Friday, June 22, 2018

Abiola Ajimobi: 6,800 delegates to vote at APC Convention

The Chairman of the Media Subcommittee for the National Convention Planning Committee, Gov. Abiola Ajimobi, stated this on Thursday in Abuja. No fewer than 6,800 delegates are expected to vote for aspirants contesting for positions in the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at its National Convention on Saturday.The Chairman of the Media Subcommittee for the National Convention Planning Committee, Gov. Abiola Ajimobi, stated this on Thursday in Abuja.Ajimobi, who spoke after the committee members inspected the Eagle Square, venue of the convention, added that the party was prepared to ensure a rancor free convention.“We are very happy about all the preparations, everything is in place, you can see what we call a very professional arrangement for tomorrow,” he said.He added that some aspirants may however drop from the race before the convention.“Politics is about conflict and resolution, today we are meeting the aspirants to interview them, there will be a give and take so that it will be a smooth operation on Saturday,” he said.Also speaking, former Governor of Zamfara, Sen. Ahmed Yarima, who is the Chairman of the Convention Subcommittee for Accreditation, said the committee had commenced the screening and accreditation of delegates from the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory.He assured that delegates would be properly scrutinised before entering the convention venue.“We are going to put numbering and security code so that as soon as you come to the gate you are properly identified, screened and then you enter.“Even as they vote inside, you have another card that you present so you can be allowed to vote” he said.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the tenure of the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led APC national executive ends on June 25.

2019 Elections: INEC says there may be over 100 parties contesting at next year’s...

138 political associations have already applied for registration ahead of next year’s elections The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that there may be at least 100 political parties contecting for elective positions in the 2019 general elections.The commission’s chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this while speaking at an election stakeholders’ summit in Abuja.He revealed that 138 political associations have applied for registration as proper political parties to join the country’s pool of 68 parties ahead of the 2019 elections.”As at June 8, 2018, we have received requests from 138 associations to register as political parties to join the already 68 registered political parties. So, we may have more than the 68 registered political parties before the 2019 general elections,” he said.While he expressed concern that the additions could prove problematic and have a significant impact on logistics for next year’s elections, he explained that the commission lacks powers to stop political associations from applying to register.INEC’s preparations for 2019 electionsProf Yakubu also disclosed that the commission is working with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to apprehend foreigners who are trying to take part in the voter’s registration exercise. He revealed that over 300 foreigners have already been arrested while attempting to register to vote at next year’s polls.

Ibarakumo Otobo: Bayelsa Commissioner, Special Adviser dump PDP for APC

Mangeta is the Special Adviser to the governor on Grassroots Mobilisation. The wave of defection has hit Bayelsa with the Commissioner for Youth Development, Mr Ibarakumo Otobo, defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).Also an aide to Gov. Seriake Dickson, Mr Asari Mangeta defected with the commissioner on  Wednesday with their supporters.Mangeta is the Special Adviser to the governor on Grassroots Mobilisation.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two political office holders in the administration were received by the executive committee of APC at the party secretariat in Yenagoa, Bayelsa capital.Speaking on the occasion, the State Chairman of APC, Mr Jothan Amos, noted that the defection of a serving commissioner was an indication that all was not well with the PDP government in the state.He said APC was poised to take over the state come 2020.Amos described the sack of 28, 000 civil servants in the ongoing public service reforms at a time of economic hardship as regrettable.“The way the government carried the reforms shows that they lacked ideas and are not capable of managing reforms.“How can you finish sacking workers and then start holding town hall meetings when the town hall meetings should have been held before reforms,” he said.A lawmaker, Mr Israel Goli, representing Brass 1 constituency, who received the members on behalf of ex-Gov. Timipre Sylva,  noted that APC would replicate its performance at the federal level in Bayelsa and transform it.Goli presented the symbolic broom of APC to the new members and urged them to team up with the leadership of the party to ensure the party’s victory in the 2020 governorship election.Otobo said he deiced to quit the PDP to work for APC’s victory in the governorship and other elections.“I have just resigned my appointment in the administration of Gov. Seriake Dickson and I have left PDP for APC.“I have a winning spirit and do not go where there is failure, joining the APC with my supporters will bring the winning streak to Bayelsa.“My antecedents are known and our people know that I am a man of convictions. I pledge to work for APC from this moment,” Otobo said.He urged the people of Bayelsa to rally round APC to enable the party harness the abundant natural resources of the state for its development.NAN reports that Otobo joined Dickson’s cabinet in April as Commissioner for Youth Development and before his appointment, he was the Chairman of Bayelsa Volunteers, a special security outfit formed by Bayelsa Government to complement the security agencies.Mangeta on his part said he left the PDP government because he was denied the right to express his political ideals and add value to the society.“I am a politician with a passion for service to the people. They know that I am an asset, they lured me with an appointment but after the elections there was no enabling environment for me to perform.“So, I have resolved to pitch my tent with APC.

