Governor Nyesom Wike’s experience in the political arena keeps him in good stead to know a bad, unsaleable political product.
If he tells you that a particular politician is a bad product that cannot be sold, you can take that to the bank and keep your money or better still invest it in a better product, that will give you more value for your money
Recently, in a special no-holds-barred interview with Gbenga Aruleba, on the popular African Independent Television, AIT Programme, Focus, Governor Wike gave a critical assessment of the forthcoming Edo State Governorship election, slated for September 19, 2020.
After an analysis, backed with supporting video footages from the campaigns of the last election in the state, he declared with unequivocal clarity, that Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the Edo State Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC is a bad product and you cannot sell a bad product to good and discerning people of Edo State.
Governor Wike is the Chairman of the PDP Edo State Governorship Campaign Council and this, on its own is a strategic and political masterstroke decision of the PDP for all the right reasons. It is indeed not a position meant for the faint hearted or lily livered, especially at this time in our present political space, for two reasons:
First, Edo State is the only State in the South- South that the APC has dominated over the last two Governorship elections spanning 12 years.Though, the State is now technically under PDP control, following the decamping of Governor Godwin Obaseki to the Party, the fact remains that PDP would dearly want to reclaim the State again after Professor Oseheimen Osunbor was sacked as Governor by the Courts in 2008.
There is no better man, more capable and possessing the charismatic political savvy and astute electoral stratagem to reclaim Edo State for PDP than Governor Wike.
Secondly, the APC, perhaps unwittingly recognizing the importance of Edo State in the political nomenclature of the South-South, picked Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State, a politician who has not only become well known nationally for his metaphoric ‘babanriga pockets’ but also commands tremendous political influence and authority over both the massive Kano electorate and in the entire North, to head its Governorship Campaign Council.
The PDP therefore needed a strong leader, who has a towering political presence and popularity; who cannot be easily intimidated and is also well loved across the South-South and especially in Edo State.
Governor Wike fitted this position perfectly and indeed many Edo indigenes will recall happily, that the Rivers Governor is only one amongst a select group of Governors that the revered Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolopolo, Oba Ewuare II, Oba of Benin, has graced with his royal presence in Government House Port Harcourt, on January 14 this year.
Governor Wike adores the Oba of Benin with great reverence and respects the Bini tradition and the majestic Benin Monarch also definitely holds the Rivers Governor in very high esteem too; a point he made clearly, when Governor Wike led the Edo PDP Campaign Council to pay homage to the Oba in his place, seek his permission to campaign in his kingdom and receive his royal blessings before commencing the Governorship Campaign flag-off.
The choice of Governor Wike to head the Edo PDP Governorship Campaign Council was therefore never really in doubt. While many will say that he was simply campaigning for his Party, the fact remains that his profiling of Pastor Osagie Ize-iyamu, the Edo APC governorship candidate, as a bad product that cannot be sold to Edo people, is right on point and supported with copious instances captured in video footages, delivered by none other than former APC national chairman and Ize-Iyamu’s political godfather, Adams Oshiomhole, which he referred to in butressing his point.
Quoting the comments of Adams Oshiomhole exclusively, on the personality and reputation of the APC candidate, Governor Wike said: “Adams Oshiomhole told Edo people that Ize Iyamu was rusticated from school; that he poured acid on a fellow student that destroyed his manhood. That he is an armed robber that cannot be trusted with money. Such a character cannot be accepted by Edo people as Governor during the election.
“I respect the Binin tradition and I know that Edo people are educated to know that Oshiomhole cannot play on their intelligence. If he is now retracting what he said of Ize Iyamu, who is sure that he’s saying the correct thing now.
“Adams Oshiomhole’s sudden u-turn is a great insult on Edo people. This is an opportunity for Edo people both at home and in the diaspora to use their votes to tell Oshiomole that they cannot take his lies anymore.
“From all indications, it is obvious that there is no strong opposition against Obaseki and he will win convincingly, “ the Governor Wike said.
According to Governor Wike, the description of Pastor Ize-Iyamu as a bad product that cannot be sold to Edo people, by the former APC national Chairman has already boosted the PDP and Governor Godwin Obaseki’s campaign immensely. It makes it easy for the Governor to now concentrate his campaign on issues of governance and his numerous achievements in the last four years. Sadly, Pastor Ize-Iyamu has nothing to offer Edo people, except the emoty promises, which even Oshiomhole has dismissed by telling the world that Ize Iyamu lies too much.
