On Governor El-Rufai’s Running Mate, By Adams Lawal Magaji

One of the features of General Ibrahim Babangida’s endless transition programme was the insertion of religion as a factor in political configurations. It was couched as balance, promoting the concept that if a Christian is at the top of a ticket, then he must have a Muslim deputy and vice versa.

Babangida went on to appoint Pamela Sadauki as Deputy Governor to Colonel Tanko Ayuba, then military governor of Kaduna State. This forced the politicians who were seeming the office of governor of Kaduna to ‘balance’. Dabo Lere, who won election as governor of Kaduna State in 1991, had a young James Bawa Magaji as deputy governor. That was the first time religion became an issue in the guber line-up.

Since then Kaduna State has had several Christian deputy governors: Stephen Shekari, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa. Nuhu Bajoga and Barnabas Yusuf Bala, the incumbent. When circumstances propelled Yakowa to the governorship, he named a Muslim. Ramalan Yero as deputy. In December 2014,Nasir El-Rufai named Barnabas Yusuf Bala as his running mate.

Has this configuration of Muslim and Christian stemmed violence, united the state and drawn people together towards a respect for individual rights and a sense of common purpose? Let us present the evidence so that the reader can judge.

James Bawa Magaji was Deputy Governor when the 1992 crises in Zangon-Kataf happened. That crisis was triggered by the “indigenous” Kataf attacking and murdering the Hausa/Fulani “settlers” of Zango town who have been there for centuries.The report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry noted the disrespect with which James Bawa Magaji was treated by the Katafs when he intervened to try to resolve the differences.

Stephen Shekari was Deputy Governor when the Sharia riots of 2000 took so many lives. Zamfara, which started the Sharia matter, stayed calm as Kaduna burnt.

Patrick Yakowa was Governor when the 2011 riots happened. He was still in office when brutal attacks and massacres were visited on several communities in southern Kaduna afterwards. Yakowa acted to stem the killings. But his successor did not follow up. So Nuhu Bajoga’s Christian identity did not save communities in Attakad and other places from murderous violence.

Barnabas Yusuf Bala (Bantex) has the misfortune of being labelled a traitor, but he has sometimes been embraced as a southern Kaduna Christian. The tale was woven that he beat up El-Rufai in defence of southern Kaduna interests. He was a tagged a traitor for not resigning or denouncing the government during the violent conflict that raged in parts of southern Kaduna in late 2016 and early 2017. When Bantex had to go for urgent medical attention abroad, the same people said falsely that El-Rufai did not allow him to attend the hospital of his choice.

It is clear that having a Christian as Deputy Governor has not advanced peace or stability in Kaduna State. Rather it has produced the perverse phenomenon of people using religion as a bargaining chip. It is freezing people in identity politics rather than moving the state towards one wbere it is the quality and character of a person that counts.

There are Christians in every part of Kaduna State, and there are Muslims everywhere too. Pamela Sadauki is Hausa-Fulani and Christian from the northern axis of the state. Hadiza Balarabe is a Muslim from the southern axis of the state. Why can’t she be Deputy Governor?

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President Buhari, WAEC And PDP’s Toxic Air, By Garba Shehu

The West African Examinations Council, WAEC, Friday, said the controversy concerning President Muhammadu Buhari’s school certificate is embarrassing and felt a sense of duty to produce and deliver to him a confirmation and attestation of his results, in form of a duplicate certificate.

This is a god-sent, with WAEC being a non-political entity. This should put to rest the absurd allegations by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, brought up again and again, that he did not attend a secondary school.

The unreasonable position of the PDP had been sustained all along in spite of testimony by classmates who read with him in school and graduated together, and that fact that a court of law had given a ruling on the matter.

In 2014-2015 when they raked up the issue, I remember that it took the courage of the then college Principal to issue a statement of results from available records. In doing so, he defied the ruling PDP government in the state which asked him not to.

At the time we got the results sheet, reports said that the government had determined to send arsonists to burn the school to ashes so that the existing records will be obliterated.

This was against the backdrop of the shocking claim by the Army Records office in Lokoja, that they didn’t keep any records of General Buhari as a military officer.
Curiously, the Army Records office had once come under Muhammadu Buhari, as Military Secretary who, during his tenure streamlined the records of the entire officer corps, and could not, by any stretch of imagination, have left his own records in a mess. General Alani Akinrinade (Rtd) reportedly dismissed this mischief as an insult to the military.

After doing his conscience’s duty by daringly releasing those results, the then government of Katsina State punished the Principal by stripping him of his seniority and posting.

As we said in a number of past statements, the matter of the President’s qualification to run for office is a non-issue, nonetheless feasted upon by the PDP which has stopped thinking and have nothing to offer to Nigerians.

Based on arguments that “education gives a human being the power to discriminate between right and wrong,” the 1999 Constitution stipulates a minimum educational qualification for citizens who intend to contest for elections at all levels, which requires that they must possess a secondary school education or its equivalent.

The provision above has itself come under serious re-examination by scholars who argue that the possession of a secondary school certification does not necessarily mean that a person is intelligent. It is equally argued that it is a mistake to assume that a person with a certificate has higher knowledge or intelligence than the one who doesn’t have.

In an article published by the Daily Trust a day or so ago, Professor Shehu Zuru quoted Wendy Sherman, the author of the book Not For The Faint Heart, that “courage and integrity are critical attributes that you cannot acquire from a classroom because they are the inert fabrics of human conscience that dictates the power of the negative and the power of the positive.”

As far as his educational career is concerned, President Buhari attended the Katsina Provincial Secondary School, before enrolling in the Nigerian Military Training College, NMTC Kaduna (1962), renamed Nigerian Defence Academy, in 1964.

As narrated by Major-General Sani Saleh (Rtd), “I worked at the Nigerian Defence Academy so I know the processes. You cannot get in with a forged certificate, it is impossible.
“At the time (Muhammadu Buhari enrolled), the army was still controlled by the British…Nigerian Army was a select and (an) elite organization, we had very few Army Officers at that time. I don’t think the whole Nigerian Army Officers were up to 50. You can imagine what it takes for you as a Nigerian to be one of those…and today, somebody will be accusing you that you don’t have a certificate.”

From NMTC, Muhammadu Buhari went to the Mons Officer Cadet School, Aldershot, United Kingdom (1962-63), the Defence Services Staff College, India (1973) and thereafter, United States Army War College, which upon completion, awarded its graduates a Master’s degree in strategic studies.