Atiku: Former Vice President says he’s unsatisfied with Buhari’s administration

He said Buhari’s administration has failed to solve vital problems in the country. Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has expressed his dissatisfaction with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as he vowed that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will unseat the current government soon.He said this while paying a visit to former president, Goodluck Jonathan, in Bayelsa State on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.According to the former vice president, Nigeria is experiencing difficulties on a scale previously not exprerienced in the country. He said Buhari’s administration has failed to solve security challenges, strengthen the economy, or fix rising unemployment rate.He further noted that the PDP is the best-placed party in the country that can defeat the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) in the 2019 general elections.He said, “It is only the PDP that has the strength and the structure to get back to Aso rock. There is no other party that has the structure and strength to display popularity than the PDP.”Without PDP, APC would not have been in Aso Rock. PDP will go back to Aso Rock. Have we ever had this rate of unemployment before in the country? Have we ever had five rates of dollar exchange in the country?”Have we ever had so much of insecurity as we have today? No. Have we ever been so divided in this country like we are today? No. So how can I be satisfied?”Atiku to run against Buhari in 2019Atiku has expressed interest in running for the presidency again and is the favourite to win the PDP’s primary election as well as be Buhari’s biggest opponent.In 1993, he was an aspirant vying for the presidential ticket of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) before he lost out to Chief MKO Abiola who won the presidential election that was eventually annulled.Since then, he served as Nigeria’s vice president between 1999 and 2007, lost in the 2007 presidential election, and lost in two presidential primary elections in 2011, with the PDP, and 2015, with the APC, to Jonathan and Buhari respectively, both eventual winners.

APC convention and some irrelevant undercurrents

The All Progressives Congress (APC) national chairmanship race has preoccupied the attention of observers since the preparations for the national convention started. Assistant Editor JIDE BABALOLA examines the undercurrents that have pervaded the party’s preparation for the exercise.
Is there any likelihood that the abortive tenure elongation plot has been replaced by a plot to have a National Working Committee that can overwhelm the incoming National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC)? Some concerned party members think so.
As the APC prepares for its national convention scheduled for Saturday (June 23), irreverent undercurrents spurred by the abortive tenure elongation plot appear to be at work still. In due course, current fears may soon turn out to be either justified or not.
Altogether, some 160 aspirants are now jostling for positions and lobbying the 6,800 delegates for support. The chances of former Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomole, appear bright. Yet, there are suspicions that other interests may be working on a long-term plan to dilute or neutralize his powers as APC’s national chairman.
Indeed, for a party with such large followership, as the APC has, it would be naïve to assume that everyone genuinely subscribes to the high ideals it pursues. Nonetheless, it would be a sad development for numerous progressive-minded members who had witnessed the unfolding narrow agenda before, to now be subjected to yet another manipulative agenda. Even people outside the party were shocked when some elements once hatched plots to water down the influence of the party leader who created the template for the APC and its eventual electoral victory.
Nevertheless, the needless intrigues surrounding the tenure elongation plot aimed towards artificially sustaining Chief John Odigie-Oyegun in office as National Chairman evolved until it was effectively checked.
Following the failure of the effort invested in the tenure elongation plot that would have seen Oyegun in office till well after next Saturday’s national convention, three broad tendencies seem apparent across the party. The first comprises those who feel concerned about the capacity of the party to conduct two conventions in a matter of few months and still keep its cohesion. Then, there are those who had hoped that having pocketed the national leadership of the party, they’ll subsequently sail through the primary of the party, waving a banner of conquest. Yet, there are others who hoped that the few months’ grace would afford the party the time to craft a better reward system and sort out itself properly.
Looking back now, most party members would readily agree that President Muhammadu Buhari saved the party’s soul and ensured its survival by the decisive act of declining to endorse Oyegun’s tenure elongation and then, speaking against the idea.
As commendable as this appears to be, it is not without consequences. From the perspective of many party members, especially those who do not feel enamoured by Oyegun, one major consequence, they say, is that the chairman and his loyalists felt so hard done and were ready for the house to collapse; hence, the shoddy congresses in various states. Even in Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s base, Lagos State, an attempt was made to encourage a parallel exco. It is also felt that several governors had been initially conscripted into putting pressure on President Buhari towards adopting Oyegun, but the entire game plan unraveled woefully.
Now, without a tenure elongation plot, the incoming national chairman’s seemingly wide powers can be effectively checkmated by an NWC dominated by irreverent thoughts. Currently, filling of the position of APC’s National Chairman seems very settled, with maximum support for ex-governor and labour leader, Oshiomhole.
Provisions of Article 14 in APC’s constitution accords the National Chairman much powers and influence, as it states that the National Chairman shall: be the Chief Executive, Accounting Officer and shall preside over the meetings of the National Executive Committee and the National Working Committee of the party; provide good and effective leadership to the party; uphold the Constitution and defend the name, policies and programmes of the party; be a signatory to the accounts of the party; direct the due execution of the programmes of the party; give lawful directives to all officers, organs, and members of the party at all levels; have a casting vote in the event of a tie in the meetings of the party over which he presides; ensure the implementation of the directives of all superior organs of the party, namely the National Convention, the Board of Trustees, the National Executive Committee, the National Working Committee and the National Caucus; and perform such other functions as may be assigned to him from time to time by the National convention, Board of Trustees, National Executive Committee and/or the National Working Committee.
Conscious of the National Chairman’s wide and deep authority, perhaps, one body through which his influence can be tactically eroded is the National Working Committee. According to some, the very influential former governor from the Southsouth and his loyalists may have perfected plans to dominate the NWC and invoke its powers whenever such is desired.
Article 13.4 of the APC’s constitution outlines the roles and powers of the NWC as follows: “The National Working Committee shall be responsible for the Administration of the Party and putting into effect the decisions of the National Executive Committee. To that end, the National Working Committee shall carry out the day to day running of the affairs of the party.
“It shall in particular: prepare the agenda for the National Convention subject to ratification by the National Executive Committee; prepare and submit reports and budgets for consideration of the National Convention subject to the ratification of the National Executive Committee; provide financial guidelines for the approval of the National Convention subject to the ratification of the National Executive Committee; propose policies and programmes for the Party, which shall be considered by the National Executive Committee and approved by the Board of Trustees; propose to the National Executive Committee, Party electoral Regulations, to govern the conduct of elections to all party offices at every level and to 30 govern the Procedure for selecting candidates for elective offices, subject to the provisions of this Constitution; invite such person(s) as it deems necessary, desirable or expedient, to attend meeting(s) and take part in deliberations provided that such invited person(s) shall have no voting right; have power to make Standing Orders for the approval of the National Executive Committee and ratification by the Board of Trustees; deal with any other matters referred to it by the National Executive Committee or the Board of Trustees; deal with appeals and other problems referred to it by the State Working Committee, and or coming from the zones and states of the federation; establish Ad-hoc and, or Standing Committees of the Party and appoint members to such Committees; examine the actions, policies and programmes pursued and legislations made by the Governments of the Federation from time to time in order to determine whether or not they are in accordance with the manifesto and the Constitution of the party and if not to make recommendations to the National Executive Committee for its action; recommend for approval by the National Executive Committee, the proportion of income from subscription from each Ward, Local Government Area/Area Council and States that shall be remitted to the National Office.
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Delta community boils over recognition of monarch by government

