Politics

  • Convention: South South APC back Oshiomhole for national chair

    Convention: South South APC back Oshiomhole for national chair


    Alexander Okere, Benin

     The South-South zone of the All Progressives Congress on Monday threw its weight behind a former governor of Edo State, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, as its preferred candidate for the position of national chairman of the party.

    It was learnt that leaders from the zone announced this at a meeting in Benin, a few hours after the state chapter of the party endorsed the former governor.

    It was, however, gathered that the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun,  the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, were absent from the meeting.

    Our correspondent learnt that members of the party in attendance are the APC National Vice-Chairman (South-South), Mr. Hilliard Eta;  Oshiomhole, Chief Timipre Silva, Senator Magnus Abbe, Alims Agoda, Eseme Ehibo and a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Sam Ewang.

    Others are Chief Miriam Alli, Senator Francis Alimekhena, Frank Ajobena, Chief Great Ogboru, Victor Ochei, Cairo Ojougboh, Senator Domingo Obende, Speaker of the Edo State Assembly,  Kabiru Adjoto and Frank Kokori.

    It was gathered, that there was a mild drama in the meeting, which lasted for some hours, when some supporters of Amaechi protested that they were not at the meeting to endorse any candidate.

    Although nominations were later made for Odigie-Oyegun and Oshiomhole, the latter was said to have received a yes vote from the majority present.

    Addressing journalists after the meeting, Eta, said that the choice of Oshiomhole followed serious deliberations and consultation with members of the APC within the zone and the need to support the best candidate from the zone.

    He explained, “We took into consideration the need to put our best forward. it was on the basis of these reasons that we decided to meet today (Monday) as the South-South zone of the party.

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  • Police, DSS take over residence of Senator Dino Melaye

    Police, DSS take over residence of Senator Dino Melaye


    By Henry Umoru
    ABUJA- THE Police and men of the Department of State Services, DSS, Tuesday laid siege and took over the Maitama residence of the Chairman, Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Senator Dino Melaye, APC, Kogi West.

    Senator Dino Melaye
    Senator Dino Melaye

    My house under police siege – Senator Dino Melaye My house under police siege – Senator Dino Melaye
    Speaking with Vanguard on telephone when the security agents surrounded his No11 Sangha Street, off Mississippi, Maitama, Senator Melaye who spoke in a very lone tune, said, ” the Police have sorry under my house.”

    Melaye had earlier tweeted about the incident, saying that over 30 armed security personnel had surrounded his residence, adding, “Over 30 heavily armed fierce looking mobile police men have just stormed My residence in Maitama, Abuja.”

    On the street Monday, there was vehicular movement from the beginning and end of the road for all passers- by and other residents of the area as the place was condoned off, just as the mobile police men blocked both sides of the road with Police Pick, buses and other cars.

    The policemen were led to the residence by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, John who despite pressure from Journalists refused to give reasons for the action, but only said that the instruction was from above.

    They prevented Senator Melaye’s colleagues who trooped to the place to sympathise with him from entering into Melaye’s house, even when the spoke with the leader of the police.

    Dino Melaye arrested on his way to Morocco

    Senators who were at the place were Biodun Olujimi, PDP, Ekiti South; Philip Adudu, PDP, FCT; Rafiu Ibrahim, APC, Kwara South; Isa Hamman Misau, APC, Bauchi Central and Atai Aidoko, PDP, Kogi East. Also at the place, but not allowed to see Melaye was a former Senator, Mohammed Ohiare, Kogi Central.

    The number of the police was increased with more than ten at 4.0pm, this time, Mobile Police men who came in a police Van with registration number NPF 3637 D and inscription on the sides written donated by CBN and body of Banks CEOs.

    Also, Protesters from Internally Displaced Camp (IDP), Kuchigoro, Airport Road, Abuja, stormed Senator Dino Melaye’s residence where they vowed not to allow the Police to arrest Melaye whom they described as their benefactor who has been assisting them.

    It will be recalled that Senator Melaye was yesterday morning arrested by the Police at the International wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport.

    Senator Melaye was picked at the airport on his way to Morocco for an official engagement sponsored by the Federal Government after checking in.

    Melaye had written his Facebook account in the morning, saying, ” I have just been arrested at the International wing of of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport on my way to Morocco for an official engagement sponsored by the Federal Government after checking in.”

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  • Oyinlola must apologise to me, says Bode George

    Oyinlola must apologise to me, says Bode George


    Oladimeji Ramon

    A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olabode George,   has condemned what he described as “uncharitable and irritable vituperations” against him by a former governor of Osun State, Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola.

    READ ALSO: Reject recycled, jaded politicians in 2019, Soyinka tells Nigerians

    He demanded immediate apology from the ex-Osun State governor.

    Oyinlola had advised George to seek forgiveness from former President Olusegun Obasanjo and stop attacking his benefactor.

    Oyinlola stated this on Saturday in reaction to a recent interview by George where he described Obasanjo’s Coalition for Nigeria Movement as a deceit and waste of time while attacking its promoters.

