialization. Plateau must become an industrial State by creating the enabling environment where people will come and invest in the State. I have always said that each time you sit down and you claim to be driving people away from your state, you lose. If Lagos was like that, Lagos will not be the way it is today. We should not drive people away from our state. We need investors to come to the State, why are we calling investors to come, if we then turn around to create unviable environment? It is the responsibility of Government to sit down and fish out criminals within us whether they are indigenes or not. We are doing very well with the security apparatus and we are also empowering and also expanding our Operation Rainbow in case we wake up one day and the Federal Government says we are withdrawing Operation Safe Haven.

 

 

We are also addressing volatile areas. You can see that we have already established a Mobile Police Squadron in Shendam, we have established Air Force Search and Rescue Unit at Kerang, Mangu LGA, and I am already preparing to complete setting up another Mobile Police Squadron in Gashish, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area.

 

 

Recently you were in Japan and you talked about accessing $300bn from Afri-Japan to finance some projects especially in the Rural Areas, can you expatiate on this?

 

 

Well, we went to Japan to attend the TICAD 7 Summit which is an investment summit for Africa, spear headed by Japan. It was my first time. I realized that the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari attended the summit in Kenya in 2016. We are talking about the fact that Japan is putting $50 billion for investments in Africa especially in rural development and so Plateau will also want     to go in and see what we can get out of the 50 billion dollars. During the course of our attendance, we were able to interact with a lot of investors both African and Japanese Investors. I realize that instead of sitting here and talking through emails inviting people to come and invest, it is batter to go and meet them to discuss properly. Some people say you can sit down in one place and talk to investors. It is far different than when you meet them. Recently I had cause to address the Zumunta Association which is the body of Sons and daughters of Northern origin in the Americas, and they were asking questions that clearly showed that they are not in touch with the things we have been able to achieve in the last four years and the kind of opportunities that exist in the state. In fact when I heard some of their questions, I said look, it’s like you are out of this world because all these things you are talking about, we’ve gone pass them. They said but they don’t get such information as what they read on social media and the internet is different. This is the kind of problem we have and so when you go there and you explain to them direct, you give them complete facts and they look at it and they see, when I went there, I had cause to address some Japanese investors and I told them that is now the best in terms of SMEs in Nigeria, they said Ah!, how comes that Plateau is best on SMEs, technology, and skills acquisition. My young people are doing excellently well, every year we go to Abuja we are taking home all the prices, the best person in 2018 was from Plateau and second best in 2019 is still from Plateau. We will continue to produce the kinds of Jerry Mallo just like the Japanese. Why I have this passion for skills acquisition is to create a skilled generation that can solve problems. That is why I am reviving the Technical Schools in Kuru. I am going to expand and equip that school just as I am also putting the same in all the zones, there is going to be one in Shendam and the other one in Pankshin which will create opportunities not only for the Youth but even the Civil Servants because you can go there and do 2 or 3 or 6 months course, sometime, if your go there and do 6 months course in tailoring, that is an advantage to you, you come back and establish a tailoring shop, when you get out of work after 4pm, you are in your tailoring workshop.

 

 

What deliberate steps are you taking in this tenure to project the proper image of Plateau?

 

 

That is exactly why I have appointed one of you Dr. Macham Makut as my Director of Press. He is from the media and is already doing his best. I have given him matching order and I told him, we have done a lot of things here but many people don’t hear about it because it is not being exposed outside. From what we have done, try to expose it to people outside. That is why I appointed a Diaspora liaison officer for Plateau State in the UK and in the USA.

 

 

How far have you gone to ensure that the state of emergency declared on the tourism sector transforms the sector to generate revenue for the State?

 

 

You know tourism thrives in peaceful environment and we have all the potentials. Plateau State is endowed with a lot of potentials – the very beautiful weather, the scenic beauty, rich culture and friendly people. All these things attract people to Plateau State but what was driving people away was insecurity. That is why we are emphasizing and concentrating on creating an environment of peace and tranquility, people will start coming without any prompting. That is why we have done so much to bring peace back. A policy document has been done from the Ministry of Tourism and I accepted it. So right now we are moving towards developing some of those facilities in order to realize the objectives of the declaration of the state of emergency on tourism sector in Plateau State.

 

 

  You saw me pay a visit to the wild life Park established by our late Governor, J. D. Gomwalk of blessed memory and because of wild life in Jos, people where coming for holidays here. A friend of mine came from Lagos to spend Christmas here before I became the Governor. After Christmas they decided to visit the zoo with his children who had heard the story about the popular zoo in Plateau State. The children said they must see Peter (a Baboon) and give him bananas. During the visit, Peter took banana from all except the youngest child. That was trouble for them, because they had booked their flight to leave that day.  The little boy started crying and said he was not going to leave. They had to change their schedule to return with the boy the following day. When the boy came back the following day, Peter was jumping at him and he collected the Banana and that was when they were able to leave for Lagos. When he went back, my friend told me that because of the experience of his family, there was no need to go to the UK because Jos is our UK in Nigeria. So that is the spirit and that was the picture of Plateau State. It is possible return to that status. That’s what we are doing, we are doing our best to see that tomorrow, when we leave people will not be going to the UK for holidays, people will come from the UK for holiday in Jos.

 

 

Could you explain to us the issue of livestock management in Plateau State, because there seems to be a lot of misinformation about it?

