No Plan to Dump PDP

Rotimi Amaechi
Rotimi Amaechi

GOVERNOR Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has denied that he would soon dump the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for another party ahead of the 2015 election. Speaking after his meeting with Vice-President Namadi Sambo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday, April 11, Amaechi said he had no plan to leave the party despite its current internal crisis.

Amaechi told journalists at the Villa that it would be foolhardy to dump the PDP because it remained the only national party in the country. “I am still in the PDP. I am a member of the PDP. PDP is the only national party in the country for now. Why will one want to leave a national party and go to another party?” Sources said the Sambo-Amaechi meeting was to further persuade the governor not to leave the party so that Jonathan could win a re-election in 2015. The meeting was also a follow up to the one led by Tony Anenih, chairman, Board of Trustees of the PDP, on Wednesday.

Amaechi has, for some time, been at loggerheads with the leadership of the PDP over his style of leadership as chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF. The party’s leadership and some loyalists of President Goodluck Jonathan accused him of not using his position to get support for the president’s second term ambition. They were also said to be uncomfortable with the posters, which have been appearing in strategic places in the country pairing Amaechi with Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State as candidates for the office of vice president and president respectively. Both of them have denied the plan.

N2.1 Billion for New Voters’ Card

Labaran Maku
Labaran Maku

THE federal government is to spend N2,117,500,000 for permanent voters’ cards for those who registered for the last general election in 2011. The approval for the printing of the voters’ cards was given by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday, April 10. The permanent cards would replace the temporary ones already given to those who registered for the last election. The contract for the printing of the card has been awarded to ACT Technologies Limited. The company is expected to deliver within six months.

Briefing reporters after the FEC meeting, Labaran Maku, minister of information, said the approved sum would cover the production of 31,500,000 voters’ cards that would be used as national identity cards for future elections. Maku said the permanent voters’ cards would be used for voter identification for the 2015 elections.

Akpabio Woos Ghana to Akwa Ibom

John Dramani Mahama
John Dramani Mahama
Godswill Obot Akpabio
Godswill Obot Akpabio

AS PART of the drive to bring development to AKwa Ibom State, Governor Godswill Akpabio has called for the establishment of a Nigeria-Ghana university in his state. Hosting President John Mahama of Ghana in his office in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, on Wednesday, April 10, Akpabio said the establishment of such a university would strengthen ties between both countries, noting that many Nigerian students were already attending universities in Ghana.

Akpabio, who praised the Ghanaian information and communication technology, ICT, revolution, said his government had been in negotiation with a Ghanaian ICT expert to replicate same in his state. He called on Akwa Ibom businessmen to partner with their Ghanaian counterparts, saying: “Let’s integrate the economies of both countries for growth.”

Mahama, who commended Akpabio, disclosed that when the governor visited him in Ghana, he came with a bag containing pictures of “uncommon transformation,” and that he had come to see for himself. He said the governor’s development projects bore testimony to what inspirational leadership could do to Africans, adding: “I am impressed by what I have seen so far.”

State Burial for Olayinka

Funmilayo Olayinka
Funmilayo Olayinka

FUNMILAYO Olayinka, deputy governor of Ekiti State, who died in Lagos recently, would be given a state burial on Friday, April 26. A statement signed on behalf of the state government by Tayo Ekundayo, commissioner for information, said a weeklong activities for her state burial would begin on Monday, April 22. The ceremony, according to Ekundayo, would hold in Ekiti and Lagos states. During the weeklong activities, Governor Kayode Fayemi said there would be skeletal services in the state. Olayinka died in Lagos after a long battle with cancer on Saturday, April 6. She was 52.

Meanwhile, the Forum of Deputy Governors in Nigeria, on Wednesday, April 10, commended the quality of medical treatment given to Olayinka in her battle against cancer, which eventually led to her death. The forum, in a condolence message delivered to Fayemi, thanked the government of the state for providing the late deputy governor the best medical treatment both in Nigeria and abroad, while the ailment lasted.

Adejoke Orelope-Adefulure, Lagos State deputy governor, delivered the message of the Forum to Governor Fayemi in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. The Forum, according to Orelope-Adefulire, was also proud of the contributions of Olayinka to the success of the Fayemi administration in which she served diligently.

Olayinka was born in Ado-Ekiti on June 20, 1960. She was educated at Holy Trinity Grammar School, Ibadan, where she passed out with distinction. Thereafter, she went to Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo, for her higher school certificate before proceeding to the Central State University, Edmond, Oklahoma, United States, where she obtained a bachelor of business administration degree and a master’s degree in public administration in 1981 and 1983 respectively. She was a three-time winner of the Dean’s honour roll.

After her education, Olayinka returned home to work for First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Access Bank, and then, the United Bank for Africa. Until her election as deputy governor, Olayinka was head of Corporate Services, Ecobank Transatlantic Incorporation, where she was responsible for communicating the bank’s activities to the public and vise-versa.

Born Again UPN

Fredrick Fasehun
Fredrick Fasehun

AFTER about 30 years in limbo, the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, founded by the late Obafemi Awolowo, was resuscitated at a ceremony held at Century Hotels, Lagos, on Thursday, April 11. Frederick Fasehun, founder of Oodua Peoples’ Congress, OPC, led a group of stakeholders responsible for bringing the party back to life.

Curiously, mostly in attendance at the ceremony, were members of OPC and a few unknown politicians. But there was no known member of the defunct UPN, associate of Awolowo or any member of the family of the founder at the function. However, a very prominent person among the guests was Tony Uranta, executive secretary, National Summit Group, NSG, and a very close friend of President Goodluck Jonathan. His presence seems to lend credence to an allegation by the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, that Fasehun had been sponsored by President Jonathan to launch a new party to divide votes in the South-West.

But Uranta dismissed such speculations, claiming that he attended the occasion as NSG boos. “I think every party aims to split votes anywhere it goes into. If the ACN came up to split the votes of AD, Alliance for Democracy, and the UPN comes up and split the votes of ACN, it is nothing new,” Uranta said.

In his address Fasehun said that he resuscitated the UPN, because of the need for a sound political ideology in the country. “One key element in any democratic configuration is political parties. Political parties come across as a group of people who share the same ideas about the way they want their country governed. But the politics we see in Nigeria today is bereft of idea or ideology, both of which serve as a compass by which a political party charts the road-map for individual aspirations and national development,” he said. According to Fasehun, the UPN has come to fill this gap created by the absence of ideological basedly parties.

— Apr. 22, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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