The Sun News » Politics http://sunnewsonline.com/new - Voice of The Nation Wed, 05 Aug 2015 01:29:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.7 Power sharing: Accomodate S’East, Yakasai tells FG http://sunnewsonline.com/new/power-sharing-accomodate-seast-yakasai-tells-fg/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/power-sharing-accomodate-seast-yakasai-tells-fg/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 01:04:10 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129884 Elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has cautioned that scheming out the South-East in the power equation of the present administration is a threat to national unity and stability.]]>

From Desmond Mgboh

Elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has cautioned that  scheming out the South-East in the power equation of the present administration is a threat to national unity and stability.

He lamented that federal character principle is being compromised by key government actors in the distribution of legislative positions to assuage the interest of a few individuals.

The First Republic lawmaker told reporters in Kano yesterday that going by the happenings in the House of Representatives, the South-East has been scarificed to satisfy the personal interests of some people.

‘As it is, the South-East has no representation among the configuration of the House leadership, but the South-West alone has two  slots, all in an effort to satisfy the personal interest of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the interest of Majority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.

“The implication is that now the South-East has no representation in the leadership structure of the House- In the entire National Assembly, the only representation the zone has is the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekwerenmadu.

“Those that are calling for his removal should realize the implication of their agitation, because it would mean that the South-East would be entirely excluded in the entire leadership structure of the National Assembly. This would not augur well for the unity of the country and the future stability of this nation,” Yakasai said.

Drawing from his experience as a parliamentarian in 1959, he cautioned, “that if an important block of the federation like the South-East is schemed out of the leadership of the National Assembly, it would not augur well for the unity and stability of the country”.

Yakasai noted that,“ President Muhammadu Buhari should realize that the South-East has  been compromised in the scheme of things at the National Assembly and therefore, it would help his administration to think of compensating the people when he comes to making his political appointments.”

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Imo Assembly to deliberate in Igbo http://sunnewsonline.com/new/imo-assembly-to-deliberate-in-igbo/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/imo-assembly-to-deliberate-in-igbo/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 01:01:43 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129882 Determined to protect, preserve and promote the Igbo language and culture, the Imo State House of Assembly is planning to set aside special days during which the business of lawmaking will be conducted strictly in Igbo. ]]>

By Henry Umahi

Determined to protect, preserve and promote the Igbo language and culture, the Imo State House of Assembly is planning to set aside special days during which the business of lawmaking will be conducted strictly in Igbo.

On such days, members stepping into the hallowed chambers will be required to dress in Igbo traditional attire only.

It was gathered that the new leadership of the House, led by Dr. Acho Ihim, was not only concerned about the seeming apathy towards intergenerational transmission of Igbo language, but also the negative influences of Western culture on Nigerian youths, particularly with regards to exposing sensitive parts of their body in the name of fashion, hence the Eight Assembly wants to lead by example.  The speaker also believed that communicating in the mother tongue would strengthen members’ ties and build a psychological oneness

“The members of the House are determined to revive the Igbo language and culture because they are aware of the fact that if you lose your language and culture, you have lost your identity.”

So, it will be a sort of reorientation of the people and cultural renaissance, “ disclosed a member who did not want his name in print.

Reacting to the development, Mr. Kris Odi, an Igbo language advocate, said: “I think it is a welcome development because it will serve as one of the ways to promote Igbo language. It will also enable those that are in the rural areas who are not literate enough to understand the basics of lawmaking and also bill passed and signed into law. It will also enable parents to begin to educate their children on the need to embrace Igbo language, citing the House of Assembly that deliberate in Igbo language as an example. And, ultimately, the effort will save the Igbo language from the threat of possible extinction.”

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Delta guber: Tribunal dismisses APC, O’tega’s motions for time extension http://sunnewsonline.com/new/delta-guber-tribunal-dismisses-apc-otegas-motions-for-time-extension/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/delta-guber-tribunal-dismisses-apc-otegas-motions-for-time-extension/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 00:57:00 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129880 A three-member panel of the Delta State governor- ship election petition tri- bunal, chaired by Justice Nasiru Gunmi, has thrown out another set of five mo- tions brought before it by All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governor- ship candidate, Olorungun O’tega Emerhor.]]>

From Emmanuel Ogoigbe, Warri

A three-member panel of the Delta State governor- ship election petition tri- bunal, chaired by Justice Nasiru Gunmi, has thrown out another set of five mo- tions brought before it by All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governor- ship candidate, Olorungun O’tega Emerhor.

Emerhor and the APC had sought the leave of the tribunal for extension of time to include additional information to their petition. The motion also sought the tribunal’s permis- sion to compel Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent Na- tional Electoral Commis- sion (INEC) to furnish the tribunal with more facts about the petition.

Counsel to the state Gov- ernor, Ifeanyi Okowa, Dr. Aliex Iziyon (SAN), op- posed the application after adopting his written ad- dress, and submitted that Section 45(1) of the Elec- toral Act was not a magic umbrella, adding that the Electoral Act forbade the tribunal from granting the application. He further argued that rules advanced by the petitioner were not tenable.

Counsel to PDP and INEC, A. T. Kehinde and Damian D. Dodo (SAN) respectively, also opposed the application, relying on Section 285(1) of the constitution of the coun- try and Section 134 of the Electorial Act.

They informed the tri- bunal that the combined effects of the two sections curtailed the powers of the tribunal to grant the exten- sion of time.

Chairman of the tribu- nal, Justice Nasiru Gunmi, in his ruling, said the ap- plication lacked merit be- cause it violated Section 17(1)(2) of the Electoral Act, saying Emerhor and APC failed to keep within the time limit of 10 days allowed to file their motion.

He, however, reserved tomorrow for ruling on the matter, whether to al- low the APC and O’tega to call for seven additional witnesses in the petition.

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Nigeria needs honest leaders to develop, says Ogun HoS http://sunnewsonline.com/new/nigeria-needs-honest-leaders-to-develop-says-ogun-hos/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/nigeria-needs-honest-leaders-to-develop-says-ogun-hos/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 00:43:16 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129878 Head of the Ogun State Civil Service, Mrs. Modupe Adekunle, has declared that Nigeria would remain under-developed if the leaders continue to be dishonest and disregard law and order.]]>

From Segun Olatunji, Abeokuta

Head of the Ogun State Civil Service, Mrs. Modupe Adekunle, has declared that Nigeria would remain under-developed if the leaders continue to be dishonest and disregard law and order.

Adekunle said this on Monday while delivering a lecture to mark the 39th founder’s day of the Egba Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Abeokuta.

The HoS who spoke on the theme: “Diligence in Labour and Fidelity in Relationships as Wheels of a Developing Nigeria,” noted that it had become imperative for religious and political leaders to re-examine their relationships with the people they lead. She noted that many of the leaders had lost virtues of diligence and fidelity in their dealings.

According to her: “Nigeria needs honest people, men and women who will be faithful to the commitment they have made to the organisations where they work and to their business partners and friends. The country needs men and women who will exhibit such faithfulness.”

Those are the people who will provide the wheels for the development of a modern Nigeria.”

“Nigeria’s socio-economic development can be better helped through a resuscitation of positive ethics and values such as diligence and fidelity.

“In affairs of considerable importance (marriage, business, faith, governance etc.), we need to deal with one another with fidelity, satisfaction of mind, mutual confidence, competent assurances of integrity and constancy of one another.Nothing is more noble and venerable than fidelity.”

