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REVEALED: N15m Ransom Paid For Freedom Of Abducted Ondo ADC Chieftains

11 November 2018 - 10:19am


Olujide Ipinsagba

Olujide Ipinsagba

A ransom of N15 million was paid to secure the release of Bisi Ogungbemi, the Chairman of the Ondo State chapter of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), SaharaReporters learnt on Sunday.

Part of the ransom was also used to free Jide Ipinsagba, the Ondo North Senatorial Candidate of the ADC in the 2019 general election, who was abducted alongside Ogunyemi.

On Wednesday, gunmen had kidnapped both men with three others on the Oba Akoko/Owo road while returning to Akure after a political meeting.

Others kidnapped include Mrs. Funmi Abdulkareem and Boye Oletuyise, as well as a driver. The trio were later released same day by the kidnappers.

However, a source within the party, who confirmed the amount paid as ransom, said the kidnappers had demanded the sum of N20 million from the family members before their release from captivity.

The source, who preferred not to be named, revealed that the family was able to raise N15 million after the kidnappers had threatened to kill the victims if the money was not paid on time.

“Initially, we were warned by security agencies to use common sense in addressing journalists when we got wind that they were kidnapped last Wednesday," said the source

“Immediately they kidnapped them, they contacted the Ipinsagba family, who also informed us in the party that the kidnappers were demanding the sum of N20 million before their release or they would kill them.

“We were afraid and started sourcing money to secure their release. However, they later released the driver and the personal assistant to go home and report how the remaining victims are suffering in their camp. See Also CRIME Abducted Ondo ADC Chairman, Senatorial Candidate Regain Freedom 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

“They called again and we begged them that we could only raise the sum of N15 million, which was slashed into N3 million each for the victims abducted by the hoodlums.

“When they confirmed the money had been paid, they released them in the dead of the night on the road path and they found their way to Akure in their dirty clothes,” the source said.

Bikkita Bello, erstwhile Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, had confirmed the release of the party chieftains to SaharaReporters via phone.  

Bello, the ADC candidate for Akoko North West Federal Constituency, said both men had been reunited with their families and had been speaking on their ordeals in the kidnappers' den.

"I am aware that a team of policemen from the Anti-kidnapping Squad have visited the two of them after they were reunited with their family members," he said.

“They have also been speaking on their ordeals in the hands of their abductors, who forced them to trek some miles inside the thick forest in the dreaded Akoko region and were fed with garri and water."

Femi Joseph, Spokesman of the Ondo State Police Command, told our correspondent that security agencies were still investigating the case with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.

“Despite their release, we are still investigating those behind this carnage on the politicians," he said. “But I can assure that we shall arrest whosoever that might have masterminded the kidnap and bring them to book."

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Tinubu’s Silence On LAUTECH Crisis By Sikiru Akinola

11 November 2018 - 9:49am


Bola Tinubu

Bola Tinubu Ynaija

Many would have thought the crises ravaging the Ladoke Akintola University, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso, would have ended, especially with the appointment of former Lagos governor and national leader of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as chancellor of the institution jointly owned by Osun and Oyo States. Many people, including students and staff of LAUTECH, had heaved sighs of relief. Rather, the crises have continued to fester, with no end in sight!

It all started in 2009, towards the tail end of the administrations of Governors Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Adebayo Alao-Akala of Osun and Oyo State respectively. In a bid to take full ownership of the institution, Alao-Akala, in whose hometown the institution main campus is situated, built another Teaching Hospital (TH) for the institution. The institution’s TH has always been in Osogbo, the Osun State capital. Soon, they started defaulting in the funding of the institution. Rather than nosedive when the administrations of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Sen. Abiola Ajimobi began, things became worse, on daily basis.

I am concerned about the institution in many ways. I have close persons whose lives and survival are dependent on LAUTECH. Maybe I would have attended the institution if I were an arts student. The school was a pride to many people, including those of us who were not science students. Before 2009, the school, and its students, won many laurels, both within and outside the shores of Nigeria. From far and wide, people wanted to study there. Lecturers were eager to observe their sabbatical in the school. Practically, it was one of the sought after state universities in the country. If there were anytime the institution experienced industrial action, it didn’t have anything to do with funding or salary payment.

Since 2016, when the two brother governors of Oyo and Osun states have decided to be insensitive, the school has known no peace. It has been 10-month strike, 2-month academic activities. Everything has been grounded economically and academically. Some students have resorted to anti-social behaviors while lecturers have lost their remaining dignity. 

I know of lecturers who have had to transfer their wards to public schools as they are unable to pay school fees. Some lecturers dare not go home in daytime as they would be ambushed by their creditors. Many lecturers, and other workers, have been sacked. Some have left their jobs, for better offers and greener pastures. Some students have had to spend 4 years in the same level. Application to the school has dropped. Those who are there don’t even know when they would graduate. Those who have graduated don’t know when they would be mobilized for youth service. Some may not even be qualified for the few available jobs when they are done with service due to age factor. Those who have businesses on campus are counting their losses. Ogbomoso’s economy is in comatose because of the epileptic academic activities at the institution.

If Tinubu has ever stepped on the soil of that institution, maybe once. I cannot even remember. This is the same Tinubu who is known for providing leadership during troubled times. The same Tinubu who led the opposition to unseat the incumbent. The same Tinubu whose Bourdillon street many successful politicians have visited for blessing. Guinea’s Alpha Conde and many other African presidents are his allies. 2019 elections are here and his names have continued to be dropped. Twice, in just one week, President Muhammadu Buhari has invited him to Aso Rock, for solutions to some problems.

For the mess to stop, don’t you think Tinubu has a lot to do? Forget those who are saying they will solve the problem few days after taking over as Governor. It is beyond that. It is just a mere campaign talk! No matter Tinubu’s achievements and popularity, history would be unkind to him regarding his silence on the LAUTECH issue. Whether people will describe it as political or not, this is the best time for Asiwaju to help solve these LAUTECH issues.

In fact, if it means resigning as chancellor of the institution, it will be an honourable thing to do. But that would amount to obvious lack of capacity to tackle issues for someone who ruled Lagos for 8 years.

If the assets and liabilities had been shared when Osun was carved out of old Oyo State, this present problem would have been avoided. I have an advise for Asiwaju and others. I may not have the experience in leadership but I believe my opinion may be useful. I know they know all these but they might have forgotten or not courageous to apply it. 

I learnt LAUTECH owes N5 billion. It is huge! How did we get here? The same school we were (sorry, I wanted to write ‘are’) proud of, especially in 2004 when it won several accolades. We can still bring back the good old days. As it stands, the two governors are helpless, not because they are ‘idealess’, they don’t have the financial muscle. I laugh when some people say Osun should concede the school to Oyo because they now have their own state university. Lame excuse I call it. In fact, any governor that does that will not be favored by history. 

This is not the best of times for Tinubu to be chancellor of the institution. He has been criminally silent on the matter. Despite that the two governors are his ‘boys’, he has refrained from making comments. 

I have a solution, sorry solutions. To rescue the university from his ‘onigbese’ state, Tinubu can bail them out with N3 billion. Yes, three billion naira! It is too much. And it is not. Tinubu can afford more than that, even from his personal purse. You want to ask I am his account officer? However, he need not use his personal money. God has shown mercy to Tinubu in many ways. He has a solid connection of useful friends, both within and outside the country. In Guinea, just like I said, he has Conde. In Nigeria, he has PMB and several governors and ministers. In the last election, the PDP made us to know he is the biggest landlord in Lagos. He can organize fund raising for LAUTECH and more than the N3b would be raised. The two governors should raise the remaining N2b between them. Some people will call this rubbish; that I am not being realistic. But that is not all.

After paying all the arrears and outstanding, a careful audit of the assets and liabilities of the school should be carried out. Heads should be made to roll. This is all in a bid to reposition the institution for greatness. However, if Oyo State is ready to pay what Osun demands, to hands off its shares of the ownership, it can be worked out.

Sikiru Akinola is the publisher of www.oyoinsight.com. He can be reached via 08021195118

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BREAKING: EFCC To Extradite Alison-Madueke From UK

11 November 2018 - 9:44am


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has confirmed that it has begun the process for the extradition of Deziani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria's former Minister of Petroleum, from the United Kingdom.

