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Tukur Quits, New PDP National Chairman Emerges, Monday …Stakeholders React

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Ogoni youths protesting in Bori, Khana Local Government Council of Rivers State last Wednesday

Ogoni youths protesting in Bori, Khana Local Government Council of Rivers State last Wednesday

The PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, yesterday in Abuja, formally resigned his appointment following crises within the party.
Tukur‘s resignation was announced by President Goodluck Jonathan at the party’s 63rd National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.
“We have some internal problems that have been agitating the minds of the people and let us really thank the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) headed by Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
“He did not just wake up to be the chairman of our party, he has paid his dues, he has held several offices and worked for this country and he has done very well.
“And for us to make sure that we rest these issues, the party chairman agreed to step aside,’’ the president said.
The announcement of Tukur‘s resignation by President Jonathan was greeted with a standing ovation.
Jonathan said Tukur personally submitted his resignation letter to him Wednesday night even as he handed the letter to the party’s National Secretary, Prof Adewale Oladipo right at the NEC meeting.
“He is not guilty in any way; in fact, I have to give him another assignment that is tougher than handling PDP.
“This is because we need people like Bamanga Tukur to market this country and the PDP.
“He has been doing that in the platform of African Round Table but we need a tougher job than the African Round Table for him,” Jonathan added.
He, consequently, called on Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River to formally move a motion to accept Tukur‘s resignation which was seconded by Sen. Abdul Ningi.
Jonathan further announced that the party’s NEC should take a decision to hold another meeting on January 20 to formally inaugurate a new national chairman for the party.
This, he maintained, would be based on the party‘s constitution, adding that the new chairman would come from the North East, according to the party‘s zoning principle.
“Within this period from now to Monday, we will look among ourselves particularly our leaders from the North East for a new chairman,’’ he said.
The president expressed the need to select someone who would be acceptable to all party members and with the qualities to lead the party to greater heights.
“For that reason, between now and Monday that we will meet, I will meet with relevant stakeholders and see how we can get such a person that will be acceptable by all of you.
“Because when we come here that day, and you say no, there is nothing we can do, that is why we must take time to look for a man or a woman that will lead the party.
“And I believe that those who will consult collectively will not disappoint this house,’’ the president said.
He described as normal the defection of some PDP members to the opposition, adding that the development was not a thing the party should worry itself about.
Jonathan said that as long as the parties continued to work together and do things together, it would remain the best party in the country.
He expressed the hope that from ongoing discussions, some of the members who defected to the opposition would return to the party soon.
He added that the party would henceforth be holding regular meetings, adding that the party‘s governors would now be meeting monthly to strategise on how to improve the party‘s fortune.
He also said that the party’s caucus and the Board of Trustee meetings would now hold every quarter while its NEC would meet more regularly.
“That would make us here at the centre to interact more with the state party chairmen and other party officials as well as the governors to think about the party.
“This is to see how we can collectively drive its machinery.
“The people want to see the PDP very affective because if we are not holding meetings, they will think that people have overtaken us, nobody can overtake PDP,’’ he said.
He assured the gathering that the PDP-led government at all levels would continue to give the people the true dividends of democracy.
The president challenged the opposition to assess the present PDP administration with previous government.
According to him, this government has done very well in the interest of the country.
He said that the PDP government was committed to its vision of ensuring positive change at all levels.
He tasked members to remain faithful, adding that the party would continue to grow stronger.
However, the factional Chairman of PDP in Rivers State, Felix Obuah has confirmed that he was among the state PDP chairmen that passed a vote of no confidence on the embattled National Chairman of the PDP, Bamanga Tukur.
Obuah disclosed that they no longer have confidence on the leadership of Tukur, due to what he described as problems in the party since his assumption of office.
Obuah said it was time for Tukur to step aside, adding that the Rivers PDP stakeholders had no problems in voting against him
According to him, “we feel that the problem of leadership the party has witnessed and the grievances, a lot of acrimony amongst its members he has not been able to address are some of the issues that had been of concern to us. So, we feel that it is right time to call it quits”.
Meanwhile, some members of the House of Representatives, yesterday in Abuja, said that the resignation of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur as PDP chairman, would help in repositioning the party.
In separate interviews with newsmen, the legislators said that with the resignation, the party would be repositioned for 2015 general elections.
Rep. Uzor Azubuike (PDP-Abia), said that the decision by Bamanga to resign as the party chairman was patriotic.
He called on those who had defected to APC to make a rethink and come back to the party.
Rep.Gerald Irona (PDP-Imo) said that members of the party had had problems with the leadership style of Bamanga which led to the defection of the five PDP governors and others.
He said that his resignation was a good development for the party as it would save it from eminent danger.
Also speaking, Sen. Abdul Ningi described Alhaji Bamanga Turku, the former PDP national chairman, as the sacrificial lamb for the unity and stability of the party.
He made this known after President Goodluck Jonathan presented Tukur‘s resignation letter to the party‘s National Executive Committee (NEC) members.
Ningi, who seconded Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River motion for the acceptance of Tukur‘s resignation letter, said that Tukur had not violated any section of the party‘s constitution.
He stressed the outgoing party national chairman only sacrificed himself for the party following its recent crisis.
Tukur had before the president announced his resignation, thanked God and the party’s stakeholders for giving him the opportunity to serve.
“It has been a matter of honour for me to have served our party, and indeed, a rare privilege to have become the national chairman.
“I am grateful to the seven deities of good luck with which the Almighty God has endowed me.
“I am delighted to have had the opportunity to nurture and deliver an idea; that is the need for discipline and internal democratic practices within the party,” Tukur said.
Tukur advised the party members to install new national values that were driven less by personal greed and power and more by national interest.
This, according to him, is critical to address the country‘s challenges as well as that of the party.
“As we reinvent the foundation of internal consensus, let us endeavour to flaunt the good works of our various governments at all tiers of governance. We shall overcome,’’ Tukur said.

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Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court

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The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.

Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.

The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.

It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.

They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.

According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.

The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.

However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.

Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.

The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.

Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.

He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.

More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.

Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.

The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.

Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.

Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.

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World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.

The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.

The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.

“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.

“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?

“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.

“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.

“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.

“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”

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Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation

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Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.

It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.

The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.

“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.

Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.

It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.

It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.

“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.

“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.

“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’

“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.

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