Despite a court injunction, the Delta State Government has gone ahead with the presentation of staff of office to Chief Solomon Ifenezuchie in Amai Kingdom, Ukwuani L.G.A, Delta State sparking concerns of renewed tension in the community.
The Nation gathered that a combined team of soldiers and police were stationed in the community to forestall a breakdown of law and order during  and after  the presentation ceremony presided over by Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa who was represented by his Deputy.
It was learnt that part of the community have been rocked with sporadic gunfire in protest over the installation of the new monarch.
It will be recalled that a Delta High Court sitting in Kwale on May 7th restrained the State government from issuing staff of office to any party in the dispute pending when the case is decided.
The next adjourned date for hearing in the case is June 20 and 21.
A community leader who spoke to The Nation on condition of anonymity said the presentation of staff of office is politically motivated.
He said, “This presentation has strong political undertones, this move by Gov. Okowa is purely with a view to the forthcoming elections. It is a desperate attempt to garner votes to the detriment of the people he is supposed to protect.”
Read Also: Delta: I’m still in the race for the Senate – Uduaghan
Meanwhile a statement made available to The Nation by scribe of Umuekum Quarters, Chief Alfred Onyenwosa drew the attention of the government to the court injunction, stressing that “disregarding the court injunction in the kingship tussle is incubating tension”.
Part of the statement reads, “This is obvious injustice to the people of Umuekum Ruling House who are known to be very peaceful without a single history of communal violence. Government decision to wrongly back someone who not only lost the kingship election, but was never duly presented by the appropriate authority (Onotu Uku or Ugo of Umuekum Ruling House) at “Isu Asua” is inconsistent with Governor Okowa’s stand that gazette procedures must be followed in kingship succession”.
The statement added, “The recent interest to bypass truth, tradition and to foist an individual sponsored by inordinate politicians who believe in muscling people can only generate tension”.
Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah admitted that a decision was taken at the state executive council meeting for presentation of staff of office, stressing that the court injunction may have come late.
His words, “First and foremost if there is a subsisting court injunction it did not come before the executive council meeting decision. Perhaps it was after the exco decision .I has been trying to find that out. Do you have any evidence that a staff of office. I am just entering Warri now. I am trying to get the Commissioner for Local Government and the Deputy Governor for me to get their side. I can confirm that we had a decision to present staff of office, but whether we got a court injunction that I cannot confirm.”
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Atiku Abubakar Visits Ex-President Jonathan, Criticises APC’s Performance               

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar visited former President Goodluck Jonathan in Bayelsa State on Wednesday.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Wednesday visited ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
During the visit, the form VP criticised the ruling All Progress Congress (APC) for failing to address unemployment and other problems in the country.
Apart from accusing the Muhammadu Buhari administration of failing to strengthen the economy, Abubakar said the government had failed to overcome security challenges and other problems.
Consequently, he said it was up to the Peoples Democratic Party under which he hopes to run for the presidency in 2019 to seize power and fix the nation’s problems.
“It is only the PDP that has the strength and the structure to get back to Aso rock. There is no other party that has the structure and strength to display popularity than the PDP,” he said.
Abubakar added, “Without PDP, APC would not have been in Aso Rock. PDP will go back to Aso Rock. Have we ever had this rate of unemployment before in the country? Have we ever had five rates of dollar exchange in the country?
“Have we ever had so much of insecurity as we have today? No. Have we ever been so divided in this country like we are today? No. So how can I be satisfied?”
On his part, Jonathan said the PDP, having survived the crisis it faced after being voted out of power in 2015, has become stronger and fit to reclaim power at the federal level.
The former president also believes that the opposition party has the structure for good governance in Nigeria.
He said, “We had some issues in 2015 but the party is coming back and getting stronger. And I agree totally with the former Vice President that PDP is still, even though we are in the opposition, the strongest and largest party.
“We knew what made us lose the elections in 2015. It is not because PDP didn’t have that strength to do so. PDP being in 2015 had the strength to have won the election and 2019, PDP will go back.”
Apart from his visit to Jonathan, the former Vice President also paid a courtesy visit to the Bayelsa State Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson.
The post Atiku Abubakar Visits Ex-President Jonathan, Criticises APC’s Performance                appeared first on Channels Television.

