Why the Presidency is Afraid of Atiku Abubakar

The President Muhammadu Buhari administration appears to be intolerant of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, a presidential aspirant in next year’s presidential election, for his populist ideas which may give him an edge over the president if he succeeds in picking his party’s ticket

By Olu Ojewale

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar does not need any introduction in the Nigerian politics. In the past two decades, Nigerians have come to know him as one of those whose who want to lead the country in elective capacity. In fact, Abubakar has been on the presidential ballot once and tried to get his parties’ presidential ticket four times. He is, again, looking for the presidential ticket of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. If the ticket is secured, he would have Presidential Muhammadu Buhari to contest against. Indeed, from the recent independent opinion polls carried out by different agencies, his rating against the president looks encouraging, which perhaps, is the reason why the Presidency regards him as a threat to the re-election ambition of Buhari.

One of the major campaign issues is likely to be on restructuring on Nigeria. Actually, the position of the Presidency on the matter was made manifest in Buhari statement on Monday, June 18, when he told a delegation of Urhobo Traditional Rulers and Urhobo Progress Union, who visited him in Abuja, that the calls for the restructuring of the country was parochial and laced with self-interests, hence discussions and arguments on the matter failed to capture his attention.

President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

But like a leech, the issue is not likely to give way anytime soon. In recent times, Abubakar has been championing the call for the restructuring of the country as the only reasonable way for Nigerians to live together in one indivisible nation. But this has infuriated the Presidency. For instance, on Monday, September 10, the former vice-president accused the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, of being dishonest about the issue of restructuring of Nigeria. Abubakar outburst against the Presidency was in reaction to a statement by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who, while speaking at a town hall meeting in Minnesota, the United States, recently said the problem of Nigeria is not geographical restructuring but prudent management of national resources. Faulting the stance of Osinbajo, Abubakar stressed that the current vice-president was wrong about his claim on restructuring. “Restructuring is not just about the devolution of powers to the states, it is about transforming the respective roles of the federal, state and local governments to perform more efficiently in matters of territorial as well as economic governance.”

Osinbajo, in his response to a piece, titled “Osinbajo got it wrong on restructuring,” accused Atiku of promoting a ‘vague’ concept of restructuring. “Alhaji Atiku’s concept of restructuring is understandably vague because he seeks to cover every aspect of human existence in that definition,” the vice president wrote. “First, let me say that I really would have expected Alhaji Abubakar to at least get the full text of my comments before his public rebuttal of my views. But I understand; we are in that season where everything is seen as fair game! He quoted me as saying that “the problem with our country is not a matter of restructuring… and we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into the argument that our problems stem from some geographic restructuring. Yes, I said so.

“As the quote shows, I rejected the notion that geographical restructuring was a solution to our national problems. Geographical restructuring is either taking us back to regional governments or increasing the number of States that make up the Nigerian federation.”

As the former and current vice-presidents bickered on the issue, the APC said that the calls for restructuring by many politicians is often time a populist and opportunistic ploy to latch on and politically exploit simplistic public narratives on the panacea to Nigeria’s problems and not necessarily for its realism and practicability. The party also called Abubakar a latter-day convert to the idea of restructuring.

However, Paul Ibe, Abubakar’s spokesperson, stressed that the stance of APC was an indication of the ruling party’s desperation. In a statement he issued to the press, he charged: “We are glad that the APC, which has repeatedly denied and avoided its own promise to restructure, has now acknowledged that restructuring is populist. It takes guts to make such an admission and we commend them.

Osinbajo
Osinbajo

“We also urge the APC to go the full haul and admit that the Waziri Adamawa is no latter-day convert to the restructuring idea but has been a consistent advocate of the idea since 1995.” Ibe then went on to list all Abubakar had done since then until recent times.

Similarly, Abubakar has had cause to quarrel with the Presidency over the government’s war against corruption. On Sunday, September 2, the former vice-president accused Buhari of compromising on corruption. Abubakar made the allegation in a statement by Ibe in response to a statement by the Presidency on his interview with the AFP. He had in the interview described Buhari as uncompromising and ready to use force to win the 2019 presidential race.

But a statement by Femi Adesina, a special adviser to the presidential on Media and Publicity, said Buhari was only uncompromising on matters of corruption. The president’s spokesman said in his statement: “President Buhari is uncompromising in the quest to restore probity and accountability to public office. He is uncompromising in cleaning the rot Nigeria was consigned into pre-2015, thus the war against corruption is being fought without fear or favour. The president is equally resolute in the determination to ensure that Nigeria is no longer a mono-economy, depending only on oil.”

Adesina’s claim was disputed by Abubakar, who listed cases in which he alleged Buhari had compromised. Ibe, in faulting the Presidency’s claim, said in a statement: “If the above is true, then why did the Presidency do nothing as the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, went to court to secure a kangaroo court order to stop the Senate of the National Assembly from investigating who recalled, reinstated and double promoted Abdulrasheed Maina?

APC’s House of Discord

As the ruling All Progressives Congress prepares for the process towards the primary election that will usher in its representatives at the both states and federal assemblies as well as the governorship candidates, on Saturday, September 15, the controversy over the adoption direct primary is still tearing the party apart

By Olu Ojewale

At a glance the issue looks innocuous. But for some members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, adopting a direct primary election for its legislative and governorship candidates is not a welcome option, while for others, it is a go. Hence, since the idea was announced by Yekini Nabena, the acting national secretary of the party, there has been a level of unquietness within the ruling party. All the party members appear to be at each others’ jugular on the matter.

The development has sent many of the party members scampering to examine closely what the party constitution has to say about the issue. In the process they have all been arguing for and against the proposal.

Indeed, as it has been widely reported in the media, the APC Constitution (October 2014 as amended), makes provisions for three options of selecting candidates for the elective offices. The first is the consensus method, which entails candidates agreeing among themselves to field one person from within their ranks for the position they are interested in. The second is an option of election through delegates, while the third option is the direct primary whereby all the card carrying party members are allowed to vote for candidates of their choice at primary level. The direct primary gives room for every card carrying member of the party to excise his primary, whereas the indirect restrict the number of participants because only elected delegates would be allowed to choose the party candidates for each elective position.

Incidentally, the whole of the APC is now divided over the issue. At the centre of the crisis over the primary election is Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman. His idea of direct primary has not gone down with members and has been accused of running the party “like a cabal.” According to the media reports, the national executive council of the party had on Thursday, September 6, adopted the direct primary for the president and indirect method, as well as consensus for other offices – state Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate and governor.

Buhari
Buhari

But barely 24 hours minutes, Nabena, in a statement, countered the purported NEC resolution and stated that the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party had directed that all primaries must be by direct method.  He said further, “The NWC will resist any attempt to disrupt the current peace and harmony prevailing in our great party after the exit of some members of our Party.

“We urge any member who is not satisfied with the decisions of the party to utilise channels provided by the party’s constitution to air their views.

“We remain focused on delivering good governance to Nigerians and above all ensuring the victory for our party come 2019 and we will not be intimidated by the antics of a few in ensuring success for our party.” This, perhaps, prompted some of the party chairmen in all the 36 state chapters and the FCT, to vow that they will do everything in their power to resist direct primary. They also threatened to pass a vote of no confidence in the national executive over the decision to adopt direct primary for the 2019 general elections.

Incidentally, not every member of the NWC appears to be in support of the direct primary for the party. Among the opponents of direct primary is Mustapha Salihu, the party’s national vice-chairman North-East, who described it as an imperial tendency of the South-West. Speaking with a national newspaper, Salihu said everything that was passed at the NEC is like a resolution, circulated to all members of NEC and that any other thing anybody including any organ of the party says maybe his own interpretation of it. He said: “In this vein, the best thing to do is for you to publish the resolution passed by NEC, you don’t have to coin English, you don’t need to canvass for any position, just publish it, as it is and do away with all ambiguities. Anyone that attended NEC will tell you that it was a resolution that was passed in respect of party primaries.”

Salisu revealed that based on the party resolution, which was being circulated for adoption, many of the states had taken a position on the mode of their primaries. “Kano has decided to go for direct; Adamawa said it wants to go indirect; Borno said it is going indirect; Kebbi said it is consensus. This is the beauty of democracy. This is first time it is done in the history of party politics in Nigeria to give every federating unit the chance for selecting their mode of primaries, as enshrined in the constitution and the Electoral Act.

“NEC agreed that primary elections into offices shall be by direct, indirect or consensus. Use of direct or indirect shall depend on the peculiarity and the needs of each state. In each state, the State Executive Committee shall, write to National Working Committee for approval of the mode of election to be adopted. The adopted mode shall apply to all categories of primary election that is, state Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate and governorship. Request for this election must be signed by majority of the state executive committee members in attendance at the meeting.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Tinubu

“I’m a member of the National Working Committee; you can record my voice that at no time did NWC sit and agree to issue a press release either that we were going to do direct primaries for all offices; it is not true, or warning people or group not to hold meeting. We never discussed anything of such,” he said.

Indeed, the states that have adopted direct primaries include: Lagos, Niger, Abia, Rivers, Anambra, Cross River and Akwa Ibom, while Ogun and Edo states adopted consensus.