 

 

You remember I am a member of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) which is headed by the Vice President. I am representing North Central, I cannot go and start doing something that is not in favour of Plateau State or Benue or Nasarawa or Kogi or any part of Central Zone. Now part of the document was not brought by President Buhari. It was initiated during President Goodluck Jonathan. So it is that same document that was represented to the NEC (National Economic Council) because we were looking for solution to farmers-herdsmen crisis. A budget of N100 billion was approved for that same scheme. So when I came on board, I saw open grazing, I said the choice was either open grazing or ranching. I said, no we cannot go for open grazing because when you are talking of open grazing you will also be concerned with the problem of cattle routes and the tendency for clashes with farmers.

 

 

So, on my own, I came back and set up a 12 man committee headed by Prof. Ochapa Onazi, traditional rulers were involved, religious leaders were involved, CAN and JNI, the Civil Society were involved as well as  Representatives of Youths. They were the ones who developed the scheme, they went to Abuja, they came back and the recommendation was that Plateau should adopt ranching. When we finished the ranching we went to the local governments for sensitization apart from all the various stakeholders in Plateau State. At the end, the conclusion was for us to go with ranching. Now the first issue was to go and get the land. Because Federal Government is going to sponsor the pilot scheme, it does not mean that Federal Government is the one carrying it out. Now a budget for Pilot Scheme was announced for those states that wanted to do the entire livestock business according to their own peculiarities as a voluntary initiative. No coercion. So we also said any local government that wants to establish in her local government should provide land, some local governments agreed and provided land and that was when political manipulation started. Some said we are grabbing land, we are doing this, we have done that, at the end of the day, we suspended land from the local government but we have a grazing reserve in Wase, we have a grazing reserve in Kanam and from the archive they brought out to us, the number of grazing reserves that we have in Plateau, are eight (8). Out of the 8 grazing reserves we have in Plateau, six (6) were taken over.

 

If I embark on recovering them it will create another problem because past leaders especially military shared all the land within themselves and the ones that are left are just Wase and Kanam. If we leave it today, another regime will come and we will not see it again and I said nobody should go to these areas. They are grazing reserves owned by Plateau State Government. If this is the case, we would make sure we use those grazing reserves not for real grazing reserves now but for investors to come and invest in ranching and diary. While doing that, we started hearing the issue of RUGA, and people said Plateau is doing RUGA. I said, no, we are not doing RUGA on the Plateau.

 

Here we stand on livestock production through ranching. I have continuously explained to people and said, look! Don’t put religion or ethnic sentiments into investment. Don’t! Because it will scare away investors who want to bring in their money. My plea to people is if you have a concept, listen to it and understand it. As for RUGA, whatever it is, those who want it in their states let them do it but for us, we are talking of livestock production which is not restricted to cows. It includes sheep, piggery, poultry and everything. If there are incentives or palliatives or subsidies for this item from Federal Government, I have keyed into it and we are waiting for the subsidies, which will help our people, to empower our people. People should not take it to the mosque and start preaching or take it to the church and start preaching against it. It is business.

 

 

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Ubah: No absolute separation of powers in govt

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The National Assembly and State Elections Petitions Tribunal in Anambra State recently confirmed the election of Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, as the senator representing Anambra South. In this interview with OKEY MADUFORO, Ubah speaks on this and other happenings in the state

 

How do you feel about the outcome of the petition at the tribunal?

 

What more can I say, than to thank God for this second victory. This goes to prove that I actually won the election against the petitions of my opponents in that election. That has also gone to prove that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. The tribunal panel was dispassionate in its ruling and we are happy about the outcome.

 

 

I campaigned vigorously and there is no electoral ward, community and local government area I did not visit and the Anambra South electorate affirmed that I am the candidate they want in the said election.

 

 

The people of Anambra South know my pedigree and even before I ventured into politics, I had always interfaced with them and my foundation has gone a long way in impacting positively on the lives of our people.

 

 

So when I joined politics, I found myself in a familiar terrain with my brothers and sisters of Anambra South senatorial zone and at the end I emerged the winner of that election.

 

 

When my opponents, Senator Andy Uba and his brother, Chris went to court to challenge my mandate I saw it as a mere academic exercise because it will come to nothing.

 

 

You will recall that before the judgment the petitions were consolidated on the demands of the petitioners but one of the petitioners wanted his matter to be transferred to another panel against the consolidation.

 

 

I petitioned the President of the Appeal Court, who is in charge of the tribunals and prayed him not to allow the deconsolidation of the petition without following the due legal processes and that attempt failed.

 

 

When we now went into the petitions proper, there were startling revelations that even most of their witnesses could not confirm the affidavits which they all deposed to in the respective petitions andeven their prosecution witness could not convince the panel on the allegations of over voting and mutilation of result sheets so the tribunal delivered judgment in my favour.

 

 

Everybody at the tribunal who listened to the judgment can confirm that the judgment was clear and devoid of any ambiguity.

 

 

What if the duo of Chris and Andy Uba decide to challenge the judgment at the Appeal Court?

 

 

This is democracy and every Nigerian has the right to go on an appeal and we shall also be there to take it as it comes. However, going by the judgment, the appeal would amount to wasting tax payers’ money and wasting the time of the Court of Appeal judges by going to challenge a judgment that is spotless and firm.

 

 

I wish to advise my two brothers to forget about the idea, because the Appeal Court judges are learned and well experienced panelists that have integrity and cannot rule otherwise.

 

 

All the same we are ready to take it from there and that is if they want to go on an appeal.

 

 

You were made the Deputy Senate Committee Chairman on Upstream Petroleum. What are the challenges?

