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Okupe Shrugs Off APC’s Threat

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The Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, last Tuesday described the merger of opposition political parties on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a weak association that would crumble and disappear by 2014, one year before the next general election.

Okupe stated this when he visited  THISDAY corporate offices in Lagos Thursday, as he put his father’s name on the line.

“If they don’t crumble and disappear by 2014, don’t call me Okupe,” he bragged.

The self-described “attack lion” of President Goodluck Jonathan dismissed the view that the merger would rout the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the next election, calling the forces behind it unserious people that are incapable of causing a major upset in national politics.

“Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Maj-Gen. Mohammadu Buhari are not serious-minded people; they are going round like people dancing in a market place,” he said, defiantly. “I expect that when you post an aggregate of people of that calibre who want to run government, by now they must have a policy statement on power, agriculture and employment and not just talking about PDP leaving.

“Is it by mouth that they will run the nation? These are not serious-minded people. Can someone get your vote by using word of mouth that PDP should leave without a policy?”

Okupe was hinging his political prediction on the projection that the president’s joker, which is stable electricity, is attained by 2014, the opposition would be punctured and rendered ineffective.

Specifically dismissing Tinubu, he held that the ACN chieftain has ridden roughshod over the South-west, but that Nigeria is bigger than that.

“This is their first time out in national politics; alright, and let me give you some bad news: the relevance that ACN has in Nigerian politics is that they are a Yoruba party. That is what makes them relevant in politics and by dropping that toga, the party is dead.

“They have just formed an abyss; a formless abyss that the Yoruba cannot key into. The Yoruba have always been members of a regional organisation – Action Group (AG), Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), etc. And in any case, what are the electoral credentials of ACN? How many states have they won that they are boasting?”

In a frontal assault that suggested that the PDP is wary of the possibilities open to the opposition, Okupe described the APC as a party that is consistently unable to produce a presidential candidate from within its rank and file, saying that for the 2015 election, they are planning to recruit the Speaker of the House, Tambuwal.

“What kind of political party is that and you are taking them seriously. It is a politically defective and weak organisation, and by coming to the national stage, the wind is going to blow them open. If they don’t crumble and disappear by 2014, don’t call me Okupe,” he said.

With reference to the power reform programme, he said that the problem with the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) was the amount of money that was designated for it, stating that the money was not the type entrepreneurs in the country could aggregate.

“When Jonathan came, five major problems bedevilled the power sector,” he said. “One, there was low generation capacity. Two, was that the NIPPs, which required so much money, were abandoned. Three, even if they were working, they were located in places that were impossible for gas availability. Four, there was very poor transmission capacity and five, the indecisiveness involved in the privatisation exercise.

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Govs To Hold Virtual Meeting On Judicial, Legislative Autonomy

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The Governors of the 36 states of the federation will hold a virtual meeting today to further discuss the issue of financial autonomy to judicial and legislative arms in states.
This is contained in a statement by NGF Head of Media and Public Affairs, Mr Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo on Monday in Abuja.
Bello-Barkindo said efforts were already being made in all states to either constitute State Accounts Allocation Committees (SAAC) or inaugurate them.
This, according to him, is preparatory to the granting of full autonomy to the two arms of government at the subnational level.
The Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) had since embarked on a nationwide strike on the issue.
He said the governors had been working day and night to establish modalities for the autonomy in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution.
He said that the governors would also be updated on the activities of the Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19 by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, who headed the governors’ interface with the committee.
Bello-Barkindo said that the meeting would also review the agenda of the National Executive Council (NEC), which would take place a day after.
“Other items on the agenda include the regular update on the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability for results (SFTAS) to provide states’ status on their DLI’s and upcoming deadlines.
The meeting would also receive presentation from the Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, regarding unlocking liquidity through sale/optimisation of state-owned redundant/sub-optimal assets,” he said.
He added that the Policy Development Facility (PDF) bridge programme would also discuss diversification and non-oil export opportunities for states in post Covid-19 era.

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2023: PDP Flexes Muscle Over C’ River

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Leading members of the main opposition PDP converged in Calabar, Cross River at the weekend to strategise on how to retain its grip on power in the state.
This is contained in a statement e-mailed to newsmen in Abuja, yesterday.
The Tide source reports that the PDP has been in power in Cross River since the return of democracy in the country 22 years ago but the defection of the current governor appears to mark a turning point.
Political pundits argue that the defection of the state Governor Ben Ayade from the PDP to the ruling APC may affect the fortunes of the PDP in the years ahead.
The governor’s departure is now seen as a major test for the PDP in what is now seen as a game of wits between the PDP and the APC.
Addressing the party’s chieftains, the National Chairman of the party, Mr Uche Secondus, declared that Cross River would “remain the stronghold of the PDP, in spite of Gov. Ayade’s defection.
“PDP will work to retain the confidence the people of Cross River State reposed in our party and retain its dominance in the state.
“Our party has governed since the return of party politics in 1999.
“Cross River will remain the stronghold of our party well after 2023,’’ said Secondus, flanked by other chieftains of the party, including Sen. Bukola Saraki and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.
Secondus told PDP members in the state to remain resolute to make the party retain power in the upcoming general elections.
Also speaking, a former governor of the state, Sen. Liyel Imoke, gave assurance that no other party would take the state from the PDP, “being the dominant party in the state.
“PDP is the only party known to our people. I assure the leadership of our party that we will deliver victory in 2023,’’ he stated.
Imoke governed the state from 2007 to 2015 when he handed over to Ayade now of the APC.
Other PDP chieftains, who were present at the event included former Governor Peter Obi of Anambra, former Gov. Donald Duke of Cross River and the Chairman of the party’s Caretaker Committee, Mr Efiok Cobham.
Also present were Hon. Daniel Asuquo, Hon. Etta Mbora and Hon. Essien Ayi, all serving members of the House of Representatives among other party’s chieftains.

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…Vows To Take Over Anambra

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The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra, Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu, says the party remains focused to take over the state in the upcoming governorship poll.
Nwobu said this in an interview with newsmen in Awka yesterday, adding that he would not be distracted by those trying to destabilise the party in the state.
He lauded the National Executive Committee of the party for organising successful ward congresses in the state.
He described the success of the exercise as a sure step to the party’s free, fair and credible primary election.
“We want to conduct our primary election, where party people will freely vote and produce a candidate that will be acceptable to Anambra people at the November 6 poll.
“This is not time for distractions. We are focused on taking over government from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
“The party has shortchanged millions of Anambra people in terms of governance.
Nwobu said he remained the valid chairman of PDP in Anambra, having emerged from a valid process that was upheld by a Federal High Court in its May 24, 2018 judgment.
He said the judgment had not been reversed by any higher court and was “unfazed by any court judgment”, which purportedly removed him.
“My leadership is still subsisting, no superior court has set that judgment aside and a court of coordinate jurisdiction cannot do that.
“Our team of legal experts is taking care of that. The decision to appeal will be advised,” the PDP chairman said.
The Tide source reports that Chief Chukwudi Umeaba at the weekend announced that he had taken over the party in the state as the Acting Chairman of the Caretaker Committee.
Umeaba, who announced the suspension of the ward congresses, said his action was predicated on the judgment of an Abuja Federal High Court.
According to him, the judgment delivered on June 9, nullified the process that produced Nwobu’s leadership.

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