The Battle for Osun State Government House

The one seat that will be vacant in the governance of Osun State very soon has 48 contestants jostling for it in an election slated for September 22, but as expected only one of them is going to succeed Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who leaves office in November 2019

By Olu Ojewale

The battle for the successor of Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State is gaining momentum. In the battle for the plum job in the state, there are 48 contestants. By now, the names of the contenders and their parties are known to the people of the state who are going to make a choice of who will govern them for the next four years. As a rule in every contest, there must be a winner who will take over from Aregbesola whose mandate ends on November 27, 2019.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the battle for the governorship seat in Osun State is heavily dominated by the male. Of the 48 parties fielding candidates for the election, there are only four parties with female contenders. Two of the female candidates have their female counterparts as running mates, while the other two have male running mates. The parties with female candidates are the Advanced Congress of Nigeria, ACD; Nigeria Elements Progressive Party, NEPP; People’s Alliance for National Development and Liberty, PANDEL and Restoration Party of Nigeria, RP. Of the remaining 44 candidates, only 15 of them have female running mates.

That notwithstanding, of all the candidates for the September 22, governorship election, only a handful of them really have a chance. As politics in Nigeria has shown, the chances of each person in the race are dictated by the party he or she belongs and how well the person is equally well acceptable by the electorate. So, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are regarded as the leading parties in the state, thereby making their candidates favourably positioned to lead in the race.

But in this election, there are other eminent politicians who can upstage the candidates of the two leading parties in the state. Prominently positioned in this case is Iyiola Omisore, a former deputy governor of the state, who was also a senator on the platform of the PDP. Sometimes ago, Omisore fell out with the PDP and he is now contesting the election on the platform of the Social Democratic Party, SDP.

Adeleke
Adeleke

That notwithstanding, Omisore is not without any problems in his new party. The former deputy governor won in the direct primary election conducted by a faction of the SDP led by Bayo Faforiji, which he won with a landslide. However, another faction of the SDP led by Ademola Ishola conducted a separate primary poll using delegate system and Kehinde Atanda emerged the winner.

In any case, Omisore was given the certificate of return by the national leadership of the party in Abuja, and so he has been recognised as the party candidate for the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. Nevertheless, the division in the party may be his Achilles’ heel. Omisore had contested against Aregbesola, the incumbent governor in 2014, and came second in the contest but his determination to be the PDP flag bearer in the September 22, election and the power-play that ensued led to his exit from the party. He then joined the SDP, which promptly gave him the governorship ticket. This has also given the party a lift as one the three leading parties in the state. Will Omisore be lucky this time? That should be anybody’s guess.

Another prominent and recognisable face in the election is Fatai Akinbade, a former PDP chairman in the state. Akinbade was made secretary to the state in 2003 by the then Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola. He contested for the PDP ticket in 2011, but he lost to Omisore, who was eventually defeated by Aregbesola. He is now the candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC. The 63-year-old politician is hoping to make his candidacy count this time around, but that will also depend on the state electorate.

The third formidable personality outside the two major political parties is Moshood Adeoti, a former secretary to the state government under the incumbent governor. He once served as state chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN. A grassroots politician, Adeoti became the secretary to the state government by dint of his performance in getting Aregbesola elected governor.

But he was forced to leave the All Progressives Congress, APC, when it was clear that he was not going to get the party’s ticket to contest for the governorship seat. He accused the party hierarchy of scheming the party primary in favour of Adegboyega Oyetola, who eventually got the APC ticket. In any case, Adeoti’s exit from the APC has also left the party with a major loss as 12 executive members and some other elders of the party followed him and declared their support for him as they joined the Action Democratic Party, ADP.

The Iwo born politician in Osun West senatorial district is considered a major contender in the race. He is now contesting on the platform of the ADP. But the relatively unknown party may be his undoing in the election.

That notwithstanding, for either Omisore, Akinbade or Adeoti to get a chance to be the next occupant of Okefia Government House, they must have all what it would take to defeat the likes of Ademola Adeleke, a serving senator and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and Adegboyega Oyetola, the former chief of staff to the governor, who is contesting on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. Both Adeleke and Oyetayo represent already entrenched parties in the state with both the cash and grassroots support bases that can deliver for either of them.

Ademola Adeleke came into the lime light following the sudden death of Isiaka Adeleke, his elder brother, in April 2017. He initially joined the ruling APC to contest in the by-election for the Osun West Senatorial seat made vacant by the death of his brother, but when the party refused him the ticket, he joined the PDP.

PDP Presidential Ticket: Who does the Cap Fit?

As the opposition Peoples Democratic Party heads to its convention in October about a dozen candidates are now in the race to clinch the party’s presidential ticket; but who does the cap fit?

By Olu Ojewale

At the last count, no fewer than 11 persons have declared to contest for the presidential ticket of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The aspirants spread across every zone in the Northern part of the country. This apparently is line with the unwritten decision that the presidential candidate of the party should come from the North to contest against President Mohammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who has decided to seek for a second term in office.

Those in the race for the PDP ticket include former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; Bukola Saraki, president of the Senate; Governor Aminu Tambawl of Sokoto State; Rabiu Kwankwaso, a senator and former governor of Kano State; Attahiru Bafarawa, former governor of Sokoto State and Ahmed Makarfi, former governor of Kaduna State. The rest are Ibrahim Dankwambo; Ibrahim Shekarau, former governor of Kaduna State; Kabiru Taminu Turaki, SAN, a former minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs; Sule Lamido, a former governor of Jigawa State and David Jonah Jang, a former governor of Plateau State.

To pick from the array of interested party members, a lot of interests are going to be in play. Interestingly the aspirants are varied in ages, political weights and geographical locations even though they are all from the northern part of the country.

In all fairness, all the aspirants are prominent in their political careers so far. But it is also well known that nobody has been in the race more than Abubakar. The former vice-president is seeking the party’s ticket for a third term. He resigned from the APC about a year ago when it was obvious to him that he will not be able to achieve his political ambition on the platform of the ruling party because Buhari is poised to seek for a second term in office. But whether the former VP will eventually get the ticket is very hard to know.

Aminu Tambuwal
Tambuwal

Abubakar, it can be rightly said, is a front runner among the PDP aspirants. He started his campaign for the party well before any other aspirants. He has a deep pocket to prosecute his campaign project and he can be said to be one of the favourites to win the ticket. He is also from the North East, a section of teh country that has never produced a president in the country. But that is if the party is not thinking about picking someone younger and energetic to meet the rigour of leading a complex nation as Nigeria. Abubakar, a retired Customs officer, will be 72 years old in November. The current president is 75 years old.

Another septuagenarian in the race for the PDP ticket is Jonah David Jang, a retired air-commodore and former governor of Plateau State from 2007 to 2015. He is 74, having been born on March 13, 1944, in Du, Jos South Local Government. He had previously served as military governor of Benue State and the defunct Gongola State.

He voluntarily retired from the Nigeria Air Force in 1990. Jang, who took a Bachelor of Divinity Degree at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria, 2000–2002, was a two-term governor of Plateau State, having served in the capacity between 2007 and 2015.

Jang, a senator representing Plateau North in the National Assembly, formally declared his intention to run for the president when he led his supporters to the PDP secretariat in Jos, on Tuesday, August 28.

In the meantime, the presidential aspirant is facing trial for an alleged misuse of public funds released to Plateau State by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. On May 24, Justice Daniel Longji of the Plateau State High Court granted bail to Jang and Yusuf Gyang Pam, a former cashier in the office of the secretary to Plateau State government. The accused persons were arraigned before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on 12 counts allegation. The offences were said to have been committed few months to the end of Jang’s tenure as governor in 2015.

But the former governor repeatedly said his ordeals were caused by his presidential ambition, insisting that they were politically motivated. Jang is from the Middle Belt of the country.

Saraki
Saraki

To get the party’s ticket he also needs to defeat Sule Lamido, a former governor of Jigawa State and a fellow septuagenarian from the North West of the country. Lamido, who was elected governor of Jigawa State in April 2007, was successfully re-elected for a second term in office in April in April 2011. But shortly after leaving office in 2015, he and his sons were put on trial for embezzling state fund by the EFCC. The case is yet to be concluded in court.

The 70-yera-old veteran politician was born on August 30, 1948, in Bamaina, Birnin Kudu Local Government Area of Jigawa State. Lamido, perhaps, is most experienced politician seeking for party ticket. He entered politics as a member of the People’s Redemption Party, PRP, left-of-centre, in the Nigerian Second Republic. He was the national secretary of the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP, during the Nigerian Third Republic, where he received criticism for his handling of the June 12, 1993, presidential elections won by the late Moshood Abiola, who was prevented from taking office by the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.

When the military ruler General Sani Abacha announced his plan to return to democracy, Lamido was a founding member of the Social Progressive Party, and was national secretary of the new party. He was imprisoned in 1998 by Abacha for criticising Abacha’s plan to perpetuate himself in office. After Abacha’s unexpected death in June 1998, General Abdulsalami Abubakar announced a revised transition strategy and new parties were formed to contest the 1999 elections. Lamido became a member of the PDP. He ran for governor of Jigawa State in the 1999 elections at the start of the Nigerian Fourth Republic, but was narrowly defeated by Ibrahim Saminu Turaki, candidate of the All People’s Party, APP.