 

 

This is a committee affair and I am just the vice chairman of the committee. This is part of our oversight functions as legislators and we shall discharge our duties within the ambits of the law. Coming from the petroleum sector I can appreciate the problems being faced by our country and I shall bring my wealth of experience to bear in carrying out my oversight functions and I shall work together with my committee members in order to make the difference in the National Assembly.

 

 

We shall look at the oil and gas sector and fashion out ways of tackling its challenges for the good of Nigerians. We shall also consider the problems with other sectors that are related to the oil and gas sector and I wish to assure you that we will not fail Nigerians.

 

 

In the past the National Assembly had always been at war with the executive arm of government. What do we expect this time?

 

 

We are principally and essentially lawmakers, our duty is to make good laws for Nigeria. We are also there to act as a check on the executive but not to go to war with them. There is no place in the world that you have an absolute separation of powers. We are all part of the government of the federation and the duties of both the executive and the legislature is to provide good governance for Nigerians and that is what Nigerians expect from us.

 

 

There should be a kind of synergy between the two arms of government and the executive and legislative friction is not to deepen the problems of Nigerians but to find lasting solution to them.

 

 

It is important to note that the senators are from different political parties but once we are inaugurated, the issue of party loyalty does not come into play but the people and the entire Nigerian masses. Anytime we begin to look at our mandates as political party mandates; then we have lost focus on why we are in the National Assembly.

 

 

If you want to attract projects for your constituency or senatorial zone you cannot do it alone. You must rely on your colleagues to support the motions or second you and this is irrespective of which ever political party you belong to.

You also need the co-operations of the relevant ministries to achieve this and those ministries belong to the executive arm of government.

 

 

You have no choice but to deliver to your people whatever campaign promise that you made when you were canvassing for their votes and supports.

 

 

After you were declared winner, it was alleged that you had meetings with Chief Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress National Leader. How true?

 

 

Yes some people said I wanted to join the APC, some said that I have abandoned my party the YPP. I went to Lagos to assist our Igbo brothers and sisters contesting election in Lagos State. They are all our people and it is not easy for somebody from the South-East to go to Lagos and contest election. So they need to be encouraged and I am happy that we got favourable results and my trip was not in vain after all.

 

Is it in the spirit of your “Afa Igbo Efuna” campaign which you initiated?

 

The name of the Igbo people cannot be forgotten and I must work hard to actualise this. There is no part of the world that you will not see an Igbo man. In fact where ever you go and you do not see an Igbo man; there; just go back to where you are coming from. It is only the Igbo man that will go to a very dry area and in the next five or six years business will start booming and development will come to that area. When you go round Lagos you will discover that almost all the big markets were developed by Igbo people.

We sand fill the swamps and build markets on top of it and people will start visiting those places.

 

If you go to Abuja you will witness the same thing even in every part of Northern Nigeria.

 

So my campaign is that Nigerians should recognize the contributions of the Igbo man in the socio political and economic development of Nigeria. You cannot wish this away and remove the Igbo man from the Nigerian polity. My campaign is for the Igbo man to be counted in Nigeria and beyond. So far I have been mentoring Igbo youths in the area of entrepreneurship and grooming them about life and its challenges in the outside world.

 

I have taken a great number of them outside the country to interface with their contemporaries in those countries, and it has given them the much needed exposure.

 

 

After the tenure of Governor Willie Obiano, Anambra people are looking at Anambra South senatorial zone to produce the next governor. Are you going to contest?

 

I am a Senator of the Federal Republic and I have the mandate of Anambra South Senatorial zone to give them quality representation. At the moment, that is what is occupying my mind.

 

On the issue of zoning I support the concept so that we shall have equity. Today Anambra North is in the government house and before then Anambra Central had been there. So it is only fair and just that the south produces the next governor of our state. But we should be aware of the fact that power is not given but is taken. So Anambra South should not go to sleep because we feel it is our turn. We have to work hard to actualize this and we need to come together to fashion out a way of actualizing this ambition. All political parties should buy into this concept so that development will go round.

 

 

On your question if I am going to contest for the post of governor, the people of Anambra State will decide and it is not up to me to say. My achievements in the Senate will also count. If I do not do well as a Senator, what locus standing do I have to aspire for the governorship seat of Anambra state? Let the people make a statement on that and let the other zones give us the support.

 

 

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Zoning in 2023 will depend on APC’s constitution –Ibediro

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Zoning in 2023 will depend  on APC’s constitution –Ibediro

Chief Emma Ibediro is the National Organising Secretary (NOS) of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview with JOHNCHUKS ONUANYIM, he spoke on the party’s preparation towards the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states, the expectations of the APC leadership from the new ministers and the 2023 presidential ambitions of some party loyalists, among other issues. Excerpts…

 

 

 

The governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states are almost here. What are the chances of the APC?

 

 

First of all, I believe that our party can win the two states because APC is popular in those states. In Kogi State, we have a sitting governor, which gives us an advantage and in Bayelsa State we have an outgoing governor who is lame duck. We also believe that having won a senatorial seat in Bayelsa and two House of Assembly seats in the state; with a little push we can get the governorship seat in Bayelsa State. We can win these two states.

 

 

How prepared is your party if you are sure of winning?

 

 

In terms of preparations for the election, I believe that the APC is doing everything within its powers to make sure we have a peaceful election in those states. The names of those who scaled through the screening committee and the appeal to the National Working Committee were published and we made sure that we were guided by the party’s constitution, guidelines, rules and the Electoral Act. Most of the people who unfortunately did not scale through in the screening also believe that the party did everything to make sure they scale through but for one or two reasons, which are irreconcilable with the guidelines of our party, made the party’s hands tight.

