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Edo Crisis: Obaseki, planning to dump APC, says Oshiomhole

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Edo Crisis: Obaseki, planning to dump APC, says Oshiomhole

 

…accuses Edo CP of becoming political tool

 

 

Obaseki: Nobody attacked Oshiomhole

 

 

T

he battle for supremacy between Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, took another dimension yesterday, as the latter accused the governor of planning to dump the ruling party.

 

 

The accusation came on the heels of last Saturday’s alleged attack by some hoodlums on Oshiomhole’s residence in Benin City, Edo State capital.

 

The said attack has been a subject of controversy as the Edo State Government and the Commissioner of Police in the state have denied that such incident took place.

 

 

However, in a counter move, Oshiomole released a statement yesterday, alleging that the attack was part of a grand plot by Obaseki to blackmail him and set the people of the state against him. 

 

According to APC national chairman, the governor intends to create disaffection and crisis in the state chapter of the party and probably dump it for another party ahead of next year’s governorship election in the state.

 

In the statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Simon Ebegbulem, and made available to newsmen, Oshiomhole accused Obaseki of being jealous of his popularity in the state, adding that he would always be at home with the people having performed creditably well as governor of the state.

 

 

The former Edo State governor alleged that Obaseki had been making frantic efforts to trail his movements any time he is in the state. He said that such moves were indications that the governor might be plotting something sinister against him.

 

“Talking about security, it is actually the governor who is making every effort to plunge the state into crisis and bloodshed. The last Saturday’s siege at the residence of the national chairman by his thugs was a good example.

 

“Before that incident, state government sponsored thugs have been harassing, intimidating APC members across the 18 local government areas because the APC leaders refused to adopt his second term aspiration. People are being sacked in their jobs everyday in the state.

 

“And we have it on good authority that the governor intends to create disaffection and crisis in the state APC and probably dump the party for another party. That is why he has embarked on this brigandary which Edo people will resist,” he said.

 

 

Oshiomhole charged Obaseki to stop blackmailing him and face governance, which according to him, was the reason he was elected into office.

 

 

His words: “It is sad that the governor in his usual style to blackmail the APC chairman now refers the hardworking youths of Edo State as thugs, forgetting that these same wonderful youths supported him during his election as governor.

 

 

“Right from Oshiomhole’s days in the labour movement, he has always been on the side of the people and therefore cannot abandon that to please a governor who believes he has monopoly of knowledge.”

 

 

Oshiomhole also accused the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Dan Mallam Muhammed, of becoming an easy tool in the hands of Obaseki and other desperate politicians in the state.

 

 

He expressed disappointment over the response of the commissioner of Police to the attack on his residence, describing it as an attempt at trivializing and rationalizing an incident that had serious implications for the safety of a former governor of the state.

 

 

“I don’t want to believe that the Edo State Police commissioner is gratuitously lending himself as a tool in the hands of some desperate and misguided politicians in Edo State whose pastime is to malign the reputation and public image of the national chairman of the APC, Comrade Oshiomhole.

 

 

“Apparently propelled by selfish interest, this tribe of politicians has unconscionably ensconced itself in the devious plot of feeding the people of Edo State with a misconstruction of Comrade Oshiomhole persona in order to galvanise negative public sentiments against him.

 

“As much as I try to refrain and restrain myself from joining issues with the Police, I feel obligated to call the commissioner out on his widely reported statement that Comrade Oshiomhole was not attacked.

 

 

“While stating a notorious fact, he had somewhat downplayed the very strong connection between Comrade Oshiomhole and his home that was attacked. Who were the thugs that laid siege to Oshiomhole’s house in the GRA with a view to attacking him?

 

 

“I want to believe that CP Muhammed is a super cop, who should not contradict himself on the facts of a matter that was writ-large and about which his men were seized of. Who, for instance, were the people that pursued the thugs who came to attack Oshiomhole, thinking that he was at home when they struck?

 

 

“Of course, they were policemen and some brave APC youths who got the information that the thugs had laid siege to the residence of Comrade Oshiomhole with a view to attacking him.

 

 

 

“Was it not the CP that sent his men to the place to restore law and order? If the CP had claimed there was nothing like an attack, how come he decided to beef up security around the APC national chairman’s residence?

 

 

“I even read where the Police claimed the people who went there were protesters. Are protests held in the night? The thugs laid siege to the residence of the national chairman of the ruling party at 8 p.m. My thinking is that by now the Police would be telling us about the number of arrests that they have made.

 

 

 

 

“After all, the “suspects”, purportedly pampered by the Police, had regrouped at Edo Hotel after they had escaped from the scene. Why were they not arrested by the Police at Edo Hotel?

 

 

“I know that the Edo State Government is making frantic effort to use the statement of the Police commissioner that Comrade Oshiomhole was not attacked to cover its evil plot and the shame it has brought to itself, but that effort had already fallen through in the face of a number of notorious facts,” the statement further read.

 

 

Meanwhile, Governor Obaseki has insisted that his predecessor, Oshiomhole, was never attacked in the state as being alleged and advised the APC leader to always notify the state government and security agencies any time he wished to visit Edo State.

 

 

Obaseki, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media, Communication and Public Affairs, Crusoe Osagie, said the former governor never informed his office, Commissioner of Police or Director of the Department of State Service (DSS), when he is on a  visit to the state.

 

 

According to him, courtesy demands that Oshiomhole observes the necessary protocols, while visiting the state in order to enable the security agencies provide adequate security for him.

 

 

The governor maintained that he had no knowledge of the alleged attack on the residence of the APC national chairman, stating that the report of the State Commissioner of Police, Muhammed, should take precedence over any other report.

 

 

He called on government functionaries and political office holders to be circumspect about the issue and avoid making comments on the alleged attack against the former governor of the state.

 

 

It could be recalled that the Edo State governorship election slated for next year has pitched the state governor against the APC national chairman. There have been speculations that following the tussle between the two political gladiators over the control of the party in Edo State,  Oshiomhole wants to stop Obaseki’s re-election, an allegation the APC national chairman has persistently disclaimed.

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Nigeria sliding towards dictatorship, says Odumakin

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Nigeria sliding towards dictatorship, says Odumakin

Spokesman of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group,  Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, in this interview with BIYI ADEGOROYE, examines some recent developments in the polity, including the electoral process in Kogi and Bayelsa states as well as the proposed bill on hate speech which carries death penalty

 

 

 

What do you make of the pre-election violence in Kogi and Bayelsa states in the last one week?

 

 

Why would there no be violence with our heavily monetised election, where you have rubber stamp National Assembly approving N10.9billion to be released to Kogi State government less than 72 hours before governorship election? You can see that we are not practicing democracy; we are not having elections. It is a case of mafia moves to power in Nigeria; they acquire power by all means available. So you should expect such thing to happen.

 

 

Why did you say we have a rubber stamp National Assembly?

 

How would any reasonable National Assembly approve such amount of money for a state less than 72 hours to an election? Don’t you think that is voter’s money instead of the traders’ money they were doing? And for a whole National Assembly to just rush and approve it- that means we don’t have a National Assembly anymore, but a mere rubber stamp assembly.

 

 

How do you see the recent alleged donation of an exotic vehicle to the Kogi State paramount ruler by the state government, who has been unable to pay civil servants salaries for about three years?

 

 

Well, maybe they did that because the monarch will be able to deliver votes for them, and that goes to show that there is no governance in Nigeria but politics. We spend lots of money on politics,  vote buying and politics, nothing for development. It is a shame that the traditional ruler did not say no that this is not the best time to give such gift. That ‘I won’t accept this period; don’t use this to embarrass me. There is no honour; no shame in this country.

 

 

Where does this leave us if the system is so flawed?

 

 

It means we are actually going below below. And to retrieve Nigeria will take a lot of efforts. You cannot say anymore that the country has not gone to the dogs.

 

 

In this same Kogi State the Deputy Governor was impeached in a manner that has drawn national umbrage. What is your impression about the whole event?