Adekunle added that the leaders of any nation that wanted development must be persistent, hardworking and loyal to a good cause and to the nation.

She explained that the absence of these virtues had bred distrust between the led and the leaders.

“In governance, for example, there is issue of distrust between those in government and the citizenry, giving rise to apathy and acrimony such as restiveness, vandalism, kidnapping, bombing and complete disregard for law and order,” she said.  The HoS, however, noted that all hope was not lost on rebuilding the nation, stressing there was the need for sacrifice from all Nigerians, irrespective of political ideology, religion or educational height.

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APGA, PDP clash, at election petition tribunal http://sunnewsonline.com/new/apga-pdp-clash-at-election-petition-tribunal/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/apga-pdp-clash-at-election-petition-tribunal/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 00:16:53 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129868 The inspection of election materials used for the governorship election in Abia State by All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as loyalists clashed yesterday, inside the ]]>

FROM Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia

The inspection of election materials   used for the governorship election in Abia State by All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as loyalists clashed yesterday, inside the Election Petition Tribunal hall at the High Court premises, Umuahia, APGA members accused PDP of frustrating the exercise by applying delay tactics.

The loyalists of the two parties shouted, booed and harassed one another.

Trouble started when a camera man from a Lagos-based television station who was covering the exercise, was taken  away by security agents.

The cameraman, Chinedu, was accused of videoing the computer screen of the PDP forensic experts,  and the attention of a PDP lawyer was drawn. She immediately made a call and a Hilux load of mobile police-men landed at the tribunal ground and took Chinedu away to an unknown place, after collecting his camera.

An APGA representative, Mr  Michael Akpara told newsmen that the uproar started when they noticed that their opponents wanted to slow down the  exercise.

A member of PDP team, is a  forensic expert, declined to disclose his identity, told newsmen that the altercation ensued when the cameraman came into the hall and moved beyond his limits and started videoing the screen of his computer.

“He took a screen shot of the things we had produced and what we had inputted into the system, the output that was being done, he took the screen shot. That is forbidden , that is the whole essence of what I am here for. The screen shot can be taken to another person to analyze, the same screen shot, he can wirelessly move that particular shot even while he is here. I don’t know who he is working for he can do that wirelessly.  .  In other words, even when you say delete,  deleting anything does not actually delete the file. Forensically, that file is not deleted, it is somewhere else, he ought not to have done that and having done that , he has actually interfered with the job we are doing here. That was what brought the problem here, that was what I got involved into, that he went straight to my system”, and when he was asked of his identity, he quietly walked away.

When contacted on the matter, an aide of the Governor, Mr Enyinnaya Apollos  rebuked the unidentified security agents who whisked the Channels television cameraman away, stating that he was doing his lawful work. He said that the public should be informed about the exercise and that no security agent has any right to whisk him away for carrying out his lawful  duty.

Reacting on the matter, Nwankwo Ndionyenma, who led APGA team of inspectors expressed disappointment over what he described as calculated attempt by PDP, in connivance with INEC  to stall the inspection .

“We observed that all the ballot papers were mixed up in different boxes , rather than have each election material in one identifiable bag.

He said that representatives of PDP have been creating confusion in the process just to waste time and delay the process so that the exercise would not be completed.

He expressed surprise for the joint inspection as his client obtained a distinction order of the tribunal for this inspection, when PDP opposed the exercise vehemently. He wondered why PDP suddenly became interested alleging that the essence of their participation was to cause confusion and delay”.

As at the time of filing this report , the exercise was still going on at the tribunal ground. END

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PDP and crisis of relevance http://sunnewsonline.com/new/pdp-and-crisis-of-relevance/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/pdp-and-crisis-of-relevance/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 01:15:14 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129788 If recent events are anything to go by, it is evident that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is in dire need to establish its credentials as a formidable platform to ]]>

By Ifeanyi Mbakogu

If recent events are anything to go by, it is evident that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is in dire need to establish its credentials as a formidable platform to articulate alternative views on the governance of the country. Perhaps, it is more appropriate to say that the party had all along been faced with the challenge of reinventing itself. Had it been able to achieve some acceptable level of internal restructuring, under the leadership of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur or even Alhaji Adamu Muazu after him, it is possible, just possible, that it could have retained power at the federal level. What is not clear is whether retaining the presidency could have been achieved without nominating a northern candidate, a factor that not only polarised the party by culminated in the departure of some of its prized members.

The 2015 elections have come and gone. The PDP emerged from the election completely worsted. But for some token redemptive effort in Taraba State, the party, which had flaunted a 150-year uninterrupted rule as its birthright, failed so woefully in the North that visitors to Nigeria could pass it for a regional party. So, what should it do in the face of this dismal outing? What is left is for it to now undertake a radical internal restructuring that would guarantee its relevance in the opposition role that has been thrust upon it. However, the pertinent question remains whether the leaders of the party possess the sincerity to learn from their mistakes and the courage to chart a new course, no matter whose ox is gored. Besides, it remains to be seen if the party can wean itself of the trappings of power without which it could fail woefully in its role as the main opposition platform. Still on that, it is left to be seen how the PDP defines its opposition role, beyond engaging the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, a party that rode to power on the crest of a wellspring of popular support, in irritating sparring sessions as has often become the case.

In some sense, it is rather strange that, on a daily basis, the PDP is busy picking holes in President Muhammadu Buhari’s actions. Granted that the party’s opposition status confers a watchdog role on it, many would consider it rather impolitic and an affront to the electorate, that the man they gave their mandate is literally being hounded on a daily basis. I think that it is rather too early to engage a President who is yet to settle down into office in debilitating sparring sessions. To that extent, I will think that the PDP should rather concentrate on re-establishing an internal dynamic that boasts of the integrity and moral force to hold existing members, reintegrate estranged ones and enjoy the confidence of the electorate. Against the background of the protracted instability suffered by the party and the evident treachery clandestinely carried out by some of its leaders, PDP needs to install a party executive that has the clout, integrity, unquestioned loyalty, widespread acceptability, commitment and exposure to command the respect of both its members and members of the ruling party. In this regard, enthroning a formidable personality as national chairman, someone who commands widespread respect becomes a compelling success factor.

Without mincing words, how the party executive is reconstituted will determine whether or not it will command national recognition and relevance and by extension, its ability to function effectively as a formidable opposition platform. If the speculation that the party has scheduled a special congress for August 2015 is correct, it will afford it one great opportunity to reestablish its credential as an institution anchored on strong nationalist principles.

For now, it is only natural that party members from the North East will expect to be allowed to complete their term of the chairmanship. But there are speculations that some party leaders from the South East and South-South geopolitical zones could push for an arrangement that zones the chairmanship position of the party to these areas to compensate them for their performance at the governorship and national assembly elections.

While their position sounds logical, there is, at least, one exception to the rule. It could be helpful to recall that while the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) produced a governor from the North and none from the South, its chairman always came from the South. That way, it retained a semblance of being national, a perception that would have been lost if like APGA, it always produced its chairman form the South East zone. More fundamentally, the PDP cannot afford to descend from its erstwhile Olympian status as the biggest party in Africa to the nadir of becoming a regional champion.

