The Save Ijaw Nation Group (SING) has debunked the allegations accusing former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan of working against the interest of some chairmanship aspirants in the forthcoming National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a statement signed by SING’s Director, Mr. Tony Ile, the group blamed the claim on some fifth columnists, whom it said have been working against the interest of Jonathan by spreading negative stories in the media against the former president.
The group stressed that as the father of the party, Jonathan was neutral and fair to all aspirants.
Describing those behind the fake news as divisive agents that do not wish the PDP well, SING also accused them of spreading falsehood about an imaginary squabble between Jonathan and Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyeson Wike, “over the issue of who to support at the convention.”
The statement said further: “Their latest ploy is to sponsor some stories in the media to create the impression that Jonathan is now at loggerheads with the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyeson Wike over the issue of who to support at the convention. They think that by doing that Wike and other party leaders will begin to have problems with Jonathan. They forget that Wike is Jonathan’s loyal political son with whom he will continue to work together for the good of the party, Niger Delta and the entire nation.”
The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to a fallacious allegation made by a hitherto unknown group, the South-South Coalition for Good Governance that former President Goodluck Jonathan was mobilising northerners in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to work against the ambition of a chairmanship candidate, Mr. Uche Secondus. We believe that those behind this fictitious group are merely flying a kite meant to sway the ex-president to openly express his views on the chairmanship race at the forthcoming convention.
“This is a fabricated statement that has to be quickly debunked because of the likelihood of such lies to begin to wear the toga of reality, if allowed to stay too long in the public space, unchallenged.
“The nation and PDP members had experienced a similar situation in the past when a false impression was created by some mischievous persons to the effect that Jonathan installed former PDP chairman Senator Modu Sheriff in office. This falsehood later morphed into a strange perception which unfortunately had some gullible party members believing its possibility, even as it was obvious to all party leaders that Jonathan had no hand in Sheriff’s emergence as the leader of the party.
“The claim this time is that former President Jonathan is using some northern leaders to frustrate Secondus’ aspiration to lead the party.
“How come they couldn’t mention the name of even one leader that Jonathan had consulted on the choice of candidates for the convention?
“How we wish that Jonathan had such strong northern support he is now being accused of deploying. If he did, he wouldn’t have dismally lost the 2015 presidential election in the zone, like he did.
“It is obvious that those spreading this rumour are not even smart. If they were, they would have known that it doesn’t even sound right to claim that the former president would connive with some people, be them from the North or South, to plot the downfall of a man he had helped from his modest position then as a state party chairman to become a key figure in the national leadership of the party, having held such key offices as organizing secretary, deputy chairman and acting chairman.
“The truth is that Jonathan has nothing against the aspirations of such a man whom he has helped to groom. It is also true that as a politician, it is his right to cultivate sympathy for any candidate of his choice. However, no rational party member expects the former president to openly endorse any candidate, given that he is the father of the party who should be seen to be fair to all.
“We have to point out that this same fifth columnists, from what we already know of them, are behind all the negative stories in the media against the former president. Their sole aim is to put Jonathan in bad light and cause confusion between him and other leaders of the party.
“It is obvious that they are just exploiting the opportunity of the convention and the name of Secondus, who they do not even support, to continue their attack on Jonathan, with the main aim of pitching the former president against the party. There is no doubt that these are people with evil intentions who do not wish the PDP well.
“Their latest ploy is to sponsor some stories in the media to create the impression that Jonathan is now at loggerheads with the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyeson Wike over the issue of who to support at the convention. They think that by doing that Wike and other party leaders will begin to have problems with Jonathan. They forget that Wike is Jonathan’s loyal political son with whom he will continue to work together for the good of the party, Niger Delta and the entire nation.
“Those manufacturing the lies should know by now that they have failed, if their original intention was to pull Jonathan out at this point, through deception, to openly endorse a candidate for the chairmanship position. As the father of the party, former President, Jonathan will not openly support one candidate against another. As the father of the party, we know that Jonathan’s doors are open to all party members who would wish to either consult him on national issues or seek his blessings for their aspiration to any office of their choice, in the party.
“This is a period that all loyal and committed members of the PDP should make sacrifices to encourage the main opposition party to grow from strength to strength, for the good of the nation’s democracy. For PDP members who wish to occupy leadership positions in the party, we urge them to be patriotic-minded as they pursue their interests, rather than seek to destroy the party with devious rumours and lies.
“Those members of the party who take recourse in character assassination of other members should be reminded that they are destroying rather than building the party.
“From what we know of former President Jonathan, we are sure that he will continue to play the role expected of him as a neutral father figure in the party, and never allow crooked politicians who have no interest in the progress of the PDP to distract him,” the group added.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Government has dispelled speculations that there is palpable friction between the former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan and the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike over the choice of candidates for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) national chairmanship position in the December 9 National Convention of the party in Abuja.
In a statement in Port Harcourt, the government said, “Our attention has been drawn to a fictional pattern of reports being planted in the media by enemies of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wherein they allege that former President Goodluck Jonathan and the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike are at loggerheads over political issues.
“These reports are patently false and merely concocted by enemies of the PDP to deceive Nigerians ahead of the forthcoming elective National Convention of the party.
“The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike and former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan are working together to rebuild the PDP and re-position it for victory in all future elections.