The only hope the APC is relying on now, according to Governor Wike, is to rig the Edo State Governorship elections, because it knows that the people of the State will not buy the bad product Oshiomhole is presenting as the Party’s candidate in the September 19 Governorship elections.
This has prompted the Rivers Governor to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari, to leave a lasting democratic legacy behind, by ensuring that the Edo State guber election is free and fair and devoid of the intimidation and threatened subversion of the electoral laws, which some APC members are planning to unleash on Edo people on election day.
The Rivers State Governor in the special AIT interview, also praised the recents efforts of the PDP in resolving internal party conflicts and saluted the courage and magnanimity of the other aspirants in the Edo guber primaries, who decided to work together to support the candidature of Governor Obaseki who is the Party’s flag bearer.
“It was not easy to have a sole candidate for the Party in Edo state. People thought there will be problems, given the fact that Obaseki was coming from another Party. But Party members who are grounded and believe in the Party didn’t see any sacrifice too much to make”.
He noted the success recorded by the PDP in conducting free and fair Party primaries in Edo state and Ondo states, adding that he and his team accepted the responsibility to lead the campaign in Edo because they are satisfied with results coming out already from Edo State.
He commended the Delta State Governor and South South Governors Forum Chairman, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa for his impressive efforts in strengthening the nation’s democracy with the promotion of internal politics and resolving conflict of interests of members to achieve common goals.
“That is exactly what Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as the Chairman of South-South States’ Governors had done. He is making sure that we are all on the same page to ensure that all States in the South-South are controlled by the PDP,” he stated.
Indeed, only very few people will disagree with the Edo State PDP Governorship
Campaign Council Chairman on his comprehensive political analysis and especially on the electoral truism that you cannot sell a bad product, no matter how many times you kneel down to begs the people.
From all indications, it is obvious that Edo people are already in agreement with Governor Wike on this matter.
Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State
Buhari Approves Deployment Of Nine Perm Secs
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the deployment of nine Federal Permanent Secretaries to Federal Ministries.
In a circular, HCSF/CMO/AOD/012/IX/59 dated August3, 2021, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, disclosed the deployment takes immediate effect and handing over and taking over process should be completed on or before Friday, August 6, 2021, with the exception of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health whose take over will be on August13, 2021.
The deployed Permanent Secretaries are, Bitrus Bako Nabasu from Ministry of Petroleum Resource is deployed to the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy; Dr Evelyn Ngige, Service Welfare Office, OHCSF has been deployed to the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment; Mammam Mahmuda, Career Management Office, OHCSF is now in the Federal Ministry of Health; Dr.Nasir Sani Gwarzo, Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment has been taken to Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Dr Anthonia Akpabio Ekpa, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs to Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs.
Others are the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries, Dr. Onwudiwe Maryanne Ngozi; Dr. Ogunbiyi Marcus Olaniyi; Yusuf Ibrahim Idris; and Adebiyi Olusesan Olufunso; who were deployed to Service Welfare Office, OHCSF; Career Management Office, OHCSF; Common Service Office, OHCSF and Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, respectively.
Court Orders EFCC To Unfreeze Dokpesi’s Account
The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, yesterday, in Abuja, issued an order unfreezing the bank account of the Chairman of Daar Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi.
Justice Tsoho gave the order while delivering a ruling on Dokpesi’s application argued by Mr KanuAgabi, SAN.
The judge ordered that the account domiciled at one of the new generational bank be immediately ‘unfrozen’ since the criminal charges which precipitated the restriction on the account had been dismissed, and Dokpesi discharged and acquitted by the Court of Appeal.
The judge said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had no basis to put a post no debit order on the account in view of the subsisting and valid judgment of the Court of Appeal.
He held that there was no application by the EFCC for stay of execution of the appellate court’s judgment which quashed the criminal charges against Dokpesi.
Justice Tsoho said that in the absence of a stay of execution, the court was bound by law to recognise the judgment of the appellate court.
He ordered that the freeze order and post no debit on the account be immediately removed in compliance with the appellate court’s judgment.
Ruling on the claim by the EFCC that it had appealed the appellate court’s decision at the Supreme Court, the judge held that the notice of appeal filed at the apex court could not in law stay the execution of the subsisting judgment .
He added that the anti-graft agency ought to have obtained a stay of execution of the judgment.
He further ordered that all documents seized from Dokpesi should be immediately returned to him.
Agabi, while making arguments in support of the application, prayed the court to issue an order unfreezing Dokpesi’s bank account frozen on the strength of the alleged N2.1billion fraud charge against him.
