Weekly political notes
APC Senators To Ekweremadu: Defect or Be Booted Out Of Office
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has been told in clear terms that he risks losing his coveted seat unless he defects from his party to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Ekweremadu was elected into the Senate in 2015 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). But he emerged a beneficiary of the ‘coup’ that brought in Senate President, Bukola Saraki on June 9, 2015. It was gathered that the APC Senators, predominantly those in the Unity Forum, are making a daring move to wrest power from Ekweremadu.
It was learnt that some APC Senators are already scheming to battle Ekweremadu, if the current efforts to convince the Deputy Senate President to defect to the ruling APC do not materialise.
Giving an insight into the scheming against Ekweremadu, Senator Kabir Marafa, a formidable member of the Unity Forum, said that if the deputy senate president defects to APC, there might be no need to make a move for his seat. He insisted that Ekweremadu’s continuous stay in office was depriving the APC of what rightly belongs to it.
This development is not surprising and unexpected, following the sudden and recent political romance between the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, the Presidency and the APC leadership. With this, it is clear that nothing and nobody may be too much to be sacrificed politically, provided Saraki remains in the good book of the presidency and his party.
For Ekweremadu and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), this development invariably means that the days of political alliance between APC and PDP in the Upper Chamber are over. Very disturbing and suspicious in this situation is the silence of the PDP national leadership and its senators over the threat to remove Ekweremadu, even though the interim spokesman of the party, Dayo Adeyeye has asked the PDP to be courageous. Is this not a sign that some PDP senators, including Ekweremadu may have been making moves to defect to the APC for political survival ahead of 2019? If not, why is the PDP silent over the issue when the APC has 63 members out of the 109 senators.
Ekweremadu and the PDP senators over to you people; Nigerians are on the look out to see how the plot unfolds.
APC Senate Caucus Sacks Leader Ali Ndume
Ndume, who represents Borno South Senatorial District, was replaced by Senator Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North). The change in leadership was said to have been concluded and sealed at a meeting of All Progressives Congress (APC) Senate Caucus held in Abuja. Ndume, however, claimed not to be aware of his sack. He was removed when he left the chamber to pray. Ndume’s replacement was contained in a letter addressed to Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senate caucus. The letter, which was read on the floor of the Senate by Saraki, took many senators by surprise. There was pin-drop silence in the chamber as Saraki read the two-paragraph letter entitled “Notice of change of leadership.” The letter reads: “This is to inform Your Excellency and the Senate that after several meetings held on Monday January 9, 2017, and upon due deliberation and consultation, the APC Caucus of the Senate hereby wish to notify you of the change in the leadership of the Senate that the new Senate Leader is now Senator Ahmed Lawan, representing Yobe North Senatorial District.
There is nothing new in Ndume’s removal. After all, Ndume is a product of political intrigues that characterised the election and selection of the Senate leadership. So, there should be no noise about his removal or the manner it was done. While it is Ndume today, it could be any senator tomorrow, including Saraki. Especially as nothing is cast in iron in Nigerian politics and principles are from it. It is dog eats dog affair.
After all, Ndume had before now offered to resign his position three times, but was persuaded to hang on by Saraki. Why is he complaining of his removal now? It is expected that as an experienced politician, Ndume ought to have seen the handwriting on the wall.
Ndume should have known that his pro-presidency stance and comments are no longer going down well with his colleagues, especially Saraki, who saw it as threat to his position and ambition.
Adeboye: FG Fires Jim Obazee, FRC Boss
The Federal Government effected a major shake-up in the boards of some public institutions, sweeping away the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) Mr Jim Osayande Obazee. FRCN, one of the parastatals under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, was the principal actor in the controversial exit of Pastor Enoch Adeboye as the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church God, RCCG, Nigeria, recently.
Following the removal of Obazee, President Muhammadu Buhari, has ordered the re-constitution of the Council’s board.
Obazee’s sack by the government was an afterthought, especially when President Buhari gave no reason for his removal. Why the sack if the action of the council that led to Bishop Enoch Adeboye’s exit as General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of Nigeria, is in accordance with the provisions of the law?
Meanwhile, while it is within the powers of the President to remove and replace any member of the council, the timing of Obazee’s removal is suspicious and appears hypocritical.
With the government’s decision, it seems President Buhari bowed to pressure from the Christendom, especially the Pentecostal wing. If not, why the sudden sack and hullabaloo about Adeboye’s exit, if it was in line with the law?
Where were the wailing wailers when the same law was applied to some bank chief executives some years ago? Is it because a powerful religious leader is affected now? Is this government saying that different laws are made for different people? This is quite unfortunate and dangerous trend.
Instead of punishing Obazee for doing his work as stated by the law, the government should commend him, amend or review the Act establishing the council. The Presidency, especially the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, a senior lawyer and senior pastor cannot claim ignorance of the existence of the Act and its provisions before now. Insinuations in some quarters that Obazee has a personal axe to grind with the church before now is immaterial, if the action of his council on Adeboye’s exit is constitutional.
Kanu, IPOB Supporters Are Fraudsters, Says Uwazuruike
The leader of the Biafra Independent Movement and founder of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, has dismissed, as idiotic, the allegation by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) that he is one of the masked persons who had agreed to testify in the ongoing treason case against the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
Uwazuruike described Kanu and his IPOB as fraudsters who were out to deceive gullible people.
He said if he wished to give evidence against the Director of Radio Biafra, he would have done so in the open court, rather than request to be masked.
He said he was the one who established Radio Biafra, discovered Kanu in London and appointed him as the director of the radio station, in spite of warnings by other members of MASSOB in London that Kanu was a fraudster.
While the allegation by Kanu’s supporters against Uwazuruike might appear too weighty to be ignored, Uwazuruike’s response is belittling, immature and confrontational. It clearly shows that Uwazuruike has a personal axe to grind with Kanu before now. No wonder, it was alleged that it was Uwazuruike, who tipped the security agency of Kanu’s arrival to Nigeria before he (Kanu) was arrested.
Calling Kanu a fraudster in the midst of his ongoing travails is like adding salt to the wound. It is of note that if there are personal differences between Kanu and Uwazuruike, this is not best time to settle it, by washing their dirty linens in the public.
It is of grave concern that since Kanu was arrested, Uwazuruike has not made any public comment about it before now. This has raised a lot of questions on the motive behind Uwazuruike’s recent comments on Kanu and his struggle. However, the war of words between the two Biafra agitators has once again exposed the lack of unity and coherence in the Biafra struggle.
Nigeria Will Get Out Of Recession This Year — World Bank
The World Bank has predicted that Nigeria will get out of recession in 2017, after plunging into its worst recession in over two decades. The bank said in a statement on Wednesday that Nigeria would grow its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by one per cent this year.
The bank also said Sub-Saharan African growth is expected to pick up modestly to 2.9 per cent in 2017, as the region continues to adjust to lower commodity prices.
While Nigerians may take this projection with a pinch of salt, considering the realities on ground and the government’s poor economic policies that has created more poverty than wealth, it is expected of the government to work assiduously towards bringing the projection to fruition, to assuage the untold hardship Nigerians are experiencing now.