2019 Elections: FG’s Abuse of Security Agencies worry Nigerians

With the 2019 general elections a few months away, there are serious concerns about the activities of Nigerian security agencies which tend to suggest that they are being used by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to overawe the opposition

By Olu Ojewale

THE verdict of the United States, US, government is quite unambiguous: Nigeria is suffering from the reign of impunity. David Young, deputy chief of Mission and Charge de Affaires, US Embassy in Nigeria, who made the pronouncement also said that the killings increased because the perpetrators were not punished. “The Nigerian government should strengthen its laws to deal with killers,” Young advised in an interview with journalists on Sunday, August 19, in Jos, during his fellowship with church leaders in Plateau State.

Nevertheless, he also paid tribute to Abubakar Abdullahi, the 83-year-old Imam of Nghar village, Gashish District, who reportedly saved 300 persons, including Christians when suspected Fulani herdsmen struck on June 24.

Indeed, it appears as if the Fulani herdsmen under the auspices of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association are now law to themselves. On Tuesday, August 21, Miyetti Allah warned Bukola Saraki, the president of Senate, to resign his position immediately or be forced to do so.

Garus Gololo, the national coordinator of the association in Benue State, gave the warning in an interview with The Punch correspondent in Makurdi.

Gololo said Saraki had created numerous problems for the administration of President Buhari, which had affected the economic and social growth of the nation.

“It is on this note that we are saying that Saraki ought not to be in office again as Senate president. Moreso, Saraki has failed to coordinate and organise the National Assembly to offer quality legislation that Nigerians need…

“Miyetti Allah is looking for a leader that would preside over the affairs of the Senate with ultimate respect for the executive and the judiciary, not someone like Senator Saraki that would always scheme to outdo the Presidency,” he said.

Since Gololo made his threatening statement, no government official has disowned or cautioned him and neither has he been invited by any security agency to explain his threatening words.

ibrahim-idris-inspector-general-of-policeWhile the security agencies could be blamed for inaction over Gololo’s threats, they were not absolved from the violence in the Rivers State by-election which held in the state on Saturday, August 18. Nyesom Wike, the state governor, stated that the action that saw the police interfere with the electoral process in the state was a declaration of war on the people.

Wike while speaking during a state broadcast on Sunday, August 19, described the Saturday’s House of Assembly bye-election for Port Harcourt State Constituency 3 as a failed exercise due to the interference of the Police and armed thugs. He alleged that the armed thugs were sent by the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state, calling on the people of the state to stand against the antics of the police, unless they want to become slaves in their fatherland.

“The consistent sabotage of the electoral process by the police amounts to a declaration of war against the people of Rivers State and their solemn rights to freely and fairly choose their leaders and representatives,” he said.

Wike said despite assurances from the Rivers State commissioner of Police during the last State Security Council meeting that the police would remain neutral and act professionally, they on Saturday, August 18, joined forces with the APC thugs to disrupt the election.

He alleged: “Instead of providing security for voters and INEC officials, the police brazenly colluded with political thugs of the APC to subvert the democratic process and denied the people of Port Harcourt Constituency 3 their rights to free, fair and credible elections.

“It is important to note that Ojukaye Amachree, who led the thugs, is the same person facing multiple murder trial and instead of arresting him as ordered by the trial court, the Police have continued to aid and shield him from arrest and prosecution.”

He, however, recalled that on June 16, the local government election, which the APC did not participate in, was conducted peacefully without violence.

The governor also recalled the widespread violence that erupted in the 2016 legislative re-run election in Rivers State, the INEC Panel Report (on page 66) indicted the security agencies as “brazen election riggers” and singled out Akin Fakorede, the F-SARS commander, as the arrowhead of the violence and rigging that characterised those elections.

Addressing a press conference on the election in Port Harcourt, on Monday, August 20, Obo Effanga, the state resident electoral commissioner, REC, said the commission had no other option than to suspend the election because it did not meet the minimum standards because of the widespread violence and snatching of card readers and ballot boxes by politicians aided by armed uniformed security personnel.

Olonisakin
Olonisakin

While election violence was a big issue in Port Harcourt, in Abuja, it was a big blow to the Christian community as Michael Akawu, a reverend father, was brutally shot dead by identified gunmen in Gwagwalada, Abuja, while shopping on Saturday, August 18.

As if that was not bad enough, on Sunday, August 19, at about 1.00am, according to informed sources, some hoodlums suspected to be Fulani terrorists attacked Nasara Baptist Church in Guguwa near Rigasa in Kaduna, and shot dead Hosea Akuchi, a reverend. The attackers reportedly took away Talatu Akuchi, his wife.

“Her whereabouts remain unknown and the criminals have demanded for the sum of five million naira for her release,” the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, said in a statement on Wednesday, August 22.

Samson Ayokunle, the CAN president, while condoling with the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church and that of the Nigerian Baptist Convention over the demise of two clerics, condemned the killings. Ayokunle, a reverend, in a statement signed by Adebayo Oladeji, a pastor and special assistant, Media and Communications to the CAN president, prayed to God to comfort and console the Roman Catholic Church in Nigeria and the Nigerian Baptist Convention, the churches where they were serving with their immediate families.

Lawan Daura’s Reign of Terror

Lawan Daura, a former director-general of the Department of State Services, is now cooling his heels in house arrest after losing his job dramatically following the invasion of the National Assembly by his men on Tuesday, August 7; but his tenure as head of the secret service organisation will be remembered for a long time by those his reign brutally bruised

By Olu Ojewale   

FOR more than three years that he headed the Department of State Services, DSS, as director-general, Lawan Daura was like a man on a mission to eliminate any form of opposition to President Muhammadu Buhari, his fellow townsman. Like a colossus he ran the secret service organisation like a private army.

But on Tuesday, August 7, Daura’s cup of iniquities was full. He was booted out of the service like an ordinary officer who found himself on the wrong side of his boss. Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who is acting as the Nigerian president in the absence of Buhari who is holidaying in the United Kingdom for 10 days, gave the former spy boss a marching order to leave the service and hand over his duties to the most senior officer in the service.

The acting president stated that Daura was sacked for the gross violation of constitutional order, rule of law and all acceptable notions of law and order.

The former DSS, as it has been widely reported, got the sack for ordering a siege on the National Assembly in which the lawmakers were prevented from gaining access into the complex to attend to their legitimate businesses. The event was elaborately reported by in the both conventional and social media thereby causing global embarrassment to Nigeria.

According to a newspaper report, Daura allegedly confessed that he deployed hooded operatives of the secret service to the National Assembly complex on the appointed date based on intelligence report that some unauthorised persons were planning to smuggle dangerous weapons and incriminating items into the complex.

His confession was said to be a part of the interim investigation report submitted by Idris Ibrahim, the inspector-general of Police, to Osinbajo.

Buhari
Buhari

In the report, which Daily Trust newspaper claimed to have seen, Ibrahim Idris, the inspector general of Police, IGP, Idris stated that Daura carried out the siege on the National Assembly without the approval of the acting Presidency.

“The former director-general, Department of State Security Service, Mr. Lawal Musa Daura acted unilaterally without informing the Presidency. He did not share or intimate other security agencies on the unlawful operations,” Idris allegedly said in the report.

The IGP said the purported intelligence report by Daura cannot be substantiated as the personnel deployed were not Explosive Ordnance Disposal, EOD, experts or specialist in this regard.

Indeed, the DSS under the leadership of Daura will go down in the President Muhammadu Buhari administration as the one who unleashed reins of terror on those perceived to be corrupt and opposed to the government. Nigerians are not likely to forget Daura in a hurry for daring to invade houses and arrest justices for alleged corruption; besieged and put Sambo Dasuki, a retired colonel and a former national security adviser in custody for allegedly squandering millions of dollars meant to fight Boko Haram insurgence; carried out another unauthorised raid on Ekiti House of Assembly in 2016; his alleged role in protection of fugitive Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension in 2017; detaining sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenah since December 2015 after the Zaria massacre in which three of his (El-Zakzaky) remaining sons, as well as hundreds of his followers, were killed by the Nigerian Army. The massacre was carried out by the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State, on Saturday, December 12 2015. Up to 348 Shi’ites Muslims, including members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria were killed.

The Army claimed that it had responded to an attempt to assassinate Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai by the Shi’ites. This claim has been strongly rejected by the Islamic Movement and several human rights organizations who argue that the massacre occurred without any provocation and that all the protestors were unarmed. Since then El-Zakzaky and his wife have been under state detention in the Department of State Service, DSS, without charge until April 2018 when Kaduna State government arraigned them in court for murder charges.  The Federal High Court in Abuja had in December 2016 ordered the release of the couple from custody but DSS refused to obey the court order.

But of the his exploits, Daura’s audacious raid on the houses and arrests of high court and supreme court justices will be a reference point for a long while.

