Political assassinations have become the major outcome of political violence in Nigeria to the extent that most individuals and groups see the adoption of assassination as necessary means to settle political scores.
To worsen the situation is the dismal effort of the security agencies in bringing culprits of such dastardly and gruesome killings to book. The police are quick to attribute such reported cases of political assassinations to armed robbers without any proper investigation and verifiable evidence.
However, the ineffectiveness of the national security agencies, the inter and intra-party squabbles and the bloody political war that loom in some states such as Plateau are posing great danger to Nigeria’s democracy.
Many Nigerians have viewed with sadness, the inclusive poor level of police investigation into the various cases of political assassinations that have remained mystery till date. The inability of security agencies to resolve such killings, many believe is likely to threaten not only the Nigeria’s democracy but the upcoming political and electoral activities preparatory to 2011 general elections.
An activist and co-ordinator, Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), Port Harcourt, Patrick Naagbanton said “This culture of impunity of political killings and assassinations will continue because there is no judicial repercussion against previous killings in Nigeria to deter or serve as a deterrent to other culprits”.
While many Nigerians believe that the end has come to political assassinations, another page on the trend was opened Monday, January 25, 2010 when a prominent politician and Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate in the 2007 Election, Otunba Dipo Dina was shot dead by yet unknown gunmen near Sango Ota in Ogun State.
The notable philanthropist and politician was shot by suspected assassins near the Covenant University on Ota Idi-Iroko Road while returning from Abeokuta Ogun State capital to his home in Lagos.
The late politician, it would be recalled was locked in a fierce legal battle with the incumbent Governor of Ogun State, Chief Gbenga Daniel of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the outcome of the conduct of the 2007 Governorship Election in that state.
The killing of the politician came one week after scores of people were injured as a result of clash between supporters of the Governor Gbenga Daniel and another opposition candidate in the 2007 Governorship Election in Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Ibadan Oyo State capital shortly after court of Appeal Ibadan adjournment in the Election Petition filed by Senator Amosun against the victory of Chief Gbenga Daniel.
Indeed there have been polarisation of PDP into factions in Ogun State with factional groups juxtaposing for political powers come 2011 in the State.
According to the Environmental activist, Patrick Naagbanton, the situation in Ogun State is all about political power tussles without necessarily the political class evaluating the impact of such power struggle and tussle on governance, security of lives and democracy.
“My understanding of the political power tussles in Ogun State is that, there is power tussle between the Governor Gbenga Daniel’s camp and the Obasanjo –Dimeji Bankole, House of Representatives, Speaker’s Camp. The latter camp is probably looking forward to using a compromise opposition candidate to deal with the former camp through the judicial process,” Naagbanton declared.
But even as Nigerians are asking who killed Dipo Dina, the police have attributed the killing to armed robbery attack.
According to the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Musa Daura, the killing of Otunba Dipo Dina has element of robbery and element of assassination, but Action Congress leadership in South West believes the killing rather has political undertone in view of Otunba Dipo Dina long political battles in Ogun State with the incumbent Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Lawyer and President West Africa Bar Association (WABA) Femi Falana has described Daura’s comments on the killing of Otunba Dipo Dina by armed robbers as very hasty and irresponsible.
Femi Falana said that “hasty conclusion made a huge mockery of investigation by the police.” Though the Federal Government had condemned the gruesome murder of the politician, it directed the police authorities in the country to fish out and prosecute those behind the killing.
Media aide to Acting President, Ima Niboro reportedly said “we are committed to ensuring that the days where our citizens whether prominent or not are usually felled by gunmen of whatever discipline are gone forever”, adding that the relevant intelligence agencies must rise to the occasion.
However, with this assassination, the list of unresolved murder in Nigeria has swelled. There is generally high level of insecurity in the land. What this portends for 2011 general election is the ink in the blood of most Nigerians. Most disturbing is that political assassination have become a regular feature in Nigeria.
The assassination of Dipo Dina and many unresolved killings in the country, to say the least, is not healthy. To fair-minded Nigerians, the nation is descending progressively into a land where anything can happen and there will be no accountability. Both the police and judiciary must rise to the challenge of the occasion. Since the record of previous mysterious assassinations, no court of law has ever convicted any culprit to serve as deterrent to any would-be hired assailant.
The security system in Nigeria should be improved upon to guarantee the sanctity of life. The political class should be re-oriented on issues, not self interest that can not promote healthy politicking.
According to Naabulobari Naazigha-Lue, State Chairman, committee for the Defence of Human Rights, frantic efforts should be made to get illegal weapons off the hands of certain political chieftains and thugs, while the police should intensify efforts at checking the movement of arms and ammunition as Nigeria moves towards 2011 polls.
…Urges Ondo Gov To Shelve N2bn Gov’s Lodge Project
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised the Ondo State government to shelve its plans to build a new governor’s lodge at the cost of N2 billion in the interest of the state.
Mr Fatai Adams, the state PDP Chairman said this when he spoke with newsmen at the state party secretariat in Akure, yesterday.
Adams expressed concern over mass resignation of doctors in the state due to poor remuneration.
“We are seriously alarmed by the unfortunate resignation of over 109 doctors from the state public service over the inability of the government to pay their due salaries and hazard allowances as at when due.
“I’m sure you will all recall that Ondo State was the destination for medical tourism in the South West because of the first class service delivery found here under the PDP administration.
“According to the Nigerian Medical Association records, no medical house officer has been employed by the state government since 2019, a situation that is responsible for the poor services rendered in the hospitals.
“The present administration has a backlog of unpaid salaries of workers, it is proposing to build a N2 billion new governor’s lodge in Akure. This is not only ridiculous but the surest evidence that the government has completely lost direction,” he said.
Adams added” “Dr Olusegun Mimiko, Oluwarotimi Akeredeolu’s predecessor built a very befitting governor’s Lodge in 2013, a few years before Akeredolu assumed the reins of government.
“To spend N2 billion of tax payers money on another lodge at this time is the height of callousness and wastefulness,” he said.
Senators Rate 9th National Assembly High
Senators on Wednesday at plenary commended the 9th National Assembly at the mid-term assessment of its performance in the last two years.
The lawmakers, who spoke during a special session to mark the second year anniversary of the 9th Senate, commended the various legislative interventions of the National Assembly, especially on security, economy and governance.
The lawmakers, who spoke included the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC-Kebbi); Deputy Leader, Ajayi Boroffice (APC-Ondo); Deputy Whip, Aliyu Sabi (APC-Niger), and Adamu Aliero (APC-Kebbi).
Others were Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC-Kwara); Gabriel Suswam (PDP-Benue); Chukwuka Utazi (PDP-Enugu); Solomon Adeola (APC-Lagos), Olubunmi Adetumbi (APC,-Ekiti), Ibikunle Amosun (APC-Ogun), and Suleiman Umar (APC-Kwara).
The rest were Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo (APC-Bayelsa); Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP-Ondo); Istifanus Gyang (PDP-Plateau); Sam Egwu (PDP-Ebonyi); Teslim Folarin (APC-Oyo); Nora Daduut (APC-Plateau); Jibrin Isah (APC-Kogi); Abdullahi Adamu (APC-Nasarawa), and Francis Fadahunsi (PDP-Osun), amongst others.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in a speech delivered at the special session, said 742 bills were introduced by the ninth Senate in the last two years.
According to him, out of the total number of bills introduced during the two sessions of the Assembly, 58 have been passed, while 355 bills have gone through first reading.
Contributing, Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, said the realignment carried out on the budget cycle by the National Assembly was to insulate businesses and the economy from going into recession.
Deputy Whip, Sen. Aliyu Sabi, said: “As we celebrate two years, we are guided by the legislative agenda.
“The unity of purpose which we have worked for, has enabled us to achieve those great strides.
“The Production Sharing Contract (PSC) is a testimony on how the National Assembly has been able to work in unity in the interest of the nation.
“We need to work together to find common grounds to problems that beset the country,” Abdullahi said.
In his own remark, Sen. Garbriel Suswam, said: “Inspite of challenges and shortcomings, the 9th Assembly had taken major steps to achieve some of its legislative agenda.”
He said that the executive has been intransigent in implementing the resolution of the National Assembly.
He appealed to the Senate President to ensure that the Electoral Bill presently before the National Assembly was passed transparently, while accommodating provisions for the use of electronic card readers and electronic transmission of results during elections.
Senator Chukwuka Utazi, on his own part, described Executive-Legislative relations under the ninth Assembly as a good one.
The lawmaker, who called for the introduction of State Police, to curb rising insecurity in the country, also advised that the constitutional review exercise, be used to bring the South East region at par with other parts of the country.
Sen. Solomon Adeola similarly said that the Senate had on two occasions rescued Nigeria from a looming economic crises when it slid into recession.
He added that such a prompt response was extended by the National Assembly to the issue of insecurity amid its recommendations to the Executive arm of government, which were aimed at tackling the spate of insecurity faced by the country.
PDP Inaugurates E-Registration Committee
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday inaugurated e-registration Committee to facilitate electronic registration of its members nationwide.
The committee is Chaired by the Governor of Edo, Mr Godwin Obaseki, while Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State is the Vice Chairman.
The party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, at the inauguration of the committee in Abuja, said that the e- registration was a project dear to the party and had been on the card since 2010.
Secondus said that the party decided to digitalise its membership for proper database, due to its size, reach and to move with time.
“When we say that PDP is the largest party in the continent, we are not grandstanding but stating the obvious.
“There is no nook and cranny of this country that you won’t find PDP members.
“In 2019 general elections, the PDP was the only political party that fielded candidates in all the positions: Presidency, Governorship, Senate and House of Representatives and in all the 36 states’ Houses of Assembly.
“Even in states where we are not in power, our members still out number even the ruling party in such states.
“We are the only party since inception in 1998 that has been consistent in name, motto, manifestos and logo,” he said.
Secondus said that reports available to the party across the country showed that many more Nigerians want to join PDP and that the exercise would provide them such opportunity.
Secondus advised members of the committee to use their wealth of experience to deliver on the mandate assigned to them.
“In appointing you as the Chairman of this project, the party took into consideration your background and your love for data and record keeping.
“We have absolute confidence that you and your team will deliver in this assignment that is expected to update the database of our party across the country.
“Membership registration into our party is a continuous programme, what we are embarking on is to digitalise it for proper analysis of issues.
“The place of women and youths in our party cannot be over-emphasised and this programme is going to help toward proper planning in our party,” Secondus said.
Obaseki, in his remarks promised that the committee would reach out to PDP members across the nation.
He promised that the exercise would be all inclusive to the men and women, especially youths who were living in the digital world.
Obaseki said the committee would leverage on the existing platform of the party and produced a membership register that the party would be proud of .
“It is very worthy that our party being a big party has decided to digitalised membership and position the party to take over in 2023,” he said.
The party’s National Organising Secretary, retired Col. Austin Akobundu is the Secretary to the Committee, while the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan; Agbi Emmanuel, Prof. Wale Oladipo, Sani Kutigi, Cyril Maduabum and Hon. Austin Opara will serve as members.
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