The immediate past National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, John Odigie-Oyegun, has accused his successor, Adams Oshiomhole, of working to undermine Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State.
Odigie-Oyegun and Oshiomhole are both former governors of the state.
He said the national chairman was guilty of anti-party activities by working against the interest of the governor ahead of the governorship election holding next year.
Odigie-Oyegun spoke while reacting to the decision of the APC National Working Committee on the crisis rocking Edo State House of Assembly.
Nine out of the 24 lawmakers were inaugurated on Wednesday after the election of Principal Officers.
The APC had in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, LanreIssa-Onilu, condemned the action.
“As a party that has made a commitment to change, we strongly reject any attempt to recourse to brigandage of the past, when democratic practices were defined by the inordinate whims of people in power.
“It is an unfortunate reminder of Peoples Democratic Party’s queer brand of democracy. Practices like this are unacceptable under APC-led administration.”
The APC vowed that it would use all democratic means necessary to ensure the right thing was done.
Meanwhile, Odigie-Oyegun, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Political Affairs, Chief Ray Murphy, lamented that Obaseki was receiving the highest distractions from his own political party and not from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.
He said, “Today, there is rancour in Edo State. They all boil down to godfatherism that is heating up the polity in the state.
“Obaseki is the executive governor of Edo state and he should be allowed to exercise the powers vested in him by the law. To what purpose is the APC chairman putting the state under tension?
“As a governor under APC platform, he should be allowed to run out his tenure before they decide whether to bring him back or not. There are so many antics going on and you don’t need to be a prophet or Babalawo to trace where they are coming from. They are coming from the APC.”
Odigie-Oyegun stressed the need for APC to remain united, adding that the power game was all because of the 2020 governorship election.
“I want to think that they are all targeted at weakening the governor of Edo state. Ordinarily, the man in Edo should be given every support so that he can succeed to fend off the opposition PDP already around the corner.
“I have not heard that PDP or Edo leaders want to remove Obaseki. What has been trending is how his predecessor who happens to be the party chairman does not want him back in the office.”
He added, “This party must be stronger because we cannot go into the 2023 general elections with this discordant tunes especially as President Buhari will not be contesting.
“We need to get our acts together. Oyegun has no personal grievances with Oshiomhole but Nigerians must know that he cannot go to equity with unclean hands.”
Calls placed to the Chief Press Secretary to Oshiomhole, Simon Ebegbulem, indicated it was not available.
He had also yet to respond to a text message sent to him by our correspondent.
In his reaction, the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has charged Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to respect the decision of the party in the state concerning the inauguration of the State House of Assembly.
He said this while berating Oshiomhole over his remarks concerning the inauguration of the State House of Assembly.
Obaseki’s charge was contained in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie.
The statement reads: “We read with utter astonishment, a statement credited to the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, with respect to Governor Godwin Obaseki’s alleged role in the inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly.
“Apart from the fact that he based his conclusion on a totally false and baseless premise, we believe that he could have shown that he does not have a vested interest by simply inquiring from his friend, the governor or any official of the State Working Committee of our party as to what actually transpired.
“His failure to satisfy the basic tenets of natural justice, which makes fair hearing from all sides of a matter mandatory, has clearly exposed his bias on this issue. For the avoidance of doubt, all the decisions relating to the leadership of the Edo State House of Assembly recently elected by the House were taken by the State Working Committee and leaders of the party from across the state.
“In reference to the rule of party supremacy, which our national chairman so eloquently professes, the governor and all party members are obliged to respect the party’s decision, as we expect the national chairman to also do.”
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, weekend, said that he would not need short-cut to sustain his position in the system.
Oshiomhole stated this while reacting to the allegation that he was behind the crisis in the Edo State House of Assembly because he has allegedly constituted himself as a godfather and wanted to dictate what happens in the state.
The APC national Chairman who was reminded that he fought godfatherism in the state but was now being accused of playing the same role he once fought to a standstill, told State House correspondents that sought his opinion on the brouhaha arising from the inauguration of the Edo State Assembly that the issue of him playing the role of a godfather was all accusation.
He rhetorically asked, “What is the evidence? It’s all about accusation. The media has a duty. They have to give you the particulars of that godfatherism. What’s the evidence? I am a democrat.
“That I accept the credit, not only that I fought godfatherism, I launched the one man one vote campaign to fight against election rigging anywhere in Nigeria and by the special grace of God under PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) with (Chief Tony) Anenih alive, and at his best, I won all the 18 local government areas and I won 95 percent of the total votes cast in my second term election.
“So, Edo people know me and I know them. I don’t need short-cut to sustain my position in the system. But you know that there is nobody in Nigeria who is not open to accusations. The important thing is that he who accuses should give you proof.”