In the belief that the nation has the right to know the educational details of their president, Candidate Muhammadu Buhari laid bare everything and tendered an affidavit in respect of the WAEC certificate.

The masquerades wielding the real power behind the PDP, some of whom played an active part in his overthrow as military Head of State in the mid-eighties are deliberate in keeping this issue alive. As a thoroughbred, toughened general, he won’t cry out that his home and office were vandalized by scoopers when they threw him out of power.

In meeting the eligibility for the contest in 2015, President Buhari presented the WAEC results and the other degree and non-degree related results. He went through the verification process in the party, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the court. He ran and won against the PDP.

With these, the unnecessary controversy should have ended. It is equally hard to fathom how such a dead issue should get the type of attention given it by the media, considering the many matters of serious concern to the citizens – internal security that was given a short shrift for 16 years by the PDP; the diversification of the economy by focusing on key sectors (apart from oil) that can create jobs and generate revenue such as Agriculture, Solid Minerals and Manufacturing which the Buhari administration is keenly doing; the ongoing pursuit of more reforms and better governance; bolstered efforts towards poverty alleviation; ending corruption and insurgency and ploughing the savings therefrom to put in place needed infrastructure and so forth.

Do they know that Nigeria Airways, NITEL and other pensioners they left in the cold, unpaid when they sold public assets to cronies or to themselves are getting their dues under this dispensation? If these things had been done when the oil price was as high as US$140 per barrel, Nigeria would not be in the current predicament. We would not have suffered when we had no cash reserves but we had regular supply of power, a good rail system, good roads and good housing. These are the issues dear to the hearts of our people.

In its political fight for 2019, the PDP is not relying on the big issues of the day -security, corruption and jobs but on small, distractive matters that take little or no account of national interest. But what do you expect of a group that has stopped thinking, just blowing hot, toxic air, indulging in divisive politics and is raking up sectional issues so that the people will forget the real issues of corruption, infrastructure, security and economy for which they have no plans?

– Garba Shehu is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity

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Why Buhari Does Not Need To Present A School Certificate, By Boluwatife Sanya Esq.

Within the last few days, faces of Nigerian newspapers have been on the demand of President Buhari’s certificate.

Many have contended as they  did in 2015 that his failure to present this certificate disqualifies him from re-contesting in 2019.

Our only guide is the constitution and judicial authorities.

Quickly, Section 131 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states;

“A person shall be qualified for election to the office of President if-

(a)…

(b)…

(c)

(d) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent”

Note the wordings of subsection D, it is not saying he must be able to furnish any authority with the school certificate, it is only saying, he must have been educated to school certificate level.

The interpretation section, section 318 (1) states;

“School certificate or its equivalent means;

(a)… or

(b) education up to secondary school certificate or

(c) … or “

You have also observed that that the interpretation section only says education up to secondary school certificate level. The section is not saying a certificate need be issued.

My lord, Suleiman Galadima, JSC in Terver Kakih v. Peoples Democratic Party & Ors (2014) LPELR-23277 (SC) said;

“…submission or presentation of certificate is not the requirement of S.177(d) of the Constitution as regards the Gubernatorial screening process. The process of screening which the appellant and 4th respondent undertook, with the first respondent requires the candidate to fill in his qualification in the form and to swear to a verifying affidavit that the information contained in Form CF001 was true. This takes away the necessity of presentation of the actual certificate to the 1st and 2nd respondents.

In Bayo v. Njidda (2004) 8 NWLR 544 at 630; (2004) FWLR (pt.192) 10 at 78, the Court of Appeal then the Apex and final Court on Election petition from National Assembly/Governorship and Legislative Houses Election Tribunal had this to say on the point:

“In other words as regards a secondary school certificate examination, it is enough, in my view that one attended school certificate level i.e without passing and obtaining the certificate”

Finally, by the combination of SS.117(d) and 318 (1) of the Constitution, it is not only by presentation of certificate to INEC that is the only proof for a candidate to be qualified, it is sufficient that the person/candidate is educated up to secondary school certificate level.

You are free to disagree only with the relevant provision of the law.

Boluwatife J. Sanya Esq.

Boluwatifesanya1@gmail.com

08147439799

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The “Oshiomhole Must Go” Coalition, By Reuben Abati

Chief John Odigie Oyegun, former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) must be having a good laugh wherever he is. If he is just finishing a meal, he can afford to pick his teeth and belch from the deepest part of his biological system, and even turn up his nose as he asks for a glass of water. He can also look around and thank Karma for being kind to him, as he gulps down the water and reflects on the circumstances of the APC since he was shunted aside and Adams Oshiomhole, former Governor of Edo State and former labour leader, supplanted him.

Oyegun’s waterloo was the election in Ondo state and the emergence of Rotimi Akeredolu as Governor, and before then, his power-tussle with some key stakeholders in the South West wing of the ruling party. Oyegun was accused of being disdainful of reconciliation within the party, and not willing to work with some prominent stakeholders.  He was seen as an obstacle to party cohesion. He was sacrificed. His place was taken by Adams Oshiomhole.

Oyegun took his humiliation with absolute equanimity and has not since then uttered any fighting words nor has he openly worn his hurt on his sleeves. If he is aggrieved, it would be difficult to find enough evidence, in this season of extreme emotionalism, to prove that such is the case. But if he has been so studiously silent, why we do we think he should laugh and pick his teeth?

Our answer is as follows.  His successor, Adams Aliu Oshiomhole, in less than one year of supplanting him has blown nearly all the bridges of goodwill and conspiracy that brought him to power as Chairman of the ruling party. In October 2017, 17 APC governors plotted to remove John Odigie-Oyegun as Chairman of the ruling APC. He was accused of being too close to only 7 out of the 24 APC governors in the country then and that he was using his position to the advantage of the purportedly famous 7.

These seven Governors were named as Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), and Samuel Ortom (Benue). They were called Oyegun’s “anointed Governors” with whom he was ruling the party. The loyalists of John Odigie-Oyegun at the time insisted that Adams Oshiomhole who had left the Governorship of Edo State and was looking for a job – so they alleged – was the man behind the anti-Oyegun plot. The detractors took their case to President Muhammadu Buhari. Oyegun soon lost his job. Oshiomhole replaced him.