Acting EFCC Spokesman, Tony Orilade, disclosed this in an interview with NAN in Abuja on Sunday.

According to Orilade, EFCC’s Operations Department has made a presentation to the Legal Department to commence the process, and it is already in progress.

However, he noted that the action had to be processed through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, as it was not something the commission would commence and conclude on its own.

“It is ongoing. Within the next few weeks, the extent to which we have gone will be made known to the public," he said.

“It is not a fresh case; it is not a fresh petition that is just being looked into; the whole process is a total package. This extradition is just an aspect of Deziani’s investigation and commencement of trial."

The EFCC spokesman did not state the point at which it became necessary to seek the former minister's extradition.

In 2017, a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the final forfeiture of N7.6 billion alleged loot recovered from the former minister to the Federal Government. Justice Abdulazeez Anka granted an application by the EFCC seeking the final forfeiture of the money to the government.

Granting the application, the judge had said: “I have read the motion on notice seeking the final forfeiture of the sum of N7.6 billion reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity. I have also gone through the affidavit in support of the application.

“In the circumstances, I am of the view that the application has merit and is hereby granted as prayed. Parties have a right of appeal.”

In October 2017, Abubakar Malami, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, had said Nigeria had no immediate plan to bring Allison-Madueke back home to face trial.

Allison-Madueke, who is being investigated in the UK, had urged the Federal Government to bring her back to the country to face corruption charges against her.

However, Malami said bringing her back to the country would jeopardise the investigation being carried on her in the UK.

“Steps have been taken by the United Kingdom authorities on issues bothering on corrupt practices involving Nigerians," Malami had said.

"If Nigeria feels strongly that there is need to bring Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke here to face charges of corruption, government will not hesitate to do that. As things stand now, there is no need for that since the UK Government is already investigating her."

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FG Vs Shi'ia As A Topic Of Public Discourse By Adebayo Raphael

11 November 2018 - 9:37am


Adebayo Raphael speaking at a public function.

Adebayo Raphael speaking at a public function.

It is no longer news that contemporary records of flagrant abuses of human rights have been synonymously identified with General Buhari's administration since he assumed the office of the presidency in May 2015. It is, however, disturbing that the degree of senseless persecution of citizens and groups for inane reasons has hit the skies with no comforting end in sight.

Disappointingly, numerous mental pygmies have proffered different kinds of rationalizations to these flagrant abuses in favour of the tyrannic regime of General Buhari. 

While I understand that the majority of those defending the existing tyranny that we see today are merely ensuring the continual security of their source of livelihood and that the rest are either too ignorant, sentimental or illogical to dissect and make dispassionate submissions about the situation; I have chosen to write this piece with the hope that such people and their sympathizers would be rudely awakened to the supremacy of humanism and the constancy of moral law in the entire human agency. 

My focus today is on the continuing confrontation between the Federal Government's forces and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) or the Shia Islamic group as they are also called. 

Basically, there are two sides to the ongoing debates on the Government vs IMN: On the one hand, there are those excusing the killings of Shias by the state's forces as an inevitable act of violence in defence of Nigeria's unity and territorial integrity; and on the other hand, there are those claiming the contentious issue is mutually exclusive of common understanding. While I disagree that the contentious situation is not for public discourse, for there is no better way to reach amelioration than through this means; I must state that the debate is one that requires logical lucubration.

On whether the Islamic Movement of Nigeria is indeed a threat to Nigeria: In times of war, commanders use different tactics to demonize their opponents and also win public sympathy. One of the potent tactics used is known as psychological warfare or Hearts and Minds or Propaganda. An effective psychological warfare or propaganda is like an opium; it can easily capture the mind of man and convince him to believe anything its proponents are propagating. And as has become evident in the General Buhari-led administration, there is presently an effective propaganda against the Shias in Nigeria. 

Among many, the group has been regarded as a violent group with members (especially women) allegedly walking around with knives tucked inside their abaya looking for people to stab. It has also been regarded as a group practising Bidah (in Islam) or doctrinal heresy. Another potent propaganda is that which promulgates the group as a radical secessionist movement intending to hand over Nigeria to Iran. At the epicentre of this propaganda, however, is a litany of carefully concocted fables intended to enforce a structural and cultural violence against the IMN members so as to demonize them in the sight of the people and eventually inflame the seething impetus of direct violence against the group. For many will refrain from associating with this group while many more will support whatsoever unjust act is carried out against them because of this propaganda. 

In spite of this propaganda which has considerably turned public sentiment against the distressed group especially at the grassroots, it is instructive to note that the Shias have been moderately calm with their temperament. Even in the face of extrajudicial killings and state-sponsored direct violence which has so far led to the death of hundreds of its members including six sons of its leader Elzazaky; the Shias have demonstrated zero proclivity for violence. 

For we have seen the mass killing and burial of over 300 IMN members in mass graves; the prolonged incarceration of its leader even with the court ruling otherwise; and the frequent clampdowns on peaceful protests organized by its members in different parts of Nigeria; yet we have also seen a great sense of self-suffering and non-violence that the world has not witnessed since Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King's era in the Civil Rights Movement.

On the other side of the debate which attempts to foreclose this issue from public discourse: I think there can be no stronger attempt to shield impunity and glorify injustice than this hypocritical narrative from religious zealots. Surely, this narrative seeks to vindicate and sanctify the state's aberrant use of aggression against the IMN as though it were nothing. 

From a religious point of view, the continuous killing of Shias is indicative of the decades-long religious feud which exists between the two major Islamic groups in Nigeria; The Sunnis (commonly described as orthodox) and the Shias (commonly described as unorthodox). These two groups have fundamentally been entangled in several doctrinal disputes as the former believes its doctrines supercedes that of the latter. This has led to increasing tensions between both sides over the years. Painfully, the role of government in dousing the tensions between both groups as the arbiter of conflicts has drastically diminished since the beginning of the current regime of General Buhari; for his regime is more sentimental than neutral and has become an inciting element in the conflict as a result.

Interestingly, the increasing degree of aggression of the state against the Shias is a glaring disregard for PART II Section 23 of the CFRN which accentuates Religious Tolerance as one of the National Ethics of our country. In addition, Section 38 (1) of the same constitution says, "Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance." But the desperation of the Federal Government and its forces to clamp down on Shias as has been done to many other groups since 2015, knows no bounds. 

The consequence of the current approach of General Buhari's regime is that it might lead to bigger problems for the country. For we have learned from history that a people subjected to oppression and dehumanizing conditions are a people on the fringes of violence. 

Although I am not one to encourage the use of violence, I must warn that it becomes inevitable when one is left with no other option. For we can always learn from history that injustice and oppression make violence inevitable. Even now, we have seen the IMN transmogrify from a position of great vulnerability with no sign (and most probably intent) of attacking the state's forces, to a position of stone-throwing as a last resort for self-defence. And should the present injustice against the group continue, it may be extremely difficult to curtail or abate the angst of the group later. 

Instrumental to my point in the last paragraph is the fact that we have become a people of no sober reflections. As of today, we can wistfully recount the monumental ordeals that our country has had to go through as a result of religious extremism: From the religious violence of Yan Tatsine between the late 1970s to mid 1980s that led to the death of over ten thousand Nigerians with over 30, 000 displaced citizens across Kano, Maiduguri, Kaduna, Yola, and Gombe; to the Jos Riots of 2001, 2008, 2010 and 2018, and the massacres of 2004 and 2010 that altogether left roughly 7, 700 Nigerians six feet under; to the religious tensions in Kaduna that has led to several riots since 2000 up until now with at least 7, 000 to 10, 000 dead Nigerians; and the most calamitous Boko Haram extremists who have so far killed at least 20, 000 Nigerians with no less than 2.5Million people displaced and scattered across the country and even beyond its shores! 

Bearing this factuality in mind, I believe it is treasonous to country and extremely noxious to humanity for any government or leader; person or group of persons; to further stoke religious tensions or inflame the embers of violent religious extremism by perpetrating acts of great injustice against a group under the cloak of national security or whatsoever cock and bull story they so please to propagandise. But I believe it is very crucial at this point in our national trajectory that we call a spade by its name and never allow ourselves be driven into a shell of fear when our lives are endangered regardless.