Asked on his position over the ongoing argument and brewing crisis over the inauguration of the Edo state House of Assembly, he said,” It’s about rule of law. As journalists there are questions you don’t need to ask me because you know the answer. You know the law provides for how the House should be proclaimed transparently.
“The day it’s announced, members-elect are informed of date and time for inauguration. These are clearly spelt out in the Nigerian constitution. And just last week (about two weeks ago), you were all witnesses to how President Muhammadu Buhari issued proclamation letter to the Clerk many days before, stating date and time of the inauguration of the two chambers of the National Assembly.
“Even while we are still negotiating to ensure that our party was not divided on the floor of the House, without prejudice to the outcome of those negotiations, the President issued proclamation because he is obliged by the constitution to do so whether he likes it or not and he did.
“He did it transparently. He has led us by example. For me, it’s very embarrassing if any state governor, particularly of APC extraction, will do anything that is less than what the constitution says and the example that our President has set.”
He said that in the case of the Edo State House of Assembly inauguration, the proclamation was not publicised and that the members were not informed, adding that the inauguration took place at 9:30 pm. He said the time was what a Supreme Court judgement described as “nocturnal hours.”
He further added, “Business of parliament are done transparently; they are not secret cult. Now you have 24 member House, 19 members protested. You have six and you carry people in their short knickers (sic). Even in the House they have rules, the dress code. So, it happened in Edo, it has happened in Bauchi.
“Like Edo, Bauchi used the minority of 10 to go and proclaim the House and lock out 20 APC members and got those 10 people to elect, exactly the way Edo did with six and then co-opted other three people to become nine and even at that it is nonsense.
“For us, these are completely illegal. And that is why we said so. If it is wrong, it is wrong whether it is done by APC or by PDP; whether is the Chairman’s state or not. The law is blind to those sentiments. I believe by the end of the day, the solution is return to the rule of law.
“Let’s properly follow the law; let the parliament do what they have to do but people have the right to lobby for people they want and whom they prefer. This is also legitimate. Like you saw in the National Assembly, after all the lobbies people have the right to vote and you saw them in the National Assembly conducting secret ballot.
“We have an APC Senator, who in spite of all the efforts invested by all our leaders including Mr President, insisted that he will contest. The law allowed him so, we couldn’t stop him. The President could have said SSS (State Security Services) please find excuse to invite him for questioning the day before; put him away until the elections are over.
“But we won’t do that. That is not the change we promised. The change we promised is to try to improve in the ways public institutions are managed and how rules are implemented. I believe that it will be resolved.”
Construction Works Begin On Three Flyover Bridges In PH
The Rivers State Government, yesterday, confirmed that construction works have commenced at the sites of the three flyover bridges flagged off by the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike a few weeks ago.
In a statement, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, said that technicians and engineers of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, the contractor for the flyover bridges, were seen at the three locations engaging in preliminary works, last Monday.
All through the previous week, the contractor had been on site at the Rebisi Flyover Bridge (former Garrison), Rumuogba Flyover Bridge (former Artillery) and Okoro-Nu-Odo Flyover Bridge (former Rumuokoro), excavating and taking measurements.
Following Wike’s directive, Julius Berger and operatives of the Rivers State Task Force on Street Trading, Illegal Markets and Motor Parks are working round the clock to ensure better traffic management at the project locations.
Residents and motorists thanked the Rivers State governor for investing in pro-people projects, noting that the three flyover bridges will improve traffic flow in the state capital.
They commended Governor Nyesom Wike for taking proactive action to resolve the challenges posed by the massive project construction in parts of the state.
The residents and motorists pledged to cooperate and support the contractor to deliver all the projects on schedule.
It would be recalled that the governor has repeatedly pleaded with Rivers people to cooperate with Julius Berger as they deliver the three flyover bridges in the state capital.
PDP NWC Insists Rigging Of Kogi, Bayelsa Cannot Stand Says Killers of Woman Leader, Will Never Escape Justice
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says that the violent rigging of the Kogi and Bayelsa states’ governorship elections by the All Progressives Congress (APC) cannot stand.
In a statement, yesterday, in Abuja, after an emergency meeting of the NWC, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said, “The NWC maintains that there is no way the PDP will fold its hands and watch the mandates clearly given to its candidates, Engr. Musa Wada in Kogi State and Senator Douye Diri in Bayelsa State, left in the hands of repressive usurpers, manipulators and murderers.
“Indeed, the nation is still at shock over the brazen show of violence, where security forces coordinated the invasion of polling units, shooting and killing of voters and carting away of ballot boxes to government facilities where results were altered and fictitious figures given to INEC to declare the APC candidates as winners.
“Nigerians watched with horror as APC thugs and security forces traumatized and held voters hostage, murdered our compatriots, injured and maimed many more in violent attacks that involved the deployment of police helicopters.
