The Sun News » Politics http://sunnewsonline.com/new - Voice of The Nation Sat, 05 Sep 2015 00:24:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.7 Buhari and the burden of 100 days in office http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buhari-and-the-burden-of-100-days-in-office/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buhari-and-the-burden-of-100-days-in-office/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 23:56:24 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133962 By JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE When a new government takes over at any level, expectations are always very high. Citizens expect that miracles should begin to happen the very first day of the new administration. That was what brought about the culture of first 100 days in office. What has become as a status symbol, is now being used [...]]]>

By JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE

When a new government takes over at any level, expectations are always very high. Citizens expect that miracles should begin to happen the very first day of the new administration. That was what brought about the culture of first 100 days in office. What has become as a status symbol, is now being used to assess the new administration. Handlers of the new government also use such avenue to showcase  the achievements of the administration, be it at the federal or state levels.
When President Muhammadu Buhari hinted during his first encounter with State House correspondents on resumption at the Presidential Villa, that the culture of first 100 days in office has put him and his administration under pressure, he must have underestimated the expectations.
But one is tempted to believe that with his cult-like followership during the campaigns in the run up to the March 28th presidential elections, President Buhari must have taken it for granted that he’ll get Nigerians to understand.
The President had said to State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, then: “This culture of 100 days in office is bringing so much pressure with treasury virtually empty, with debts in millions of dollars, with state workers and even federal workers not paid their salaries; it is such a disgrace for Nigeria”.
He had disclosed at that meeting that he inherited an empty treasury from his predecessor, expressing concern that indebtedness by the previous government which run into millions of dollars was not only worrisome but disheartening and more so distressing that states and federal workers were being owed salaries.
He had then expressed fear that this  may cause a lot of disaffection among Nigerians and invariably lead to peoples’ revolt, although he assured that with the relevant cooperation from the citizens, mostly the media, these challenges would be surmounted.
All these notwithstanding‎, his party the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu both coming out just days to his clocking 100 days in office, to deny that he ever promised to deliver on specifics in his first 100 days, Buhari has come under heavy criticism.
Nigerians, members of the civil society, the social media as well as the media have taken up the task of reminding the President some of the promises he and his campaign team made ahead of the poll.
Using “One Hundred Things Buhari Will Do in 100 Days” and “My Covenant With Nigerians”, as reference documents both of which have been disowned by both the Presidency and the APC, they reminded the President how he vowed to publicly declare his assets and liabilities, fight to ensure  no force, external or internal, will occupy even an inch of Nigerian soil, to review health sector policy, address the gaps in power sector privatisation, pay the unemployed N5,000 monthly, ensure all children meant to be in school are in school, among others.
Shehu, while disowning the two documents said he never authorised or signed as Director, Media and Communications of the Buhari Campaign Organisation any document in this regard.
The Presidential aide would rather that Nigerians talk on the milestones recorded by the Buhari’s administration in its first 100 days within the period under review, rather than achievements.
Shehu said: “We prefer to talk about milestones instead of achievements. Whether the milestones represent achievements or not, that is left for the people to decide. Milestones have been achieved which is important for the country”.
Recalling what Buhari said during his lecture at Chatham House in London, to buttress his point that the President never promised anything specifics in 100 days, Shehu quoted President Buhari to have said”
“It (One Hundred Things Buhari Will Do in 100 Days) contained falsehood and I am not going to be engaged in deceit. I will go in there, I will see what is there and the get the intelligence – the knowledge of things that are going on- and I will fully commit myself to serving Nigeria’”.
So, what are the specifics of Buhari’s achievements in office?
First is the issue of Security. President Buhari on assumption ordered the relocation of military command to Maiduguri. He had hinted in his inaugural speech on May 29th that he see no reason the military command should be in Abuja while the insurgency war was ravaging the North-East.
This single decision has seen the military  recording amazing results of conquest against insurgency, liberating captured villages and citizens mostly women and  and children who had become prisoners to the terror sect members, Boko Haram.
He had recently given the military till December to see to the end of Boko Haram by recovering all lost territories, flush insurgents with plans to rehabilitate and reintegrate thousands os Nigerians that have been internally displaced in their own father land.
The strengthening of the Multinational Joint Task Force, with the cooperation of members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin, also contributed largely to these successes.
President Buhari had in June  ordered the release of $21 million out of the $100 million pledged by Nigeria to the Multi National Joint Task Force against Boko Haram.
While chairing the African Union (AU), Peace and Security Council (PSC) meeting at the AU summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, he disclosed that the release of the funds was in response to a decision by the leaders of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and Benin in Abuja to immediately fund the MNJTF with not less than $30 million.
Aside contributing troops, member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission have also made donations, military platforms and now share more intelligence.
The United States also pledged $5 million to support Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram, in addition to other material support.
President Buhari also recently replaced the service chiefs, and ensuring that the entire operation gets daily monitoring with the military heads now based in Maiduguri.
The President was also in Germany on the invitation of the G-7, members where he was told to forward his shopping list to enable Nigeria win the war on terror  and rebuild the Nigerian economy.
At the recent one-day National Security Summit organised by the Nigerian Police force and The Sun newspapers in Abuja with the theme ‘Community partnership approach to internal security and crime management’, President Buhari had given order to employ 10,000 policemen to checkmate crime, and criminal tendencies among youths arising from the problems of massive unemployment in the country.
He had also said government is to establish properly trained and equipped federal anti-terrorism, multi-agency task force that will effectively address the challenge of Boko Haram insurgency, militancy, armed robbery as well as kidnapping.
He had also ordered the expansion of the CCTV Monitoring System across major cities and towns in the country while police accountability mechanism will be strengthened.
On the economy, President Buhari on assumption of office had granted bail-out to states who were lacking behind in the payment of workers salaries.
The Central Bank of Nigeria towards. The end of last month approved the request of Deposit Money Banks to provide loans to state governments to enable them to pay the backlog of their workers’ salaries.
The CBN in a statement, said the approval was based on its decision to consider ways of liquidating the outstanding staff salaries owed by state and local governments.
The President’s intervention was principally to alleviate the suffering of many Nigerians and reduce the level of poverty.
As a result of plugging all leakages, the monthly Federation Accounts Allocation Committee witnessed a substantial jump in the month of July, 2015, in spite of fall in oil revenue.
Electricity has improved significantly since the President assumed office on May 29, 2015. The 4,600 megawatts has ensured longer hours of light and lesser light cuts.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Ambassador Godknows Igali, had attributed this to the stoppage of gas pipeline vandalism since the assumption of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Despite the dwindling oil price, the Federal Government announced that Foreign Reserve has increased  to $31.5 billion in from $29.2 billion further securing the economy against global and domestic shocks.
To bring about the needed reform in the oil sector, President Buhari appointed last month, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu as Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The reduction of Executive Directors from eight to four by the President had restructured and repositioned the corporation.
Following the Turn-Around Maintenance (TAM) of some refineries which begun last year,  the Warri and Port Harcourt refineries had started operation at 60 per cent capacity, hoping to close-up soon.
The Buhari’s government was greeted with fuel scarcity and constant long queues at filling stations.
The President had blamed the Jonathan’s administration for the fuel shortage saying it failed to fix the refineries.
The queues finally disappeared in June following a meeting with the fuel marketers where all issues regarding payments were resolved.
Another milestone the Buhari’s administration would want Nigerians to know is the ordering of a fast-track of Ogoni clean-up, acting on a United Nations Environmental Project Report that had been long delayed by previous administrations.
To further demonstrate his penchant for fairness and justice, the President directed the CBN to clear all the outstanding allowances of former militants studying in various institutions across the world. The delay in payment of allowances had left the entire Amnesty Programme hanging on a cliff.
He had also appointed Brigadier-General P.T. Boroh (rtd.) as the Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme for former Niger-Delta militants.
President Buhari also stopped the appointment of a government delegation for this year’s pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. According to his handlers, that singular decision, saved the country about $1 million and N30m in local expenses.
Buhari’s corruption fight has received the support of all and sundry especially with the disclosure of mindboggling funds allegedly looted by the immediate past government.
President Buhari ordered the closure of all multiple accounts in Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and a reduction to the use of Single Treasury Account to promote transparency and accountability.
According to the Presidency, the President’s visit the United States yielded positive results with the US promise to support Nigeria in terms of technical, military and intelligence support in the fight against Boko Haram in the North East.
The US  also released evidence of massive looting and links of monies wired out of the country to the President in the United States in which he has directed prosecution.
The meeting in the United States also attracted N2.7 trillion investments into the country.
Still on corruption, the President’s handlers say the impression of the President as incorruptible and the fear of prosecution pushed many to return stolen public funds, with reports saying key actors in the previous government have returned huge sums of money. They did not, however, named those who have returned such monies and how muchh has been returned.
He also set up an advisory committee on war against corruption to design an effective template for fighting corruption
Buhari’s administration has also religiously focused on cutting down the cost of governance while channeling scarce resources to the areas of priority. Hence, government’s official travels have been reviewed so that public officers no longer embark on frivolous foreign trips.
President Buhari’s administration also cancelled oil swap deals that had cost the country billions of dollars; resulting in fuel queues due to differences in figures.
Quoting the Quarterly Gross Domestic Product estimates of the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, the total monetary value of all finished goods and services produced in Nigeria in the second quarter of 2015 recorded a 2.57 percent growth.
In real terms, the non-oil sector contributed 90.20 per cent to the nation’s overall GDP, marginally higher than both the 89.55 percent share recorded in the first quarter of 2015, and 89.24 per cent recorded in the corresponding period of 2014.
With all thee in the kitty, there is no doubt that the Buhari administration has hit the ground running in its first 100 days in office. The hope of many Nigerians is that these milestones will be consolidated upon in the days ahead to the benefit of all.