 

That action in showed that Nigeria is no longer a democracy. We now operate outside the law. It sounds very disturbing that a Chief Judge set up a an investigative body on activities of the Deputy Governor and the panel returned a not guilty verdict, yet the Chief Judge went ahead to swear in a new Deputy Governor. Sad to say that happened in Nigeria and nobody has called that government to order showed clearly where we are as a country. We have become a hopeless polity and we are now governed by the whim and caprices of the powerful and we have virtually thrown away the constitution.

 

 

Do you still see the judiciary as the bastion of hope and stability?

 

 

Actually the Nigerian judiciary has been cowed. The whole thing started when the Chief Judge of the Federation was removed such that today our judges are today no more than appendages of the executive. This is unfortunate for the judges to have descended to that level, especially the Chief Judge of Kogi State to have descended to that level. This is a final sign that the judiciary has been cowed by the executive.

 

 

How do you see the presentation of the bill to prohibit hate speech, with death by hanging and proposed setting up of a commission for this purpose?

 

 

Well, the first thing to ask is who defines what is hate speech? Is it going to be at the whim and caprices of the government in power? If they look at your face and your utterances are in opposition to the government, then you will be arrested, tried and hung. That will be very unfortunate. If you go by that, then most of these people in government would have died long ago.  The issue now is that they used hate speech to come into power and now they want to criminalise freedom of speech. What for? Nigeria, by this action is gradually becoming a totalitarian state where dictatorship takes full swing.

 

 

It beats my imagination that this lawmaker who sponsored the bill could not think about any major problem in Nigeria to address through a bill. Has he sponsored any bill to enhance the economy? Check unemployment? They have not set up any agency to revitalise industries; they have not addressed the report of the last National Conference which can make the country better. All they are now addressing is hate speech. Clearly, we cannot have a worse rubber stamp National Assembly like we have now.

 

 

You said they came to power through hate speech and now want to outlaw free speech. Do you have any examples in this regard?

 

 

Go and look at the 2014/2015 newspaper clipping now and you will agree with me. Go and look at what Nasir el-Rufai and the rest were saying then, that they would hound out then President Goodluck Jonathan. Have you forgotten how they said Jonathan was clueless and how he was kindergarten president? They even called his wife shippopotamus! So if Jonathan had enacted such law, many of these people would not be alive today. Get all the clips and you will see what I mean. Even Senator Dino Melaye who is now at the receiving end used some of those words in describing the then president in unsavory terms.

 

 

Why did you say we are sliding towards totalitarianism like it was in 1984?

 

 

Well, what happened in 1984 was child’s play because it is even worse now, because then we were under the military, but this is supposed to be a democracy. And so some of us who fought General Sani Abacha and the military are beginning to ask ourselves what did we fight for? Nothing.

 

 

Some have argued that there are sufficient laws in our statute books to address this issue of hate speech. Do you agree with this?

 

 

Don’t we have the laws on libel?  Look this is a fascist approach to governance; totalitarian dictatorship.  That is just what it is; nothing more nothing less, because the laws on libel only stipulates fines and the rest damages, hence they replaced it with this bill that stipulates death penalty. When you place death penalty then you frighten the people. So what are they trying to achieve? They want the culture of silence. That is what they are pushing Nigeria into.

What is the way out of this quagmire?

 

 

Well, we should not give up as a people. If we keep quiet, with what is going on now we will lose the country. We must not be dampened in spirit rather we must continue to speak for and work for what is right. Even if it is at the level of talking, we must not surrender to what is happening right now. If we surrender, that is the end.

 

 

How do you react to the hanky panky that greeted the granting of bail to Omoyele Sowore between his lawyers and the security agency that kept him in custody?

 

 

Actually, it seems Sowore has now joined the league of Sambo Dasuki, El-Zakky Zakky and the rest of them who are being detained outside the purview of the law. It all adds up to the fact that we have set aside the constitution of Nigeria and now we have a brazen display of totalitarianism in our country.

 

 

Let us look at the development in the Niger Delta Development Commission recently. While the President sent a list of board members to the Senate, the Niger Delta Minister swore in some directors in acting capacity for the same commission. What do you make of this? 

 

 

It is an indication of lack of co-ordination in the government. At times when you listen to two ministers in this same government, you will discover that they are saying two different things. It is an indication that there is lack of co-ordination because everyone is trying to do his own thing. One newspaper published the other day that two ministers were not on the same page on a particular issue and these are people on the same cabinet. It is unfortunate that we have found ourselves in this level.

 

 

One other issue that raised a great dust recently was the fact that the Chief of Staff to the President took a bill to London for him to sign while the Vice President remained in Nigeria. How do you see this?

 

 

It indicates that we have a Vice President in name but not in deed and like I have said several times, I don’t know what Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is still doing in that office. Clearly, they have shown him the way out; that he is not part of the government. Look at what they did to him recently, sacking over 20 of his aides in the name of load shedding just after they appointed about six aides for the president’s wife. And up till now no one has come up to say what he has done. This is share impunity, arrogance of power.

 

 

You will recall that the constitution of Nigeria says that a presidential candidate is not validly nominated unless he has a running mate. So the Vice President is not just a person you can just depose without any reason. No, it is not done. So it just reflects total feudal control of Nigeria at the moment.

 

 

 

 

What does this pattern of governance and flawed electoral system portend for the nation?

 

 

There is one Turkish columnist called Ece Temelkuran, who released a book last year titled: “How to Lose a Country- Seven Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship.” All the seven steps she listed are currently manifesting in our so-called democracy in Nigeria. So we are losing the country gradually. The situation appears hopeless, but I know that the Nigerian resilience is there, but we must not surrender to dictatorship.

 

 

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Akwa-Ibom enjoying steady growth, says Umoh

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Akwa-Ibom enjoying steady growth, says Umoh

Mr. Uko Umoh is the former Chairman, League of Newspaper, Publishers in Akwa Ibom State and immediate past Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Local Media. He speaks with TONY ANICHEBE on a wide range of issues

 

What is your impression about the performance of the Akwa Ibom State government so far?

 

 

Akwa Ibom has done extremely well taking cognizance of when it was created and the length of time it has been in existence compared to that of  other states. In a little over 30 years of her creation, it has become a cynosure of all eyes. Today we have signature projects spread across the state. The International Airport had already broken national record in terms of patronage especially with the arrival of Ibom Air with clean aircrafts. The Ibom e-library, the over 18 industries recorded in four years including a meter factory, syringe manufacturing industry, flour mills among others. The past administrations and that of the Governor Udom Emmanuel have been very impressive. The government is still doing a lot to put Akwa Ibom in a solid place not just on the pedestal of achievement in Nigeria but also on the world map. An American Ambassador once visited Akwa Ibom and said that he has seen the future of Nigeria in Akwa Ibom State.

 

 

Talking about governance, how would you rate the performance of the incumbent administration in the state?

 

 

Governor Emmanuel has done very well and has achieved so much. At a time most states are still struggle to pay workers’ salaries, he has not just paid salaries up to date but attracting and executing very meaningful and life-touching projects across the state. Such projects include the coconut plantation and refinery, flourmills, syringe factory, metering company, plywood factory, toothpick and pencil factories among others.

 

 

Even in dire times, road constructions are being intensified with more 2000 kilometers of road and still counting. When Vice President Yemi Osibanjo visited the state recently to commission one of the factories, he described the governor as one who is very clever person. When you consider the personality of the Vice President, you then understand that he meant what he said. The governor has ensured equitable distribution of projects to every parts of the state. That is why he has been labeled Mr. Industrialisation. The key feature of this, is that some of the projects are been financed by the contractors through Alternative Funding Approach. He has been able to deploy his many years of experience in the banking sector to turn around the fortunes of the Akwa Ibom people.

 

 

Are you disturbed that some key projects of the past administration are yet to be completed?

 

 

There is no cause for worry. The important thing is the general welfare of the people and when a government has the people’s welfare at heart every other thing will align. When the compass of the ship is right, definitely it will arrive at his destination. In this instance, there are projects that needed urgent attention and ones that will follow suit; it is all at the prerogative of the governor. Therefore, there is no project that will be abandoned. It is just that every government has its time lines and milestones. There is no cause to worry at all, as most of them are ongoing.