    Oyinlola said, “Rather than attack current efforts at rebuilding Nigeria, I will advise Chief Bode George to retrace his steps and queue up in the CNM. I say so because, whatever he is today in politics is a product of Obasanjo’s magnanimous efforts.

    “In the same vein, I state without any fear of contradiction that if Obasanjo has 10  enemies today in Nigeria, Chief Bode George made eight for him, if not the whole lot. So, I plead with him to go back to Obasanjo and seek forgiveness.

    “I am also interested in that part of his statement where he described the CNM as a waste of time and a deceit by its promoters. I must say that I was surprised that someone of Chief Bode George’s pedigree and training would hastily write off a project carefully planned by seasoned minds.

    “The CNM is a reaction to the inadequacies of the system we have. It is not a waste of time and cannot be a waste of time. It is designed to rescue Nigeria and build a new generation of leaders for our country.”

     But in a release he personally signed on Sunday, George  said,” I read today (Sunday) the untidy, uncharitable and irritable vituperations of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola against my good self. I was rather astonished at the level of uninformed, reckless, misleading verbiage against me.”

    He added, “Prince Oyinlola was very junior to me in the military. I am very senior to him in age. It was my humble self and the late Chief S.M. Afolabi who introduced him to our former President and my egbon Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

    “It was through me and the grace of God Almighty that he was elected governor of Osun State.  Oyinlola should not dabble into issues he does not know anything about at all. I have served several Generals with 100 per cent loyalty.

    “I have no grudge against our former President. I have a lot of respect for him. I greet him wherever we meet with deep respect and reverence as a well born Yoruba man.

    “Oyinlola, please don’t start to open any can of worms that you do not know where it will spill over to.

    “When one is sent a slave’s errand, you should behave like a true, well born.”

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  • Why House is investigating Special Presidential Panel – Dogara

    Why House is investigating Special Presidential Panel – Dogara


    Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has explained that the House is investigating the Special Presidential Investigation Panel to ascertain where it got the powers to investigate public officers as it is not listed among the agencies listed to discharge that function in the constitution.

    Hon Dogara said while speaking at a public hearing on the Legality and Modus Operandi of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel in the National Assembly on Thursday, that the probe became imperative because of the confusion of roles which has been identified by the Executive branch itself.

    Speaker Dogara

    He noted that the Constitution which is the supreme law governing affairs in Nigeria has vested the respective powers of investigation and eventual trial of public officers who are in breach of the Code of Conduct on the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Code of Conduct Tribunal, in addition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) which were established by two extant laws and copiously vested with powers and jurisdiction to investigate allegations of crime and to charge possible offenders to the Federal High Court.

    Speaker Dogara added that while it is undeniably the responsibility of the Judiciary to give final interpretation on the legality or otherwise of any question of law, it is also the constitutional responsibility of the National Assembly to make laws, or to plug defects in any existing law, or to amend any laws as it deems fit, especially to protect Nigerian citizens from the possibility of double jeopardy of facing different laws and different judicial and executive agencies on the same subject matter.

    He stated, “This investigation is further strengthened by the confusion of roles which has been identified by the Executive branch itself. It is public knowledge that the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, had waded into these matters in a letter titled, ‘Re: Directive in Respect of Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel on the recovery of public property’, which has not been denied. According to Malami’s letter to Obono-Obla: “I have received a letter Ref. SH/OVP/DCOS/FMJ/0424 dated 20th October, 2017 in respect of the above subject from the Office of the Vice President. In the said letter, the Vice President expressed his concerns on the activities of the Special Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property which runs contrary to the enabling Act establishing it. He also noted that the activities of the Panel run foul or contrary to established administrative procedures and protocols in the Federal Civil Service Structure”.

    Hon Dogara continued, “The spirit, if not the letter, of Section 36(9) of the Constitution guaranteeing a right to fair hearing and outlawing double trial by Courts or Tribunal set up by law, should guide our attitude on this matter, especially now that the Supreme Court has decided that the Code of Conduct Tribunal has a quasi criminal jurisdiction.

    “While we recognise the need to tackle the problem of corruption with renewed vigour in our society, as we fully subscribe to the dictates of the Constitution which enjoins the State to ‘abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power’ Section 15(5), we must, however, be conscious of doing things and implementing our laws in such ways and manner that will portray us as a democratic society conscious of the Rule of Law and Fundamental human rights.”

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  • 2019: APC camps that will determine Buhari’s fate

    2019: APC camps that will determine Buhari’s fate


    TOBI AWORINDE writes on the political groups within the All Progressives Congress bloc that will determine the success or otherwise of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second-term bid next year

    READ ALSO: Nigerians gunning for Buhari’s job in 2019

    With President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent declaration to seek re-election in 2019, presumably, the ruling All Progressives Congress is mapping out various strategies to ensure the success of his campaign.

    Particularly crucial to the President’s ambition will be key allies whose former political parties — the Action Congress of Nigeria, the Congress for Progressive Change, the All Nigeria Peoples Party and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance — merged in 2013 to form the APC. The merger paved the way for an unprecedented presidential election victory by an opposition party.

    But going into the 2019 elections, the stakes seem higher for the ruling party, especially now that the APC’s incumbency hangs in the balance and the threat of another determined opposition party looms large. Evidently, Buhari will need all the help he can get.

    ACN camp

    Back in 2009, when scores of opposition parties existed without any real electoral leverage, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu advocated a mega party to challenge the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party. Tinubu, once the lone opposition governor in the South-West, was one of those who championed a two-party system and sought for members of the opposition to forge a united front in order to win at the polls.

    The call came after the highly controversial 2007 general elections, which saw the emergence of the now late Umaru Yar’Adua of the PDP as president. According to CNN, election observers from the European Union described those polls as “the worst they had ever seen anywhere in the world, with rampant vote rigging, violence, theft of ballot boxes and intimidation.”

    Part of the groundwork that was laid for what would become the APC began when the Alliance for Democracy, the party on whose platform Tinubu became Lagos State governor from 1999 to 2007, underwent a metamorphosis. The AD partook in a merger with other opposition parties, including the Justice Party and the Advance Congress of Democrats, to become the Action Congress and later the Action Congress of Nigeria.

    READ ALSO: Aremu is stupid for saying our father was very poor –Kunle Afolayan

    The merger helped secure the ACN’s dominance in Lagos, Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo, Osun, Edo, Kogi, Bauchi, Plateau, Niger and Adamawa states. Tinubu’s role as the spearhead of this merger and later the APC alliance consolidated his political influence in the country, although some argue that his relevance has waned over the years.

    Alongside the effort of Tinubu, the contributions of other prominent members of the old ACN proved significant to Buhari’s 2015 presidential campaign on the platform of the APC.

    One of them is the erstwhile ACN national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande. When the ruling party was formed, he steered the party as the interim national chairman until Chief John Odigie-Oyegun took over as the substantive national chairman.

    Also, a notable name in the days of the ACN, former Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, was a standard-bearer of the party in the South-South. Oshiomhole remains a force to reckon with in the party. As the party’s May 14 national convention draws near, he is positioning himself as one of the major contenders for the seat of the national chairman of the APC. This makes him one to watch in the President’s 2019 campaign.

    Like Buhari, former Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has his sights set on returning to power in the state. Fayemi, who got elected on the ACN platform, was unseated by the current governor Ayodele Fayose on June 21, 2014 in an election marred by rigging allegations. If the Minister of Solid Minerals Development wins the election on July 14, he would have reclaimed the only South-West state in the hands of the opposition, thus posing an advantage to the Buhari campaign.

    Other key members of the now defunct ACN are Babatunde Fashola (Minister of Power, Works and Housing), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun State governor), and Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo State governor).

    Speaking in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, the Director of Publicity and Strategy, APC, Osun State, Mr. Kunle Oyatomi, gave the assurance that the ACN bloc would deliver for Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.

    “If Buhari is our candidate, we will deliver bloc votes for him; there is no doubt about that. The former ACN members, who are now in the APC, will surely deliver votes and a resounding victory for the APC candidate in the presidential election.

    “Whoever our candidate is in 2019, I can assure you that the votes from the southern block are well assured. We will do nothing but ensure the victory of our presidential candidate. The ACN bloc in the APC is still very strong. Nothing has changed now. The only thing that has changed is that we have become more strengthened. We are stronger than ever before. Sincerely, I don’t know of any challenges before us,” Oyatomi said.

    CPC camp

    At the point of the APC merger, the CPC was significant as the party to which Buhari belonged. In fact, the CPC was set up for the sole purpose of actualising Buhari’s presidential ambition. The foundation for the party was laid by the Buhari Organisation, a campaign group in support of the former military dictator.

    Unlike in 2003, when the ANPP gave Buhari an automatic ticket to run for president, he faced some opposition in the 2007 race. Even when he clinched the presidential ticket, there were a number of issues relating to the integration of the TBO with the ANPP Campaign Committee.

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    Eventually, the party joined forces with the campaign for Yar’Adua, much to Buhari’s chagrin. Buhari, feeling betrayed, then left the ANPP to form the CPC.

    Following the APC merger, the ex-general brought his CPC family into the fold, including the former CPC national chairman, Tony Momoh, and current Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun.

    The governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, never contested election on the platform of the CPC. However, he has been a long-time associate of Buhari and, by extension, the CPC.

    These and several others have their work cut out for them as Buhari charges into the 2019 elections on the platform of the APC.

    The Publicity Secretary of the APC in Nasarawa State, Mr. Hudu Sambo, said the CPC bloc within the ruling party is strong enough to deliver the required votes that Buhari needs to win the 2019 presidential election.

    Sambo said, “Nasarawa was the only state in the federation controlled by the CPC before the 2015 general elections. We are stronger now because many PDP politicians have since defected to our party.

    “The CPC bloc within the APC will deliver the entire northern Nigeria for President  Buhari convincingly in 2019.”

    ANPP camp

    The ANPP was established in 1998 under the All Peoples Party. Prior to the APC, the ANPP was a major party in the North, alongside the PDP.