Buhari: President unhappy with National Assembly’s changes to 2018 budget

The president said he’s unhappy with how the legislature tampered with the bill he presented in 2017. President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed concern with changes made by the National Assembly to the 2018 appropriation bill which he signed into law on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.Speaking after signing the bill at the Presidential Villa, the president said the legislature made certain cuts to the bill he presented which he claims was altered in a way that drastically affects the executives’ policies and projects. He noted that the legislature made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion.His statement read, “I am however concerned about some of the changes @nassnigeria has made to the budget proposals I presented. The logic behind the Constitutional direction that budgets should be proposed by the Executive is that, it is the Executive that knows & defines its policies & projects.”Unfortunately, that has not been given much regard in what has been sent to me. The National Assembly made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion.”Many of the projects cut are critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation. Some of the new projects inserted by @nassnigeria have not been properly conceptualized, designed and costed and will therefore be difficult to execute.”As it is, some of these projects relate to matters that are the responsibility of the States and Local Governments, and for which the Federal Government should therefore not be unduly burdened.”Such examples of projects from which cuts were made are as follows: Provisions for some nationally/regionally strategic infrastructure projects such as Counterpart funding for Mambilla Power Plant, 2nd Niger Bridge/ancillary roads, East-West Road, Bonny-Bodo Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway & Itakpe-Ajaokuta Rail were cut by an aggregate of N11.5bn.”At a time when we are working with Labour to address compensation-related issues, a total of 5 billion Naira was cut from the provisions for Pension Redemption Fund and Public Service Wage Adjustment.”The provisions for Export Expansion Grant (EEG) and Special Economic Zones/Industrial Parks, which are key industrialization initiatives of this Administration, were cut by a total of 14.5 billion Naira.”The provision for Construction of the Terminal Building at Enugu Airport was cut from 2 billion Naira to 500 million Naira, which will further delay the completion of this critical project.”The Take-off Grant for the Maritime University in Delta State, a key strategic initiative of the Federal Government, was cut from 5 billion Naira to 3.4 billion Naira.”About seventy (70) new road projects have been inserted into the budget of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing @FMPWH. In doing so, @nassnigeria applied some of the additional funds expected from the upward review of the oil price benchmark to the Ministry’s vote.”Regrettably, however, in order to make provision for some of the new roads, the amounts allocated to some strategic major roads have been cut by the National Assembly.”The president signed the N9.120 trillion bill at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, seven months after he presented a budget of N8.612 trillion to lawmakers.The increase in the figure happened after the legislature increased the crude oil benchmark price pegged for the budget from $45 per barrel to $50.5.The bill was delayed for months due to what lawmakers described as the failure of ministries, departments and agencies to either submit details of their budget proposals or their amendments as requested by Senate committees.

Melaye: Senator says Presidency has made APC a lifeless party

The lawmaker has once again criticised the conduct of the ruling party. Kogi lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye has slammed the leadership of ruling party, the All Progressives’ Congress (APC), for allowing the presidency to control it and making it a lifeless party.The lawmaker representing Kogi West took to his Twiter account (@dino_melaye) on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, to criticise the party despite being a member himself.He posted, “A party in power is suppose to guide the presidency in implementing party manifesto, policies, programmes & promises. Instead the presidency controls the party like a car steerin the weak leadership of the party became lifeless. The story of APC. There was a party called APC!!!” Melaye vs APC and PresidencyThe senator has had a troubled past few months with the party as he’s completely fallen out with Kogi governor, Yahaya Bello who is a close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari. Melaye believes his strong criticism of Bello and the federal government is how he has ended up with three criminal cases and a couple of failed assassination attempts on his life.The outspoken lawmaker is a major critic of the party and has publicly criticised its conduct many times.During an interview on Channels Television on June 8, 2018, he described the APC as a sick party that may have a problem with Nigerians.He said, “I will not run away from the fact that the APC is sick; and it’s not only sick, but equally suffers from what I call a dreadful continental abnormality. There’s a need for amelioration. Whether there is still time for that to happen I can’t tell, but there’s no doubt that the APC is sick.”During another interview in April 2018, he accused the party of failing to fulfill its promises to Nigerians because it is disorganised. He further said the party may be in grave danger if it fails to implement its manifesto before the 2019 general elections.He said, “So far, APC has not taken charge in implementing the manifesto they promised Nigerians. The party is not organised or showing capacity and capability.”I do hope that in 2019, what we sold to Nigerians is the manifesto and the ideology of the party, but the party has taken the backseat.”In 2018, I do expect that the party will take her rightful place in pushing government to implement the manifestos that was sold to the people. If we don’t do that, there’s a grave danger.”The senator may well be on his way out of the party as he fueled speculations of defection when he made a request to the Senate President Bukola Saraki to assign him a seat on the side occupied by senators of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the upper legislative chamber of the national assembly. He said he feels more comfortable there than with senators of his own party.He has failed to confirm that he’ll recontest for his senatorial seat on the platform of the APC, noting that he couldn’t say for certain.

