As the countdown to the 2011 general elections in Nigeria begins, political parties are yet to announce plans for ward congresses which many believe, would provide the platform for the election of candidates that will fly the party flags come next year’s general polls.
Investigations conducted by The Tide indicate that majority of the political parties are waiting for directives from their national offices before swinging into action, but the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appears to be pre-occupied with sensitisation of party members, wooing others into its fold and reshuffling its political cards for future political gains.
While awareness of party members on ward congresses is at its lowest ebb, feelers indicate that many party faithfuls may be caught up when the lid for the congresses is removed by INEC.
Rivers State Chairman of National Movement of Progressives, Hon Ronarth Dappa told The Tide that there was no way the party would organise ward congress without official directive from its national office, noting that the moment the national body of the party came out with a timetable, the party would go ahead with the congress.
Since the party is relatively new, he said it had commenced grassroots mobilisation to woo members into the party. Dappa noted that the ward congress would be a major launching pad for his party.
Similarly, Hon Christian Finebone of the National Majority Democratic Party (NMDP), said it was too early to organise ward congresses.
The Rivers State Secretary of NMDP declared that machineries needed to be put in place before holding the exercise, assuring that before the year runs out, it would conduct its ward congress elections.
The Tide learnt that the posture of most of the political parties may not be in connection with the plans of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make public its election time table in March.
INEC chairman, Prof Maurice Iwu, said in Abuja at an interactive session with newsmen that the commission would release the timetable for the 2011 general election in March, thsis year.
Iwu justified the measure on the need for political parties and aspirants to have enough time to plan their activities.
On what would happen to the timetable if the National Assembly amended the constitution especially, the sections that deal with election timetable, Iwu said INEC was ready to make necessary changes to take care of such developments.
On speculations that 2011 general election would be shifted to November, the INEC boss said that this would only be possible if the constitution and other relevant laws were amended before then.
However, since the inception the of the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi administration in Rivers State, party politics may have been kept in a cooler in order not to distract the administration’s lauded development agenda in the state.
Two years into his administration, and with enviable record of remarkable service delivery of good governance, the PDP government of the state appears to be set to swing into action of party politics.
In line with this, the chairman of PDP in Obio/Akpor Local Government area, Chukwuemeka Aaron said the party has begun grassroot sensitisation to shape party members and other faithfuls into action for election.
Aaron, in a telephone chat with The Tide said the success of the sensitisation programme of the party would be a litmus test for the PDP to re-enact its success story in the LGs and the State elections. He advised party men and women including the youths in respective areas to close rank and work with a common purpose to take PDP to the next level of democratic success.
Aaron’s counterpart in Eleme Local Government area, Hon Abel Onungwe, agreed that PDP had swung into action on the sensitisation of party members and electorate in the area, preparatory to the congresses and the general elections in 2011.
A PDP chieftain in Gokana LGA, Hon Baiate Giadom said waiting was the name of the political game for now. “We are patiently waiting on the directive of our party on the congresses,” he said, adding that as soon as the directive was given from the national body, all other things would be put into shape for action.
Giadom, a former councillor, said there was no negative implication on the waiting game, arguing that each political party, had internal mechanism in organising party activities.
He, however, advised Rivers people to remain supportive of Amaechi administration in the efforts to re-position the state and deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.
Perhaps, it is the waiting game that has influenced the docile activities of the parties at their respective secretariats, and this The Tide learnt may have far-reaching implications on the political development of the parties ahead of the 2011 general elections.
A chieftain of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Igoniwari Haliday said the hope of HDP to relaunch itself into political reckoning was being kept alive with its grassroots moblisation.
Halliday said HDP was recording successes in its mobilisation drive, but declined comments on the speculation that a governorship aspirant of HDP was warming up to wrest power from Governor Amaechi. Sources described the HDP female governorship hopeful as an Amazon that has all it takes to make a statement in the political history of the state.
Philip-Wuwu Okparaji & Enoch Epelle
Protest Rocks Kano Over Appeal Court Judgment
Protests erupted in Kano city and its environs on Monday afternoon with the demonstrators denouncing the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal that sacked the state Governor, Abba Yusuf.
The Tide’s source reports that uneasy calm pervaded the state capital following a contradictory Certified True Copy of the Appeal Court that affirmed the prayers of both the appellant and the respondent in the contentious Kano governorship, though the judiciary had since cleared the air.
In what appeared like a coordinated action on Monday, huge crowd of protesters had stormed strategic positions in the city as it visited temporary hiccups on commercial activities.
Kano- Zaria Road, Maiduguri Road by Muhammadu Buhari’s interchange, and Kantin Kwari (Kano textile market) were taken over by hundreds of youths who called for justice for Abba Yusuf.
Some of the placard read: “Kano my city my state”, “Justice for Kano”, “ Justice for Abba”, “Abba’s mandate was stolen in 2019, we will not allow it happen in 2023″.
The protest came on the heels of discovery by the Police that “some faceless group are bent on unleashing violence in Kano”, stressing that the police were on top of the situation.
Cp Hussaini Gumel told newsmen in Kano on Monday that already 7 suspects had been arrested and would be arraigned soon.
Gumel revealed that “we have the understanding with the leadership of the contending political parties, and they have signed a peace pact. In view of that, therefore, any one found outside this arrangement will be treated as common criminal”.
However, normalcy had since returned to the ancient city following the peaceful protest that lasted several hours.
NASS To Receive Tinubu’s 2024 Appropriation Bill, Today
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will today, present the 2024 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly.
Secretary, Research and Information of the National Assembly, Dr Ali Barde Umoru, confirmed this on Monday to journalists while requesting the list of those to be allowed into the chamber during the budget presentation.
This will be the first budget estimate President Tinubu will present to the National Assembly in person.
He had earlier transmitted two supplementary budgets, 2022 and 2023, to the National Assembly, which the parliament speedily approved.
President Tinubu had, weeks ago, also forwarded to both chambers of the National Assembly, the 20224-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) where the sum of N26.1 trillion was proposed as the total expenditure for the 2024 fiscal year.
The Senate, following the recommendation of its joint committee, which scrutinised the document, approved the MTEF/FSP.
It approved the N26.1trn proposed as the 2024 budget and other parameters as proposed by President Tinubu.
It approved the new borrowings of N7.8 trillion, pegged the benchmark of oil price for 2024 at $73.96, and oil production volume per day at 1.78 million barrels.
Other parameters approved are a GDP growth rate of 3.76%, an inflation rate of 21.40%, an exchange rate of N700 to $1 dollar, and a projected budget deficit of N9.04 trillion.
Muslim Clerics Offer Prayers For Tinubu, Kwankwaso In Kano
Over 1,000 Islamic clerics have offered special prayers for President Bola Tinubu and the NNPP national leader, Rabiu Kwankwaso, for peace, progress and political stability in Nigeria.
Abdulmumin Kofa (NNPP-Kiru/Bebeji) hosted the ulamas at Kiru for the success of Governor Kabir Yusuf of Kano State at the Supreme Court, according to a statement by the lawmaker’s media aide, Sani Paki, on Monday.
During the prayer session, the clerics recited the Qur’an 1,101 times and prayed for peace, progress and political stability in the country.
Mr Kofa said his relationship with the president was no secret, noting that Mr Kwankwaso is his mentor. He said he would continue to support and promote a harmonious relationship between Messrs Tinubu and Kwankwaso.
Mr Kofa described NNPP as a promising party open to collaboration, alliance and merger with the APC and even with the People’s Democratic Party, Labour Party or any other party that showed interest, so long as it is for the good of Nigerians.
He also promised to deploy his modest political network to reach out to gladiators in Kano politics towards resolving all resolvable issues and to de-escalate the current tension in the state due to the Kano governorship seat.
Also, after the prayer session, the legislator hosted 5,000 primary school kids across his constituency, as he often does, and provided them with school kits.
According to the statement, Mr Kofa assured the pupils of the good plans of the federal and state governments, especially on free education and free school feeding programmes.
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