 

 

However, looking at now completion process of his five point’s agenda of industrialisation, poverty eradication, creation of jobs, political inclusion and consolidation of infrastructures. Put it down vis-a-vis the list of his projects on ground and his style of governance, you will see that he has performed beyond expectation. He has done several projects including ones in the power sector. We have sub-power stations courtesy of him to improve the power sector, enhance the standard of living and encourage more investors to come down here for investment. See the number of roads constructed which is to his credit, before now very few was in existence.

 

 

What areas will the governor concentrate in his remaining years of the second term?

 

 

He has marked out his path clearly, which is industrialisation and he is working hard on it. Foreign investors who have seen the potentials of the state are coming in droves. The state is in the top two investor’s destination. Somehow, he has created enabling environment for foreign direct investment in our state. He should be encouraged. I have personally had calls from people who are interested in investing here, how much more the governor of the state.

 

 

Apart from that, the Governor Emmanuel’s administration has touched every facet of our public live. This state is one of the very few states that have been able to meet up their obligation to both civil and public servants. We have over 2,000 kilometer of roads with several bridges done already. Free education for primary and secondary school students; free medical care for children and aged including pregnant women, payment of WAEC and NECO fees for our children. Several interventions in many sectors. There are some many achievements on ground for all to see and so in my view, the governor has almost fulfilled his campaign promises to the people of the state. However since the society is dynamic and issues arise from time to time, I expect the governor to be ahead of the challenges.

 

 

Owing to your contribution in organising, coordinating and ensuring the welfare of the local media in the governor’s first term, people thought you would continue in that capacity…

 

 

Well, I have been in the media for more than a decade and when the opportunity came to serve the state and my governor in that capacity, I did it whole-heartedly coming from the background of the Chairman of League of Newspaper Publishers and one who knows their challenges. I did my best to bring my colleagues to understand the policy, programme and direction of the government, and to support the governor’s sincere efforts at industrialising the state.

 

 

In the same era, we put an end to unnecessary media attack, wild and unsubstantiated publications against government and rather encourage my colleagues to do more of objective and developmental journalism. I ensured proper coordination of the local media and offered necessary support in form of working tools and other forms of empowerment whenever need arises and with that, the era of blackmail and hit and run publications ended. I believe that I still have much to offer the government and the state through my knowledge and experience in any capacity but as we all know, the bulk stops at the table of the governor.

 

 

Using security as a yardstick to measure Gov. Emmanuel’s performance, will you say the state is better secured now than before?

 

 

I am sure that you know the answer because anybody who has lived in this state in the last 10 years will know that there is a big difference. There was also a time you had to devise all manners of wisdom in your movement around the state for your safety. If you recall at campaign grounds of PDP during the build up to 2019 elections, there were testimonies from Akwa Ibom people on how they are living now in peace without fear. This is an indication that the era of insecurity has fizzled out. How it happened remains between God and Governor Udom Emmanuel. Security to me is everything both in your business, private or social life, once security is intact things move normally. Today people can stay in their businesses premises until midnight but before now by 6pm everybody shuts down for the fear of unknown. Moreover, it affected productivity.

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Men who want Obiano’s job

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Men who want Obiano’s job

Ahead of the next governorship election in Anambra State, OKEY MADUFORO examines current intrigues, factors and permutations that will determine which senatorial district will produce  Governor Willie Obiano’s successor

 

 

W

ith about two years and eight months into his second term in office as the governor of Anambra State, Governor Willie Obiano on doubt has began to  brainstorm on who would succeed him at the end of his eight years tenure.

 

 

His party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), has an internal arrangement of rotation among the three Senatorial Districts in the state and it has, accordingly zoned the gubernatorial seat to Anambra South Senatorial Zone.

 

 

But some elements in APGA are, however, contending that since the zoning formula has gone full circle from South to Central and down to the North it is only proper and fair that the North should start the fresh circle of rotation, irrespective of the fact that the incumbent governor is from the North.

 

 

This pressure has already deepened the challenges currently being faced by Gov. Willie Obiano whose kinsmen from the North are breathing down his neck to pick the APGA candidate from the North.

 

 

Should Obiano give in to their pressure, the likes of Prof. Charles Soludo who has been touted as the chosen one may well forget the ambition of flying the flag of the party in the next election.

 

 

Conversely the North also has a second trump card of drafting the current member of the Federal House of Representatives from Anambra East and West Constituency, Chief Chinedu Obidigwe or the current Chief of Staff to Obiano, Mr. Primus Odili as possible running mate to Prof Soludo from Anambra South Senatorial District.

 

 

But fears are being entertained that the propagators of Anambra North may have an agenda of orchestrating a plot to impeach the would be governor from the South to enthrone the Northern deputy governor as substantive governor hence actualizing their initial agenda. Be that as it may the South is pulling all stops in producing the next governor of Anambra State hence polarizing the zone into three separate political blocks.

 

The Ihiala political block would certainly not get the nod of the South since former governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju from Uli, Ihiala Council Area has taken the slot. The Old Aguata Union (OAU) Aguata, Orumba North & South is neck deep in the contest irrespective of the fact that it had produced Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife and Sen. Andy Uba who they contend never completed

 

 

a full tenure of four years. Ezeife spent less than two years while Andy Uba spent 17 days in office.

Nnewi Political block is currently shopping for strong candidates across Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo council areas and as at the time of this report it has over five aspirants and the more proactive camp is the Nnewi North Local Government Area with heavy power brokers in the race.

 

 

Poison chalice

 

 

Former governor Chris Ngige had earlier during the issue of zoning described the concept as the poisoned chalice, insisting that the idea is one that nobody knows who would drink from it.

 

 

Ngige has been seemingly vindicated in view of the extraneous influence the church now has over the politics of Anambra State and currently both the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church are determined to enthrone one of their own as governor of the state.

 

 

A section of Anambra political watchers have described the meddlesomeness of the church in politics as “Satanic Christianity,” contending that had it been that was the case before now Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife of the Salvation Army wouldn’t  have emerged as governor of the state in view of the numerical strength of his Christian denomination.

 

 

They alleged that the governorship seat has been reduced to a mere church representative position where a denomination in power plays the winner takes it all, reserving choice political appointments to knights and parochial church committee leaders and leaders of the Deanery.

 

 

Even priest and pastors are appointed into special positions to the detriment of merit and proficiency, hence propagating mediocrity.

 

 

Apparently, all gubernatorial aspirants have converted all the church Dioceses to pilgrimage centres where Bishops and Vicars are consulted with the assistance of Grand Knights of the churches to obtain the Episcopal blessings of their denominations.

 

 

Hence it is almost certainly that the church would make substantial inputs into who becomes the next governor of the state, as old boys of Christ the King College (CKC) are pitched against the Old Boys of Dennis Memorial Grammar School (DMGS), Anglican Mission School and Catholic Mission School. The duo of Peter Obi and incumbent Willie Obiano are old boys of (CKC) and the DMGS old boys are angling for a shot at the top.

APC /PDP silence

 

 

These two political parties have chosen to remain silent about the zoning arrangement and none of the parties may likely throw the ticket open for grabs. They see zoning as an APGA arrangement, insisting that they would go for the best irrespective of zones.

 

 

According to the Chairman of PDP in the state, Chief Ndubisi Nwobu, every aspirant is credible and the party shall conduct the freest primary election to produce the most credible candidate.

 

 

“All that we need is a good and populist governor for Anambra State and not because it is the  turn of his zone. But if the party leadership chooses to do the zoning arrangement we shall also go for the most credible from the zone in question because the party is supreme at all times”

 

 

Chief Basil Ejidike of the APC noted that much as his party believes in equity, it “is interested in good governance, but it is too early in the day to begin to talk about the election and the zoning project, but I can assure you that we shall produce the best.  Zoning is an APGA arrangement and with time our party the APC would come up with our position on zoning.”