    In 1999, the party entered into an alliance with the AD to present Chief Olu Falae as the presidential candidate to challenge Chief Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP. That year, it won governorship elections in nine states — Kogi, Borno, Yobe, Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi and Kwara.

    By 2003, it became the strongest opposition party, controlling seven of the 36 States — Borno, Yobe, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kano, Sokoto, and Kogi. After the 2007 elections, the ANPP controlled only three states — Borno, Yobe and Zamfara.

    Buhari was the party’s presidential candidate in 2003 and 2007. In the April 19, 2003 presidential election, Buhari secured 32.2 per cent of the votes. In the 2007 presidential election, he also came second with about 18 per cent of the votes, according to official results. Both results were contested due to irregularities in the conduct of the elections.

    Some of the prominent figures in the now defunct ANPP are Minister of Science and Technology and former ANPP national chairman, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu; Sen. Ahmed Yerima; and Odigie-Oyegun.

    Another original ANPP member is former BoT chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff. After joining the APC in 2013, Sheriff defected to the PDP in 2014.

    Following a two-year-long leadership tussle in the PDP, the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on February 17, 2017 declared Sheriff as the authentic National Chairman of the PDP. However, in July 2017, the Supreme Court ruled against Sheriff, which led to his removal as the PDP chairman. Sheriff’s tenure was rife with accusations of being an APC mole.

    Incidentally, two months after his dismissal, he held a private meeting with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja. After the meeting, which held for less than two hours, Sheriff refused to speak with State House correspondents when he was approached.

    Moments after, Odigie-Oyegun also came to Aso Rock to see the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.

    If the PDP was right about Sheriff’s alleged duplicitous role, he may be a major asset to the Buhari camp in 2019.

    APGA camp

    APGA, a predominantly south-eastern party, was set up prior to the 2003 elections.

    Following a protracted internal battle between then Anambra State governor, Peter Obi, and the former APGA national chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State led a faction of the party into the emerging APC.

    Okorocha’s influence is crucial to Buhari, especially as the ruling party’s leading figure in the South-East, where Buhari has encountered the most criticism.

    ‘New PDP’ camp

    According to several political pundits, the absorption of a group of aggrieved yet powerful PDP members into the APC was the final ingredient in the new alliance’s winning formula.

    At a special PDP convention on August 31, 2013, an Abubakar Baraje-led faction of the PDP announced that it was breaking away from the then ruling party to form the ‘New PDP’. Arguably the most significant mass defection in Nigeria’s political history followed on November 26, 2013 when the APC announced its merger with the New PDP.

    The merger gave the APC a total of 18 governors and ensured that the party had at its disposal some of the more experienced politicians in the country, including Minister of Transportation and former Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Agriculture and former PDP chairman, Audu Ogbeh; former Ekiti State governor, Segun Oni; Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed; former Anambra State governor, Chris Ngige; former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako; and former Kano State governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso.

    The Rivers State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Chris Finebone, told SUNDAY PUNCH that those who formed the New PDP before creating the APC still possessed the quality and following to earn Buhari the highly-coveted second-term victory in 2019.

    Finebone admitted that though some persons, who were occupying offices of governor or other political positions in 2014, wielded enormous powers then, their powers might not be as potent in the current dispensation.

    He however noted that the presence of such persons in the APC would give the party victory.

    Citing Tinubu and Amaechi, the immediate past governor of Rivers State, the APC spokesman maintained that the presence of the duo in the party would surely amount to more votes for Buhari.

    “Generally, on a scale, their power will be less now because they are not occupying the same positions they occupied before as governors. But because they are all in one political party, their strength put together is big enough to help the President win again,” he stated.

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  • It doesn’t make sense to say the President is the target of elections reordering bill – Senator Olujimi

    It doesn’t make sense to say the President is the target of elections reordering bill – Senator Olujimi


    By Dapo Akinrefon

    Senator Abiodun Olujimi representing Ekiti South is Deputy Minority Whip of the Senate. In this interview, the former Deputy Governor of Ekiti State bares her mind on the governorship election in Ekiti State and some burning national issues. Excerpts:

    Olujimi

    There is controversy over the rejection of $350 million World Bank loan for Kaduna State by the Senate. As a principal officer of the chambre, why was the request turned down?

    If you listened to the argument brought by the senators from Kaduna, they said the money would not be properly utilised. We should not be taking loans just for the sake of it. Loans should be taken for genuine reasons and, in this particular case, the reason this loan should be taken are not there. If you have three senators from Kaduna, one presented it without saying a word and the two others were against it, what that implies is that the state did not really need the money because, if the state needed the funds, they would have called their senators, spoken to them no matter which political divide they were and the state government should be on the same page with legislators who are important to the passage of the loan request.

    Some senators have argued that the election reorder bill was targeted at the president. What is your perspective?

    How will you use a legislation to target one person?   What about tomorrow?   For those saying it is targeted at the president, I think it is the figment of their own imagination and unless they know something that we don’t know.   If you will remember, that was the order for which elections were held in the past. It is nothing new. We are just following the old order. When we had that, people were not jumping ship anyhow because the minute the National Assembly elections were done; there was nothing else anyone who failed there could jump to. You couldn’t jump to go and become Assembly member, governor or President because those were sealed and we thought it will bring sanity back into the system whereby people won’t be jumping ship. What you found is that the minute the president was elected because people believe it will be bandwagon, people were always willing to just start moving from one party to the other and they disrupted the entire political landscape. So, the new thinking was if we do it that way, it will put paid to jumping ship. Everybody will remain in his or her party and work for the election of the president. That way, it makes sense and the political parties will be stronger for it. So, what is wrong in it? Except those against it are saying the president cannot win if his election does not come first or other members of the party will not win if the president does not win. If that is what they are saying, then it will make sense. Other than that, it doesn’t make sense at all. And you couldn’t make a law to target one person, what about tomorrow?

    What do you make of the interference of the judiciary in this election reordering issue?

    For me, that was wrong because there is separation of powers. It is within the purview of the legislation to do certain things as enshrined in the constitution.   The legislature was following that path and the judiciary should have maintained that also. It is still a Bill; it is not yet an Act.   Until it becomes an Act, the judiciary has no say on it. But as lawmakers, you can’t stop us from going through the Bill. I believe the judiciary will still do justice and I believe the judgment will be done in such a way that the separation of powers will be recognised.

    There are reports that about 65 senators have already appended their signatures to override the president’s veto. How true?

    That is just hearsay. You know, they need to fly a kite for people to feel they are working.   In that Senate, we are so united that getting that kind of number cannot be easy at all.

    Why is the Senate shifting the passage of the budget to the end of May?

    Most of the MDAs were laidback.   They didn’t bring their budget for defence. And if you don’t defend it, how will the people in charge know what you are going to use the funds for?   When this government was coming in, they were very high on ‘we are going to do zero budgeting’.   It is difficult for you to fault zero budgeting but that’s the problem of electioneering.   When you are campaigning you say lots of things and you get to the place and see that what you said is not realistic.   They have seen that actually, it is tough to embark on zero budgeting because most of the MDAs don’t really have a clear vision of what they want to do. So, the envelope system allows them to be able to in-between look at projects and be able to quickly get them done.   So, there is no zero budgeting. When there is no zero budgeting, you must scrutinise everything that comes so that you don’t go and put money aside for something that will never be done and things that should be done will now be starved.   So, that is the reason for the scrutiny.   The MDAs just got laidback but in the last one week, I think about 50 of them came in because they were given a deadline and a timeframe. So, they have been rushing to come for budget defence.

    What is the situation in Ekiti PDP? We understand Governor Ayo Fayose is trying to talk to you and others who are opposed to his nomination of his deputy as his successor. How true is that?

    No, he has not spoken to any of us. He is still talking to his deputy. Up till now, he has not spoken to any of us. Yes, we had a meeting and the leaders of the party tried to broker a peace and they did well. But then, the governor went back and continued what he said he will not do.   Up till now, nothing else has been said. So, we are still where we are.

    What advice can you give to women who are shying away from politics?

    Women must come in. if they don’t come in, they must not complain of marginalisation. It is not an easy road to travel but if you don’t come in and you complain, I find it very annoying because except you throw your hat into the ring and put your feet into this hot water, you really cannot do anything for your constituents or society. You can’t speak up and your voice cannot matter. Women must come in.

    We are trying to fight for a space for them. We are trying to legislate for them to have a percentage where they can be sure that they can participate but it has been tough because the people who are fighting are also very few and marginalised. Look at the senate, just seven of us among 109.   How can you fight for your gender if you don’t even have up to 20 senators?

     

     

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  • 2019: Buhari’s campaign starts in South-South Monday –Senator

    2019: Buhari’s campaign starts in South-South Monday –Senator


    Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

    The senator representing Katsina South, Abu Ibrahim, on Friday said the President Muhammadu Buhari Support Group would be inaugurating its offices in three states in the South-South on Monday.

    He said the inauguration would kick-start Buhari’s re-election process.

    Ibrahim disclosed this in an interview with the State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, adding that campaign buses would also be inaugurated on the same day.

    The senator said despite the recent invasion of the Senate chambers by suspected thugs, the National Assembly remained one.

    He said, “I will like to use this opportunity to assure Nigerians that the National Assembly is still one and stabilised.

    “Obviously, what has happened calls for concern. But at the same time, we have to accept that in Nigeria and all over the world, politics sometimes can create a situation of this nature.

    “This has actually given us two opportunities; one, to look at the security of the National Assembly itself. In fact, the Nigerian National Assembly is the most unsafe I have seen in my life or everywhere I have gone around the world.

    “Every National Assembly has good security, you cannot just go in, you cannot just access officers, but the case is different here. Like in my office yesterday, there were over 60 people waiting for me but had no appointment. So, this has influenced us to sit down and critically examine the security at the National Assembly itself.

    “Secondly, we sat in an executive session as senators and asked ourselves pertinent questions about what happened and why. We came out with the promise that everyone of us will support and abide by the provisions of the constitution, our rules in the National Assembly and obviously, we accepted that we are all senators, the same rank elected by our people and the same rights and privileges.

    “This is, therefore, the benefit of the crisis which happened two days ago, if I can call it so. So, I still assure Nigerians that the National Assembly has come out of this crisis better, much more united and much more focused.”

    On whether the Senate would sanction culprits identified in the disappearance of the mace, Ibrahim said the case was now with security agencies.

    “You know that this thing has gone out of our hands and is with the security agencies. Therefore, we cannot be creating more problems for ourselves. We have to know who did what and what were the reasons for doing these things? So, we need to have a report.

    “I think the Inspector General of Police and the Director-General of the Department of State Services may have to come and brief the National Assembly on what happened. We have cautioned ourselves too because some people have even quoted courts saying that no National Assembly has the power to suspend any member.

    “So, we have to look at these areas very thoroughly before we take another action and we have to get the report from the security agencies,” he said.

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  • I am the compassionate mother Ekiti needs – Dr. Yusuf-Kolade

    I am the compassionate mother Ekiti needs – Dr. Yusuf-Kolade


    …The farmer, nurse, midwife, pharmacist and doctor who wants to govern Ekiti

    By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor

    For this All Progressives Congress, APC chieftain with a fairytale progression through the healthcare industry, her aspiration to become the first female governor of Ekiti State has not come as a surprise to many.

    Dr. Mojisola Yusuf-Kolade first trained as a nurse, before relocating to the United States where she subsequently trained as a midwife, then pharmacist and medical doctor.

    Mojisola Yusuf-Kolade

    Following her medical training, she also established a hospital in the United States, which is presently the only Nigerian owned hospital in Connecticut. Following her relocation to Nigeria, she has also delved into farming besides her philanthropy activities in the state.

    It was as such not a surprise when asked why she was entering the contest that she waxed eloquent on how she can use the office of governor to extend her philanthropic gestures.

    “I am bringing a lot into the race, in terms of professional experience, entrepreneurship experience and the passion for the people. I have been a businesswoman, an employer and a supporter of charity. I empower women and youths; widows who are taking care of their children, artisans and peasants who are in apprenticeship, but who cannot provide for themselves.

    I have an NGO, the Christiana Ebenezer Kolade Foundation.” Asked what gave her confidence in the face of the challenge from the about 30 men in the contest including the two immediate past governors of the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and Engr. Segun Oni, she said:

    “I am a woman. I have done a lot of things internally and locally. I have created jobs. That’s what the people of Ekiti actually need. There is a huge unemployment rate in Ekiti. College and university graduates are driving Okada. That is not a pleasant sight.”

    Affirming that she entered the contest as a way of enhancing her philanthropy, she said:

    “I came into politics for the purpose of empowerment of the people. I have been involved in Ekiti in the last five years. I saw the hospitals. I saw the schools. In the schools, there are no books. The hospitals are not habitable for human beings. We have glorified clinics which we call hospitals. That is not acceptable.   These are things that need to be repaired. I am a business woman, a nurse, a pharmacist, a consultant in medicine. My husband and I own the only privately owned facility in the whole of Connecticut.

    “In Nigeria, I am also a farmer. I have over 300 hectares of farm land.”

    Given the impression she claimed to have made on the ground in Ekiti, she was asked if she had been able to mobilise the women behind her aspiration.

    “Huge. It is a momentum going on. They are enthusiastic. They were actually looking for a woman to come out. They were not sure they would get somebody. When I declared, and I told the Acting Chairman, women were excited. It was a welcome development to them. I know their plight. I am working with the women and the youths. They are happy that I am in the race, a mother, an intellectual and a highly compassionate woman.”

    Asked why she did not start her politics from a lower level, she tried to make a comparison with some previous governors saying:

    “This question has been asked before. Governor Fashola did not start from the Senate. Fayemi started as governor. Aregbesola started as a commissioner. When you have the acumen, you can take up the challenge. I have done some things in my life before. The questions we should ask are what contribution have you done to humanity, what have you done before?”

    On why she chose the APC platform, she confessed thus:

    “I was involved in politics in the Diaspora. I was involved in the PDP. I was trying to see what they were doing. Immediately I came back to Nigeria; I saw that I could not continue with them. I was actually a woman leader in the PDP, in the Diaspora. I got to Nigeria and saw the actuality on ground and discovered that the PDP is not my kind of party. To work for the people, to work for the welfare of the people, I chose the APC.

    Given the financial implications, she was tasked on how prepared she was to compete with the moneybags.

    “We have been spending money. And we are still going to spend. You spend because there is a reason to do so. You believe there is need to change some things. You put your money where your mouth is. If you are ready to serve and you are not ready to spend a dime of your money, then, you are not serious. There is nowhere in the world where money is not involved. The only difference is that the way people contribute in the western world is not the way people contribute in Nigeria. In the United States, people support the candidate after he has emerged. My husband is supporting me. It is encouraging.

    Asked if she had a godfather in the race, she confessed thus:

    “I have. God is my godfather.”