Let it not be that we the people of Nigeria will continue to glorify the ignominious practice of canonising state violence against the people as just and demonising the people’s resort to the same as an act of terror. Whether Christian or Muslim; Buddhist or Sikh; Deist or Atheist; king or subject; legislator or constituent; rich or poor; President or not; we all possess the same inalienable rights of man which makes us incontrovertibly equal.  

As I passionately hope that we all are longing for a society of peace and religious tolerance, it is important to urge the citizens and government of Nigeria to take a leaf out of Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative of the Golden Rule. That in all our discussions and decisions, we will be guided by the imperative to treat others the way we want to be treated, too.


Adebayo Raphael is the National Secretary of the OurMumuDonDo Movement. He writes from Abuja and can be reached on Twitter via; @Asorosobioro.

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JUST IN: Atiku 'Searched By State Agents' On Return To Abuja From Dubai

11 November 2018 - 8:48am


Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has accused state security operatives of intimidating him and his staff in Abuja.

Atiku said he and members of his staff were subjected to a search on their arrival at Abuja on Sunday, where they had arrived after weeks in Dubai.

Announcing the incident on Twitter, Atiku wrote: "I arrived to Abuja this morning to a search by agents of the state, aimed at intimidating me and my staff.

"I am committed to building a Nigeria where no citizen is intimidated by agents of state who are paid to protect them. Together, #LetsGetNigeriaWorkingAgain."

I arrived to Abuja this morning to a search by agents of the state, aimed at intimidating me and my staff.

I am committed to building a Nigeria where no citizen is intimidated by agents of state who are paid to protect them.

Together, #LetsGetNigeriaWorkingAgain.

— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) November 11, 2018

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Group Condemns Boko Haram Attack On Katarko Town In Yobe

11 November 2018 - 7:24am


A group, the Coalition for Truth and Justice (CTJ), has condemned the recent attack on Katarko town, where at least ten houses were set ablaze by Boko Haram insurgents.

According to reports, the attackers drove through the eastern part of Katarko town in a convoy of three RPG laden Hilux vans, and unleashed terror on the people.

Katarko, in Gujba Local Government Area, is a town located 20 kilometers from Damaturu, the Yobe State capital. On July 27, 2014, the town suffered a Boko Haram attack that claimed lives, with more than 100 women and children abducted.

Condemning the attack, Charles Timothy, National Coordinator of the group, said the consistent attacks attempting to overpower military outposts were becoming alarming.

In a statement obtained by SaharaReporters, Timothy charged the Nigerian Army not to be deterred by the continued attacks, just as he urged Nigerians to continue to support the troops.

He said: “This week’s attack on Katarko village in Yobe State falls into a new pattern of Boko Haram targeting military outposts in the erroneous belief that it would deter troops that are going after them as part of mop-up operations.

“The fact that the terrorists are now focusing on military outposts is an indication that they are under pressure to change the kind of crimes they commit in the growing desperation to remain relevant by continuing to be in the news through sporadic hit-and-run attacks.

"The intensity with which the members of the group shared and promoted video clips from the said incidents in Yobe State, indicate that the recent attacks by the Boko Haram terrorists is an attempt to recover what they perceived as their lost glory, something that the Nigerian Army must continue to deny them.

"The Army must continue to hold the line and ensure this bloodthirsty group does not come anywhere near the level of insurrection it carried out three months to the elections of 2015 since the goal is for the terrorists to be able to produce such situation for their political patrons to cite."

 The group, however, urged the civilian population in the troubled states to support the fight against the insurgents, as the military continues to intensify efforts to root them out of their hiding places.

 

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Yoruba Youth To Dogara: We Won't Allow 'Northern Elements' To Insult Osinbajo

11 November 2018 - 7:10am


The Yoruba Progressive Youth Congress (YPYC) has warned Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives, to "respect the limit of his constitutional boundaries and stop the veiled attempt to ridicule Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and his office".

The group said it would not condone any attempt to disregard leaders from the South-West, as displayed by the Dogora and Honourable Isa Ali from Gombe State. 

Addressing journalists during the weekend in Akure, the Ondo State capital, Comrade Kola Salawu, National President of the YPYC, said the recent probe of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, by a House of Representatives ad hoc committee set up by Dogara is "a clear case of a parliament trying to overstep its bounds and an attempt to bring down another prominent Yoruba son due to hate".

He said: "We urge the Speaker to rein in his attack dogs on Osinbajo or face the full heat of Yoruba nation as we cannot stand the attempt to destroy every emerging leader of Nigeria from the South-West by some Northern elements, as displayed by Dogara and his undertakers, led by Hon. Isa Ali from Gombe.

"For anybody, influenced by any sentiment to step out in the vilification of the Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo in this brazen manner is directly courting the anger of Yoruba youths.

"The Reps Probe Panel by this submission directly indicted the Prof. Osinbajo, with the unsubstantiated allegation of illegally approving N5.8 billion North East Intervention Fund. Sadly too, it claimed the fund was subsequently mismanaged by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). We do not think, Speaker Dogara and his cohorts in the parliament embarked on a voyage of fantasy."

He explained that though the group supports good governance, transparency and accountability in public office, it would not tolerate the "deliberate persecution" of Osinbajo based on ethnic sentiment.
He continued: "We learnt that Speaker Dogara is still embittered with Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for failing to support his bid to Speakership of the House of Representatives, which was in flagrant disregard for party supremacy.

"We hasten to say confidently that the report never proved NEMA’s Governing Board, chaired by Prof. Osinbajo had no powers under the law establishing it, to approve emergency expenditures for the agency to the amount queried by the House. It has not disclosed how due process was allegedly abused or violated.

"YPYC warned long before now that the committee is aimed at tarnishing the reputable image of Professor Yemi Osinbajo, his stewardship and the fixation to offer him as a sacrificial lamb for the vermins in power.
"What propelled our initial skepticism of the job of the committee’s assignment was its unlawful usurpation of the duties of statutory investigation bodies. They transformed into investigators of financial crimes. 
"But after the conclusion of its arrangee investigations, it still referred the cases to either EFCC or the ICPC to investigate what they have investigated. It does not make sense to us."

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Two High-Profile Boko Haram Commanders 'Killed' By Soldiers In Borno

11 November 2018 - 6:02am



Two high-profile Boko Haram commanders have been killed during joint clearance operations by troops of the Nigerian Army.

Troops of 28 Task Force Brigade Chibok and 25 Task Force Brigade Damboa had embarked on Joint Clearance Operations from Gumsuri to Gambori in Borno State, on November 9, 2018.

However, a statement by the Nigerian Army confirmed that two high-profile Boko Haram commanders, Abu Rajal and Tuja Sa'inna Banki, were killed during the clearance operations.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General T.Y. Buratai, commended the soldiers for their efforts and "urged them to carry out further incursions and clearance operations to ensure that the remnants of the BHT are completely wiped out".
 

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2019: Fears Over Imo APC As Okorocha, Uzodinma Fight Dirty

11 November 2018 - 2:01am


Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State

Supporters of All Progressives Congress in Imo State are expressing concern over the likely effects of the current battle between Governor Rochas Okorocha and the party’s governorship candidate, Senator Hope Uzodinma, reports Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu

Following current irreconcilable differences between Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and the All Progressives Congress Governorship Candidate, Senator Hope Uzodinma, there are grave concerns that their bitter battles may endanger the fortunes of the ruling party in the 2019 elections.

There is also the fear that the current secret moves by some aggrieved stakeholders in the APC power game may be designed to mature at a time it would ultimately harm the party. This fear is informed by revelations that some APC stakeholders that lost out may have resolved on plan B arrangements which they want to hold as a secret until the last minute.

The SDP/ADC options

One of the issues that occasioned the recent tension in the state, according to Dr. Vincent Nwulu, an APC chieftain is the news that Okorocha’s supporters, who are bent on ensuring the emergence of Uche Nwosu as the next governor of the state, have allegedly renewed their talks with some political parties to field the out-going governor’s choice. A top politician and known supporter of Okorocha, who prayed not to be named, confided that supporters of Ugwumba, convinced that the national leadership of APC have not been fair on their preferred candidate, “will not fold their hands and watch the select elements from Abuja, deny us of the right successor of Owelle Rochas Okorocha. We are making the right efforts to ensure that Ugwumba contests the governorship, even if it has to be outside the APC platform.”