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Diversification: Lessons from Uduaghan’s legacy http://sunnewsonline.com/new/diversification-lessons-from-uduaghans-legacy/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/diversification-lessons-from-uduaghans-legacy/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 23:50:55 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133953 By Rume Johnson For some time now, anytime anyone, particularly policy makers or major opinion leaders in the society, harp on the need for the diversification of the nation’s economy, to make Nigeria a better place for all,  one name that readily comes to my mind is that of the immediate past governor of Delta [...]]]>

By Rume Johnson

For some time now, anytime anyone, particularly policy makers or major opinion leaders in the society, harp on the need for the diversification of the nation’s economy, to make Nigeria a better place for all,  one name that readily comes to my mind is that of the immediate past governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel  Eweta Uduaghan.  The reason is not far-fetched – At the end of his eight years in office, the medical doctor-turned-politician carried out what, for a long time, has remained an impossible task, only mouthed by many political office holders.  He succeeded in extricating Delta State from the problem of over-dependence on oil.
The significance of Uduaghan’s achievement was again, as it is often done, brought to the fore last week by President Muhammadu Buhari and the new President of African Development Bank, AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.  Speaking while in audience with the new Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Nigeria, Fahad Sefyan, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Buhari promised of his administration’s urgent diversification of the country’s economy and the development of the non-oil sectors.   In a similar vein, Adesina, at his inauguration as the financial institution boss described diversification as the key to a greater Africa.
Had the different leaders of the country carried out their promise to diversify the economy which, as far as Nigeria is concerned, translates to reduced dependence on oil as the mainstay of the economy, the endless crave and promise to carry such out year in year out would not have been necessary at all.
Without any attempt at making a god out of Uduaghan, there are so many lessons to learn from his administration, having succeeded where many had failed woefully in the area of developing other areas of the economy, apart from oil, for the betterment of the state and its people.
For example, while the governments of the different states of the federation and even the federal government continued to mouth their commitments to developing other sectors to no avail, Uduaghan was successful with his project which has become a reference point for all and sundry – “Delta Beyond Oil”.
From the level of idea conception, to execution, the glaring qualities that came to the fore are deep thinking, careful planning and total commitment and doggedness.  For instance, with due recognition of the fact that no business enterprise can survive in a turbulent environment, Uduaghan sought for the much elusive peace in his state at the time he resumed office.  An extremely volatile area with people of the different groups that make up the state killing themselves, the former governor brought in the needed peace and everyone could sleep with two eyes, truthfully, closed.
Having achieved that, development work began in earnest, with him giving assurance that “No hard-working Deltan will go to bed hungry”.
Displaying good understanding of the devastating effect of impoverishment that the long years of internal strife, bad governance, oil spill and other problems had had on the people of the state, Uduaghan  saw the need to create the financial wherewithal for the “hard-working” people of the state.
The people were obviously ready to be enriched through a systematic way in the form of Delta State Micro Credit Programme (DMCP).  Through the programme, small and cottage industries gained a new lease of life and the erstwhile poor people began to feel like human beings.
Before Uduaghan left office, no fewer than 111, 321 person – male and female – who made up about 10,439 groups of entrepreneurs benefitted from the programme.  The businesses of the people boomed and their products assumed international standards.  From dependence on oil, many could then  veer into fish farming, agriculture in general and manufacturing of products which include insecticides, soaps and many others.
An account of one unemployed graduate, Daniel Uwandulu, a beneficiary of the schemewho had suffered to no end best stresses the happiness that trailed the scheme.
“Suddenly a new dawn came and a lover of the masses was enthroned as the governor of my state.  He introduced soft loans for the less-privileged like me and my one-time hopeless life received unexpected hope that will forever remain in my memory,” he said.
The success of the scheme is also seen in the fact that it won different awards for the state from the Central Bank of Nigeria.  In a letter signed by Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, the CBN says the awards were in recognition of the state’s efforts towards developing the Microfinance/SME sub-sector during year 2009 and the programme’s efforts towards developing the Agricultural sub-sector in 2009.
Also in an award of the Silverbird group’s 2014 Man of the Year, mention was also made of his programme that created self-employment opportunities for the people of the state.
Organisers of the award said:  “His sterling performance in health signposted by the free medical care for children and the elderly as well as the free maternal care for pregnant women, and the micro-credit scheme where over 111,000 Deltans have been empowered to set up their own businesses, were highlighted as part of the programmes Nigerians who traditionally voted for the winner elected Uduaghan the winner.”
With his calculated steps, Uduaghan succeeded in seamlessly diversifying  the economy of the state as  its people no longer depended on oil.  Rather agriculture and other businesses became more significant and revenue generating.
The desire and efforts to diversify came with a lot of good things for the state.  For the teeming population of the state who had been shut away as a result of bad roads and lack of bridges to cross the rivers that are in their abundance, it was the end of a sad chapter in their lives.  In the build up to creating abundant opportunities for the people, massive road constructions were embarked upon and the pains majority went through to bring the farm produce to town ceased.
A particularly intriguing case is the construction of Sapele-Abigborodo Road which made it possible for a car to be driven to Abigborodo, a community situated in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, for the first time.  Incidentally, Uduaghan belongs to the community, and at the inauguration, he declared:  “For me, it is historical and very encouraging; and I am so sentimental about it, I must tell you that a car has never been to Abigborodo before but with this bridge, that is now a thing of the past.
“The good thing now is that at least one can drive through this bridge. For the very first time, especially for those of you who have been following me to the village when we have elections, we always go by boat. Now that the bridge has been constructed and we can drive through by road, I am very happy.”
The beauty of the efforts and achievements of Uduaghan through the diversification project is that of the creation of abundant opportunities for all and sundry.
Let me say simply that with the laudable achievements in Delta State under his administration, it certainly would not be out of place to say that those who are genuinely willing to make success of the bid to diversify the Nigerian economy, including the federal government, should learn from the Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan legacy.

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Deltans proud of Okowa – Okecha http://sunnewsonline.com/new/president-has-hit-the-ground-running/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/president-has-hit-the-ground-running/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 23:50:46 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133955 From EMMANUEL OGOIGBE A university administrator, Professor Steve Okecha has described Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as a respected leader with a popular mandate, poised to restore the state on the path of economic prosperity and sustainable development. Speaking at a forum of Ndokwa leaders and people held at Obiaruku in honour of the [...]]]>

From EMMANUEL OGOIGBE

A university administrator, Professor Steve Okecha has described Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as a respected leader with a popular mandate, poised to restore the state on the path of economic prosperity and sustainable development.
Speaking at a forum of Ndokwa leaders and people held at Obiaruku in honour of the state Commissioner for Water Resources, Sir Fidelis Okenmor Tilijie, Professor Okecha, said Deltans across ethnic and political affiliations were proud of the governor’s integrity, intellect and detribalized  temperament. Okecha, who is the convener of the forum, urged Okowa to use his pedigree and public goodwill to effect a positive change in the lives of Deltans by tackling poverty and unemployment which are perennial challenges of the people.
He thanked Okowa for the appointment of the new commissioner for water resources and noted that Sir Tilijie would excel as a rising star of Ndokwa ethnic nationality. According to him, Ndokwa people were excited about Tilijie as an illustrious son, dependable friend and philanthropist. “We love his courage, vision and compassion. We deeply appreciate his respect for elders and love for the ordinary people”, he said.
In his remarks, the commissioner said the state government would soon send a water bill to the state House of Assembly aimed at ensuring portable and clean water  in all borehole facilities in Delta, noting that  test certification would be issued to the owners that meet standards.
Titlijie noted that  the SMART agenda of Governor Okowa, was to create a very strong health base for Deltans as “you cannot grow economy well without sound health care devoid of water diseases and the dangerous consequences.”
The ceremony was witnessed by former Inspector General of Police, Sir Mike Okiro, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi representing Delta North and members of the state executive council, among other dignitaries.

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Buhari’s 100 days already a success –Lai Mohammed http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buharis-100-days-already-a-success-lai-mohammed/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/buharis-100-days-already-a-success-lai-mohammed/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 23:49:07 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133950 By Tunde Thomas The first 100 days of President Muhammadu Buhari in office has been described as a success, and blessing for Nigeria. Making this declaration in Lagos yesterday during his visit to the corporate headquarters of The Sun Publishing Ltd, the national spokesman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Alhaji Lai Muhammed,  noted that [...]]]>

By Tunde Thomas

The first 100 days of President Muhammadu Buhari in office has been described as a success, and blessing for Nigeria.
Making this declaration in Lagos yesterday during his visit to the corporate headquarters of The Sun Publishing Ltd, the national spokesman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Alhaji Lai Muhammed,  noted that things are not only getting better under Buhari, but also that Nigerians are already reaping dividends of democracy.
While declaring that Nigeria almost became a failed state under former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, Muhammed said: “Within the last 100 days, Buhari has achieved a lot. Things are now working in Nigeria, and I would ascribe this to what I would call the Buhari effect.
“This time last year, we were celebrating corrupt people, but today, looters are being exposed. Corrupt people no longer have hiding place. Ethical revolution is on in Nigeria. Nigerians are now learning to attach much importance to character and integrity rather than resources or illicit acquisition of   wealth’’.
Highlighting dividends of democracy being enjoyed by Nigerians to include improved power supply, Muhammmed noted that sabotage and destruction of oil pipelines have drastically reduced since May 29, 2015.
He further noted that Nigeria was almost becoming a pariah state before Buhari assumed office. But “today, Nigeria has suddenly become the toast of civilized nations. Even before he took office, he was invited to Chattam House in the United Kingdom.
“The G-7, which comprises some of the most powerful nations in the world also invited Buhari to its summit. Buhari has also been the guest of President Barrack Obama of the United States, and just recently, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon was in Nigeria.
“The UN scribe has further invited Buhari to the UN for a summit of world leaders on security. All these are part of dividends of democracy for Nigeria. We all knew the situation before now’’.
While reacting to allegations that appointments made so far by the President was lopsided in favour of certain part of the country, to the neglect of others, Mohammed assured that Buhari would not leave out any section of the country in subsequent appointments.
“This government will not leave behind any part of the nation. The President has not forgotten any section. There are over 1,000 appointments to be made, and we should not start judging Buhari by  about 35 appointments he has made so far.
“At the fullness of time, everybody will be taken care of. I’m sure the President is mindful of all these complaints, and he is taking note of them.
“This is a government that is elected for four years, we should not be in a haste to judge it just only in 100 days’’.
On fears that on-going probes by the Buhari’s administration appeared to be selective, as most of the people being investigated are PDP members, Mohammed debunked that, saying that even some former APC governors and Senators are also being investigated by the ICPC and EFCC.
“It is not right to say that these probes or investigations are selective. PDP was in power for 16 years. At a point, the party had about 28 state governors. Not only that, PDP members were in charge of several parastatals and government agencies. Therefore, if you are going to investigate, you will have more of PDP members to investigate.
“Buhari has also said it openly that anybody that has petition against anybody, that they should send it to the investigative agencies, and I have not seen anybody coming out to say he submitted petition against somebody and that either EFCC and ICPC refused to take action.
“If anybody has any petition against anybody, including APC leaders, Buhari will not sweep such under the carpet. Buhari, however, believes in due process and the rule of law, he will not persecute anybody. He believes in doing things the right way’’.