    Asked on what condition she would step down for another aspirant, Dr. Yusuf-Kolade said:

    “Never. The answer is never. I am not running for the deputy governor. I am running for the governor of Ekiti State because I have my ideas, I have my agenda. I have thought about it over the years. I did not stumble on it. I am thinking about how I can make a big difference. And I have been making a big difference. I want to make a big difference on a bigger platform.”

    Does she have a Plan B, she said:

    “I have my business. I am fully engaged. I am a very busy woman, professionally. I am an entrepreneur. So, I am not stepping down.   No compromise.”

    The post I am the compassionate mother Ekiti needs – Dr. Yusuf-Kolade appeared first on Vanguard News.

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  • PHOTOS: Aisha Buhari meets Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace

    PHOTOS: Aisha Buhari meets Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace


    The Queen and The Prince of Wales on Thursday met with Aisha Buhari and other representatives from all 53 countries of the Commonwealth at a dinner held at Buckingham Palace.

    See Photos:

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  • Ekiti APC Preimary: When old foes spar

    Ekiti APC Preimary: When old foes spar


    By Rotimi Ojomoyela

    THIS is not the first time Engineer Segun Oni and Dr Kayode Fayemi would be sparring on the same turf.

    Former Gov Segun Oni and Gov Kayode Fayemi

    This time, though with a little difference, both are not operating from opposing camps.

    The governorship election in Ekiti State between the two, which promises to be another epic battle, will be fought within the same party.

    How the battle span out would be an interesting scenario, as the two gladiators, familiar with the political turf of their party would be engaging in a dog fight in the All Progressives Congress, APC, on May 5, 2018.

    Aside Fayemi and Oni, others who have thrown their hats in the ring are Messrs Opeyemi Bamidele, Babafemi Ojudu among others.

    Whoever emerges as the APC candidate will slug it out with the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the July governorship election.

    In the APC primary, over 3,000 delegates across the 177 wards in the state are expected to choose among the 26 governorship contestants who would fly the flag of the party in the July 14 poll.

    Opponents

    Oni and Fayemi’s first and second encounter were in the governorship elections of April 14, 2007 and April 25, May 5, 2009 respectively.

    Oni, then a candidate of the PDP, was declared as winner twice.

    He was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, when Fayemi was candidate of the defunct Action Congress, AC.

    Fayemi headed for the Election Petitions Tribunal twice and the Court of Appeal twice before he was eventually declared winner and sworn in as governor on October 16, 2010.

    Oni’s ambition and chances

    Oni also challenged Fayemi’s court victory up to the Supreme Court, but was unsuccessful before he defected to the APC and emerged as the Deputy National Chairman (South), a position he occupied until recently when he threw his hat into the ring to contest the governorship primary of his party.

    Oni’s entry into the race is throwing up some issues, which would shape the APC primary and the election, if he wins the primary.

    While some forces in the APC are comfortable with Oni’s entry into the race, others are kicking against it.

    To them, Ekiti has seen the best of Oni, he had gotten three and a half years to prove his mettle, he needs to give others the chance to prove their worth and bring new initiatives.

    His Special Adviser on Media, Mr Steve Alabi, told Vanguard that Oni has not forgotten anything in the Government House.

    Alabi said: “He is a man being called upon by the people, he was actually persuaded to come into the contest, not that he’s the one who showed interest in the contest.

    “You would recall that there was a time when he was still in the PDP, the party hierarchy called on him to contest because they felt he had the clout to win the election for the party. He told them categorically that the party should go and pick a person from Ekiti South Senatorial District, he said anyone they pick, he would support.

    “Oni believes that the state deserves a person that would put everything into delivering the dividends of democracy to the people and not ask for anything back. He thinks the people deserve that kind of leadership and the people have told him that he’s the kind of leader they want at this time, so, he didn’t forget anything in the government house. He’s just a man being persuaded by the people to come out and rescue the state, Oni is not an arrogant person, he probably wouldn’t have listened to the people, he would have said I was unjustly asked to go and why are you people calling me again?”

    According to Alabi, Oni’s chances are very bright. “I believe and everybody knows based on the feelers we have been having from the field, that he’s the leading aspirant, not only in APC but among all the parties. He’s going to win the primary.

    “The chances are very bright, everybody in the state, civil servants, teachers, local government workers, university students and lecturers, pensioners, artisans, Okada riders, drivers etc., are calling on him to come back, because what he did when he was the governor the first time are the things that convinced the people that he’s the right candidate for the job. I do not know anyone among the contestants who can seriously say that he has the kind of support we are getting.”

    Fayemi

    Fayemi is the current Minister of Mines and Steel Development, whom despite his controversial defeat by the incumbent, Governor Ayo Fayose in the 2014 election, bestrode the political space in the state like a colossus.

    Before he eventually made official his intention to run for the governorship seat of the state last week Saturday, Governor Fayose had made many attempts to stop him in his track.

    To many political observers and analysts in the state, Fayemi’s return is beyond the much touted unfinished business.

    Political pundits opine that it is a battle to restore his pride and give his political career a sure footing.

    He’s therefore expected to fight every inch of the way, to earn the flag of the party as candidate for the July 14 gubernatorial election.