Nwulu alleged that “certain elements, through the connivance of selfish leaders in Abuja, have come to hijack the party we labored so hard to build in Imo; to reap where they did not sow. If they succeed in taking the party platform, our candidate will use another credible platform to win the election. That is all I can say for now.”

Although the likely platform Governor Okorocha’s supporters may choose has not been declared publicly as at Friday, insiders said the ongoing negotiations in the camp suggest that they may settle for either the Social Democratic Party (SDP) or African Democratic Congress (ADC). The two parties have, within the last three months garnered momentum within the state in preparation for the 2019 governorship election.

It would be recalled that the romance between some Imo APC chieftains and SDP for the purposes of winning 2019 elections dates back to August this year, when the power game in APC ahead the 2019 governorship election was still at the nursery stage. At that time, a group of aggrieved members of the party, under the aegis of Good Governance Forum (GGF), reportedly met with the state leadership of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to discuss the possibility of defecting to the party.

The Publicity Secretary of SDP in the state, Godsent Chilos, who disclosed this preliminary move in a statement, added that the aggrieved leaders of GGF confided that given “the events unfolding in Imo APC, it will be very difficult for the party to win elections in Imo State come 2019.”

“Our attraction to SDP is as a result of the grassroots strength of SDP; SDP’s commitment to restructuring of Nigeria and operation of Open Government when elected to power, adherence to the principles of internal democracy, harmonious co-existence and respect to the democratic rights of members.

“We think that SDP is the only party in Imo State that has brighter chances of winning the governorship of Imo State, including majority in the State House of Assembly in 2019, because APC and PDP has failed imolites,” Chilos had quoted the leaders of GGF as saying then.

Since then, the party has been described as the plan ‘B’ for the APC governorship and other aspirants, eager to win the ticket.

That status was in a way confirmed further in October, when some aggrieved APC and APGA aspirants actually defected to SDP in the state.

Since the national leadership of APC finally submitted the name of Uzodinma, thus leaving Okorocha’s favourite aspirant, Nwosu, in the cold, there are hints that the governor may have given his nod for Nwosu’s henchemen to move over to SDP to prepare grounds even as the battle in APC continue to rage on. This calculation has been strengthened by Chilos’ recent revelation that one Okorocha’s disciple, a governorship aspirant has really commenced serious negotiations with SDP in the state.

Chilos raised the speculation that Nwosu, Okorocha’s Son-in-law, may go for SDP’s flag when he said of the APC’s governorship aspirant negotiating with SDP: “He is one of governor Okorocha’s ardent supporter; he is presently having talks with us.”

As would be expected, this development has elicited fear that the governorship candidate of the party in the state may be persuaded to drop the governorship ticket for the powerful APC aspirant. Although SDP chieftains in the state had consistently debunked the insinuations that their candidate is standing in for a particular APC aspirant, the speculation and the resultant permutations have refused to die down.

Even before speculation that SDP may be the fallback party, there was the allegation as far back as June this year that Okorocha had, at the beginning of the crisis in his political family, identified African Democratic Congress (ADC) as the likely ‘plan B platform.’ This allegation was followed with the rumour that the governor had secretly joined ADC.

The rumour became so wide spread that the Southeast Zonal Secretary of ADC, Mr. Nkem Ukandu, early in June came out and told newsmen that Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has not joined the party.

Even with that formal denial, some observers insist that ADC remains part of the likely cards that may be played in the intriguing power game in Imo APC.

Endless war of words

Perhaps to confirm their resolve to fight until the Election Day, Governor Okorocha and Senator Uzodinma have since November continued to exchange hot words against each other even as concerned party supporters plead for peace in order not to jeopardize the fortunes of APC in the forthcoming elections.

It all began when Uzodinma was quoted as saying the governor underestimated his (Uzodinma’s) popularity. Responding through a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, Okorocha alleged that Uzodinma was “burdened by at least two criminal cases, besides standing on a wealth of unknown means, including issuance of dud cheques.”

As he puts it, “Chief Uzodinma should face his two most recent criminal charges over the issuance of Dud Cheque and non-declaration of assets. We won’t talk about other similar cases. “Chief Hope Uzodinma is not a member of APC in Imo State. His purported membership of the party was announced in Abuja. He has never attended any APC meeting either in his ward or in his local government, Oru-East, or at the state level. “That is why no APC member in the state was excited when the party’s National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, announced him as his preferred governorship candidate of the party in the state. “Since Chief Uzodinma has begun to throw stone not considering the fact that he lives in a badly constructed glass house, we challenge him to publish his profile for the public to see and let Rochas also publish his own. Rochas Okorocha was born in Ogboko, and he grew up in Jos. He attended St. Joseph Primary School, Barkin Ladi Jos, and Juladaco High School Jos. He has LLB and LLM of the University of Jos, Post  Graduate Diploma in Management, of the Benue State University,” the statement said.

In his defence, Uzodinma said Okorocha made reference to a non-existent cheque.

The Director of Media and Special Duties of Senator Hope Uzodimma Campaign Organisation, Mr. Declan Emelumba, said “Imo State government is referring to a non-existent dud cheque issue and phony assets declaration matter. Imo State Government has only confirmed an open secret which is that they are behind the two baseless issues. “We know that it was Imo State Government that sponsored the jankara Abuja magistrate judgment over a matter between two corporate citizens which a magistrate court has no jurisdiction just to smear the Senator’s intimidating image.

“They are also behind the baseless assets declaration issue to achieve the same goal. But on each they failed woefully “Is Imo State government now the state, LGA and ward secretariat of APC? This only goes to confirm that Okorocha and his cohorts believe that Imo State and APC are their personal estates. “They are still dreaming and I think they should continue to wallow in their dreams,” Uzodinma said.

The Uzodinma’s Campaign Organisation also challenged Okorocha, “to tell us the year Okorocha got the so-called LLB and LLM from the University of Jos so that we can expose their falsehood. “We don’t know what they are implying by talking about certificates but if its to imply that Okorocha is better educated than anybody then they must be told the bitter truth which is that he is not in a position to talk about certificate.”

Earlier, Okorocha was quoted as alleging that the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state, Senator Hope Uzodinma, “will never win governorship election.”

Also speaking through Onwuemeodo, Okorocha stated that “there was jubilation within the opposition parties in the state when Senator Hope Uzodinma was named the candidate of the APC in the state because of how unpopular he (Uzodinma) was.”

Explaining why Uzodinma cannot win the governorship election, Onwuemeodo, quoted the governor as saying, “In 2011, he took the Senate seat for Orlu Zone from Chief Osita Izunaso, through the court. In 2015, Nigerians knew what transpired in Imo.

“The state was invaded with armed security personnel by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders like Uzodinma and the rest is history. So, Uzodinma can never win election in Imo, in a free and fair election.

“And that is why the PDP and APGA members are those celebrating his Kleg governorship candidature for Imo APC.

“If Uzodinma was to be a known member of the party, there would have been celebration in Imo.

“The chieftains of the party in Abuja, who are backing him, are elite politicians, who have no relationship with the grassroots,” he said.

If Okorocha is unsparing, Uzodinma has equally been so.

He had alleged that it was aggrieved members of the Peoples Democratic Party that “manipulated Governor Rochas Okorocha into power in 2011.”

He also alleged that Okorocha did never won an election, adding that the governor “has underestimated how unpopular he has become in the state.”

In a statement signed by his Director of Media and Special Duties, Declan Emelumba, Uzodinma said, “Okorocha has run for many elections, including the governorship of Imo State, before 2011, and even the presidency, and lost all. But, in 2011, in particular, Imo people voted more against former Governor Ikedi Ohakim than for Okorocha, so, he merely benefitted from the anger of the people against Ohakim.

“Even at that, the election went into a bi-election, where Ohakim was finally manipulated out of the race and Okorocha became governor. Also, in 2015, Okorocha, as incumbent governor, could not win outright on first ballot.

“The election was concluded on a second ballot, where some aggrieved PDP members helped, again, to manipulate him into the governorship.”

He also pointed out that he defeated Okorocha’s political party in Imo West Senatorial District in 2011 and 2015, even as governorship candidate and incumbent governor, respectively.

“I think this is more than enough evidence that in terms of popularity, Senator Uzodinma is far more popular than Okorocha in Imo West (the biggest senatorial district in Nigeria) where both come from.

“The truth of the matter is that all strata of Imo society are celebrating Uzodinma’s victory as the APC governorship candidate and this has brought them back on track to vote massively for APC in 2019.

“Uzodinma’s popularity in Imo State is infectious and it will not only guarantee victory for APC, but will rake in far more than five million votes for the APC from the Southeast in 2019. So, let no one be deceived by Okorocha’s boast because he is the problem of APC in Imo State and the Southeast.”

As the war of words continue and as there seems to be no solution in the peace moves, concerned stakeholders are watching closely to see the final effect on the fortunes of the party in 2019.

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Primaries: Governor Offered Oshiomhole $500,000 Bribe In Cash

11 November 2018 - 1:46am


Fresh details yesterday indicated that the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole became a target after refusing $500,000 bribe cash from a governor.

The governor wanted the APC chairman to adopt his anointed governorship candidate.

But Oshiomhole insisted on applying the guidelines of the party for primaries.

Also, there were indications that the APC leadership tried its best to strike a fair deal with Governor Rochas Okorocha on a 55-45 per cent basis.

The Imo governor however opted for 100 per cent concession which was unacceptable to APC.

Findings by our correspondent revealed that contrary to allegations, the refusal of Oshiomhole to collect bribes from godfathers and candidates accounted for the plot against him.

It was gathered that many godfathers and governorship candidates were desperate for tickets but Oshiomhole stood his ground that he will not compromise party guidelines.

A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “At a stage, a governor became agitated and offered Oshiomhole about $500,000 to make sure that his candidate got a governorship ticket.

“The bribe sum was later hauled in cash to Oshiomhole’s office by one of the emissaries of the affected governors. But the APC chairman rejected the bribery.

“What the APC chairman did was to brief some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) on what transpired. He also intimidated some leaders of the party too. The party adhered strictly to its guidelines and the governor’s candidate lost out.

“The governor later turned out to have joined forces in the plot to remove Oshiomhole to teach the APC chairman a lesson. It was surprising to see the governor coordinating nocturnal meetings to sack Oshiomhole.

“The facts and witnesses are there. In the fullness of time, the name of the governor will be released. Maybe when he does not have immunity again, he will pay the price.”

As at press time, it was learnt that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Department of State Security Service (DSS) to stay away from party affairs and issues.

Also, the President has appealed to those aggrieved among APC governors to sheathe the swords.

A government source said: “The President has waded in the crisis of confidence between the governors and APC national chairman. We expect peace to return to the party. There might also be some reconciliation within the substitution window allowed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“The President has however ordered DSS to avoid dabbling in party affairs. He said if there are petitions about any infraction, they should be sent to appropriate agencies. Buhari was worried that the same challenge which the DSS faced on the arrest of judges had re-occurred.”

Meanwhile, there were indications that the APC leadership did its best to offer a fair deal to Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State on the party’s candidates for 2019 poll in the state.

A reliable source said: “Okorocha is respected and loved by most of our leaders but we discovered that he cannot get all he wanted in 2019.

“APC leaders met the governor and it was agreed that as the APC leader in the state, he should go back and do justice.

“We offered him a fair deal. We said he should take 55% of the available seats and concede 45% of elective offices to others in the state. He accepted the deal but he returned to Imo to take 100% control of everything.

“At this point, we have no choice than to leave his fate to APC members to decide. This was why he lost out.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “If Okorocha was keen on his son-in-law as APC governorship candidate, there is nothing bad if he abandons his senatorial ambition.

“What made matter worse was when APC got intelligence report that the proposed running mate to his son-in-law as APC governorship aspirant has been found to be dating another girl in the governor’s family.

“This was why Oshiomhole came out to say he was not elected APC National Chairman to preserve any dynasty. We conceded a lot to Okorocha but he wanted wholesale party machinery in his care to do what he likes.

“If you look at the structure in the state, it is disproportional. Okorocha is the governor, his former Personal Assistant is the Deputy Governor, his son-in-law was a former commissioner and aspiring governorship candidate; his sister is the Deputy Chief of Staff/ Commissioner; the governor has also secured a senatorial ticket and he has given tickets to many loyalists.

“If he defects to any party, none can tolerate such indulgence because it is a mockery of democracy.”

As at press time, it was learnt that APC may still retain the current deputy governor, Eze Madumere as running mate to its governorship candidate, Chief Hope Uzodinma.

“We may give deputy governorship slot to Madumere again,” a top party source added.

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Atiku vs Buhari: APC Members Have ‘No Brain’ – Fani-Kayode Replies El-Rufai’s Statement On Peter Obi

11 November 2018 - 1:46am


Femi Fani-Kayode

Femi Fani-Kayode SaharaReporters Media

Femi Fani-Kayode, the former Minister of Aviation has said those members still in the All Progressives Congress, APC, have ‘no brain’

Fani-Kayode stated this while reacting to a statement by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, in which he described Peter Obi, the running mate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar as a “religious bigot.”

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El-Rufai recalled that Obi supported his (El-Rufai’s) arrest by the Department of State Services, DSS in 2014 on the ground that “El-Rufai has no business being in Anambra State as it is not Katsina State.”

Reacting to El-Rufai’s statement, Fani-Kayode insisted that those left in the ruling party have ‘no brain as it has been replaced with ‘Cow Dung’

The former minister tweeted: “There isn’t a single thinking brain left in the PDP”-@elrufai

“I do not want to be too harsh on an old friend but I will say this: those that insist on remaining in the APC despite its glaring failures and incompetence have NO brain at all: they have replaced it with cow dung.

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PDP: Fayose, Secondus Clash Over Ekiti Leadership Tussle

11 November 2018 - 1:28am


There were strong indications that the immediate past Governor of Ekit State, Ayodele Fayose, and the National Chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, may have begun a subtle political battle ahead of 2019 general election in the state. Our correspondent gathered that the leadership tussle that broke out between factions of the party in Ekiti State may be the cause of the rift between the duo.

While Fayose is currently engaged in a fierce political battle for the control of the PDP in Ekiti State, there are feelers that Secondus may have thrown his weight behind those who plotted the alleged removal of the former governor as the leader of the party in the Southwest state following the loss of the state to the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the gubernatorial election held last July.

Party sources say the national leadership of the party’s decision to support those moving against Fayose is being rationalized as the provision of the PDP constitution which allegedly prescribed the most senior elective office holder in a state as the ‘leader’ of the party in any state. “This is where Secondus recognized Senator Biodun Olujimi as the leader of the party in Ekiti State,” a source explained.

But ex-Governor Fayose is unfazed by such explanation. According to sources close to him, he is highly disappointed and embarrassed by what he reportedly described as the betrayal of trust meted out to him by Secondus. “Oga will ordinarily go to sleep and not worry himself over the circus show being led by Senator Olujimi. But when signs that the plotters may have the support of some people at the top started emerging, he saw a need to dig deep.

“While it is still not confirmed where all these are coming from so soon after we left office, it is sad that the national chairman’s body language is encouraging the political rascality going on in Ekiti PDP today. Fayose is no push over in politics, especially in PDP where he has been governor twice. We will not allow anybody to dictate for us in Ekiti. The party members know their leader and they will not follow any regent,” our source, a close associate of Fayose’s said.

Prominent chieftains of Ekiti PDP had last Saturday appointed the Senator representing Ekiti South, Mrs Biodun Olujimi, as the leader of the party in Ekiti State and the Southwest. The PDP stakeholders also passed a vote of no-confidence on the Chief Gboyega Oguntuase-led State Working Committee of the party in Ekiti, calling on Secondus to dissolve the executive and set up a caretaker committee to pilot the party’s affairs. They cited alleged financial recklessness as reason for their call for the disbandment of the State executive.

The party leaders took the decision to install Olujimi as leader since she is the most top-ranking elected official in the state and the Southwest. A resolution, signed and read by the Protem Secretary of the PDP Stakeholders and former Assembly member, Bunmi Olugbade, also overruled the SWC on the suspension of former State Secretary of the party, Dr. Tope Aluko , saying he remains a bonafide member of the party. The leaders also resolved to back the candidacy of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in 2019.

Reacting, Senator Olujimi said ex-Governor Fayose was excluded from the meeting because he had just been released from detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged financial fraud. “We knew what he might have passed through by staying in detention and we know it might not be easy for him to attend this meeting, so there is no faction at all in our party. My being appointed the Leader does not mean there is crisis,” she said.