 

 

Apparently the gubernatorial aspirants are not unmindful of these scattered pictures of confusion, hence they have continued to trudge on. At the moment Anambra South has a total of 15 aspirants which include the contenders and the pretenders.

 

 

Johnbosco Onunkwo, APC

 

 

The young man contested the gubernatorial primaries of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the last election and his foundation has been making some statements. He has the financial strength to execute the project and has been able to cut across political parties and the political blocks across the three senatorial districts.

 

Onunkwo, however, has the challenge of overcoming the conspiracy of the elite who sees him as a younger person capable of retiring the old and never-say-die politicians from active service and that was the challenge that Comrade Tony Nwoye had in the last election.

He still has to battle with his kinsmen in Umuchu community in Aguata Council like Engr. Godwin Ezeemo the political structures of Sen Andy Uba and his younger brother Chris Uba of the APC and PDP. His Catholic background is an advantage.

 

Godwin Maduka, PDP

 

 

The Umuchukwu-born doctor and pharmacist had his first baptism of fire in politics when he surreptitiously backed the unsuccessful senatorial ambition of Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu in APGA which crashed like a pack of cards.

 

 

His venture into the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is seen by political watchers as an experiment that would only give him relevance, because the murky waters of Anambra PDP is one that has the propensity of sinking strange vessels in a voyage meant for Vikings.

 

 

It would certainly be the eighth wonder of the world should Maduka emerge as the candidate of the PDP, though has the capacity and the muscle to take on any candidate from any political party.

 

 

Godwin Ezeemo, PDP

 

He is making his third attempt at the governorship position of Anambra State and what he has going for him is his consistency in the political tarmac. Also he is an Anglican which gives him an edge over and above other aspirants from the PDP.

 

 

This Orient Daily Newspaper publisher is at home with politics and has a way of starting with  a bang,  leaving his supporters with the belief that the heat would be sustained only to end up with an anti Climax when the tide is high. Should Ezeemo plays the church politics as it is played and stamp his feet on the ground mother luck may smile at him.

 

 

Chris Azubuogu, PDP

 

He is on his third term as the member representing Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo Federal Constituency in the National Assembly and age is on his side. His achievements as a federal lawmaker are his great assets and his projects have also forayed into Anambra Central and Anambra North Senatorial Districts respectively.

 

 

Though his traducers contend that he is not as popular as his fellow aspirants in the party, Azubuogu believes that he has the magic wand and has chosen to maintain a low profile while building strong political structures across the state.

 

 

He is also seen as a lamb without blemish since he has no baggage on his shoulders. Being a Roman Catholic, he remains a top contender from Nnewi political block.

 

 

Sen. Andy Uba, APC

 

 

He was there for 17 days as governor of Anambra State and a two term senator of Anambra South District. His failure to win the last National Assembly election is a minus for him unless he does something very magical. He is one of the top contenders in the APC and his structure in the party has remained intact ever since.

 

 

But observers believe that Nnamdi Uba would need to resolve his differences between him and his younger brother, Chief Chris Uba if he must pull through. This is, however, dependant on if his brother has no ambition to contest for the post on the platform of the PDP. This was one of the reasons why he lost the last election. Interestingly he is an Anglican.

 

 

Prof. Charles Soludo, APGA.

 

 

A number of propagators of a President of South-East extraction are of the belief that he is a presidential material and not for governorship. But he is the anointed candidate of APGA. Against this backdrop of the fact that no aspirant in the party has indicated interest in the position Soludo almost became governor in 2010 but for the death of late President Umaru Yaradua who was solidly behind him.

 

 

The former Central Bank governor is a strong Roman Catholic from Aguata Local Government area and APGA may have fundamental problem should he be denied ticket of the party.

Sen. Uche Ekwunife , PDP

 

 

This Amazon of Anambra politics is no stranger to the political terrain and she is determined to break the jinx of a woman winning the governorship election of the state. She has been a two- term member of the Federal House of Representatives and Senator for the second term. Though Sen. Victor Umeh scuttled her first term through the courts but the proprietor of Ogene FM Radio has refused to be cowed.

 

 

In recognition of her guts, politicians in the state describe her more as a man and than a woman in view of her exploits in Anambra politics with the major stakeholders of PDP behind him especially former Governor Peter Obi.

 

 

Ekwunife bestrides the two political templates of Anambra politics. She is from Igbo Ukwu town in Aguata Council Area of Anambra South and married to Agu Ukwu Nri town in Anambra Central District which she represents at the moment.

 

 

She was an Anglican before getting married to a Roman Catholic and she is one of the patrons of the Christian Women Organization (CWO) of the Catholic Church and also one of the major sponsors of the Christian Pentecostal Mission.

 

She is indeed an aspirant to watch in the PDP and party members are aware of this glaring fact. But for last minute moves of the then Governor Obi during the APGA gubernatorial primaries of 2013, Ekwunife was coasting to victory against Gov Willie Obiano.

 

 

Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah ,YPP

The CEO of Capital Oil and Gas, publisher of Authority Newspaper and Ifeanyi Ubah Football Club has to his credit the defeat of the Ubas and termination of their political dynasty in the last general election to become senator.

 

For a man who midwife the Transformation Agenda of Nigeria (TAN), the official campaign platform of former President Goodluck Jonathan the gubernatorial contest is more of a mere dress rehearsal.

 

 

Uba’s victory in the last election made a strong statement about what is expected in the next gubernatorial election because with the seven local government areas in his kitty, he only needs to win at least four council areas each from Anambra Central and Anambra North to obtain the constitutional spread to win the governorship election.

 

Similarly, Ubah enjoys so much sympathy from APGA due to the political crisis of candidacy between him and Obiano, while borating of very cordial romance with the All Progressives Congress (APC) as observation from his relationship with Senate President and the APC government at the centre.

 

However, Ubah has not declared his ambition to contest but his body language speaks volume of his interest in the race. Going for him is the fact that he remains in the Young Progressives Party (YPP) and he has no plans to join another party.

 

 

In the light of the above, his party primary election would certainly be a work over and while other aspirants are deep in intra party crisis of who becomes the candidate, he has all the time in world to start early campaigning without the attendant bruises that trail party primaries. Currently he is building the Nnewi Catholic Cathedral for the Diocese.

 

 

From all indications, Anambra South Senatorial District is the hot bed of politics of attrition and the zone is the heart beat of all activities. Most aspirants would certainly search for running

mates from Anambra Central all things being equal. The outcome will unfold in no time.

 

 

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Oyo in the throes of electoral logjam

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Oyo in the throes of electoral logjam

After the verdict of the Appeal Court last week on the governorship election in Oyo State, SOLA ADEYEMO writes that the last may not have not been heard about the polls which brought in the high performing Governor Seyi Makinde

 

 

 

I

n every electoral competition, there is bound to be a winner and loser (s). So also is the room for loser to challenge the opponent’s victory to certain maximum level within the ambit of the law.

When the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State presented Chief Adebayo Adelabu (a.k.a. Penkelemesi), a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as its gubernatorial candidate for the March 9, 2019 election, the goal was to elongate the unprecedented two-term administration of the then ruling party till 2023 at least. When the result of the election was however released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Engineer Seyi Makinde of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeated Adelabu, the status quo was visibly shaken.

 

 

The emergence of Adelabu among about thirteen aspirants who were made to step down for him to be the standard bearer of the party, coupled with the palpable acrimony and disunity in the APC consequent upon the defection of the teeming loyalists of former governor Lam Adesina from the party being led by the then governor Senator Abiola Ajimobi, contributed in no small measure to the defeat of the party.

Conversely, the last minute emergence of Makinde through consensus arrangement of about four parties, with former governor, Senator Rasidi Ladoja leading, as well as, the fact that many of the electorate in the State wanted a change of government, pragmatically advanced the victory of the PDP. Makinde according to the announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), defeated Adelabu with 515,621 votes to 357,982 to emerge the governor who was sworn in on May 29, 2019 at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium.