In what was regarded as a crack down on the judiciary, operatives of the‎ DSS on Friday night, October 7, 2016, and in the early hours of Saturday, October 8, invaded residences of some judges in Abuja, Port Harcourt and Gombe, in a bid to arrest them.

The crackdown was said to have began in Gombe State with the arrest of Justice Muazu Pindigi who presided over the Rivers State election tribunal‎.

Ibrahim Idris
Idris

The DSS operations in Abuja, were carried out between late Friday night and the early hours of Saturday, when operatives of the secret service invaded the homes of Walter Onnoghen and Sylvester Ngwuta, two Supreme Court justices.

They also invaded the Abuja residencies of Justices Adeniyi Ademola and Nnamdi Dimgba, two judges of the federal high court.

Incidentally, Onoghen, who had then been pencilled as next chief justice of Nigeria and second in rank to Justice Mahmood Muhammed, the then incumbent CJN, and Ngwuta were neighbours at the Judicial Officers’ Quarters in Abuja, while Ademola and Dimgba as federal judges, lived in the Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja.

Ademola was eventually arrested in the early hours of Saturday, October 7, after several hours of siege at his home, while Dimgba’s brother was said to have been assaulted by the operatives.

In some cases, the DSS operatives allegedly “presented search warrants of doubtful authenticity with incorrect names.”

Battle for Control of Nigeria’s National Assembly

The ruling party All Progressives Congress has been losing grounds in past few days as many notable politicians, especially legislators, dump the party for other ones thereby prompting power struggle at the Senate and the call for the resignation of Bukola Saraki as Senate president

By Olu Ojewale

IT was a day of high drama at the National Assembly on Tuesday, August 7. Very early in morning at about 6:55 am, while a good number of people were still preparing to go to work, the nation’s seat of legislature had been surrounded by armed masked men from the Department of State Security Services, DSS. Their mission was allegedly to prevent lawmakers from gaining access into the National Assembly. In the ensuing encounter, and with so much hues and cries of the legislators and Nigerians, the lawmakers were able to gained access into the building.

At the end of the siege, which lasted until late afternoon, the DSS operatives stood down after receiving reports that acting President Yemi Osinbajo did not authorise the deployment and had also fired Lawal Daura, the director-general of the secret police, as a consequence. Osinbajo said the siege was “a gross violation of constitutional order, rule of law and all acceptable notions of law and order.”

Hence, he directed Daura to hand over to the most senior officer in the service immediately. Consequently, Mathew Seiyefa has stepped in as new head of the secret police in acting capacity.

That notwithstanding, it was suspected that the action of the DSS must have been directed by the Presidency given the tense relationship between lawmakers in the ruling APC and those that had crossed from the party to others, especially the PDP.

Indeed, the leadership of the National Assembly had summoned an emergency meeting for Tuesday, August 7. Bankole Onmisore, special assistant to the Senate president on International Relations, called the meeting via his Twitter handle on Monday, August 6.

Osinbajo
Osinbajo

The tweet said, “NASS leadership will tomorrow meet at noon to consider some national issues. The National Assembly leadership comprises both @NGRSenate and @HouseNGR.

“It will be followed by another meeting with the leadership of @inecnigeria led by its Chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu.”

The meeting was to be attended by Bukola Saraki, Senate president; Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the House of Representatives and the principal officers of both chambers who would be briefed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on the 2019 general elections.

Besides, the leadership of the National Assembly was also to discuss the recent defections in view the ongoing controversies in both chambers, especially the clamour for Saraki to resign as Senate president.

This, perhaps, prompted a group of legislators known as the Parliamentary Democrats Group, PDG, to declare that the Senate and the House will reconvene only after getting assurances that there would be no attempts to remove the leadership of the National Assembly.

Timothy Golu, the spokesman for the PDG, in a statement on Monday, August 6, said: “Our leaders are meeting to brief us on the appeal by the Presidency for us to reconvene. There must be assurances that no illegality will be attempted against any of our leaders.

“We are worried by the statements from some anti-Saraki senators like Adamu Abdullahi and Ali Ndume to the fact that the Senate president must be changed.

“Talks are ongoing and as long as there is no threat to our democratic peace, we can reconvene to attend to issues.”

The group said that only lawmakers could decide among themselves to change their leadership and not through interference by the executive arm.

“The legislature is an independent arm of government and as legislators, nobody can dictate to us. So, we advise the Presidency and the ruling APC to allow us to decide our fate.

“Our presiding officers are doing well and we have no cause to complain. Those stoking embers of discord in the parliament should kindly stay off,” the PDG said.

Similarly, the PDP members of the House of Representatives on Monday, August 6, raised the alarm of a plot to invade the Senate and reconvene it by force.

The caucus, therefore, warned that the plot, allegedly to be executed by “a small group of senators” aided by security agencies, could lead to a total breakdown of law and order at the National Assembly should the plan be hatched.

Ahmad Lawan
Ahmad Lawan

Rising from an emergency meeting, the caucus said that the plotters would pretend that they wanted the Senate to discuss urgent national issues, whereas the real intention was to remove Saraki, and Ike Ekweremadu, the deputy Senate president.

Chukwuka Onyema, deputy minority leader of the House, who signed a statement on the position of the caucus, said any illegal reconvening of the Senate would not stand.

The statement said in part: “The procedure for reconvening the National Assembly is unambiguously stated in the rules of both Houses of the National Assembly. These rules draw their constitutionality from Section 60 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“When the National Assembly stands adjourned to a fixed date, it may only be reconvened at an earlier or later date when the leaders of the political parties in the National Assembly make a written representation to the presiding officers, stating that there is a need to convene plenary to attend to matters of urgent national importance.

“In such an event, the presiding officer may give notice to members of a date that the National Assembly is to reconvene. In the present instance, there has been no such notification to either the Senate president or the speaker of the House of Representatives.”

As the plan for the meeting was going on, Ahmed Lawan, the Senate leader, who had visited Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, spoke to State House correspondents on Monday, August 6, of the need for the National Assembly to reconvene immediately in order to address some requests made by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said that the need for the federal lawmakers to reconvene from their ongoing vacation formed part of the discussion he had with the acting president, saying: “I have come to brief him (Osinbajo) on the situation in the Senate and the discussion also considered the need for the National Assembly to reconvene immediately for us to pass the virement on the supplementary budget presented by Mr President.

Gale of Killings in Nigeria, When will it End?

Nigerians are increasingly bothered about the killings and general insecurity in the land as the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government appears incompetent to deal with this cancer ravaging the country

By Olu Ojewale

THE Nigerian political scene is currently and expectedly charged with a lot of movement of persons from one party to the other as politicians, scheme for political advantage. But it appears nobody really cares about the violence that has been taking the shine off the Nigerian democracy for sometimes now with killings in many places in the country.

In past months, weeks and days, hardly has a day passed without reports of violent attacks, killings, kidnapping among other crimes in Nigeria.

For instance, on Saturday, July 28, 15 persons were kidnapped by unknown gunmen in Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

Two days earlier, bandits had taken over three districts comprising more than 18 villages and towns in Zurmi Local Government Area in the state.

Sanusi Rikiji, the speaker, Zamfara State House of Assembly, who addressed journalists in Gusau, on Sunday, said that the security situation in the state called for serious review.

“Security agencies should do more and more to deploy enough security personnel in Zamfara; we need permanent security stations in the affected area.

“We thank the federal government’s immediate intervention on this issue. As I am speaking now the troops, security personnel, have been deployed to the affected areas in Zurmi.

“They have started restoring normalcy in the area. We appeal to the people of the area to remain calm as government in collaboration with security agencies is working to maintain peace and stability in the areas,’’ he said.

Indeed, on Sunday, July 29, President Muhammadu Buhari announced the deployment of a 1000-strong security force to Zamfara to check the worsening security situation there.

The security force includes the army, air force, police and civil defence. The president also ordered the deployment of two fighter jets to the state, which will operate from a base in nearby Katsina State.

The Premium Times reports said that hundreds of people had been killed in the past year by bandits in Zamfara. The attackers also often burn villages and kidnap for ransom.

Buratai
Buratai

Late in July, Boko Haram insurgents started bombarding the Nigerian military. To underscore their readiness to fight to the death, the jihadists reportedly launched horrendous attacks on Nigerian soldiers in Borno and Yobe states.

They first ambushed a military convoy in Bama, Borno State before attacking a military base, both within a space of 24 hours. In the ensuing fighting, scores of soldiers from the 21 Brigade were displaced. Aside from those missing in action, an AFP report said the corpses of 10 soldiers were recovered after the skirmishes, in addition to the members of the Civilian Joint Task Force who died.

Perhaps, to contain the damage, the military authorities tried to hide the extent of damage to life and property. Although the military officials later confirmed the incident, the casualty number is hazy.

The second attack, which occurred in nearby Yobe State, a day later, was just as devastating for the military. This time, the jihadists used their huge number to overwhelm the 81 Division Forward Brigade located at Jilli, Geidam. The base also lost some of its equipment to the insurgents. The base reportedly has over 700 personnel, with most of them just deployed from Lagos in the theatre of war. Initial reports said less than just 100 troops were accounted for after a fierce encounter that lasted for more than two hours.

As if that was not bad enough, the Police command in Bayelsa confirmed the theft of a set of three-year-old twins on Monday, July 30, by unknown persons at Ekeki Motor Park in Yenagoa, the state capital.

Asinim Butswat, a deputy superintendent of Police, and the public relations officer of the command, confirmed the incident in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Tuesday, July 31, in Yenagoa, capital of the state.

Butswat said the assailants stole the babies and ran to an unknown destination.

“We have alerted our tactical team for investigations and the perpetrators will be brought to book,” he said.

Narrating the incident to the NAN reporter, Fumi, the victims’ eldest sister, said it took place at a time Modupe Joseph, their mother, went to a mini market in the area to buy salt.

She said: “Our mummy went to Etegwe-Tombia area of Yenagoa to buy salt to cook corn.

“The four of us were left in the custody of one Aisha Ahmed at the motor park.

“Suddenly, one man approached me and gave me N200 to buy food for my siblings but I refused and told him that we have already eaten,” she said.

Modupe said that the man persisted and made her to collect the money and proceeded to buy the food. “Unfortunately, before I could return, the man had carried my twin brothers away,” she said.

She said that the assailant came in a black Sienna bus, which he parked nearby.

In Abia, the state Police command on Monday, July 30, reported that it had arrested 43 suspects for various criminal offences including kidnapping, armed robbery, murder and defilement.

Anthony Ogbizi, the state commissioner of Police, disclosed this while briefing journalists in Umuahia on the efforts of the command to rid the state of violent crimes.

Ogbizi said that the arrest was a result of efforts by the command to ensure a peaceful and crime-free society.

“Some of the suspects are notorious. They have been arrested before in connection with crimes and later released but here they are today for similar crimes,” he said.

He also attributed the arrest to the improved synergy between the police and the state vigilance group.

Ibrahim Idris
IGP Ibrahim Idris

Some of the suspects included alleged members of a confraternity called Aro Confraternity, a syndicate that specialised in car theft and other crimes.

That notwithstanding, the general state of criminality has become a source of concern for everyone in the country because the federal government appears to be incapacitated to handle the recurrence.

APC, PDP battle for Soul of Nigeria

POLITICIANS from the ruling All Progressives Congress and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party are in a supremacy battle for the soul of Nigeria, and perhaps, to protect their personal interests

By Olu Ojewale

It is now down to a battle of wit between the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, as politicking towards 2019 general election gains momentum across Nigeria. For most of the week, the Nigerian political scene was filled with dramas as political actors busied themselves with the act of defection.

Saraki
Saraki

From the hounding of Bukola Saraki, the Senate president, to the threat of an upend of the APC majority in the National Assembly caused by defections of APC lawmakers to other parties, especially, the PDP. The defections serve as a reminder of how the PDP imploded in 2013, which culminated into the party’s loss of the general elections in 2015.

In an apparent move not to allow implosion and a possible disintegration of the APC, President Muhammadu Buhari has been meeting with some of the leaders of the party in past two weeks. Following the defection of 14 senators and 37 members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 24, the president met 42 of the 52 the remaining APC senators on Wednesday, July 25. No statement was made after the meeting and none of the senators disclosed what they discussed with the president.

President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari had met with Saraki and four APC governors on Thursday, July 19, in an apparent move to resolve the crisis rocking the party. The governors who attended the meeting in Aso Rock Villa are Atiku Bagudu, Kebbi; Aminu Masari, Katsina; Abdulahi Yari, Zamfara and Ibikunle Amosu, Ogun.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was also in attendance. After the meeting, none of the politicians volunteered what was discussed at the meeting to the anxious reporters waiting for them.

Similarly, the president took time off to meet with Rabiu Kwankwaso, a senator and former governor of Kano State, who has been having a running battle with Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of his state, on Monday night, July 23.

But the president’s move to stave off defection of the APC lawmakers seemed to be late in coming.

At the plenary on Tuesday, July 24, Saraki, who had sneaked into the Senate building chambers because of the Police siege on his residence, read a letter informing the Senate that 14 senators from the ruling party had decided to dump the party for the opposition PDP.

Ekweremadu
Ike Ekweremadu

Ike Ekweremadu, deputy Senate president, whose residence was equally under Police siege, was not at the Senate session on the say.

Those mentioned in the list are Dino Melaye (Kogi West) and Barnabas Gemade, (Benue North-East) Abdullahi Ibrahim Danbaba (Sokoto South), Shaaba Lafiagi, (Kwara North) and Ubali Shittu, (Jigawa North-East).

Others are Rafiu Ibrahim (Kwara South), Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna North), Isa Misau (Bauchi Central),  Monsurat Sunmonu (Oyo Central)and Usman Nafada (Gombe North) were also listed as the defectors.

The rest are Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano Central), Suleiman Nazif (Bauchi North), Olanrewaju Tejuosho (Ogun Central) and Abdulaziz Nyako (Adamawa Central).

But Adesoji Rilwan Akanbi (Oyo south), who was also listed to have defected, dissociated himself from the group of defectors. He told reporters that he never contemplated leaving the ruling party.

Nevertheless, the defection has drastically reduced the margin of majority held by the APC. It now has 52 out of 109 senators, while the PDP has 50. The African Democratic Congress, ADC, has three, while the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, has two seats.

From the lot Joshua Dariye (APC Plateau Central) is in jail and two dead members. One seat is vacant. Out of the 14 defected, 13 went to the PDP and one to the African Democratic Congress, ADC.

In the House of Representatives, 37 members left the APC. Hence, there are now 192 APC members. The PDP has 156 members and the APGA five. The APC also keeps its majority.

Apparently pined by the development, Ahmed Lawan, the Senate leader, argued that the letter of defection should not be read as leaders of the party were trying to resolve issues involved. He said: “Very seriously, this matter should be stepped down until we exhaust all the opportunities.”

Saraki overruled Lawan and said: “As you know and have seen, the seat beside you is vacant.

“As we speak, the deputy Senate president cannot get out of his house. He is under siege.  This morning, I could not also leave my street as well, all being efforts by some people that believe that today’s sitting must not hold because some members want to move or defect.

“It is not something that started today; it will not end today; people have gone, they’ve come back.”

In any case, Adams Oshimhole, national chairman Adams of the APC, while dismissing the defection as inconsequential, said the defection would not affect the party’s fortune in next year’s election.

On his part, Buhari on Tuesday, July 24, described the defections from the APC at the National Assembly as a seasonal occurrence on the eve of elections.

He assured his party members that the defections would do no harm to the party at the elections.

In a statement by Garba Shehu, the president’s media aide, while wishing the defectors the best in their future undertakings, expressed his total commitment to the values of democracy, freedom of choice and a total willingness to work with all members of the National Assembly, irrespective of their political party, for the benefit of the nation.

The president said none of the defecting federal lawmakers of the APC had any specific grievance against him or the government he leads; neither did he harbour anything against any of them.

Similarly, the APC assured its members and supporters that it will continue to consolidate on its majority status ahead of the 2019 general elections in spite of the defection of some members.

2019: Can Atiku Abubakar win PDP Presidential Ticket?

For the fourth time in his political life, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is once again seeking to contest the 2019 presidential election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party’s, PDP, but the journey promises to be a tough one

By Olu Ojewale

FORMER Vice President Atiku Abubakar has never hidden his ambition to rule Nigeria someday. For the fourth time since he left office in 2007, the former Customs boss has tried and failed to make it to get the plum job. He wants to try again.

Unlike last time in 2014 when he failed to get the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, ticket to contest, Abubakar wants to be the presidential candidate of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party. It is believed the same ambition to get on the ballot in the 2019 presidential election drove him from the APC in November 2017 to join the PDP, having realised that President Muhammadu Buhari will be running for a second term in office.

In any case, returning to the PDP is like a home-coming for Abubakar who had been vice president to President Olusegun Obasanjo. But he also knows that getting the PDP presidential ticket will not be a walk in the park. As the former vice-president declares his ambition on Saturday, July 21, he must have also realised that he has an uphill ahead of him.

Since his return to the main opposition party in November last year, Abubakar has been singing about his intention to win the PDP presidential ticket. He has also been on the road meeting with prominent and not so prominent Nigerians, making many policy statements about what he will do if elected president.

For instance, while he was in Maiduguri, Borno State, on Tuesday, July 17, he declared as intolerable the spate of killings going on in the country, and promised to bring the insurgence to an end if voted in as president.

Nevertheless, he blamed the incessant killings on the alleged insincerity in the management of the national security, especially in the fight against Boko Haram, saying if given the opportunity, he will solve the problem without delay.

Dr. Sule Lamido

He said: “I was flying about 35,000 feet over Borno and Yobe states few hours ago, and all I could see were nothing but open plain lands; yet someone on ground will be telling me that he cannot see where Boko Haram insurgents are.

“I hereby promise you all that should I be elected as president, the issue of insecurity will become a thing of the past. I know there is insincerity in the management of the country’s security.”

