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2019: APC And The Power Game

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The five letter word, power can be so seductive and intoxicating that once a person gets it, he hardly let it go. Some kill, maim or carry out any scheme just to hold on to it as experienced in Africa.
The average politician who finds himself in an executive office and tastes its sweetness, does not like letting it go without a fight or being disgraced out of office.
Even when they are no longer in office, they still dictate who gets what, because to them, it is the easiest way to stay relevant and act as godfathers to the powers that be. Although, they cannot be under-estimated, their influence is so far- reaching that in their struggle to hold on to power, they don’t care if the structure that they have spent years to build crumbles.
Here in Nigeria, the political impasse between factional leaders of the various political parties has become so nuseating that one wonders why the quest for elective office has become a battle between nations. The crisis of the Peoples Democratic Party between 2013 and 2017 should have been a lesson to would-be politicians in Nigeria that internal strife needs to be settled amicably before it engulfs the party even at the national level.
Today, the All Progressives Congress (APC) seems to have bitten more than it can chew as the crisis in Rivers and Zamfara States has ensured that for the first time in four years, it would not be able to field candidates for the National and State Assembly elections as well as that of the gubernatorial.
The seeming crisis which started in 2016 between factions of the party later culminated in a court action which the party has to live with today. In Rivers State, prior to the purported APC ward congress held in May 2018, one Ibrahim Imah and 22 others who had paid for the nomination forms but were denied their rights to contest filed a suit in Port Harcourt to seek legal redress having been hindered and denied the opportunity to participate in the congresses before Justice Chiwendu Nwogu.
The suit apparently spurred Justice Nwogu to issue an interlocutory injunction restraining the APC from going ahead with the congresses. Rather than contest the restraining order, the party proceeded with the congresses, thereby incurring the wrath of the court which on May 30, 208 nullified the entire congresses. While the suit was still in court, the two factions; the Rotimi Amaechi and Magnus Abe factions went ahead to conduct primaries for the governorship, state and federal legislative seats ahead of the 2019 elections.
Also, an Abuja High Court judgement barred the APC from fielding candidates in Rivers and Zamfara States following the inability of the ruling party to resolve its internal conflicts and respect its own rules on the conduct of its primaries.
It is not only the APC that is facing legal challenges as even parties such as the Social Democratic Party (SDP) for now has no presidential and vice presidential candidates. However, an Appeal Court in Abuja yesterday recognised Donald Duke as the candidate . In Imo, Ogun and Enugu States, the APC is still factionalised with some members opting to join other political parties where they feel their interest will be protected.
These crises are due to the failure to create a level playing field for all aspirants in the party. The APC prior to 2015 had been boasting that it is the only democratic party that has nothing to do with godfatherism and impunity in the conduct of its affairs but today, the same party members who were complaining that its main opponent, the PDP is not democratic cannot even put its house in order.
Power is transient but it seems most politicians hardly recognise this fact. However, to keen political observers, it is a battle for supremacy and who will be the ultimate godfather of Rivers State politics. And there is equally the fear of, the unknown gripping the political gladiators, as they do not want to fizzle out of the power game. For example, if the Amaechi’s faction wins the battle, the Abe’s faction will go into political oblivion and if Abe wins, Amaechi’s influence would have been curtained and his political career totally destroyed. So having tasted power, none of the factional leaders, is ready to come to a compromise.
Mr Rotimi Amaechi had tasted executive power for eight years, and was even a Speaker for eight years. As a Speaker, he was so influential that some Commissioners, Assembly members and local government chairmen including board members of parastatals and companies got their appointments or won their elections through him.
The implication of the power play is that Amaechi cannot afford to lose out to Magnus Abe as the stakes are too high. The same thing applies to the incumbent Governors of Ogun and Zamfara States.
As it stands now, the APC is in a dilemma as its loss is a plus for its main rival, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers and Zamfara States.
The leadership of any political party is supposed to be made up of men and women of integrity but when the National Working Committee of a party in question ceases to be neutral, eventually the outcome of its decision will be contested in the law courts. Political parties should always strive to act with decorum and fairness to all party members and learn to obey its own rules and guidelines to avoid embarrassment and crisis, the type which is clearly staring the APC in the face.
One lesson the gladiators of all the parties that have crisis which cannot be resolved internally should learn is that in the next dispensation, they should let every vote count so that all their members would have a sense of belonging in the democratic process.

Tonye Ikiroma-Owiye

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…Urges Ondo Gov To Shelve N2bn Gov’s Lodge Project

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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.

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Senators Rate 9th National Assembly High

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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.

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PDP Inaugurates E-Registration Committee

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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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