Without anyone needing a sooth-sayer to predict the likely scenarios that would play out in Rivers State come 2023, one only needs to take a critical look at the fate of the two main political parties in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
While the PDP appears to be consolidating on its victory in the 2019 elections, the APC does not seem to have recovered from its failure to present a single candidate to contest that election. In the aftermath of the 2015 general elections, the APC acted as an opposition party and used the next two years to consolidate as a party that was primed to contend for power.
Although the disagree-ment between former Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, had started to manifest, there was a semblance of order in the structure of the party that gave some the false hope that the party could carry the day come 2019.
What followed in the next two years before the election was like a Hollywood movie in which Amaechi, Abe and their supporters disagreed on the party’s leadership structure to the point that they went to court and allowed the matter to get to the Supreme Court.
The failure of the gladiators to agree and the manner in which they fought till the Supreme Court ruled that the party could not field any candidate for the election, to a few party faithful who displayed some level of neutrality throughout the crisis was too disturbing and therefore a trigger to either form their own faction or move to the ruling PDP.
The situation was permitted to degenerate to Hon. Igo Aguma, a staunch Amaechi ally, heading to court to take over the party’s leadership. Consequently, the battle for the party’s leadership moved from two main factions to three, which does not augur well for the party.
Rather than the political actors in the APC working as a team towards 2023, the leaders have decided to take the feud to different dimensions.
This is believed to be the reason why an ally of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Hon. Chidi Lloyd, who was the Majority Leader in the 6th and 7th Rivers State House of Assembly, during Amaechi’s two terms in office, decamped to the PDP.
Although Lloyd may not be in the category of the state’s heavyweight politicians, he was vibrant and influential in the Emohua Local Government Area politics
Perhaps, only a few political watchers knew that Lloyd’s heart was no longer in the APC until he stormed Government House, Port Harcourt, in the company of elders of his community that had gone to pay a solidarity visit to Governor Wike. It was during the visit that Lloyd announced his defection to the PDP.
Governor Wike seized the opportunity to reconcile the lawmakers that fought in 2013. Speaking at the event, Lloyd said the reconciliation was ordained by God and restated his earlier apology to Hon. Michael Chinda and his other colleagues over his role in the crisis at the State House of Assembly.
He described his action in 2013 as a mistake of the head and not of the heart and thanked Governor Wike for his benevolence which led to total reconciliation. Responding, Hon. Michael Chinda thanked God for keeping them alive to witness the reconciliation and also lauded Governor Wike for his role in ensuring that he remained alive after the incident.
Chinda, who observed that Lloyd misunderstood him on the day of the crisis, said he had already forgiven him since December, 2013. He also urged parliamentary leaders not to promote issues that would lead to crisis in their service to humanity.
Also speaking on the issue, Hon. Evans Bipi, who was factional speaker after the fight described Lloyd as a man with a large heart and thanked him for coming back to his roots.
Reacting to Lloyd’s defection to the People’s Democratic Party, the APC faction loyal to Amaechi described it as “good riddance to bad rubbish.” A statement by Ogbonna Nwuke, Acting Publicity Secretary of the APC faction, noted that the action of Lloyd did not come to the party as a surprise.
Nwuke said: “For years, our supporters have been watching the dance steps of the former member of the Rivers State House of Assembly. It is regrettable that the Emohua-born politician, whose activities have been less than desirable has taken a decision to stray from light in order to embrace darkness. We have equally listened to his comments and we are amazed that his hunt for the ‘feeding bottle’ that Wike controls could drive him to such a lowly height…
“We state categorically that the exit of Hon. Lloyd would have no effect on the fortunes of the APC. On the contrary, APC members in Emohua Local Government Area are jubilating over his exit. All politics, they say, is local, and these party men and women who are in a happy mood right now know who is who,” Nwuke reacted.
From all indications, the APC in Rivers State seems to be deluding itself as a party that is waxing stronger as Hon Ephraim Nwuzi, the Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the Diaspora, representing Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency moved from the PDP to APC.
However, the reality on ground is that as the Rivers State APC continues to battle its demons, the PDP under Gov Wike continues to consolidate on its 2019 electoral success and is determined to advance towards 2023.
When the state executive of the PDP paid him a courtesy visit a few days ago, the Governor described the APC as a party that made a lot of promises before coming into power but failed Nigerians by not fulfilling its promises.
The governor said: “Nigeria is hoping on PDP because the APC has failed Nigeria. This is no more time for promises. You have promised and you have failed. There is nothing to try you again. Nigerians have realised that it is better they stay with the PDP that has the interest of Nigeria at heart than a Party that gives excuses everyday. You know there are problems in Nigeria and you made promises, asking Nigerians to vote for you and for five years, nothing has changed…
“Let me say clearly that this is no time for politics. My concern now is to make sure we deliver all the promises we have made to the people of the state. When politics comes, we will have our report card to show the people. “It has never happened in the history of this country. Within one year, a state government will construct five flyover projects at the same time.”
Wike urged the party executives to show more love to the party by being loyal and committed, just as he urged them to do their best in consolidating the gains of the party in the state.
He said: “I plead with you all to work cooperatively with the chairman and be united. We are going to work together to draw up a plan that will make us more effective. Let nobody deceive you to attend any meeting anybody will call because he wants to run for governorship. We have not come to that point. I have just stayed one year in office in my second tenure.
“We are working for our party to be united to make sure that APC does not have a breathing space in our state. “There is nothing the APC can say to Rivers people today as the reason they should be voted for. Whether it is the Federal Government, or their political appointees, they have nothing to tell us.”
Also, a few days ago, thousands of APC supporters in Etche Local Government Area dumped the party for the PDP.
Governor Wike, who addressed them, urged political leaders of the PDP in the area to work together for the overall interest of their people.
He said he made a promise to reconcile all aggrieved members of the party during his second term inauguration and would not allow further divisions in the party.
He called on the leader of the party in Etche Local Government Area, Prince Emma Anyanwu, to carry all members of the party along in the scheme of things.
“The leadership of Etche PDP should stop further disagreements and work together in unity. I do not want to hear anything like returnees.
“The people of Etche Ethnic Nationality have lost a lot of things because of division. You should see the overall interest of Etche far above personal interests,” he said.
Just as in 2019 when a war of attrition between groups loyal to Amaechi and Abe and the consequent legal battle which climaxed at the Supreme Court prevented APC from fielding candidates, observers believe that the party still has a very long way to go to position itself for a robust contest in the 2023 polls.
By: Enoch Epelle
Ex-Women Affairs Minister, Tallen Felicitates Tinubu’s Wife @ 63
Former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen, has felicitated First Lady, Sen. Remi Tinubu on the occasion of her 63rd birthday.
Tallen, who congratulated the President’s wife in a statement on Friday in Abuja, eulogised the First Lady, who she described as “a rare gem and rare gift to the nation.”
She prayed for more years of God’s exceeding grace on Mrs Tinubu, describing her as extremely humane, an epitome of humility and an indispensable strong pillar of support to her husband.
Tallen said, “Your Excellency, on this milestone and auspicious occasion of your 63rd birthday, I join millions of your well-wishers across the globe, especially the womenfolk, to celebrate with you, while thanking God for His exceeding grace upon you, while wishing you the best that life can offer in the many decades ahead.
“As a wife, mother, fervent preacher of the gospel, as well as an iconic political leader, who exemplifies the struggle for women in politics, you will remain a veritable source of inspiration and pride for women for generations yet unborn.
“Indeed, we could not have asked God for a better First Lady at this time, considering your rare track record of achievements, as your life has been a gift, not just to Nigerian women after your breaking of many barriers for women and setting a perfect example for young girls over the years.”
The former Deputy Governor of Plateau and one-time Minister of State, Science and Technology, said that the people of Plateau would remain eternally grateful to Mrs Tinubu, particularly for her recent visit to the state and donation of a whooping sum of N500 million to families of crisis victims in the state.
She said that through her Renewed Hope Initiative, as Nigeria’s First Lady, Mrs Tinubu has demonstrated her empathy, humanity and philanthropic gesture by pursuing the well-being of others with unquantifiable compassion and zeal to help the less privileged, the challenged and those in need.
Tallen, therefore, prayed for long life, good health, increased grace and wisdom for the First Lady and her entire family.
Tani Olorun Not Against Out-Of-Court Settlement, Says Lawyer
The legal team of embattled Isese advocate in Ilorin, Kwara State, Abdulazeez Adegbola, alias Tani Olorun, has said they are open to an out-of-court settlement of the case of criminal defamation brought against him by the police.
Tani Olorun’s lead counsel, Ademola Bank, disclosed this in an interview with The Tide source.
Tani Olorun is standing trial on five counts of alleged criminal conspiracy, inciting public disturbance, disturbance of public peace, criminal defamation of character, and intentional insult before a Kwara Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Ilorin.
In a separate case, he is also standing trial before the Kwara Upper Area Court sitting in Ilorin, alongside the Oluwo Nla of Tede, Chief Ademola Olawoore.
The offence, according to the prosecution, was contrary to sections 97, 210, 392, and 114 of the Penal Code Law of Nigeria.
Speaking in an interview with our source in Ilorin on Saturday, Tani Olorun’s lead counsel, Bank, said, “If an agreement for an out-of-court settlement comes up, why are we not to agree? The court allows it, the law allows it, and wisdom allows it. The law does not frown on it, the court does not frown on it, and wisdom does not frown on it. Parties can agree to an out-of-court settlement at any time. If it comes, so be it, if the situation allows it.”
He was, however, silent on whether the agreement for an out-of-court settlement would come from the defendant, saying, “It is the situation that dictates it. If it comes from the parties, we will not stand against it. The lawyer will not stand against it. No lawyer will oppose any bid for settlement by parties; it is for peace to reign.”
I’m Not Afraid Of Appeal – Gawuna
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the March 18 governorship election in Kano State, Nasir Yusuf Gawuna, has said he is unafraid of the appeal challenging his victory at the tribunal.
The Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had, last Wednesday, declared the APC candidate winner of the election and sacked Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf.
The three-man panel ordered a certificate of return to be issued to Gawuna and the withdrawal of a certificate of return presented to Yusuf.
The court noted that ballot papers of 165,663 votes were not stamped or signed and, therefore, were invalid and deducted the 165,663 votes from Yusuf’s total.
Speaking with BBC Hausa in an interview while commenting on the tribunal judgment, Gawuna said, “I am grateful to Allah for our victory in the Kano State election, which was affirmed by the court today (Wednesday). I thank Him for His will, which chose us to lead. I also thank our lawyers and the general public for their prayers and support.”
He noted that the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) was initially declared the winner of the election but believed that Allah had already decided the outcome, saying they had the right to challenge the results in court, and they did so.
Gawuna said that anyone who believes that nothing happens without Allah’s will will never worry or take governance as a do-or-die affair, stressing that whatever happens to them, they believe it is the will of Allah.
According to him, “We are not intimidated or afraid, because we know that whatever happens is for the best. Allah never makes mistakes.”
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