THE Delta State Police command has been working round the clock to unravel why anyone would want to kill Victor Ochei, speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly. Lucky Uyabeme, assistant superintendent of police, and the force spokesman, said during an interaction with pressmen in his office in Asaba, the capital of Delta State, that on Friday, November 1, Ochei was at a function in Obomkpa, Aniocha North Local Government Area of the state, and “there was an explosion under the chair he was supposed to sit on.” He said the police had already started working to unravel how local canons were placed under the seat the speaker was to sit on.
Uyabeme used the occasion to refute an earlier statement credited to the police by an online medium and confirmed that, indeed, there was an assassination attempt on the life of Ochei.
The police spokesman insisted that he never had any direct or proxy interaction with the reporter, adding: “I am very surprised to see this publication by Sahara reporters. I don’t even know whether there is Saharareporters’ correspondent in Delta State. In fact, I only spoke to The Sun newspaper correspondent on the issue. I, therefore, urge members of the public to disregard the Saharareporters’ publication as all what he stated there quoting me were all lies”
Court Reinstates Oyinlola As PDP Scribe
OLAGUNSOYE Oyinlola, former governor of Osun State, has been declared the authentic national secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, which handed down the judgement on Wednesday, November 6, said Oyinlola, now a member of the renegade faction of the party, should be reinstated forthwith. In a unanimous decision by the three-man panel chaired by Justice Amiru Sanusi, the court upturned the January 11, judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which sacked the Osun prince.
In its judgment, the appellate court noted that the Abuja court had relied on the judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos, to remove Oyinlola, and ruled that it was not binding on him because the PDP was not a party in the suit. Justice Joseph Pine Pur, held that the judgment of the Federal High court, Abuja, was null and void because Oyinlola was denied a fair hearing in the Lagos suit relied on to sack him.
Besides, the court held that the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, could not stand because the suit which led to the order was a multiplicity of action and, therefore, constituted an abuse of court process. The panel noted that the suit was the third one filed by the plaintiffs to enforce the judgment of the federal high court, Lagos, which nullified the South-West zonal congress. In its third reason, the panel noted that Oyinlola had already filed a motion for stay of the Lagos judgment at the court of appeal, Lagos, as at the time the Ogun State executive council of the PDP filed a suit to enforce the judgment in Abuja.
Justice Abdul Kafarati of Abuja High Court had declared that Oyinlola’s nomination and subsequent election as the national secretary of the PDP were invalid, null and void. Kafarati relied on the order and two separate judgments of the Federal High Court, Lagos, that nullified the South-West PDP zonal congress that produced him as a candidate for the national convention in March 2012. The trial judge gave the verdict in a suit by the Ogun State Executive Committee of the party. Dissatisfied, Oyinlola approached the court of appeal, Abuja, asking it to set aside the judgment.
Reacting to the judgment, Ajibola Oluyede, counsel for the Ogun SEC, said there was no evidence to support the reasons given by the court of appeal. He said his clients would appeal the judgment at the Supreme Court to maintain status quo.
The PDP secretariat said it was still studying the judgment. In any case, chances of Oyinlola returning to the party fold are very remote because the former governor is already neck-deep with the factional group headed by Abubakar Baraje.
Governor Chime Clears Air on Wife
CLARA Chime, wife of Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State, is ill, but not on house arrest. That was the testimony of the governor on Tuesday, November 5, when he addressed the press over an allegation that his wife was on house arrest. Chime, who at the press conference, was flanked by his wife and her elder brother also had in attendance May Oji and Jide Chime, governor’s siblings, as well as Aham Agumuo, Clara’s neuro-psychiatric doctor, among others.
The governor, who vowed to protect the integrity of his wife, said it was “so disturbing” for him to speak out publicly about his wife’s health problems. He said: “Well, my wife has some medical challenges and it would be very unkind for me to talk about her condition on the pages of newspapers. I have done everything to protect her integrity and I’m not now going to expose her to ridicule because some people want to exploit her situation to drag me into a needless war of words. We’ve been battling this prior to my inauguration in 2011. It was so bad at a time that she had to be taken out of here (Governor’s Lodge) for treatment. When she stabilised, I pleaded with her doctors for her to be brought back here to be receiving her treatment at home and they graciously accepted.
“There was a time she was confined indoors and that was strictly on her doctors’ advice. She’s here and she can confirm or deny it. Also, the doctors then advised against allowing her access to telephones and laptop.” Chime said it was his mistake to have allowed her access to telephone and laptop that brought about the problem that necessitated the press conference. He said further: “I cannot say or do anything to undermine her dignity. She is, first and foremost, my wife. The big blunder I committed was allowing her access to the telephone and her laptop, against the advice of her doctor. I’m paying dearly for that today, going by what is happening now.” The governor said the press could confirm his story from her brother and doctor.
