No Plan to Impeach Amaechi


CONTRARY to the allegation that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Rivers State, planned to impeach Governor Chuike Ameachi, Felix Obuah, the state chairman of the party, said there was no such plan. Addressing members of the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Peoples Forum led by Ibe Eresia-Eke, on Wednesday, May 1, Obuah said the claim by Otelemaba Amachree, speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, that there was a plan remove Amaechi was not true.

He also said there was no truth in the claim by Amachree that a fake mace had been smuggled into the state to enable five members of the House to hold an emergency session in order to effect the removal of the governor. The new party chairman observed that some party members in the state were aggrieved and that his primary mission was to unify all the contending groups.

Following the controversial grounding of the Bombardier jet that Amaechi took to Akure, Ondo State, on Friday April 26, Obuah had given the governor a 48-hour ultimatum to explain the status of the aircraft. He also announced the suspension of 27 out of the 32 members of the State House of Assembly from the PDP and the declaration of their seats vacant, thereby creating an anxiety of a possible ploy to impeach the governor.

But Obuah insisted that his mission as chairman of the party was not to create problems for the administration of Amaechi, but rather to work with him to ensure that the state’s resources were evenly distributed among all the local councils. He also denied the allegation that he planned to use the five members of the state legislature not suspended to impeach Amaechi. He, however, warned that the party would no longer condone any elected official who fails to deliver on his mandate.

On the 48-hour ultimatum given to the governor to explain the ownership of the state jet, Obuah said the party, in its magnanimity, would meet to consider the extension of time to be briefed on the status of the contentious jet. Obuah was declared the chairman of the party last month by an Abuja High Court which sacked the Godspower Ake-led state executive of the party, believed to be loyal to Amaechi.

Buhari Tones Down His Presidential Ambition


MAJOR-GENERAL Muhammadu Buhari, former head of state and presidential candidate of Congress for Progressive Change in the 2011 general election, has declared his willingness to step down for a better and formidable candidate in the 2015 presidential election. Buhari, whose party is joining others to form a mega party known as All Progressives Congress, APC, said he was ready to use the platform of the yet-to-be-registered party to further his political ambition in the next presidential race.

Speaking at the maiden edition of Sam Nda-Isaiah Public Lecture Series, in honour of the publisher of the Leadership Newspapers, in Minna, Niger State, Buhari said, “Whoever thinks he has got a chance, let him come out because the more we are, the merrier it becomes,” adding, “I will be ready to step down if there is a formidable and better candidate. It is not about me but for the survival of the party. APC is about ensuring internal democracy. Whoever emerges is the person I will support. Yes, I will be ready to step down.”

Jonathan May Rethink 2015


PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, may, after all, forfeit his ambition to seek a re-election for second term in 2015. The Presidency on Wednesday, April 2, said President Jonathan was ready to drop his ambition to run for a second term in 2015 if the Senate passed the proposal for a single non-renewable six-year tenure into law.

Ahmed Gulak, special adviser to the president on political matters, said the ambition to seek for a re-election would be shelved if senators decided in favour of a single-term for the president and state governors. Speaking in an interview with the media in Abuja, Gulak said, “Nigerians will remember that it was President Jonathan that suggested the idea of a single term tenure from the beginning. So if the proposal becomes law, the credit should go to the president. If it becomes a law and is enshrined in our constitution, the president and everybody will be bound by the provision of that law. Let us wait and see what happens.”

Although President Jonathan has refused to be categorical about his ambition for another term in office, the body movements of the president and supporters have shown to Nigerians that he wants to run in the 2015 general election.

Military Pensioners Bares their Fangs


THE federal government is on collision course with military pensioners. On May 1, the National Association of Military Pensioners, NAMP, gave the government until Monday, May 6, to pay its members pension arreas, those of the police and their civilian counterparts or face the wrath of the organisation.

Benson Eromafuru, president of the NAMP in a statement in Warri, Delta State, on Wednesday, May 1, insisted that the federal government had no more excuses to give for its failure to pay the pension arrears, and that the former service men were now ready to confront it over the matter.

Eromafuru said the defence by Simeon Audu, a commodore and chairman, Military Pensions Board, that the pension of the military pensioners was not captured in the 2013 budget was neither tenable nor acceptable. He argued that the board had been promising to pay them in the past four years and failed to do so. Besides, he said it had been confirmed that the said pension was captured in the 2013 budget.