The senior lawyer had submitted that the criminal charges in respect of N2.1billion had since been dismissed by the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division but the EFCC wanted to continue to hold his client in bondage.
Agabi had further argued that the charge which led to freezing of the account no longer existed following the decision of the appellate court on the matter.
He had tendered two judgements of the Court of Appeal to establish his claim that the criminal charges against Dokpesi had been quashed.
He held that until the judgments were set aside the EFCC could not continue to freeze his client’s account.
However, EFCC counsel, Mr Oluwaleke Atolagbe, had opposed the application on the grounds that the anti-graft agency had already filled a notice of appeal against the appellate court’s judgment at the apex court.
Atolagbe had urged the court not to unfreeze the account yet until the final decision of the Supreme Court in the matter, adding that the N2.1billion logged in the frozen account formed the basis of the charge.
He also opposed to the request for the release of Dokpesi’s document in possession of EFCC on the grounds that no specific document was mentioned in the request.
On April 1, a three-member panel of the Appeal Court in a unanimous judgment freed Dokpesi from the charges after it held that the prosecution failed to establish the ingredients of the charge.
The EFCC had in 2015 dragged Dokpesi to court, accusing him and his company of illegally receiving funds considered as proceeds of crimes from a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki(rtd).
He pleaded not guilty to the charges and went further to file a no-case submission after the prosecution closed its case in November, 2018, after calling 14 witnesses.
However, the trial judge, Justice Tsoho, rejected the no-case submission, and ordered Dokpesi and his firm to enter their defence.
Not satisfied, the defendants then approached the Court of Appeal, with a request to nullify the decision and free him from the charges on the grounds that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against them.
In the unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Elfreda Williams-Dawodu, the appellate court agreed with the appellants that the case of the respondents lacked merit having “failed woefully to establish a prima facie case against the appellant”.
According to the judgment, for any case to be established against the defendants, it is necessary to first prove the ingredients of offence in the predicate offences in counts 1 to 4 of the seven-count charge which bordered on criminal breach of trust, division of funds, money laundering and corruption.
The court further held that EFCC failed to prove that the N2.1billion allegedly received by the appellant was proceed of breach of trust, and accordingly set aside the decision of the lower court which held that the appellants had a case to answer.
“No case was made against the appellant in counts 1, 2, 3 and 4 to warrant his being called upon to open his defence.
“There is no possibility that the appellant can be convicted because the evidence are manifestly unreliable.
“I am of the view that irrespective of the ingredients stated earlier, and those by the appellant and first respondent respectively, prior proof or establishment of the predicate offences in count 1,2,3 and 4 of the amended charge is sine qua non to the proof of the offences of money laundering specified in the said counts”, the court said.
Enugu Assembly Approves N200m Virement For Auditor-General Offices
The Enugu State House of Assembly has approved the virement of N200 million for the offices of the State Auditor-General and Auditor-General for Local Government.
The Tide source reports that the house also passed the 2021 State Audit Amendment Bill at an emergency plenary session.
The Leader of the House, Mr Ikechukwu Ezeugwu, said the approval of the virement became necessary to provide funding for the two newly created offices, which were not envisaged during the 2021 appropriation bill.
Ezeugwu said the funding would include capital and recurrent expenditures, adding that the N200 million would be provided by the office of the governor.
According to him, the virement would give the offices the needed independence to effectively discharge their statutory responsibilities.
Also contributing, the member representing Awgu South Constituency, Mr Johnson Chukwuobasi, said the new offices would be redundant without funding.
The Speaker, Chief Edward Ubosi, said the fund was meant to perfect the Audit Amendment Bill passed by the Assembly.
Ubosi said it would be an irony to create the offices without approving funds that would make them functional.
He said such a development would amount to building something on nothing.
In another development, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has forwarded a list of nominees for the State Civil Service Commission (SCSC) and Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) to the House for confirmation.
The nominees for the SCSC included Mrs Eucharia Offiah (Chairman), Mr Nathaniel Anike, Mrs Chinenye Odike and Mrs Stella Ekweremadu (members).
Also nominated for the LGSC were Prof. Ossy Okanya (Chairman), Mr Frederick Ugwu, Mrs Florence Igboji, Mr Peter Nnaji and Mr Eugene Odoh (members).
The Speaker directed the nominees to submit 25 copies of their Curriculum Vitae on or before Monday, August 2 to the House.
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