“Our party has been made aware of the roles played by the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu as well as the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, in the elections.
“While we urge these officials to do some introspections on the anguish they have caused the people since the rigging of the elections, the PDP NWC assures that it will never hesitate to expose such ignoble roles at the appropriate time.
“The irreversible fact remains that though evil may appear to thrive for a while, truth and justice will always prevail at the end.
“The APC and its candidates must bear in mind that what they could not get through the ballot box, they cannot get by violence, manipulation and killing.
“The PDP is therefore undeterred in the determination to use all legitimate means available and allowed within our democratic practice to confront the usurpers and retrieved our mandate in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
“The PDP will also file legitimate actions against identified INEC and security officials who aided the APC in the violent rigging of the election.
“The NWC therefore urges all members of the PDP as well as all Nigerians of good faith to remain strong, united and undeterred as the NWC commences lawful actions in the pursuit of our mandates.
“Our party once again mourns our compatriots killed by the APC in this election, including our Woman Leader, Acheju Abuh, who was burnt to death by APC thugs at her home on Monday.
“While invoking the wrath of God on the perpetrators of the gruesome killings, the party calls on the police to immediately track down and bring their killers to book.
“Indeed, their death will never be in vain as the mandates for which they were killed will surely be recovered”, Ologbondiyan added.
Similarly, the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon Seriake Dickson has said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would challenge the result of November 16 governorship election in court.
Dickson disclosed this while addressing a world press conference in Yenagoa, yesterday.
He maintained that the PDP did not lose the election as it was characterised by violence and widespread malpractices which were carefully documented.
Dickson, however, said he would set up a transition committee to work out modalities for smooth handover on February 14, 2020.
“Our candidate, Senator Douye Diri and the party chairman have been speaking about the charade called an election that took place in Bayelsa on Saturday, and the invasion of our state by security forces.
“The dehumanisation of our people and how in the majority of areas and places, our people were denied the right to vote for the candidate of their choice.
“The story is all out there that what took place in the state on November 16 was not a democratic election.
“So, today, I’m here to add my voice to all that has been said already. It was so brazen, it has never been like this in this state before,” he said.
Dickson added, “I know that in 2015, we went through a very tough time, there was a display of federal might, but at least, it was not as bad as this.”
He said the endorsement of Mr David Lyon, the governor-elect by ex-president Goodluck Jonathan was regrettable and a ploy by the APC to strategically take over the state.
He said that the perception that he alienated PDP stakeholders including the former president was unfounded, adding that the primary election that produced the PDP candidate was credible.
“Jonathan remains my Oga (boss) and I respect him, but there are lots of efforts by certain interest to create a rift between us, there is no politician that has been there for the former president than me.
“He has also helped me but it is unfortunate that I am being misconstrued in this matter of the election. I tried to meet Jonathan 16 times and he opted to support a candidate that does not wish me well.
“I will soon write my memoirs and people will have a fair view of what happened, the visit of some APC governors to Jonathan who congratulated the APC candidate without congratulating the candidate of his party.
“It is strategic for APC leaders to use Jonathan to legitimise the illegitimacy that happened on Saturday,” Dickson said.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives has rejected the outcome of the November 16 governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
The Minority Leadership, led by the Minority Leader, Hon Ndudi Elumelu, stated this while briefing newsmen, yesterday, at the National Assembly.
The minority leader called on President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the violence that marred the election in the two states, while disclosing that the party will approach the court.
“We are not impressed with what happened in the just concluded Bayelsa and Kogi elections. We are not in favour of the outcome of the election, us as PDP members and other minority parties and therefore we are 100 per cent not in support of the outcome of the election.
He continued, “We have also come here to register our grievance contrary to the Point of Order earlier raised by our colleague, Hon Abejide Adeleke (ADC, Kogi) commending the outcome of the election adjudging to be fair and credible. We want to state that, we are displeased with the violence actions meted out on innocent Nigerians which led loss of lives and properties”
Adeleke, who is a member of the Africa Democratic Congress from Kogi State, had earlier during plenary, yesterday, used the word “We” when thanking for the election, and the minority leader, rejected the statement, disclosing that the PDP caucus was not in support of the statement.
Also speaking at the briefing, the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu said, “We are particularly sad with the loss of lives whereby the PDP woman leader was burnt alive and the killing of Senator Dino Melaye’s nephew was quite disheartening. We condemn the violence perpetrated in that election. I want to state clearly that we would contest the elections in court. I also feel this is the time to amend the Electoral act, we need to correct the imperfections.”
Later, Adeleke also addressed newsmen concerning the controversy.
He stated: “At plenary, the speaker asked me to brief the house about Kogi election, which I did by raising a point of order whereby I thanked my colleagues for their prayers and success of the election that this time around, the election was not inconclusive.
