Connect with us

Politics

Odje Urges Institutional Reform To Deepen Democracy

Published

on

A Legal practitioner and humam rights activist, Dr Akpo Odje, wants increased institutional reforms in the country to deepen democracy.

He made the call in Yenagoa on Friday in a lecture entitled “Freedom of Information: The Right to Know”.

Odje said at the event to mark the World Press Freedom Day that the sack of Prof. Maurice Iwu as INEC Chairman would not bring an end to electoral fraud in the country.

Rather, he said, the nation should concentrate on reforming the entire political system in line with international practice.

The Warri-based lawyer said the reforms would engineer better progress for the country.

Odje said that no one could do any magic in terms of performance until the complete overhaul of the institutions.

“Even if you appoint tested hands, including Prof. Wole Soyinka to become INEC Chairman, there is only little he can do.

“The system is corrupt. Until the institutions are reformed, we may not be able to conduct free and fair elections,’’ he stated.

Odje expressed worry that barely 13 months to the next general election, there is no sign of preparations due largely to political crisis in the country.

“This is the month of May, and elections are been scheduled for January next year. As we talk now, no voter registration has been conducted.

‘’We don’t even know when political parties will conduct their primaries. How then can we have credible elections,” he queried.

The lawyer also faulted the manner in which the federal government was handling the post amnesty programme for ex-militants in the Niger Delta.

“We called the boys to come out of the creeks and granted them amnesty, even for not committing any crime. But the way it is going, it looks like we never prepared for the post Amnesty era,” Odje said.

He also picked on the oil companies, saying that they were “not helping matters”.

He said the companies’ failure to relocate their headquarters to their operational areas in the Niger Delta was a set back to the development of the region.

“They are impoverishing our people by paying their taxes in Abuja and Lagos,” Odje said.

He called on journalists to live above board in the discharge of their professional duties and expressed concerns over the delay in the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill by the National Assembly.

He also advised journalists to be security conscious as they remained targets of politicians who might not like them to report the truth.

“The Nigerian Constitution is not protective of journalists just like in Ghana and other developed countries. Your job is a very delicate one and you need to be careful,” Odje warned.

In an address, the Chairman of the occasion and Commissioner of Bayelsa State Ministry of Information, Strategy and Orientation, Mr Nathan Egba, described journalism as a noble profession.

He called on media practitioners in the state to see themselves as partners in the development of Bayelsa.

In his welcome address, the State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr. Tarinyo Akono, said the body was disturbed by the recent killing of journalists across the country.

Akono used the occasion to announce the re-naming of the state NUJ Press Centre after veteran journalist, Late Ernest Ikoli, for his contribution to the growth of journalism in Nigeria.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Politics

I’m Not Against Araraume’s Appointment – OBJ

Published

on

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has condemned attempts by those he called “political busybodies” to drag him into issues bothering on the appointment of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume as the chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC).
The former president who spoke through his lawyer, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, said stories on some social media platforms accusing him of being responsible for the “immediate suspension” of the inauguration of the new NNPC board of directors inauguration were false.
Some social media platforms had claimed that Obasanjo influenced the suspension of the board’s inauguration because he wanted Araraume to step down as chairman of the board.
But this was despite an explanation by the secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, that the inauguration would be held at a later date.
Reacting however, Oba-sanjo’s lawyer, Abayomi, in the statement, said the former president was preoccupied with efforts to better the lots of Nigerians locally, internationally and economically and as such had no time for frivolities.
Abayomi said whatever misunderstanding between Araraume and Obasanjo had in the past was over and that both had been in touch with each other and would continue to do so in the interest of the country.

Describing Araraume as an astute businessman and leader who would certainly handle the NNPC well, the statement warned against attempts by certain individuals to drag Obasanjo into the conflict in Imo State politics.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Politics