    Speaking a day before his declaration, Fayemi said his declaration had sent jitters down the spines of many politicians within and outside APC in the state

    He said: “There has been a propaganda machine by the sitting governor of Ekiti State and I must say, even some members of my own party, who probably felt if the former governor joined the race, it will upset the apple cart.”

    Explaining the general acclaim for his return among  party members, he said: “My reception during the tour of the local governments was beyond my expectation. The tour afforded me the opportunity to remind the people of what we used to do and what we used to have. I told them I was not infallible as Governor, I made my mistakes but I have also learnt my lessons in the course of being out of office in the last four years.”

    While addressing the crowd that came to witness his declaration, he described the government White Paper pronouncing his ban from public office for 10 years as nothing but “a tissue paper.”

    Unfinished business

    Explaining why he’s returning to government house, Fayemi said: “I feel a profound sense of unfinished business. Unfinished business in the sense that all of what I did in office, have been abandoned to rot, particularly our efforts in the areas of human capital development, entrepreneurship, tourism development and health care have actually been severely damaged.

    “So when you go around Ekiti and when you talk to people, the young, old, pregnant women and people who benefited from the variety of things that we did, pupils in schools, university students benefited from our bursary and scholarships that no longer exists in this state. Nobody gives scholarships again, nobody gives bursary again, and then you can understand the pain I feel about missed opportunities for our people.

    “If it were to be about me, I really do not need to be governor in order to live a decent life, and I’m sure you will agree with me, Abuja is an easier setting to operate from as a minster, if I were to see politics as business, it is also a better place to network and gain opportunities to  do other things but I will not be fulfilled if I were to ignore all of the damage that have been done in this state.”

    Tilting primary

    Dismissing the insinuations that the primary is already tilted in his favour because his administration installed the leadership of the party and that the President has given his nod, Fayemi said: “All manners of brick-backs are going to be thrown in a race of this nature. I’ve heard some of these allegations, but I’m assuring that when people say that, I believe it’s actually an insult on the delegates who are independent minded to the best of my knowledge and who are actively associated with one aspirant or the other. If you go out in the field, you will see delegates in different camps, so if what you are saying is true, then I shouldn’t be going round the state seeking the support of the delegates, I should just sit in Abuja and wait for the election to happen on May 5th and then I know that they are in my pockets. I’m not taking any of our delegates for granted.”

    Chances and Presidency endorsement 

    One would have thought, as one of the pointmen for President Muhammadu Buhari, his governorship ambition would have been a fait accompli but he said: “I’m running on the basis of a record that I established as a governor in this state and I can also not detach myself from the government in which I served, that is also going to play up. I work for a principal, so it is not possible that I’m running around the way I’m now, if I had not gone to my principal and say, ‘Sir I’m thinking of going back to Ekiti, that I need your approval for me to pursue that and if you think I shouldn’t, good, but if you don’t have any objection, I would like to crave your indulgence to go home and repair the damage that has been done in my state.’

    That is not necessarily an endorsement and anyone who knows President Buhari the way he functions, would know that he is not the type that would insert himself in a race that is clearly based on clear guidelines and principles and you would see him demonstrate it consistently, including most recently with the question of elongation in our party, he doesn’t have that track record, he’s not the type that we had seen with the PDP government, where once  the president said this is my man, no one dares to oppose him. President Buhari would not even say that.

    “On the second purported claim that I installed the leadership of the party, there is no doubt that the leadership of the party emerged at the time I was the governor of the state. This leadership emerged in 2014 and four years after, according to the constitution of our party, the leadership will change in 2018, apart from Osun and Ekiti states, which would change in September 2018, that was when they came into office.

    “But again, when you look at the background of the leadership you were talking about  in our party, you have in the executive of our party, people who come from the PDP or new PDP in the state executive, you have traditional ACN who came from my side of the party in that same executive, you have people who also came from other tendencies even within the brother APC family. So, we are not all sleeping and facing the same direction, but the most important thing for me is people have a record to serve. If you are running, it is a market place, you need to look at your own unique selling point and place that before the delegates.

    “So, anyone who says Fayemi has the same president backing and that he has the structure of the party in his pocket, I believe that person is mistaken on both count.”

    Beyond the surface

    A very close ally of the Minster told Vanguard that the party’s ticket is very safe and secure in Fayemi’s pocket.

    The source said 5 out of the 13 ward member executives in all the 177 wards in the state are solidly behind the minister, while the rest are open for grabs. He added that 26 member of the party in each of the 177 wards were receiving 5000 each since Fayemi was appointed as Minister.

    Aside from this, Fayemi, the source noted also dishes out occasional and regular largesse to the state and local government executives of the party.

    This, perhaps, has also ensured that party members get federal boards and commission’s appointment.

    Weakness

    Fayemi’s perceived arrogance and rigid nature have been his Achilles heel, analysts readily point to the running battle he had with the Teachers, Local Government workers and civil servants.

    They also pointed to his inability to exert effective political control over some of his appointees who were given free reign and used such powers to sabotage his administration.

     

    The post Ekiti APC Preimary: When old foes spar appeared first on Vanguard News.

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