 

 

The primaries in Kogi and Bayelsa went on smoothly and we believe that it would continue to go on smoothly until we have successful elections in Kogi and Bayelsa state. So, hopefully, we are putting all efforts together believing that we will be able to scale through the process successful.

 

 

Are you saying that the APC primary will ensure victory in the election?

 

 

Yes, I just have to let you know that the APC is an organisation guided by rules and regulations. We don’t wake up one morning and make different rules for different people or make rules subject to the whims and caprices of the authority of the party. The rules of the party had been in existence before the present NWC came in. So, all we need to do is to abide with those rules and once you do that it, it makes things easy for every person to have a level playing ground and in those two states these are the things we have done. We have followed our guidelines; we have adhered strictly to the provisions of our constitution, the rules and regulations guiding the party, especially the guidelines in the nomination process of the candidates.

 

 

We are satisfied that, having followed these rules, which are also available to party members, aspirants and other participants, we believe that following those rules make it easier for everybody to know the rules of engagement and follow them strictly. By so doing, l believe that the party has given everybody fair situation to be able to participate, believing that he will get justice. Justice is not about doing what a person wants but it is about making sure that he gets what is obtainable, based on the rules of engagement.

 

 

One of the problems facing your party is the staggering of primaries. Some states would have indirect primaries, some directs and some consensus. Isn’t there a way the party can adopt one mode of primaries for all its aspirants.

 

 

It is not a question of staggering our primaries. Some elections naturally will be staggered due to the fact that some polls are the products of court decisions, for instance, the issue of Kogi State, which was not part of the general elections. Let me explain; this is the decision of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and our constitution, which I told you earlier that our party is guided by rules. In our own constitution, we have three methods of primaries that is recognised; the direct, indirect and the consensus methods. And, what the NEC decided as the supreme authority of this party is that, every state has a right to communicate the NWC their preferred methods of primaries. This thing is as a result of making sure that no particular form is imposed on any state, because NEC also recognises that there are individual peculiarities of some states. There are states either due to their size or geographical formation or other things; it may be difficult to put everybody under one roof for an indirect primary. So, they may decide to adopt direct primaries where the elections would be held in each of the wards and result will be collated at the local government level, and then further collated at the state level. So, all states recognise their peculiarities.

 

 

The APC is a party founded on democratic norms. We said ‘okay it is your right to determine, which one you prefer’, and we say the stakeholders in those states should be able to communicate their preferred choice to the NWC. But, of course you also know that what we are looking for is the majority of those stakeholders, not a 100 per cent agreement. What we have is a majority of those stakeholders agreeing to a particular style of primaries and we approve it for them. So, that is why you cannot have a particular style of primaries for every state because our constitution recognises three methods of primaries. So, it is for each state to communicate to NWC its preferred choice of primaries.

 

 

For some of those who kick against direct primaries, their reason was that there is no comprehensive membership list, as such, when you throw up a direct primary, it means anybody can queue behind an aspirant. Is the party taking cognisance of that?

 

 

I must tell you that it is not true. But, you know for you to criticise any system, you must find a reason to do so. We have voter’s registers in all states. But, that doesn’t go to say that we are not planning to update our voter’s register in most of the states. It is a continuous process. But for now, if anybody tells you the party doesn’t have voter’s register, it is not true. We have voter’s registers in every ward, in every local government and in the state. So, I have to debunk that fact that why people are against direct or indirect primaries is the presence of voter’s register or not.

 

 

There is nothing wrong with the direct primaries. For me as an individual and a person, I believe that direct primaries give better opportunity to members of the party to participate in the process. And, it also helps to galvanise party mobilisation in the various places both at the ward, LGA and state levels. So, for me as an individual, direct primary is very helpful to the party in terms of mobilisation. But, like I stated before, there are states that have their own peculiarities. There are states where for security reasons, it may not be possible to coordinate this thing and get it right. Let us say it is a constitutional right of every state to choose whichever method to use since all are recognised by the constitution of our party.

 

 

The government had been properly formed. What is the APC putting in place       to help the performances of the ministers?

 

 

Let me congratulate the President on the choice of ministers. For the first time, the President has decided to go by the way of the party; core politicians are being inculcated into the government. These are people who have commitments to the president; all of us campaigned together. They know where the president was heading, they know his aspirations and what he wants to achieve for the nation. So, those people will play good roles in helping the President reach his desired targets. And, you also know that before the formal inauguration of the ministers, a retreat was organised where the APC played a very strong role in trying to canvass the aims and objectives of the party and to imbibe them into the core functionaries of the government by the ministers. It is for them to understand that they are not coming from the blues. They are coming from the party. This is a government that is formed under a political party and this political party has its aims and objectives, there are manifestoes. So, the party tries to make sure that ministers are party members; it is to also remind them and make them understand the importance of carrying through the party’s manifesto in their day to day running of their assignments. That retreat was organised for them.

 

 

You are aware that, the President, during his speech, emphasised the importance of the minister understanding where they are coming from, and that there is a collective role, which is the desire of the party and government to achieve. The party also recently made a visit to the President and during that visit, they were also able to make the President know that they are desirous of establishing an institute where the principles, objectives, policies and aims of the party have to be taught to those who are getting into it. So, APC is not just a platform for winning elections or contesting for elections, it is also a platform where a particular doctrine is taught and people understand the purpose for establishing a progressive party, which is supposed to be pro masses. When it is called progressives, it is definitely a party that is interested in how the activities of the people can be improved through provisions of infrastructures and in fact, the general improvement of the life of the people of the country. So, these are things the party is planning to do. And, to establish such things as an institute where those issues can be canvassed, seminar organised, workshop etc. Some people will be constantly reminded of the aims and objectives of the party. In that way, they can partner with government to make sure that those things are accomplished for the interest of the people and the betterment of the population of the country.