A party leader, Titi Oluwatuyi, while commending the national chairman of the PDP for ‘standing firm on the side of the truth’  claimed that Section 30 of the PDP’s constitution allowed leadership change in the PDP, saying the leadership change was in order. The PDP chieftain who leads a group, Integrity Women in Politics, said Secondus has restated his support for the adoption of Senator Olujimi as the party’s leader in the state.

She applauded those who spearheaded the announcement of the change in leadership of the party, saying it would “serve as a morale booster for women’s participation in politics.” Oluwatuyi also commended the former Governor Fayose for allegedly “respecting and standing by the decision of the stakeholders”, saying this was “party supremacy in action.” She contended that Senator Olujimi’s adoption was “in consonance with the party’s constitution and the rule of law” and that the action didn’t breach any law of the land.

“We commend former Governor Fayose for standing by the party’s decision and he did this because he realised that the decision was in line with the party’s guidelines and constitution contrary to some disgruntled and faceless elements who are bent on fanning the ember of discord within the party. We charge the new leader, Senator Olujimi to, as a matter of urgency constitute a reconciliation committee that will further foster unity among party members with a view to presenting a formidable party that can guarantee victory for us in 2019.”

The Nation gathered that the Olujimi camp may have sought the understanding of Secondus and other party leaders before embarking on the move to change the status quo in Ekiti PDP. Reliable sources claimed that the move was initiated by a coalition of some prominent Abuja based Ekiti politicians and many more home based politicians, especially members of the Ekiti House of Assembly.

“The event where Olujimi was announced as the replacement for Fayose as the party leader in Ekiti was the final outcome of series of meetings in Abuja and Ado-Ekiti. The decision was not just taken without consultations. That is why it has not been easy for Fayose to reverse the situation in spite of all the threats. Ekiti people and the leadership of the PDP in Abuja know the right thing to do in the current situation if the party is to survive this trying time,” a party official said.

Speaking on the development, another aide of the ex-Governor flayed the silence of the national leadership of the party on the matter, saying those accusing Secondus of having a hand in the unfolding drama may not be totally wrong after all. “Why should anyone keep quiet while something like this is going on? This is not in the interest of the PDP in Ekiti, or even in the entire Southwest. Secondus better be told,” he said.

While dissociating themselves from the Saturday meeting that installed Olujimi as state leader, PDP’s five House of Representatives members from Ekiti State expressed confidence in the leadership of the Oguntuase-led state leadership of the party. Representatives Kehinde Agboola (Ekiti North I), Thaddeus Aina (Ekiti North II), Ayo Oladimeji (Ekiti Central I), Segun Adekola (Ekiti South I) and Akin Awodumila (Ekiti South II), in a joint statement, reiterated their loyalty to Fayose.

“There is no leadership vacuum in the PDP in Ekiti State those desperate for political leadership should wait for their time. While we agree that individuals or groups have rights to hold meetings, we are miffed that Senator Olujimi was taking her selfish agenda of collapsing the party structures to the extreme. We were not consulted before the meeting was held and most of those who attended the meeting were those who worked against our party in the July 14 governorship election,” they said.

But a source at the national secretariat of the PDP told The Nation that it is wrong for anybody to read meaning to the silence of the national chairman. He explained that the matter came to the notice of the PDP leadership during the week and necessary steps are being taken to look into it. “We will not encourage discord anywhere. We will not support tyranny of any sort. We will always do what will promote the party, not an individual,” our source said.

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What I Will Do To El-Rufai For Calling Me ‘Tribal Bigot’- Peter Obi

11 November 2018 - 1:18am


The Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Peter Obi, on Saturday called on Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State to stop making hate speeches that will divide and destroy the country

Obi said this while reacting to El Rufai’s tweet describing him as “a tribal bigot.”

El-Rufai had in a tweet claimed that Obi supported his (El-Rufai’s) arrest by the Department of State Services, DSS in 2014 on the ground that “El-Rufai has no business being in Anambra State as it is not Katsina State.”

Obi, while answering questions from journalists on the matter at a youth programme in Nnewi, Anambra State on Saturday, expressed shock at statement from El-Rufai.

According to him, he would only pray for El-Rufai and encourage him to concentrate on doing those things that will better lots of Nigerians rather than engage in hate speeches.

He said, “This is suggesting that it was what he sat down to think of rather than thinking about how to solve the many problems plaguing the country.

“What His Excellency, Gov. Nasir Ahmad El Rufai said about me has been brought to my attention. I believe that as we grow older and are saddled with more responsibilities, we are expected to become circumspect in our thinking and avoid recklessness in our speeches and utterances.

“How does the circumstance he referred to relate to bigotry to warrant such a label?

“All I do for people like El-Rufai is to pray for them and encourage them to concentrate on doing those things that will better the lots of Nigerians rather than engage in hate speeches that will divide and destroy the country.

“At this difficult times in our country, when thousands of our brothers and sisters across ethnic divide are killed all over the country, including innocent citizens in Kaduna state; millions of our children from all the parts of the country are out of school; millions of Nigerian youths from all the parts of the country are without jobs, our pre-occupation, especially among those that are in government should not be making reckless speeches.

“What our leaders should be doing today is seeking solutions to the numerous problems of our dear country.

“I am aware that during the said election he referred to, security agents merely restricted his movement because he had no business being in Anambra as I would not have been in Kaduna on an election day.”

The former governor of Anambra State further appealed to Nigerians, especially those in positions of authority, to avoid what he called “the dominance of the vice of hate”

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Bindow’s WAEC Certificate Missing As He Emerges APC Candidate

11 November 2018 - 1:09am


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released particulars of 28 gubernatorial candidates in Adamawa State, amidst anxiety over who would emerge as the All Progressives Congress (APC) flag bearer.

Plethora of petitions against the candidature of Governor Muhammadu Jibrilla Bindow, who was declared winner of the controversial primary election had generated uncertainty about who will make the final list. Jibrilla emerged as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) amidst contention over his O level school certificate.

The INEC published credentials contained Jibrilla’s testimonial from Government Secondary School, Miango, rather than the WAEC certificate as presented by candidates of other parties.

An Abuja High Court had recently ordered that summon be served on Governor Jibrilla Bindow and the WAEC after a non governmental organisation filed a case of WAEC certificate forgery against the governor.

Meanwhile, a federal Commissioner of INEC, retired Air Vice Marshal Ahmad Muazu, who inspected the on-going permanent voter card distribution in the state lamented low turnout.

Muazu, who was accompanied by the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Kassim Gaidam, observed the voter apathy, advising against last-minute rush.

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You’re Liars, Dan Fulani To Clerics Who Predicted Buhari’s Failure In 2019

11 November 2018 - 12:59am


Following predictions by some Christian and Muslim clerics that President Muhammadu Buhari will fail the 2019 elections, the National Coordinator of Buhari Presidential Support Committee, which was recently formed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Ya’u Adamu dan Fulani, has dismissed the prediction of the clerics, calling them liars.

Dan Fulani, who is also an Agric and import dealer, as well as the chairman Hulhulde International Ltd, said that it is only God that can stop Buhari from winning the 2019 election and not the clerics. He disclosed that Buhari’s campaign is centred on his track-record and not on blackmail. According to him, all ethnic crises are political and aimed at tarnishing the image of the Buhari administration. He spoke on many other issues.

Excerpt:

As the polity is heated by serious criticism against Buhari’s administration for failure to perform, what is your take on this?

To start with, what some people are saying is not a new thing. We were on the opposition side three years ago, we have objectively criticized the Goodluck Jonathan administration which, of course, we later succeeded in throwing out his government. So, the same PDP now is criticizing Buhari’s government blindly, cynically and baselessly. It’s beyond theory that reforming Nigeria requires perseverance and tolerance. Buhari made that statement long ago. Can you tell me that the development projects you are seeing today are fake or not real? The new roads that are being constructed across the country are fake, or the railway constructions, new power projects, new Agricultural reform that is yielding more food for export and import or even the restoration of peace in Northeast or Niger-Delta or the anti-corruption crusade embarked by this administrations, all are not true. I think we should better remove politics when it comes to issues that are reality. Development is a continuous process as such the opposition is wrong by looking at only one aspect of the development which they destroyed long ago. I am telling you that all the present so-called politicians cannot be a match to Muhammadu Buhari in all aspects. Of course, the president is a human being and bound to make mistakes, though it is not easy to correct the damage done within only three years. But wait and see what Buhari will do in his second term come 2019.