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How Akwa Ibom gov poll was rigged –PDP witness http://sunnewsonline.com/new/how-akwa-ibom-gov-poll-was-rigged-pdp-witness/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/how-akwa-ibom-gov-poll-was-rigged-pdp-witness/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 23:48:25 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133949 From GODWIN TSA, Abuja A witness at the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, yesterday told the tribunal how Governor Emmanuel Udom and his party, the PDP rigged the April 11, 2015 gubernatorial poll in some local government areas of the state. The witness, had while under cross examination by Chief [...]]]>

From GODWIN TSA, Abuja

A witness at the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, yesterday told the tribunal how Governor Emmanuel Udom and his party, the PDP rigged the April 11, 2015 gubernatorial poll in some local government areas of the state.
The witness, had while under cross examination by Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, counsel to the petitioner (APC and its governorship candidate Chief Umana Okon Umana), admitted that 941 votes were recorded for the Peoples Democratic Party in the units he claimed election did not hold.
The defence witness, Dr. Bassey Asuquo had earlier told the tribunal headed by Justice Sadiq Umar upon examination by Paul Usoro, SAN, counsel to Governor Udom, that the poll was conducted without violence and that he voted in the polls.
But he buckled under cross-examination conducted by Olanipekun and admitted in open court that one polling agent of the PDP, Peter Okon singlehandedly signed result sheets in nine polling units out of 14 units.
When Dr Asuquo was asked to read out the names of party agents that endorsed result sheets from 14 polling units in Uyo LGA, he mentioned to the hearing of the court that Peter Okon singlehandedly signed result sheets in nine polling units out of 14 units.
He said in his testimony that results were collated from all the 14 units in Uyo Local Government Area except in three units where he admitted that the election could not be conducted because of violence.
Other witnesses are Mr. Godwin Ndukude, Isaiah Abia and one Maxwell.
This revelation was made as the Peoples Democratic Party and the Akwa Ibiom State Governor, Mr. Emmauel Udom opened defence of their victory in the April 11 governorship elections in the state.

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Fayose to Buhari: Sack DSS boss now over invasion of Akwa Ibom Govt House http://sunnewsonline.com/new/fayose-to-buhari-sack-dss-boss-now-over-invasion-of-akwa-ibom-govt-house/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/fayose-to-buhari-sack-dss-boss-now-over-invasion-of-akwa-ibom-govt-house/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 16:54:57 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133923 Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, has condemned Thursday’s invasion of the Akwa Ibom State Government House by armed men of the Department of State Services (DSS), calling for the immediate sack of the Director General of the agency, Alhaji Lawal Daura. Addressing a press conference in Ado-Ekiti on behalf of the governor today, Special [...]]]>

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, has condemned Thursday’s invasion of the Akwa Ibom State Government House by armed men of the Department of State Services (DSS), calling for the immediate sack of the Director General of the agency, Alhaji Lawal Daura.

Addressing a press conference in Ado-Ekiti on behalf of the governor today, Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka described the invasion as part of the sinister plot by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to circumvent the will of the people of the South-South and South-East States controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), using the DSS.

He said; “To say the least, invasion of the Akwa Ibom State Government House on Thursday ordered by Daura, is a rape of democracy and invitation to chaos and anarchy. It is authoritarian, dictatorial and I condemn it strongly.
“It is unfortunate that this is happening under President Buhari’s watch, and painful that Alhaji Lawal Daura is drawing Nigeria back to the Military era.”

Governor Fayose, who recalled the arrest of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Austin Okojie by men of the DSS in July, wondered why “the DSS under Alhaji Lawal Daura that has turned Akwa Ibom State and other States into centre of its draconian operations has not deemed it necessary to invite for questioning, the Yobe State INEC REC, Mr. Abu Zarma in whose bank account N15 million alleged to be a bribe was found.”

Text of the press conference read in part; “Yesterday, the Akwa Ibom State Government House in Uyo was invaded by armed men from the Special Squad of the DSS. They invaded the Presidential Wing of the Government House in a commando-liked manner, ransacked it, intimidated and harassed the occupants, claiming that they were searching for bomb and documents!

“One wonders when the Government House of Akwa-Ibom State turned to a factory where bombs are made. Also, we wonder why men of the DSS were overzealously looking for bomb in Akwa Ibom State Government House, instead of the Boko Haram ravaged North Eastern part of Nigeria.

“From the barbaric act of the DSS yesterday and other actions of Security Service under Alhaji Lawal Daura in the last few weeks, one can conclude that Daura is taking Nigeriaback to the 1984 era of General Muhammadu Buhari and this is unfortunate.

“No doubt, the Director General (DG) DSS, Lawal Daura is acting out a sinister script of taking over Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) controlled States in the South-South and South East by whatever means.

“Obviously, Thursday invasion of the Akwa Ibom Government House by men of the DSS and arrest of the State INEC REC are part of this sinister plot by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to circumvent the will of the people of the South-South and South-East States controlled by the PDP, using the DSS, but it will fail ultimately.

“If a Government House occupied by a Governor who enjoys the same immunity enjoys by the President as provided by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria could be invaded by a Special Squad of the DSS, it means Lawal Daura is moving this country towards dictatorship and it must be said clearly that Daura and his DSS men will definitely have Nigerians to contend with.

“As for me, I will continue to talk because Nigeria belongs to all of us. Nigeria is not a banana republic that can be ruled anyhow by anyone and Mr Lawal Daura and those urging him on should know that this reign of brute force over constitutional democracy will fail.

“This is because we have seen them operate before and here they are now, trying to take us back to that inglorious era of dictatorship and barbarism where Nigerians were treated with contempt. This time around, it is a democracy that can never accommodate that 1984 era of draconian rule.

“Most importantly, Lawal Daura and his desperate men should know that here in Nigeria of today, the power of the people is greater than the power of those in power and the people will always rise in defence of their government no matter how strong the aggression.

“It is on this note that I call on President Buhari to call Alhaji Lawal Daura to order. He should be made to know that his activities since he assumed office as the DG DSS are of growing concern to Nigerians and that he is becoming extremely controversial.

“His actions as the DG DSS are regrettable, unfortunate, condemnable and unacceptable because he has come to symbolise dictatorship, which democracy abhors.

“Alhaji Lawal Daura should know that he is holding the office of DG DSS that he presently occupies in trust for all Nigerians and such office is not one that can be turned into instrument of political witch-hunt.

“If Alhaji Daura continues with his use of the DSS to harass, intimidate and assault the constitution of Nigeria, President Buhari may have to show to Nigerians that he is not a party to the use of the security agency to witch-hunt his political opponents by sacking the DG DSS.”

(VANGUARD)

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Kogi election: Idris, Audu test strengths http://sunnewsonline.com/new/kogi-election-idris-audu-test-strengths/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/kogi-election-idris-audu-test-strengths/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 02:30:20 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133878 Ahead of the November 21 governorship election in Kogi State, all eyes are on the Confluence State. The state is currently being controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under the leadership of Governor Idris Ichalla Wada. ]]>

…Factors that ‘ll decide race

From Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja

Ahead of the November 21 governorship election in Kogi State, all eyes are on the Confluence State. The state is currently being controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under the leadership of Governor Idris Ichalla Wada. The party has been calling the shots since 2003 when it wrested power from the then Governor Abubakar Audu of the All Nigeria National Party (ANPP) who ruled from 1999- 2003.
The state created on August 27, 1991 is a conglomeration of different ethnic nationalities with the Igala speaking people in the Eastern senatorial district having the largest population followed by the Ebiras in the Central senatorial district and closely followed by the Okun-Yoruba in the Western senatorial district.
Since the creation of the state 27 years ago, and the evolvement of new democracy in 1999, the Igala speaking people have been the dominant  tribe that has occupied the seat of power at the famous Lord Lugard House.
The issue of marginalisation and seat of power therefore, have always been a recurrent decimal in the state especially in the build up to any governorship election.
But these issues seem more pronounced in this year’s governorship election than in any other election in the time past, owing mainly to the change mantra that has taken place at the Federal level and by extension, in the state.
However, attempts in this current dispensation by power shift agitators to prune the number of aspirants from the central and western senatorial districts to give way for a more formidable aspirant against Prince Abubakar Audu has so far failed.
With the emergence of Prince Abubakar Audu, an Igala and, a former governor of the state as the standard bearer of  theAll Progressives Congress (APC) in the November 21 governorship election, the stage is now set for a tough fight between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) whose major contestants are Igala and the APC which is bent on unseating Governor Wada.
Prince Abubakar Audu had emerged winner of the APC primary election defeating 27 other aspirants in a keenly contested election held at the Confluence Stadium, Lokoja, last Saturday, the August 29th.
It was observed that the primary election had commenced by 12 noon  when accreditation of delegates started while the election proper started at about 8pm that day and dragged to  5 a.m on Sunday when the counting which finally ended  at 11 am started.
There were 3,458 registered delegates with 3,044 finally screened and accredited for the party primary under a Seven -man Electoral committee led by the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El Rufai who brought in some of his state executive committee members and elected members of the state and National Assemblies.
Audu had led by 1,109 votes followed by Yahaya Bello (aka Fairplus) who scored 703 while Senator Abatemi Usman came third with a distant 400 votes.
Although the election went smoothly with the deployment of large numbers of security agents at the venue of the primary, there were initial fears that some aspirants sponsored thugs to disrupt the smooth conduct of the primary. This fear may not be unconnected with suspec ted moves by some desperate aspirants who were said to have ganged up to ensure that Prince Abubakar Audu was disqualified from the exercise owing to allegation of corruption levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
As different petitions were said to have been written against Audu’s disqualification without success, It was learnt that the threat to disrupt the poll became so palpable that some of the aspirants threatened to boycott the primary if Audu was allowed to participate.
The aspirants  called a press conference at one of the Hotels in Lokoja to pour out their grievances when suddenly, a call came from Abuja which pleaded with them to go into the primary without causing any distraction.
Sources say Prince Audu himself was not oblivious of plans by some people to stop him at all costs from participating in the election but he was said not to have cared a hoot but trudged on  until he clinched the party’s ticket.
Meanwhile, Audu had accused the ruling party in the state of giving a whopping sums of money to  sponsor some aspirants  to thwart his election bid, but as things turned out, the alleged sponsored aspirants could not achieve their aim as Audu still emerged winner in the primary.
Meanwhile, there were also allegations of serious financial  inducement of delegates during the primary, but  the inducement was said to have played a prominent role among delegates from the Central Senatorial district who split their votes which were supposed to be given to Yahaya Bello, an Ebira who came second in the primary, thereby  sacrificing their agitation for power shift.
Politiocal pundits say given the factionalisation within the APC, it is doubtful whether the party can come out forcefully to wrest power from the ruling PDP unless genuine reconcilliation is made among the majority of the aggrieved aspirants some of who had vowed not to work for the party with Audu as  governorship candidate.
But it is being rumoured that the PDP’s major head ache in the election is the emergence of Abubakar Audu as the APC flag bearer.
He is regarded as a dogged fighter, with deep pocket and virile political structure on ground coupled with his numerous achievements in office which may invariably work in his favour at the poll.
it is believed that Governor Wada may have to work very hard in order to win the next governorship election if he eventually, he clinches the ticket of his party.
It is said that unless he cashed in on the current division among the ranks of the APC aspirants to shoot himself out, it may be pretty difficult for him to replay what his successor, Alh Ibrahim Idris did with unfettered ease in winning his re-election into office.
Although there seems to be high level of horse trading at the PDP national leadership on why it should not field the governor for re-election, pundits are of the view that those being bandied by his detractors to usurp him may have no electoral value to win an election of this magnitude.

Alh Isa Echocho tops the list of those contending with the governor in the September 10 PDP primary, with his billboards dotting strategic locations in the state capital .
Those supporting Echocho are said to be members of NWC of the party, some serving governors and Senators and some past political office holders.
Alhough Echocho who was 2011 PDP governorship candidate before he was substituted with Wada, had collected the nomination form and has been screened, pundits say his physical presence in the state is yet to felt.
However, it was learnt that those currently supporting Echocho are of the view that Wada’s candidature may not give the party an edge to win the governorship election as they described his administration as colourless and slow in action.
For example, in the last general election, observers believe that the governor was caught napping when he lost his constituency to the opposition party in the Senate and House of Reps seat and allowed the APC to win all the three senatorial seats in the state and six of the nine House of Reps seats.
Aside from this, political watchers believe that since the emergence of APC at the Presidency, the camp of the PDP in the state kept on depleting such that many big wigs in the party are defecting from the PDP to the APC, the latest being Mr Humphrey Abah, a three -time cabinet minister under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and BOT member of the PDP, Hajia Halimat Alfa recently defecting to the APC.
Similarly, those routing for Echocho also  claimed that Wada’s over three years in government have not been positively felt by the majority of citizens in the state and that primary school teachers and workers, especially local government workers are unhappy with him over non-payment of salaries and allowances.
They also alleged that the governor travels most often out of the state thereby leaving some critical decision making to incompetent hands. His relationship with some critical stakeholders in the state also needed to be improved.
However, those who are sympathetic to the governor are of the view that although, Wada may not be making much noise over his performance, he is surely not a failure as bandied by his opponents.
They pointed at his landmark achievements and the fact that he completed all inherited projects from his predecessor.
Political watchers also believe that with all odds considered, the power of incumbency may give Wada a lead way in the primary with a formidable political structure which he inherited from his god father and predecessor, Alh Ibrahim Idris.
It is also believed that the recent composition of the Caretaker committee overseeing the affairs of the 21 local government councils in the state is also an added advantage for the governor in the primary.
Also, with most of the PDP state legislators and the three National Assembly members supporting Wada at the primary, it is sure that he will clinch the PDP ticket but how this will translate to winning the Nov 21st governorship election remains to be seen as it is too early to conclude which party will emerge victorious at the poll.

The PDP
There are three or more aspirants constesting for the governorship primary slated for September 5th under the PDP. They are: Governor Idris Wada, Alh Jubrin Isah Echocho, and Comrade Mohammed Ali.
About 1,000 delegates are expected to choose one of the aspirants as the party’s flag bearer.

Idris Wada
Governor Idris Ichalla Wada is current governor of the state elected and sworn in on January 27th, 2012. He is a trained pilot and successful business man before he became the governor. He is the brother in-law to Ibrahim Idris who handed power to him.

Strenghth
The power of incumbency will surely give him a lead in the primary. He also has a formidable political structure which he inherited from his god father and his predecessor, Alh Ibrahim Idris. The composition of the Caretaker committee overseeing the affairs of the 21 local government councils is also an advantage on wooing delegates to do his biddings.
Also, most of the PDP state legislators and the three National Assembly members are likely to support him. Pundits say he is likely to win at least 70 percent of the delegates.

Weakness
There perception in some quarters that his performance rating is not so impressive and the rumour going round the town that he has fallen out of love with his godfather, ex-governor Ibrahim Idris may work against him at the primary.

Alh. Isa Jubrin Echocho
He was a banker, and the PDP governorship candidate in 2011 before he was substituted by Wada.

Strenghth
May get some sympathy votes because some people perceive he was robbed of the PDP governorship ticket in 2011 which was later given to Wada.
The rumour making the round, that Ibrahim Idris is silently working for him, if it is true, may be a big plus.

Weakness
It is generally believed that Echocho may no longer have the financial wherewithal to prosecute the primary. His main support may be limited to some parts in igala land.

Comrade Mohammed Idris
He was the president of National Association of Kogi State Student, later appointed as Special Adviser. He was also the Caretaker Chairman of Dekina Local Government Council before he was impeached on sundry issues. He is said to be below 35 years, the Constitutionally approved years of aspirants to the position of governor

Strenghth
It is rumoured that this ex student leader may have had the backing of Ibrahim Idris too, which may be a plus for him.

Weakness
Observers believe that he may be disqualified from contesting on the basis of age and the fact that he was recently impeached as a Council Chairman.
In his acceptance speech, the elated Audu commended the Electoral Committee members for their probity and transparency in the conduct of the primary and promised not to disappoint the party.
He however called on the party members to come together to unseat the ruling party in the state, saying the task ahead is enormous.
Speaking on behalf of other aspirants, the runner up, Alh. Yahaya Bello said the election was transparent, free and fair and promised that all the aspirants will forget their differences and work for the overall interest of the party at the governorship election.
Bello however called on the winner to carry all the aspirants along in the scheme of things saying the campaign for the party primary was tortuous and full of lessons.

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Imo guber: Ihedioha goes to Supreme Court http://sunnewsonline.com/new/imo-guber-ihedioha-goes-to-supreme-court/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/imo-guber-ihedioha-goes-to-supreme-court/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:22:21 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133814 The Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital, yesterday struck out the appeal brought before it by the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP gubernatorial candidate, Emeka Ihedioha challenging the victory of the All Progressives Congress(APC) candidate,Governor Rochas Okorocha.]]>

From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri

The Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital, yesterday struck out the appeal brought before it by the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP gubernatorial candidate,  Emeka Ihedioha challenging the victory of the All Progressives Congress(APC) candidate,Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Delivering judgement, Hon. Justice Jimmy Bada said the appeal was struck out on grounds that PDP did not properly serve the respondents.
Justice Bada further explained that the issue of service is fundamental in law and as such struck out the case. The judgement was concurred by all the other four judges  in the panel.
However,reacting to the judgement, the counsel to the PDP candidate, Mike Ahamba(SAN) said we have referred to the provisions of the law and rules that stipulated that the addresses of those directly affected should be listed in the appeal.
“I have done appeals in the past but am surprised that the rule is different in election matter. We had good ground for appeal but for the shortcoming in the service, the substantive matter is still in our favour, we are not done yet, we still have another tier to go”
The Counsel to Okorocha, Miletus Nlemadim applauded the Judges of the Appeal Court for dismissing the Appeal because the respondents were not served properly.
Also reacting, Governor Rochas Okorocha said that the judgement of the Appeal court has again justified his victory at the polls.
The governor who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo said,” By doing that, the Appeal Court had equally justified the governor’s  confidence in the ability  and readiness of the judiciary to uphold justice and also respect the popular and lawful actions of the people over who would govern them at any given time”. He called on the PDP candidate to join hands with him and other well meaning Imo indigenes to work for the rapid development of the state.
However,the immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives and Imo State PDP Governorship Candidate in the 2015 general elections, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha has noted with reservations the decision of the Court of Appeal in Owerri to strike out his appeal challenging the ruling of the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Owerri.
Ihedioha, who felt that justice has not been served by the Appeal Court ruling had  directed his counsels to approach the Supreme Court and seek redress against the Appeal Court ruling.

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ICPC must probe Fayemi –Ekiti PDP http://sunnewsonline.com/new/icpc-must-probe-fayemi-ekiti-pdp/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/icpc-must-probe-fayemi-ekiti-pdp/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:20:33 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133812 As the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) begins the probe of former governors, Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the Commission to include former Governor of the state, Dr Kayode Fayemi, in the list. ]]>

From Wole  Balogun, Ado Ekiti

As the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) begins the probe  of former governors, Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  has urged the Commission to  include former Governor of the state, Dr Kayode Fayemi, in the list.

