Following the mass exodus of members of All Progressives Congress, (APC), in Rivers State to the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), the chances of APC in future elections in the state have become very uncertain. This uncertainty became more pronounced when over 8000 former APC members made a public declaration to join the PDP at the prestigious Sharks stadium in Port Harcourt on Thursday, April 13, 2017.
The story is also all over the place of more persons trooping to the PDP secretariat to declare for the party. We gathered that last Wednesday, April 12, 2017 another set of 372 APC members from Oyigbo and Etche local governments, as well as others from Ozuboko section of ward 20 of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area deserted their former party for the PDP.
As if to add salt to injury, the leader of APC in Rivers State and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, in a meeting of the party’s caucus and leadership reportedly made the mistake of his life when he announced that the governorship ticket of the party in 2019 will be given to his business associate and crony, Tonye Cole, the co-founder of Sahara Energy Resource Limited, the company said to have been involved in the controversial sale and purchase of some of the assets of Rivers State during Amaechi’s tenure as governor.
This decision of the APC leader in Rivers State, we gathered has now torn the party apart as the duo of Senator Magnus Abe and Dakuku Peterside, the two contending aspirants have now vowed to teach Rotimi Amaechi a lesson of his life. Although sources close to Dakuku appear to be silent on how they feel about what an insider refers to as betrayal of the century, it is obvious that they are as hurt as the camp of Senator Magnus Abe, given the fact that their principal (Dakuku) had had the opportunity to bear the flag of the party in the 2015 governorship election.
This cannot be said to be the same in the camp of Senator Magnus Abe, as his supporters are said to be hell bent on fighting for the ticket of the party for their principal. Abe’s group, it was gathered are not hiding their anger and disappointment in the choice of Tonye Cole and have vowed to dump APC if their candidate is not given a fair chance to contest for the governorship ticket in 2019.
Meanwhile, one of Senator Abe’s supporters who pleaded anonymity had threatened that APC in Rivers State risks disintegration should the Transportation Minister jettison, for the second time the democratic process of party primaries, and goes ahead to impose his preferred governorship candidate against the wishes of the majority.
His words: “Honestly, we are not saying that Abe should be given the ticket without any contestation. Anybody who wants to emerge as the party’s governorship candidate should do so through the ballot. The era of imposition is over.
“We will not tolerate what happened in 2014 to repeat itself in 2018.To be candid, if Abe is denied the ticket this time around, the APC at this time will be her worst nightmare. The party will just become easy prey for the ruling PDP. Speaking for myself, we may be compelled to accept to get back to the senate on the platform of either the PDP or any other party that offers the opportunity”, the supporter bitterly concluded.
It would be recalled that, in 2014, the governorship candidate of APC, Dakuku Peterside, current director general of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, was foisted on the party, a bitter pill which Senator Magnus Abe and his supporters managed to swallow as Abe was compelled to redirect his attention to the senatorial ticket.
Shockingly, while APC is engrossed in internal squabbles, their leadership is losing sight of the fact that Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, who has the constitutional right of second tenure is consolidating his hold on power by combing into the nooks and crannies of the state to attract the support of, not only the existing apolitical Rivers men and women but carting away APC members in their thousands. This development, it was gathered, is apart from the governor’s preoccupation and commitment in providing enduring landmark infrastructural facilities for the benefit of the good people of Rivers State, testimonials that have made his choice, both now and in the future unavoidable.
Reports say, this situation has placed Governor Wike at an advantage over and above any person that may be put forward by the APC or any other party for that matter, as the people of the state have a choice between a tested performer and a neophyte who would come to learn on the job.
Reflecting on the likely political direction of the state in 2019, a political analyst, Dr Oforika Stanley observed thus: “Rivers state is experiencing and enjoying massive infrastructural development under Governor Nyesom Wike and it will be stupid of any body to imagine that our people will ignore the high standards set by Wike and begin to look elsewhere. It will amount to the proverbial hunter who has killed an elephant and still begin to look for snail. It is certainly not possible, our people will continue to enjoy the peace, unity and progress Governor Wike had already put in place in our dear state”, Dr Oforibika emphasised.
APC, PDP Bandy Words Over Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request
The ruling All Progressives Party (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have argued over President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for approval to borrow $4 billion and €710 million to fund the deficit in the 2021 budget.
Recall that the president made the request in a letter he addressed to the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in reaction to the development, cautioned the NASS against approving the request, saying it could set the country’s debt profile skyrocketing without a feasible repayment plan.
With the approval to borrow $8.3 billion and €490 million loans by its legislative body barely two months ago, Nigeria’s debt profile risks reaching over N40 trillion.
“More alarming is that the debts that APC is hanging on Nigerians are for nebulous projects whose scopes, utilities, locations and contractors are largely vague; a development that validates apprehensions of a huge swindle on our nation at the expense of innocent Nigerians, including generation yet unborn.
“Our party holds it as an act of wickedness that individuals who know that they will be leaving office in less than two years will be accumulating debts instead of seeking ways to reduce the liability they have brought upon our nation.
“The APC knows it will not be around after May 29, 2023. That is why it is pushing our nation into a deeper economic quagmire with foreign loans, which are largely diverted to the personal pockets of their corrupt leaders,” the opposition PDP said in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Tuesday.