 

 

The government is just three months into the second term and some APC members have started agitating for 2023. What is the party’s position on where the Presidency will be zoned?

 

 

There are certain things you cannot control; you cannot control people’s ambition, you cannot control their aspirations and how they go about it, it is not within your control. Even if you make a law that no one should talk about it, you know it will be a law that will not be enforceable. People are free based on our constitution to publicly make their expressions. You know politicians don’t like idle moments. The elections had come and gone and it was a heated period. The government has been formed but they think it is too quiet and they have to start something to keep themselves busy.

 

 

So, it is close to no issue. I think there is nothing wrong with it. They are free to canvass for whatever they want to be in the future. We will only advise them to play by the rules and not to over heat the system because there is a government in place for now.

 

 

Would the party maintain its zoning arrangement in 2023?

 

Whatever will be in this party, we will follow our party’s constitution. If our party says there is zoning, we will follow it. If the zoning is by convention, definitely it can be changed. But if it is by constitutional provision, the constitution has to be amended because you cannot go outside it without changing it.

 

 

Some party members believe that the APC ought to have held NEC meeting to resolve some of the issues that came out of the last general elections. Are you thinking in that line?

 

 

Everything has a procedure. If there are issues of reconciliation that some members of the party are not comfortable with, all they need to do is to make a proposal to the party for amendment. And, then we will wait till when the convention of the party will be held and propose those amendments. The party belongs to everybody not one person. If somebody is against a particular way the constitution says, he can propose for an amendment. But, he should wait for the proper time where a proper forum for such an amendment could be made.

 

What is the target of the party?

 

The target of APC is to improve the lives of Nigerians. The party came in with the change mantra, that the way things were going was not right and that we are introducing new ways. The APC’s ambition is to provide security for Nigerians, infrastructures and make a general improvement for the wellbeing of our people. I am also sure the party and the government are working to improve the welfare of all Nigerians.

 

 

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Northern govs dump RUGA for livestock transformation plan

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Northern govs dump RUGA for livestock transformation plan

             …to engage experts on Almajiri system

  • Benue gives conditions for implementation

 

The Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) rose from its meeting in Kaduna yesterday and adopted the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) instead of the RUGA initiative.

The forum hopes that the plan will assist in tackling the farmers/herders crisis in the region and across the country.

The meeting was convened to find a lasting solution to the series problems bedeviling the North.

This is as the Benue State government gave conditions for the implementation or otherwise of the agreed Livestock Transformation Plan.

In a communique issued at the end of the emergency meeting of the Forum. The communiqué was signed by the chairman of the Forum and governor Plateau State, Simon Lalong.

The communiqué read in part:  “The current challenges of insecurity, which seems to be persisting despite concerted efforts by all ties of government was also deliberated based on insightful analyses and the best possible ways to address the menace, which is currently bedeviling the region.

“Consequently the Forum resolved to continue to adopt a sustainable and holistic approach towards tackling this challenge in the region, it is the Forum’s unwavering determination to rescue the region and reposition it to meet the yearnings and aspirations of our people, especially in the areas of security economic and social development.”

“On agriculture, the Forum was well informed about the National Livestock Transformation Plan and its disparities with the RUGA plan.

“It is expected that the plan will ensure resettling and addressing the dislocated populations in the key conflict zones to enable them become part of the agricultural modernization process.

In the same vein, it would provide a mechanism for peaceful dialogue and reconciliation in the affected communities towards a harmonious mutually beneficial future. The Forum therefore adopted the National Livestock Transformation Plan, which lays out clear path for modernizing pastoral activities.

“It further encouraged other states not included as pilot states to endevour to join the plan/programme.”

On Almajiri phenomena, the communiqué said: “The Forum received brief on the Almajiri phenomenon in Northern Nigeria which is not only endemic but pandemic. It noted the challenges of the system despite its conception on high religious and moral importance.

“Currently, many children are increasingly exposed to vulnerability and resultant exploitation, thereby making them susceptible to criminal activities.

“The Forum after in-depth discussions, resolved to collaborate further with experts in this field with a view to finding implementable recommendations to solve the Almajiri phenomenon and take children out of the streets.”

However, in a swift reaction, the Benue State government has given condition for implementation of the livestock plan.

Benue State deputy governor, Engr. Benson Abuonu, said Benue will only implement the plan if its conforms with the state’s laws on ranching of animals and the anti-open grazing law.

According to Abuonu, “one thing is fundamental, as far as the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation plan is concerned, whichever state that has keyed into the programme will have it as its own programme, in other words it is going to be owned by the state even if some help regarding the funding is going to come from the Federal Government.

“And of course, it depends on whichever state is willing to key into it. But at this initial stage, there are seven states at the pilot stage, but with regards to Benue, whatever is going to happen in this area of animal husbandry, that thing has to be in conformity with the local laws of Benue that is in existence.

“Principally that law says there should be no open grazing and there should be ranching of animals that anybody is going to rear. Therefore as long as the programme is in conformity with our laws then it would be acceptable to us.”

Lalong, who addressed the opening session of the gathering disclosed that issues to be discussed include insecurity, the misconception surrounding RUGA and the Almajiri system in the North.

Lalong who recently took over the mantle of the forum also said the emergency meeting became necessary because of the urgent nature of the issues at hand.

He said: “This emergency meeting has been summoned to enable us address some matters of urgent importance in the survival of our region and the well-being of our people.

“During our last meeting, we deliberated extensively on many issues, particularly the nature of the insecurity currently bedeviling our region and how to deal with the situation.

“We consequently set up a coommittee under the chairmanship of His Excellency, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, to inter-alia develop a comprehensive regional plan of action that could bring lasting solutions to the lingering crises.

“At this meeting, we shall receive briefing from this committee and also deliberate on their findings and recommendations. Another major issue we shall also deliberate on is the issue of livestock management in the country and in particular our region, which has continued to generate discourse, controversy, misinformation and even politicisation.

“You are aware of the many attempts to find lasting solutions to the incessant farmer/herder clashes, cattle rustling and associated criminalities such as banditry, kidnapping among others.

“At this meeting, we shall deliberate on the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), which was commissioned by the National Economic Council chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and seeks to support and strengthen the development of market-driven ranches in the livestock ecosystem for improved productivity through breed improvement, pasture production, efficient land and water utilization.

“As a region that holds the comparative advantage in livestock management as an economic and socio-cultural vocation, we need to come up with a common front on how to synergize and draw from the funds available for the programme and ensure that we derive maximum benefits for our people.

“Hopefully, we shall develop strategies on how best to deal with the misinformation about the NLTF, which is sometimes confused with the Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) project.

This is important because of the urgent need to cultivate the buy-in of all stakeholders and provide a conducive environment for nomadic herders and those who rear livestock using the private/public partnership model to key into the National Livestock Transformation Plan of the Federal Government.

“We also have to continue our discourse on how to solve the Almajiri phenomenon which continues to be a social and security challenge that we cannot, but find solutions to.

“I therefore urge us all to engage in robust, open and frank discussions that will assist us come up with practical and effective resolutions that will move our region to the next level. We cannot afford to do otherwise because our people have entrusted us with their mandate and look up to us in dealing with their day-to-day challenges, which include poverty, illiteracy, insecurity, and economic opportunities.”

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Edo crisis: Oshiomhole, Obaseki return to the trenches

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Edo crisis: Oshiomhole, Obaseki return to the trenches

The peace of the graveyard in the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) seems to have ruptured as the gladiators in the fierce battle for the soul of the Big Heart State are back to the trenches. WALE ELEGBEDE reports

 

 

For the uninitiated, the frenzy pictures of the immediate past governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and his successor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, that went viral on Sallah Day, when the latter visited his predecessor at his Iyamho country home, should have forestalled any premonition of a rift between the two political allies.

Of course, the assumption may be pardonable owing to the glittering smiles, the wining and dining, passionate hugs and emphatic statements made by both leaders that all was well even in the presence of the highly revered Hajia Aishetu Oshiomhole, the ex-governor’s mother.

But what is not pardonable is to infer that politicians can bury their interest on the altar of make-belief reconciliation. If anything, the show of hugs and smiles before the camera, is only a pointer that they are ready to go back to the negotiation table. But if it fails again, it is back to the trenches then.

Perhaps, this is the turn of event in the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC). For all it counts, the APC, which is the ruling party in the state, has a nearly full plate as against its closest rival, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Aside from controlling the state with Obaseki serving as governor, the state produced the party’s National Chairman in Oshiomhole, had all 24 members of the state Assembly coming from its fold and lately got two ministerial seats in the Federal Executive Council.

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.

Curiously, before the fire started to rage in the state chapter of the party, the two leading leaders, Oshiomhole and Obaseki, feigned ignorance even when the statistics of cordiality between them is not just adding up.

Expectedly, the two allies who combined efforts and influence to decimate the raging PDP at the 2016 governorship election in the state don’t want to be seen or heard around such fight for relevance. They tactically made it a proxy war with the composition of the leadership of the 7th state House of Assembly as the tug of war.

In fact, the two camps had to externalise the basis of the crisis and they found the media as the scapegoat by accusing of it of promoting what never existed in the first place. Interestingly, not a few analysts asked when it has become a practice for the National Assembly to intervene in a matter that was only a media creation?

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 the heart of crisis between a supposed godfather and his godson.

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

When the lawmakers-elect loyal to Oshimhole saw the handwriting on the wall with the emergence of Okiye, they cried blue murder and took their fight to the National Assembly and insisted on a fresh proclamation from the governor.

Aligning with their position, the Senate ordered Obaseki to issue a fresh proclamation and allow a new election to be conducted or risk the state legislature being taken over by the federal lawmakers.

Not satisfied with the posture of the National Assembly on the matter, some lawmakers in the troubled state Assembly approached the judiciary and they got a favourable response against the moves of the Senate.

Just after that, there was lull in the political atmosphere of APC in the state and when the governor paid a courtesy visit to his political benefactor, the intermittent heartbeat of political crisis came down and tensions got doused.

But out of the blues the feud resumed last Sunday and hell has since been let loose again. This time, it was Oshiomhole, who reignited the fire by insisting that it was not within the discretion of the governor to decide on who becomes the speaker of the state Assembly.

The former governor stated categorically that Okiye is not the speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, adding that he would not close his eyes to illegal decisions and actions capable of derailing the nation’s democracy.

Oshiomhole in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Simon Ebegbulem, described as arrant nonsense, the allegation by Okiye that he (Oshiomhole) plans to impeach the governor, adding that he had no personal quarrel with Obaseki.

“What offence did the governor commit that he was to be impeached?” he queried.

While describing the allegation by Okiye as arrant nonsense, the former Edo governor said: “First of all, Okiye is not the speaker, he is member-elect.”

He added: “I watched the governor say those things, but the truth of the matter is that he knows better than that. The question I will put to you is, is it within the discretion of a state governor to decide who becomes the speaker?

“The only option for him is to lobby and if he lobbies and in the end he is unable to get everybody to toe his line, he has to concede that these are not his commissioners or special assistants for which he has absolute monopoly to appoint.

“But even at that, if they are commissioners, they must be screened by the House of Assembly; that is the law. So, if he chooses to put it in the manner that he has unfortunately put it, giving the impression that as the governor he can do everything, is there anything in the constitution that you know, that empowers a governor to decide who becomes a speaker?

“But like every other person in a democracy, you get what you are able to negotiate; the operative word is negotiation and persuasion; that was what we did in Abuja. But in spite of all the efforts, we invested at the federal level, incidentally as the chairman, I was active on that, we conceded in the end, when Senator Ndume said he would not go the way the party wanted.

“We could not deny him that right to contest and he went and contested and he got 24 votes. So, that is the way to go. It was not within the power of the President and Commander-in-Chief to use state instrument to prevent Ndume from contesting because it is his right to do.

“All the President could do, which he did, was to deploy his influence both through the party and other channels to persuade people to ensure that this time around, APC has a national leadership that we believe can work in harmony with the President.

“When I was governor, I went through the same process. We persuaded the members. We called all of them, first explained to them the need to ensure geo-political balance. Sometimes we suggest who we think is better equipped to handle legislative matters. That is how far we can go.

“Sometimes we succeeded, some other times we did not. But the bottom line is that it is the responsibility and absolute prerogative of members of the House to do it. Secondly, Okiye being the beneficiary of the purported inauguration said the agenda is to impeach Obaseki. Did he tell you what offence Obaseki has committed? Is he known to have committed any impeachable offence?

“Is it true that somebody, who has just been elected, he has not even been inaugurated, his first agenda is to disturb the system by seeking to impeach a governor who is not known to have committed any offence? Is impeachment a tea party? It does not make sense. By the way, who is Okiye? Does he know what was invested in the making of the governor?

“Can he possibly lay claim to loving the governor more than those of us who went round the state and stake our reputation and invest our energy and persuasive skill to market the governor to the people? If there is one man that wants Governor Obaseki to succeed, so that everything I said on his behalf comes to pass, I think it will be me.

“I have absolutely nothing to gain if someone I told the people will do well end up not doing well or I make a statement that contradicts my earlier position. All that I have that I brought to this job called politics is integrity. And integrity is about being consistent and sometimes being predictable.

“So, Godwin knows that I have no quarrel whatsoever with him. But I do not think that it is right to inaugurate the House of Assembly at night.”

Not ready with another verbal war with his former boss, the governor ordered officials of the state not to join issues with Oshiomhole, over comments credited to him.

But, in a statement jointly signed by Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Paul Ohonbamu and the Special Adviser, Media and Communication Strategy to the governor, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, the governor said he is pursuing the path of peace for the sake of Edo people.

The statement read in part: “The Edo State government observed over the weekend, leading to this week, very hostile statements credited to our revered National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, across the various media platforms, including radio, television, newspapers and social media.

“This onslaught against the governor and government of Edo State, widely publicised, has also been trailed by inquiries about the state government’s response to these attacks, from various stakeholders, both within and outside the country.”

“Consequently, the Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has instructed that no state actor, within Edo State government, should make any comment whatsoever or join issues on the ensuing hostile comments and discussions.

“Obaseki said he has chosen to pursue the path of peace and reconciliation in dealing with these issues in the interest of the good people of Edo State and our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).”

Clearly, the last may not have been seen and heard about the raging crisis for the soul of Edo APC, but how that would positively impact on the lives of the citizens of the state is what is left to be seen.

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Okorie: PDP only succeeded in distracting attention

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Okorie: PDP only succeeded in distracting attention

Chief Chekwas Okorie is the National Chairman of United Progressive Party (UPP)

We at United Progressive Party (UPP) felicitate heartily with President Muhammadu Buhari on the resounding landmark verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, which upheld his election in February. Justice has been served just as this victory is essentially victory for democracy.

It is with joy that we recall that on August 17, 2018, when the National Executive Committee (NEC) of our great party resolved unequivocally to support President Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2019 presidential election, we unambiguously stated in our address immediately after our NEC meeting of the same date that we would contribute our quota to ensure that the victory of President in the 2019 presidential election would be so resounding in a manner that would make any petition against the outcome of the election to be a mere and unnecessary national distraction.

On November 20, 2018, leaders of our party were granted audience at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to meet with the President, where the party conveyed its resolution not to present a presidential candidate on the platform of the UPP in order to focus our attention and energy in campaigning for him.

He won the election with a margin of nearly four million votes to his closest rival. We sincerely advised the PeoplesDemocratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to accept the outcome of the election in the spirit of sportsmanship. Unfortunately, they opted to proceed to the Tribunal with their petition against the election of President Buhari.

True to our prediction, the PDP has only succeeded in distracting the attention of the Nigerian people unnecessarily. We hope that their misadventure will be allowed to rest at this point and save the nation of further distraction.

In congratulating President Buhari, we urge him to accept his victory with the magnanimity of a forgiving father. He should remain focused in carrying out the onerous responsibilities of his office. The UPP and its leadership are committed to remain constructively engaged with the President until the successful completion of his second and final tenure as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Onwubiko: We should ascertain if the judges were under pressure

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Onwubiko: We should ascertain if the judges were under pressure

Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko is the National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA)

 

 

We are not surprised that the tribunal wrongly confirmed the overwhelming perception of most critical minded Nigerians that nothing good will ever come from the current contraption we call the Nigerian judicial system.

The Nigerian judicial system as it is currently constituted is dysfunctional, compromised, tainted politically, populated and driven physically by the people with wrong mindset who are not patriotic, who are not committed to the real essence of justice as it should be.

The hierarchical structure of both the Court of Appeal that produced the panelists and the Supreme Court of Nigeria is pre-arranged and pre-established to service the litigation interests of All Progressives Congress (APC) as it concerns the 2019 election that remains substantially manipulated and the real results stolen and diverted by the compromised Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and awarded to the incumbent President.

First and foremost, it is inconceivable that the judiciary would close its eyes to the fact that there is a lingering debate and argument strong enough to disqualify one of the candidates, which is the exact whereabouts of his secondary school certificate. If the constitution says you need at least a (secondary) school certificate, what the constitution means is that the secondary school certificate is the minimum benchmark.

Secondly, we are highly disappointed in the first instance by the dismissal of the application that was filled by the petitioner seeking to get the Supreme Court’s nod to compel INEC to allow the petitioners to supervise the server. INEC clearly told Nigerians that they have a server before the disputed poll. Why did the court not allow the petitioner to at least have access to the server?

Maybe, we have to ask questions if these judges were subjected to some kind of pressure or some kind of threat from any quarters? Because Nigerians don’t understand the reason why a clear case of “show us your certificate” was not resolved. So, this is a very terrible case and is a case that is attempting to institutionalize lack of respect for competence and merit.

If our constitution which is supreme law is saying that for a person to run for a specific political office, the person must have been educated up to secondary school level and the judges are here saying it doesn’t matter whether the person shows you his certificate it is a fallacy. The essence of certificate is a proof to make a claim credible otherwise everybody can just go to school without bothering to go back for the certificate.

Even if Atiku is not so sure of getting justice at the Supreme Court, which we think he will not get, he needs to go further to test that angle concerning the certificate issue because it is important for Nigerians to know except if he decides to leave it like that.

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Rivers APC: Abe faction recognizes Ameachi as leader

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Rivers APC: Abe faction recognizes Ameachi as leader

  … Says Rivers State missed S/S ministerial slot over feud

A faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) loyal to Senator Magnus Abe in Rivers State has recognised the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi as the leader of the party in the state.

The former Rivers APC factional Chairman, Prince Peter Odike gave the recognition on Thursday at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja, where he visited the party’s Acting National Secretary, Hon. Victor Giadom.

According to him, the crisis of APC in Rivers State has cost the people a lot. He explained that the zonal Ministerial slot for the South South would have come to Rivers State but for crisis.

Odike, who was once Deputy Chairman Rivers State APC, called on all interest group to come together to build the party, stating that he wants total peace in Rivers State APC, stressing that all the party stakeholders are no longer fighting, and that as a father he didn’t want a repeat of what happened before.

He also expressed concerns that APC members in Rivers State are suffering.

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Election Tribunal: Senator Akpabio loses Petition to Senator Christopher Ekpenyong

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Election Tribunal: Senator Akpabio loses Petition to Senator Christopher Ekpenyong

In what appeared to be tbe climax of all the Judgements given by the National and State House of Assembly Election Tribunal, sitting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, today, September 11, 2019, The court upheld the victory of Senator Christopher Ekpenyong as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the February 23 elections as the Senator representing Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial  District at the Senate of the National Assembly.

 

 

Senator Akpabio, the 1st Petitoner had challenged the elections on the ground that;

 

 

a) that Senator Christopher Ekpenyong was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the February 23, 2019 elections for the Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District;

 

b) That the election that produced Senator Christopher Ekpeyong as winner was invalid owing to non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act in the conduct of the elections.

 

The court dismissed the petition of Senator Akpabio wherein the senator had claimed a declaration, inter alia:

 

1) That the return of the 1st Respondent was not duly returned or elected by majority of lawful votes cast at the February elections at the February 23,2019 elections;

 

2) that the result of the election held on the February 23, 2019 elections be nullified same being held, not in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act and a re-run ordered thereto;

 

3) an order of court declaring the 1st Petitioner, Senator Godswill Akpabio as the winner of the elections having polled the highest number of valid, lawful votes at the elections.

 

The court dismissed all the preliminary objections filed by all the Respondents in the petition and resolved to settle the case on the merits, to wit:

 

a) Did the Petitioner prove by admissible evidence that the election was invalid?

 

b) Did the 1st Petitioner establish that he, Senator Godswill Akpabio won the elections by polling the highest number of votes cast at the elections against Senator Christopher Ekpenyong who was declared winner by the INEC?

 

The court ruling on the burden of proof held that burden of proof for proving substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act to ground a nullification of the election is on the petitioner and relying on the case of ANDREW v. INEC. The court thereupon held that the Petitioner’s evidence was too weak in all ramifications to prove non-compliance, not to mention substantial non-compliance, which is the only ground for nullification of the elections.

 

The court further stated that the petition failed to bring any witness from the polling units and thus could not prove substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

 

The court in the end, in a majority Judgement of two justices dismissed the petition and upheld the declaration of Senator Christopher Ekpenyong as the winner of the February 23, 2019 elections.

 

There was however a dissenting Judgement by 1 out of the 3 judges of the Tribunal.

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