“Contrary to the views being canvassed in the reports planted by the agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in sections of the media, there is no premise for any political disagreement between Wike and Jonathan, whom he served as a loyal minister.
“The presidential ticket of the PDP has been zoned to the North, while the national chairmanship of the party is zoned to the South; hence there is no basis for the speculation that there is a conflict, where none exists.
“We urge members of the public and loyal PDP members to disregard these reports as they are concocted to mislead Nigerians who are tired of the present order,” the statement added.
Trans-Kalabari Road: Banigo, Stakeholders Condemn Abduction Of Expatriate
Kalabari traditional rulers and stakeholders have condemned the recent abduction of an expatriate staff of Lubric Construction Company working on the Trans-Kalabari Road.
Speaking at a meeting at the Government House in Port Harcourt, last Friday, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo said she was deeply pained by the unfortunate incident carried out by unknown miscreants.
According to the deputy governor, who said that the State Chief Executive Officer, Nyesom Wike, was desirous to bring more development projects to Kalabari Kingdom, regretted that this act was capable of discouraging him.
“I want to reiterate that our governor is very desirous to do more developmental projects in our communities, there are many more things he has in the card to do for us, and if we allow this ugly thing to surface, that attitude will discourage him”, the deputy governor noted.
Banigo, who said that perpetrators of the heinous crime did not drop from the sky, insisted that they were community people, and must be fished out and dealt with decisively, while calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the abductee.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, expressed regrets that a project as important as the Trans-Kalabari Road would be tampered with by persons who do not mean well for the Kalabari people.
“If their intention is to run down the good works of our dear governor, over a project which the Kalabari people have been yearning for over the years, then, I am sure God Almighty will not allow them to get away with this dastardly act of kidnapping one expatriate”, Alabraba stressed.
Alabraba further said, “It is important that we talk to ourselves and ensure that everything possible is done to ensure immediate release of the victim, and ensure that measures are put in place to forestall this type of thing in the future”.
Presenting a seven-point communique, Amanyanabo of Minama, King Iboroma Talbot Pokubo, who represented the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Disreal Gbobo Bobmanuel, demanded for the immediate and unconditional release of the expatriate, and reassured Governor Wike of their unwavering support for the governor.
Buhari Approves Incorporation Of NNPC, Appoints Board Members
President Muhammadu Buhari, has directed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited be incorporated.
He also approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited with Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as chairman.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, was appointed chief executive officer.
This was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, saying that the president acted in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum Resources, has directed the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
“This is in consonance with Section 53(1) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources to cause for the incorporation of the NNPC Limited within six months of commencement of the Act in consultation with the Minister of Finance on the nominal shares of the company.
“The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kolo Kyari, has, therefore, been directed to take necessary steps to ensure that the incorporation of the NNPC Limited is consistent with the provisions of the PIA 2021.
“Also, by the power vested in him under Section 59(2) of the PIA 2021, President Buhari has approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited, with effect from the date of incorporation of the company.
“Chairman of the board is Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, while Mele Kolo Kyari and Umar I. Ajiya are chief executive officer, and chief financial officer, respectively.
“Other board members are; Dr Tajudeen Umar (North-East); Mrs Lami O. Ahmed (North-Central); Mallam Mohammed Lawal (North-West); Senator Margaret Chuba Okadigbo (South-East), Barrister Constance Harry Marshal (South-South); and Chief Pius Akinyelure (South-West).”
Reject Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request, SERAP Tells NASS
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila; to reject the fresh request by President Muhammadu Buhari, to borrow $4billion and €710million.
SERAP said if such request must be granted, the Federal Government should publish details of spending of all loans obtained since May 29, 2015.
The group also expressed fear that if the fresh request is granted, it may take Nigeria’s to over N35trillion.
Buhari recently sought the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863 and €710million, on the grounds of “emerging needs.”
The request was contained in a letter dated August 24, 2021.
In an open letter dated September 18, 2021, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation expressed “concerns about the growing debt crisis, the lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of loans that have been obtained, and the perceived unwillingness or inability of the National Assembly to vigorously exercise its constitutional duties to check the apparently indiscriminate borrowing by the government.”
SERAP said, “The National Assembly should not allow the government to accumulate unsustainable levels of debt, and use the country’s scarce resources for staggering and crippling debt service payments rather than for improved access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic public services and human rights.
“The country’s public debt has mushroomed with no end in sight. The growing national debt is clearly not sustainable. There has been no serious attempt by the government to cut the cost of governance. The leadership of the National Assembly ought to stand up for Nigerians by asserting the body’s constitutional powers to ensure limits on national debt and deficits.
“Should the National Assembly and its leadership fail to rein in government borrowing, and to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of public loans, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly to discharge its constitutional duties.
“SERAP notes that if approved, the country’s debts will exceed N35trillion. The government is also reportedly pushing the maturity of currently-secured loans to between 10 and 30 years. N11.679trillion is reportedly committed into debt servicing, while only N8.31trillion was expended on capital/development expenditure between 2015 and 2020.
“Ensuring transparency and accountability in the spending of loans by the government and cutting the cost of governance would address the onerous debt servicing, and improve the ability of the government to meet the country’s international obligations to use maximum available resources to ensure the enjoyment of basic economic and social rights, such as quality healthcare and education”, SERAP added.
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