 

 

The APC and Adelabu would however not take the defeat with the spirit of sportsmanship (an enshrined right in law, though) and so filed a petition before the Election Petition Tribunal challenging the victory, declaring that the INEC erred by declaring Makinde as the winner in spite of his alleged non-conformity with electoral process.

 

 

Three issues were raised by Adelabu and the Oyo APC, including: first, whether Makinde scored the majority of lawful votes cast during the March 9, 2019 governorship poll or not. Whether the result was in compliance with the election according to the provisions of Electoral Acts 2010 (As Amended), as well as, Extant Guidelines and Regulations. The third issue was on whether the election was not invalid by reasons of corrupt practices occasioned by the respondents and the identified irregularities.

After hearing the arguments of counsel on both sides, the three-man Election Petition Tribunal headed by Justice Suraju Muhammadu, has Justices Musa Bazza and Elizabeth Orji as members, on September 16, 2019 affirmed the INEC’s decision by declaring Makinde the authentic winner of the election.

 

 

The legal team of Mrs M.A. Essong (SAN) and Nathaniel Oke (SAN) represented the PDP; Dele Abolarin represented the INEC while Akinola Oladeji stood in for Mallam Yusuf Ali (SAN) for the petitioners.

The tribunal found that allegations of over-voting, non-accreditation, improper and inaccurate ballots accounting, disenfranchisement of some voters were not proved, noting that law was trite and the onus lay on the petitioners to prove their case with relevant documents and other evidence beyond reasonable doubt.

 

 

Dissatisfied with the tribunal judgment, Adelabu and the State APC went further to the Appeal Court and on Monday, November 4, 2019, a very controversial judgment which left room for confusion was delivered.

The Appeal panel allowed the appeal filed by Adelabu because in their wisdom, there were issues of miscarriage of justice at the lower court. The panel however added that a judgement must be given after considering the situation in its entirety.

Three of the four-person panel of the Court of Appeal resolved all issues in the favour of the appellants. But there was a dissenting judgment from a judge with a proviso that the panel could not nullify Makinde’s election, as according to him, the 180 days mandated for the tribunal to deliver its judgment in election petition had lapsed and there was consequently no reason to touch the ruling of the lower court.

 

 

The court presided over by Justice Abubakar Yahaya therefore ordered status quo in the lower tribunal’s judgment, meaning that the return and declaration of Makinde as winner of the March 9,2019 governorship poll in Oyo State remained.

The decision raised a thick dust as both parties went into a frenzy of jubilation, claiming to have been favoured by the judgment. There was therefore a political tirade between Makinde and the PDP who maintained that since there was no consequential order from the court against them, “Makinde remains and remained the governor of the Pace Setter State”.

 

 

The APC counsel led by Mallam Yusuff Alli (SAN) had given indication that the team would approach the Supreme Court for interpretation of the Appeal judgment, believing that the candidate and the party would eventually be declared winner.

However, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN),    representing Makinde had said that the declaration of Makinde as governor “has not been affected in any way. The Court of Appeal in their wisdom said they did not agree with the lower tribunal. They did not also say that they did not agree with INEC. So, INEC’s declaration is sacrosanct and it remains until any other pronouncement from the court.

 

 

Going by the barometer with which Sunday Telegraph has measured the feeling of the majority of the electorate in the State, should the Supreme Court reverse the victory of Makinde, possibility of crisis erupting is highly possible. This is because according to discreet interviews conducted by this reporter, salary which is now being paid unfailingly on the 25th of every month to workers and the entitlement of pensioners which has also been enjoying the new regime, might be jeopardized if the APC that was found to have failed in these areas during Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s eight year administration were to come back to government.

 

 

Aside this, parents and guardians who are now savouring the relief from payment of school fees on behalf of their children and wards would never pray for a regime that would take them back literally to Egypt. Free books are now being distributed to students and grants are being released to management of schools to cater for the needs of the staff and students.

 

To an electorate, “the worst will be an order for conduct of fresh election. If that happens to be the case, it will be a vote of vengeance from the majority because masses will vote overwhelmingly for Makinde. We cant allow any party to take us back to a season of agony and starvation”, he said, preferring anonymity.

Fingers of everyone are now crossed while looking forward to the final decision of the Apex Court.

 

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Lawan calls for synergy between N’ational, State Assemblies

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Lawan calls for synergy between N’ational, State Assemblies

 

P

resident of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has called for synergy between the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly in the discharge of their statutory responsibilities to the people.

Lawan said the Assemblies at both state and national levels should continue to exchange ideas on how to support each other.

 

The Senate President made the call on Thursday while receiving in audience in his office Speakers of State Houses of Assembly who came on a courtesy visit.

 

“This kind of visit should be very often,” Lawan told his guests. “We should have more and deeper frequent engagements between the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly.

 

“We need to be talking. We need to be engaging ourselves because there are certain things that we have to do together especially the constitutional amendment in which National Assembly takes the lead but the State Houses of Assembly will continue to have to play their roles as well.

 

“So we should not wait to be thirsty before we dig a well. We should always be proactive,” Lawan said.

 

 

Lawan said there are certain legislations that require some domestication or replication at the state level because “even if we implement them at this (national) level and the states have not bought in to it, it is going to have very limited success.”

 

The Senate President also encouraged the speakers at the State Houses of Assembly to have cordial working relationship with their respective Executive without necessarily compromising their independence.

“If we have to take the lead in nation building or in building our states, we have to also understand that we have to work together as cordially as possible.

 

“We should work on relationship that is based on mutual respect for the Executive and the Legislature whether at the national level or at the state level.

 

“We should have a relationship that is characterized by consultations and partnerships. Once we are able to establish that relationship either at the state or national level, we benefit immensely.

 

“It does not help anyone when the relationship is largely characterized by rancour, animosity, suspicion and unwarranted fight between the two arms of government,” Lawan said.

 

The Senate President said his understanding of the relationship between the Executive and Legislature is that of interdependent. Lawan said the two arms of government need each other and neither of them can do without the other.

 

“So without allowing yourselves to be subjugated, you still must ensure that you work together with the Executive arm of government in your states to produce legislations that will change the lives of the people,” Lawan said.

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When doubt shadow casts around Osinbajo’s loyalty

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When doubt shadow casts around Osinbajo’s loyalty

T

he current debate on the political skirmish between President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo reminds one of John Adam’s experience as the first Vice President of the United States of America. Adams’ two terms as Vice President were frustrating experiences for a man of his vigour and intellect. He is reported to have once complained to his wife Abigail that: “My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.”

A close look at the American Constitution from where Nigeria’s presidential system is fashioned after, depicts the office of Vice-President as an afterthought. Joel Goldstein, a St. Louis Professor inisists that no mention was after all, made of the office at the early stage of the Philadelphia Convention where the idea of American Constitution was considered and adopted. Goldstein points out that the office was not even suggested until the closing days of the constitutional convention.

It will surprise many to understand that, despite being an enviable democracy today, no Vice-President was indeed surprisingly ever allowed to attend cabinet meeting in America until Adams attended in 1781 and Thomas Marshall in 1918 and 1919. That was after an interval of about 177 years of the American democracy. Again, it was until 1933 that President Roosevelt inaugurated his Vice, John Nance Garner into the cabinet, and again Eisenhower allowed Richard Nixon not only to attend cabinet meetings, but more importantly, to preside over the meting in his absence.

 

Many people believe that a Vice-President in Nigeria in reality, has no power under the law. Apparently, it explains why the Vice or Deputy are often referred to as spare tyres. Although the occupant of such office is close to power, he has little of his own. In fact, a Vice President does only what he is delegated to do by the President. Section 148 (1) is explicit that: ”The President, may in his discretion, assign to the Vice President or any Minister of the Government of the Federation responsibility for any business of the Government of the Federation, including the administration of any department of government.” Let me stress here that the operative phrase here is “may in his discretion”.

It might had been the intendment of the framers of our constitution that the Vice-President is to be carried along but, with the inadequacy of the provisions of the 1999 constitution (as amended), it remains a fallacy, considering the fact that in the event of rift between the duo (president and his vice), the latter becomes redundant.