Obasanjo: Former President says no one can intimidate him

He urged Nigerians to get their permanent voter’s card (PVC) to vote in the 2019 general elections. Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, appeared to fire another shot at President Muhammadu Buhari when he declared that he cannot be intimidated for voicing his opinions on the country’s issues.The former president said this during a town hall meeting of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) in Ibadan, where he urged Nigerians to get their permanent voter’s card (PVC) to vote in the 2019 general elections.He said Nigerians need to deploy their voter’s cards as instruments to bring about accountable governance in the country without fearing intimidation.Obasanjo said he’s gone through many things and been jailed for his views, but that he remains undaunted in contributing to the nation’s progress.He said, “The work has started. Some people may be laughing at you and make jest of you, don’t be bothered with that. Listen, permanent voter’s cards are your instruments. If you have not collected yours, go and collect it.”If you are not yet registered, go and register. Let us tell them in all urban and rural areas that PVCs are what we will use. They are the key to open the doors. Don’t be afraid or be discouraged. They will try to intimidate you individually or collectively. “For me, I don’t think there is anyone that can intimidate me. Let me remind you, I have gone through many things. I have been jailed without being given any opportunity of offence. Where is the person that jailed me?”Obasanjo took more veiled digs at the president during his address, noting that ‘some people’ want to remain in positions of power even when they’re not doing well. He said, “Some people believe that those that are in position, whether they are doing well or not, they must continue to be there. But when we say they must not be there, they will want to fight back.”They will hold many things to wreak havoc, but everybody must be prepared. It will not be easy to wrest powers from them. If you think it will be easy to liberate Nigeria, you are deceiving yourself.”President Buhari is seeking re-election in the 2019 elections despite calls from former leaders, most notably including Obasanjo, for him to step aside for someone deemed to be more capable to lead the country.Obasanjo vs BuhariObasanjo recently alleged that Buhari’s administration has an active plan to indefinitely detain him by using false witnesses and documents to frame him.In a statement released by his spokesperson, Kehinde Akinyemi, on June 8, 2018, the former president alleged that the current witch hunt against him is fueled by his wave of criticism against the president’s administration.Obasanjo’s war of words with Buhari started when he publicly condemned the president’s administration in January and asked him to not seek re-election in next year’s election.In that 13-page statement titled, “The Way Out: A Clarion Call for Coalition for Nigeria Movement”, Obasanjo also expressed his lost hope in the ability of the ruling All Progressives’ Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to provide Nigeria with the initiative it needs to progress.He subsequently launched the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) which he said would be a movement of all well-meaning Nigerians that will engage in democratic practices that will drive Nigeria forward and be a source of hope for all Nigerians. That movement has recently adopted the African Democratic Congress (ADC) as its political platform to install a new political class in the 2019 general elections.ALSO READ: Pulse Opinion: Nigerians should be worried about Obasanjo’s ‘Third Force’ in 2019With Obasanjo constantly criticising Buhari since that January statement, the most high-profile clash between the two happened in May when the president raised questions over the $16 billion allegedly spent on power projects during Obasanjo’s administration.While speaking at the Presidential Villa on May 22, 2018, Buhari remarked, “One of the former Heads of State was bragging that he spent more than 15 billion USD on power in Nigeria. Where is the power?”In response to the accusation, Obasanjo fired back later that day, saying that Buhari was ignorant on the subject for re-echoing an unsubstantiated allegation that has been proven false.

Osinbajo: Vice President says Fayemi will end suffering in Ekiti

He said Ekiti will experience progress‎ and development if the former minister is elected governor a second time. Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has assured the residents of Ekiti State that former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi will put an end to the state’s suffering if he’s elected governor.The vice president said this while addressing supporters of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) at a campaign rally for Fayemi who’s the party’s flag bearer in the state’s July 14 gubernatorial election.While speaking at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado-Ekiti, on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, Osinbajo said Ekiti will experience progress‎ and development that cannot be provided by the current government of the People’s Democratic Party.He said, “It is time to bring to an end to the government of the PDP and vote for the APC and our candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi in the July 14 governorship election.”With APC in government, era of sufferings in Ekiti is over, do not try to give the PDP another chance, we shall provide adequate security before, during and after the election to guarantee your safety.”Ekiti is about to experience a new progress‎ and development, but if Ekiti people wish to benefit from the progressives blessings, let everybody vote for Fayemi.”The vice president further noted that Fayemi is the chosen one who will transform the state and urged residents to vote massively for the former minister.He said, “Fayemi is the chosen one who will transform Ekiti State. JKF is the one who will bring transformation to Ekiti State. Vote JKF once again.”When July 14 comes, don’t look backward or sideways, look forward, because we are moving forward. APC is a progressive party. It is a party for successful people.”On July 14, let’s come out en-mass and vote for APC. PDP has done enough. APC has prepared a new and delicious meal for Ekiti residents.” APC’s national leader, Bola Tinubu; national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun; Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun; Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola; Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu; and Oyo State governor, Abiola Ajimobi were some of the party big wigs present at the rally.APC vs PDP in Ekiti electionFayemi was Ekiti state governor between 2010 and 2014 before he was defeated by Ayodele Fayose during his re-election attempt.The July 14 election is expected to be a straight battle between Fayemi and and Fayose’s deputy, Prof. Kolapo Olusola of the PDP.