I Have No Link With APC – Fayose

Published

on

Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose has described as “campaigns of calumny” by some aspirants, linking him with the All Progressives Congress (APC) national leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, as “dead on arrival,” pointing out that it will not guarantee anyone the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship ticket.
The former governor who reiterated his endorsement of the immediate past PDP chairman in the State, Otunba Bisi Kolawole, declared that he owed no one no apology as he was convinced that he (Bisi Kolawole) has what it takes to win the election and govern Ekiti better.
In a statement on Friday, by his spokesperson, Lere Olayinka, Fayose said those moving from house to house in Abuja, calling him names would by now be celebrating him and calling him “Saint Fayose” if they were the ones he was supporting.
The statement issued on Friday, read; “Linking me with APC and Tinubu in the desperation of some aspirants to clinch our party ticket, is dead on arrival.
“In and out of office, Nigerians can attest to my commitment to the PDP and opposition to the APC government in defence of the ordinary Nigerians.”
“We have seen sitting governors defecting to APC, but in and out of office, I remained steadfast with the PDP even in the face of undeserved harassments.
“When did visits and interactions of our political leaders across party lines become evidence of anti-party?
“As for the race for the PDP governorship ticket, I want to make it expressly clear once again that I have no apologies for supporting Bisi Kolawole.

“Those going from house to house in Abuja, looking for shortcuts to the governorship ticket should rather go back to Ekiti and seek the support of the delegates who will decide the fate of our party’s aspirants.
“To our party stakeholders, whenever they come to you in Abuja with tales by moonlight about Fayose, let them be reminded that I am not an aspirant, but cannot be wished away. They should rather go back home and seek the necessary support as all politics is local. No shortcut!
“Eni ifa o to si lo npe ni haram (It is those who did not get the endorsement that are calling it haram).
“If they were the ones I endorsed, I will be ‘Saint Fayose.’
“I want to make it expressly clear once again that I stand with Otunba Bisi Kolawole, without apologies because he has what it takes to govern Ekiti and with the support of God and Ekiti people, he will surely win.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Politics

Accountability’ll Be PDP’s Watchword – Ayu

Published

on

The National Chairman-elect of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prof. Iyorchia Ayu, has said the party under his leadership would remain accountable.
He also expressed preparedness to review the reports of various committees set up by the outgoing Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee and ensure that their recommendations were implemented.
Ayu said this while presenting the communique of the two- day national retreat held for newly elected NWC members and other party stakeholders, in Abuja, on Thursday.
In response to a question on the concerns raised by a former National Chairman of the party, Dr. Okwesilezie Nwodo, about the lack of transparency in the management of party funds by successive administrations, Ayu promised to be different.
Nwodo, who left office in 2011, had in a paper titled ‘Political Party Funding,’ which he presented during the retreat, said, “…today, we seem to have lost it. I handed over eleven billion in fixed deposits and eight hundred million in the current account when I left as National Chairman after seven months.
“I don’t see what was done with that money. Millions were raised to finish our National Headquarters; we don’t seem to have a trace of where all that money went. Our headquarters is yet to be completed. Today we don’t even have a party account.
“We have to get back to strict monitoring of our party accounts. Our internal audit department needs to be strengthened and supported by the party leadership.
“Very strict sanctions must be imposed on mismanagement of party funds; I suggest that we include inviting EFCC to probe erring officers and members and prosecution of those found culpable. This is the only way to create deterrent”.
Responding to a question on the subject, Ayu said, “by the time we come to office, accountability will remain our watchword and I want to assure all of you that we will run the PDP administration as transparently as possible.
“The outgoing NWC has set up different committees to look into different areas, we shall take up all the reports, review them, look at the facts and then attend to each issue according to the facts available to us.
“I want to assure you that we shall try to clean our house no matter who is going to be affected, we shall try to clean our house following due process and that due process also includes exhausting all internal conflict resolving mechanisms before we bring in any external intervention when we cannot resolve the issue”.
Earlier, while reading the communique, Ayu observed among other things that, “the terrible security situation in the country threatens Nigeria’s corporate existence, the collapse of national security has made Nigeria to begin sharing sovereignty with terrorist gangs and rogue elements.
“The lack of vision, capacity, ability and competence on the part of the ruling APC has driven Nigeria towards a failed state. Through incessant borrowings, the Muhammadu Buhari regime has returned Nigeria to the status of ‘a beggar and debtor-nation.”
In order to regain public confidence, the communique recommended that, “the incoming Ayu-led NWC of the PDP should hold periodic retreats and round-table dialogues to clarify its position on issues affecting the country, the NWC should commence sustained dialogue with the Nigerian Electorate before the next round of elections.

 

“The PDP should engage different segments of the voting population, especially to encourage youths and women demographics in the rescue.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Trending