But responding to the PDP’s criticism, the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday, said the loans are for “the good of the country” and well-being of the citizenry.
The ruling party also accused the opposition party of looting foreign loans obtained during its 16 years rule rather than spending on infrastructure and economic growth as, according to it, Mr Buhari-led government is doing.
“It was in PDP’s era that loans to fund power generation, purchase arms and ammunition to fight a raging insurgency were misappropriated and diverted to fund PDP activities; and the borrowed money ultimately found its way to the pockets of cronies, friends and family members of administration officials. Nigeria is still servicing a $460 million loan taken from China to fund a phoney Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) contract awarded in August 2010.
“Nigerians should also reflect and recall that the PDP had in its 16 years of misrule pushed the country into a dark ditch of insolvency, and a period in which most state governments could not pay workers salaries, not even the minimum wage, or settle contractors’ bills and cater for patients in hospitals, to name a few,” the APC interim National Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, said.
A’Ibom Gov Signs Anti-Open Grazing Law
Akwa lbom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has signed into law a bill to prohibit open rearing and grazing of livestock and provide for the establishment of ranches in the state.
The Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, with the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uko Udom (SAN), presented the bill for signing on Wednesday at the State Executive Chambers, in the Governor’s Office, Uyo.
The governor, after signing the bill into law, stated that the new law was no respecter of persons irrespective of status or calibre.
He instructed relevant authorities of government to ensure that the law was implemented and enforced to the letter with strict compliance, stressing that, culprits must be brought to book accordingly.
The new law will promote modern techniques in animal husbandry, prevent the destruction of farms by wandering cattle while reducing clashes and killings between herders and farmers in the state.
It will also promote international best practices in livestock administration, regulation and control in the state, among other things.
The state Assembly passed the bill on Tuesday, and the Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, directed the Clerk of the House, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to communicate the decision of the House to the Governor for his assent.
Also at the Executive Chambers, the Speaker who was accompanied by the Leader of the House, Udo Kierian Akpan, and the Clerk of the Assembly, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to the signing ceremony witnessed the inauguration of two C\committees by the Governor.
The committees are the Akwa Ibom State Gender Based Violence Management Committee, chaired by the First Lady, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel, and Akwa Ibom State Road Safety Management Committee, chaired by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo.
NASS S’East Caucus Moves To Reconstruct Federal System
Members of the South East Caucus of the National Assembly have resolved to join hands with other patriotic Nigerians across regional, religious, political, and ethnic divides to reconstruct a federal system where the rights, happiness, and prosperity and those of unborn generations are guaranteed.
Making their feelings known in a communique issued at the end of an extraordinary meeting held at the Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja last Wednesday, the law makers said the topic of the meeting centered on review of developments in the South East, particularly the security situation in the region vis-à-vis the sit-at-home orders by members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) and the detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“We expressed solidarity with our people of the South East over the marginalisation of the region in the scheme of things within the Nigerian commonwealth. The Caucus feels the pains of our people and their quest for equity, justice, and protection of their lives and property in every part of the country. The Caucus, therefore, resolved to continue to fight for a level-playing ground and an enabling federal system where Ndigbo are able to develop their homeland at their own pace and equally pursue their happiness and actaulise their enormous potentials in every part of the country, unmolested.
Reviewing the sit-at-home orders by the IPOB and the mayhem some nefarious elements have seized the opportunity to visit on the lives, properties, and psyche of the people, the Caucus equally reviewed and rued the incalculable economic losses and hardships these have brought upon the region.
They, however, condemned in strongest terms the disruption of the ongoing Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in some parts of the South East, particularly the incident at Comprehensive Secondary School, Nkume, Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, where the English examination organised by the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC, on Monday, September 13, 2021, was ruthlessly scuttled by armed men, who chased away the students, teachers, and examiners before setting ablaze motorcycles belonging to the teachers.
“This is certainly not who we are as a people. On the contrary, we are a people, who have always cherished and encouraged learning from the ages. We are a people that fully appreciate the place of education in the liberation and enlightenment of the human mind and the socio-economic and political emancipation of a people”.
The South East legislators equally condemned in strongest terms the incessant killings in the South East, adding “This must stop immediately. We call on the security agencies to unravel the culprits behind these wicked acts and ensure that they are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.
“ Noted with delight that IPOB has called off the Monday sit-at-home order and resolved to ensure that nobody uses them as façades to bring ruination on Igbo land.
“ Call on our people to go about their lawful businesses and enjoin our governors and the security agencies to rebuild confidence in our people by not only ensuring the security of their lives and properties, but also ensuring that our people feel safe as they undertake their legitimate businesses.
”Elaborately discussed the issue of Mazi Nnamdi and resolved to intervene. To this end we resolved to set up a committee to constructively interface with relevant stakeholders, the Federal Government and its relevant agencies towards finding a political solution. We will keep Ndigbo abreast of developments in regard.
“Appeal to our people not to allow anyone to destroy the South East region. The post-war South East was not built through government patronage, but largely by the sheer determination and sacrifices of our people, who refused to resign to fate or bow their heads in defeat.
“It is in Igbo land that you easily find hospitals, schools, roads, and other social amenities built by individual or communal efforts of the people, home and abroad, through the instruments of the town unions and other community organisations such as the age grades, Umuada, etc.
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