Atiku: Will ex Vice President be arrested if he visits the United States?

Atiku has declined an invitation to speak at the United States. Is he running away from the law? This week, news emerged that former Nigeria Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has been invited to the United States to speak at an event.The event, a trade and investment gathering in Washington D.C. has been scheduled for June 24-26, 2018. Atiku’s name fell under ‘confirmed plenary speakers’ alongside Nigeria’s minister for Trade and Industry Okechukwu Enelamah; Chairman of the Board of Directors, Banco Sol Angola, Mr Coutinho Nobre Miguel; Deputy Director General of Trade and Investment in South Africa Ms Lerato Mataboge; Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu; former US Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell; former Finance Minister Kalu Idika Kalu; Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and a host of other major players in the private and public sectors across Africa.But Atiku won’t be attending. “There is no such invitation to the former vice president. We are not aware of such invitation and we do not know how they managed to put his name on their list,” Atiku’s spokesperson, Paul Ibe, told Premium Times.Atiku’s name came up in a corruption trial in the USThere are those who say Atiku will be arrested if he sets foot on US soil and that honouring this latest invitation will be akin to committing suicide for the former vice president.Atiku has been accused of money laundering and fraud in the United States, reports say. For context, Atiku has visited so many nations and cities on earth since he left power in 2007. But he’s never visited the United States or a city in the United States. Why so?The name Atiku Abubakar came up in a Siemens broadband contract scandal involving Nigerian and American officials in the mid-2000s.Atiku accused of money launderingAccording to sundry reports, from 2000 to 2008, Jennifer Douglas, a U.S. citizen and fourth wife of Atiku, helped her husband transfer over $40 million in suspicious funds into the United States.The money was sent by offshore corporations to U.S. bank accounts. A chunk of the money was used by the Atikus to pay consultants for the setting up of the American University in Nigeria.  The Nation reports that: “of the $40 million in suspect funds, $25 million was wire transferred by offshore corporations into more than 30 U.S. bank accounts opened by Ms. Douglas, primarily by Guernsey Trust Company Nigeria Ltd., LetsGo Ltd. Inc., and Sima Holding Ltd.”Two of the offshore corporations wire transferred about $14 million over five years to American University in Washington, D.C., to pay for consulting services related to the development of a Nigerian university founded by Mr. Abubakar.”American University accepted the wire transfers without asking about the identity of the offshore corporations or the source of their funds, because under current law, the University had no legal obligation to inquire”.Atiku mentioned in Siemens bribery scandalInvestigators say U.S. authorities probed the Siemens broadband contract because it was awarded to iGate, an American company in which Williams Jefferson, then U.S. federal lawamker from Louisiana, retained considerable interest.Jefferson and Atiku were best of friends at the time and it is believed in intelligence circles  that the contract went on without glitches in Nigeria because Jefferson had agreed to pay bribe money to top political figures in Nigeria, including Atiku. In a secretly recorded conversation with the FBI, Jefferson disclosed that Atiku was promised $500,000 if he influenced the broadband deal from the Nigerian end of things.The case against Jefferson was premised on bribery, influence-peddling and contract inflation.Jefferson was found guilty and served jail time in the United States for his part in the transaction, but Atiku has never been prosecuted in Nigeria. There are insinuations that should Atiku visit the United States, he’ll be promptly arrested and prosecuted for his part in the transaction.Atiku denies running away from the USAsked in 2017 if he’s running away from the US, Atiku said he’s applied for visa to visit the US, but has been denied one each time. Is there a visa restriction on Atiku then?“I applied, but wasn’t issued a visa. However, they did not decline me categorically either. They’ve only said my application is going through administrative process,” Atiku said.“It is the sole prerogative of America to determine who they want in their country or not. I’m not running away from America,” he added.Atiku who is running for the office of President of Nigeria in 2019, has also challenged anyone with iron cast evidence of corruption against him, to step forward. The former Vice President has been assailed with more allegations of corruption than perhaps any other politician of his era.  “On the issue of corruption, I have challenged anyone, anywhere, who has any evidence of corruption against me to come forward. I’m sure they would have combed everywhere trying to find anything incriminating against me, but they have not found it, or they are still searching,” Atiku said.Atiku also says the Nigerian constitution doesn’t say he has to visit America before running for president.“I can be president without going to America,” Atiku told the BBC in April of 2018.There were also reports that Atiku owns luxury homes in the US, which have been seized and auctioned off by the US government. He denies that one of those houses belongs to him. “All my wives own houses and that particular house is not mine. It belonged to one of my wives. She sold the house and was never auctioned as it was reported.”In any case, the questions on the lips of many remain: are we going to see Atiku in the US any time soon? Will Atiku be arrested if he sets foot on US soil?An official of the US Embassy in Nigeria declined comments for this story. The United States government has also refused to say if Atiku has been slapped with criminal charges in the country.