The PDP said that a lot of petitions and pieces of evidence had been submitted to the ICPC, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-graft agencies to assist them in getting to the root of the financial misconduct allegedly perpetrated by Fayemi while in office.

In a statement signed by  the State Publicity Secretary, Jackson Adebayo,  in Ado Ekiti yesterday, the party said it was aware of the deluge of petitions against Fayemi. The party offered to provide more information and facts if called for.
The party was reacting to the announcement by the ICPC that it was investigating some former state governors over alleged misconduct while in office.
Adebayo said the ICPC explain to Nigerians, why a governor against whom a lot of petitions had been submitted should be exempted from  probe.
Said he : “We are waiting for the ICPC to explain to the people of Nigeria, why it has decided to  cover up the corruption allegations against the former governor of Ekiti State, after many petitions from groups and individuals in and outside the state were submitted to it, as well as the reports of other agencies, which had at one time or the other, indicted him for mismanaging the finances of our dear state.
“As a party, we have raised this alarm before, to forestall this high -wired conspiracy and cover-up, but the anti-corruption body refused to come out to deny or explain. Likewise, the Presidency has not said anything contrary to the allegations, hence our belief that the non-inclusion of Dr. Fayemi on the list of the individuals being probed by the ICPC, is grossly deficient and it is a deliberate attempt to trample on justice.”
The PDP spokesman said the position of the anti-graft body was not in tune with that of an unbiased investigator and credible organisation against corruption.

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Rivers: Dakuku, APC, open case as Wike, PDP kick http://sunnewsonline.com/new/rivers-dakuku-apc-open-case-as-wike-pdp-kick/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/rivers-dakuku-apc-open-case-as-wike-pdp-kick/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:03:27 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133804 After 110 days of legal rigmarole, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate for the April 11, 2015 election, Dr. Dakuku Peterside finally opened their case before the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal amidst protest by Governor Nyesom Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the appointment of a new chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Adamu Guroma.]]>

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

After 110 days of legal rigmarole, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate for the April 11, 2015 election, Dr. Dakuku Peterside finally opened their case before the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal amidst protest by Governor Nyesom Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the appointment of a new chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Adamu Guroma.
Dakuku and his political platform, the APC yesterday called eight witnesses to prove that the April 11, 2015 governorship election in the state was not only fraught with manifest irregularities, but was also conducted with total disregard to relevant provisions of the Electoral Act.
But this was not without stiff opposition mounted by the respondents, who questioned the appointment of a new Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Guroma, who replaced Justice Muazu Pindiga. Counsel to Wike, Mr. Emmanuel Ukala said they were worried by the development in view of fears and reports that the change was to favour a particular party.
Ukala, who informed the tribunal of his intention to protest against the decision at the appropriate authorities asked the tribunal for an adjournment to enable him consult with his client on the next line of action to take.
In his response, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), who appeared for the PDP while adopting the position of Ukala added that his client had been taken unawares as no notice was given to them regarding the change of the tribunal’s chairman.
Uche said in view of the anxiety created by the development, it was only reasonable for the tribunal to allow them time to consult with their clients and take necessary steps.
Counsel to INEC, Chief Onyekachi Ikpeazu [SAN] however, preferred to be neutral on the issue.
But responding, lead counsel to the petition, Chief Akinlolu Olujunmi, SAN, said they had no prior knowledge of the appointment of a new chairman for the tribunal as they only got to know about it on Wednesday in court.
He, however, said they could not question the decision of the President of the Court of Appeal in appointing a new chairman for the tribunal more so given the fact that time was already running against them.
“What we have to digest is the important fact that time is against us in this petition and everything that needs to be done to fast track the hearing of the petition must be done. In realization of this fact, we urged the tribunal to allow us to call our witnesses.”
In his bench ruling, Justice Adamu Goruma overruled the objections by Governor Wike and the PDP, saying he was posted by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, via a letter dated September 1, 2015, but which he received on September 2, to take charge of the tribunal, and would not go against that decision.
Besides, he said the petition, which was filed since May would soon expire on or before October 29 and every effort must be put in place to hear it expeditiously, adding that any aggrieved party had  the right to pursue his case at the appropriate quarters.
“We did not consider it reasonably to delay the proceedings of this tribunal. We call on the petitioners to open his case.”
After the ruling of the tribunal, the petitioners opened their case by calling eight witnesses, Jack Tamunosaki, John Lekova Koottee, Mactarlane Dunabo, Adiesigha Halliday, Tamunosa Bristol and Charles Nyome respectively who testified that the election was marred by violence, ballot boxes snatching and other allied malpractices.
Hearing continues today at the tribunal.

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APC writes IG, wants probe of ex-PDP chairman’s death http://sunnewsonline.com/new/apc-writes-ig-wants-probe-of-ex-pdp-chairmans-death/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/apc-writes-ig-wants-probe-of-ex-pdp-chairmans-death/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:01:23 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133802 Leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State has written to the Inspector- General of Police (IGP), Mr.Solomon Arase, demanding an investigation into the sudden death of former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Col Samuel Inokoba(retd).]]>

From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State has written to the Inspector- General of Police (IGP), Mr.Solomon Arase, demanding an investigation into the sudden death of former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Col Samuel Inokoba(retd).
Inokoba, who defected to the APC recently and was one of the governorship aspirants of the party slumped and died in Lagos on Wednesday while on a visit to his family.
The APC, in a letter signed by its publicity secretary, Mr. Panebi Fortune and copies made available to newsmen in Yenagoa, stated that the sudden death of Col. Inokoba needed further clarification.
The party requested for independent autopsy from security operatives to ascertain the cause of his death.
“The PDP had since the defection of Inokoba to the APC two weeks ago made open statements that Col. Inokoba would not last. Looking at the weighty statement side by side with his sudden death in Lagos, the Inokoba death needs explanation from the PDP.”
The APC family in Bayelsa State wishes to call the attention of the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to order an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death. We wish to call on security operatives to step up investigation and conduct autopsy to ascertain the cause of death of late governorship aspirant of our party.
“We are calling on the family of the deceased and the APC family to take heart and remain calm as the party’s leadership has promised to do everything to unravel the circumstances within the ambit of the law and  to get to the bottom of this colossal loss.”

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APC stinks -PDP alleges http://sunnewsonline.com/new/apc-stinks-pdp-alleges/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/apc-stinks-pdp-alleges/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 23:59:20 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133800 The main opposition party in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has, again, raised the alarm over alleged grave corrupt practices being perpetrated by the APC- led Federal Government.]]>

…Buhari will not shield corrupt members

From Taiwo Amodu And Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The main opposition party in the country, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has, again, raised the alarm over alleged grave corrupt practices being perpetrated by the APC- led Federal Government.
National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, in a statement, fingered, “associates and cronies of government, including former and present  APC governors and others, who played major roles in financing his  campaigns with stolen state funds”,  for the alleged financial sleaze.
The erstwhile ruling party dismissed the Federal Government’s anti-corruption stance as  a decoy to hoodwink  unsuspecting Nigerians.
Metuh said, while the party was not averse to the fight against  corruption, “the onus lies on the APC-led Federal Government to wage a  credible and holistic anti-corruption war by first purging itself of unclean  association and coming out clear on sleazes already going on in  government quarters since it took office in May.”
“Whereas the PDP restates its respect for the person and office of the President as well as our support for the war against corruption, it is  incumbent on us to alert Nigerians to the prevailing circumstances around this government that are capable of fundamentally undermining  good governance if left unchecked.
“Charity, they say, begins at home. For the APC-led Administration, it has  now become a question of, ‘physician, heal thyself’. Every discerning  mind knows that this administration is not executing a credible holistic  war against corruption because it is a product of corruption, surrounded  by corrupt persons; a factor apparently responsible for its obvious blind eyes to huge sleazes now being perpetrated in government agencies  by persons claiming closeness to the President.
In its reply,  the Presidency  described  the latest allegation by the PDP as, “a frivolous distraction” and advised the opposition party to stop distracting Buhari with frivolous and unfounded allegations of selectivity in the war against corruption.
The president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said contrary to PDP insinuations, Buhari has not and would not shield any APC government official from facing prosecution for corruption.
He insisted that since Buhari got into office, “he has never told the EFCC not to touch any APC governor because they belong to the same party.”
Shehu challenged Metuh to produce any evidence or instance, when President Buhari interfered in the activities of the EFCC by telling them who to prosecute and who to shield from prosecution.
Also reacting to the allegation, the  APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, dismised PDP’s allegations, saying, “these are wild and unsubstantiated allegations. They are unco-ordinated and a rehash of what PDP has been saying in the last three months. This is rabble-rousing at its worst.”

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Marwa hails Babachir Lawal’s appointment as SGF, others http://sunnewsonline.com/new/marwa-hails-babachir-lawals-appointment-as-sgf-others/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/marwa-hails-babachir-lawals-appointment-as-sgf-others/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 20:11:35 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133782 Former military governor of Lagos state and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa has hailed the appointment of Engr Babachir David Lawal as Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF. A statement released Thursday and signed by Marwa’s media aide, Bello Zubairu quoted the Adamawa born retired Army General [...]]]>

Former military governor of Lagos state and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa has hailed the appointment of Engr Babachir David Lawal as Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF.

A statement released Thursday and signed by Marwa’s media aide, Bello Zubairu quoted the Adamawa born retired Army General as saying that Lawal’s appointment by President Mohammadu Buhari “is not only a plus to his tribe or state or the North but the country as a whole.”

Gen. Marwa described the new SGF as a thorough-bred party loyalist and philanthropist with great contacts across Nigeria. “His life as an accomplished businessman, a pastor, his military background will in no little way ensure high level of discipline and impact positively on his duties as SGF”, the statement further quoted the party leader as saying.

He also described Lawal as a “fair, straight-calls it as it is, honest man who is not a yes man”, adding that “he will no doubt bring new sense of direction into office and as engine room of government, we are sure the president will get honest advice and as such policies will be well implemented and properly monitored.”