But right now, in what looks like poetic justice, Oshiomhole is at the point where Oyegun was in 2017, and I dare say, he is in a worse position. We are told that 15 out of the 21 Governors of the APC, are now collecting signatures to force the National Executive Committee of the APC to unseat Adams Oshiomhole. In 2017, 17 APC Governors out of 24 wanted Oyegun out. Today, it is not just even 15 Governors that are against Adams Oshiomhole, there is a coalition of APC Presidential aspirants and you can add to that, other aspirants at every level in the recently concluded APC primaries, who are calling for Adams Oshiomhole’s head. They accuse him of extortion and fraud. They say he has become “a cancer to APC”.

Since his assumption of office, Adams Oshiomhole began to carry on like a “little Hitler”- that is what his own party members say behind him – and don’t ask anyone to come forward to say so publicly. Oshiomhole having won the crown of Chairmanship began to pound the floor like a conqueror. He issued threats to Ministers and threatened to sanction them if they did not listen to the party. He in fact began to sound as if he was President of the country. At more illumined moments, he even tried to do the job of the Minister of Information, party spokesperson and presidential spokespersons. He projected himself as a bundle of exaggerated enthusiasm and ambition.

The recent party primaries exposed the limits of Chairman Oshiomhole’s over-reaching politics.  The Governors that were against Oyegun were 17. The ones that were for him were 7 as reported. In less than  one year of taking over, Oshiomhole is far less popular. Under his watch, all the alleged pro-Oyegun Governors are biting their fingers.  They have been battered, crippled, harassed and humiliated. Nasir el-Rufai almost had a heart-ache trying to prove his relevance in Kaduna politics. The same with Rochas Okorocha of Imo.

In Plateau, Simon Lalong began to sound openly like a member of the opposition.  Samuel Ortom of Benue chose the option of defection back to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Yahaya Bello (Kogi) is neither here nor there. He follows wherever the Buhari tide flows. But the real issue is that even the Governors that used to be anti-Oyegun and pro-Oshiomhole have turned against Oshiomhole. They don’t want him anymore. In the same manner in which a majority rose against Oyegun in 2017, they have risen against him. This time, the problem is not coming from just Governors, but members of the National Assembly, and all the way down to the grassroots.

Evidentially, the APC, with Chairman Oshiomhole’s NWC in charge, conducted problematic primaries in states like Edo, Ogun, Delta, Rivers, Imo, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kano, Oyo… with negative results.  Oshiomhole deployed the powers of the National Working Committee and his influence as Chairman, but he alienated the party’s power base. For this reason, the state Governors and other critical stakeholders are up in arms. In Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun does not understand why some Godfathers in Lagos and Oyo state will be allowed to have their way and he would not be allowed to have a say in the choice of his own successor.

In Zamfara, the Governor even threatened to take the law into his hands if his importance was ignored. In Kaduna, Governor el-Rufai’s arch-rival, Senator Shehu Sani is on his way out of the APC, into another party, and that has split the party in Kaduna state.  In Lagos state, the party’s incumbent Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has been left in limbo, dangling between survival, a lost bid for a second term, and the threat of impeachment around his neck.

On October 21, Oshiomhole, through his aide, issued a statement saying that the reason there is a rebellion against him is because he has been a champion of party supremacy and internal democracy within the APC.  Nobody believes that wordy, rambling statement. What is clear is that the party primaries conducted by the APC under Oshiomhole’s watch have been far from transparent. They have been divisive and disruptive. The state of the APC right now, as I have argued elsewhere, is where the PDP was in 2015.

Too many APC aspirants feel that they have been marginalized and excluded because Oshiomhole working with other actors, has hijacked the party. His argument that he is being persecuted because he is insisting on party supremacy is unimpressive. The APC party primaries were riddled with double standards and a descent into fascism by a man once known as a comrade. Oshiomhole may have committed the error of too much identification with the master. He talks about party supremacy. Those who use that phrase should be diplomatically reminded to double-check the source and quality of their knowledge.

They like to quote the United Kingdom, but not even in the UK is the party absolutely supreme – people hold on to their right to differ and be independent.  Nobody votes in the House of Commons or the House of Lords like a robot. That is why Prime Minister Theresa May doesn’t have the absolute support of  either her cabinet or the parliament on the question of Brexit. In the United Sates, the jurisdiction that we model our democracy after, nobody is a zombie under the banner of party supremacy. That explains the prolonged debate over the suitability of Brett Kavanaugh as a nominee for the US Supreme Court bench, despite the 51-49 majority in favour of Republicans.

In Nigeria, the party Chairman expects party members at all levels to be zombies who take directives from the party. Adams Oshiomhole has not been defending party supremacy. He has been defending the supremacy of Adams Oshiomhole, and that is why he may lose his position as Chairman of the party.

Two things: we must remind ourselves that Governors are very powerful members of either ruling or opposition parties in Nigeria. They control the grassroots for the party and when their party is in power, they wield even greater influence. In either the PDP or the ruling APC, they insist on the control of the party through indirect primaries. In the last APC party primaries, the National Working Committee of the APC marginalized the Governors by voting for direct primaries, despite an earlier agreement that some latitude will be allowed based on the peculiar circumstances in each state. In handling the petitions from the various states, Oshiomhole ignored what had been previously agreed. The tragedy for the APC is that President Buhari is reportedly on the side of the party and Adams Oshiomhole.

President Buhari may support Oshiomhole but can he afford to go into the 2019 elections with a broken, damaged party? I may have predicted the implosion of the APC somewhat too early, but it seems to me that with Oshiomhole now asking the “Red Cross” to save him from drowning, the ruling APC in Nigeria, may have finally arrived at the crossroads.  In 2015, the PDP talked about changing the game.

The APC said they were bringing change. Now, the pre-election circumstances of the ruling APC may well be the game changer for the 2019 Nigerian Presidential and general elections. My simple view is that while changing Oshiomhole on the eve of the game may be the inevitable outcome of his own self-inflicted nemesis, perhaps the APC needs to beware of the lessons of history. If he is removed, there will be no orchids for him. If he survives as Chairman, the APC will still pay a price. The APC faces a Hobson’s choice.

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The Call For Governor Ganduje To Step Down, A Call Uncalled-For, By Abdulmalik Adeleke

Leaders at all levels of government are entrusted with an incredible responsibility of their subjects. No doubt, when leaders lose the ability to effectively lead their people, the right thing for them to do is step aside. In my view, the time has not come for Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje to resign.

The governor’s capacity remains firm and unshaken; he did not succumb to the pressure of the blackmail on his person that recently holds the spotlight. In spite of this, he seems determined to do what the people of Kano sent him to do, to serve them and work hard on their behalf

The calls for the Governor to step down to allow for what the agitators insinuate would ensure free and fair investigation of the alleged video clip that went viral on social media, revealing someone masqueraded as Governor Ganduje, is uncalled for. The callers opine that his remaining in power may interfere in the committee’s investigation processes, but remain inconsiderate to the fact that his resignation will also give way for his political adversaries to seep into the investigation processes and ensure that he is permanently blocked from returning to office.

Those who sent the videos might have done that out of vengeance, it may be out of jealousy, it may be out of anger, it may be out of personal political benefit, and it may be out of the need to stamp out corruption as they claimed doing.

I believe only investigation would facilitate establishing the truth of the matter. Therefore since the investigation is being conducted, thank God in an opened manner as claimed by the State Assembly Investigation Committee Chairman, the Governor should not be pressurized to walk out his office and become a laughingstock to his detractors. He should remain until the completion of the committee’s assignment, if the allegations are found true, then he honorably leaves the office and if otherwise he holds his office to the dismay of the mischief makers.

I believe, as rightly put by the shrewd scholar and a card carrying member of PDP, in the person of Dr. Muhammad Tahir Adam (Baba Impossible), he said “Governor Ganduje is a human, he can be susceptible to committing such act”, but in this digital era the clips can be cloned, purposely by those who would take pleasure in humiliating the Governor, shame his family, his friends, the state and the nation in general. By the Grace of God, they will not succeed, truth will triumph.

 

Abdulmalik O. Adeleke

Sabon Gari, Kano

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Murjanatu Gamawa: One of Nigeria’s Finest, By Imam Maiyaki

According to Africa Health, Human and Social Development Information Service (Afri-Dev. Info) in partnership with African Coalition on Maternal Newborn and Child Health, and Pan African Campaign Against Forced Marriage of  Under Age Children,

Eight states in northern Nigeria have the country’s worst girl child education indices. The report says Kebbi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Jigawa, Yobe, Zamfara, Katsina, and Gombe states have Nigeria’s worst girl child education, highest female illiteracy, highest adolescent girl marriage, highest under 15 child bearing, and highest risk of maternal death and injury.In Bauchi State alone,a total of 79,322 girls are out of school.But against all these back drops,Murjanatu Gamawa pull the tides and flourished both academically and at professionally.

Murjanatu Gamawa hails from Gamawa Local Government Area of Bauchi state.

She holds a BSc. in Geology from University of Maiduguri, Nigeria. She also obtained MSc in Petroleum Geosciences from the prestigious Imperial College London. Her quest for knowledge didn’t stop there.She went to University of Aberdeen, Scotland were she obtained an MBA with specialisation in Energy Management and graduated with Distinction. She also received professional training and certification in Petroleum Policy and Resource Management from Petrad, a renowned foundation based in Norway.

Murjanatu began her career in extractive industry in the private sector; Flowline Energy Services based in Lagos, Ramwal House Support Services Ltd, Abuja and WesternGeco (Schlumberger) Gatwick, London before she joined the public service with her appointment in Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) in 2010.Murjanatu Gamawa’s hard work,diligence, critical thinking and analytical mind propelled her within short time to be appointed as Team leader (Oil and Gas) in the NEITI Technical Department.

As it is always said hard work pays ,

Murjanatu Gamawa, has recently been appointed Country Manager by the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) based in Oslo, Norway.

She will be responsible for all English and Portuguese (Anglophone/Lusopohone) EITI implementing countries in Africa with specific roles of coordinating, supporting and guiding member countries in these affected African regions on implementation of EITI standards.

She is the first Nigerian to be appointed to work with the International Secretariat of the EITI since its inception in 2003.A young lady from an educationally less advanced part of Nigeria is writing Nigeria’s name in gold.Every Nigerian should be proud of this great achievement.

She is a member of professional bodies such as the Nigerian Mining and Geoscience Society, the Council of Mining Engineers and Geoscientists (COMEG); American Association of Petroleum Geologists and Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain.

She has since assumed duties.

The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Waziri Adio, showered a lot of encoumiums on Murjanatu on hearing about her appointment.He described the development as well deserved. He conveyed the best wishes of the board, management and staff while urging her to be a good ambassador of Nigeria at the EITI international secretariat.He express his sadness one of the best brains in Nigeria’s extractive industry is leaving NEITI.

One should not be surprised if in future Murjanatu Gamawa becomes the minister of Mines and Steel Development or even minister of Petroleum Resources because she is gradually becoming one of the most decorated young technocrat in the mineral resources and mining industry.

She’s well educated, kind hearted, hard-working and gentle.A real combination of beauty and brains.With people like Murjanatu, the era of Northern Nigeria’s women been referred to as illiterates is over.

Northern Nigeria and indeed Nigeria as a whole is proud of you.

 

By Engr. Imam Maiyaki

@MaiyakiImam

imammaiyaki@gmail.com

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The Defamation That Won’t Work On Ganduje, By Muhammad Kano

The libelous video clips circulating on social media, depicting an aged person presumed to be the serving Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, allegedly receiving bribe in foreign currencies, is nothing, but a handiwork of political opponents, who by all means want to destroy the good image of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and by extension that of Kano State.

The defamatory act has the tendency to affect not only the personality of the Governor, but the co-faithful of His Excellency, who enjoy his ever ready supports to the cause of Islam, a feat that earned him the title Khadimul Islam (the one who hesitates not to render support to Islam).

One should wonder why a true son of Kano State embarks on this mischievous adventure that is aimed at bringing down our good-natured leader who is now seen as an epitome of good leadership and one who works assiduously to develop our dear state and give it a good reputation, through among others developing the state infrastructure, and fiercely combatting corrupt practices as exemplified by the federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. It could be recalled that Kano State under Ganduje has established Anti-Corruption Units in all 44 Local Government Areas of the State, with a view to complementing the activities of the State Anti-Graft Agency led by Comrade Muhuyi Magaji Rimin Gado and by extension the Magu led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Every right thinking person must doubt the authenticity of the vilifying clip, considering the Governor’s averse stance to what he is being associated with in the unsound clips. It can be asserted that no Governor or a chief executive throughout the country, apart from President Muhammadu Buhari that disgusts and fights corruption more than Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. A number of awards from both local and international anti-graft organizations were given to him on the basis of his unflinching stand against corruption and dishonest exploitation of power for personal gains.

One comforting thing is that, Kano’s Ganduje is not the only person who fell victim of this malice by this mischief-maker, other successful personalities like former Governor, Dr. Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, including the current Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, were all victims of this pseudo-journalist, whose prime mission is to broadcast malicious and abusive stories about prominent leaders of Kano origin, to ridicule them before their subjects and make them a laughingstock in the sight of their counterparts. However, in all his attempts, none was successful; likewise this. The media uproars generated arising from the fabricated publication and subsequent release of the false clips, will make no impact, and will inexplicably vanish in no distant future.

It is imperative to urge my fellow Kano people not to express their agreement to these clips, which we believe is an orchestrated move by those envying the progress of Kano under Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, to distract the governor from doing the good work for his people. We, basing outside Kano, we see how other Governors fare vis-à-vis fulfilling their mandates, Ganduje stands far ahead of them, he pays workers’ salaries promptly, executes developmental projects, which even the mischief-makers are in agreement, because they too claimed the kickbacks he allegedly received are percentages of the cost of numerous project contracts awarded by his administration.

Kanawan Dabo should rise up to rally around their Governor in this trying time, they should do everything possible to ensure his success, which I believe is theirs too. They shouldn’t accept to lose him at this moment when their counterparts in other states, are praying and working tirelessly to have a leader like him. I am quite optimistic that the people of Kano won’t allow mischief-makers to ruin the progress currently enjoyed by the state under Khadimul Islam.

Baba Ganduje, keep up the good work you are doing, more powers to your elbow. Insha Allah sai kayi takwas!

Muhammad Aminu Kano writes from Lokoja, Kogi State.

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Osun Guber And The Days Ahead, By Abiodun Komolafe

Again, Osun governorship election has come and gone with its attendant bliss and despair. A winner has emerged while losers have either cheered themselves with courage or looked in the direction of enriching Nigeria’s jurisprudence. While one may wish to laugh at the contenders, even yell at the pretenders over the confusion to which they subjected Nigerians while the process lasted, that a tribe of the Pharisees have been feasting on this important chapter in our history to misinform an unsuspecting public is, to say the least, demeaning.

In fairness to reality, Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s major ‘mistake’ was his desire to bring Lagos to Osun without realizing that Osun didn’t have what it takes to be (like) Lagos. Added to this was the salary dilemma which struck the state like an epidemic somewhere along the line. Unfortunately, more than 18 states are still caught in the web, even as we speak. In the face of these challenges however, Osun has thrown up some significant posers that may be a subject of debate for some time to come.

For instance, beyond the points of law and allied arguments being raised in some quarters, it is within the jurisdiction of conventional wisdom to interrogate the circumstances that led Nigerians into becoming unlucky victims of a process that almost handed Osun’s destiny back to political misfits whose adventure in power would have limited the people’s capacity to think for the next four years.

I have told those who delight in accusing the electorate of “not appreciating performance” that, unlike acceptable democratic norms, elections here are contests – somehow stern, sometimes tedious. So, to have expected the loser on September 27, 2018 to “be honourable in losing” would have amounted to expecting the sun to rise from the West.

But then, how did we find ourselves at this messy pass, where educational accomplishments are no longer appreciated for an office as important as that of a governor? Was it the fault of the Aregbesola-led government for ‘not putting food on the table of the electorate’ or that of a tiny section of the electorate for being selfishly interested in mortgaging its future for a pot of porridge?

Political leaders who lack the capacity to understand the essence of education are bound to be absentminded when issues of growing the economy in the right direction, combating unemployment, getting infrastructure development right, and checking ‘condition-driven’ urban migration come to the fore. Good that the electorate opted for a candidate whose credentials were impeccable and, his word, his bond. Otherwise, a “dance to Osun Government House” by a particular candidate would have made a mess of our education while working harder in life would henceforth have meant nothing.

A lot of our youth would have by this unbargained-for victory become disenchanted and the state would have been preparing for a government by proxy as the flag-bearer in question lacks the capacity to govern a state as socio-economically sophisticated as Osun. Above all, our scarce resources would have been preparing for an unenviable journey into the hungry, private pockets of a mendacious cabal – mere men with narrow loyalty to the ‘Land of Virtue.’

Unarguably, Osun provides a rich opportunity for the party at the centre to rediscover itself, preparatory to next year’s General Elections. Without being immodest, events in the last few weeks have forced rational thinkers to conclude that, unless the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is prepared to rise to the occasion, Osun may repeat itself, even in a more ferocious form in 2019.

For obvious reasons, the gang-up against the ruling party is real and, from the look of things, the contest is most likely to be tense. Essentially therefore, it’s time the story of party politics changed for the better if APC must be taken seriously by Nigerians. From the experience in Osun, fact is that Alli Baba and the Forty Thieves who are bent on returning Nigeria back to Egypt are sinisterly scheming to truncate and disrupt a process already on its way to the Promised Land. Needless to repeat that APC has to change its strategy and fine-tune tactics in order to smile convincingly next year!

As we all know, the  most  comfortable  and  realistic  duty  of  anyone  desirous  of developing patriotism  is  to read between  the  lines  of  history. A friend once wrote that if the Aregbesola-led administration had achieved 5% of what the major opposition party in Osun launched against it in terms of propaganda, the story would at least have changed. I also share this sentiment!

While my comments on this objective observation are issues for another day, I make bold to say that a strategy that underestimated the influence of Isiaka Adeleke, among other considerations, in the recently-concluded election was a costly mistake that must not be repeated in the build-up to February 2019. Already, there are embarrassing allegations of compromise by some of the ad hoc staff recruited for the Osun election. This is in addition to other unpleasant infractions like vote-buying, over-voting, ballot box snatching and betrayal of trust on the part of some of the security agents deployed for the exercise. These disturbing trends are not likely to give way, except some steps are taken, lawfully, to address the situation.

Again, while the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s efforts at stabilizing the economy have not gone unnoticed, it still needs to do more on the herders’ insurgency which has now overtaken Boko Haram terrorism as Nigeria’s greatest security threat. Olusegun Obasanjo’s distractions notwithstanding, it is also not too late for this administration to compliment ‘greening’ of the street with some ‘greening’ of the stomach, especially now that it’s only corruption that is “fighting back.” In my view, allowing poverty to partake of the ‘fight-back’ may be too heavy a burden for Nigerians to bear.

Yes, the days ahead promise to be very interesting! Therefore, time to act is now! Strangely enough, those who had hoped to bank on the advantage of age to deceive Nigerians have with the emergence of Atiku Abubakar fallen victim to the awkward narrative usually associated with political adventurism in this part of the world.

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, State of Osun, Nigeria (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

abiodun KOMOLAFE,

O20, Okenisa Street,

PO Box 153,

Ijebu-Jesa, State of Osun.

 

 

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Open Letter To Buhari, Tinubu, Oshiomhole And All Leaders Of APC, By Chuks Esogbue

Dear Sirs,

I write this as a patriotic contribution to bettering our party and our society. I want to draw your attention to what is happening in Delta State so as to forestall the danger of woeful failure in the forthcoming general elections. Last Sunday’s gubernatorial primary elections, organized to produce a candidate for the party in the forthcoming general elections, was a show of shame.

Sirs, you will agree with me that no democracy can survive and no electoral process can produce a legitimate outcome without the rule of law and strict adherence to due process. The organizers trampled upon the party’s electoral guidelines, INEC guidelines and moral guidelines with impunity. They turned the President’s change mantra and insistence on fair play on its head. Only one aspirant, out of four, was favoured with sighting of the delegates list by the NWC and SWC of the party. This is an act that directly contradicts Article 9.2 of the party’s Constitution, which states on page 7 that: “Members of the party shall be obliged to affirm the party’s aims and objectives and conduct themselves in a manner that shall not bring the party to public odium and disrepute. Members of the party shall also observe the rules and regulations embedded in this Constitution.” It is left for all to judge whether Sunday’s attempt to impose Ogboru on the people meets the above provision of the Constitution.

Predetermined rules and regulations govern the behavior of people in society, otherwise there will be anarchy. This is why rule of law comprises supremacy of the law, observance of fundamental rights, fair hearing and equality before the law. Equality before the law means that the law should have no regard for status; big or small, everyone is subject to the same rules. Fair hearing simply means giving fair hearing to all parties to an issue or dispute. When we look at these tenets of the rule of law, as far as Sunday’s primary was concerned, we can safely come to the conclusion that the party’s hierarchy has breached the rule of law in so many ways throughout the process that encompassed the preparations and actual conduct of the elections. Arbitrary behaviours demean democracy because they are not backed by the rule of law.

The National Working Committee of APC, the Delta State Working Committee (as headed by Prophet Jones Ode Erue) had the opportunity of uniting all factions and building a bridge across all divides in the party. Against all entreaties to harmonize all the warring factions, they dove headlong into acting out a script from the very pit of hell. Their body language, right from their inception into office has been one of doing the opposite of the wishes of the majority. The people wanted direct primaries but they unilaterally went for indirect primaries. Whose agenda are they pursuing? The fiendish megalomaniacal characters that midwived the primary definitely cannot be representing the people.

Whoever NWC or the SWC is listening to does not want APC to access the power seat of Delta State. This is predicated on the fact that they have decided to sacrifice, on the altar of private interests, the yearnings of the people of Delta State, especially Delta North Senatorial Zone on completion of their two terms of eight years, based on a rotation initiated by the rival PDP in the state.

PDP knew the import of fielding a Delta North candidate to pacify the Delta Northerners and assure the voting public of equity in the rotation of power between the senatorial zones. APC has refused to borrow a leaf from the PDP in understanding and using this political advantage. In the calculation of many pundits, APC will be making a fatal move if they field a candidate from the Central Senatorial District which has enjoyed the longest stay on the executive seat of the state since its creation. The result will be massive sympathy voting in favour of Okowa, who is from Delta North, even though he is PDP.

Now, the question is: Can the APC survive if the Delta North members of the party decide to give their sympathy vote to Okowa who has flown the Anioma flag for only one term. One of the campaign slogans of APC is that Okowa has failed Delta and needs to be replaced. Okowa, and not Anioma, is the one that has performed poorly. Is APC now trying to punish Anioma for the sins of Okowa? Punishing many for the sin of one! Will that not be injustice of the highest order? If Okowa must go, then equity demands that he be replaced by one of Anioma extraction, whose tenure will be only one term, so as to maintain the momentum already created by the rotation. This is the thinking of the majority of Deltans, especially the Anioma people of Delta North.

As an old friend in the PDP fold advanced in a tête-à-tête on the Monday following that sham election, “What makes me happy is that APC has fielded Ogboru again. We will have an easy ride beating him as usual. Ogboru is our ‘wife’ and we know how to beat him every time”. That is the mindset of the opposition and I do not see how anyone can fault that. Ogboru has been serially and soundly beaten by PDP every time. In fact, the last three governorship elections in the state were between Ogboru and the PDP and Ogboru lost in all three, contesting from different parties. Whether PDP won by hook or crook is immaterial here as their man still seats on the throne of Delta today. What is the guarantee that Ogboru will now beat him this time around, especially as APC is trying their damndest to alienate Delta North and their sympathizers in the South and Central districts from the equation? Political strategy should be made of sterner stuff as politics is a game of numbers and we are involved in a three-horse race. If you still believe in progressive change, please do everything in your power to retain the power rotation arrangement because it is now convention borne out of equity.

The people of Delta State are comfortable with the power rotation arrangement which changed the monopoly of the Urhobo since Delta was created because it has helped to douse the ethnic tension which was building between the Urhobo of Delta Central and the Anioma of Delta North. The Ijaw, Isoko and Itsekiri were polarized between the two divides; tension was high before the PDP leadership introduced the solution – power rotation. Now, the question is, “If Deltans are comfortable with power rotation, why is Ogboru fighting it? That fighting can only be the product of a mind that has failed to realize the power of the people. Ogboru’s name might be Great but that does not make him greater that the people. It will be a mistake to field a candidate that treats the feelings of a people with such disdain as Ogboru is doing. The Delta North Factor is the reason Ogboru has failed the elections against Uduaghan and Okowa in quick succession. In the election of Uduaghan in 2011, the understanding had been built that Delta South will have to complete their two terms before Delta North can pick up the mantle of leadership. What played out is that Delta North backed Delta South to hold on to power until 2015, while Delta South backed Delta North to win the gubernatorial seat in 2015. By this rotational arrangement, Delta Central will be due to have the power seat in 2023; that is the year the Delta North people will be comfortable to relinquish power. They still have one more term, whether Ogboru likes it or not. He may call it a nepotistic PDP arrangement but power rotation has brought ethnic peace and calm to Delta State. If Ogboru’s desires were for the betterment of society and therefore honourable, they will succeed but if they are against the people they will fail. The leadership of the party must make it fail. It is an evil desire that can conflagrate Delta State during the main election.

