Activities leading to the
2015 general election are gradually gathering momentum. One of these is the coming together on November 26,2013 of the All Progressive Congress (APC),the New People’s Democratic Party (NPDP) and five of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) seven aggrieved governors known as the G7 governors.
When the political drama started last three months, precisely on August 31 2013, many thought that the governors were jokers, but little did they believe that it may turn the political wheel of the nation to another direction.
The journey started after the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) election which Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State won with 19 votes against 16 by Jonah Jang of Plateau State.
It later progressed when five governors elected under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) staged a walk out at the Eagle Square, Abuja, venue of the partys special national convention.
The walk out obviously was due to a culmination of factors after series of attempt were made at appeasing the two parties.
These governors, Babangida Aliyu (Niger),Sule Lamido (Jigawa),Abdufatah Ahmend ( Kwara),Aliyu Wamako (Kano)were not happy with the leadership of the National Chairman of the party,Alhaji Bamagar Tukur.
These five governors moved to Shehu Yar’Adua centre to join Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi and Murtala Nyako(Adamawa) who were not at the convention.
After the walk out, the governors started to consult some prominent members and the founding fathers of the party with the view to settling the problems .They met the former President, Chief Olusengun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangid, Alex Ekwueme and many others.
But as the group made each move, those behind the picture and walking behind the actors thwarted all efforts and caused more problems which widened and escalated the problem in the party.
While these were going on,the APC,a new political party which emerged as a result of the fusion of four political parties took the advantage to woo the aggrieved governors and the end result of that romance of some months ago became a marriage.
The APC leaders led by Lagos State Governor Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and former head of state and presidential candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Gen.Muhammed Buhari toured some states with a view to wooing the Governors to come over to the party.
When the group arrived Rivers State early last month, their arrival generated another problem between the Rivers State Command of the Nigeria Police Force and Governor Amaechi.
The Police had to stop a large crowd of PDP party faithfuls at the entrance of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa from going into the airport to welcome the visitors. That later resulted to the Governor trekking about five kilometer to the presidential lounge of the airport. However, before this encounter, the Police in Rivers State had carried out series of confrontation against the state government to the extent of blocking the entrance of Government House and preventing the governor from entering into his official residence.
The five governors may have different reasons for joining the APC,but among them was to save and strengthen democracy.
In his own view , Governor Amaechi said the Federal Government’s lack of commitment to the commencement of Train Seven of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) is a major constraint to the socio-economic development of Rivers State.
Chibuike Amaechi who stated this Thursday in his broadcast to the people of Rivers State, said the step which was taken by the Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke would deny Rivers people tens of thousands of jobs and also discourage investments in the state.
The governor said the minister insisted that investors should go and invest in the Brass NLNG project rather than in the NLNG Train Seven project in Rivers State.
The governor while justifying his decision to leave the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for All Progressive Peoples Congress (APC), also accused the Federal Government of sidelining Rivers State in boards and other federal appointments at the federal level. “Rivers State is treated with levity. Out of the several councils of universities, no Rivers person was found worthy of becoming a University Council Chairman”, he fumed.
He also mentioned total absence of federal presence in Rivers State as another major ploy against the state, adding that the good governance tour in the state exposed the total lack of federal presence in the state which he described as the cash cow of the federation.
Abandonment of work on the East-West Road, deliberate delay of work on the Port Harcourt International Airport, the third busiest airport in the country, when work on other airports have been completed, and commissioned, and the poor state of Bonny-Bomu road leading to the only functional LNG project, he said shows the lack of interest of the Federal Government on its projects in the state.
The governor remarked that “no personal interest or ambition can be higher than the welfare of the people that gave him their mandate without condition”, he said. He accused the Federal Government of ceding oil wells belonging to Rivers State to Bayelsa, Abia and Akwa Ibom States.
“Even after we got a judgement that the oil wells were wrongly ceded to Akwa Ibom State and should be returned to us, only dry wells that were no longer producing oil were returned”, he said.
“In the specific case of the Soku Oil Wells, despite a decision reached that the monies should remain in an escrow account till all matters concerning it are resolved, the Federal Government continues to pay neighbouring Bayelsa State the revenue meant for Rivers in a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul”, the governor maintained.
Governor Amaechi who also noted that internal party democracy had been sacrificed on the altar of personal greed and injustice declared that it would be impossible to achieve set goals and aspirations of the state under the PDP as presently constituted.
The Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly Hon. Leyii Kwanee supported the Governor for his action and decision and said the Ogonis have not benefited from the PDP-led government as he accused the party of marginalising the Ogonis by not implementing the report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
“As an Ogoni man, I’m so pained that Mr. President and the PDP-led government, for the past two years have not been able to implement the UNEP report. It is a sufficient anger,” Kwanee stated.
Hon. Kwanee who is also the member representing Khana Constituency 2 in the Assembly, condemned Ogoni sons in Abuja who had not used their friendship with the President to influence him to implement the report.
One thing that is clear and certain now is that the coming together of the APC, the new PDP and five governors have threatened the PDP’s existence. That move is destined to change the face of politics permanently and for good.
It would also end the issue of impunity and rivalry and ensure competition for the good of the people thereby empowering the electorate to choose who leads them in their respective states, Senate, House of Representatives and State Assembly rather than imposing leads by political godfathers.
Although, the situation may create two party system, it will as well strengthen and deepen democracy in the country.
The situation may change for the PDP that once enjoyed the monopoly both in the Senate and House of Representative.
Hon. Sokonte Davies,representing Bonny/Degema Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, confirmed that the PDP is now in minority in the lower chamber and if the two other governors join with their supporters in the Senate and House of Representatives,the PDP may no longer be the largest party in Africa.
…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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