 

Unaquably, the office of the Vice President as encapsulated under our current law is at the mercy of the President who may decide to render the office impotent. Since nothing in the Constitution compells the President to allocate to his Vice any significant executive power, it is what he wants of the deputy that becomes of him in the executive scheme. Of course, the President is the chief and not first among equals.

What is then imperative here is to state that Vice President Osinbajo himself as lawyer is not oblivious of the fact that he has three main responsibilities. First is loyalty, the second loyalty, and the third is also loyalty. It was first in 2017, when Osinbajo revealed to Nigerians how he is often treated by President Buhari- a son, father relationship. “In fact, the President has taken me as a son in the way he treats me,” the Vice President was quoted by his Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity Laolu Akande on his twitter handle after a public function in Daura, Katsina State.

 

Only recently, Osinbajo was again quoted in a special edition of Brands International magazine, the official magazine for Buhari’s Next Level Agenda, as saying: ”He (Buhari) is the best boss and I find it thrilling to serve Nigeria under him. It is only responsible of me to give my unwavering loyalty to President Buhari and Nigeria as I promise to stand by him, while contributing my quota at all times to the growth of Nigeria,” Osinbajo noted.

 

Close observers of the nation’s political trajectory will agree that Osinbajo remains one of the luckiest Vice Presidents Nigeria has ever had since the return of democratic rule in 1999, having tasted true presidential powers. Unlike previous governments, he has had opportunities at three different times to exercise full presidential powers in acting capacity. First was in February 2016 when President Buhari took five-days leave. The second was in June 2016 when Buhari traveled to London to attend to an ear infection and the last was in August 2018.

 

During these periods, Osinbajo was perceived generally both locally and abroad to have done well with even early talks of a possible shot at the presidency in the last 2019 elections then beginning to emerge. Much of this was down to decisive actions. Don’t forget the first law of power – never outshine the master. “Everyone has insecurities. When you show yourself in the world and display your talents, you naturally stir up all kinds of resentment and envy.”

 

On the corridor of power and in the power play-game, it is those around the President, his several handlers who evaluate how loyal a Vice President can be, public display of such loyalty notwithstanding. As far as the President’s men are concerned, Osinbajo has given room for his loyalty to be suspect. But Osinbajo himself ought to know that Nigeria’s presidency is not in want of political ‘jackals and hyenas’ (apologies to the First Lady Aisha Buhari). A few analysts have strongly observed that to survive in this power corridor, one must be a cat with nine lives; ready to be as sly and cunning as a fox and at the same time, crafty to navigate the turbulence of the terrain.

 

During one of those periods Osinbajo acted as President, he took far reaching decisions quite shocking to the much talked about cable in Aso Rock. At the National Pension Commission (PenCom), he changed the management. The then acting President removed Dikko Aliyu AbdulRahman as Directed General of PenCom and made him Chairman, Governing Board of the Bank of Industry (BoI). Dikko was replaced at PenCom with Funso Doherty who was appointed alongside six Executive Commissioners. To show that he had offended the system, all these appointments never sailed through.

 

Many other decisions of the Vice President while he acted, including his sack of Lawal Daura as Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) following the invasion of the National Assembly complex by masked operatives of the department remain fresh in mind. The high point of these decisions was how swiftly, Osinbajo pushed for the confirmation of Justice Walter Onnoghen as substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN). Justice Onnoghen had been kept in abeyance in acting capacity without the hope of a confirmation until the opportunity provided by Buhari’s medical trip to London. Whether the Vice President is forgiven for these acts allegedly considered sinful to the owners of Nigeria’s current political powers, is something worth investigating further.

Till this moment, Osinbajo and Buhari’s handlers debunk insinuations of any rift within the presidency. The recent sack of about 35 aides of the Vice President and disbanding of the Economic Management Team (EMT) chaired by Osinbajo as well as appointment of the new Economic Advisory Council (EAC) in their views is no clue to existing quarrels.

 

 

In the midst of this, Osinbajo had been accused of mismanaging N90 billion, being funds allegedly provided by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for the prosecution of the 2019 presidential elections. It seems a howler from Comrade Timi Frank, maybe fuelled by the same political enemies. The Vice President couldn’t hold this one. Osinbajo described it as a spate of reckless and malicious fallacy insisting that he could waive his immunity to clear his name.

Obviously, we have not gotten to see another Obasanjo/Atiku melodrama in Aso Rock. To take to total denial however on what is happening is deceitful to millions of right thinking Nigerians. What President Buhari has simply done since the beginning of the government’s second term, is to take back his presidential powers. This singular action by the President, which has thrown up speculations of marginalization true or not, will continue to feature in public debate, regardless of the denials.

While I join many others to commend the calm disposition of Vice President Osinbajo as the travail last, he needs to move swiftly and allay the fears of Aso Rock power brokers in order to unveil the doubt shadow cast around his loyalty. This is too early in the last lap of the four year tenure for the Buhari/Osinbajo presidency.

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Men who want Obiano’s job

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Men who want Obiano’s job

Ahead of the next governorship election in Anambra State, OKEY MADUFORO examines current intrigues, factors and permutations that will determine which senatorial district will produce  Governor Willie Obiano’s successor

 

 

W

ith about two years and eight months into his second term in office as the governor of Anambra State, Governor Willie Obiano on doubt has began to  brainstorm on who would succeed him at the end of his eight years tenure.

 

 

His party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), has an internal arrangement of rotation among the three Senatorial Districts in the state and it has, accordingly zoned the gubernatorial seat to Anambra South Senatorial Zone.

 

But some elements in APGA are, however, contending that since the zoning formula has gone full circle from South to Central and down to the North it is only proper and fair that the North should start the fresh circle of rotation, irrespective of the fact that the incumbent governor is from the North.

 

 

This pressure has already deepened the challenges currently being faced by Gov. Willie Obiano whose kinsmen from the North are breathing down his neck to pick the APGA candidate from the North.

Should Obiano give in to their pressure, the likes of Prof. Charles Soludo who has been touted as the chosen one may well forget the ambition of flying the flag of the party in the next election.

 

 

Conversely the North also has a second trump card of drafting the current member of the Federal House of Representatives from Anambra East and West Constituency, Chief Chinedu Obidigwe or the current Chief of Staff to Obiano, Mr. Primus Odili as possible running mate to Prof Soludo from Anambra South Senatorial District.

 

But fears are being entertained that the propagators of Anambra North may have an agenda of orchestrating a plot to impeach the would be governor from the South to enthrone the Northern deputy governor as substantive governor hence actualizing their initial agenda. Be that as it may the South is pulling all stops in producing the next governor of Anambra State hence polarizing the zone into three separate political blocks.

 

The Ihiala political block would certainly not get the nod of the South since former governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju from Uli, Ihiala Council Area has taken the slot. The Old Aguata Union (OAU) Aguata, Orumba North & South is neck deep in the contest irrespective of the fact that it had produced Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife and Sen. Andy Uba who they contend never completed

 

 

a full tenure of four years. Ezeife spent less than two years while Andy Uba spent 17 days in office.

 

Nnewi Political block is currently shopping for strong candidates across Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo council areas and as at the time of this report it has over five aspirants and the more proactive camp is the Nnewi North Local Government Area with heavy power brokers in the race.

Poison chalice

 

 

Former governor Chris Ngige had earlier during the issue of zoning described the concept as the poisoned chalice, insisting that the idea is one that nobody knows who would drink from it.

 

Ngige has been seemingly vindicated in view of the extraneous influence the church now has over the politics of Anambra State and currently both the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church are determined to enthrone one of their own as governor of the state.

 

 

A section of Anambra political watchers have described the meddlesomeness of the church in politics as “Satanic Christianity,” contending that had it been that was the case before now Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife of the Salvation Army wouldn’t  have emerged as governor of the state in view of the numerical strength of his Christian denomination.

 

 

They alleged that the governorship seat has been reduced to a mere church representative position where a denomination in power plays the winner takes it all, reserving choice political appointments to knights and parochial church committee leaders and leaders of the Deanery.