Fayemi: Ado Ekiti stands still for APC Mega rally

Vice -President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said  the All Progressives Congress, (APC) remains the only party capable of liberating the people of Ekiti state from their current challenges.The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that Osinbajo spoke in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital, at a mega campaign rally organised to garner support for the party in the  governorship election on 14 July.Also the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said the the people of the state have no  better choice than to vote-in the ruling party at the centre for them to get liberated from the pangs of poverty.Oyegun, who said he was shocked by the magnitude of people that trooped out to witness the event, said the development was a clear signal that the Ekiti people were ready to effect change.The  APC  boss urged the people to replicate the same affection for the party on July 14, 2018 by voting massively for the APC candidate, Kayode Fayemi, who was the former governor and later minister of Mines and Steel.NAN reports that the Vice-President who led scores of party leaders from across the country to the venue, said there was no  better alternative to APC in terms of good governance.He urged persons of voting age in the state to obtain their Permanent Voter’s  Cards, (PVC’s), and vote for  Kayode Fayemi,  who he described as reliable and trustworthy.” I can assure you all that Fayemi will bring the prosperity that Ekiti is in need of”, he said.Other key leaders, such as  Asiwaju Bola Amed Tinubu, National Chairman, Chief Segun Oni, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, former governor Adams Oshiomhole, and governors Simon Lalong, Ibikunle Amosun, Abiola Ajimobi, Rauf Aregbesola, Rotimi Akeredolu, Yahaya Bello, Abdulaziz Yari and Abdulfatai Ahmed who also spoke, canvassed support for the APC candidate, describing him as the best alternative.While Tinubu urged the crowd to prove their loyalty by obtaining their Voter’s  Cards and consequently voting out the PDP government in the state come July 14, , another top speaker and former governor Niyi Adebayo declared that the federal government would deploy both armed soldiers and mobile policemen for the election, whether or not the ruling PDP government in the state liked it or not.Others party leaders present included  Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF), Boss Mustapha, former minister of state for works, Prince Dayo Adeyeye.NAN reports that the  high point of the event included presentation of the APC flag to Fayemi  and formal welcome of former Minister of State for Works and one-time National Publicity Secretary of PDP,  Adeyeye who recently switched loyalty from PDP into the APC.ALSO READ: APC will be disgraced in Ekiti, Fayose tells BuhariOther bigwigs of the party present were  Chief Bisi Akande, Senator  Olorunnimbe Mamora and Mr. Bamidele Olumilua.NAN reports that the 14,000-capacity Oluyemi Kayode stadium had been filled to capacity as early as 12 noon, long before  the Vice-President arrived the state at about 2:39pm.Masqueraders and musicians, led by Adewale Ayuba entertained the crowd.In an interview, Fayemi said he was convinced that God would deliver the state to him on the election day, saying his decision to seek re-election was not for selfish reasons.He enjoined all his supporters not to be distracted but remain focused  in their resolve to bring about change in the state.NAN reports that the Vice president, in company of  the National Chairman of the party, John Oyegun later presented the party’s  flag to Fayemi at the rally.