What is left is to pick a national chairman who, by virtue of widespread acceptance, administrative experience and clout could be trusted to restore the lost glory of the party. The political mill is awash with speculations that Bala Mohammed, Kauran Bauchi and immediate past minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is being seriously considered for the position. Should that happen, the PDP would have taken a bold and honest step towards its redemption. But that depends on whether the cabal whose handling of party affairs had so alienated, as to frustrate loyal members out of the party, would be ready for the Bala Mohammed type of leadership. Bold, fearless and forthright, the erstwhile minister spares no punches in matters of equity, loyalty and justice.

Of course, at this critical watershed in its history, the PDP stands to benefit from Bala Mohammed’s credentials as a highly detribalised Nigerian whose reputation as a foremost bridge-builder has earned him accolades from and friendship across the length and breadth of the country. In this regard, the former minister can fall back on the formidable political capital he has acquired, over the years, as a top flight civil servant, a first rate legislator who always placed national interest above primordial considerations and a result-oriented and pragmatic administrator to whom, Abuja, as the federal capital, should symbolize the nation’s diversity and not a narrow geo-political expression.

Again, who becomes the chairman of PDP depends on what the party places a premium on at this point. If the goal, as appears apparent in the past few weeks, is to engage the Buhari Administration in hot exchanges that seem targeted at frustrating his administration, I will doubt that Bala Mohammed will fit the bill. Yet, we must ponder to question if, indeed, such an approach should that be the PDP’s immediate preoccupation in the aftermath of its disastrous electoral outing and internal crisis? I doubt not. For a party that performed woefully because it dropped victorious aspirants and fielded unpopular ‘candidates;’ for a party that lost its centre of gravity because loyal founders were hounded out like victims of infectious skin diseases; for a party where inter-regional suspicion spiraled out of control and eroded the slightest modicum of team spirit following disagreements over its presidential candidate, it is my considered opinion that its primary challenge lies in re-establishing an internal dynamic with strong enough intellectual content and organisational traction to shepherd the states controlled by it. The objective should be to achieve such performance levels that can become reference points or, at the least, compete with some of the APC states and Willy Obiano’s focused administration in Anambra State. If this is PDP’s point of departure, then Bala Mohammed would probably occupy a pre-eminent position in the race.

However, political observers will agree that the Kauran Bauchi may need to, first, reach much needed rapprochement with his kinsmen in the persons of two former governors of the state, Ahmed Muazu and Isa Yuguda, the former being the immediate past chairman of the PDP under whose watch, the party was routed by APC’s political machine. In spite of them, Bala’s greatest asset lies in his unquestionable loyalty to the party while maintaining very positive relationship with the top brass of other political parties, a quality that could be of strategic significance as the PDP grapples with its crisis of relevance.

• Mbakogu wrote in from Lagos.

 

 

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Aisha Buhari laments decline in elected female lawmakers http://sunnewsonline.com/new/aisha-buhari-laments-decline-in-elected-female-lawmakers/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/aisha-buhari-laments-decline-in-elected-female-lawmakers/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 00:27:45 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129751 Wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has expressed concern over decline in the number of female legislators in the 8th Assembly.]]>

Wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has expressed concern over decline in the number of female legislators in the 8th Assembly.

Aisha, who spoke on Sunday in Abuja at a reception organised by the committee of friends in honour of former Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, said for the nation to attain the 35 per cent affirmative action by 2019, men must encourage and support women to occupy key elective positions in the country.

“Supporting women to contest elective positions has become imperative as the number of female legislators have declined because some of them lost their seats during the last general elections. As the number of female legislators decline, we wish the men in Nigeria will support the women to attain the 35 per cent affirmative action in 2019,’’ she said.

Aisha, according to the News agency of Nigeria (NAN), specifically commended Chief Bola Tinubu, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), for the support given to his wife, Senator Oluremi, in winning a senatorial seat from Lagos.

She urged men, particularly those in politics, to emulate the former Lagos State governor by encouraging their wives to vie for elective positions in 2019. Aisha also commended Amaechi for his courageous roles that led to the victory of the APC in this year’s general elections.

She said Amaechi stood firmly by the party, showed commitment, courage and patriotism in ensuring that the country attained the positive change it was yearning for.

The wife of the president noted that as the director general of the APC campaign organisation, Amaechi showed ‘doggedness, toughness and steadfastness’.

Speaking at the event, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, described Amaechi as ‘a man of tremendous courage, who stood the wrongs in the PDP, even when he was a member of the party’.

He said Amaechi’s role in the last elections, stood out, and that accounted for why he was being celebrated.

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PDP crisis: Concerned elders intervene http://sunnewsonline.com/new/pdp-crisis-concerned-elders-intervene/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/pdp-crisis-concerned-elders-intervene/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 00:23:37 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129747 Embattled National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has opted for dialogue with aggrieved members of staff ]]>

•As NWC stays  away from Wadata Plaza

From Taiwo Amodu, Abuja

Embattled National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has opted for dialogue with aggrieved members of staff

The workers had, last Friday, at a press conference in Abuja, called for the dissolution of the Uche Secondus-led national leadership of the party.

Operating under the aegis of PDP Staff Welfare,they  accused the NWC of financial sleaze and indifference to their plight.

The PDP workers group expressed grave concern over a recent circular issued by the National Secretary of the party, Professor Wale Oladipo, terminating the appointment of a sizeable number of the workforce.

Checks by Daily Sun revealed that certain elders of the party had prevailed on the party’s national working committee to seek audience with the leadership of the aggrieved workers.

Further investigation revealed that certain  directors of the party held a meeting for several hours with the leadership of the workers welfare committee at the national secretariat, to address the workers’ demand.

The directive of the NWC to the workers, some of whom had worked for the party for 16 years, to go back to their respective state chapter chairmen for clearance letters, was one of the major grievances of the workers.

They had argued that none of the incumbent state chairmen of the party was in office, when they were engaged by the national secretariat several years ago.

A party source revealed that a follow-up meeting was expected to hold between the leadership of the aggrieved workers and the party’s national leadership at an undisclosed location in Abuja as members of the NWC had decided to stay away from Wadata Plaza, the party’s national secretariat, for fear of molestation by the workers.

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Tribunal reserves judgement in petition against Kashamu’s election
 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/tribunal-reserves-judgement-in-petition-against-kashamus-election%e2%80%a8/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/tribunal-reserves-judgement-in-petition-against-kashamus-election%e2%80%a8/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 00:06:54 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129739 National and State Houses of Assembly election petition tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital yesterday reserved judgement in the petition filed]]>

From Segun Olatunji, Abeokuta

National and State Houses of Assembly election petition tribunal sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital yesterday reserved judgement in the petition filed against the election of Prince Buruji Kashamu as senator representing Ogun East in the National Assembly.

Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 28 National Assembly election in Ogun East, Dapo Abiodun, filed the petition, claiming he was validly elected but denied victory.

At the resumed hearing yesterday, all the counsel in the matter adopted their final written addresses.

After listening to the counsel in the matter, Chairman of the three-member panel, Justice Ebiowei Tobi, said judgement date “will be communicated to counsel.”

Counsel to the petitioner, Yusuf Ali (SAN) argued that result sheets made available to agents at the polling units were different from the certified true copies brought before the court by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In his alternative prayer, Ali asked the tribunal to nullify Kashamu’s election on grounds that the senator was not qualified to contest the election because of the alleged drug-related cases against him.

