GBENGA Daniel, former governor of Ogun State, has been suspended from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Doyin Fakoya, chairman of Ogun East Senatorial District of the party, who disclosed the suspension on Thursday, June 27, said the former governor, along with 12 others, had been suspended for anti-party activities.
Fakoya who addressed a press conference after the PDP Remo-North Federal constituency meeting at Isara in Remo-North Local Government Area of the state, said the former governor was suspended to ensure discipline within the party. “As of today, I am the Senatorial Chairman of Ogun East Senatorial District and I have got a copy of the letter that Otunba Gbenga Daniel has been suspended. He is no longer a member of the PDP; he has been suspended by ward 12 Sagamu Constituency 2,” Fakoya said.
According to him, a disciplinary committee which looked into the allegations levelled against Daniel and others, found them guilty as charged. He said: “Otunba Gbenga Daniel was the one that brought the Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN, to Ogun State, and he is financing the Labour Party at the moment. You cannot be in three parties at the same time; you cannot be in the PPN, the PDP and the Labour Party at the same time.” He said the disciplinary action was in line with the directive of Bamanga Tukur that discipline must return to the party.
Honouring Presidential Invitation
IT WAS an unexpected gesture. Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, on Wednesday, June 26, cancelled a meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, he had called for the night to attend a dinner being hosted by President Goodluck Jonathan. Since the proposed NGF’s meeting coincided with the president’s dinner with the governors, political observers had expected the ranks of the governors to break with supporters of Amaechi shunning the president. But for the first time since the election that caused a division in the NGF, more than 30 state governors converged on the Presidential Villa, Abuja on the day for a mid-term dinner with Jonathan.
Shortly before the dinner, some of the pro-Ameachi governors converged on the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, where the decision to attend the president’s dinner was taken. Before the contingent moved to the Villa, Amaechi told journalists who had come for the coverage of the NGF meeting: “We have shifted the meeting to honour the invitation sent to us for dinner by the President. We would have loved to meet, but we have to honour the president’s invitation.”
Confession of Boko Haram Suspect
IT WAS a chilling and a shocking revelation as a suspected Boko Haram member on Wednesday, June 26, narrated how he had killed 23 people. The suspect who was arrested by the volunteer armed youths known as civilian Joint Task Force, JTF, at Ngomari ward, Bakin Borehole in Maiduguri, Borno State, on Tuesday, June 25, confessed to the killing of 23 people including a village head and a police officer in two days before his arrest.
The middle-aged suspect who was subsequently handed over to the JTF Operation Restore Order, said he slaughtered a village head and a police officer because he felt they were against the activities of the dreaded sect. Residents of the area where the suspect was arrested said he came from Gwange, adding that the suspect was picked up by the vigilant youth group, following the arrest of his younger brother who led the youths to his whereabouts.
“We were shocked when we heard that civilian JTF came and arrested a sect member in our area. We have never imagined we could have somebody like that in our area because we have been living peacefully. We were even more shocked when he confessed that he killed 23 people in two days,” one of the residents who did not want his name in print said.
Committed to Credible Election
THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has its own fair share of corrupt elements. Attahiru Jega, chairman of INEC, admitted while briefing stakeholders who had converged on Abuja, on Wednesday, June 26, on the plan of the commission from 2012-2016. He said some of the corrupt officials and staff who had been found to have aided and abetted rigging and other electoral malpractices during elections, have either been successfully prosecuted or dismissed from the commission. He said the exercises were carried out without any media hype. Jega said: “INEC officials are not immune to prosecution. Since we came here, as a Commission, we have prosecuted INEC officials, who have been clearly found guilty of breaching established laws, rules and regulations and we have also quietly shown people the way out. Probably, it was not well advertised.”
Jega assured that the commission would continue to do its best to prosecute credible elections, but ruled out the chances of introducing electronic voting in the forthcoming 2015 general elections, stating that the country was not ripe for it. He also rued over the absence of the necessary legal framework that would have made it possible.
Judiciary to Witness New Dawn
JUDICIARY reform is expected to be one of key aspects in the ongoing amendment of the 1999 Constitution is the judicial reforms for the country. Ike Ekweremadu, deputy Senate president, who disclosed this at a one-day symposium organised by the Rule of Law Development Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, in Abuja, on Wednesday, June 26 said the review committee’s interest in judicial reforms was informed by Nigerians’ desires and the need to deepen the nation’s democracy. “With a morally upright and well-reformed judiciary that applies the letters of the law fairly and timely, the system’s manipulation, overheating of the polity, reign of impunity in high and low places, the blatant disrespect for the law and the rape of public treasury would abate considerably,” he said.
According to him, his committee’s recommendations include the separation of the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, from that of the Minister of Justice at both the federal and state levels, tenure for AGF; financial autonomy for both offices and the state judiciary. But Ekweremadu warned that the challenges facing the Nigerian judiciary could not be addressed only through mere constitutional reform unless it is combined with attitudinal change.
“It is not for lack of laws that some anti-corruption and other serious criminal cases involving the high and mighty have remained stagnant. Ridiculous ex-parte injunctions, endless adjournments, and abhorrent judgments are matters of attitude and compromise that can only be addressed through attitudinal change, ethical rejuvenation, and in-house purification that include sanctions against erring stakeholders within the judicial system,” he said.
Ekweremadu also commended moves by Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, chief justice of Nigeria, CJN, to salvage the judiciary and urged stakeholders and other relevant authorities to emulate the CJN by calling their erring members to order.
Amaechi’s Worries Over 2015 Elections
HE IS not a prophet of doom, but Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, is worried that the2015 elections could end in a stalemate as that of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, which he won, but which another governor also claimed victory. Speaking at a symposium on “Review of the 1999 Constitution and its impact on the much-needed judicial reforms,” organised by the Rule of Law Foundation, Amaechi said: “Let us put it on record that the way things are going, we should be careful that 2015 does not end in this manner, where people will win democratic election and those in power will not accept the result of a free and fair election.” He added: “My lords, be prepared because we shall soon be coming to your court. We must defend democracy. We must defend Nigeria because we don’t have any other country.”
The governor urged the Judiciary to be prepared to rescue the country from disputes that would result from unfair elections, as it had done in the past. He alluded to the NGF election, which polarised the forum, saying tyranny and oppression had started and should be resisted. “We have started again with tyranny and oppression. We must be prepared as a people to defend our rights. We must be prepared as a people to hold government accountable. We must be prepared to demand for accountability,” Amaechi said.
The governor said he won the NGF chairmanship election, but Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State has continued to lay claim to victory. He described those supporting the Jang faction as “undemocratic.” He lamented that despite all claims and the counter-claims the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, appeared to have lost its voice. Said Amaechi: “The NBA cannot afford to lose its voice. The NBA has lost its voice. For the NBA to see a free and fair election, where 35 governors that govern 35 states and make decisions for hundreds of millions of people and for the NBA to say ‘if you cannot organise yourselves, dissolve.’ Then you have lost your voice.”