The National Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, yesterday, counselled party organs to resist the temptation to do away with the current leadership of the party, noting that doing so portends ills for the party.
Secondus has had a week to forget, following persistent calls for his removal from several quarters, including some members of the National Working Committee (NWC).
Addressing members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party at the Wadata Plaza national secretariat of the PDP, yesterday, Secondus acknowledged that those picking holes with his management style were entitled to do so but pleaded that misunderstandings should be resolved internally.
While reminding leaders of the party that his leadership has less than four months to go, the PDP boss called on all organs of the party to come together in the interest of the party.
He said, “Anything contrary to the smooth running of our party towards the remaining three months will not be good enough for our party. Any dislocation will cost an infraction that will result to several unknown issues that we may not be able to come out of.”
According to him, the past three years and eight months he has been in the saddle have been very peaceful, adding that the issues now rocking the party are not new.
In a veiled dig at his detractors, Secondus pointed out that forms for the various leadership positions will soon be on sale, saying, “After the main state congresses, both the public and our party are looking forward to a smooth and peaceful convention, which is coming up in December. We believe the preparation is being done in the office of the National Organizing Secretary. Soon, the schedule of events, the timetable and other things shall be presented before the Caucus, BoT, NEC and all organs of our party for action leading to the convention.”
He lauded incumbent NWC, saying for the first time, leadership was provided without rancour until recently, even as he informed the party leaders that the seven national officers who earlier in the week tendered their resignations, have been attended to.
The PDP boss further called on leaders of the party to forge a united and formidable force to dislodge the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 election cycle.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin, has called on the leaders of the party to be guided by the crises, which led to the ouster of past chairmen, with a view to drawing sufficient lessons.
In his submission at the meeting, Walid bemoaned the current crisis, regretting that while Nigerians were earnestly looking up to the PDP to rescue the nation from the stranglehold of the ruling APC, the party itself was engulfed in needless squabbles.
He called on members to unite ahead of the 2023 elections, saying, “in order to achieve complete success, we must do away with any personal interest and unnecessary in-house fighting aiming at killing the objectives set by the party.”
This is even as he urged the party to take a firm stand on discipline.
“Please, let us examine why many past national chairmen did not complete their tenure successfully- Chief Audu Ogbeh, Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Alhaji Ahmed Mua’zu, Alhaji Modu Sheriff, and now the deputy national chairman, threatening to resign,” he added, assuring that the party will come out of the current crisis stronger.
Others who attended the meeting include, immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, former Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Tom Ikimi, former Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations, Tanimu Turaki, ex-Osun State governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, and Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, amongst others.
However, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday, assured Nigerians that the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) would deploy its internal conflict resolution mechanism to resolve whatever disagreements there was at the national leadership level of the party.
He assured that the issue would be surmounted in no time, saying that the PDP remains the only hope for Nigerians.
The governor spoke when he received in audience a former All Progressives Congress (APC), senatorial candidate in the state, Chief Mimi Adzape-Orubibi and the chairman of the party in her area as well as the party’s executives who will formally decamp to the PDP on Saturday.
The governor said, “I want to assure Nigerians that despite the leadership challenge we have we are till together and we will resolve it soon. We may recall that even the tongue and the teeth sometimes fight but they settle.
“And so PDP is going to deploy its internal conflict resolution mechanism and we shall rise up from there because Nigerians are fed up. They are tired of being taken from the top to the button since 2015. Have you not heard what Mr President said that he was going to take Nigeria from top to bottom and he has actually done that.
“How much was the Dollar in 2015 when President Buhari took over from Goodluck Jonathan? N180. Today we are battling with over N500. Can you imagine! On security, we were battling with only Boko Haram then, but today, we have Fulani bandits, we Fulani herdsmen, we have Fulani mercenaries, we have Fulani kidnappers, we have Fulani armed robbers, we have Fulani thieves, we have Fulani AK-47. And then they will deceive us that they are tackling them.
“So, we want a leadership that will take us from bottom to top.
“I commend my sister for taking a bold step like I did in 2017. Though as a member of the ruling party, when I saw the injustice being perpetrated on our people and the inequality and the unfairness, I decided to jump ship and joined the PDP where I contested and won.
“And since I left the APC I have not regretted. APC is a party of injustice; it is a party that does not believe in the rule of law. It is a party that does not believe in democracy, equity, fairness and justice. It is a party that believes that no other Nigerian, except the Fulanis should be equal.
“We can see what they are doing already, it is a party that wants to make everybody slave but for some of us, we say no, we cannot be slaves to others.
“We believe in democracy, we believe in one Nigeria. And we believe that everyone should have freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of association. Let there be equity, fairness and justice. That is what we stand for, yesterday, today and forever. We stand for equity, fairness and justice in this country for all Nigerians.
“We oppose those who think that they can impose their culture on us. Nigeria is a country of over 250 nationalities, we respect every nationality, whether you are Fulani, you are Tiv, Yoruba, Idoma, Igala, Hausa or you are Igbo or South-South, we respect you.
“For us in Benue, that’s what we respect. We oppose any culture that wants to dominate us and take over our land and give it to their people. We say no to that, we will always stand to defend our people.
“In Benue State we are committed to this and I am working closely with the people that elected me as governor of Benue State. And I stand in solidarity with them and I stand with utmost commitment to my people because democracy is about the locality.
“All politics is local. So, we remain grateful and committed to our locality, our locality first before outside. And so, we are going to resist any attempt to impose a different culture on us and we are not going to impose our culture on other people.
“So, I commend Mimi and all of you who are here to pay solidarity with her and to assure you that I will visit your local government on Saturday to witness the formal decamping of our illustrious daughter.”
Similarly, the former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, assured Nigerians that all efforts would be put in place to strengthen PDP NWC within 72hours.
The PDP national leader, explained that PDP was very important to Nigerians; hence the need to resolve internal crisis.
Saraki’s assurance was after the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), had met over the crisis in the party.
During the meeting, it was agreed that the members of the constituted committee are to meet within the next 48 to 72hours to decide PDP’s direction.
But Saraki, in a series of tweets wrote, “Earlier today, the PDP Board of Trustees resolved to set up a committee that will look into the issues that are affecting the party.
“This committee, which includes governors, members of the BoT, members of the national assembly, members of the National Working Committee (NWC), former governors, and former ministers of the party, is expected to meet within the next 48 to 72hours to determine the direction of the party.
“Nigerians should be rest assured that as a party, we fully understand the importance of our platform to Nigerians. This is why we will continue to do everything that we can to strengthen our party in the best interest of all Nigerians.”
Minister Blames Judiciary For Prisons’ Congestion
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has blamed the congestion in Nigeria’s correctional facilities on the country’s Judiciary, explaining that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCOS) was not allowed by law to reject inmates sentenced to correctional centres or to release them.
Aregbesola, represented by Special Adviser on Nigerian Correctional Service, Suleiman Tala, stated this while delivering a paper at a policy advocacy conference entitled, “Decongestion of Correctional Centres: Status Quo”, organised as part of the 60th-anniversary celebration of the Order of The Knights of St Mulumba, Nigeria, Lagos Metropolitan Council, which was held in Lagos, adding that the primary responsibility of NCOS is to hold offenders pending the adjudication of their cases before a law court.
“It is important for the public to be aware that the NCOS and the Ministry of Interior are trying their best to tackle the issue from different angles as the length of time the inmates stay at the custodian centre is not determined by NCOS but by the justice system. I may not be able to reiterate exactly what the challenges are with the judiciary, however, as it affects the NCOS we are doing all we can not to compromise the traditional responsibility of the NCOS,” he stated.
Representing the Inspector General of Police, Baba Usman, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, accepted that the police contribute to the congestion but gave his reasons.
“Inconsistence of the appearance of police officers to give evidence at trials has been identified as one of the alleged causes of prolonging trial but the IGP has mandated officers must attend court cases as at when due. The police are being hampered by a high level of distrust between the citizens and their police institution,” he stated.
Also at the conference, Lagos State Catholic Archbishop, Alfred Adewale Martins, who was represented by Rev. Paschal Uwaezeapu, stated that decongestion of the prisons would continue to be a matter as long as the government has refused to fix the country.
“The prison would continue to be congested if we don’t fix the society. As long as our society is a place where everybody takes for himself without considering the neighbour then our prison would continue to be congested. If we need to fix the prison we need to fix the family. These prisoners come from a family. We need to fix the education system also. We need to promote justice, without all these, the prison will soon overflow,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Lagos Metropolitan Grand Knight, KSM William Adebisi, urged the government to declare a state of emergency on the congestion of prisons.
“The government needs to take the matter seriously as it affects the health of the inmates, economy of the company and behavioural change of the inmates,” he stated.
FG Seeks $3bn With Eurobond Offer
The Federal Government has announced plans for a Eurobond issuance in the International Capital Market (ICM) to raise $3billion.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) said, yesterday, that Virtual meetings with investors have been scheduled for today, and September 20, 2021.
It said, “In order to avail local investors the opportunity to invest in the Eurobonds, meetings will also be held with local investors.
“This is the first time local investors will be included in the Roadshows, and this is one of the reasons why a Nigerian Bookrunner (Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd) was appointed as one of the Transaction Advisers.
“Through the Eurobond issuance, Nigeria is expected to raise up to $3billion but no more than $6.2billion.”
According to the DMO, the issuance for which all statutory approvals have been received, would be to implement the New External Borrowing in the 2021 Appropriation Act and that “Proceeds are for the financing of various projects in the Act.”
The agency gave further insight, saying, “In addition to providing funding to part-finance the deficit in the 2021 Appropriation Act, the issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria benefits the country in many other strategic ways; amongst which are: 1. It is an inflow of foreign exchange, leading to an increase in External Reserves.
“External Reserves help support the Naira Exchange Rate, and Nigeria’s sovereign rating.
“When Nigeria raises funds externally, through Eurobonds, it frees up space in the domestic market for private sector and sub-national borrowers. In effect, it helps the sovereign not to crowd out other borrowers in the domestic market.
“The issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria has opened up opportunities for Nigeria’s corporate sector notably banks, to issue Eurobonds to raise capital in the ICM.
“By so doing, their capital base has been strengthened to provide banking services whilst also meeting regulatory requirements. Nigeria has a sovereign yield curve in the ICM, extending up to 30 years.
“The local listing of Nigeria’s Eurobonds on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. and the FMDQ Securities Exchange Ltd., have increased the range of products on these two (2) exchanges and their respective market capitalization.
“Overall, Eurobond issuances by Nigeria and the investor meetings that precede the pricing have provided a strong global platform for Nigeria to tell its own story and opportunities available in Nigeria for investors.”
The Transaction Advisers appointed by Nigeria for the issuance were: International Bookrunners – JP Morgan, Citigroup Global Markets Limited; Joint Lead Managers -Standard Chartered Bank and Goldman Sachs; Nigerian Bookrunner – Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd; Financial Adviser – FSDH Merchant Bank Ltd; while White & Case LLP, was appointed International Legal Adviser; and Banwo&Ighodalo would serve as Nigerian Legal Adviser.
The last time Nigeria accessed the ICM was November 2018.
Insecurity: Put Nigeria First, FG Tells Media
The Federal Government has tasked the media to put Nigeria first in the reportage of the country’s activities, particularly the fight against insecurity.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call in Abuja during the ceremony of the renaming of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Headquarters Building after the former Managing Director and Board Chairman of NAN, late Wada Maida.
Mohammed said it may seem obvious and trite, but for any professional, including a journalist in Nigeria to be able to carry out his or her responsibility at all, the nation must first exist, in peace.
“In other words, if the country goes down, all professionals and everybody go down. It is that stark, and this is why I want to use this platform to appeal to our media to put Nigeria first”, Mohammed said.
Speaking further, the minister said if one picked up most newspapers, watched most television stations or listened to most radio stations in the country, one will be right to think Nigeria is a country at war.
While acknowledging that there were challenges in the country, especially in the area of security, Mohammed, however, said the Buhari administration had not only acknowledged the challenges, it is earnestly tackling the challenges.
“A good example is the decisive manner in which our gallant troops are tackling the banditry in the North-West or the way they are combating the terrorists in the North-East. Our security agencies have also successfully tackled the separatists in the South-East and South-West and the militants in the South-South. Unfortunately, these efforts have only been perfunctorily reflected in the reportage of the security challenges that we face. This is not only unfair, especially to those who are sacrificing their lives to keep us safe, it is unpatriotic.
“To illustrate the damage this non-acknowledgement of the efforts of the security agencies pose to the country, let me tell you what transpired when I recently hosted some members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) UK Chapter, who visited me in my office here in Abuja. They said some of their colleagues who would have come to Nigeria for their programme tagged,‘A Week in and For Nigeria’ during the month of July, did not come out of fear of the security situation in Nigeria. However, those who made the trip said they travelled to their hometowns across the country and returned to Abuja safely. If Nigerians in the diaspora can be afraid to come to their country, imagine how foreigners, including investors and tourists, will feel about coming to the country.
“Whatever image problem Nigeria is suffering from today is mostly due to the unflattering portrayal of the country by the country’s media.
“Even when some media organisations report fake news, they never have the decency to retract such stories and apologise. They simply move on as if nothing has happened.
“We are not saying the media should not report on the security challenges we face. All we are saying is: Be fair and report accurately the efforts being made by the state and federal governments to tackle the challenges. Even if you don’t want to encourage the men and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, please don’t discourage them with negative reporting. The security challenges we face today will be successfully tackled and Nigeria will not cease to exist, despite the antics of naysayers”, Mohammed added.
Mohammed congratulated the family, friends and associates of the late Maida for the great and much-deserved honour done to him.
He commended the management and staff of the NAN for coming up with the idea to immortalise the late Maida.
“The Federal Government’s decision to approve the proposal was not difficult, upon realising the role played by Alhaji Wada in making NAN the respectable agency that it is today. A man who was everything from Zonal Editor to Foreign Correspondent to Editor-in-Chief to Managing Director to Board Chairman, a man who built this glistening NAN headquarters edifice deserves to be immortalised by the organisation he served so well in his lifetime”, Mohammed stated.
Mohammed prayed that God will continue to comfort and strengthen the family of Maida, even as he prayed that the soul of the departed continues to rest in peace.
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