“Our position is that we won the election but denied victory, and the tribunal should restore us to the victory path,” he said.

In his counter argument, counsel to Kashamu, Ajibola Oluyede (SAN), said the petition was brought based on documents produced by the petitioner himself, saying such documents were not admissible in law.

“The tribunals are not set up to second guess the electorate and I have observed the members of this tribunal are very mature and experienced judges and I am sure that they will do justice,” he said.

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PDP, APGA trade words over burnt INEC office in Aba http://sunnewsonline.com/new/pdp-apga-trade-words-over-burnt-inec-office-in-aba/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/pdp-apga-trade-words-over-burnt-inec-office-in-aba/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 00:05:26 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129737 All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate in the 2015 governorship election in Abia State, Dr Alex Otti, has alleged that the burning of Independent]]>

From Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia

All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate in the 2015 governorship election in Abia State, Dr Alex Otti, has alleged that the burning of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Obingwa Local Government Area of the state was an attempt by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in connivance with INEC officials, to destroy electoral materials he was to inspect.

Otti made the allegation in Umuahia through his Media Assistant, Mrs Jennifer Ben-Okereke, who said the incident further proved last week’s report that gunmen attacked his guesthouse in Abuja.

She described the act as criminal, barbaric and condemnable, alleging that it further proved to the world that PDP had no proof for the more than 82,000 votes it claimed to have polled in Obingwa during the election.

Ben-okereke said the attack, which claimed the life of a policeman on duty, was a clear case of an assassination attempt on Otti’s life.

She stated that the incident was not unconnected with the tribunal’s order that INEC should bring all the materials used for the governorship election to the tribunal ground for inspection by Otti yesterday, since they had allegedly frustrated his efforts to inspect them at the commission.

But in a swift reaction, the PDP Chairman, Chief Emma Nwaka, who addressed journalists in Umuahia, blamed APGA for taking over the functions of the police and other security agents.

He alleged that APGA members, whom he also accused of similar incident at the INEC office on Sunday, were responsible for the burning of INEC office in Isiala Ngwa during the elections.

He stated that APGA had thought that by burning down INEC office at Obingwa, the PDP candidate, who won the election there, would not get his certificate.

Nwaka said if there was a place where his party must win, it was Obingwa, adding that his party had no reason to set the place on fire.

He said the PDP was unhappy over what had happened, because Obongwa had been a stronghold of the party.

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As EFCC goes after daughter, Turai Yar’Adua runs to Obasanjo for help http://sunnewsonline.com/new/as-efcc-goes-after-daughter-turai-yaradua-runs-to-obasanjo-for-help/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/as-efcc-goes-after-daughter-turai-yaradua-runs-to-obasanjo-for-help/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 11:12:05 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129694 Former First Lady, Turai Yar’Adua, on Saturday visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, people familiar with the visit have told PREMIUM TIMES. Mrs. Yar’Adua, reportedly accompanied to the former president’s residence by businessman Kenny Martins, met privately with Mr. Obasanjo for more than an hour before departing [...]]]>

Former First Lady, Turai Yar’Adua, on Saturday visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, people familiar with the visit have told PREMIUM TIMES.

Mrs. Yar’Adua, reportedly accompanied to the former president’s residence by businessman Kenny Martins, met privately with Mr. Obasanjo for more than an hour before departing in a convoy of three cars, our sources said.

It is the former First Lady’s visit to Mr. Obasanjo since her husband died in office in 2010 after prolonged illness.

Those close to her said during the visit, she thanked the former President for finding her late husband a worthy successor, and pleaded with him to forgive her and her family for whatever wrong was done to him (Obasanjo) during Mr. Yar’Adua’s tenure.

Mr. Obasanjo, who helped the late president to power in 2007, had grown critical of the former President’s immediate family and associates who he accused of mounting a “cloak and dagger operation” to conceal Mr. Yar’Adua’s health status and block his then deputy (Goodluck Jonathan), from assuming power.

Our sources said Mrs. Yar’Adua also pleaded with Mr. Obasanjo to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari not to harass or victimize her family members or those who worked with her husband.

“She specifically intimated the former President of the ongoing probe of one of her daughters, Zainab, by the EFCC. She believed it is a witch-hunt, a ploy by the Buhari government to get at her family,” one of our sources said.

An aide of Mr. Obasanjo confirmed the visit.

“It is true that she visited on Saturday,” the aide said. “I don’t know exactly what she discussed with Baba (Obasanjo). But I think it is safe to say she came to greet him and discuss issues relevant to the two families.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had on July 22 summoned Zainab, wife of former Kebbi State Governor, Saidu Dakingari, over alleged N2billion fraud perpetrated during her husband’s tenure as governor of the Northwest State.

Mrs. Dakingari was initially expected to report for questioning at the EFCC headquarters on July 22.

However, she was given another appointment for July 27 after she sent words that she was away to Saudi Arabia for Umrah (lesser hajj).

When she appeared that July 27, investigators said she was granted administrative bail on health grounds and asked to return on a future date.

(PREMIUM TIMES)

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Ugwuanyi inaugurates Economic Advisory Committee http://sunnewsonline.com/new/ugwuanyi-inaugurates-economic-advisory-committee/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/ugwuanyi-inaugurates-economic-advisory-committee/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 00:09:39 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129678 GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State at the weekend inaugurated a 15-member State Economic Advisory Committee with a charge to members to ensure the success of all the state`s economic survival strategies and development of a template for tackling current and future economic challenges in the state. Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; former Minister [...]]]>

GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State at the weekend inaugurated a 15-member State Economic Advisory Committee with a charge to members to ensure the success of all the state`s economic survival strategies and development of a template for tackling current and future economic challenges in the state.

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; former Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji; Chief Chilo Offia; former aviation minister, Amb. Fidelia Njeze were among the prominent members of the advisory committee present at the Executive Council Chambers in the Government House, Enugu during the event.

The committee with Vicar-General of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, Professor Obiora Ike as chairman, was mandated to promote balanced and sustainable economic growth and engender adequate employment for the people of the state.

The team was also asked to promote a system of fair income distribution among various income groups, attract local and foreign investments to the state and mobilise funds to increase internally generated revenue(IGR) with the establishment of industries in the state.

Governor Ugwuanyi, in a speech during the inauguration said the economic future of the state was squarely placed on the shoulders of the committee members.

He reiterated his pledge to restructure, re-engineer and reinvigorate the state economy as a matter of priority.

He added that on assumption of office, records made available to him, confirmed the gravity of economic challenges confronting the state.

He attributed the challenges to negative developments in the oil sector and consequential drop in allocation from the Federation Account and paucity of the state’s IGR.

“This informed our decision to constitute the committee and entrust it with the task of helping to reposition and reinvigorate the economy of the state,” he said.

The governor enjoined all well-meaning Enugu people both at home and in the diaspora to approach the committee with advice,information or any assistance that would help facilitate its work.

The chairman of the committee, Professor Ike, thanked the governor for finding them worthy to serve.

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PDP leadership should resign –Ex-PPA chief http://sunnewsonline.com/new/pdp-leadership-should-resign-ex-ppa-chief/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/pdp-leadership-should-resign-ex-ppa-chief/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 00:08:22 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129676 FORMER National Chairman of the Progres­sive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Chief Sam Nkire, has said the best thing for the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was to resign. Chief Nkire said in Abuja that after suffering such a humiliating defeat after 16 years in power, the PDP leadership ought to give way for reor­ganization, [...]]]>

FORMER National Chairman of the Progres­sive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Chief Sam Nkire, has said the best thing for the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was to resign.