Marwa also described the appointment of Femi Adesina as the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Abba Kyari as Chief of Staff, Major Gen Babagana Monguno as National Security Adviser as well as Col. Hamid Ali (retd) as CG of Customs Service,  a paramilitary agency where his military experience will be useful, as putting round pegs in round holes.

“From every indication, the president has started well by putting merit and the nation ahead of any other considerations in these major decisions taken so far. He will however need the support of every citizen for these sincere efforts to yield fruitful manifestations that will benefit the citizenry”, the statement added.

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Nigerian lady emerges presidential candidate in Spain http://sunnewsonline.com/new/nigerian-lady-emerges-presidential-candidate-in-spain/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/nigerian-lady-emerges-presidential-candidate-in-spain/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 15:56:07 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133773 BY SAM OTTI Nigerian born Spanish lawyer, Helen Mukoro, has emerged the presidential candidate of an opposition party for the forthcoming election in Spain. She set a new record as the first woman and an immigrant to emerge presidential flag bearer of a political party. She will be running on the platform of Union De [...]]]>

BY SAM OTTI

Nigerian born Spanish lawyer, Helen Mukoro, has emerged the presidential candidate of an opposition party for the forthcoming election in Spain. She set a new record as the first woman and an immigrant to emerge presidential flag bearer of a political party. She will be running on the platform of Union De Todos, a party she founded earlier this year.

Helen, who is also a forensic expert and author of many books, was born in Delta State and worked briefly in the Governor’s Office before she travelled to Spain in 1992. She gained prominence in Spanish politics, when she founded a political party and later became the first Nigerian-Spanish to contest for the Mayor of Denia in May this year. Although she lost the election, her popularity soared higher as several people endorsed him for the highest office in the land.

Helen holds several academic qualifications. Aside graduating in Law at the Spanish National University Alicante, she also holds a Master degree in Criminology, Masters degree in Social Education, a post graduate certificate in Tax and Labor Management, a post graduate certificate in Forensic Psychology, and a post graduate certificate in Immigration and Domestic Violence. She worked as a legal consultant (Immigration Department) at the Red Cross Society, Spain and presently owns a legal firm. She served as the CEO and President at the African Europe Chamber of Commerce. CEO/President at National Agency of Forensic Experts, Mediators and Technical Professionals of Spain and Europe.

Helen had followed the trail of the United States President, Barack Obama, who was the first African-American to win the presidency.

The 2015 Spanish general election would be held on or before Sunday, December 20, 2015, as provided by the Spanish constitution and the Organic Law of the General Election Regime of 1985. The ruling People’s Party (PP), led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, will seek re-election for a second term in office, while the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) will struggle to return to power after four years in opposition. The election will be marked by the rise of new parties Podemos (Spanish for “We can”) and Citizens.

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Governors at war with predecessors http://sunnewsonline.com/new/governors-at-war-with-predecessors/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/governors-at-war-with-predecessors/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 00:57:38 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133687 By Chinelo Obogo It is a season of probes in Nigeria. Across the country, governors are beaming their searchlight on the tenure of their predecessors. From Rivers to Kastina, Lagos to Bauchi, the situation is the same. It is not surprising that most of the new governors are probing their predecessor, especially owing to the bitterness that [...]]]>

By Chinelo Obogo

It is a season of probes in Nigeria. Across the country, governors are beaming their searchlight on the tenure of their predecessors. From Rivers to Kastina, Lagos to Bauchi, the situation is the same.
It is not surprising that most of the new governors are probing their predecessor, especially owing to the bitterness that characterised governorship contests in most of the states during the last general election.
Expectedly, the former governors who are being scrutinised are crying foul, with most of them alleging  witch-hunt by their successors. Undeterred by the hues and cries trailing the exercise, governors of the concerned states are pressing on with the probe.
In Rivers State for example, Governor Nyesom Wike is hot on the heels of his predecessor, Chibuike Amaechi. Wike had accused Amaechi of plundering the state’s resources and leaving behind an empty treasury, a claim the former governor has vehemently refuted. While the former belongs to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the latter is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Amaechi has maintained his innocence, saying that Wike, who used to be his ally, was witch hunting him.
The story of the former Rivers State governor and his successor is typical of love turned sour. Before now, both men were bosom friends such that after the controversy surrounding the 2007 Rivers PDP gubernatorial  primaries that saw Mr Celestine Omehia replace Amaechi as  the party’s governorship candidate, it was said that Wike not only mobilised and used his political structure to support Amaechi, he also  sourced more of the funds which was used to fight Amaechi’s legal battle.
The Supreme Court eventually ruled that the immediate past Rivers State governor was the validly nominated PDP governorship candidate in the state and directed that he should be sworn in immediately.
Shortly after he took over, Amaechi appointed Wike as  his Chief of Staff. The position made the latter very  powerful, such that he overshadowed the then deputy governor, Tele Ikuru. At that time, he called the shots and his word was law in the state.
A story was once told of a meeting in which a former governor of Cross Rivers, Liyel Imoke led former South South governors to meet with Amaechi in Rivers State. Informed sources said during the meeting, Wike addressed the governors. After his lengthy speech, Imoke was reported to have told Amaechi that his Chief of Staff had said all that needed to be said, and as such, there was no need for further speeches. That event allegedly infuriated Amaechi who had already become uncomfortable with Wike’s growing influence and the relationship between the two gradually waned.
Today, the erstwhile friends are sworn enemies, and Wike’s emergence as governor has further deepened the row.
A few weeks after his inauguration, Wike inaugurated a seven-man Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate Amaechi’s eight-year tenure in the state.  At the inauguration of commission, Wike  said that the probe was in conformity with Section 2 (1) of the Commission of Inquiry Law of Rivers State. The panel was charged to investigate among others, the sale of Omoku 150 MW Gas Turbine; Afam 360 MW Gas Turbine; Trans-Amadi 136 Gas Turbine and Eleme 75 MW Gas Turbine.
It is also to investigate the withdrawal and expenditure of N96 billion from the Rivers Reserve Fund without compliance with Rivers State Reserve Fund Law N0. 2 of 2008,  the non-execution of the contract for the construction of Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte Specialist Hospital after the payment of $39,200,000 to the contractor and  the non-execution of some contracts, the major  part of which had been paid for.
The commission was given one month to conclude its assignment and submit its report to the governor.
Also  in Katsina State, hostilities between former governor Ibrahim Shema of the PDP and his successor, Aminu Bello Masari surfaced shortly after the former handed over to the latter. Masari, who was a member of the  PDP before defecting to the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), one of the parties that merged to form the APC, announced immediately he assumed office that he met an empty treasury and a debt profile of N42billion.
He accused his predecessor of waste and mismanagement of resources in some critical sectors. Masari, shortly went on to raise four different committees to probe the activities of four sectors of the state during the  second tenure of his predecessor which lasted  from 2011  to 2015.
The four-key sectors whose activities would be probed are Katsina State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Katsina State Road Maintenance Agency (KASROMA), MDGs/SURE-P, and, the Department of Girl Child Education and Child Development.
Part of the duties of the committees were to ascertain the location and status of project executed  between 2011 and 2015, to determine whether or not funds earmarked for the  said projects have been judiciously allocated and economically used.
Masari said the setting up of the committee had nothing to do with witch-hunt, but was borne out of the desire to set the records of  government activities straight. He admonished the committee members to  resist the temptation of allowing their personal interest and  preference interfere with the job.
According to the governor, available records indicate that  SUBEB, the agency saddled with the responsibility of  coordinating primary education,  received huge amount of money within the period to be covered by the  investigation, as counterpart funding to strengthen primary education.
Besides, the Kastina governor  noted that reports available to him showed  that Shema left a debt of  N42 billion,  a shortfall of N13 billion in federation allocations, N15 billion in foreign debts and N6.2 in arrears owed pensioners at the local government level.
Expectedly, the constitution of the committee has continued  to generate  different reactions from different sections of the state. The   people have continued express diverse opinions as to its propriety or  otherwise of the investigative panels.
In his response to the allegations levelled against him, Shema described the probe as a witchhunt meant to taint his reputation.  He said that aside ensuring that he left no uncompleted project, he left N4 billion in the state treasury and ensured that no state worker was owed salaries.
The former governor, who spoke  said through his spokesman, Oluwabusola Olawale, insisted that his administration did not borrow money throughout his tenure and therefore, he did not leave debts behind, adding  that he  disbursed N8.5 billion to all the local governments shortly before handing over on May 29.
The case of Lagos has a different twist to the emerging face off. This is because the immediate past governor, Babatunde Fashola and his successor, Akinwumi Ambode are members of the APC.
In the run up to the APC governorship primaries, Fashola was said to have preffered a former Attorney General in the state, Mr Supo Sasore to succeed him as governor. On the contrary, Ambode had the full backing of a national leader of APC and former governor of  the state, Bola Tinubu. Ambode eventually won the party primaries.
Even though Fashola participated actively during Ambode and President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign, insiders insist that there was still ill feelings between Fashola and his predecessor, Tinubu.
Fashola’s political battles with Tinubu dates back to 2007, when he was seeking a second tenure.  Those privy to events in the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), where both men belonged before the advent of APC  said that Fashola was not favoured to earn  a second term over allegations of disloyalty to his predecessor.
If these speculations were considered invalid, the events which occurred around that time gave the rumours that Fashola had fallen out with his predecessor more bite. One of such incidences was the refusal of the seventh State House of Assembly led by former speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforji  to approve the year 2010 budget proposal. The proposal was sent back to the then governor on three occasions. It took a short unscheduled meeting between Tinubu and the lawmakers for the budget proposal to be approved. The message was clear. Tinubu still called the shots.
While the dust from the budget proposal debacle was yet to settle, a group known as True Face of Lagos, petitioned the Lagos House of Assembly asking it to probe Fashola over alleged mismanagement of funds. Again, Tinubu intervened and the probe never saw the light of day.
A subdued Fashola eventually got a second term ticket, but it was obvious that all was not well.  With Buhari’s emergence as President, many felt that Fashola would play a key role in Buhari’s administration especially because of his closeness to the president. Sources say this possibility did not go down well with powerful forces in Lagos who do not want an enhanced political profile for him. They figured out that the only way to stop that from happening is to “discredit” him.
The recent revelation by the Lagos public procurement agency of some of the ‘over bloated’ expenditures made during Fashola’s administration lends credence to this assertion. The first publication that was released on the website showed that Fashola’s administration spent N78 million to upgrade his personal website. Information on the agency’s website also states that Fashola spent the sum of N139 million on the drilling of two boreholes at the Lagos House, Ikeja in 2013. The report further revealed that in 2013, Deux Projects Limited was awarded the sum of N300 million for the relocation of Power Holding Company of Nigeria at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital.
Also awarded to Deux Projects Limited was the sum of N220 million, used for the facility management of the Lagos State University College of Medicine. It was also availed that in the same year, the Fashola administration spent N640 million on the reconstruction of a car park and “other associated works” at the Lagos House, Marina, awarded to Julius Berger as part of phase two of the reconstruction of Lagos House.
Although Tinubu has denied any rift between him  and Fashola, the fact that no APC leader or governor turned up at the recent book launch held in honour of the immediate past Lagos governor  was an indication that his battles were far from over.
In Niger state, the scenario is slightly different.  The Niger State governor, Abubakar Bello of the APC said his predecessor, former governor Babangida Aliyu of the PDP misappropriated N2.9 billion and asked him to return the money he allegedly took from the state coffers. Bello, through his spokesman, Ibrahim Dooba, had said that the money was taken as loan on the eve of the expiration of Aliyu’s tenure as governor.
While saying  that his administration  would not witch-hunt any past leader, the Niger governor  insisted that the “misappropriated” money belongs to the people.  Already, the State House of Assembly has reportedly directed Bello to raise a panel to probe Aliyu. Also,  Bauchi State governor, Mohammed Abubakar of the APC  has accused his predecessor, Isa Yuguda of the PDP of destroying the state. Abubakar said apart from leaving an empty treasury, the former governor also left  a debt of N125 billion and unpaid salary arrears.
He pointedly asked Yuguda to account for the sum of  N825 billion received by his administration, vowing  to employ all measures to trace funds and property allegedly looted during the tenure of the immediate past administration under Yuguda in the state and recover same.
So far, the new administration in Bauchi State has allegedly seized a total of  22 vehicles in the possession of Yuguda’s wives.
The chairman of the transition committee, Senator Mohammed Mohammed said that the recovery of the vehicles was in tandem with the mandate of the committee to recover all items confirmed to have been allocated against due process and return them to the government. According to him, 11 cars were recovered from his first wife, seven from the second wife and four from the third wife.
A lawyer and public affairs analyst, Martins Agoziem says the fight against corruption and embezzlement should be holistic for it to achieve results.
“Corruption in Nigeria is endemic and should be dealt with in a very sincere way. Nigerians want to see the sincerity of our governors and even the President in the way they carry out their probes. So far, the fight against corruption is being done selectively. It should not be so. In a situation where probing is done based on party affiliations or vendetta,  it won’t achieve much results. If a governor is a member of party A, and his predecessor is a member of party B, then the likelihood of probing and scrutiny would be very high. But if both are from the same party, and are still in good terms, the likelihood of probing would be low or nonexistent. So far, the probing that is going on both at the federal and state levels show very high rate of nepotism. If we want to tackle corruption, it should be done without fear. Probing should not be used to score cheap political points.” he said.