The way forward is for the NWC, the President and the national leaders of APC to resolve this issue in favour of a candidate from Delta North or lose their best chance of dethroning PDP and Okowa. And the best Delta North candidate in this race has been acknowledged by all as Prof. Pat Utomi, who was returned as winner in one of the factional gubernatorial elections, even though he did not participate in it. This shows his acceptability across divides. His intimidating credentials and renowned abilities is something that most Deltans are looking forward to having as one of the dividends of the next dispensation of governance in the state. Over the years, Prof Pat Utomi has shown great commitment to dialogue, social justice, peace and harmony in his interactions in the public sphere. He believes that you need to be a good Christian to be a good politician; this is why in spite of all the provocations arising from last Sunday’s charade in the name of APC primaries in Delta State, he has remained calm, focused and intent on pursuing the noble cause of justice and equity in the party through due process. His life has been one of a long struggle for social justice and governance with a purpose. This, he believes, is unachievable without the rule of law and the reason why he has vowed to pursue justice through due process.

Even if the NWC and the SWC have something else at the back of their minds, other than pandering to the yearnings of the Anioma people, as a strategy for winning the elections, they could at least have provided a level playing ground for all contestants in the primaries. Their obvious shenanigans in the inexplicable desperate bid to enthrone a candidate whose acclaimed popularity has only earned him losses of deposits in his past encounters with PDP is nothing less than a quixotic act.

Please sirs; you must help us put our house in order in Delta State. The NWC must be prevailed upon to declare a contest between Prof. Pat Utomi and Ogboru and let the best man win. I make this suggestion based on the fact that there were two elections that produced the two men as winners. Let us give them the opportunity of going into a direct primary and let the people decide who they want to handle the keys to their treasury. Any one of them, who wins that contest, will win the general election and dethrone PDP. Doing this will boost the party’s image in the eyes of the voting public. We must avoid sending the wrong signals as we approach the day of decision, or we will lose the election.

Against our party’s constitution, quoted above, Ogboru and Omo-Agege on the one hand and O’tega Emerhor and Cyril Ogodo, on the other, have failed to “affirm the party’s aims and objectives and conduct themselves in a manner that shall not bring the party to public odium and disrepute” by conducting two parallel primaries that produced different results.

In view of facts above outlined, my advice is that the NWC and the leadership of APC should resolve this issue as also above suggested. There is need for the realization that rotation of power among the senatorial zones of Delta State has become convention to the people. It has created a balance which eased up the tension among the five ethnic groups in the state. Ogboru and Omo-Agege are now trying to destabilize this arrangement for selfish reasons. The sad fact is the fact that they went to the base level of using under-hand tactics to edge out opponents in the contest. The populace saw what happened and all the confusion it generated leading to shooting and death, all of which have left them with a poor opinion of APC.

The APC was a very peaceful maturing party that was approaching the dream of dethroning PDP with sure steps, until they opened their doors too wide to admit destruction. The influx of people into the party has become a burden due to poor management of issues and the humans whom those issues touch. With your help, we can return to winning ways again. Please act fast to restore the people’s confidence and improve our party’s popularity rating which is at an all-time low now.

Chuks Esogbue is a political analyst, social commentator and President of Kinship Ideology Network (KIN).

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I Am Dele Giwa, By Yusuf Mohammed

The year 1986 reminds me of two events. First, the assassination of Dele Giwa and secondly as a football lover, Mexico ‘86 comes to mind because of Diego Maradona’s performance. Although I was born the next year, as someone who loves history, I know about them very well. At a very young age, I was privileged to watch Maradona in USA ‘94 live on TV in the games he played against Nigeria and Greece.

However, I wasn’t able to see Dele Giwa or read any of his columns while he was alive but I have read some of his columns and tried to imagine what it was like back then. It is now 32 years since Nigeria lost Dele Giwa, co-founder of Newswatch magazine.

He died as a result of injuries he sustained via a letter bomb on the 19th of October 1986 in his home at 25 Talabi Street, Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja Lagos. He died 12.27.pm in First Foundation hospital, Opebi, Ikeja. Seven months later, I was born in the same hospital Dele Giwa died. Today, I am a journalist writing about him. I call it fate.

Who was Dele Giwa? Talking about him in terms of journalism alone is like reducing him. Yes, he was among the crème de la crème of the profession. He was one of the finest journalists ever but above all, he had all the qualities that a leader should have. He was selfless, fearless, detribalized and so on.

Today he is no more but we have to celebrate him. Speaking of Dele Giwa, it is almost impossible to leave out his colleagues. There were musical groups like the Beatles, Jackson Five, Cool and the Gang but here we had a group of young men who mesmerized us, but not with music.

They did it with the pen. According to Chief Dele Momodu, publisher of Ovation magazine, “It was impossible not to be attracted to the writings of Dele Giwa, Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese and Yakubu Mohammed, the powerful quartet that founded Newswatch magazine around 1984, shortly after their dramatic exit from Concord newspapers.

“These were the authentic superstars who titillated us with beautiful prose that dripped with poetic and colourful words. And they lived up to their billing. Newswatch was an instant success and the hottest cake out of the oven. Every issue was a collector’s item.”

They wrote the minds of the masses irrespective of whose ox was gored. That is the true essence of journalism. It is just as if the words integrity, detribalized, fairness, equity, doggedness and brilliance were invented specifically for the Newswatch men.

They had it all. These men coming together to found Newswatch was like a match made in heaven. They came from different backgrounds but they had professionalism in common. They were pacesetters and trend setters. They made journalism attractive in Nigeria because they combined intellect with swagger.

These men had ‘swag’ long before the word became popular. Unfortunately for Nigerians one of them was killed in his prime. Dele Giwa was assassinated at the peak of his powers. He was full of life when the angel of death came knocking. He had so much to offer Nigerians before his demise. He was only 39 years but today, everyone is talking about him. It isn’t easy to be a legend at that age.

That was what he achieved with his colleagues, legendary status in their youth. It is 32 years now and people are still talking about how he died. As for me, I prefer to talk about his life and the things he stood for. What should we learn from the life and times of Dele Giwa? We should be objective and courageous. Without honesty and courage one has no business in journalism. Journalism should never be a cash and carry business.

