THE national conference was, on Thursday, July 10, thrown into a rowdy session as delegates failed to reach a concession on recommendations on percentage of derivation to be paid to oil states and zones to benefit from the proposed intervention fund. The rowdy situation forced the house to adjourn abruptly until Monday, July 14, in order to prevent the exchanges from degenerating to fisticuffs.
To avert the dangerous trend that the situation could assume, it was decided that Justice Idris Kutigi, chairman of the conference, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, his deputy, and other leaders would meet with elders of the conference also known as ‘50 wise men’, chairmen of the 20 standing committees and their deputies on Friday, July 11 ahead of resumption on Monday.
The contentious revenue sharing formula and derivation principle was indeed, an emotional issue for many delegates along regional lines as they failed to reach agreement on what percentage should go to each region. The Friday session was the third delegates failed to conclude voting on the recommendations of the Devolution of Power Committee led by Obong Victor Attah and Ibrahim Coomasie, former Inspector-General of Police, following sharp disagreements between Northern and Southern delegates. Through negotiation and wider consultation the committee was able to raise derivation from 13 percent to 18 percent. Some delegates argued that it should be raised above 18 percent.
Apart from that, there was also a sharp disagreement over the five percent intervention fund for the stabilisation, rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas affected by terrorism and insurgency, in the first instance in the North-East, North-Central, North-West and any other part of the country. The delegates could not agree on who should get the money and projects to be done with the money.
However, the conference is expected to complete its assignment on or before July 16.
FG Accuses Political Party of Sponsoring Boko Haram
THE federal government on Wednesday, July 9, claimed that there was strong evidence linking Boko Haram, a terror sect, to a political party in Nigeria but did not disclose the name of the party. Mike Omeri, coordinator of the National Information Centre, NIC, and director-general of the National Orientation Agency, NOA, who made the claim, further disclosed that some politicians were being interrogated as a result of their ties to terrorist activities. “After the last successful operations carried out by security forces to dislodge terrorists from their base in the Darazo Local Government Area-end of Balmo Forest in Bauchi State, the politicians are being interrogated following the recovery of some sensitive materials – registration cards and symbol of a prominent political party that was found in the possession of some of the suspects arrested,” Omeri said.
The NOA director-general, further disclosed that investigations were ongoing to unravel the identities of others who could be involved in the activities of Boko Haram. He, however, warned politicians to desist from complicating the security situation of the country or face the wrath of the law.
APC Calls for International Attention
THE All Progressives Congress, APC, in Osun State would want the international community to take keen interest in the campaign process leading to the August 9, governorship election in the state. The party said this had become necessary because “it will critically impact on the election itself.”
Kunle Oyatomi, director of publicity of the party, in a statement, said from all indications while the APC and its flag bearer, Governor Rauf Aregbesola were hyper-active in their campaigns, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Iyiola Omisore, its candidate in the election, were lacklustre with their campaigns.
Oyatomi said the PDP propaganda machine was loudest in letting Nigerians know that plans had been concluded to remove the APC and its governor from office, against the popular will of the people. He said the expression of the people’s popular preference was already being registered daily since the campaigns started. “From Ile Ife to the latest mega rally in Ede, the crowd has swollen so exponentially that the latest experience in Ede on Tuesday was unprecedented,” Oyatomi said.
He added that both Ile Ife and Ede rallies were significant because they are the hometowns of PDP’s governorship candidate and his deputy respectively. He said that neither of them was capable of pulling the kind of crowd and support that the APC candidate and incumbent governor Aregbesola had attracted in both towns. “We are looking at a scenario here that gives irreversible indication of the popularity of the governor which should be replicated at the polls hopefully. So, it should interest the world what kind of plan the PDP has in place beside the verdict of the ballot box that is capable of reversing victory for the incumbent governor.
“We are not unaware of the desperation of the PDP to retain the presidency at all costs, and that winning in the West is a key factor in that desperation which has already produced a strange upset that is being explained away in a silly concept of ‘stomach- infrastructure’ in Ekiti State.
“We are also aware of what role the military and police played in Ekiti election that seriously compromised the process. In the run-up to Osun election, so far, so fair, yet so sinister that the opposition PDP, which is so unpopular on the ground, is bragging about some strange plan that will be effected to give it victory on August 9,” he added.
— Jul. 21, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT