Weekly political notes
ECOWAS Court Orders Dasuki’s Release
The Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had on Tuesday ruled that the arrest and detention of former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki was unlawful and arbitrary.
The court also held that the further arrest of Dasuki by government on November 4, after he was granted bail by a court of law, amounts to a mockery of democracy and the rule of law.
Dasuki is facing multiple trials for alleged diversion of $2.1 billion meant for the purchase of arms in the immediate past administration. He is also accused of illegal possession of firearms.
He approached the ECOWAS court after he was rearrested by members of Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) shortly after meeting his bail conditions in November last year. He has remained in the custody of the SSS since then.
On Tuesday, a three-member panel led by Justice Friday Nwoke said Nigeria’s government was wrong in arresting Dasuki without a search warrant, adding that the pattern of arrest negates the provisions of Section 28 of the Nigerian Police Act.
Expectedly, this judgment could have provided succour to the embattled Dasuki and his supporters, if not for the question mark on its enforceability and place in Nigeria’s Jurisprudence.
It will be recalled that since the Court was established, member countries, including Nigeria have consistently failed to execute or abide by its several judgments for unknown reasons. So, for one to say that the Court is a toothless bulldog that can only bark, but cannot bite is like stating the obvious.
With this, it is still not yet uhuru for Dasuki and his people, especially when he is being held by a government that does not have respect for the rule of law or constitution.
In this case, there is nothing to cheer about the judgment, because in the eyes of people in government, it may not be worth the paper it is written on, unless for record purpose.
Government is likely to ignore it and heavens will not fall.
N23.29b Poll Bribe: Buhari To Determine Fate Of RECs
All is set for the trial of about 100 Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials who allegedly collected over N23.29b bribe to influence the 2015 general elections.
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu and the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, have met on the list of those indicted, the investigative report and how to go about the trial.
The INEC chief was reported to have promised that the indicted officials will immediately undergo an internal disciplinary process, before being handed over to the EFCC for prosecution.
But Yakubu said the law does not allow him to take a disciplinary action against the two Resident Electoral Commissioners-Gesil Khan and Mr. Sylvester Ezeani, who were implicated in the scandal, because they are appointees of the Presidency. They could be disciplined only by President Muhammadu Buhari. The EFCC has decided to refer the two RECs to the President to determine their fate.
It seems both the leadership of INEC and the anti-graft agency (EFCC) do not understand their constitutional roles in a democratic setting like this. If not, in what section of the 1999 constitution is it stated that it is the responsibility of the President to determine the fate of public officers being investigated for corrupt practices.
Is it that the anti-graft agency is playing to the gallery to attract cheap popularity or that the leadership of INEC is collaborating with the EFCC to show the President that they are working hard? It is possible, especially in a country, where eye service is a tradition in public service.
This sycophantic disposition or media hype is not necessary now. Especially, considering that the EFCC has not prosecuted any accused person since Buhari came into office.
Maybe the leadership of INEC and EFCC want to confirm to Nigerians that the President determines whom to arrest, prosecute or let off the hook. That is the irony of Buhari’s anti-graft battle.
Nnamani Heads FG’s Electoral Law Review Committee
A former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani, will head a 24-member committee, set up by the Federal Government to review existing electoral law and past reports of proposed electoral reforms, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, said recently.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the AGF on Media and Publicity, Mr. Salihu Isah, indicated that the minister would inaugurate the committee.
As good as the intention may be, it seems to be a repeat of the efforts of Justice Uwais’ Committee on Electoral Reforms. That committee, many believed did a wonderful job during President Umaru Musa Yar Adua’s administration, which recommendations were dumped by Yar Adua’s successor.
Even though explanations have offered by the government, as well as Nnamani on the desirability of the new committee, not many are convinced that the committee is needed now.
Instead, there is need for government, if it is altruistic, to dust up the Uwais Committee report and implement it to letter. This will not only save the committee members’ time and energy, it will equally save government cost in a recessed economy, where governments are struggling to meet up with their statutory obligations.
Besides, successive governments have never lacked in setting up committees, but have always lacked the political will to implement beautiful reports or recommendations of committees, thereby raising question on the need for another committee in the first place.
Well, there must always be job for the boys. It is part of Nigeria’s modern of democracy practice.
OBASANJO: I Warned Jonathan About Recession, Reckless Spending
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has accused the immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan of ignoring warnings about a looming recession and the consequences of reckless spending of his government.
He said in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital, that two years ago when he saw signs that Nigeria was walking down the path of recession and the way the powers-that-be were expending the nation’s resources, he drew Jonathan’s attention to the danger ahead, but was ignored.
He said the economic situation in the country has turned development upside down as things are not what they should be.
There is no doubt that since he parted ways with his estranged godson, before 2015 poll, Obasanjo has never hidden his dislike for Jonathan at every opportunity. He has consistently lampooned Jonathan with bitterness.
Obasanjo has indirectly agreed with Buhari and his spin-doctors that Jonathan’s administration was responsible for the country’s recessed economy.
But how would Obasanjo single out Jonathan’s era for condemnation, without making reference to his own failures in office? Or is Obasanjo saying that there were no failures in his government? It is not true, because records are there.
Besides, the economic recession being experienced today is a fall-out of the failures of successive governments to plan ahead, including that of Obasanjo and the incumbent president.
So, Obasanjo’s case here is that of a pot calling the kettle black. It is of utmost importance to remind Obasanjo that as he parades corridors of powers like wounded lion, what Nigerians need now is the way out, not political scheming, vendetta or blame game.
EFCC, Sylva Disagree Over Ownership Of 48 Houses
Former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have disagreed over the existence of 48 houses, allegedly traced to the ex-governor.
While Sylva claimed to own only three houses in Abuja, the EFCC spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, insists that the ex-governor owns the 48 houses and that the commission had begun fresh moves to re-arraign Sylva before the Court of Appeal.
Sylva, in a statement issued by his media adviser, Mr. Doifie Buokoribo, in Abuja, described the report as “strange, speculative and malicious; as he does not own 48 buildings in Abuja or anywhere in the world.”
The war of words and macabre dance between Sylva and the anti-graft agency (EFCC) over the ownership of 48 houses is diversionary and belittling. If the EFCC is sure of its claim and has evidence to that effect, it should approach the court, get order to confiscate 45 of the houses and leave three for Sylva.
However, EFCC needs to properly investigate Sylva’s sources of income before and after serving as governor that enabled him to acquire such number of houses in Abuja.
Anything to the contrary means that the anti-graft agency is either playing to gallery, witch-hunting or shielding Sylva from prosecution for obvious reason- party affiliation.
Meanwhile, EFCC should spare Nigerians this descent into the arena with Sylva and do its job.
Ekiti APC Knocks Aregbesola For Visiting Fayose
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State has raised eyebrow over Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s visit to the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State Capital
The party argued that the visit to Ekiti was a slight on the APC, and contempt for the party’s leadership in the state.
Aregbesola was in Ado Ekiti, recently, on the invitation of Fayose for the 20th year anniversary of Ekiti State, where he delivered a lecture entitled: “The imperative of unity.”
The party expressed worry that Aregbesola, at the event described Fayose as omoluabi and a hardworking governor who had turned around the fortunes of Ekiti State in terms of infrastructure.
Well, if not for the brewing crisis in the APC and timing of Aregbesola’s visit and the comment credited to him, not many will be bothered by the Ekiti APC’s comment over Aregbesola’s visit to Fayose. After all, the same Ekiti APC was mute when Fayose visited Aregbesola sometime this year.
Although, Aregbesola’s visit may be political, he has not flouted any law. It is still within his constitutional right to visit anybody and shower encomiums on that person.
If the Ekiti APC is offended by Aregbesola’s visit, that is the height of political hypocrisy and petulance, considering the fact that neither Osun PDP nor APC raised similiar eyebrow when Fayose visited Aregbesola in Osogbo.
Edo Election: Ize-Iyamu Contested Against INEC-Fayose
Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the recent Edo State governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu contested against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), not the All Progressives Congress.
He alleged that the APC’s victory in the election was only made possible by the use of Federal Government agencies to subvert the will of the people.
Fayose, who lamented that the ‘win at all cost attitude’ of the APC was inimical to the sustenance of democracy in the country, said it was sad that instead of the people of Edo State to elect their own governor, the APC conspired with INEC to foist its own governor on the people.
Truly, Fayose is a man who does not mince words, but sometime he could be confrontational and loquacious; attributes for which many hate or like him. Saying that APC conspired with INEC to foist its candidate on the Edo people during the governorship election is very weighty and indicting. This is especially in an election many adjudged to be fair and peaceful.
Is Fayose saying that the present INEC is an extension of the APC-led government? If true, the onus lies on Fayose to substantiate it. Maybe, there is something Fayose knows about the election that many Nigerians do not know. Or, is Fayose’s allegation borne out of anger that the APC candidate won the election.
With the battle for the soul of Edo shifted to the tribunal, it behoves Fayose to go and prove his allegation, even though he was not in the state during the election. Such proof will help strengthen the country’s electoral process. If he does not, it could mean he was just playing to gallery or rabble-rousing as usual.
Obi of Onitsha Berates South-East Govs, Ohanaeze
Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, has recently berated the South-East Governors’ Forum and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, for showing little interest in the growth of the zone.
Achebe, who delivered lecture with the theme, “Think Nigeria, Invest in Anambra (Aku ruo uno)” at the Dora Akunyili Women’s Development Centre in Awka, as part of the Anambra at 25 celebration, expressed worry that selfishness had put the two bodies in disarray.
The monarch regretted that the Governor’s Forum, which was meant to be a unifying force for Ndigbo, has failed to play that role because of selfish political interests of governors, while the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation (Ohanaeze Ndigbo) had been enmeshed in series of controversies.
Achebe’s lamentation is not new. Before now many had said so repeatedly, but it all ended as motion without movement. Even President Buhari, recently taunted the Igbos when he told the Biafran agitators to join political parties and expressed their political desires.
So, this situation is not a thing of today. It has been like this over the years. It seems nothing has changed or nothing will change, unless something radical or drastic is done.
That South-East Governors Forum and Ohanaeze Ndigbo have been consistently enmeshed in controversies is not unconnected with the selfish and greedy attitude of the Igbo political class.
Meanwhile, how did Achebe expect Igbos, especially the political and business class to be interested in the growth of a zone, they did not truly believe in, but only exploit it to satisfy their political cum business desires, when the need arises?
Ondo: Oke Dumps APC For AD
After weeks of speculation, one of the aggrieved governorship aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, Olusola Oke has joined the Alliance for Democracy (AD).
Oke, who polled 576 votes at the September 3 gubernatorial primaries, said he dumped the party, because of the action of its National chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
Addressing supporters at his Ijapo Estate residence, Oke said since the leadership of the party had failed to do justice to the irregularities, he decided to dump APC to realise his aspiration under the AD.
Hahahaha, Oke’s action, though constitutional depicts that of the typical Nigerian politician that is desperate for political power. If not, why should Oke engage in political prostitution by jumping from PDP, to APC now to AD.
Who knows where Oke will jump to next time, if he didn’t win the poll. If the umbrella could not cover Oke from rain well and broom could not sweep his house clean, how is he sure that the star will shine upon him at the end of the day.
While many may argue that there is no meeting point between politics in Nigeria and morality, there is need and place for morality in every personality, irrespective of ambition, status or age.
Is Oke saying that what happened in the APC is new or strange to him? Such will amount to self-delusion, having been part and parcel of similar shenanigans as national legal adviser of the PDP for years. It is a case of what goes around, comes around. It is just a matter of time.
Assets Declaration: CCT Confiscates Orubebe’s Property
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has confiscated a landed property allegedly belonging to former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Peter Orubebe.
Orubebe was arraigned by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) at the CCT late last year, for alleged false assets declaration on a landed property, plot number 2057 of Cadastral Zone, Asokoro, Abuja, alleged to belong to him.
Justice Umar Danladi, while delivering judgment on the matter, noted that Orubebe submitted that he had transferred the deeds of assignment to the land to the first defence witness, Barrister Akinwunmi Ajibola.
The judge said the Tribunal observed that Ajibola, based on his submission ought to have registered the property with the FCT Land Administration Authority six years ago and the fact that he didn’t do this rendered the documents tendered by the defendant as evidence of the transfer to be worthless.
Well, there is no cause for alarm for Orubebe, considering that CCT is a court of first instance. It is now left for his legal team to appeal the judgment.
While it is certain that the legal fireworks may take long, what matters most is for Orubebe or his detractors to be vindicated at last. The final outcome of the judgment will determine the place of compulsory assets declaration in the country’s public service.
Tinubu Can’t Sack Me On Pages Of Newspapers, Says Odigie-Oyegun
A day after he shook hands with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has said that he cannot be removed from office on the pages of newspapers.
Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Odigie-Oyegun also said that APC’s victory in the Edo State governorship election showed that the masses were still very supportive of President Buhari, despite the difficult economic situation in the country.
Oyegun has lived up to his promise by speaking on Tinubu’s allegation against him after the Edo poll. He has shown that he is a man of his word and not a coward.
Meanwhile, daring those calling for his resignation or removal after consulting with President Buhari, is an assurance that his position is secure for now, as long as he stays clear of the path of the “lion of Bourdillion.”
If not so, Oyegun wouldn’t have talked tough. This has confirmed insinuations in some quarters that Oyegun enjoys the presidency’s backing in his decisions.
With this, bookmakers’ prediction that Oyegun’s removal may be a herculean task for his detractors is being proved. And for now, he is still the Oga on top of the APC, but how long he will remain on there appears to be hazy and uncertain.