When the first lady was asked to speak, contrary to the media report, she denied sending any petition to the National Human Rights Commission alleging unlawful detention by her husband. She also denied hiring the services of Femi Falana, a SAN, and human rights activist, to seek her freedom from an alleged house arrest at the Governor’s Lodge, Enugu. Although, Falana had claimed in his letter to some media houses and the inspector-general of police that he was engaged by Clara to seek her freedom from the alleged house arrest.
Instead, she admitted that she wrote a letter to Agumuo, her doctor, and another doctor overseas who she was introduced to, but wondered how the letter had leaked to the public. Clara also admitted that she was once confined to a room without access to her telephone and laptop. “That was when I had a serious crisis,” she said.
Although she said she had the key to her room and allowed control of her entry and exit, contrary to the claim in the petition, she said that she had never been locked-up for asking to be allowed to leave. Her grouse was that she had not been allowed to leave the premises. “Though I attended mass last Sunday,” she said.
But Falana, in a statement on Thursday, November 7, insisted that Chime’s denial of detaining his wife was diversionary. The statement said in part: “With respect to Mrs. Clara Chime, I wish to say, without any fear of contradiction, that I have her instructions in writing to challenge her illegal detention at the Government House, Enugu. Through the assistance of some of the security personnel in the Government House, she has since spoken to me on phone to confirm her instructions. Indeed, Mrs. Chime’s mother and her personal physician have also been in touch with me urging me to take all appropriate measures to secure her freedom from Governor Chime’s illegal confinement.”
No politics for Sanusi after CBN
SANUSI Lamido Sanusi, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, governor, has ruled out venturing into politics at the end of his five-year tenure in June 2014.
Sanusi made the clarification while speaking on Hardtalk, a British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, current affairs programme on Monday, November 4. He said even though some politicians had made overtures to lure him into their camps when his tenure expires, he had declined the lure because he has no interest in politics.
“In my life, I have never gone for anything in which I had no preparation. I am the governor of the Central Bank today because I am an economist and I am a banker and I think I was prepared for that job. I have no preparation for politics; I have no interest in it. I don’t know how many times I have to say that, but people always say what they want to say. People have spoken to me and they continue talking to me and I give them the same answer. I am not ready, I don’t want it and I am not interested.”
Sanusi said that being a successful CBN governor was not a guarantee that he would succeed as a politician because he has no experience in politics. “I have seen enough people being successful in their professional life and then go into politics and destroy everything they had built. So, I think if I go into politics, it will destroy everything I have built. I have stayed in Abuja long enough to know that I cannot survive one year in that space. I think it requires a particular type of skill to be there and I don’t have those skills.”
He added that if he were interested in politics, he would not have to spend too much money because his achievements at the helms of Nigeria’s apex bank would earn him enough votes. “Surely if I were interested in politics, I would ride on my record at the central bank. I don’t need to spend money. I have brought down inflation, I have a stable exchange rate, I have a track record to go on; I don’t need that.” Sanusi described the 2011 elections as the “most expensive in the world”, saying election years globally are always accompanied by a lot of spending.
Asked to comment on the ongoing debate over the zoning of the presidency to the north by some politicians, Sanusi argued that elections should not be based on where the president comes from, adding that people should, instead, focus on what individuals have to deliver and offer the country.
The CBN boss also spoke on the agricultural sector. He said the imposition of a 100 per cent tariff on the importation of polished rice was not healthy for the economy as it would encourage smuggling. “I don’t believe that tariffs are the way, certainly tariff will not address the problem and I have made that very clear. High tariffs simply make rice smuggled from the Republic of Benin from which they charge five per cent, more attractive because we have porous borders. The real challenge with agriculture is dealing with productivity, irrigation, seeds, fertiliser, training and access to market.”
Japan to Train Nigerian Engineers
THE federal government will partner with Japan international cooperation agency, JICA, to train engineers on modern trends in road construction and rehabilitation. Eiji Kubo, JICA’s advisor of operation for supporting Japanese small and medium enterprises division, made the disclosure on Monday November 4, 2013 when he led a delegation from the agency to visit Mike Onolememen, Nigeria’s minister of works.
Kubo said JICA was ready to involve more than 20 Nigerian engineers in a pioneer training, which is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2014. He added that the training would expose the selected engineers to new technologies in road constructions. “The training will give the engineers more knowledge about the use of modern technologies, such as the introduction of non-destructive testing method for road construction. Our main goal is to establish basic database on the condition of incidental concrete structures on roads in Abuja, using data obtained by concrete tester so that the recipient government can conduct systematic management for civil engineering structure in the future.” Kubo also pledged the agency’s support in other sectors of the Nigerian economy if given the opportunity.
In his remarks, Onolememen who was represented by Abubakar Mohammed, permanent secretary in the ministry, restated the government’s continued support for organisations willing to enhance programmes in road development.
“As part of government’s transformation agenda for the road sector, we are willing to key into more reform programme both locally and internationally.”
— Nov. 18, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT