A Stand With Dogara Is A Stand With Fraud, Jibrin Tells Lawmakers

Abdulmumin Jibrin, former chairman house of reps committee on appropriations, says “a stand with Dogara is a stand with fraud”.

Responding to the invitation letter which the committee on ethics wrote to him, the lawmaker expressed shock that the panel was investigating him for alleged breach of lawmakers privileges, rather than probe the budget padding allegations he levelled against the leadership of the 8th assembly.

Jibrin had accused Yakubu Dogara, the speaker, and four other principal officers, of corruption.

When the house reconvened on Wednesday, Dogara mandated the  committee on ethics and privileges to investigate Jibrin.

The house was divided along the lines of pro-Jibrin, and anti-Jibrin lawmakers, with those opposed to him hanging mufflers which had the inscription: ‘I Stand with Dogara’.

In his letter to the committee, Jibrin maintained his earlier stand of not appearing before the committee.

He said he would continue his struggle of “exposing corruption”, even if he ended up alone.

Below is the letter

The Chairman,
House Committee on Ethics and Privilege,
House of Representatives,
National Assembly,
Abuja.

RE: ALLEGATIONS OF BREACH OF PRIVILEGES AND MISCONDUCT

With reference to your letter on the above subject matter dated 22nd September, 2016, I write to state the following positions.

You will recall that in my letter to all Hon Members ahead of the resumption of the House, I stated clearly in my recommendations that I did not believe you have the ability to be an impartial arbiter.

To refresh your memory, I stated in the letter that “The Speaker Pro Tempore should constitute an Adhoc Committee to investigate these allegations in collaboration with the on-going external investigation by the anti-graft agencies. This has become necessary because from some public and private comments made by the incumbent Chairman of the Ethics and Privilege Committee, he has become an interested party in the matter and his ability to be impartial is in doubt. Also some of the members, including myself, who sit as members of the committee are interested party in the matter.”

You called me after reading my letter and tried to explain your public statement and further made efforts to convince me that you will indeed be impartial. I listened to you but I had my doubts.

Subsequent events after the sitting of Wednesday 21st September and specifically our conversation on phone when you called me on the 21st and 22nd have further affirmed my misgivings and convinced me beyond reasonable doubt that you CANNOT be impartial.

You will recall that when you called me on 21st, you tried to assuage my doubts and encouraged me to appear. I told you clearly I will appear under the condition that the proceedings will be public with access given to both print and electronic media, Civil Society Organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations, Nigerian Labour Congress, Nigerian Bar Association, Academic Staff Union of Universities, National Association of Nigerian Students and the general public.

I made it clear to you that it is under such arrangement that I will feel comfortable that the investigation, proceedings and outcome will not be manipulated or compromised. I requested that these assurances be included in the letter of invitation you will send to me. I cited an instance, asking you “what if on a hearing day, the public and press are shut out or are prevented from having access to House knowing the extend of the powers of the Speaker? What will happen?” You promised to get back to me the following day.

The next day you called we had the same conversation and concluded that you will put everything in writing. You can imagine my shock and disappointment when I saw your verge letter. Even more shocking was when I discovered the entire hearing is not to probe my allegations but to probe a so called breach of privilege of members and misconduct by me.

Mr Chairman, your letter clearly indicates that mischief is in the offing. You are inviting an accused to appear before you without telling him his offense. You did not state how I breached the privileges of the House and Members. You did not state the name of which Member’s privileges I breached so that I can take on the Member or Members and see if they can stand corruption test. You did not state the precedents and practices that I breached. You did not state what I did that amounted to misconduct so even if I intend to attend, I can know what exactly I am being accused of and come prepared.

Mr. Chairman, what further deepens my pessimism is the fact that in your letter, you indicated that you were inviting me to appear before your committee on Monday 26th September, 2016, but surprisingly you announced to the press that I shunned your invitation. This is clear indication that the outcome of your “investigation” is already predetermined.

May I draw your attention to the fact that the privileges of the House and Members do not accord the former and later immunity to being exposed if involved in corrupt practices and equally exposing budget fraud and corruption does not amount to misconduct. These are all service to the nation worthy of commendation. I strongly believe that you will be doing a great service to the country if you concentrate on investigating the privileges of Nigerians that Speaker Dogara and few other members have grossly breached and further investigate the misconduct therein.

You also did not find it worthy to investigate the grievous allegations I made against Mr Speaker and few others or even why the Speaker is yet to address all the allegations I made against him and summit himself to the security and anti-graft agencies to clear his name two months after I submitted my petitions.

It is obvious that the Committee on Ethics can not be impartial in dealing with this matter. I urge you and the Members of your Committee not to join this grand plan against the people of Nigeria to use the House as a shield to cover a small cabal which instituted corruption in the House for their benefits. I call on you to fear God and search your conscience.

Mr Chairman, I am on a crusade to expose corruption in the House and push for reforms that will clean up the House for the Nigerian people. There is no going back on this and I will continue this struggle even if I end up alone. I stand on all my allegations against Mr Speaker and 3 other Principal Officers and will pursue the matter in collaboration with the anti-graft agencies, other groups and well-meaning Nigerians until justice is served. The House does not belong to 360 Members but 200 million Nigerians. Nobody can cow me into silence.

Mr Chairman, this is a rare opportunity for us to salvage the House once and for all for the Nigerian people. I call on you to be part of this history. Members of the House have only two option before them, to either StandWithDogara or StandWithNigerians. A stand with Dogara is a stand with fraud and corruption. I stand with Nigerians.

Who do you stand with?

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Mr. Vice President: On Restructuring we stand, By Obi Ebuka Onochie

On 24 May 1966, a foundation of what would become a major problem to today’s Nigeria was naively and innocently laid by Major General Thomas Johnson Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi through decree 34. Decree 34 was also known as unification decree by the Aguiyi Ironsi’s regime. According to the provisions of decree 34, “Nigeria shall on 24th May 1966 (in this decree referred to as ‘the appointed day’) cease to be a Federation and shall accordingly as from that day be a Republic, by the name of the Republic of Nigeria, consisting of the whole of the territory which immediately before that day was comprised in the Federation”. This decree made Nigeria a unitary state and removed its federal structures believing that would bring unity but uniformity is no guarantee for unity.

For the benefit of expanded understanding, a unitary system is one level centralized government without any semi-autonomous component units. This means that there is no state or regional government under unitary system. Any branch of government below the government at the center is an extension of government at the center without any form of freedom to act without central government approvals. This denotes that every aspect of government including political and fiscal structures of governance are under one centralized government. Some of the countries using this systems are but not limited to Ghana, United Kingdom, France, Japan, etc.

After Ironsi was removed and killed through highly bloody coup led by Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria was reversed to federal system only politically without its fiscal structures. Even the political stricture was a limited version of what it used to be. Prior to Ironsi’s regime, every region was run like a semi-autonomous component of a greater Nigeria. Regions controlled their resources and some percentage due to the government at the center was appropriately remitted. Development was faster because every region understood that their destiny lies within. We had the era Pyramid was built with groundnut, we were world largest exporter of cocoa and palm oil, coal was equally exported and so many other minerals. That was how Awolowo’s government could grant and sustain free education for western region but today even with our so called petro dollar, no state can grant and sustain free education. Governor Okorocha of Imo state tried it and failed woefully and Imo state is yet to recover from that venture.

Few weeks ago, our vice president prof. Yemi Osinbajo cannily and subtly withdrew his previous stance on Nigeria going back to true fiscal federation. He gave his reason to be that regionalism will promote ethnic bigotry and division. This action alone can be titled or captioned “the legendary ideology turn coat of the century”. The major discussion is not the type of federating structure or component units that will come with the restructuring but the fiscal ambiance of the federation which many call “resource control”. If Mr. Vice president is afraid of Lagos political gang losing control of Lagos state to greater western region, the states structures can remain but resource control must be reintroduced. Mr. Vice president favours the introduction of state police and my question is, if 29 states can’t pay current civil servants’ salaries with our present system, how can they accommodate policemen and women in their payroll?

Everybody knows Mr. Vice President’s standing today on restructuring (which could change tomorrow as it fluctuates) is more popular in the north than south. That he is a Vice president does not mean he must agree with Mr. President in all things. His resignation is not expected before his disagreement as we do not have Parliamentary system of government which demands that. He is also an elected political officer of the government and not appointed. He has a lot in his favour to speak his mind and stand by it. So why sudden change of coat? It will be very bad to start playing man Friday to President Buhari in a matter of repositioning Nigeria for greater success.

Gowon regime was responsible to reverting Nigeria back to federal system but kept Nigeria centralized fiscally. Anyways, Gowon has no power or authority to change many mistakes of his regime but he could lend his voice as influence for restructuring which he did recently. The six geopolitical zones we have can be activated and be called regions, states, parishes, cantons, districts or provinces whatever name we care but let the main content of restructuring reflect fiscally. The issue of concurrent list should be eliminated and a sharp demarcation of duties and powers between federal government and the component units be clearly spelt out. Monetary, defense, foreign policies should be kept exclusively for federal government. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s administration built and completed 50 Almajiri schools which falls under primary education and people are comfortable that federal government is involving itself in what states should handle.

Bosnia and Herzegovina are able to remain one country and develop according to their power because they are federating. Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Russia, India, USA, to name just a few successful federal states. Nigeria is the only country practicing what I call “unitary federalism”. Lack of speedy development, high rate of nepotism, lack of creativity and over dependence on mono-product like Nigeria and petroleum are just the very few appalling features of “unitary federalism.”

Since Aguyi Ironsi’s mistake of unification decree and Gowon mistake of introducing unitary federation, Nigeria has never really progressed. Over concentration of governmental power and resources at the center is tearing Nigeria apart and taking its toll on this great nation potential.  This is why elections in Nigeria are too feverish because there is an untaught notion that whoever becomes the president controls everything and this belief has over time trickle down the lower levels of government. Restructuring will accommodate regional differences, speedy and capacity development, decentralization of federal powers, eliminate marginalization (whether real or spooky), healthy development contribution among federating units and so much more benefits. State of California in the USA was able to overtake France as the world’s 6th richest economy simply because of this – true federalism. They control their resources, make real planning and budgeting and actually move at the speed and pace their ability can carry them. This is just one out of 50 states that make up the United States of America. United States is where you never hear any state complain of being marginalized because it is not in the federal government power to do so.

Buhari’s APC led government can start by implementing national conference report or call for another one. Ya’Aduah’s administration brought amnesty as a temporary solution to one of Nigeria’s multitude of problems, Goodluck’s government sustained it but went ahead to initiate steps to more permanent solutions by convening national conference which APC government is playing politics with. The earlier those standing in opposition to restructuring realize that there is no going back on it, the better for Nigeria. Restructuring can actually save Nigeria from breaking into pieces and Nigeria’s break up is possible, do not say it is not.

 

Obi Ebuka Onochie can be reached via obiebuka360@gmail.com

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“I Stand By My Allegations, I Will Never Apologise” Rep Jibrin Dares Speaker Dogara

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, has given a seven day ultimatum to Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin to tender an unreserved apology to him and retract all allegations made against him or face legal action.

A statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media & Public Affairs to the Speaker, Mr. Turaki Hassan, stated that the demand was contained in a letter written and addressed to Jibrin by counsel to Dogara, Professor Joash Ojo Amupitan (SAN) & Co. It was signed By Professor Joash Amupitan, SAN, who is the Principal Partner of the firm.

The letter, entitled, ‘REQUEST FOR A RETRACTION AND AN APOLOGY OF A LIBELOUS PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY YOU ON MONDAY 25TH JULY, 2016’, noted that the claims of the former Appropriations chairman, who was removed for padding the budget and other actions, that the speaker is corrupt and abuses his office is aimed at tarnishing his image at home and abroad and is a clear case of libel.

The letter read in part, “We act as solicitors to Rt Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of House of Representatives of Three Arm Zone National Assembly Complex, Abuja herein after referred to as “our client” and on whose instructions we write this letter to you.

“The attention of our client has been drawn to a libelous press statement you issued on Monday 25th July 2016 which was made available to members of the press (print and electronic media) titled “THE CORRUPT SPEAKER YAKUBU DOGARA AND HIS 3-MAN CABAL”.

“In the said publication, you published words to the following effect concerning our client and three other principal members of the House of Representatives-
“Honourable colleagues and fellow Nigerians, I wish to make further revelations.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara and his senior cabal namely Deputy Speaker Lasun, Whip Doguwa and Minority leader Ogor has (sic) promoted corruption so badly in the House that if President Muhammadu Buhari with his disdain for corruption and corrupt people have the slightest idea, he will ban the QUARTET permanently from the Villa before they eventually allow for proper and unbiased investigation by the House.
Mr Speaker and Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun diverted millions of Naira all in the name of paying for guest houses and official residence. The issue became so messy that the Deputy Speaker openly accused Hon Herman Hembe of short changing them of millions of naira in the deal to the shock of many Hon Members.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara frequently abuse his office amounting to conflict of interest by soliciting for inappropriate favours from agencies and Multinational companies. He forced an agency to grant loans and a construction company blackmailed to do some work at his Asokoro ‘plot’
Speaker Yakubu Dogara has carefully designed a scheme to scam Hon Members through deduction from their salaries certain amount of money for a so called mortgage arrangement to build houses for members. He has been applying every under hand tactics to ensure Members agree to the deal.
“Speaker Yakubu Dogara has consistently refused members access to the financial dealings and internal budget of the House. He runs the financial management of the House like a cult aided and abated by the Chairman House services Hon Babanlle Ila. It is no longer news that all over the House, Hon Members are aware of the monumental fraud perpetrated by Speaker Yakubu Dogara in this regard.
We are even told that this is a child’s play compared to the mess and allegations of money laundering he left behind as Chairman house services in both the 6th and 7th Assembly. The EFCC should have something to start working with in respect to his tenure as Chairman House services if they properly dust their files.”
“These members of the body of principal officers were not comfortable with my independent disposition and my refusal to cover up their unilateral decision to allocate to themselves N40bn out of the N100bn allocated to the entire National Assembly.
The four of them met and took that decision, in addition to billions of wasteful projects running to over 20bn, they allocated to their constituencies. They must come out clean. My inability to admit into the budget almost 30bn personal requests from Mr. Speaker and the three other principal officers, also became an issue.”

It continued, “The personal references are obviously directed at our client, and amount to a very serious libel.

“By the said publication and without putting to the public any shred of evidence, our client is portrayed as a criminal, corrupt, dishonest, fraudulent, dishonourable and unfit to hold the position of Speaker of House of Representatives.

“Our client’s reputation has further been brought down in the estimation of right thinking members of the society and he has been thrown into public opprobrium, odium, scorn and ridicule.

“Consequently, we consider your publication on the matter as not only libelous but made in bad faith; an act of vendetta owing to your recent removal as the Chairman of House Committee on Appropriation.

“The said publication is also aimed at causing disaffection between Nigerians and members of the House of Representatives.

“Sequel to the above, we have to request you to submit immediately to us a clear and unqualified apology and retraction of the publication in an equally conspicuous position in all the print and electronic media where the publication appeared.

“TAKE NOTICE that in the event of your failure/refusal to comply with the above mentioned demands within seven (7) days of your receipt of this letter, we have further instructions to institute a suit against you in a court of law.

If we have to pursue this course, we shall be claiming aggravated and exemplary damages.

Yours faithfully,
For: Professor Joash Ojo Amupitan (SAN) & Co

Professor Joash Amupitan, SAN
Principal Partner.”

Recall that Jibrin has been circulating all manner of falsehoods against the speaker after he was removed as the chairman of the committee, a decision the whole House took after due consideration of his gross incompetence and immaturity to handle the position of Appropriations Committee Chairman, among other issues.

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Fayose Rewards Detained Ekiti Lawmaker With A Car Gift For Loyalty

Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose Saturday said that the Directorate of State Security (DSS) only succeeded in tarnishing its own image by attempting to allegedly coerce members of the state Assembly to act the script of his detractors which is to impeach him.

Governor Fayose who rewarded Honourable Afolabi Akanni who was detained for 18 days by the DSS, with a car gift, said this while hosting the lawmakers yesterday at the Jibowu Hall of his office.

His words: “This House of Assembly is very unique and exemplary. You have refused to be bought over. My detractors have money and influence but Power of God starts where that of men stops. I’m so proud of you. You have shown that you can see beyond today. Wealth is not the amount of money in your bank but your level of integrity. You represent and carry yourselves as responsible Nigerians. The Old testament has to give way to the new testament. You are the ‘New testament’ House of Assembly.

“Betrayers will only contribute to the success of the person being betrayed. Those that betrayed us in the first term are no longer relevant today. Many of them even suffered and regretted their actions. Together we stand and I know the House will never divide. I don’t regret standing for those incarcerated. This is an opportunity for us to stand for our tomorrow. The DG of SSS, Daura only succeeded in tarnishing the image of the security outfit. We must be courageous and fearless like the book of Joshua admonishes us. Persecution and oppression will only makes us better. My detention in Ikoyi prison made me a better man. It made me to reflect on so many things. It is my duty to reward loyalty and forthrightness and I’ll not stop doing it. I hereby present this car key to Hon Akanni Afolabi, who stood in the face of oppression.”

Hon Akanni Afolabi who expressed his gratitude to the governor, said: ” I can authoritatively say that the governor is a great leader and a great mentor. He remains a very honest man who also stand by his followers. I was so sure that he will fight my cause while in detention and I was not disappointed.

The DSS asked me so many questions about the governor and I stood my ground.

Governor Fayose is one man that I can never betray because he is my helper and my mentor. He has done a lot for me.

I advise all of us to stand solidly behind this man. Any attempt to betray him will lead to your own downfall. I must say that the DSS are bent on destroying this democracy.

Once again, let me reiterate that the governor is a promise keeper.”

Also lauding the governor’s effort, the Leader of the House Hon Tunji Akinyele, said: ” we appreciate the governor for his outstanding, courageous and wonderful leadership. He fought the battle so hard to ensure the release of Hon Akanni. All members of the House were also united in fighting the  battle.

Whatever they may call us, we will stand solidly behind the governor.

Another prominent member of the Hon Samuel Omotoso who revealed how the House fought hard to ensure release of detained members, said : ” we were at different places including National Assembly, US embassy, NBA, among others and raised our voices so loudly. The President is. A dictator who is using the DSS to muzzle the opposition. Several rights of Hon Akanni were infringed upon and we need to seek redress.”

The Deputy Speaker, Hon Segun Akinwumi also eulogised the governor, adding that he deserved unreserved loyalty: “the Governor has shown that he deserves our. Unrelenting trustworthiness, total loyalty. The Governor can be compared to the late sage. His legacies will continue to speak for him.”

Noting that DSS battle against the House was a test of its unity and commitment, Hon Aribisogan, said: ” We thank God for a person like Governor Fayose. It happened in Akwa Ibom and they went dumb. But Governor Fayose tackled this headlong and we could all see the result.”

The Speaker of the House, Honourable Kola Oluwawole who revealed that there are lots of lessons to be learnt on the DSS debacle, adds: “There is a divine arrangement in this. The Lord has only shown us what the enemies of capable of doing. That’s why they did it early enought. This will make us be on our guide before 2017 and 2018. We should however be prepared. Asked yourself if what happened to Akanni had happened to you, won’t you have betrayed the trust in the government of the state. We must be ready to support our courageous and fearless governor all the times.”

Deputy Governor Olusola Kolapo noted that the governor has proved himself as a faithful leader by his show of support for his followers, saying: “He is a leader that celebrates loyalty, pragmatic and forward looking leadership is his watchword. I must confess that I have read a lot os books on leadership but I have been learning the practical aspects of it from the governor.

Let us be prepared for more battles but like Jesus said, ‘It is finished’ today is a good Friday and it is symbolic. All our enemies will be conquered.?”

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I stand By Ranking Of Kings, Alake Replies Awujale… Produces Documentary Evidence

The royal diatribe between the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo and the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, worsened yesterday with the Alake insisting that the Awujale remained the last in the echelon of major Yoruba traditional rulers.

Alake said his earlier listing of the Awujale as occupying the last position after the quartet of the Ooni of Ife, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba of Benin and Alake of Egbaland “was supported by documentary evidence and I therefore stand by my position”.

Oba Adetona, at an event in Lagos last Thursday, claimed among other things that the Alake was a junior chief in Egba forest under the Alaafin and that Alake is also of the same status with some Ijebu obas such as the Ebumawe of Ago -Iwoye who are under his (Adetona’s) jurisdiction.

But yesterday, Oba Gbadebo, who spoke through 22 Egba chiefs, including 15 Ogboni chiefs who gathered in Ake Palace, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, to reply Adetona, said the ranking of the Yoruba traditional rulers was carried out in 1937 by the then Ooni of Ife.

Reading a prepared speech signed by the Balogun of Egbaland, Chief Sikirulai Atobatele at a briefing, the Baaroyin of Egbaland, Chief Layi Labode, said the ranking took place at the Central Native Council meeting in Lagos and was chaired by the Governor – General, Sir William Macgregor.

Labode added that those in attendance at the said 1937 meeting in the Government House, Lagos, were the Ooni of Ife, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba of Benin, Alake of Abeokuta and the Awujale of Ijebu – Ode.

He said their concern about Awujale’s comment is predicated on the monarch’s “self – indulgence to churn out outright historical falsehoods in the presence of knowledgeable Nigerians”.

Labode said “historically speaking, Alake was higher by salary differentials paid by the Colonial Government” at the time.

According to him, the Alake of Abeokuta earned £2,250 while the Awujale of Ijebu – Ode earned £1,700 during the colonial era.

“Awujale (claimed he) made several calls to Alake to confirm if Alake actually made the statement on Yoruba Obas ranking. Awujale also claimed that Oba Rilwan Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos, also contacted Alake on the same issue which Alake again denied.

“(The fact) both Awujale and Oba of Lagos actually called Alake on the ranking of Yoruba Obas, Alake responded that his ranking was supported by documentary evidence and he therefore stands by his position,” Labode said.

The Baaroyin of Egbaland and Media aide of the Alake also refuted claims by Oba Adetona that the Alake was a junior chief in Egba forest under Alaafin where he (Alake) fled to Ibadan and later to Abeokuta and met the Osile, Olowu, Agura and Olubara on ground.

Labode said, on the contrary, 20 Alakes had reigned in Egba forest prior to the founding of Abeokuta, explaining that that there was also no Alake who fled to Ibadan or took refuge there.

According to him, the Egba arrived and settled in Abeokuta in 1830 with the first Alake installed in 1854 followed by the Olowu in 1855, the Agura in 1870 and Osile in 1897.

He stressed that by the Egba United Government Proclamation of February 1, 1898, and approved by the then Governor of Lagos, the Egba cabinet had Alake as President, Osile Minister of Justice, Agura Minister of Communications and Works and the Olowu, the Minister of Finance.

He also noted that some of the comments on Alake by Oba Adetona were “uncalled for and neither civil nor decent,” but said the Egba chiefs would not “defile the sacred Yoruba traditional institution and therefore, refrain from trading insult with a highly regarded monarch of his (Awujale’s) status”.

Also present were Bameto of Egbaland, Chief George Taylor, Balogun of Ilaho, Chief Adebayo Soyoye, and the Ilagbe of Egbaland, Chief Akin Akinwale.

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I Stand With Buhari Campaign: Why Have The Critics Suddenly Found Their Voice? By Fejiro Oliver

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.” –Theodore Roosevelt

Hate it or love it but there is no movement currently more earth shaking in Nigeria than the #IstandWithBuhari group, where 9 million Nigerians will gather to affirm their support for President Muhammadu Buhari on March 31st 2016. It has become an unconscious song on the lips of Nigerians, so much that everyone is waiting for the day they will storm Abuja. It has become more iconic that the #BringBackOurGirls campaign is becoming a learner.

I have my doubts about the sincerity of the campaign and was among the first Nigerian to criticize it. My reluctance to go full media blown by writing an article against them and syndicate it to Nigeria and foreign media partner is due to the involvement of IG Wala. I know IG Wala, we have met and spoken a lot, even during his House of Assembly campaign, BBOG and anti corruption rally that was led by Solomon Dalung, before he became a Minister. One thing was certain that while he was contesting under the PDP banner, he was telling me to support Buhari for presidency against his party man, Goodluck Jonathan. This was the singular reason I refused to question his involvement on why he contested under PDP and now suddenly supporting Buhari. He has been a long time supporter of Buhari.

For three years, I stood against Jonathan, campaigning for Buhari. In 2007, I wept inside when he lost to Jonathan and just prayed the court could remove Jonathan. In all of this, his emergence finally has not stopped me from criticizing him. How can a group be STANDING WITH BUHARI when I’m buying fuel at N130-150? How can a group that claims to be supporting Buhari be led by Chinedu Okpalam, who was a pioneer of #BringBackJonathan and Goodluck Initiative for Transformation (GIFT 2015). We all hold on to that as the evil of the #IstandWithBuhari.

But I had to take the extra step; confirm why Chinedu was involved in such a noble project, yet projected by ‘corrupt’ forces who squandered our commonwealth with Jonathan. And then I found out I found out that Chinedu left GEJ in 2014 before the general election, when his voice was not listened to in the party. I found his own words saying …”Did I ever meet Goodluck Jonathan in person throughout his Presidency? No. Did the Presidency sponsor my activities as i went about expending resources in trying to sensitize Nigerians to vote for him then? No. Did any of his ministers, agencies of government, friends of the President or even the NSA give me a penny or contract either to help launder money or as appreciation for political patronage? No. Did I solicit for such patronage? No. Why? Because i belong to that old school that says “put your money where your mouth is,” for in so doing no one can dictate to you what to do or not do”

“So why then did I risk it all for such a cause, knowing that the general perception is that no such campaign can be championed by an honest Nigerian unless he/she is hungry & sycophantic enough to ask no questions as long as money is put forward as the blinding motivating factor? By November 2014, I was no longer comfortable with the information filtering out on how huge monies were moved from person to person in government circles. Before then, my biggest enemy was the party PDP because I refused to align my organisation as an appendage to the party’s campaigns, and consistently made it clear that the organisation was non-partisan and that I am not a card carrying member of any political party. I made efforts to reach the directors of the Presidential Campaign Organisation then to have some of my worries answered, but they all seemed as lost as I was. I also tried to reach functionaries in the government then for clarifications on my fears, to which my requests met brick walls. I concluded then that Nigeria was being sold off to the highest bidder without our knowledge, and I believed that even if Goodluck Jonathan won the elections, there were facts to

suggest this same people around him fingered in various illicit transactions would continue in office with him, as it seemed he was incapable of acting to change things. By December 2014, I started a process of moving my support with that of 1.9million Nigerians who had signed up to my campaign, to supporting the candidacy of President Muhammadu Buhari”

If this be the case, to begin to tailor our mind that it is not a scam afterall, but a group of persons who believe that the only way they can encourage the President is to publicly stand by him. We should begin to re-orient our minds that the project is not a sycophantic one, but that which has its origin way back from GEJ era and sincerely fused together to support the incumbent, without asking for favors. But again, we do care about how they get their funding to mount giant billboards across the states and FCT. We do care about how they get money to print T-Shirts and branded products just to promote the campaign. But won’t we be asking senseless questions that we already know the answers? The initiators and members are working class Nigerians, including Chinedu who is an Engineer. It will be myopic to think that such a person who floated GIFT without getting a dime from Jonathan will not put his resources into this. It will be a waste of criticism to think that for a group of persons who have shown will to see this come to pass will not get favor from well and even non well meaning Nigerians. For a brand such as this, many people will jump to stand by them and the result is what we are seeing today.

No one can blame the critics for kicking against the group, considering how we have been scammed in the past by my belle activists, who used it to climb to power and fatten their bank accounts. Our minds daily recall scam groups like ‘youths earnestly ask for Abacha’, Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), including the Anti Corruption group founded by Dino Melaye and died as soon as he climbed to the Senate Chambers with it, where he now displays corrupt tendencies as his official badge. But we can excuse this one as different species from the corrupt ones. We can exonerate them and give them a clean bill of health for removing Chinedu as the National Coordinator on moral grounds and replacing him with Mustapha Ramalan. That alone is a pass mark for the credibility test.

Without sounding as a tribal warmonger, why is the criticism of this group coming mainly from the Yoruba bloggers and social media lords? Is there any hidden thing they know that we don’t know? Could it be that there is a division among the media boys and activists groups in the defunct CPC and ACN political parties, with the CPC groups now championing the Buhari’s administration whereas it was the ACN group that ‘branded’ the Buhari’s product to the presidential villa (so they believe)? Something is not just right, but like every nation do, its national must stand by their president, whether championed by a group or not, and on this #IstandWithBuhari.

These little things matter…

Fejiro Oliver is Editor In Chief of Secret Reporters News, Investigative Journalist, Media Consultant and Rights Activist can be reached on +2348022050733 (SMS ONLY) or secretsreporters@gmail.com. Engage him on twitter on @fejirooliver86.

 

 
Editor: Opinion expressed on this page are strictly those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of abusidiqu.com and its associates

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Rejoinder: Why Appeal Against The Judgments Of The Court Of Appeal In Rivers And Akwa Ibom Would Not Stand, By Abdullahi Baba Abdul

My attention was drawn to the above opinion marshaled out by one Okoi Obono Obla in one of the online media platform abusidiqu.com in which my name featured in the said opinion. I would ordinary not be bothered on the work of a seeming busy body and attention seeking personality, but being issue of national interest and order, I am most obliged to respond correct the said fallacy. In the author’s article (19/12/2015) and I quote

“An application for leave to appeal against two concurrent findings of facts must be made to the Supreme Court and can be granted only in exceptional circumstances.  In essence, the Supreme Court can only grant leave in exceptional circumstances.

“It is submitted that Order 2 Rule 32 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2008, provides thus: “Where, in an appeal to the Court from the court below, the court below has affirmed the findings of fact of the court of first instance, any application to the court in pursuance of its jurisdiction under Section 233(3) of the Constitution for leave to appeal shall be granted only in exceptional circumstances.”

In the case of DR. ABDULLAHI BABA ABDUL v. CONGRESS FOR PROGRESSIVE CHANGE & ORS CITATION: (2013) LPELR-20597(SC) (which I was Counsel to the 1st Respondent) the Supreme Court held that an appeal against two concurrent finding of facts affirmed by both the Court of trial and the Court of Appeal can only lie with leave of the Supreme Court.”

 

It is rather absurd to read from the social media an opinion from “a learned Counsel” in a case pending determination by the court. To also put the record straight, Okoi Obono Obla seek to mislead the general populace that he was a counsel in the said matter between myself and the CPC and three others, he was rather an impostor in the said matter. He was never briefed by the first respondent. He came into the matter through the back door typical of the lawyers we have today. How can a man claim representing a party who never engaged or instruct you to do?. It may sound strange to readers, when Obono Obla purportedly appeared to be representing not only the first (CPC) respondent, but first (CPC) and second respondent (Tony Monoh who was then the National Chairman of CPC), I personally accosted the then National Chairman who disowned his purported representation agreed with me that the CPC leadership would not renege on its stance not to identify with any of the litigants in court. He further argued that assuming the first respondent (CPC) made such resolutions without his input, they could’nt have taken decisions on his representation since the second respondent was Tony Momoh and he has never consented to any representation by any counsel on the said matter. It is unfortunate that Obono Obla jumped into a matter at the Supreme Court he never had a history of the matter at the lower and trial court. As a matter of fact, the then CPC National Legal Adviser categorically told me face to face and in telephone conversation that the party had never engaged any counsel on this matter; to God be thy Glory, today Tony Momoh is alive and hearty and Abubakar Malami is now the Attorney General of the Federation. As a matter of fact, one of the impostors who appeared at the Federal High Court in Lokoja (FHC/CS/15/2011) never came at the Court of Appeal Abuja CA/84/2012, yet the Court of Appeal game a judgment against me despite no representation of the first and second respondent. Well, the rest is history.

To further put the record straight, Obono Obla dwelt on concurrent findings of the appellate court; what makes concurrent findings in the said matter SC/311/2012 is still baffling me. While the Federal High Court Lokoja judgment hinges its decision based on the evidence of the purported counsel to the first defendant, the Court of Appeal judgment hinges on the evidence of the 3rd Defendant because the purported first (CPC), second (Tony Momoh) and third defendant (INEC) were not at the Court of Appeal; what an interesting case for any discerning mind to peruse.

For the avoidance of doubt, I have made my submission to many media platforms via email and also forwarded same to the Presidential Committee on Anti-Corruption as a memo to guide the Judiciary reform.

God save us from all sorts who found their way wearing the silk, wigs and gowns!!!

 

 

DR Abdullahi Baba Abdul

Is the appellant in the matter SC/311/2012 Dr Abdullahi Baba Abdul vs CPC & 3 others?

Can be reached on babaabdul2003@yahoo.com, 08034528300

Gegu-Egba Koton Karfe, Kogi State

 

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Niger LG Election: How The Parties’ Stand, By Yahaya Mohd Usman

As the build up for the local government elections gathers momentum across Niger State, it is pertinent as a current affairs commentator and reporter, I set the discourse for the masses.

I have seen a lot of campaigns going on, with three dominant parties PDP, APC and PDM, all scrambling to win the heart of the masses.

There seems to be a little or no difference in ideology while the deep bickering between the APC and PDP doesn’t seem to give way for healthy competition.
The PDM on its slate seems to have carefully fielded some candidates who have grass root  appeal, this grass root appeal seems to be lacking in the two other dominant parties especially the ruling APC who have not learnt any lessons from the PDP mistakes of the past.

In the APC, imposition thrives, money politics is at its peak, internal rivalry is viral, sectarian loyalty is rife and most of all the attitude of “we are ruling, so we most win at all cost” that is impunity, is still lurking in the corner, all these will count against  the party and most importantly too, will be inexperience and the below average performance of those elected and appointed and a post primaries litigation in about 18 LGAs so far.

In the PDP the internal wrangling are still visible in some local government Areas, lack of proper coordination and the seeming dampness of its campaigns, also the improper harnessing of its new role as an opposition has not helped it either, also too, the lackluster attitude of its benefactors, inadequate funding and uncoordinated campaign messages are not helping it.

As for the PDM, the party sits in the middle between the recklessness of the APC and the irresponsibility of the PDP. It hopes to gain from  been at a middle ground, presenting candidates that are neither here nor there, lack of a distinct ideology other than trying to take advantage of the fisticuffs of the APC and PDP.

Overall the clash is squared down with APC not inspiring, the PDP not astute and the PDM not squaring up, it has become an election of mutual suspicion, these might have caused the ruling APC sensing defeat to postpone the elections from the initial scheduled date.

Also I have heard other opposition members complain of sharp practices by the the ruling APC, like the award ballot paper printing to APC card carrying member, the clandestine move not to use the card reader and a total deliberate effort to muscle opposition elements.

For this local government elections, it is obvious that no one can call it over until after the real votes are casted and counted, and this can only happen in the next 11 days, that is if the ruling APC does not find another reason to postpone the elections again. After all former President Jonathan did it the will say, but they forgot to add that he suffered a resounding defeat after that.

Yahaya Mohd Usman,
Writes from Minna,
Facebook:  Yahaya Mohd Usman
Twitter:  @boyemdee

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Why Appeal Against The Judgments Of The Court Of Appeal In Rivers And Akwa Ibom Would Not Stand

By Okoi Obono-Obla
It is beyond controversy that elections into 32 Governorship seats in the Federation of Nigeria were held on the 11th April, 2015. It is well settled that in Akwa Ibom State, the Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Udom Emmanuel, was declared the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and subsequently inaugurated the Governor of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. Similarly in Rivers State, the Candidate of the PDP, Nyesome Wike was declared the winner of the Governorship Election by INEC and was inaugurated as Governor of Rivers State on the 27th May, 2015.
Consequently, Umanah Okon Umanah and Dr Peter side Dakuku – the Governorship Candidates of Akwa Ibom and Rivers States, respectively, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) filed election Petitions in the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunals of both respective States against the return of Udom Emmanuel and Nyesom Wike respectively seeking for a declaration that the elections in the two States were not held in accordance with the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
In October 2015, both Governorship Election Petition Tribunals of Akwa Ibom and Rivers States sitting in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, delivered judgments nullifying these two elections and ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections.
In the two Petitions the lower Tribunals made findings of facts to the effect that the Governorship Elections held in Akwa Ibom State and River State on the 11th April, 2015, were  not held in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). The respective Tribunals nullified these two Governorship Elections in the two States under reference and ordered fresh elections.
In exercise of their constitutional rights of appeal, the two candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party filed their appeals before the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division.
Last week, the Court of Appeal delivered its judgments dismissing the appeals filed by Governors Udom Emmanuel and Nyesome Wike respectively and affirmed the judgments previously delivered by the Akwa Ibom Governorship Election Tribunal and the Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal respectively.
In other, words the Court of Appeal accepted the findings of facts made by the Akwa Ibom and Rivers States Governorship Elections Tribunals that the Governorship Elections held on the 11th April, 2015 in Akwa Ibom and Rivers States were not held in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
What is a finding of fact? A finding of fact is a conclusion reached by a Court or Tribunal at the end of a judicial deliberation. A Court or Tribunal reaches a conclusion after evaluation or appraisals of evidence given by both parties in a case.
It is well settled that Governors Udom Emmanuel and Nyesom Wike have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court of Nigeria (which is the final Court on Governorship Elections Petitions litigation). In the event they decide to appeal they will still remain in office as Governors pending the determination of their appeals. The Supreme Court of Nigeria has 60 days from the date of the filing of the appeal by the aggrieved party to hear and determine the appeal.
I can bet the chances of Udom Emmanuel and Nyesom Wike respectively winning in the event they decide to appeal the judgments of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court of Nigeria are very remote because of the fact that they are now two concurrent findings of facts concerning the Akwa Ibom and Rivers States Governorship Election that the elections were not held in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
It is almost likened  to a case of a Carmel passing through the eye of a needle.
This is because of the fact that both the Governorship Elections Tribunals in Akwa Ibom and Rivers States respectively  and the Court of Appeal have made two concurrent findings of facts that these two Governorship  Elections  were not held in accordance with the processes and procedures laid down by the provisions of the Electoral Act.
When a trial Court makes some findings of fact and these findings of fact are affirmed by the appellate Court it is said that the two lower Courts have made concurrent findings of facts.
Thus an appeal against two concurrent findings of facts: by a trial Court and the Court of Appeal, must first be filed with the leave (legal term for permission) of the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court.
In the event that Governors Emmanuel and Wike respectively want to appeal against the two concurrent findings of facts made by the two lower Courts i.e. the respective Tribunals and the Court of Appeal, they must first seek and obtain the leave of  Supreme Court to so appeal.
An application for leave to appeal against two concurrent findings of facts must be made to the Supreme Court and can be granted only in exceptional circumstances.  In essence, the Supreme Court can only grant leave in exceptional circumstances.
It is submitted that Order 2 Rule 32 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2008, provides thus: “Where, in an appeal to the Court from the court below, the court below has affirmed the findings of fact of the court of first instance, any application to the court in pursuance of its jurisdiction under Section 233(3) of the Constitution for leave to appeal shall be granted only in exceptional circumstances.”
In the case of DR. ABDULLAHI BABA ABDUL v. CONGRESS FOR PROGRESSIVE CHANGE & ORS CITATION: (2013) LPELR-20597(SC) (which I was Counsel to the 1st Respondent) the Supreme Court held that an appeal against two concurrent finding of facts affirmed by both the Court of trial and the Court of Appeal can only lie with leave of the Supreme Court.
The law is established that Appeals against two concurrent findings of facts are not as of right but with leave. This is in contra distinction to an appeal against a point of law which is as of right. No leave against an appeal against a point of law is required.
In the light of the above, it would amount to a waste of time for Udom Emmanuel and Wike respectively to appeal against the judgments of the Court of Appeal. They should just accept these verdicts and allow INEC to conduct the two Governorship elections in their States to save time and costs.
Okoi Obono-Obla
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We Stand On The Shoulders Of Giants; Speech By Chude Jideonwo Celebrating Media Legends At The Red Summit Gala Night

I speak often about culture. It is my favourite topic. I speak often,
and passionately about the cultures that define our nation, and how many of those behaviours appear to be at the root of our national decline.

By this I don’t mean who we are more than I mean what we have become: the attitudes, prejudice, stereotypes and behaviours we have learnt as we have tried to survive corruption, military dictatorship and several civil and other wars.

One of those cultural anoles is the arrogant dismissal of the past. It  has never ceased to amaze how every time someone wants to do something new in Nigeria, they start by dismissing what everyone else there has done before they. You hear ‘Oh, TV was rubbish! Oh radio was bad! Gosh, what have our advertisers been doing?”

There is also the epidemic of people – especially younger people –
declaring that ‘XYZ has never been done before’, or ‘this is the first  time this is being done in Nigeria’ or ‘I am finally going to do this  right.”

I grew up hearing this from peers, but years after it hasn’t ceased to  shocked me. This pervasive sense of disdain, of disrespect can only come from the collapse of perspective and the absence of history as an imperative.

And that is why Nigeria is stuck in a vicious cycle in many areas –
without the benefit of history, of institutional memory, of learning
what we did well and what we did not, of not knowing where the rain began to beat us, how can we know how to do better, what to stand on, where to begin to build? If we do not know where we are coming from, how on earth can we know where we are going to?

Surely the same gaps in knowledge that make young musicians feel that they are first to reach massive international audiences, and deal massive global collaborations in a country where everyone from King Sunny Ade to Majek Fashek to, of course Fela Anikulapo-Kuti have been there, done that, have the t-shirt, threw it away, bought a new one and then rocked it for years. We have a history so rich by success, by victory, by massive accomplishment in the media and creative industries.

That’s not just something I say, that’s the philosophy that underlines our work – a deep humility and abiding appreciation for the history of our country, for the leaders who worked under extremely difficult circumstances, at a time when very few people understood the media, at a time when it was yet emerging, to build this industry that we have now.

But then maybe it’s because many of us in RED grew up on ‘I am Prince Jide Sokoya, the only son of the soil and by the grace of God, the youngest millionaire in the whole universe’, on Nigerian content, and therefore we have an understanding of what makes it special, of why what our forebears did  was special.

Up until this moment, I remember I felt in the public relations activation of Onyeka Onwenu and King Sunny Ade preaching the message of birth control, I remember how perplexed my young mind was that every show on TV had on its credits Peter Igho and Grace Egbagbe, I grew up interesting in knowing how my former boss Levi Ajuonuma did that magic where he spoke to the camera and everyone watching felt he was talking to you directly.

I think of the genius of the Bagco Super Sack ad and how viral it went before many of us knew what viral meant, or the forever standard that the ‘MKO is our man’ ad from Rosabel set those 22 years ago. I grew up in awe of these creators.

And I see all of them here today, and my heart swells with pride, with excitement, with joy, with love, with reverence, with awe.

We are truly standing, this generation, on the shoulders of giants.

You, our mentors and forbears, icons and legends, across television,  radio, print, public relations, advertising, are those giants.

For sure, older people bear some culpability for the Nigeria that we have today, but you won’t find many of those ones in this room today.

You are a different breed, truly worth celebrating. You inspired this young boy in Ijeshatedo who grew up on the columns of Helen Ovbiagele and Mike Awoyinka, and watched Frank Olize every Sunday night. Who looked longingly at Insight when he was in Secondary School and wanted to join that company as soon as he was out. You inspired a generation.

You made it possible for us to dream, you made it possible for us to imagine as far as our passions could take us, you took the path less travelled at a time when your peers chose the usual and the convention – banks, politics, oil. You created something truly special.

You know, in a country where most awards are given to politicians, to billionaires, to corporate fat cats, and to anyone who can pay money for it, some of our honourees here were shocked when call we called them:

“Why are you doing this?”

The underlying question obviously was: In Nigeria, why would anyone do something so obviously not for financial gain?

The answer is simple, and this is the simple answer truly: it is a
decision of the heart and not of the head, driven by gratitude rather than balance sheets. Our hearts wanted to do this. Our souls wanted to do this. Our very beings wanted to do this.

We wanted to say thank you. For courage, for chutzpah, for character, for creativity, for depth. Thank you for passion, for ambition, for purpose.

So tonight, we thank you. Red Media Africa thanks you. Nigeria thanks you.

I thank you.

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Rivers Orders Amaechi, Others To Refund N97 Billion…It’s Sheer Blackmail That Can’t Stand- APC

Rivers state government yesterday ordered former Governor Chibuke Rotimi Amaechi, who was last week nominated as minister-designate, retired Brigadier Anthony Ukpo, former military administrator of the state and some former political office holders to refund over N97 billion allegedly misappropriated by them in the sales of the state valued assets.

The state government also directed the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Chinwe Aguma, (SAN), to commence the process of prosecuting Amaechi and two others, over the sale of the state’s four gas turbines without due process.

The state governor, Nyesom Wike equally ordered the suspension of permanent secretaries and other top civil servants indicted by the report of the Justice George Omereji-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the sales of valued assets of the state during the immediate past administration.

Briefing newsmen at the end of the state executive council meeting after receiving the White Paper on the Commission’s report, the Commissioner for Housing, Barrister Emma Okah, said Amaechi would be prosecuted along with the former Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Chamberlain Peterside and his counterpart in the Ministry of Power, Sir Augustine Nwokocha.

Okah said the state government also ordered the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, to commence the recovery of funds realized from the sale of the four gas turbines from the former governor and Nwokocha.

His words: “You will agree with me that the Omereji commission had several terms of references and wqe will be taking them one after the other. The first term of reference is to ascertain the sale of the Omoku 150 megawatts gas turbine; Afam 360 megawatts gas turbine; Trans-Amadi 136 megawatts gas turbine and the Eleme 75 megawatts gas turbine by the administration of former Governor Chibhike Rotimi Amaechi.

“The commission finds as a fact that the sale of 70% equity from the First Independent Power Limited in Omoku gas turbine, Trans-Amadi gas turbine, Afam Phase I gas turbine and Eleme gas turbine, have been very difficult to justify. They have therefoe recommended the review of sale of the power assets and the government of Rivers State has accepted that recommendation.

“Refund of proceeds by Chibuike Amaechi , Chamberlain Peterside, and Augustine Nwokocha. In furtherance of this findings that the sale of the four gas turbines was unjustifiable and against the interest of the government and people of Rivers State.

“The commission recommends that the former governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, along with his former commissioners for Finance and Power, Dr. Chamberlain Peterside and Augustine Nwokocha, respectively, should be held to account for their roles in the sales of the power generation assets of First Independent Power Limited and the disbursement of the proceeds there from.

“Government accepts this recommendation and directs the office of the Honorable Attorney-General and commissioner for Justice, to promptly set in motion the appropriate machinery for the recovery of the proceeds of the sale of the gas turbines from the former governor, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, and every other persons implicated in the commission’s report.”

Okah stated that the state government has directed the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice to recover N3 billion meant for agricultural free loans to farmers, from former Commissioner for Agriculture, Emma Chinda.

Also, he stated that former commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker was to refund some billions of naira spent without due process for the construction of the Justice Karibi-Whyte Hospital, while the former Commissioner for Transport, George Tolofari and former military Governor of Old Rivers State, General Anthony Ukpo were to join Amaechi in returning N33 billion spent on the state monorail project without passing through due process.

In a swift reaction, the State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC in a statement titled “Omeriji Panel Report White Paper: End of Wike’s chicanery” said Wike’s action was a mere drama to entertain himself.

Part of the statement reads: “The APC finds today’s release of the purported white paper as part of the scenes taken from a typical mediaeval era book of self-entertainment. It qualifies for nothing and is not worth more than the decrepit paperweight and putrefying character of its mastermind and authors. However, it is a huge relief to our leader, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi that Nyesom Wike finally accepts that an accused is taken to court of law and not court of public opinion through the manipulation of the media.

“Governor Nyesom Wike is at liberty to amuse himself but wanton display by a governor of crass ignorance of the basic workings of government with regard to how government disposes its property and the process of channelling the payments into government coffers calls for sober reflection by every Rivers man, woman and youth. And the question begging for answer is: how did we get here?

“The APC would like to state that those who crafted this whole melodrama know very well that their contraption is nothing more than a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the APC is glad that Governor Wike has finally hearkened to the pleas by former Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to go to court to prove his accusations rather than embark on expensive strings of media trial through newspapers and worthless television documentaries.

“We have no doubt that very concrete records of every bit of matter relating to the Monorail, sale of power stations, reserve fund, agricultural grant, lease of Olympia Hotel and any others have all been articulated and already in the public domain. Of course, these will be availed the court to permanently put paid to the ongoing chicanery by Governor Nyesom Wike and his friends.”

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Kogi Election: How The Aspirants Stand By Enejo Shuaibu

As the kogi givernorship election draws nearer, major aspirants jostling for their party tickets have intensified their efforts ahead of the primaries.

Although the two main parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have not fixed a date for primaries, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has made it clear via the time table released about two weeks ago that political parties must conduct primaries between August 25 and September 15.