What gives you confidence that Muhammadu Buhari will defeat his opponent when his party is full of crises?

Look, crisis whether inter or intra is a common phenomenon in party politics, but what is important is that crises bring positive or negative developments. If you look at the history of merger of political parties in 2014 to 2015 election, you could see that some parties who were against the merger split into different groups; some members quit like Peter Obi, defected to PDP from APGA along with others, but that did not stop the merger or success of the merger. So, I think, intra or inter party conflict would only strengthen chances of Buhari to win for the second term in office. Secondly, if you look at the number of people that are joining APC today just for the goodwill of Buhari are in thousands from other parties at all level; state and local governments. More importantly, the APC convention in Abuja is enough to prove our victory. Look at the result of the consensus Presidential primaries in the states, what President Muhammadu Buhari got in each state, when you compare this to other primaries, the difference is clear. To crown it all, Buhari’s achievement in the area of development is unquantifiable. Only Allah can stop Buhari from winning the 2019 election. These are some of the facts that one can see and rely on.

Your campaign at the grassroots is viewed by some Nigerians as low, and gives the opposition an opportunity to challenge Buhari’s policies. Why is it so?

No, no, Muhammadu Buhari is elected by Nigerians, especially the poor class, their hope and confidence is still with him; in fact, most Nigerian grassroots are with Buhari, and they are very much aware of the positive changes he brought to them. So, what the grassroots are talking about; let me tell you that Muhammadu Buhari doesn’t need introduction, he doesn’t need to be sold to Nigerians. Our Campaign is based on track-record policies and promises made to Nigeria, especially on correcting PDP anomalies. Our campaign is on records of transparency, accountability display not shopping for people’s weaknesses and blackmail or falsification of facts and fake promises to Nigerians. I think Nigerians know this very well and respect Buhari, certainly Nigerians know all his opponents and what they did in the past. How can those who could not improve the life of Nigerians in the past 16

years will now come to tell us they’ll put us in heaven, that is a capital lie and deceit. Our campaign strategy on sensitizing Nigerians on dangers of electing these class of people is going on seriously because Nigeria cannot afford to miss leaders like Muhammadu Buhari.

Recently, some clerics said that based on spiritual predictions, Buhari will fail the election in 2019 and Atiku Abubakar will take over. What is your reaction to this?

Leave those beggars, they are liars, they always tell lies to get money from wealthy politicians. They are not god, not even saint. It is true, I read the same story in one of the newspapers recently. The same clerics that predicted the failure of Buhari in 2015, but he eventually won with support of the majority of Nigerians. So, I think people should not allow such predictions to work on their consciousness. It’s divine power of God, and He gives power to whom He wants and takes it from anybody He wants. This is my philosophy that I expect anybody to believe in and make his submission to. Buhari will win 2019 election by God’s willing, and those clerics will be disappointed. The issue of Muhammadu Buhari as a president is a destiny and nobody can alter someone’s destiny, so it is wrong to make predictions based on things that are beyond their powers.

You are fully into Agriculture and livestock production, especially fertilizer production and distributions. It is said that 2017/2018 budget allocation to Agric sector did not portray Buhari’s administration seriousness in the sector as he promised. What can you that say on this?

I don’t want to sue of budget simply because if you understand Agricultural sector very well, you ‘ll not expect high amount to be injected into it. Modern Agriculture is business driven, government does not have to spend much money in it, instead government should only provide enabling environment and allow the private sector to carry on with the rest. Government can only support with policies, research, provision of inputs and to some extent grant to farmers. The rest is private sector responsibilities like storage, loan, marketing and others . And you know Agriculture in Nigeria provides 60 per cent of employment opportunities. No matter how cynic one can be, you must testify that the Buhari administration has done more than the past regimes in the agriculture sector. Go to any part of the North, including areas affected by violence, you’ll see everywhere green, the same scenario in the South. Or visit your village market and ask the prices of new agricultural commodities. Buhari has ensured that fertilizer is available in the country and sold at reasonable uniform price of N5,500. The administration has also provided access to grant and soft loan to both young and big farmers. On livestock, it is so glaring on the concern of Muhammadu Buhari on Fulani nomads’, and domestic animal production. So, for goodness sake if Buhari’s government can transform this sector within three years only, what do you expect again?

One of the issues that received serious criticism in the Buhari administration is how the government handled herdsmen rampage where several people have been killed. What can you say on this?

Let me tell Nigerians without contradictions, that herdsmen violence was more political than anything. I am fully a Fulani man from the grazing bush. I rear cows and it is the business of my entire family. Having participated in the investigation, mediation and reconciliation of the violence at both local and national level, I am telling you that herdsmen issue was gingered and fueled by some politicians to tarnish the image of Buhari’s administration. You see, Fulani tribe is the only tribe that has the highest number of different ethnics communities within it, in Nigeria and lineage at the neighbouring countries. So, in most cases, the crises of neighbouring countries automatically become our crises. I believe there are some political opponents who see value in attributing the herdsmen killings to Muhammadu Buhari administration simply because Buhari is a Fulani man.

If herdsmen violence is politically motivated what of the others like religious violence in Kaduna, Plateau and the Zamfara gunmen rampage?

Yes, they all have political motives if you look at the way they are carried out. You see, there is nothing in any religion except peace. Religion only teach you how to worship your God and relate well with fellow human beings. So, what brought killing in the matter? It is clear that the perpetrators are working for benefits directly or indirectly. We have had reports of various violence and crimes tribunals. Some indicted prominent individuals, but none of them have been prosecuted except one who was later released by the same government. The remote causes of these so-called religious or ethnic violence are more of political than what it appeared to be. Other violence, including Boko Haram have shared political motivations directly or indirectly. President Muhammadu Buhari inherited these crises and he used his experience to put it off except in few cases that are still glaring, which I believe with time would be overcome.

It has become so glaring that some governors that are assumed to be closer to Buhari appear to have some questionable attitude. Don’t you see this as a factor that would affect his success at the 2019 presidential election?

Not at all. Buhari is Buhari, there is no way a governor’s offence will effect the success of Buhari in the coming election. It is true that some governors honestly did not help Buhari and his policies. For example, Buhari released billions of naira to governors as bailout to pay outstanding salaries and allowances for staff. In addition he paid the weaver of Paris Club loan to governors, but most governors failed to pay salaries or execute meaningful projects in their states, which portrayed the government as insensitive to the people. Thank God, Nigerians hold the governors responsible not Buhari. In a nutshell, the election of governors will come after presidential election so everyone will see the result of his action.

Politics Interview News AddThis :  Original Author :  Abdullahi Hassan, Zaria, SUN NEWSPAPER Disable advertisements : 
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Oshiomhole Returns, Opens Up On DSS Quiz

11 November 2018 - 12:04am


The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, returned to the country yesterday and opened up on his encounter with officers of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Oshiomhole, who met with Editors in Lagos, after his return from London, however, described his engagement with the DSS officers as a “conversation” and not an “arrest” or “detention.”

The embattled National Chairman was said to have visited his wife, who is ill, in the United States and later met with  the APC National Leader,  Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in London.

Oshiomhole had been at the centre of controversy emanating from his purported arrest and detention by DSS officers in the past few days.

“The conversation centred around APC primaries. The question now is whether or not it is the DSS job to interfere in a political party’s issues. And if there’s an allegation of corruption, it is the responsibility of EFCC and ICPC,” the former Edo State governor said.

He dismissed the rumor that the DSS rescheduled another meeting with him after the initial one. He also denied the report that he was released on administrative bail by the Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, saying he only invited the governor who showed up where he had interaction with the DSS officials.

“I was the one who called Yahaya Bello and he came, but I drove home in my own car,” Oshiomhole said.

On the call for his arrest by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the APC National Chairman said: “what would they have said if it was the PDP chairman that was invited by the DSS, for instance, over the dollar bazaar at their Port Harcourt primary? They would have said democracy is under threat and would have fired a letter to the UN, as they often ridicule themselves”.

His “arrest” and subsequent “detention” was said to have been orchestrated by some aggrieved party leaders, many of whom are sitting governors, wherein their preferred aspirants failed to win the party’s tickets for various positions.

Oshiomhole suddenly left the country Tuesday after interrogation for hours by the Department of State Services (DSS) last Sunday and Monday.

The quiz was said to have been prompted by petitions from Imo, Ogun, Niger, Zamfara, Kaduna, Bauchi, Adamawa, Delta and Cross River states over the outcome of the party’s primary elections.

The petitions, in which Oshiomhole was accused of alleged bribery and manipulation were sent to the DSS, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Presidency

The National Chairman was also accused of usurping the functions of the APC National Working Committee (NWC), “relocated” from the national headquarters to his personal campaign secretariat at Asokoro, Abuja and delayed the appointment of screening and primary election committees for the states, among others.

The National Chairman’s major squabbles are with Governors Rochas Okoroacha and Ibikunle Amosun of Imo and Ogun states respectively.

Both governors didn’t get their “preferred” candidates through to contest in next year’s governorship election and they blame Oshiomhole for their loss.

In the case of Ogun State, the National Chairman said the matter had been concluded after the party submitted the name of Prince Dapo Abiodun as the governorship candidate.

For Imo State, Oshiomhole said the NWC accepted the governorship candidature of Senator Hope Uzodinma, as the primary that produced him was in substantial compliance with the constitutional provisions.

The APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, also confirmed Oshiomhole’s return to Daily Trust on Sunday via telephone. He said the chairman arrived Abuja after a stop-over in Lagos State.

Issa-Onilu, however, said most of the stories written on Oshiomhole’s encounter with the DSS and subsequent trip out of the country were “fiction.”

When asked to confirm the report that the national chairman was now in the country, Issa-Onilu said, “Which story are you people writing? The stories are fabrications and fiction. Everything you wrote is fiction. The chairman is in Abuja. People who are giving the story are pursuing an agenda.

“I’m not saying that the DSS didn’t invite him. But every detail around it is fiction. The invitation itself was by some people who had scores to settle with him and not the government.  Despite all these allegations, they could not present anything. They thought they could force him to sign a paper, which he didn’t do,” Issa-Onilu said.

Politics DailyTrust Newspaper News AddThis :  Original Author :  Nurudeen Oyewole, (Lagos) &amp; Muideen Olaniyi, (Abuja) Disable advertisements : 
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I’ve Never Been Declared Mentally Unstable, Sanwo-Olu Tells INEC

11 November 2018 - 12:03am


The Lagos State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, says he has never been declared unfit and having an unsound mind at any point in time.

This is contrary to allegations leveled against him by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.

The governor on September 30, 2018, while addressing a World Press Conference alleged that Sanwo-Olu was once a patient at the Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos, where he underwent rehabilitation.

Sanwo-Olu had emerged as the governorship candidate of the party in the state based on the support received from the Mandate Movement of the Lagos APC and that of the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Ambode, who lashed out at his then-opponent for the party’s governorship primary election, after failing to secure the backing of the Mandate Movement for a second term, had said, “The aspirant that has been put up to contest against me (referring to Sanwo-Olu) is not a fit and proper person to take this job.”

He had added, “This particular aspirant is somebody that has been arrested for spending fake dollars in a nightclub in America, and was detained for months.

“It is also known that he doesn’t have the competence to do what he is being propelled to do. This is somebody that has gone for rehabilitation before. The records are there at the Gbagada General Hospital.”

But in the Form CF001 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission by Sanwo-Olu, he said he had never at any time been adjudged to be of unsound mind.

Responding to one of the questions in the form: “Have you ever been adjudged a lunatic or declared to be of unsound mind?” the governorship candidate ticked “No.”

According to INEC, one of the grounds for disqualification for anyone seeking public offices specified in sections 65, 106, 131 and 177 of the 1999 Constitution is if such a person is “adjudged to be a lunatic or declared to be of unsound mind.”

Meanwhile, Sanwo-Olu and his counterpart in the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, failed to attach their tax certificates to the Form CF001 submitted to INEC.

Our correspondent observed this at the INEC office in Yaba, Lagos, where names of governorship candidates in the state were pasted.

However, analysts said they did no wrong since submission of tax certificate was not required by the candidates in the Electoral Act.

“They could have attached their tax certificates in the name of transparency,” a Lagos-based lawyer and political commentator, Mr. Niyi Abayomi, said

Politics News PUNCH NEWSPAPER AddThis :  Original Author :  JESUSEGUN ALAGBE Disable advertisements : 
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Nigerians Are Frustrated, Says Obasanjo

11 November 2018 - 12:02am


Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday lamented the state of the nation, saying that many Nigerians are “disillusioned and hopelessly frustrated.”

He equally hinted that Nigeria ought to have ceased to exist owing to “many mistakes that have been made, but God did not allow such calamity to befall the country”.

Obasanjo spoke yesterday at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, when the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka, was formally presented to him alongside other candidates of the party ahead of the 2019 elections.

According to him, God did not create Nigeria to be a failed country, rather one of the leading countries among the comity of nations.

The Ota-farmer said the country still lags behind other developed nations because of the “conscious and unconscious choice of the people of Nigeria.”

Obasanjo said, “some people are hopelessly frustrated and when I see people like that I tell them – don’t be frustrated because of the situation in Nigeria. Otherwise, we have made many mistakes in this country that Nigeria should have ceased to exist, but that has not been our lot. That has not been our situation, we thank God for that”.

Politics DailyTrust Newspaper News AddThis :  Original Author :  Peter Moses, Abeokuta Disable advertisements : 
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'Police Afraid Of Attack' As 'Herdsmen' Kill Seven Farmers In Kaduna

10 November 2018 - 1:36pm


Seven people have been allegedly murdered by suspected herdsmen while working on their farms in Kaduna.

The incident occurred on Friday evening at Jan Tsani, behind Kurgi Sabon Layi Kakangi ward in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

According to a relative of one of the victims, who preferred not to be named, the attackers overpowered the victims while they were working on their farms and fled the scene immediately they sighted the security guards in the community (Yan Sakai) who chased them into a nearby bush.

The locals were said to have arrived the scene shortly after the incident, and they made frantic efforts to apprehend the attackers. The hoodlums eventually escaped through a forest in the area.

The source said the Police could not go to the area because of its volatile nature and activities of herdsmen and kidnappers, which had become rampant.

"The Police cannot go to the area because they are afraid of being attacked by the herdsmen. Even if you call them, they will not come, but we have local vigilantes in the village," one of the villagers, said.

He said the entire village had been thrown into mourning, adding that a similar incident happened a few weeks ago.

He also called on government to expedite action in restoring peace to the area.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force has revealed plans to establish a base in Birnin Gwari forest, with a view to curtailing the incessant killing of innocent citizens in the state.

CRIME Police News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SaharaReporters, New York Disable advertisements : 
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VIDEO: Lawmaker Beaten Up As Ondo Assembly Speaker, Deputy Are Impeached

10 November 2018 - 1:22pm

Video of Lawmaker Beaten Up As Ondo Assembly Speaker, Deputy Are Impeached Lawmaker Beaten Up As Ondo Assembly Speaker, Deputy Are Impeached Lawmaker Beaten Up As Ondo Assembly Speaker, Deputy Are Impeached

On Friday, Honourable Bamidele Oloyelogun was removed as Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, alongside his Deputy, Honourable Ogundeji Iroju.

This video captures a bit of how events unfolded, including the physical assault on a lawmaker.

Oloyelogun, representing Ifedore Constituency, and Ogundeji, representing Odigbo Constituency II, were removed by two-third majority of the Assembly over alleged "gross misconduct and incompetence, and exhaustion of the budget allocation to the Assembly running into N1.5billion". See Also Sahara Reporters BREAKING: Journalists Chased Out With Broken Bottles As Hoodlums Take Over Ondo Assembly 0 Comments 1 Week Ago

Honourable Olamide George, representing Akure North Constituency, was elected as the new Speaker, while Abimbola Fajolu, representing Ile Oluji/Oke Igbo, was elected as the new Deputy Speaker.

Politics VIDEO NEWS News AddThis :  Featured Image :  Original Author :  SAHARAREPORTERS, NEW YORK Disable advertisements : 
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