Politics
Political Commentaries

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APC National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Ahmed Tinubu was at the inauguration of new governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu.

Director of Media and Communications to the Kano State governor, Salihu Tanko Yakasai, @Dawisu tweeted pictures from the inauguration ground that showed Tinubu exchanging pleasantries with other dignitaries at the event.

 

Tinubu was believed to have worked against the emergence of Akeredolu, going by a letter he wrote to the APC National chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, after the primaries which produced Akeredolu as APC’s flagbearer for the guber poll. In the letter, Tinubu demanded Oyegun’s resignation as party chairman, accusing him of unfairness in the handling of the conflict emanating from the party primary.

It is believed that Tinubu’s candidate was Olusegun Abraham who scored 635 votes, just 34 votes short of Akeredolu’s 669.

Speculations on Tinubu’s unhappiness heightened when leadership of the APC, including President Muhammadu Buhari, went to Ondo State for campaigns without Tinubu being present. Also, Lagos state governor, as well as Osun state governor, both of whom are seen to be extremely loyal to the party leader, were absent from rally.

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Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has lashed out at the Police, saying that in fair and just atmosphere, those indicted by the report of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, would have been severely dealt with in accordance with the law.

The governor spoke, yesterday, during a campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, at Okehi, headquarters of Etche Local Government Area of the state, ahead of the re-run election for Etche/Omuma federal constituency and Etche state constituency seats. He said:

“If we were in a civilised country with the right leadership, the persons mentioned in the report would have resigned from their positions. They should bury their heads in shame. They are plotting how to kill us, but God is exposing them. It is only God that has the final say.”

The governor enjoined INEC and security agencies to ensure a free and fair re-run election in the area on Saturday He appealed to people of the area to vote overwhelmingly for his party. “The money that is keeping Nigeria afloat is from Rivers State. Therefore, Nigeria must listen to Rivers State. The voices of our people must be heard,” he said.

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Ali Modu-Sheriff, PDP Chairman

The court-declared National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, yesterday, took charge of the opposition party, warning those misrepresenting him in the media to respect themselves. The Court of Appeal, sitting in Port-Harcourt, had, on Friday, declared Sheriff as the National Chairman of the PDP after a legal battle for the leadership of the party launched by a faction led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi.

“This is the first time I am making a statement since the Court of Appeal in Port-Harcourt made its pronouncement; but I have seen and read many stories purported to have come from me against leaders of the party. People should respect themselves and not create more problems for the party,” he told journalists in Abuja.

 

The PDP National Chairman, however, extended olive branch to the Makarfi group, saying the court affirmation of his leadership was a “victory for all”.

Meanwhile, he unfolded a roadmap for the PDP which, according to him, aims at upstaging the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 presidential election.

Sounding conciliatory to the Makarfi faction of the PDP, Sheriff, flanked by Shehu Umar, a former Special Assistant to Vice President Namadi Sambo; Senator Hope Uzodinwa and Chief Chris Uba, among others, Sheriff said he was ready to make sacrifices to ensure that the party remains united, strong and ready to go into the next elections better prepared.

He stated: “The verdict of the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt is victory for all. There are no losers and no winners. As a party, we have had some little misunderstanding within ourselves and what happened, yesterday, is beginning of all the good things that will come for the Peoples Democratic Party. Sheriff is not the winner, Makarfi is not the loser. All of us are winners.

“We are going to unite the party. I was not even in town when the decision of the appeal court was reached. I have come back so that we can put our house in order. I have received many calls from different leaders and I have also made several calls to leaders of the party ever since the verdict was passed. I have received calls from our governors, members of the National assembly and other leaders of the party.”

According to him, the APC is the one campaigning for the PDP. “As a party we were doing nothing. I want to assure you that this party will come back to the position it was in 1999. All the leaders of the party will be consulted between now and the next one week and we will come out with a roadmap that will culminate in a successful convention. I am not interested in continuing as the National Chairman of the party. What I am interested in is to unite and rebuild the party to make sure that we have credible leaders that will take us to a successful election in 2019.

“Let me put it on record that the survival of the PDP is greater than any one of us. This party is a party that was in government for more than sixteen years. Today marks the beginning of going back to winning elections.”

The PDP leader asked people not look at the PDP crisis as an issue or as a personal problem between him and Makarfi or any leader of the party.

“I will formally consult the national assembly, the governors, the Board of Trustees so that we can come out with a proper roadmap. Within the shortest period, we will organise a convention so that people will aspire to whatever position that they want.

“Nobody is a victor and nobody is a loser. I have spoken to almost all the people that have been affected by this position and I want to assure that everybody will come back together to form one united party.

“I have full confidence in the judiciary of this country but the judiciary is not the best place to settle political disputes but our judiciary is first class. Let me caution people that have been making misguided statements against our judiciary to desist from doing so.

“There are many well meaning Nigerians from all walks of life that want this party to be united and that is what I want. Nothing more. I do not believe in all the insinuations that are coming from different quarters that APC is sponsoring me; my hands are clean. There is nothing to hide. Those that are making those statements, check their antecedents. As a person, I want to make sure that I make my contribution to the success of this party and by doing that, I am ready to make any sacrifice for the PDP. We want impunity to stop. We do not want to lose election again. Unless and until we do things correctly, people will not take us serious. Democracy is about people. You either give them their rights or they leave you. What I want to do is to give the party back to the people.

“I want to assure all the leaders of the party across Nigeria that all the elections that were conducted prior to the convention stand. We will only conduct election in those places that elections were not held. “I will call the leader of the reconciliation committee, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, to ensure that we have a quick roadmap that will lead to a successful convention.”

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Ali Modu-Sheriff, PDP Chairman

The factional PDP chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff has won his case at the Appeal Court. As a result of this latest development, the caretaker committee may have been nullified by the court, upholding Justice Abang’s judgement.

Recall that the power tussle between Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi have been ongoing for a very long time now.

It was gathered that the three judges of the court in a unanimous decision agreed that the Modu Sheriff is the chairman of the PDP.

Chieftains of the party from the two sides had at various fora expressed readiness to abide by the outcome of the appeal court verdict with a view to bringing lasting peace in the party.

A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt had last year given legitimacy to Makarfi as the chairman of the party, while another court of coordinate jurisdiction in Abuja, headed by Justice Okon Abang, had ruled that Sheriff should be recognized as the chairman.

The PDP has not been able to play the role of leading opposition to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) because of the crisis ravaging it from within.

An appeal court in Abuja had on December 16, 2016, adjourned indefinitely, the separate hearing in the leadership tussle so as to pave way for the Port Harcourt division of the court to exhaust the case before it.

Both Makarfi and Sheriff have been operating from satellite offices following the closure of the national headquarters of the party, at Wadata Plaza in Abuja.

The crisis in the PDP is also raging in many states where Makarfi and Sheriff share the loyalty of members.

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Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha

Mixed reactions yesterday trailed the comment by Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha urging the South-East to wait till 2023 for the Presidency.

Okorocha said the Presidency has been zoned to the North for two terms of eight years (2015-2023), hence, Ndigbo should exercise patience till 2023. His comment followed former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s advice that Ndigbo should go for the slot in 2019.

Okorocha bared his mind on the Presidency when he visited Acting President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja on Monday.

Prominent Igbos took on the governor, some condemned the statement, while others saw nothing wrong in his opinion.

Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Anambra State, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene, said the position of the socio-cultural group would be unveiled by the National President, Chief John Nwodo on the issue.

He said Okorocha was speaking for himself and not the entire opinion of Ndigbo, noting that Igbo presidency was overdue.

“For me, the Igbo presidency is overdue, Okorocha’s statement was his personal opinion. How were sure that 2023 will be guaranteed. I believed in the assertion of the former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo that Igbos should position themselves for the presidency in 2019 and he gave reasons for his opinion”.

But a Board of Trustees member of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Remmy Ezeonwuka, supported Okorocha, saying President Muhammadu Buhari should be allowed to finish his second term then, an Igbo man should be the next President after him.

“I’m supporting the idea of Rochas Okorocha that President Buhari be allowed to finish his second term. Then, an Igbo man should be the next president.