Similarly, Abubakar promised to enthrone economic prosperity and put an end to unemployment of the Nigerian youths and as well provide healthcare services, among others.

He said: “Today, our schools and our healthcare systems are not functioning; our youths are roaming the streets jobless; yet there is a government in place. We must also recall that this is the same Nigeria whose security forces had been able to fight a civil war and kept the country united in just about two years and six months only. And most of the soldiers that fought on the side of Nigeria are from the north.”

The former vice-president, who has been a leading light on the campaign for the restructuring of Nigeria, has also been taking his campaign around the country, visiting prominent PDP leaders including governors elected on the party platform to solicit their support for his presidential ambition. In the past few months, Abubakar has taken his campaign to several parts of the country including in the South-East, South-South, South-West and North-East.

During his visit to Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State on June 19, Abubakar told Governor Seriake Dickson and the enlarged members of the PDP in the state, that he had come to the state for consultation, and to ask for their support for his presidential ambition to better the lives of Nigerians.

After many hours of a closed-door meeting with Dickson, Abubakar disclosed his mission to the state. He said among others, that he had been following the advocacy of the governor on the issue of restructuring. “I agree with you and to let you know that I have been advocating the issue of restructuring since 2004.  I want to invite you to join me to work together with me ahead of 2019 so that we can do it together,” he said.

The former vice president later presented a book written by him on the need for proper restructuring to Dickson. In his remark, Dickson, who described the former vice-president as a veteran in politics, noted that the 2019 presidential election will be a referendum through which the Nigerian voters will decide who governs them. He called on PDP members nationwide to rise up to the challenge of taking power from the incumbent government.

Makarfi
Ahmed Makarfi

During a similar visit to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in Port Harcourt, in March, Abubakar said he is offering himself to set the country on the path of growth, after the serial failure of the APC government under Buhari.

All these occurred at the Government House, Port Harcourt, during Atiku’s visit to consult with leaders of the People’s Democratic Party in the  state.

Abubakar said he is offering himself to set the country on the path of growth, after the serial  failure of the APC and that since 2015, the APC-led federal government has destroyed the education, health and infrastructural sectors through poor budgetary allocations  and releases.

He argued: “Since 2015, we have not seen a 100 kilometres constructed by the APC federal government anywhere in the country.”

The former vice president has also blamed the ruling APC of destroying the foundation of unity and cohesion of Nigeria. “I have never seen Nigeria so divided along religious, ethnic and regional lines. This division is as a result of the mismanagement of the APC,” he alleged. The former vice-president called on Rivers State PDP stakeholders to support his ambition to emerge as the party’s presidential candidate.

Forces against Buhari as the 2019 Showdown begins

Thirty-nine political parties and associations’ team up to wrestle power from President Muhammadu Buhari who wants a second term in office as Nigerians go to the polls in 2019, while the ruling party is also parading an alliance of 20-party coalition thereby giving an impression that the showdown has started

By Olu Ojewale

THEIR mission is well defined and known to everyone: to ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, are voted out of power in the 2019 polls. The ambitious project being led by the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, saw the coalition of 39 political parties and associations coming together to sign a memorandum of understanding, MoU, to work together and field a presidential candidate to defeat Buhari at the presidential election.

The parties that came together on Monday, July 9, to sign the MOU are: the PDP; the Action Alliance; Alliance for Democracy; Africa Democratic Party; Action Democratic Party; All Grand Alliance Party; Action Peoples Party and Advanced Congress of Democrats.

Others are Better Nigeria Progressive Party, Democratic Alternative, Democratic Peoples Party, Grand Democratic Party of Nigeria, Green Party of Nigeria, KOWA Party, Labour Party, Mass Action Joint Alliance, and Masses Movement of Nigeria .

The rest are the National Conscience Party, New Generation Party, National Unity Party, Peoples Alliance for National Development and Liberty, Peoples Progressive Party, People for Democratic Change, Providence People’s Congress, Restoration Party of Nigeria, Unity Party of Nigeria, All Grassroots Alliance, National Interest Party, Nigeria Democratic Congress Party,  Progressive Peoples Alliance , and Young Democratic Party, among others.

The R-APC, which is a splinter group within the ruling party, APC led by Buba Galadima, a former ally of Buhari also signed the MoU.

The Nigeria Intervention Movement, another pressure group equally appended its signature to the agreement. All the chairmen of the concerned political parties signed the MoU.

Secondus
Secondus

According to the MoU, “The parties shall ensure that the coalition is committed to working together in support of a single presidential candidate to contest the 2019 presidential election to successfully enthrone a true democrat who will salvage the nation from the misrule of the APC government.”

Besides, the coalition said the parties were committed to restructure the country, embrace zoning of political and elective powers to ensure that all sections of the country were carried along in the scheme of things.

The MoU added: “That the parties shall promote acceptable core values for the restructuring of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, secure lives and property, rebuild and redirect our nation’s economy back onto the path of growth, respect human rights and freedoms, protect and uphold the cherished values of democracy and the democratic institutions and generally put right the country which unfortunately has now been dangerously divided along ethnic, religious and tribal lines.

“That the parties shall encourage state alliances among themselves to ensure that the cooperating parties under the grand alliance emerge victorious at the state governorship, state legislature and National Assembly elections.”

National chairmen of the political parties signed the MoU pledging to work together under the Coalition for United Democratic Parties, CUDP, to produce a presidential candidate.

Since signing the MoU, Realnews leant that parties in the coalition have been holding stakeholders’ meeting in various states to enlighten their members on the modalities for the agreement. In an interview with The Punch newspaper published on Wednesday, July 11, Uche Secondus, national chairman of the PDP, said the agreement took them many weeks to prepare and that negotiations were carefully carried out among the parties and their leaders. Hence, he expressed confidence that there was, no way any of the other 38 political parties and associations would renege on the agreement because they had vowed to honour it.

“Now, the president should have received a red card notice and be ready to prepare his handover notes because he is leaving the Presidential Villa come May 29, 2019,” Secondus said in the interview.

Nevertheless, leaders of the CUDP seem to have high hopes about the new found alliance. Basking in the euphoria of the agreement, Ben Obi, a former acting national secretary of the PDP, in his address to the coalition, said that concerned parties and associations chose to come together to salvage the nation and put an end to what he called nepotism and tribalism.

He said that the Buhari administration had left Nigerians more divided than they were in 2015, a trend he said must be corrected before it got worse.

He pointed out that the ruling party promised to tackle corruption, revamp the economy and address security challenges and restructure the nation but as soon as the government got to power it denied making such promises. “We are here to put an end to dictatorial tendencies and this is a war between light and darkness and I can assure you that light would prevail. We are going to win and we will win,” Obi said.

In his speech, Buba Galadima, the leader of a breakaway group from the ruling party which transmuted into Reformed-APC, R-APC, hailed the MoU, saying it would send shivers down the spine of the ruling party.

Galadima
Galadima

He said that since he led a splinter group out of the APC, the R-APC members had been receiving death threat messages and messages of solidarity from across the world.

According to Galadima, Buhari “is destined to lose the 2019 election and lose his deposit.”

The former ally to the president, who claimed that he knew Buhari so well, said that if he were to advise him, he would ask him not to contest in 2019.

Nevertheless, Galadima warned that being a military general, the president would not go down without a fight. He said: “Let us not forget that the man we will be facing is a military general. We are ready, prepared to take on this fight despite their intimidation and threats.”

Similarly,, Secondus spoke about what might eventually be the lot of those in the opposition against Buhari. In his speech to the CUDP, the national chair of the PDP said that the opposition are ready to be arrested, intimidated and even killed.

Who succeeds Fayose in Ekiti?

Ekiti State electorate will be going to the polls on Saturday, July 14, to elect a new governor to take over governance from Governor Ayodele Fayose in October; but from the list of 40 candidates jostling for the job, only two are regarded as frontrunners in the election

By Olu Ojewale

IT is election time in Ekiti State. On Saturday, July 14, the electorate in the state are to file out and elect a new governor who will take over from Governor Ayodele Fayose in October this year. Interestingly, the state electorate have a good number of choices to pick from. There are 40 candidates jostling to get the state plum job.

In May this year, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, published the names of candidates who emerged from the primary conducted by their various parties.

According to the INEC, the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the state is fielding Kolapo Olusola Eleka, 49, the incumbent deputy governor, Kayode Fayemi, 53, erstwhile minister of Mines and Steel Development, is running on the platform of the main opposition All Progressives Congress, APC.

Two women are among the candidates jostling for the Ekiti governorship seat. They are: Margaret Ilesanmi of Accord Party, AP, and Olajumoke Saheed of the Democratic Alternative, DA.

Similarly, on the list of candidates are: Shola Omolola of the Action Alliance, AA; Lawrence Ogundipe of the Advanced Congress of Democrats, ACD; Jide Ayenibiowo of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN; Olaniyi Agboola of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, and Ayodele David Adesua of the African Democratic Congress, ADC.

Further on the list are Segun Adewale of the Action Democratic Party, ADP; Lucas Arubuloye of the AGA; Stephen Oribamise of the All Grand Alliance Party, AGAP; Tunde Afe of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party, ANRP; Saheed Jimoh of the African People’s Alliance, APA; Tope Adebayo of the Advanced People’s Democratic Alliance, APDA and Gbenga Adekunle of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.

Others are: Adegboye Ajayi of the Better Nigeria People’s Party, BNPP; Olalekan Olanrewaju of the Democratic People’s Congress, DPC; Stephen Oladejo of the Democratic People’s Party, DPP; Adewale Akinyele of the GPN; Tosin Ajibare of the Independent Democrats, ID, and Temitope Amuda of Kowa Party, KP.

The list also has Sikiru Lawal, a former deputy governor, of the Labour Party, LP; Olabode Jegede of the Masses Movement of Nigeria, MMN; Sunday Balogun of the Mega Progressive People’s Party, MPPP; Sunday Ogundana of the National Conscience Party, NCP; Bode Olowoporoku, a former senator, of the Nigeria Democratic Congress Party, NDCP, and Adebisi Omoyeni, a former deputy governor of the PANDEF.

Others are: Ayoyinka Dada of the PDC; Goke Animasaun of Progressives People’s Alliance, PPA, Stephen Obasanmi of the Providence People’s Congress, PPC; Ebenezer Ogunsakin of the People’s Party of Nigeria, PPN, and Akinloye Ayegbusi of the Social Democratic Party, SDP.

The rest are: Olusegun Adeleye of the United Democratic Party, UDP; Femi Bade-Gboyega of the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN; Ayodeji Faokorede of the Young Democratic Party, YDP, and Temitope Omotayo of the Young Progressive Party, YPP.

As obligatory, a good number of the candidates have been travelling round state to sell their ideas and canvass for votes.

Nevertheless, reports from the state have shown that only Fayemi of the APC and Eleka of the PDP, are considered to be really in contention and that either of them is likely to win at the polls.

Fayemi
Fayemi

Indeed, Fayemi is not a stranger to Ekiti State politics. He had been the state governor for four years between 2010 and 2014. He was defeated by Governor Ayodele Fayose of the PDP while seeking for a second term in office. Incidentally, Fayose was also seeking a second term in office, having earlier served as governor between May 2003 and October 2006 when he was impeached and removed from office by the state legislators.

Since Fayose assumed office for the second term, the outgoing governor has been at loggerheads with Fayemi, his predecessor. If it were to be left to him, Fayose would not want Fayemi to be on the ballot for the July 14, governorship election.

In fact, the Ekiti State government under Fayose, in January banned the former minister from holding political office in the state and other parts of the country for 10 years.

This was based on a government white paper released in Ado Ekiti, capital of Ekiti State, on Monday, January 15, on the outcome of the report of the Justice Silas Oyewole-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry, which investigated the financial transactions during the tenure of Fayemi as state governor between 2010 and 2014.

According to the white paper, both Fayemi and Dapo Kolawole, his commissioner for Finance, were found culpable in the mismanagement of funds belonging to the state. They were thus, declared unfit to hold any public position in the state and any part of Nigeria.

Specifically, Fayemi was asked to account for N2.75 billion allocated from the N25 billion bond obtained by his administration.

Both Fayemi and Kolawole, during the investigative hearing, refused to appear before the commission, citing a court action filed against the probe by the former governor.

In any case, a Federal Capital Territory, FCT, high court, Bwari division, on Tuesday, July 3, voided the report of the Commission of Enquiry set up by Fayose. Delivering judgement in a case filed by the Action Peoples Party, APP, challenging the eligibility of Fayemi to contest the office of governor of Ekiti State on the grounds that he had been indicted by the commission, Justice O.A. Musa, the presiding judge, dismissed the suit by the APP on the grounds that it lacked merit.

Musa held that the ‎process leading to the report and white paper was tainted with bias as Fayemi, a gubernatorial candidate in the July 14, election in Ekiti, was not accorded fair hearing.

The judge noted that Section 182(1)(i) of the Constitution, on which the suit was based, was no longer in existence having been deleted by the National Assembly through the first alteration of the Constitution in 2011.

Challenges before Oshiomhole-led APC Executive

 

THE new executive of the ruling All Progressives Congress is in the saddle to take the party to the 2019 election, but the job of the new leadership under Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman, will not be easy amidst daunting problems facing the party

 

By Olu Ojewale

The euphoria, which greeted the election of the new national executive for the All Progressives Congress, APC, is petering out. The new national working committee, NWC, of the ruling party led by Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman, is expected, as a matter of urgency get down to work to resolve plethora of issues threatening the unity of the APC ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Indeed, Oshiomhole, the arrow head of the new NWC of the APC, knows that he has a lot of work to do to unite the party behind President Muhammadu Buhari who facilitated his election as the party’s national chairman. He, arguably, knows that the ruling party is currently under attack for doing, perhaps, next to nothing to stop the herdsmen killings in some parts of the country.

The recent killings in Benue and Plateau states not only caused tongues wagging, it has become a serious campaign issue on which basis the APC government will be judged whether or not, in the estimation of voting Nigerians, should be returned to power.

The latest herdsmen attack in Plateau State left more than 100 persons dead, and several others injured. It has also attracted condolence visits of prominent Nigerians including Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Bukola Saraki, Senate president, and planned visit of APC governors among others.

But what Nigerians need is a permanent solution to the incessant killings of innocent persons by lawless herdsmen who have been on rampage on the excuse that their cattle are being killed or that their pastures are being prevented from grazing.

Apparently irked by the current development, Shehu Sani, a senator from Kaduna, posted on his facebook: “We need a graveyard in the three arms zones of Abuja, so that victims of the mindless killings in the country can be buried close to the seat of power. Then the executive, legislators and the judiciary can feel the pains of the helpless widows and orphans we failed to protect.”

This is, no doubt, why the Oshiomhole-led NWC needs to act quickly and persuade the ruling party to find a lasting and an amicable solution that will stop the mindless killing forthwith. Doing that would lessen the general impression among Nigerians that the Presidency is in support of the herdsmen.

The Adams Oshiomhole administration of the ruling party may not necessarily be blamed for the carnage that has been spearheaded by the Fulani herdsmen in many parts of the country, but the party leadership is not likely to escape criticism should it fail to reconcile aggrieved members ahead of 2019 elections.

The burden is now on the party’s NWC to rally round members and work for genuine reconciliation in the party. Oshiomhole needs to bring bear all his negotiating power and experience as labour leader to bring back to the fold all aggrieved members where parallel congresses were held to bury their hatchets and work for unity and success of the troubled party. Reports indicated that there were parallel congresses in Delta, Enugu, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Kogi, Imo, Lagos, Oyo, Rivers and Zamfara states. In places such as Lagos, Rivers and Kaduna states, courts have been asked to intervene.

Some side attractions which took place at the party convention on Saturday, June 23, must have shown the new party leadership the kind of hostility going on in some states. On the day, there were arguments among some states delegates over sitting arrangements. For instance, it took almost one hour to normalise things as fight broke out among Imo State delegates. Reports alleged that the fight broke out when supporters of Ifeanyi Ararume, a former senator and governorship aspirant, resisted an attempt by delegates loyal to Governor Rochas Okorocha to upstage them. Consequently, supporters of the governor were dispersed. Security agents at the venue later managed to restore order.

Not only that, perhaps, in another manner of protesting, a number of prominent personalities of the party simply did not attend the convention. Conspicuously absent were Shehu Sani, a senator from Kaduna State; Rabiu Kwankwaso, a senator and former governor of Kaduna State and Dino Melaye, a senator from Kogi. They all have an axe to grind with the party leadership in their respective states.

Kwankwaso said that he avoided attending the convention in order not to cause distraction and conflict between his supporters and that of the Kano governor. Besides, he said he did not recognise the congresses held in the state.

But the state government through Mohammed Garba, the Kano State commissioner for Information, on Monday, June 25, in Kano, lambasted Kwankwaso, describing reasons for his absence at the convention as false.

Garba, however, said the Kano congresses were adjudged the best recently conducted in the country as there was no case of parallel congress in the state. He said the senator should have used the convention to reconcile his differences with Governor Abdullahi Ganduje on the APC leadership crisis in Kano and that failure to do, Kwankwaso had nailed his political career.

Apart from reconciling members of the party, the first acid test for the new APC leadership is the two critical governorship elections holding this year in Ekiti and Osun states. Ekiti will go to polls on July 14.  Hence, Oshiomhole will have to be in the state with some his new executive to campaign for Kayode Fayemi, the APC candidate and former minister of Solid Minerals Development in the election.

Shortly after that, it would also be incumbent on the Oshiomhole executive to ensure the APC success in the Osun State gubernatorial election slated for September 22. The guber primaries of Osun State will hold July 7. Reports have it that, aspirants in the state are already at war as party elders are working assiduously to ensure credible primary to elect flag bearer.

APC holds Convention with Frailly Nerves

Things are not as they should be even as members of the ruling All Progressives Congress hold their much awaited convention in Abuja, on Saturday, June 23, amidst unresolved crisis of confidence rocking the party

By Olu Ojewale

ALL is now set for the much awaited national conference of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in Abuja, holding on Saturday, June 23.