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Forgery case: No respite for Saraki, Ekweremadu http://sunnewsonline.com/new/forgery-case-no-respite-for-saraki-ekweremadu/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/forgery-case-no-respite-for-saraki-ekweremadu/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 00:46:44 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133685 …Senate Unity Forum denies withdrawing suit By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi The Senate Unity Forum (SUF) yesterday denied withdrawing forgery of the Senate Standing Orders case against Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu from an Abuja High Court. On Tuesday, reports said Justice Ademola Adeniyi of the Federal High Court struck out the [...]]]>

…Senate Unity Forum denies withdrawing suit

By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi

The Senate Unity Forum (SUF) yesterday denied withdrawing forgery of the Senate Standing Orders case against Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu from an Abuja High Court.
On Tuesday, reports said Justice Ademola Adeniyi of the Federal High Court struck out the case and also stopped further hearing on the matter after the SUF, loyal to Senator Ahmad Lawan, withdrew the suit.
But yesterday, counsel to the SUF, Mamman Mike Osuman (SAN), described as “erroneous and mischievous” a report that his clients had withdrawn the suit.
In a statement issued in Abuja, Osuman reiterated that suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/647/2015 and dated July 24, wherein “the purported elections of Saraki and Ekweremadu were challenged,” filed by Senator Anthony Adeniyi, has been withdrawn.
Osuman contended that “oblivious of the existence of the above suit, he, having been briefed, filed yet, another civil suit with an originating summons: FHC/ABJ/CS/651/2015. The above particularised suit differs in contents as can be distilled from their respective grounds, reliefs sought, affidavit evidence, parties and declarations sought.”
He insisted that it was the first suit filed by Senator Adeniyi, who served in the Seventh Senate, that was withdrawn and not that filed by serving Senators including Suleiman Hunkuyi, Kabir Garba Marafa, Abu Ibrahim, Robert Ajayi Boroffice and Gbenga Ashafa.
“Despite the legal possibility that the suit discontinued could be re-filed, the media should have been more specific about the case withdrawn…Contrary to the misinformation put out there, we hereby confirm that the originating summons in suit No:FHC/ABJ/CS/651/2015 filed at the instance of the above-named Senators against Saraki, Ekweremadu and the National Assembly.”
Osuman insisted that the prayers sought in the originating summons still persist; which is that the elections which brought Saraki and Ekweremadu are “illegal, irregular and non-sustainable because the Senate Standing Orders (2011) were not amended in the manner stipulated by Rules 110 of the 2011 Senate Standing Orders to produce the purported document titled: Senate Standing Orders 2015 (as amended).

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Bayelsa guber: Relief as Dickson secures Patience Jonathan’s support http://sunnewsonline.com/new/bayelsa-guber-relief-as-dickson-secures-patience-jonathans-support/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/bayelsa-guber-relief-as-dickson-secures-patience-jonathans-support/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 00:44:37 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133682 •Senators broker truce From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa The ice between Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson, former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan and other stakeholders finally thawed yesterday with an endorsement of his second term bid. Reports had alleged that Mrs. Jonathan was stridently opposed to Dickson’s return and was reportedly propping up her aide to [...]]]>

•Senators broker truce

From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

The ice between Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson, former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan and other stakeholders finally thawed yesterday with an endorsement of his second term bid.
Reports had alleged that Mrs. Jonathan was stridently opposed to Dickson’s return and was reportedly propping up her aide to take the seat.
Checks by Daily Sun in Yenagoa, the state capital yesterday indicated that several Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) topshots in the state intervened on behalf of Dickson and impressed it on Patience why she should back the governor for a second term.
A source privy to the peace moves said, “she was told that her continued animosity towards the governor could cost the PDP the governorship on December 5, a move that could open the doors for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to disgrace former President Goodluck Jonathan by taking over the state.
“She agreed and consequently directed her political associates, being coordinated by the former Senior Special Assistant to Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Dr Waripamowei Dudafa, to work for Dickson and the PDP.
“In politics, there is unity in diversity. People disagree to agree. It was not a hidden fact that Governor Dickson was at loggerheads with Dame Jonathan. But it is also true that, by human nature, she may not have supported Dickson. But we believe she has weighed it and discovered that this election is beyond Dickson and because she is from Bayelsa and Rivers states, she knows what it took the Rivers man to retain the PDP leadership. She cannot now, because of anger, allow Bayelsa to be under the APC.” the source added.

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Kogi guber: Protesters shut down APC secretariat http://sunnewsonline.com/new/kogi-guber-protesters-shut-down-apc-secretariat/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/kogi-guber-protesters-shut-down-apc-secretariat/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 23:55:07 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133652 … Demand reversal of  Audu’s nomination 
 From Fred Itua, Abuja The National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja, was yesterday, literally shut down by hundreds of protesters, who called for the reversal of the ticket given to former Kogi State governor , Prince Abubakar Audu, to contest the forthcoming gubernatorial election in [...]]]>

… Demand reversal of  Audu’s nomination 


From Fred Itua, Abuja

The National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja, was yesterday, literally shut down by hundreds of protesters, who called for the reversal of the ticket given to former Kogi State governor , Prince Abubakar Audu, to contest the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state.
The protesters alleged  that Audu has a case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and therefore, should be barred from flying the party’s ticket.
Audu, last weekend,  emerged the party’s flag bearer ahead of the November 21 governorship election in the state, defeating  27 other aspirants.
He was however, refused the certificate of return by the national secretariat on Tuesday, because the grace given to other aspirants to submit petition against the primaries conducted by governor Nasir El-rufai- led committee, was yet to elapse .
At the gate of the party’s secretariat, scores of protesters with placards urged the party leadership  to reverse the nomination of the former governor, if it wanted to win the election.
The  inscriptions in some of the placards read: “Kogi state say ‘no’ to Audu”, and, “We need a credible leader in Kogi” among others.
The situation at a point, got tensed as the protesters threw stones at Audu’s supporters, who were at the secretariat.
Addressing newsmen later,  the leader  of the protesters, Suleiman Muhammad, contended that Audu’s  ongoing case with EFCC was enough to disqualify him from the contest.
He said: “We are here to protest against the candidature of Prince Abubakar Audu, on the platform of APC for the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi State. We say ‘no’ to Abubakar Audu because he has N11 billion corruption case with the EFCC. Until he clears himself of the case, he has no moral right to present himself for an election.
“The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has declared war against corruption. We, the concerned citizens of Kogi State, are in support of his anti- corruption move. We want to follow the path of the APC ‘change’ mantra and we will not support Audu because of his alleged corruption.”
In his reaction, Audu said  90 per cent of people in the Senate have cases with the EFCC, stressing that, “ the fact that you have a case with the EFCC does not make you a criminal.”