A former Minister for Power and Steel, Chief Goddy Ogbaga, said Ndigbo will be ready to take a shot at the Presidency in 2019, describing Okorocha’s statement as anti-South-East.

He said Ndigbo would be most honoured to take a shot at the presidency by coming together to form a formidable block that would enable them succeed in the project.

Supporting Okorocha is the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu.

Okechukwu backed the governor while addressing party faithful at the ongoing registration and revalidation of All Progressives Congress (APC) membership at Iwollo Oghe, Ezeagu Local Government Area, Enugu State. He said Okorocha’s comment was strategic.

President of Frank Worpet Inc, Prince Frank Okoye, in disagreeing with Okorocha, said: “It is unfortunate that Obasanjo, who is from another tribe is encouraging Igbos for the Presidency in 2019, while Okorocha is talking about 2023. Okorocha has always been on his own.

“As an Igbo man and a governor, how can he be saying something like that. How many years after the war, Igbos have not had a shot at the presidency and he is now saying we should wait till 2023,” he said.

On his part, Chief Alphonsus E.Udeigbo, President-General of Aba Landlords Association, had said: “I don’t know the  basis under which Okorocha is saying so, if it is as a result of an understanding the Igbos have with the North, one can say that it should be considered, but if it just for the Igbos to wait endlessly as we have been waiting since after the civil war, it does not worth it.

Reacting, former Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly and APC chieftain, Stanley Ohajuruka, said: “Okorocha’s call is a consensus position of the Igbos as it is, that we should support the second tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, so that by 2023, he will also support us. That will be a reciprocal gesture from the North, having given them all the support they needed from us as Igbo people in 2019.”

Meanwhile, the Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) yesterday berated Okorocha.

Speaking through its Founder, Evang. Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, the IYM said the governor has not shown any evidence of good leadership.

“Leaders advance the wishes and the good of their people like Ojukwu, M.I. Okpara and Nnamdi Kalu. Leaders live in the heart of their people, nobody takes Okorocha serious in Igboland.

 “Ndigbo, like 80 per cent of Nigerians, want to see a restructured Nigeria anchored on regional autonomy and true fiscal federation built on justice and equity,” the group said.

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Rt Hon Jumoke Akindele, suspended Speaker of Ondo HoA

The Ondo State House of Assembly Speaker, Jumoke Akindele of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has been suspended from office over allegation of N15 million fraud.

Akindele’s suspension took place on Friday evening during an emergency Plenary at the assembly complex in Akure.

The suspension process was executed by 14 lawmakers, including five All Progressives Congress (APC) and nine PDP members.

Mr Bode Adeyelu, the Clerk and the mace were present during the session.

Akindele, member representing Okitipupa 2, was suspended for alleged fraud and not carrying along his colleagues.

She was alleged to have withdrawn N15 million from the House account without parliamentary approval.

Mr Malachi Coker, member representing Ilaje 2 constituency, was sworn in by the clerk as the acting Speaker.

Mr Olamide George (PDP-Akure North Constituency) confirmed the development to NAN on phone.

“The process has been carried out,” he said.

However, Mr Olusiji Akindiose (PDP-Ondo East Constituency) told journalists that the process was null and void.

He explained that the process would not stand because of inadequate quorum to execute such action.

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Alex Otti, former Group CEO, Diamond Bank Plc

Candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the Abia State 2015 governorship election, Alex Otti, scored a major victory in Nigeria’s Supreme Court Friday morning as his appeal to the Court to be joined in the forgery case between Uche Ogah and Okezie Ikpeazu, two candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), during the primaries for the governorship election. Okezie Ikpeazu won the primaries, and went on to win the governorship. Both victories were mired in controversy as Otti won in more local governments of the state than the governor.

A  high court judge in Owerri, Okon Abang, had earlier sacked Ikpeazu as the state governor, declaring that he was not qualified initially to fly PDP’s flag. But in his consequential order, he declared Oche Ogah who came second in the party primaries the rightful governor of the state.

Alex Otti approached the courts, seeking to be joined in the matter, citing relevant sections of the Nigerian Electoral Act which forbids a candidate who did not go through all stages of election from being declared winner.

The Appeal Court struck out Otti’s appeal, the reason for which he approached the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court, in granting Otti his appeal, held that Justice Okon Abang erred by not considering Otti in the consequential order he gave upon delivering the judgement.

The forgery case is still at the Supreme Court.

 

 

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President Muhammadu Buhari is not ill and admitted in any hospital in London as being speculated. But he cannot be forced to speak to Nigerians, the president’s handlers declared yesterday.

The clarification came amid rumours that Buhari is critically down with an undisclosed sickness that may lead to his death. But according to the presidency, Buhari is in London on vacation.

This clarification may not stop the rumour mill being stoked by those who expect the president to speak out or appear in the public to dispel the speculation about his health .
Buhari transmitted a letter to the National Assembly to the effect that he would begin a 10-day vacation from January 23, 2017, but he actually began the vacation two days earlier, January 21. If the date to reckon with is January 23, he will be due to resume work on February 3. But if January 21 is the date to take, Buhari will be expected back at work on February 1.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, made the clarification yesterday in a live interview programme on CNBC Africa, which was monitored in Abuja. He said that the rumoured hospitalisation of the president was a figment of people’s imagination.

“The president is in London on vacation. He is not in any hospital and he is not ill. When he was travelling last week, the statement we put out was that he was going on vacation, and during the vacation he would do routine medical check-up and nothing has changed from what we pushed out last week. If anybody has fed something else into the rumour mill, that is just what it is – rumour,” Adesina said.

He said the president would decide if he wished to talk to Nigerians from the UK or not. “Despite the fact that he is a president, he still has his rights. Compelling him to come out and talk will be infringing on his rights. The president will talk if he wishes to, if he doesn’t wish to, nobody will compel him to talk. The truth is that the president is on vacation and he has given a date on which he will return to work.”

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed also refuted a media report alleging that governors were planning to send a delegation to confirm the health status of Buhari in London. He says there is no need for such an emissary since the president is in good health.

Receiving members of the Presidential Committee on the Northeast Initiative’s Sub-Committee on Economic Development yesterday, the minister stated that governors were not meeting in Abuja because there was no need for it and there was no plan to send any emissary to London to see the president.

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Former Central Bank governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo

Former governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, has said he is not a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and therefore is not seeking the party’s nomination.

Soludo’s rebuttal came in the light of news that broke yesterday which mentioned him among the names seeking to contest the governorship election in Anambra State under the platform of the APC.

Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State will be completing his four years by March 2018 but will still be qualified for another term in office if he seeks to contest. Politicians in the state are beginning to make moves for the next election.

Soludo, who once contested for the seat in the state, but lost, did not say whether he is not interested in the position again. He only said he was not seeking APC’s ticket.

“I wish to clarify that I am not a member of the APC and cannot therefore contest for its party nomination,” Soludo said.

“I have received hundreds of calls, texts and emails on the matter. Because of the pressure, I sought and obtained the phone contacts of the party chairman to ascertain the veracity of the story.

“I wish to clarify that I am not a member of the APC and therefore not seeking its party nomination.”

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Former Senator and PDP member, Nkechi Nwogu

Former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator representing Abia Central District in the National Assembly, Chief (Mrs) Nkechi Nwogu, has said the All Progressives Congress (APC) was poised to take over Abia State in 2019, saying the PDP in the state was dead.

Sen. Nwogu, who stated this at her country home after re-registering and re-validating her membership of the APC in the ongoing re-registration exercise, said PDP’s woes was as a result of the activities of few members who believed the party belonged to them.

Her words, “PDP in the state (Abia) failed to be democratic and a lot of people have exited that party. We in APC will not do things that brought PDP down; people today hate PDP in the state and we are capitalizing on that”.

On the ongoing re-registration exercise which the senator said she never envisaged the turnout would be so impressive; stated that in as much as the APC has made it all inclusive, but that the party should guard against bringing in persons that would turn the fortunes down.

“The exercise has been very impressive; people have been dumping their former alliances to join APC, the moving train, a party that has hope for a new Abia. But we should be careful not to bring in elements that will bring the fortunes of the party down”.