The less privileged should be given an equal chance to air their views. Journalists should carry all Nigerians along irrespective of financial, ethnic or religious status. A journalist should be the voice of the voiceless. If you look at the rot in the judiciary, the executive and the legislative arms of government, it means there is more work to be done by the fourth estate. It would be catastrophic if journalists ignore the core principles of the job. In every institution there are bad eggs but we shouldn’t allow the bad eggs overshadow the good ones. If that happens, then what hope would the ordinary Nigerian have?

Journalists are meant to be torch bearers. We should always shine the light. That is the best we can do for Dele Giwa. That is what he would want. Not partisanship. Not trying to be politically correct.

I believe practitioners of this great profession should dedicate October 19 to Dele Giwa. We should have public lectures or discourses on the professionalism of Dele Giwa because this job certainly requires that.

I am saying the best way to keep Giwa’s legacy is to be him. There is no better way than that. Let’s all be Dele Giwa.

Yusuf Mohammed is a Lagos based journalist

Twitter: @YusufWrites

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Romanticising Corruption! By Okoi Obono Obla

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),Atiku Abubakar reacted to the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to seek law enforcement agencies to place travelling restrictions on those whose names are included in the schedule to Executive Order No.6, 2018.

I really found the reaction of Atiku Abubakar curious and surprising. How can a foreign travel embargo placed on 50 persons who are standing trial for the past three years or more constitute a disincentive to foreign investment? Investment thrives where corruption is reduced.

Is Atiku Abubakar, not aware of the incontrovertible and notorious fact that corruption itself is constraint and impediment on economic growth and development?

Is Atiku Abubakar, not aware that corruption poses serious threat to the stability, security of societies, undermines the institution and values of democracy, ethical values; justice and jeopardises sustainable development and the rule of law?

Is Atiku Abubakar, not aware that in 2003, the United Nations General Assembly in acknowledgment and recognition of the debilitating and corrosive effect of corruption on human civilisation criminalised corruption, and therefore passed the United Nations Convention?

It is therefore amazing that Atiku Abubakar, is romanticising corruption under any guise when it has been responsible for the gross under development of Nigeria.

Research and studies have conclusively proven and shown that corruption is a major disincentive to direct foreign inflow to any country. How has embracing corruption helped Nigeria in its decades of existence?

The current romanticizing of corruption to the point where an executive order focusing on cases in court is interpreted as discouraging foreign investment is indeed a laughable reach. Executive orders are disparaged yet anti-corruption bills stagnate at the legislature with little or no commentary as to how this affects the country.

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2019: Who Flys The Owerri Zone APC Senatorial Flag Better? By Emmanuel Chukwu

Prior to the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial primaries in Imo State two names were very dominant for the Imo East senatorial seat, Barr. Chyma Anthony and Engr. Emma Ojinene. Both of them had at one point or the other aspired for political positions in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

While Ojinere had the ambition of becoming governor, Anthony had the ambition of becoming the Senator representing the zone, but at last both of them did not go through in their respective aspirations.

By political realignment both of them are today in the APC with senatorial ambition. Ojinere had served as a commissioner under the Okorocha administration and Anthony has demonstrated unwavering commitment to the

APC government in ways portraying him as a staunch APC member.
As an international lawyer he made the headlines when he sued the National Assembly on its insistence to reverse order of elections, which the APC said was aimed at short changing the party.

Their antecedents show that they are committed to the APC cause, in different ways, each according to his convictions and capacity.

At the build up to the primaries in the state, there was the speculation whether Engr. Ojinere was still desirous of aspiring for the Senate seat of Owerri zone because of his inability to visit the nine local governments in the in the zone to canvass for support and their votes in the primary election. This situation made it possible for party members in the LGAs to hold the view that Barr. Anthony was the only one in the race each time he visited the LGA party members for consultation and support.

This lacuna may have prompted some youths in the zone to troop to roads in Owerri to call for support for Barr. Anthony as their preferred candidate, based on their conviction that he has the capacity to represent the zone very well at the Senate, having shown consistency commitment and capacity.

To many of the party members in the zone, Engr. Ojinere’s inability to tour the nine local governments to canvass for support and familiarise himself with the party members and their peculiar problems and needs left much to be desired. Denying them the opportunity to interact with him and asses his ability to fly their flag left a big question mark. It made the people to assume that he may have dropped his ambition, while he was still interested.

Barr. Anthony probably because of a clear cut definition of what he wants since 2011 took the necessary step of visiting the people to interact with them as is the rule in intra party democracy for aspirants to visit their party members and potential voters to solicit their support and vote at the primary first and at the election proper, if he or she clinches the party ticket. It is the understanding of party members and voters that visiting party members and electorates prior to primaries and the main election is one valid step that gives credibility to the aspirant and a party candidate, the huge financial involvement and risks notwithstanding. It is practice in tandem with our democracy as elsewhere in the world.

This deficiency may have prompted party members to view the announcement of Ojinere as winner of the senatorial primary with doubt. To Barr. Anthony’s sympathisers, they could not believe how it could be possible for them to have voted for an aspirant that never sought their votes, whose face never registered in their brain. Some are of the view that Engr. Ojinere rested on his oars because of governor Rochas Okorocha’s alleged earlier nod to his aspiration, if this is true he may have misunderstood the dynamic rhythm of politics, where expediency alters status quo ante in some cases. And failing to visit those he intend to represent to seek their support at the primary election, has the incontrovertible ingredient of suspicion that he was no longer interested in his earlier aspiration. At least, on the surface. This may have been the view of such local government party members who did not see him in their local governments prior to the primary election. Stretching the suspicion, they may have also thought that he lacks the capacity to represent them, very well.

Again, if the party had resolved to give its ticket to a particular aspirant or some aspirants in relation to other positions as the case may be, was it not immoral and undemocratic in the first place? If the party or the governor had tipped a particular aspirant, was it not immoral to have allowed other aspirants to purchase nomination forms at outrageously huge amounts of money?
With particular emphasis on the Anthony-Ojinere issue which of them, is with the capacity to win the election proper?

Admitted, they are all gentlemen, but which of them can enjoy public goodwill and which of them has the ability based on prima facia evidence to win victory for the party, considering the fact that one of them was able to tour all the LGAs in the zone to seek their consent. Remember in course of such tours, the party members and voters have the ample opportunity to assess an aspirant’s ability to deliver the dividend of representative democracy.
Barr. Anthony’s consistency in his senatorial aspiration since 2011, gives him out as one conversant with the demands of the office he is aspiring to hold and presenting himself to the zone in course of his LGA tours speaks of preparedness and willingness to handle the office.

Chukwu is a public affairs analyst based in Owerri, Imo State

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