 

Even priest and pastors are appointed into special positions to the detriment of merit and proficiency, hence propagating mediocrity.

 

 

Apparently, all gubernatorial aspirants have converted all the church Dioceses to pilgrimage centres where Bishops and Vicars are consulted with the assistance of Grand Knights of the churches to obtain the Episcopal blessings of their denominations.

 

 

Hence it is almost certainly that the church would make substantial inputs into who becomes the next governor of the state, as old boys of Christ the King College (CKC) are pitched against the Old Boys of Dennis Memorial Grammar School (DMGS), Anglican Mission School and Catholic Mission School. The duo of Peter Obi and incumbent Willie Obiano are old boys of (CKC) and the DMGS old boys are angling for a shot at the top.

APC /PDP silence

 

 

These two political parties have chosen to remain silent about the zoning arrangement and none of the parties may likely throw the ticket open for grabs. They see zoning as an APGA arrangement, insisting that they would go for the best irrespective of zones.

According to the Chairman of PDP in the state, Chief Ndubisi Nwobu, every aspirant is credible and the party shall conduct the freest primary election to produce the most credible candidate.

“All that we need is a good and populist governor for Anambra State and not because it is the turn of his zone. But if the party leadership chooses to do the zoning arrangement we shall also go for the most credible from the zone in question because the party is supreme at all times”

 

 

Chief Basil Ejidike of the APC noted that much as his party believes in equity, it “is interested in good governance, but it is too early in the day to begin to talk about the election and the zoning project, but I can assure you that we shall produce the best.  Zoning is an APGA arrangement and with time our party the APC would come up with our position on zoning.”

Apparently the gubernatorial aspirants are not unmindful of these scattered pictures of confusion, hence they have continued to trudge on. At the moment Anambra South has a total of 15 aspirants which include the contenders and the pretenders.

Johnbosco Onunkwo, APC

 

 

The young man contested the gubernatorial primaries of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the last election and his foundation has been making some statements. He has the financial strength to execute the project and has been able to cut across political parties and the political blocks across the three senatorial districts.

 

 

Onunkwo, however, has the challenge of overcoming the conspiracy of the elite who sees him as a younger person capable of retiring the old and never-say-die politicians from active service and that was the challenge that Comrade Tony Nwoye had in the last election.

He still has to battle with his kinsmen in Umuchu community in Aguata Council like Engr. Godwin Ezeemo the political structures of Sen Andy Uba and his younger brother Chris Uba of the APC and PDP. His Catholic background is an advantage.

Godwin Maduka, PDP

 

 

The Umuchukwu-born doctor and pharmacist had his first baptism of fire in politics when he surreptitiously backed the unsuccessful senatorial ambition of Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu in APGA which crashed like a pack of cards.

 

 

His venture into the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is seen by political watchers as an experiment that would only give him relevance, because the murky waters of Anambra PDP is one that has the propensity of sinking strange vessels in a voyage meant for Vikings.

It would certainly be the eighth wonder of the world should Maduka emerge as the candidate of the PDP, though has the capacity and the muscle to take on any candidate from any political party.

 

Godwin Ezeemo, PDP

 

 

He is making his third attempt at the governorship position of Anambra State and what he has going for him is his consistency in the political tarmac. Also he is an Anglican which gives him an edge over and above other aspirants from the PDP.

 

 

This Orient Daily Newspaper publisher is at home with politics and has a way of starting with  a bang,  leaving his supporters with the belief that the heat would be sustained only to end up with an anti Climax when the tide is high. Should Ezeemo plays the church politics as it is played and stamp his feet on the ground mother luck may smile at him.

 

Chris Azubuogu, PDP

 

 

He is on his third term as the member representing Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo Federal Constituency in the National Assembly and age is on his side. His achievements as a federal lawmaker are his great assets and his projects have also forayed into Anambra Central and Anambra North Senatorial Districts respectively.

 

Though his traducers contend that he is not as popular as his fellow aspirants in the party, Azubuogu believes that he has the magic wand and has chosen to maintain a low profile while building strong political structures across the state.

He is also seen as a lamb without blemish since he has no baggage on his shoulders. Being a Roman Catholic, he remains a top contender from Nnewi political block.

Sen. Andy Uba, APC

 

 

He was there for 17 days as governor of Anambra State and a two term senator of Anambra South District. His failure to win the last National Assembly election is a minus for him unless he does something very magical. He is one of the top contenders in the APC and his structure in the party has remained intact ever since.

 

 

But observers believe that Nnamdi Uba would need to resolve his differences between him and his younger brother, Chief Chris Uba if he must pull through. This is, however, dependant on if his brother has no ambition to contest for the post on the platform of the PDP. This was one of the reasons why he lost the last election. Interestingly he is an Anglican.

 

 

Prof. Charles Soludo, APGA.

A number of propagators of a President of South-East extraction are of the belief that he is a presidential material and not for governorship. But he is the anointed candidate of APGA. Against this backdrop of the fact that no aspirant in the party has indicated interest in the position Soludo almost became governor in 2010 but for the death of late President Umaru Yaradua who was solidly behind him.

 

 

The former Central Bank governor is a strong Roman Catholic from Aguata Local Government area and APGA may have fundamental problem should he be denied ticket of the party.

 

 

Sen. Uche Ekwunife , PDP

This Amazon of Anambra politics is no stranger to the political terrain and she is determined to break the jinx of a woman winning the governorship election of the state. She has been a two- term member of the Federal House of Representatives and Senator for the second term. Though Sen. Victor Umeh scuttled her first term through the courts but the proprietor of Ogene FM Radio has refused to be cowed.

 

 

In recognition of her guts, politicians in the state describe her more as a man and than a woman in view of her exploits in Anambra politics with the major stakeholders of PDP behind him especially former Governor Peter Obi.

 

 

Ekwunife bestrides the two political templates of Anambra politics. She is from Igbo Ukwu town in Aguata Council Area of Anambra South and married to Agu Ukwu Nri town in Anambra Central District which she represents at the moment.

 

 

She was an Anglican before getting married to a Roman Catholic and she is one of the patrons of the Christian Women Organization (CWO) of the Catholic Church and also one of the major sponsors of the Christian Pentecostal Mission.

 

 

She is indeed an aspirant to watch in the PDP and party members are aware of this glaring fact. But for last minute moves of the then Governor Obi during the APGA gubernatorial primaries of 2013, Ekwunife was coasting to victory against Gov Willie Obiano.

Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah ,YPP

 

 

The CEO of Capital Oil and Gas, publisher of Authority Newspaper and Ifeanyi Ubah Football Club has to his credit the defeat of the Ubas and termination of their political dynasty in the last general election to become senator.

For a man who midwife the Transformation Agenda of Nigeria (TAN), the official campaign platform of former President Goodluck Jonathan the gubernatorial contest is more of a mere dress rehearsal.

 

Uba’s victory in the last election made a strong statement about what is expected in the next gubernatorial election because with the seven local government areas in his kitty, he only needs to win at least four council areas each from Anambra Central and Anambra North to obtain the constitutional spread to win the governorship election.

 

Similarly, Ubah enjoys so much sympathy from APGA due to the political crisis of candidacy between him and Obiano, while borating of very cordial romance with the All Progressives Congress (APC) as observation from his relationship with Senate President and the APC government at the centre.

 

However, Ubah has not declared his ambition to contest but his body language speaks volume of his interest in the race. Going for him is the fact that he remains in the Young Progressives Party (YPP) and he has no plans to join another party.

In the light of the above, his party primary election would certainly be a work over and while other aspirants are deep in intra party crisis of who becomes the candidate, he has all the time in world to start early campaigning without the attendant bruises that trail party primaries. Currently he is building the Nnewi Catholic Cathedral for the Diocese.

 

 

From all indications, Anambra South Senatorial District is the hot bed of politics of attrition and the zone is the heart beat of all activities. Most aspirants would certainly search for running  mates from Anambra Central all things being equal. The outcome will unfold in no time.