2019: Political parties agree on rules of engagement

Ahead of the next general elections, political parties have agreed to abide by a set of rules before, during and after the polls, to make the process peaceful, free and fair. The exercise was brokered by the Political Parties Leadership and Policy Development Centre of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS). Correspondent TONY AKOWE, who obtained a copy of the Code of Conduct, reports.
REGISTERED political parties in the country have resolved to ensure the 2019 general elections is devoid of inflammatory languages, hatred or intimidation based on ethnicity, religion or gender.
The parties have resolved not to allow any of their members to wear uniforms and emblems depicting militant activities or carrying dangerous weapons during political rallies or at election venue or registration centres and that any party should not be seen to have sponsored such activities.
This is contained in the Code of Conduct for political parties brokered by the Political Parties Leadership and Policy Development Centre of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) and signed by the leaders of majority of parties in Abuja, the federal capital territory, recently.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and about 12 other parties failed to sign the document, which is meant to guide the activities of political parties before, during and after elections.
The Nation gathered that the Code of Conduct, which has been deposited with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is also meant to stem the use of incumbency factor by candidates to the disadvantage of other parties and candidates.
The code reads in part: “No political party or its candidates shall during campaign resort to the use of inflammatory language, provocative actions, images, or manifestations that incite violence, hatred, contempt or intimidation against another party or candidate or any person or group of persons on grounds of ethnicity, religion, gender, social status or any other reason whatsoever. These conditions apply to the use of social media by political parties, members and/or their candidates.”
It also states that all political parties taking part in any election will sign a peace accord ahead of the contest, while all the parties, their candidates, officials and agents shall work towards ensuring an environment conducive for successful, peaceful, free and fair campaigns.
The code also makes it mandatory for all political parties to ensure that the process of nomination of their candidates comply with the provisions of the Nigerian constitution, as well as the Electoral Act and the party constitutions.
The code, a copy of which was obtained by The Nation states that: “All political parties shall sign a peace accord ahead of all elections at all levels, while their candidates, officials and agents shall work towards ensuring an environment conducive for successful, peaceful, free and fair election campaigns.
“All political parties shall mobilise in ensuring that their members and Nigerians of voting age are encouraged to fully participate in the Continuous Voters Registration exercise. All political parties shall ensure that their agents and officials are sufficiently trained to mobilise for Continuous Voters Registration and other election related activities.
“All political parties shall take all necessary steps to coordinate their campaign activities in such a way as to avoid holding rallies, meetings, marches or demonstrations close to one another at the same time.
“Where there is a clash in the date, venue or timing of any such activities of different political parties, their representatives shall meet, in the presence of law enforcement agencies or the Commission, where necessary, to resolve the issue amicably, without recourse to intimidation, force or violence.
“No political party shall sponsor or cause to be sponsored or allow the wearing of uniforms and emblems depicting militant activities or the carrying of dangerous weapons during rallies, marches, and at polling, collation and registration centres.”
The code also frowns at a situation where parties influence the release of persons arrested with dangerous weapons of engaging in violent activities during elections, saying: “All political parties, their agents or their candidates shall not protect, or exercise undue influence for the release of persons arrested for carrying offensive weapons, violation of any electoral law, regulations and guidelines of Commission and the provision of the Code of Conduct.
“All political parties or their candidates shall not prevent other parties or their candidates from posting their posters or distributing their leaflets, handbills and other publicity materials in authorized public places.
“Furthermore, all parties and their candidates shall give directives to their members and supporters not to remove or destroy the posters and other campaign materials of other parties or their candidates. All parties, their members and supporters shall ensure that all their party posters, leaflets and other election campaign materials are removed from public places as soon as practicable when the campaign period ends.
“All political parties shall discourage their members in government from using their power of incumbency to the disadvantage of other parties or their candidates during campaign.
“All political parties shall specify in their constitutions and guidelines, ceilings on spending during nomination and campaign in accordance with existing legal framework.”
It also stipulates that: “Political parties should ensure that the processes of nomination of candidates for any election comply with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), various Party Constitutions and the Commission’s guidelines and regulations.
“They should also ensure that the nomination processes, including the substitution of candidates, are transparent, democratic and non-violent and are conducted by legally recognized organs of the party and also ensure that nomination and/or substitution of nominated candidates are done democratically within the period stipulated by the Commission.”
The code also states that all political parties, their candidates and agents shall respect the law restricting access of unauthorised persons to polling stations, collation centres and discourage undue interference with the voting process.
It adds: “All political parties shall instruct its members and supporters that no dangerous weapons shall be brought to the polling stations or collation centres and that no party attire, colours, symbols, emblems or other insignia shall be worn to a polling stations or collation centres, on Election Day.
“All political parties, their candidates and members shall cooperate fully with law enforcements agents to ensure the safety and security of election materials, election officials, party agents and the electorates on Election Day.
“All political parties shall refrain from procuring votes and/or election results by fraud, invasion or forceful occupation of polling or collation centres, manipulation of ballot boxes and/or result sheets.
“All political parties and their agents shall work with the Commission to ensure that persons living with disabilities (PWDs) are able to cast their votes without let or hindrance.”
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AfDB promises support for Aregbesola’s administration to complete projects

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has promised to  support Osun State government complete some of the projects of the Rauf Aregbesola administration.
Top officials of the AfDB at a meeting with Governor Aregbesola at the Government House in Osogbo, the state capital mentioned the MKO Abiola International Airport among the projects.
The AfDB team led by its Country Director Mr. Ebrima Faal, said he and his entourage were in the state on a one-day exploratory mission to support the state’s developmental agenda.
Faals, whose team later inspected facilities at the Technical College in Osogbo and the waterworks in Ede, said the visit had given the AfDB the opportunity to see the developmental efforts of the current administration in the state and to determine the subsequent steps to be taken to support the State.
At the Osogbo Technical College, the AfDB delegation was taking round various departments and workshops where modern equipment for carpentry, shoemaking and other machines were on display.
Read Also: Aregbesola to Buhari: de-annul June 12 presidential election
Technical engineers at the Ede Waterworks conducted the AfDB team round the facilities, including the water dam and the water treatment equipment.
The AfDB delegation was accompanied by the Senior Technical Adviser to Osun State Governor on Development Partners and International Relations, Dr. Michael Olugbile and members of the State Executive Council, including, the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Dr. Dauda Olalekan Yinusa, and Commissioner for Commerce, Industries and Cooperatives, Hon. Ismail Adekunle Jayeoba-Alagbada.
Dr. Olugbile, who acknowledged the ongoing support of AfDB for the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) project in the state, said the visit of the AfDB delegation was to attract more donor assistance to the State in order to support the developmental agenda of the Rauf Aregbesola administration.
He said the visit would also lay a solid foundation for incoming administration.
According to him, the AfDB would support Osun state government on the upgrading and completion of the nine Technical Colleges in the state.
He added that the AfDB would also support Osun on Urban water schemes and to complete the Osun airport christened MKO Abiola Airport.
Responding, Aregbesola, who showcased his administration’s numerous achievements to the team, appealed to the AfDB to fast track the process of its intervention in the state.
The governor said: “I am in a hurry to achieve many things. Please, I cannot be patient to see this happening. Please let us move fast to achieve this because my tenure will soon end as governor of this state.
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