Chief Nkire said in Abuja that after suffering such a humiliating defeat after 16 years in power, the PDP leadership ought to give way for reor­ganization, under normal circumstances. Nkire, who hails from Abia State, expressed surprise at the stubborness of members of the PDP Na­tional Working Committee (NWC) who should ordinarily apologize to the party and the nation before throwing in the towel.

Chief Nkire, who is now a member of the Board of Trustees of the All Progressives Con­gress (APC), advised the PDP leadership and members to do the right thing and stop giving politicians the bad name they don’t deserve.

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Cabinet: Avoid bias, bishop advises Buhari http://sunnewsonline.com/new/cabinet-avoid-bias-bishop-advises-buhari/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/cabinet-avoid-bias-bishop-advises-buhari/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 00:07:10 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129674 From Tony John, Port Harcourt PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has been advised to appoint a cabi­net based on merit and avoid lop-sidedness. The advice was given at the week­end by Rt. Rev. Innocent Ordu, Bish­op of the Diocese of Evo, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), while delivering his presidential address/bishop’s charge at the third session of [...]]]>

From Tony John, Port Harcourt

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has been advised to appoint a cabi­net based on merit and avoid lop-sidedness.

The advice was given at the week­end by Rt. Rev. Innocent Ordu, Bish­op of the Diocese of Evo, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), while delivering his presidential address/bishop’s charge at the third session of the second synod in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Bishop Ordu, who spoke on the theme, “Recapturing the spirit of excellence and integrity in service: The Daniel’s example”, urged the President to respect the principle of federal character in constituting his cabinet. “We urge the President to avoid lop-sidedness in his appoint­ments and respect the principle of federal character. Ethnic, regional or religious biases must be avoided. Merit, competence and even-spread of positions should be considered first and foremost.

“Every Nigerian and groups are constitutionally at liberty to vote for any person or political party of their choice, even if that person or party ends up losing at the polls.

“That preference by an individual, ethnic groups or geo-political zones should not make them suffer mar­ginalisation in the distribution of po­litical offices and other dividends of democracy to the various sections of the country”, he said.

The cleric noted that Nigeria be­longs to all, adding that people of the South-East and South-South, did not commit any crime against the country by their voting pattern in this year’s general elections. “They must not be made to stand by and helplessly watch other parts of the country scramble for key positions just because they voted differently. Once again, we say Nigeria belongs to all of us and so key offices must be equitably distributed”, he added.

Bishop 0rdu described the leader­ship crisis at the National Assembly as embarrassing and deplorable. Ac­cording to him, the lawmakers were “shamefully soaked in the battle for who occupies what office in the Na­tional Assembly”, instead of focus­ing on the legislative and oversight functions.

The Anglican Bishop accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership for the crisis because of their desperation. He said the law­makers “appear visibly to under­mine the independence of the second arm of government by insisting that certain key offices be occupied by some already anointed members of both Houses.

“This, in our opinion, is totally wrong and will not make for the healthy growth of our young demo­cratic process”, he said.

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Tambuwal pledges to assist Nigerian Army http://sunnewsonline.com/new/tambuwal-pledges-to-assist-nigerian-army/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/tambuwal-pledges-to-assist-nigerian-army/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 00:05:09 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129670 GOVERNOR Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has pledged that his administration will provide crit­ical infrastructure for the Nigerian Army and assist its officers to enable them carry out their mandate. This is contained in a statement signed by his Se­nior Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Imam Imam, in Sokoto yesterday. The statement stated [...]]]>

GOVERNOR Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has pledged that his administration will provide crit­ical infrastructure for the Nigerian Army and assist its officers to enable them carry out their mandate.

This is contained in a statement signed by his Se­nior Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Imam Imam, in Sokoto yesterday.

The statement stated that Tambuwal made the promise on Saturday in Sokoto when he visited the Command Headquarters of 1 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Sokoto. It stated that the governor said the state government would continue to accord the wel­fare and wellbeing of men and officers of all security agencies in the state top priority.

“Tambuwal said that Sokoto State had benefited immensely from the activities of the Brigade Com­mand in various ways.

“The state government and the army authorities will soon sign a Memorandum Of Understanding to expand the activities of the command’s skills acqui­sition centre to include youths and women from all parts of the state.’’

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CSO blasts Buhari over plans to stop ministers from contract award http://sunnewsonline.com/new/cso-blasts-buhari-over-plans-to-stop-ministers-from-contract-award/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/cso-blasts-buhari-over-plans-to-stop-ministers-from-contract-award/#comments Sun, 02 Aug 2015 23:43:31 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129642 FROM FRED ITUA, ABUJA A Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Organising Greater Nigeria, has maintained that President Mu­hammadu Buhari does not posses the power to stop ministers from being involved in the award of con­tracts at the various ministries and government agen­cies under their watch. It pointed out that although the ministers were not the awarding [...]]]>

FROM FRED ITUA, ABUJA

A Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Organising Greater Nigeria, has maintained that President Mu­hammadu Buhari does not posses the power to stop ministers from being involved in the award of con­tracts at the various ministries and government agen­cies under their watch.

It pointed out that although the ministers were not the awarding entities, they were, however, an integral part of the process under the law. The CSO was re­sponding to a statement credited to President Buhari that as part of his anti-corruption campaign, ministers would no longer be involved in the process of contract awards unlike what obtained in the past.

Executive director of the group, Mr. Nuhu Aliyu, noted that doing so would be a violation of the Public Procurement Act of 2007, which vested the power of awarding contracts on ministers.

Aliyu said: “We note with concern, a recent state­ment by President Buhari to the effect that ministers will no longer award contracts, without a comprehen­sive policy explanation on how he intends to award contracts to conform with the tenets of the law. We are worried that the President may be taking us back to pre-1984 where contracts were awarded at the discre­tion of the ‘Head of State’.

“The President may note that under the democratic dispensation and since coming to effect of the Due Process Act of 2007, no minister awards any contract, and certainly not even under the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan, but by due process of the law.”

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INEC office in Abia burnt down http://sunnewsonline.com/new/inec-office-in-abia-burnt-down/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/inec-office-in-abia-burnt-down/#comments Sun, 02 Aug 2015 19:16:58 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129598 From: OKEY SAMPSON, Aba The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Obingwa local government area of Abia state was Sunday afternoon burnt down by unidentified persons. According to reports, the incident which occurred at about 1.00pm yesterday razed the entire building including the store and Electoral Officer’s office. A resident of the [...]]]>

From: OKEY SAMPSON, Aba

The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Obingwa local government area of Abia state was Sunday afternoon burnt down by unidentified persons.

According to reports, the incident which occurred at about 1.00pm yesterday razed the entire building including the store and Electoral Officer’s office.

A resident of the staff quarters at the council headquarters at Mgboko where the INEC office were located, who declined to have his name on print told Daily Sun that they saw thick smoke emanating from the INEC office.

“We came back from church and saw a thick smoke around the INEC office. Before we could know what to do, security men had cordoned off the area. The fire nearly spread to the Education and Social Development buildings before it was put off but by then everything had been burnt.”

When our correspondent visited the council headquarters at about 5.15pm, security agents were manning the area, even as people moved in to see the extent of damage.

As at the time of filing this report, it was not yet clear if electoral materials were burnt in the inferno.

Recall that electoral results from Obingwa LGA are among the areas being contested by the parties at the Election Petition Tribunal.

There are however fears that sensitive materials used in the conduct of 2015 general elections including the ones used for the governorship elections may have been engulfed by the fire.

Enabor Godwin, Abia INEC Public Relations Officer when contacted by newsmen on his mobile phone said he was not aware of the incident.

Abia State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ezekiel Onyeke, who confirmed the incident, added that the cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained.

END

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I defeated Umeh squarely – Senator Ekwunife http://sunnewsonline.com/new/i-defeated-umeh-squarely-senator-ekwunife/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/i-defeated-umeh-squarely-senator-ekwunife/#comments Sun, 02 Aug 2015 00:18:13 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129573 FROM EMMANUEL UZOR, ABAKALIKI Senator Uche Ekwunife representing Anam­bra Central Senatorial zone has raised the alarm over what she called un­guarded statements of her closest rival in the March 28 National Assembly election, Chief Victor Umeh of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. Ekwunife in her statement made available to newsmen yesterday expressed concern over [...]]]>

FROM EMMANUEL UZOR, ABAKALIKI

Senator Uche Ekwunife representing Anam­bra Central Senatorial zone has raised the alarm over what she called un­guarded statements of her closest rival in the March 28 National Assembly election, Chief Victor Umeh of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.

Ekwunife in her statement made available to newsmen yesterday expressed concern over the continued utterances of Chief Umeh over the out­come of the election which is pending before the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, Anambra state.

“My attention has been drawn to various interviews granted by Chief Victor Umeh, my opponent in the just con­cluded Anambra Central Sena­torial District Election in which I emerged victorious defeating him clearly, fairly and squarely. Being dissatisfied and dis­gruntled, he filed a Petition at the National Assembly Elec­tion Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka challenging my victory and return as the winner. Hear­ing in the said Petition has duly commenced and is ongoing and sub judiced”

“Rather than await the out­come of the Petition, Chief Victor Umeh in his loquacious manner has been granting press interviews and publications claiming victory and distorting the facts of the happenings at the tribunal with the sole aim of deceiving the general public and particularly demoralizing my supporters and constituents who worked so hard and tire­lessly to elect me as their repre­sentative in the Senate”

Senator Ekwunife further disclosed that Chief Umeh through his press interviews and publications have been trying to intimidate the judges and distort the facts before the tribunal, adding “it is however necessary to put the records straight. Chief Victor Umeh in his Petition admitted in clear and unequivocal terms that the election in all the Polling units for the Anambra Central Senatorial District held on 28th March, 2015 was free and fair and that he has all the EC8A(i) results for all the Polling Units which he tendered as exhibits without objection from my lawyers”

“However, from Chief Vic­tor Umeh’s own calculations and computation of the Polling Unit scores in his Petition, I defeated him with 7,962 votes margin. His own witnesses in the tribunal, under the fire of cross examination from my team of lawyers equally agreed that the election was free and fair and that I won the election from the Polling Unit Results notwithstanding input errors during collation”

“His “expert” witness whom he hired to manipulate figures in order to confuse the tribunal crumbled and admit­ted under very intense and rigorous cross examination that he is not an expert in elec­tion matters and that his reports and calculations therein upon which his petition rests were acutely inaccurate and mani­festly unreliable. This has vir­tually ended his Petition and put paid to all his lies and fab­rications about the goings on in the tribunal.”

 

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Confab recommendation not binding on Buhari –Waku http://sunnewsonline.com/new/confab-recommendation-not-binding-on-buhari-waku/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/confab-recommendation-not-binding-on-buhari-waku/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 23:55:37 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129534 BY OMONIYI SALAUDEEN The fear that President Muhammadu Buhari may dump the recommendation of the last confab put together by former President Goodluck Jonathan has sparked off a wave of reactions from among concerned stakeholders. In this interview, a notable member of the Arewa Consultative Forum, (ACF) Senator Joseph Waku, dismisses the report as an [...]]]>

BY OMONIYI SALAUDEEN

The fear that President Muhammadu Buhari may dump the recommendation of the last confab put together by former President Goodluck Jonathan has sparked off a wave of reactions from among concerned stakeholders. In this interview, a notable member of the Arewa Consultative Forum, (ACF) Senator Joseph Waku, dismisses the report as an illegality and, therefore, not binding of the new administration. He also speaks on the litigation battle over the Benue State governorship contest, warning that APC may lose the state to the PDP. Excerpts:

How would you react to the media report that President Muhammadu Buhari may dump the recommendation of the confab put together by his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan?

In the first place, the confab was an illegality. Agreed, the President has the right to assemble his friends and give them launch. But if I were President Buhari, I will question from which account he (former President Goodluck Jonathan) put these Nigerians together because it was an illegality using tax payers’ money for that kind of jamboree. The confab was not constitutionally approved, but Jonathan went ahead to create two parliaments in one country at a time, which was uncalled for. Of course, the law permits him to assemble his friends and give them dinner, but the law does not permit him to use tax payers’ money to entertain them. So, it was a diversionary mechanism to keep Nigerians busy, while using their money against them. The present government has the right to reject that advice. Buhari doesn’t need the advice. The law is very clear on that. So, I thank Mr. President for ignoring the advice of some selfish individuals. The advice Jonathan needed was for him alone and not for the nation.

But this is not the first time Nigeria would organise such conference.

(Cuts in)….Which other one do you have?

That of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo, of course. You recall that he also organized a similar Political Reform Conference to restructure Nigeria. That was most irresponsible because Obasanjo wanted to use it to divide this country. He also used it to witch hunt. Besides, it was unconstitutional. Did you see any implementation after the gathering of his friends?

But do you believe in the need for restructuring of the present federal structure?

If you need to restructure, you make your request to the parliament to debate. You have the right to make suggestion on how this country should run. There is a system in place to do that. The National Assembly is there; forward your proposal to the lawmakers on how you want the law to be made. You have to bear in mind that at the end of the day the National Assembly must adopt it as a form of law. So, why don’t you go straight when you have direct route to the parliament? You can even raise a private bill and forward it to the constitution amendment committee.

A prominent member of the conference said the reason Buhari may not be able to implement the recommendation is because the North is the beneficiary of the imbalance in the federal structure. What is your reaction to that?

I don’t know about that. He has to explain how imbalance the structure is. You see, you cannot stop people from holding their personal opinion.

Part of his argument is that the present arrangement gives more local governments and states to the North as against the South.

Are you, therefore, considering reducing local governments and the states in the North? Why is he not talking of equality? Local government creation is based on population. Is he, therefore, insinuating that the population in the North is overemphasized?

That is part of his insinuation. In actual fact, he is suggesting that the arrangement gives more resources to the North as against the South and therefore there is a need for restructuring.

Where did he conduct his census that gave him accurate figure? Was it Buhari who did that?

He said the military leaders who were largely from the North were responsible for the imbalance and that because Buhari is from the region, he does not have the courage and commitment to implement the recommendation to address the imbalance. Buhari is just two months in office and the confab ended long before he became the president. Why didn’t Jonathan implement the recommendation before he left office? He couldn’t implement it because he knew he was just playing on the intelligence of Nigerians by bringing those delegates together. I think we have more serious issues to talk about in this country than this confab thing. Did he give us the yardstick of how the local government will be reduced?

He is proposing regional system.

I will prefer parliamentary system myself because of cost saving. But I am too old in this country to take someone’s myopic idea he is trying to promote.

Since Jonathan handed over the recommendation to the new government, don’t you think the president owns this nation a duty or responsibility to look at the document?

He should wait for Buhari to study that recommendation to see whether it is worth it or is not worth it. Not all the aspects of the recommendation will be totally useless. He should wait. Why is he putting the cat before the horse? Why is he not talking about corruption and the insurgent Buhari is waging war against? These are the things this country needs now immediately.

In your view what is the significance of Buhari’s visit to the US to the Nigerian economy?

I have not been able to sit down and analyse his visit, but from what I have read and seen on the screen, I discover that it is one of the most important visits Nigeria has ever had. First, American government has agreed to support the effort of Nigeria in fighting the insurgent and I think that is a good move. They have also agreed, including some other friendly countries, that Nigeria’s money that has been stolen should be repatriated. That again is a good move. The President also addressed American commerce and business communities as well as the Nigerians in diaspora who might have had negative feeling about this country and they now know that there is a leader who wants to move this country forward. He went further to say that he has no friend to shield in terms of corruption. America went further to suggest that he must engage technocrats to run the economy so that the issue of corruption can be dealt with. I think this is a wonderful meaningful trip that we should all congratulate the president for.

What is your reaction to the crisis in the National Assembly?

The best thing that has happened to this country is that election that brought about the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President. That is the dividend of change Nigerians are yearning for. Saraki has bailed out the APC that is now talking about party supremacy from the mould of ridicule and disgrace. If Saraki had not shown up at the National Assembly at the time of the inauguration, APC would have been ridiculed and disgraced. The President and Commander –In- Chief of the Armed Forces gave a directive to the Clerk of the National Assembly to supervise the inauguration of the National Assembly on June 9. Any responsible member of APC who also wanted to become a principal officer of the National Assembly would have been in that place at that time. Saraki honoured the directive of Mr President by being at the venue at the time, while some people decided to ignore the president’s directive. Now, APC in its primitive response is talking of party supremacy. Is it not the people who refused to be at the venue of inauguration that the party should be looking at the way of sanctioning? If Saraki and his APC loyalists had refused to be at that chamber, the PDP would have conducted the business of the day, elected themselves as President and Deputy President of that parliament and nothing would have happened under the law of this country. The constitution does not say that the ruling party or the majority party should elect among themselves the leaders of the National Assembly. Rather, it says the members of National Assembly should elect Senate President, Deputy Senate President and other principal officers from among themselves. What it is needed to form a quorum out of 109 members is just 36 and the PDP had 49. The PDP would have elected themselves as Senate President and Deputy Senate President and nothing would have happened. So, the days of impunity and arrogance of power have gone. Nigeria is desirous of change and that is the wind of change. Saraki saved APC from total embarrassment. He should be honoured by APC, if they have any award of credible performance. If not for irresponsible act of other members, they have no business being where they were on that day of inauguration. All meetings should have ended on the eve of inauguration. They should have respected the constitution and the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari. For me, anti-Saraki lawmakers are saboteurs.

What is your latest position on the Benue State governorship contest?

Here again, we have seen another serious form of impunity and we are still in court. If the decision of the court comes before the PDP’s, APC will retain the seat. If the PDP’s case comes before ours, we may lose the battle and then our effort will be an exercise in futility. Therefore, APC will lose Benue State. There was no primary for the governorship contest of Benue State that is why we went to court. And not only that we went to court, we also made a case before the national secretariat of our party to change the decision of one man who imposed a person who was not a member of our party and who lost an election in another party which followed a due process. The case will continue because it has gone beyond an individual.

It’s like you people are taking a gamble here.

Which gamble?

It is a dicey situation. Isn’t it?

It is not about me, it is about APC. It is because of corruption in the national secretariat of the APC that we are taking this risk. Until December 9, 2014, the so-called candidate of APC in Benue State, Samuel Ortom, was a member of PDP. On the same 9, he said he joined the APC.

On the same 9, he wrote a letter for a waiver and got the letter of waiver that same day. On the same 9, he wrote a letter to the police and the INEC for the primary. Thereafter, he bought a form on December 11, which was the day of the primary. Where did he get the mandatory approval to contest the election when the sale of form and the screening of candidates had already closed? We are fighting against impunity and injustice.

We are in court to protect the integrity of the APC in Benue State. But if the leaders believe in the immediate benefit and are ready to sacrifice the future of the party in the state and the good governance so be it. But I can assure you, as long as I am still alive, I will fight against impunity and injustices. And no man born of a woman or a man will sack me from APC. Rather, I will sack that person who wants to subvert the rules of our party. The waiver Ortom claims he got from the national secretariat can only be recommended by the National Working Committee (NWC) and approved by the National Executive Committee (NEC). And, of course, you are aware that the NEC met for the first time after the National Assembly election.

So, where did they get the approval?

We are here to protect and defend the rules of our party and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Why PDP’ll never rule Lagos – Lanre Odubote ex-Rep http://sunnewsonline.com/new/why-pdpll-never-rule-lagos-lanre-odubote-ex-rep/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/why-pdpll-never-rule-lagos-lanre-odubote-ex-rep/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 23:54:36 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=129529 BY CHIDI OBINECHE Hon Lanre Odubote represented Epe Federal Constituency in the 7th Assem­bly. A stalwart of the All Progressives Congress, APC he speaks on Lagos politics, the crisis in the National Assembly, among other topical national issues. Excerpts. You have been in the thick of Lagos politics; I would like you to share some [...]]]>

BY CHIDI OBINECHE

Hon Lanre Odubote represented Epe Federal Constituency in the 7th Assem­bly. A stalwart of the All Progressives Congress, APC he speaks on Lagos politics, the crisis in the National Assembly, among other topical national issues.

Excerpts.

You have been in the thick of Lagos politics; I would like you to share some of your experiences on the emergence of key leaders in the state in the last 16 years?

Yeah. My name again is Honourable Lanre Odubote., former member of the Federal House of Representatives. I represented Epe Federal Constituency in the 7th Assembly. I have been in the political arena for a long time now. I started my political career sometime in 1991 when I was a delegate to the SDP (Social Democratic Party) first national convention. Later I emerged as the candidate of the SDP to the Lagos state House of Assembly rep­resenting Epe 11 constituency. But unfortu­nately, because of the crisis in SDP, I was de­nied representing them. But then, I remained in the game. Later I became the Chief Press secretary to the speaker of the Lagos state House of Assembly for 8 years. I served Hon Ikufuriji, and his predecessor, Hon Jokotola Pelumi. On the politics of Lagos state, I thank God, that I am one of those disciples of Alhaji Lateef Jakande. I should be able to know the dramatis personae in Lagos politics. I was in SDP, and now with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Later we formed Alliance for De­mocracy, AD about 16 years ago. We won ev­erywhere in Lagos state, except two or three places in Epe and a few places in Ibeju Lekki. And since then, the party has been in control. It transformed from AD to Action Congress, AC , and the to Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and from ACN to this our merger with other parties to form APC(All Progressives Congress) So, all the key dramatis personae have been there from Asiwaju Tinubu to people like Olorunfunmi Bashorun, Sena­tor Adefuye, Senator Ogunlewe. These are our key leaders who have been around for years. But right now, with the formati0on of APC, the party is properly positioned to be able to disseminate and sustain the laudable programmes of the progressives for the bet­terment of lagosians.