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Imperative of reconstituting FCC board

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I

f there is one vexed issue that can create disaffection in Nigeria’s unity at this critical time, it is inequitable distribution of offices and infrastructures across the various states in the six geopolitical zones of the federation as provided for in the 1999 Constitution as amended.  Hence, time and again, the South-East and indeed other parts of the country have expressed displeasure over the state of roads and federal appointments.

 

 

Interestingly, by virtue of the Constitution it is mandatory for the appointment of a minister from each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, in order to give every section a sense of belonging and commitment to national unity. The Muhammadu Buhari administration has also displayed its commitment to this in the appointment of ministers. 

 

 

Deriving from the constitution, the Federal Character Commission Act 1995 was enacted and it is saddle with the responsibility to promote national unity, monitor and enforce compliance with the principles of the proportional sharing of all bureaucratic, economic, media and political posts at all levels of government.

 

 

However, it is instructive that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), raised the alarm recently over depletion of the board of the Commission to one instead of 37 which monitors compliance and called on the Federal Government to reconstitute it to enable them function effectively and effectively in consonance with the law establishing the commission.

 

 

In the last two years, the tenure all but one federal commissioners serving on the board of the commission had expired, and none of them had been replaced, leaving behind Alhaji Abdulahi Shinkafi, from Zamfara State as the sole commissioner and acting chairman, while Alhaji Mohammed Bello Tukur from Taraba State, as secretary.

 

Among other functions, the Commission is to work out an equitable formula, subject to the approval of the president for the distribution of all cadres of posts in the civil service, the public services of the federation and of states and the armed forces, the Nigeria Police and other security agencies.

 

 

It is also expected to provide guidelines for government agencies, ministries and extra-ministerial departments and monitor compliance level in the provision of employment opportunities and in the distribution of infrastructure facilities, socio-economic amenities and other indices around the countries. The FCC Act 1995 establishing the Commission stipulates that each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory must be represented by a Commissioner on the board, the board is currently nonexistent.

 

Hence, the Executive Director of SERAP, Mr. Tokunbo Mumuni said that while these functions are central to national development, the fact that no quorum could be formed by the Commission as currently constituted makes the need to reconstitute the board a matter of urgency to enable it effectively monitor activities of the over 800 ministries, departments and agencies.

 

 

The Act says “For any decision to be taken, the quorum for a meeting of the commission shall be not less than one-third of the total number of members of the commission at the date of the meeting.” With just the acting chairman and the executive secretary serving on the board now, achieving one-third (12) of the entire members (37) is impossible.

 

 

Already, some government agencies are believed to have taken actions that runs counter of the provision of the Act. For instance, recently, the Nigeria Police recently posted some Assistant Inspectors- General which is manifestly tilted towards one section of the country.

 

 

The full list of the senior police officers are:  AIG Dan Bature, – AIG DFA FHQ

AIG Hyelasinda Kimo Musa – AIG PMF, AIG Yunana Y. Babas, mni– AIG Zone 8 Lokoja AIG Dan Mallam Mohammed, fdc – AIG PU and AIG Mua’zu Zubairu Halilu – AIG CTU

Others are AIG Rabiu Yusuf – AIG ICT; AIG Ahmed Iliyasu – AIG Zone 2, Lagos:

 

 

AIG Mohammed Uba Kura – AIG Maritime; AIG Zaki M. Ahmed – AIG Zone 6, Calabar

and AIG Zama Bala Senchi – AIG Community Policing. The rest are AIG Bello A. Sadiq – AIG Zone 1, Kano, AIG Austin Agbonlahor Iwero, fdc – AIG DOPS FHQ and AIG Lawal Ado – AIG Works

Coming almost simultaneously with the Federal Government’s approval of the establishment of Air Force University, in Bauchi State, this raises some concern because of the preponderance of such schools in the North. Already, security institutions like the Nigerian Defence Academy is located in Kaduna, the Nigerian Air Force, Mando and Command and Staff College are Jaji, near Kaduna. There is also Police Academy, Wudi, in Kano as well as Police Mobile Training School, Gwoza, in Borno State. Besides there is the Tactical Air Command, Makurdi and Police Staff College, Jos in Benue and Plateau states respectively.

 

 

Added to this is the fact that Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria, (DICON), Nigeria’s only manufacturers of military weapons, is located in Kaduna, along with the One Mechanised Division and the NDA. There is also Three Mechanised Division, Bauchi and the Nigerian Army Engineering Corps based in Makurdi.

 

All the above developments further stressed the urgency to reconstitute the board of the commission to enable it advice the government and its agencies appropriately in line with extant laws for the benefit of all.

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Violence, ballot snatching, killings mar Kogi elections

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Violence, ballot snatching, killings mar Kogi elections

*Six killed, several others injured in Abocho, Ayetoro-Gbede

* As hoodlums, gunmen snatch ballot boxes

* Helicopter aides in ballot snatching in Lokoja

Saturday’s governorship and Kogi West Senatorial rerun elections in Kogi State were marred with violence, ballot box snatching, killings and burning of properties across the state.

New Telegraph learnt that six people were killed at different polling units and many others injured by gunmen and hoodlums, who stormed various voting centers, disrupting the process and carting away ballot boxes.

A building belonging to an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain was also set ablaze in Lokoja, the state capital, during the election.

At Lokongoma community in Lokoja Local Government Area, a helicopter was alleged to aided in the snatching of ballot papers.

The helicopter, was said to have descended as if it was going to land, thereby raising thick dust to scare electorates away, before the ballot boxes were carted away.

At Abocho community in Dekina Local Government Area, two persons reportedly lost their lives during the governorship election in Kogi State.

The deceased persons who are names were issued by the natives, as Umoru shuaib and Faruk Suleiman, died during gun battle between supporters of the ruling APC and main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Witnesses said the incident happened while voting was going at Barrack Polling Unit 001 in Dekina council.

It was learnt that the assailants from all indications, came for Umoru Shaibu, one of the victims in the attack.

“They came in a bus while voting was taking place and were wearing  police uniforms, so we didn’t suspect anything.

“Umoru had voted and was chatting with Faruk close to the poling unit, when the bus drove by. None of the occupants who were in police uniforms alighted from the vehicle.

 

“We just heard gunshots and shouts from the victims as well as onlookers. The attackers then drove off,” a resident in the community, who identified himself as Michael Ochimamna, disclosed.
The major street in the ancient town was deserted when our correspondent visited the area.

Stones and sticks littered the road, while tyres earlier burnt by youths protesting the attack were still emitting smoke.

Three people were also reportedly killed in Adankolo in Lokoja, the state capital. They were killed in different polling units by hoodlums who shot sporadically while trying to cart away ballot boxes but were prevented by some electorate and residents in the community.

A voter was also killed in Ayetoro-Gbede in Ijumu Local Government Area and two other people shot at by hoodlums who disrupted the voting process at Ayetoro Town Hall in Ward 03 of the local government.

The hoodlums also snatched ballot boxes at Ayetoro Town Hall and Oke Ibukun in Ijumu Local Government Area. But the ballot boxes was later recovered.

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Kogi/Bayelsa decide: APC will win in Bayelsa, says Sylva

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Kogi/Bayelsa decide: APC will win in Bayelsa, says Sylva

* Lyon also confident

Pauline Onyibe, Yenagoa

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva has said that he has said it many times that the APC was the preferred party in Bayelsa adding that he was sure that the party will win.

He also expressed confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) adding that the Commission did better this time around.

Speaking in his Okpoama Brass Ward 4 Unit 4, the minister said that every year the processes was getting better.

He said “I think we have had a better outing from INEC this time. And I believe that this election will be better than the last one.”

Also, the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief David Lyon, who voted in Olugbobiri Community in Southern Local Government Area, has described the election process as peaceful so far, saying the INEC did a better job this time.

While expressing confidence that his party, APC, would emerge victorious at the end of the poll, Lyon called on security agents to remain neutral and professional as they have been so far in their conduct during and after the election.

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