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Rivers guber election: Peterside, APC shun inspection of materials http://sunnewsonline.com/new/rivers-guber-election-peterside-apc-shun-inspection-of-materials/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/rivers-guber-election-peterside-apc-shun-inspection-of-materials/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 23:51:31 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133647 From Tony John, Port Harcourt Rivers State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, his party and other petitioners at the State Election Petition Tribunal, yesterday, boycotted the inspection of election materials used in the last general election in the state. The external solicitor to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), [...]]]>

From Tony John, Port Harcourt

Rivers State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, his party and other petitioners at the State Election Petition Tribunal, yesterday, boycotted the inspection of election materials used in the last general election in the state.
The external solicitor to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr. Julius Mba, announced the boycott yesterday, at the Commission’s office along Aba road, Port Harcourt.
Mba stated that parties involved in the case had, in their meeting on September 1, 2015, agreed to participate in the inspection of the election materials slated for 9am yesterday, and wondered why they  shunned the exercise.
He pointed out that the inspection of the materials was in compliance with the order given by the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, on June 11, and re-affirmed by the same tribunal in a later sitting, that INEC should allow the petitioners access to the materials.
“We are surprised that after agreeing in our meeting yesterday, to meet by 9am today (Wednesday), to inspect the materials used in the April 11, 2015 election, none of the petitioners, their solicitors or agents is present. We would not mind to stay throughout today or even tomorrow, to wait for them.
“We, the Commission, being entrusted to conduct the said election in question, have played our role. We are not supporting any party. Our position is clear; we are not taking side”, he said.
The INEC’s external solicitor said the petitioners had been allowed to inspect the materials in the Commission’s  obedience to the order of the tribunal by making available the documents.
He said: “INEC in due compliance with the tribunal order of June 11, 2015, obeyed; but, the petitioners are not available. It is our documents, we cannot inspect them; they are to inspect them.”
Reacting to the statement, counsel to APC, Henry Odili, stated that INEC had denied them access to, “photocopy, inspect and scan all the materials” used for the election, which was granted by the tribunal.
Odili said INEC refused to obey the first order by the tribunal and wondered why the Commission would be playing to the gallery.
Those present at the inspection process were INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in the State, Dame Gesila Khan, the External Solicitor, Mba; governor Nyesom Wike’s team of solicitors led by Dan Okoh (SAN), his agents and the solicitor to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

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Fireworks over National Assembly jumbo pay http://sunnewsonline.com/new/fireworks-over-national-assembly-jumbo-pay/ http://sunnewsonline.com/new/fireworks-over-national-assembly-jumbo-pay/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 00:40:19 +0000 http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=133527 Protagonists and antagonists of pay cut for senators and members of the House of Representatives are yet to echo ‘uhuru’ even as the chairman of ‎Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission ]]>

•Lawmakers divided

By Fred Itua,  Abuja

Protagonists and antagonists of pay cut for senators and members of the House of Representatives are yet to echo ‘uhuru’ even as the chairman of ‎Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC)‎, Mr. Elias Mbam‎ gave an indication recently that no Nigerian lawmaker should earn more than N1 million. Nerves might have been calmed by the pronouncement, but the bone of contention surrounding other allowances of federal lawmakers are yet to be resolved.

‎The fireworks surrounding the alleged jumbo pay for federal lawmakers did not start today. Many key observers and interest groups echoed it ‎in the past, but the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and current Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi gave an impetus to the national outcry in 2010 when he told Nigerians that the cost of running the National Assembly constituted 25 per cent of the overhead of the Federal Government budget‎.

Former minister of Education, Dr  Obiageli Ezekwesili added salt to injury when she alleged in 2013 that the  federal legislature was a drain on the country’s national purse. She had stated that the National Assembly had between 2005 and 2013 received over N1 trillion.‎ Ezekwesili had further revealed that in 2005 and 2006, the National Assembly was allocated N54.79 billion respectively, but the amount rose to N158 billion in 2010 and that the allocation had been steady at N150 billion since 2011.‎

‎Apparently eager to be in President Muhammadu Buhari’s good books, Mbam who was equally ‎RMAFC boss when the agitation for the reduction of lawmakers’ jumbo pay started, told State House correspondents after a meeting with the president last week, that no senator or House of Representatives member should earn more than N1m monthly, going by the recommendations of the commission, which fixes salaries and wages for public officers.‎ According to him, a new pay structure that will reflect the economic realities will be proposed next month for all categories of public officers.

Mbam had insisted that if the lawmakers’ salaries are cut by the RMAFC after the review, they must abide by the decision. “They do not have a choice; we are guided by the Constitution and we are going to be guided by such laws that are provided for in the Constitution and the oath they swore to obey the laws of the country. We are currently reviewing the subsisting remuneration packages and it is going to reflect the socio-economic realities of today.‎

“We expect that before the end of next month, it will be ready. But it will go through a process. It is not something that you will just say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It will go through a process and it should be obvious to you the economic realities of the day and it is going to reflect that. Recently, the oil price dropped. Many government agencies, the states and local governments have not been able to pay salaries. These are some of the issues that made it necessary to review it.

“It did not start with this administration; we started the review as far back as last year. It is not because of the present administration that we commenced it. We will ensure that we use all legitimate means to make all public office holders take home the remuneration as determined by the Commission and ensure that leakages are blocked and we try to expand the size of the cake.‎

“I do not want to give a definite date because it is beyond my control. I do not determine when the process will be concluded but as far as the Commission is concerned, we have concluded our work and announced to the general public that we have a draft. But you know it goes through a process before it finally becomes a law,” he had revealed. ‎

‎Unlike the Senate, the leadership of the House of Representatives has not entirely expressed indications that it might succumb to public pressure and reduce salaries of members by a sizable percentage. The tactical delay by the House leadership might have been borne out of the refusal by members to adopt the initiative. As it stands now, members appear to be sharply divided. ‎

‎Sani Zorro, chairman, ad-hoc committee on Media and Public affairs of the House in a chat with Daily Sun gave credence to insinuations that the lower chamber of the National Assembly was not entirely ready to embrace the pay cut that has dominated public space since the inauguration of the 8th Assembly.  ‎

‎”Let me say that this perception or agitation did not start with the 8th Assembly. It’s been there since the return of democracy in 1999. But the present House leadership is concerned, the House of Representatives as a result of the outcry of Nigerians who have been taking critical exemption to the funding of the National Assembly, has decided to review the holistic funding of the activities of members.

“This review will also result in the right-sizing and the funding of various aspects of our activities. We have already put a mechanism in motion to achieve that. It will also result in drastic cut of our finances, including salaries, allowances and running cost. What I can assure you is that we are submitting to the will of the people as a responsible legislative institution. We can no longer ignore the popular observations and wishes of the people who elected us in the first place. By the grace of God, the House will be credited with addressing issues of persistent agitations against our finances,” Zoro stated.

‎Some lawmakers who are vehemently opposed to pay cut have warned that overtime, it could have adverse effects on the performance and credibility of members. According to a member representing Esan West, Esan Central and Igueben federal constituency in Edo state, lawmakers might explore other ways to make money, especially during committees oversight functions. He believes that lawmakers should be well remunerated in order to stay focused and deliver true dividends of democracy. ‎

‎Chief Edionwele said: “I think people are speaking out of ignorance. Even before now, I was one of those who believed in the same thing. The records will be made public. We will ensure that National Assembly does that. Nigerians need to know. The salaries we earn are not in any way close to what people speculate. People in the oil and gas sector, banking and even lecturers earn more than the president and us.‎

“By the time we make it public, everybody will have peace. It will give you peace. One of my friends told me that the salary and allowances I will earn will be N40 million. I told him if I get that for 10 months, I will resign. I can tell you that by the time it is made public, people will sympathise with us. Legislators should earn well so that he will not be corrupt during his oversight functions. But it should not be bloated‎,” Edionwele told Daily Sun.

While many Nigerians still hold the view that salaries and remuneration of federal lawmakers should be reduced to reflect the current financial state of the country, observers have warned of its adverse effects on effective lawmaking. They argued that many lawmakers might be compromised and sacrifice their integrity in order to maintain the high financial demands.

Another class of observers equally believe that certain records must be set straight before RMAFC goes ahead to tinker with the salaries and remuneration of lawmakers. A social media activist, Mr. Chukwudi Ahamafuna argued: “I am in support of pay cut for lawmakers. But we must address certain issues first. These lawmakers spend millions of naira during elections just to win. They have to find a way to get these monies back if we do not want crisis. I am aware of a member of the House of Representatives who took N40 million as loan to run for office. How will he get his money back?

“That is not all. These federal lawmakers have dependants who‎ are in their hundreds. They are in all the constituencies. How do you intend to take care of these people? Nigeria is not ripe yet where you expect a lawmaker to ignore his people while in office. The unemployment rate is very high and these lawmakers bring succour to them. We must factor that in. Unless you are saying that they should ignore their people and lose elections.

“During the last elections, some aspirant’s bought bags of rice and clothes for the electorate. Some even gave out money. You think they will not get these money back? If you cut their pay, they will find other means of getting these monies. They will definitely compromise when they go for oversight functions. They will mount pressure on departments and agencies of government to make up. Is that what we want? Their budget is small and should not even be a subject of discussion.”

Unlike the legislature, Nigerians seldom beam their searchlights on the judiciary which also corners almost N80 billion annually as budget. Although Professor Itse Sagay ‎has repeatedly argued that the amount is insufficient to run the third arm of government, critics who are calling for pay cut for lawmakers believe that the judiciary should be affected as well.

Sagay had argued: “The budget for the judiciary is inadequate. I think it is a setback for the judiciary. We need a government, particularly the executive, which appreciates the importance of the third arm of government as a matter of culture and duty,” Sagay said. The judiciary does not have the bargaining power like the legislature has by approving budget. They, in fact, add money to the budget, in their favour. We need to have a culturally elevated standard to reason that whether the judiciary has the bargaining power or not, it is as well important. We dare not leave the judiciary behind in the budget.”

As the pay cut mantra sweeps across the nation, Nigerians are patiently waiting to see how events will unfold. Whether or not members of the House of Representatives will contest plans by RMAFC to cut their pay is still uncertain, but with time, Nigerians will know where the pendulum will shift.

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