There is this general perception that Lagos state has been in the firm grip of one man. Why do you think it is so?

It has to be so, because you are talking about ideology. If people of different ideolo­gies are not together, automatically it will be very, very difficult for them to associate with the leadership of a progressive minded per­son like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who can calculate, who will see beyond whatever others have not seen. Immediately he came in as a governor in 1999, before the distor­tion in the party formation, he was able to position the party, and there was nobody to challenge him in the delivery of goodies to lagosians. From Ad, he was able to form ACN. He has been the de- facto leader of the Party. He was the one that nurtured the idea that Lagos state deserves more local govern­ments. He was able to propose a bill to the La­gos state House of Assembly as the governor on this, thereby bringing governance to the grassroots. Where some local governments were supposed to be three, they were given more local governments. Like in my Epe Lo­cal Government Area, we used to have Epe central. But he saw reason in bringing gover­nance to the grassroots, and created addition­al two. We now have Ikosi and Eredo Local Council Development Areas. He is a much focused leader. Those who did not see with him left the party, but most of them are now coming back. Go and find out, you will see that those that left him are now back in the fold. I don’t want to mention names, but we are very much aware of that. We have passed that stage. Asiwaju has been the strength and steadying force behind the party all through the years in the state and now up to the na­tional level. We call him national leader.

For 16 unbroken years, your group has ruled Lagos state. PDP is now desperate and strategizing to snatch it from you. Do you think the APC can withstand the pressures? How long more do you think APC can rule Lagos state?

We always rode over them easily, except in the last elections. They really gave us a very tough challenge in the last elections. We have learnt our lessons from that. I think in the next election, all those strategies they are trying to put up, we must be able to checkmate them. You see, you are talking about Lagos politics, it is a progressive state. The foundation had been laid down since the Jakande era, and the thing now metamorphosed into a strong polit­ical force during the SDP days. A lot of those in PDP today were part of the SDP, in a group called PRIMROSE. You will find PRIMROSE people both in APC and PDP. So we know ourselves. In as much as we know ourselves, there is no way you will defeat those who are in the majority. The majority in PRIMROSE now are in APC. They left AD for ACN and now are in APC. The remaining ones in PDP lack what it takes to confront APC. They don’t have the crowd .But the development has cre­ated more opportunities for people. In my Lo­cal Government, there are more councilors, more political opportunities, more appoint­ments. We are talking about crowd. Where is the crowd that PDP wants to rely on? They don’t have crowd. That is why they continue to lose elections. But in as much as we have a visionary leader like Asiwaju still living, it will be very, very difficult to take the government of Lagos away from the progressive minded people, like the one we are having now. I can assure you, let them go back and restrategize as much as they can, they cannot get far. It is very unfortunate for them that the lost the national elections. Who is going to support them? Who is going to give them the lead.?

So, you will rule forever?

We are not saying that we will rule forever. You see, politics itself is dynamic. Dynamism will come to play. But I can assure you that in as much as we have discipline, and we be­lieve in party supremacy, there is no way we can fail.PDP is a party that is very disorga­nized, even right from the ward level.

Let us go to the national level. A lot of crises is playing out there now, especially in both chambers of the National Assembly. How long more do you think it can con­tinue? How do you see the whole thing playing out?

First and foremost, let me correct that im­pression. Nobody wants Dogara removed. The party has already accepted the elections in the House of Representatives .But what they are saying has to do with the party’s statutory leadership. You can’t be in PDP and want to be a leader of APC. It is not possible. It is the party that will elect their own leader or leaders. So what they are fighting for is the leader of APC, not minority leader, but major­ity leader in the parliament. If the party can­not have a say in the election of the Speaker of the House, they must have a say in who leads the party in the parliament. There must be somebody to project the party positions, even the government positions because we are the one in charge of government. It is not for PDP to come and determine our leader. The people that voted for Dogara are PDP. If somebody was the minority leader and that minority party has become the majority, natu­rally the minority leader should transform to become the majority leader. This is common sense. What is playing out is the problem of PDP who wants to come into government through the back door. They lost the election. They don’t believe in CHANGE. That is why you find them trying to lord themselves over everybody and taking Nigerians to ransom. So as far as I am concerned, as time goes on, everything will fizzle out naturally. But I be­lieve that the party is in control, and they will be able to take care of the entire situation.

Let us look at the senate. Do you be­lieve that in due time, Saraki and Ekwer­emadu will be removed?

I am not advocating that they should be removed. What we are saying is that they should go through due process. One, was the election conducted based on the rules of the House? If that election was not conducted based on the rules of the House, then they should revert to the rules of the House. But there must be rules, because democracy is associated with rules and the constitution .If the constitution has already spelt out how the National Assembly is going to be governed which is stipulated in the constitution, then there is a question mark on it and our demo­cratic culture .Nobody should go out and do something against the rules of democratic practice. If the police find anybody guilty of tampering with the rules of the House, then the law should take its course .But as things stand now, let them prove it. Let the police finish their work, and let us see if they re­ally distorted the rules. What I know is that before any step on amendment of rules is ef­fected, it has to be debated on the floor of the House. The rule says that for you to come to the parliament, there must be an election, and then you must be inaugurated .It is only when you have been inaugurated that you can now change the rules you are talking of. And I doubt if they had changed the rules before they were inaugurated.

With the benefit of hindsight what do you consider as the best solution to this impasse in the National Assembly?

The best solution is for our own party led by President Buhari himself to come out openly in the interest of democracy to call a spade a spade. If you are elected based on party structure, let the party supremacy come into effect. A situation where people disre­gard party directives, want to appoint a leader that is not nominated by the party is wrong. So let him come out openly and identify with the party, then we can be talking about leader­ship. A situation whereby the president is not coming out categorically and enforcing party directives, by telling them point blank to go back and do the right thing will not augur well for the future of the party .The party needs to be disciplined. You don’t just bring anybody to the House without the party calling the shots. In Yoruba land where I am from, the head of the family is the father, and the father will call the shots anytime. So Buhari should be able to tell them the right thing to do. Ni­gerians should understand that Nigeria is growing politically and we should expect this type of disagreement associated with demo­cratic practices. We are from different back­grounds. We are talking about over 300 ethnic groups in the country who are represented in the parliament. All of them would like to pro­tect their interests. But the common interest of the nation is of utmost importance here. That’s why the President as the leader of the CHANGE should enforce that CHANGE right now.

How do you see the government of President Muhammadu Buhari?

Between me and you there are changes. You are in my house now. If it were two or three months ago, you would have been hear­ing the sound of my power generator. We are now having stable power supply. Out of 24 hours of the day, we are having about 20 hours uninterrupted power supply. That is the hope that the industries will bounce back, and the jobless youths will be employed. The Okada riders will go back to their workshops. When people are properly engaged, the rate of crime will drop. It is only when people don’t have anything doing that the devil takes possession of their minds to commit crime. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. As far as I am concerned the leadership of Buhari is a blessing at this time in Nigeria.

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