As part of the tradition, a new set of party officials will be elected on the day. At last count, no fewer than 160 aspirants were jostling for positions, lobbying the 6,800 delegates for support. Despite the high wire politics going on, not everyone appears to be thrilled about the prospects of the convention, which promises to be a make or mar for the party.

All appears not to be too well for the ruling party. Efforts by this Realnews reporter to get some of the big players in the party politics to give an insight about what is going on in the party met a brick wall. They claimed that it would not be right to grant an interview now as the party was still trying to resolve many issues agitating the mind of some members.

In any case, with the person like Shehu Sani, a senator representing Kaduna Central at the National Assembly, threatening to dump the party, it has, indeed, become obvious that the APC would be heading for a turbulent meeting if it fails to thrash out all the contending issues. On Monday, June 18, Sani gave a hint about his frustration at press conference, alleging the inability of leaders of the APC to address the internal crisis rocking the party in the past three years.

odigie-oyegunHe charged: “So, APC stands on the foundation of injustice as it is to its members. It has not treated its members very well. It has failed to live up to its promises and pledges of a transparent internal democracy as a party.” The senator similarly made reference to the recent congresses held in the party across the country, saying a good number of them lacked credibility.

Indeed, many states under the control of the ruling party are still embroiled in battles of supremacy amongst its many factions. Among them are Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Kogi, Oyo, Rivers and many others.

The party is similarly heading to the convention without resolving the threats by members of the former new Peoples Democratic Party, nPDP, to dump the party. On Tuesday, June 19, the Nation newspaper reported that contrary to speculation, President Muhammadu Buhari would not meet with members of the nPDP.

The nPDP is one of the blocks that formed the APC in 2014 – the main groups being Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN; Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and All Nigerian Peoples Party, ANPP.

On May 9, the nPDP wrote a letter to the APC leadership, seeking a meeting within seven days, to address its grievances. The group accused the ruling party of marginalisation and threatened to defect to another party.

It also alleged harassment of its members by the federal government. The letter was signed by Kawu Baraje, leader of the group.

However, another group of ex-PDP members in the APC led by Abdullahi Adamu, a senator and Abdumumin Jibrin, a House of Representatives member in another letter, accused the Baraje group of insincerity and not representing the group.

Nevertheless, the APC leadership led by Lawal Shuaibu, deputy national chairman (North) met with the Baraje group.

According to media reports, a follow-up meeting was chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, where it was agreed that the nPDP team, which had Bukola Saraki, Senate president, and Yakubu Dogara, speaker, House of Representatives in attendance, should isolate the issues for discussion at the next meeting, which was yet to hold as at press time.

This, perhaps, prompted speculations that a meeting with the president was in the offing.

But the Nation newspaper said it learnt on Monday, June 18, that the president told a parley of party chiefs last week, that he would not be meeting with the nPDP leaders because “it is a party matter.”

Buhari, according to the newspaper, said he was not disposed to getting involved in the matter. He was quoted to have said: “I will not interfere.”

He reportedly told the governors at the meeting he had with them, that they as party leaders in the states “should deal with all issues as they are raised and where there is need, the party leadership can come in.”

In any case, the president was said to have endorsed the intervention by Osinbajo and encouraged same to continue. Apparently without any clear cut agreement, some members of the nPDP said they would like to boycott the national convention rather than walk out from the venue.

“We are waiting for our leaders to give us direction on whether or not to attend the National Convention. As at Monday, the Presidency and APC leadership have not addressed all our grievances.

“Instead, what we have experienced is the inclusion of some factional leaders of APC in some states in the National Convention Committee, NCC, which we considered insulting,” a member of the nPDP was quoted in the press as saying.

That notwithstanding, reports indicated that there had been marathon meetings to resolve crisis facing the party and rally supporters behind Buhari and resolve crisis facing the party. According to some party members who would not want to be quoted because they are not authorised to speak, there has also been intense horse-trading and on how to secure some of the eight key posts in the National Working Committee, NWC, for the presidency.

The key positions are namely, the national chairman; national secretary; deputy national chairman (North); deputy national chairman (South); national organising secretary; national publicity secretary; national women leader and national youth leader.

Indeed, The Punch newspaper reported on Thursday, June 21, that in a last-ditch effort to forestall a full-blown crisis, governors on the platform of the APC had similarly started a series of consultative meetings in Abuja.

Is Governor Okorocha a drowning Man?

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State seems to be losing his political relevance, having lost all the congresses organised by his ruling All Progressive Congress in the state and now facing rising adversaries from his party, former associates and generality of the people in the state

By Olu Ojewale

THE political structure of Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State is collapsing. Since the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, held its ward, local government and state congresses, Okorocha seemed to have lost the party machinery to his political opponents.

In reaction, the governor has tried to mask his defeat by claiming that no congress was held in his state, but all indications have shown that the APC structure in the state is no longer with him.

The party structure is now firmly in the grip of his opponents, whom the governor has tried to retired from politics. Hillary Eke, one of his former allies, was re-elected as Imo APC party chairman, contrary to the wish of the governor. Little wonder Okorocha described Eke’s election as illegal claiming that there was a court injunction restraining the party from conducting the election.

Invariably, the governor has been contending with a massive alliance of APC leaders across the 27 council areas of the state led by Ifeanyi Ararume; Hope Uzodinma; Ben Uwajumogu and Osita Izunaso, all senators; as well as Eze Madumere, the deputy governor, and Jude Ejiogu, his former chief of staff who was also secretary to the state government.

Others are Emeka Nwajiuba of Tetfund; Jasper Azuatalam, a BOT member of the party; Tony Chukwu, a business mogul, Theodore Ekechi and several other former aides of his.

Ironically, Okorocha had, not long ago, declared that he had retired his political adversaries, desperately trying to salvage what had been an eventful political ascent.

But last month, the governor was badly shaken when the new executive of the Imo State chapter of the APC in a memorandum to the national chapter of the party canvassed disciplinary action against him. In a resolution following a meeting of the State Working Committee, SWC, of the party, the state chapter of the party declared in a statement: “Pursuant to Article 21D (11) of the APC constitution, the State Working Committee, SWC, has made appropriate recommendations to the NWC of our great party to take adequate disciplinary measures against the governor of Imo State, Owelle Anayo Ethelbert Okorocha, for engaging in various anti-party activities, which could lead to breakdown of law and order in the State.” The communiqué was signed by Nwabueze Oguchienti, the publicity secretary of the state APC.

The move against Okorocha followed his loss of the party’s structure after his former associates rebelled against his plot to foist his Uche Nwosu, son-in-law and chief of staff, on the state as his successor.

The former associates led by Madumere and Ararume, with the tacit support of Osita Izunaso, the party’s national organising secretary, were behind all the congresses that wrestled the party structure from the control of the governor. Thus, Okorocha has become the second APC governor after Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State to have lost the structure of the party to contenders within the state they govern.

UzodinmaIn any case, the governor, who has blamed the John Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee, NWC, for his woes, is said to hold the belief that the emergence of Adams Oshiomhole, former governor of Edo State, as the new national chairman, would help to salvage the situation.

Nevertheless, Okorocha himself has not given up and has recently raised the stakes with the appointment of a rival state executive of the party with Chris Oguoma as chairman. The Oguoma-led executive is working in parallel with the Hilary Eke-led executive that emerged at the state congress that was boycotted by Okorocha and his supporters in the state.

The appointment of the Oguoma led executive has been viewed by political analysts as a desperate move by the governor, given the fact that after disagreeing with the outcome of the last congresses, he had gone to court to challenge the validity of the congress. Okorocha’s wisdom in appointing a rival party structure even before the case was concluded was shocking to observers as his allies also went ahead to take over the state secretariat office of the APC in Owerri.

Not only that, few days after, suspected hoodlums set fire at the party secretariat, thereby forcing Eke’s executive to vacate their official offices.

Consequently, some members of the party have described the governor’s behaviour in recent times as anti-party activities that should attract heavy sanction as he was perceived to be the sponsor. In trying to justify himself, Okorocha retorted that Eke had ceased from being the chairman of the state party executive. Buttressing his speech, he said: “Let me say this, if anybody wants to practice democracy let there be congress. Go to the ward, talk to your people and vote.

“Hillary Eke’s time is finished. He can’t be a chairman constitutionally, until he is elected. There is a court order stopping that congress and there is another court order stopping them from parading themselves as executives of APC.

“So they do not even exist so what Eke is doing does not exist. The only person we have recognized now is the acting chairman, Chris Oguoma. This is just a kind of conspiracy from those people I brought up politically.”

In response, Nwabueze Oguchienti, the publicity secretary of the APC, in the state, under Eke’s leadership, said: “The congress of the party is purely an internal affair. The NWC put the guidelines and if you fail to follow the rules then you want to leave the party. You must be dreaming when you think that you can be a party chairman by appointment.”

Nonetheless, on Tuesday, May 29, during a press briefing to mark the Democracy Day celebration, Okorocha maintained that as yet, there was nothing broken and nothing lost. “I am still in charge of the APC structure in Imo state,” he said.