This report takes a look at the governorship aspirants and their chances.

Abubakar Audu

Prince Abubakar Audu is interested in becoming the governor of the state for the third time. In 1991, Prince Audu was appointed Executive Director of FSB International Bank PLC before he was invited into politics to contest for the Governorship position in Kogi State under the ticket of the National Republican Convention (NRC). He was sworn in on 2 January 1992 as the First Executive Governor of Kogi State. It was in this capacity that he transformed the infrastructural landscape of Kogi State.

He also ruled from1999 to 20003 under the platform of the defunct ANPP.

Although Audu has been adjudged one of the best governors Kogi has produced in term of performance, most people are of the view that someone else should be given a chance.

A group, Kogi Renewal Group, has kicked against Audu’s quest to get the APC governorship ticket. The group leader, Dr Abubakar Yakubu, said the return of Audu to Lugard House is not the change the state needs.
It would be recalled that Kogi Central APC elders kicked against Audu’s governorship ambition and the elders from Audu’s zone (Kogi east), also followed suit by kicking Against Audu’s style of leadership.

The Kogi east APC elders passed a vote of no confidence on former governor of Kogi state and leader of the party, Prince Abubakar Audu for the manner he has handled the affairs of the party.

Some of the members were, Senator Alex Kadiri, Chief John S. Odawn, Ocholi James (SAN), Alhaji Abdul Kaka, and Hon. Positive Ihiabe and others.

They accused Audu of “handling the affairs of the party just like his personal estate”

“Prince Abubakar has hijacked the APC party machinery to his personal benefit” they said.

“His unilateral decisions and actions on party issues have created bad blood in the party – a situation that is threatening to tear the party apart. He was, indeed, solely responsible for the loss of 14 seats in the Kogi State House of Assembly Election of 11th April. 2015.

“Prince Abubakar removes, suspends and replaces elected party officials at his whim and caprices.
They also alleged that Audu directed a man to slap the APC Woman leader in Kogi state. They said, “Prince Abubakar Audu is very much high-handed; for instance, he at a meeting in his house, directed a man to slap the State Woman Leader of the party, Hajia Rabi Haruna (Mrs.) for no just cause.

According to the group, “The party is heading for imminent collapse if it is left to remain under the leadership of Prince Abubakar Audu”.

In conclusion they resolved “to pass a vote of no confidence on Prince Abubakar Audu. The group said, “Hence-forth, the elders of the Kogi East APC will not recognize him as the leader of the party in the state.”

Idris Wada

Although Governor Wada has not publicly declared his interest for a second term, his body language suggests that he is the candidate to beat. He emerged the PDP governorship candidate in 2011 in a rescheduled primary skewed in his favour, following the cancellation of the earlier exercise that produced Echocho as party flag bearer. Wada defeated his main rival Prince Abubakar of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Since Wada became governor he had been battling with court cases which didn’t make him settle down for the job. He has been accused by many people of weakening the PDP.

According to a member of the PDP who didn’t want his name mentioned, “Wada was clearly not prepared for the job. He got it due to his personal relationship with former Governor, Ibrahim Idris. He did nothing to appease aggrieved member of his party that is why we are in a mess today. Instead of him to step aside for a more popular person, he is still insisting on running”.

According to observers, even if Wada gets his party’s ticket, it would be an uphill task for him to win the main election because a lot of disenchanted leaders of the PDP in Kogi have dumped the party for the APC, with their teeming supporters.

Jibrin Isa Echocho

Alhaji Jibrin Isah is very famous in Kogi due to his philanthropic ways. Echocho as he is fondly called by his supporters is described by many people as generous to a fault.

Echocho won the PDP ticket for the 2011 election, at a primary conducted by the party in 2010. But, he was dropped in favour of the incumbent Governor Wada.

However, two weeks to the governorship election, there was a court ruling that said that the tenure of five governors including Ibrahim Idris of Kogi state would elapse in 2012 and not 2011. That ruling nullified Echocho’s candidacy. It was really an unfortunate situation for him because he had campaigned as the flag bearer of the party. When it was time for a fresh primary election, the governor, Ibrahim Idris fell out with Jibrin Isah and decided to go for Wada.

Political pundits are of the view that Echocho may still be hoping to replace Wada as the party’s governorship candidate. The Kogi chapter of the PDP is well aware of the need to substitute Wada for a sellable candidate.

Yakubu Mohammed

Veteran journalist Yakubu Mohammed is a former editor of the defunct National Concord. He was co-founder of Newswatch magazine and a former Pro-chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. He is of the Igala ethnic nationality, the dominant tribe in the state.

Yakubu Mohammed is who is called ‘Mr. Integrity’ by his followers for his principled way of life was a former governorship aspirant under the PDP in 2011. He was believed to be the favourite to clinch the ticket.

However, due to some reasons best known to the former governor, he was dumped at the eleventh hour.
According to a reliable source, it is believed that Yakubu Mohammed was dumped because it was discovered that he is difficult to manipulate. “He is not a regular politician so he makes honest statements” the source said. Some of his followers have advised him to try to act like a politician if he wants to stand a chance.

Another impediment might be the fact that unlike other aspirants, he is not financially buoyant.

Some political observers are of the view that if money is still a factor in Kogi politics, then he might not stand a chance of clinching the APC ticket.

However, his supporters argue that “Buhari was not as rich as the other aspirants yet he emerged as the Presidential flag bearer of the APC.

James Ocholi

A legal practitioner, James Ocholi (SAN) is a leading aspirant on the platform of the APC. A Lokoja-based group, the Network for Change and Good Governance, said Ocholi stands tall among other aspirants. They noted that though he is not a moneybag politician, he is credible, dependable, honest and of high integrity.

Since the merger of the main opposition parties to form the APC, the Kogi state chapter of the party has been going through leadership crisis. The leadership tussle in the party is between the former governor, Prince Abubakar Audu and James Ocholi (SAN).

Ocholi was a PDP governorship aspirant in 2011. He however dumped the party for the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and became its governorship candidate. He is now a leader of the APC in the state.
Trouble started when it was alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari chose Ocholi as the leader of APC in Kogi state. The endorsement of Ocholi did not go down well with Audu, who felt that he should be the party’s number one leader in the state due to his antecedent as a former governor of the state.

Prince Audu argued that as a former governor, he should automatically be the main leader of the party in the state.

Many people have criticized both Audu and Ocholi for joining the governorship race as party leaders.

Yahaya Bello

Bello is one of the aspirants contesting for the APC ticket. He is one of the most popular aspirants in the race.

Political observers are of the opinion that Yahaya Bello stands a chance of clinching his party’s ticket because Kogi Central where he hails from is more united than ever to see that one of them becomes the next governor. Unlike Kogi east and Kogi west, the Igbiras have fielded just one aspirant.

The youths, under the aegis of Kogi APC Youths Arise Movement, are rooting for him. The group leader, Mr. Edward Onoja, said Bello stands out as the most pro-masses and youth friendly. He said: “As youths of Kogi State, we see Yahaya Bello as the carrier of our hopes and aspirations. His blueprint is pro-youths and it addresses the germane issues that concern our demographic needs.”

Aside from the support he enjoys from the youths, Bello is also believed to be extremely rich.

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