Eromafuru urged members and other pensioners to get ready for a nationwide mass protest to resolve the issue. He noted that the 21-day ultimatum given for the payment of their pension arrears would expire on Monday, May 6, and that nothing would stop them from embarking on a violent protest if the arrears were not paid.

Oppose Grows Against Six-Year Single Tenure


A SIX-YEAR single tenure for president and state governors being proposed by the Senate committee on constitution review, SCCR, seems to be unpopular with the Arewa Consultative Forum and Afenifere, a Yoruba socio-cultural organisation. The two ethnic associations said that it would not only encourage corruption but would also discourage good performance in public office. But their counterpart in the South-East, Ohanaeze, a socio-cultural Ndigbo group, has embraced the recommendation, saying it is in line with the desire of Ndigbo.

If approved, the committee’s recommendation of a single term for the president will come into force in this dispensation, meaning that President Goodluck Jonathan and incumbent first term governors will not be eligible for re-election in the 2015 elections. But the issue has been generating emotions among various cultural groups in the country.

The ACF in its reaction said a six-year single tenure for presidents and governors, would not only encourage corruption, but would also discourage performance in public office.

Anthony Sani, national publicity secretary of the Forum, said in a statement, on Thursday May 2, that the system would not advance the cause of good governance as expected.  “In the single tenure system, there are no incentives, motivation and reward that can inspire for excellent performance… Such a practice cannot deliver on good governance. That may explain why most countries in the world practice multiple tenure systems which enable leaders to aspire for excellence in the hope of reward by way of re-election,” Sani said.

On his part, Yinka Odumakin, publicity secretary of Afenifere, said the organisation was against the proposed six-year single tenure on a different angle. Odumakin said in a statement that a four-year term should be enough and that deputies of affected elected officers should be allowed to succeed their bosses where possible. “If you have a bad government, the hope of changing it in four years is better than waiting for six years. So, we are opposed to it; we object to it; we are for the current four year renewable tenure but if they are insisting on one term, it should not be more than four years.”

Ohanaeze, has however, expressed its support for the proposal. In its reaction to the proposal, Joe Nwaorgu, secretary general of the group, said that the measure, if adopted, would ensure peace and progress as well as eliminate inherent injustices in the country. “We want a six-year single tenure for the president and it should be rotational among the six geopolitical zones. That is our submission to the Constitution Review Committee and we stand by that,” Nwaorgu said. If accepted, he said, it would bring equity, peace and commitment to the nation building.

Turai Wins Back Abuja Land


A HIGH Court in Abuja on Thursday, May 2, declared as null and void, the revocation of a plot of land allocated to Turai Yar’Adua, wife of late President Umoru Yar’Adu, by the Federal Capital Territory. The FCT had revoked the land measuring about 1.84 hectares earlier allocated to the former first lady for her non-governmental organisation project, Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation, WAYEF, by the FCT administration. By the annulment, the court, therefore, revoked the notice of revocation issued to Yar’Adu by the FCT administration on the plot and returned the land to the plaintiff.

Justice Peter Afeen, in his judgement, said taking the land from Yar’Adua and reallocating same to the current first lady served no public interest. “There is no regular and proper overriding public interest to warrant the purported revocation,” the judge said, noting that it was the dispute between the former first lady and the current first lady that led to the purported revocation. “The plot belongs to WAYEF, a site for the building of the head office of the plaintiff’s pet project and so the dispute does not amount to overriding public interest,’’ Affen said.

The judge said that the claim by the Attorney-General of the federation that the plot had earlier been allocated for the building of the African First Lady Peace Mission was wrong. “There is no evidence in all of the materials before me that the land had been initially granted,” the judge said. And that contrary to the minister’s claim, there was no overriding public interest to warrant its revocation.

Thus, Affen declared: “The disputed land, plot no. 1347 Cadastral Zone AOO, Central Business District, Abuja, FCT, was initially allocated to Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation while Mrs Yar’adua was first lady…. He then re-allocated the same land to Mrs Jonathan for the building of African First Lady Peace Mission Headquarters on the 2nd of November, 2011. The action of the FCT administration is not tenable in law as it was done contrary to the rules and law, and therefore, will not stand.’’ Turai Yar’Adu had gone to the court seeking the restoration of the plot allegedly taken by Patience Jonathan.

— May 13, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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