“ However, on the issue of whether lives were lost, I told them that the election was peaceful in my own area. So, I didn’t do anything wrong as my colleagues in the PDP are already agitating.”
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the North, Aminu Yakudima, says the party should sanction, suspend those who worked against its interest in Bayelsa State.
Recall that the flag-bearer of the opposition, David Lyon emerged winner in the election with 352,552 votes to defeat Douye Diri, candidate of the ruling PDP, who polled 143,172 votes.
Lyon’s victory means that the APC has broken the 20-year reign of the PDP in the state.
According to Yakudima, “Some people worked against the interest of the PDP; therefore, the national leadership should investigate and discipline them to serve as a deterrent to others.
“Those found guilty should be suspended or sanctioned in line with the provisions of the PDP constitution. By and large, there was this issue of persistent thuggery but also, there was a problem within the PDP.”
The ex-President Goodluck Jonathan is one of those who may be suspended for the PDP’s failure in the state because some of the party’s leaders believe that his indifference gave the APC an easy ride to power.
It would be recalled that Ogbia Local Government, where Jonathan hails from, with over 40,000 votes, heightened suspicion on the role of the former president in the PDP’s defeat.
The former president’s hosting of two APC governors in Otuoke; the visit by Lyon and other APC leaders in the state; his non-support for the PDP candidate during the primary election; his non-attendance of the PDP grand rally; his visit to Buhari at the Presidential Villa, and the prayers made by his mother in support of Lyon have fuelled the speculations.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the party’s National Working Committee will investigate why the party lost in Bayelsa and Kogi.
“The National Working Committee (NWC) will meet soon to conduct a post-mortem on the elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states,” he said.
A former member of the PDP board of trustees (BoT), Sam Nkire, blamed the party’s loss on Seriake Dickson, governor of the state.
Sowore Still Mobilising Nigerians From Detention -DSS
The Department of State Services (DSS) has accused political activist and convener of the “Revolution Now” movement, Omoyele Sowore, of capitalising on the latitude of freedom provided to him at the service’s detention facility to use his telephone to mobilise Nigerians for violence and revolution against the government.
Speaking at press conference at the service’s headquarters in Abuja, yesterday, DSS Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunanya, dismissed claims by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, that he was at the DSS to secure Sowore’s bail, saying that the legal activist lied.
The DSS spokesperson argued that the service deserved commendation instead of condemnation for protecting Sowore’s life by keeping him in its custody, insisting that no credible Nigerian has come forward to secure his bail.
He argued that the service could not release Sowore from its detention facility because he may be knocked down by a vehicle on his way out.
Afunanya said, “We cannot just release Sowore and ask him to go because he may be knocked down by a vehicle at the gate.”
Pointing out that Sowore’s lawyer, Femi Falana, was yet to come forward and fetch him from their facility, Afunanya said the senior lawyer had not been to the headquarters of the service since the activist was granted bail.
He maintained that the secret police was following administrative procedures by insisting that Sowore’s sureties come forward for proper documentation.
“We respect rules and orders of the court and there was never a time the Director-General said he would not release Sowore,” he said.
Sowore is currently held in custody of the secret police against court order.
It would be recalled that a Federal High Court in Abuja had recently ordered the release of Sowore alongside Olawale Adebayo.
The DSS is yet to comply with the order and claimed that no surety had come to take Sowore on bail.
Few weeks ago, a group of protesters led by Deji Adeyanju alleged that they were given N1million to stop the protest demanding Sowore’s release.
The DSS, however, said it will release Sowore if his sureties come forward for documentation.
Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has expressed confidence in possible release of activists, Mr Omoyele Sowore and Mr. Olawale Bakare, who remained in the arbitrary detention of federal security agents despite a court order for their release.
The organisation’s expression of confidence followed the response of Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Portal Welby to an earlier open letter for intervention in the matter.
Recall that SERAP had on November 11, 2019, in an open letter to Archbishop of Canterbury, urged him to use his good offices and leadership and his “friendship with President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on him to promote the rule of law in words and in action by obeying all court orders including the order for the releasing of Sowore and Bakare from arbitrary detention.”
Journalist and activist, Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare are facing trial on seven counts of treasonable felony, fraud, cyber-stalking and insulting President Muhammadu Buhari, simply for exercising their human rights.
Sowore, was arrested on August 3 by Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) for planning a protest.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu granted Sowore and Bakare bail but the security agents have continued to refuse to release them despite being served with the court orders.
The SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, who made the response of the Archbishop known in a statement, yesterday, expressed delight over the positive response.
SERAP had in the earlier letter expressed “serious concerns about the disturbing trends by state governments and federal government to use the court as a tool to suppress citizens’ human rights.”
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