Weekly political notes
The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, said Gov. Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state published security budget of the state, not that of his security vote.Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, stated this in Abuja.
He said that el-Rufai was undermining and distracting the National Assembly by his claims that the N115b in the legislature’s 2016 budget was for the 469 members.
According to him, the budget covers among others, salaries, allowances, expenditure and running cost of 469 members.
“Salaries and allowances of about 3, 000 legislative aides and salaries, allowances, equipment and maintenance of about 5, 000 staff in the bureaucracy of the National Assembly,’’ Namdas said.
He urged the governor to concentrate on governing Kaduna State, particularly addressing security issues facing the state.Politicians are at it again. They have started the game they know how to play very well; deliberately creating confusion with distorted facts to delude the public. This is even when they know the right thing to do to clear doubt. If not, why the “Tom and Jerry” Comedy between El-rufai and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara over their security votes, budget allocations, salaries and others?
To cut matter short and avoid unnecessary tantrums, El-Rufai and Dogara should publish full details of bank account statements of income and expenditure of Kaduna government and House of Representatives and subject them to public scrutiny. That is what is expected of them, if they are really serious and sincere. They should stop playing to the gallery and at same time trying to be judges in their own case by publishing their paltry monthly pay slips and hiding other allowances.
Nigerians know that Kaduna State and House of Representatives’ income and expenditure is beyond monthly salaries, security budget and allowances. What about security votes, other expenditures that have no name, but go into their pockets unaccounted for? Remember that Dogara and El-rufai are typical Nigerian politicians who can do anything to attract cheap popularity, especially as INEC has announced 2019 election timetable.
What Fits Me Is President, Not Governor- Okorocha
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State says he finds himself better placed as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria than being a governor.
Okorocha told journalists in Owerri on Tuesday, that as much as he has made up his mind not to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 presidential poll, he would offer himself for the position after the end of Buhari’s tenure.
His words: “Governor does not fit me. What fits me is president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I will not contest against Buhari.”To say that Okorocha is too loquacious to be a public office holder, not to talk about being a governor is an understatement. He talks anyhow, anywhere, anytime. That is unbefitting of a public office holder. He likes stirring controversy where there is none. How can a governor who is grappling with governance without a worthy scorecard, be saying that he finds himself better placed as president of Nigeria than being a governor. Is this political hallucination, false self-appraisal or daydreaming?
It is not that constitutionally Okorocha is not qualified to aspire to be president, but reaching that political apogee goes beyond constitutional qualifications. Okorocha cannot pretend not to know this. Maybe Okorocha has forgotten that he failed in his three previous attempts to become president, even after he had been governor for four years? If he has forgotten, let him be reminded.
In 2003, despite his razzmatazz, rhetoric and showmanship at Eagle Square Abuja, venue of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) presidential primary, Okorocha lost the party’s presidential ticket to Muhammadu Buhari. He was not even considered worthy to be Buhari’s running mate, as late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo was preferred.
Afterwards, Okorocha jumped into Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and contested the party’s presidential ticket in 2007 and lost to late Umaru Musa Yar Adua. Even as governor in 2015, Okorocha hid his governorship return ticket in abeyance with his son-in-law and his Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu; and contested the APC presidential ticket and lost to Buhari.
Okorocha quickly ran home and contested the governorship election for second term in office. He nearly lost the election to the PDP candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, if not that a stalemate was engineered and the rerun shifted to create a more enabling environment for Okorocha to win.
So, what has Okorocha changed in Imo that makes him believe he is better placed as president than a governor? What is his scorecard? Is it his style of leadership that has turned governance of the state into family meetings of husband, wife, son-in-law, and father-in-law; or his constant quarrels with civil servants over obnoxious policies and non-payment of salaries?
Rivers Govt: Wike Survived Five Assassination Attempts in 11 Months
The Rivers State Government has said the state Governor, Nyesom Wike, survived five assassination attempts in 11 months, accusing the police of complicity in attempts to eliminate the governor.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dr. Austin Tam-George, who made the disclosure in Port Harcourt on Monday, described as callous and insensitive recent denials by the police that the governor’s life was at risk.
“It is no secret that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government declared war on the government and people of Rivers State soon after the party lost the governorship litigation at the Supreme Court in 2016,” the commissioner said, adding that the first attempt to kill the governor was made immediately after the Supreme Court verdict.
Tam-George said the governor’s Chief Security Officer was removed abruptly without any explanation, and that the six police officers dismissed by the police in January this year played a key role in foiling the series of attempts to kill Wike.
“An offer of N150m was made to two of the six dismissed police officers, to directly kill the governor, but that the officers declined the offer.”While many may describe this as mere allegation and political statement by the Rivers Government to attract public sympathy, it is too weighty for the security agencies and Federal Government to ignore. There is urgent need for proper investigation into the matter, especially as police is alleged to be the major actor in the complicity.
Thank God, the six dismissed policemen are alive. Hope they will be willing to appear and provide incontrovertible evidence to substantiate the Rivers government’s claims. Considering the frosty relationship between the Rivers Government under Wike and the Police, it is better the Police is excluded from the investigation. Besides, it cannot be a judge in its own case.
Meanwhile, the sudden removal of Wike’s Chief Security Officer without explanation cannot be seen as a plot to kill him. The Police hierarchy has the power to remove and replace any of its personnel from duty post at anytime. That has been the practice. It is not peculiar to Rivers Governor. But in saner climes, taxpayers deserved to be told what is going on with their security.
Serial Negative Court Decisions Will Not Deter Anti-Corruption War–FG
The Federal Government said the serial negative outcome of corruption cases recorded at the high courts would not dampen the anti-graft battle.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, urged Nigerians not to be discouraged by the setbacks in the war against corruption.
He said government had appealed against all the negative decisions, and would vigorously canvass its cases at the level of the Court of Appeal.The minister disclosed that all the judgments were being rigorously reviewed to determine whether there were errors on its part or whether the government is the victim of mischief.
“The war against corruption is going to be long, tough and arduous, but this administration is equipped, physically, mentally and intellectually, for the long haul.
While it is expected of the government to review and appeal the judgments, the major concern now is what will be the outcome of the appeal. If it goes the way of the lower courts, it might confirm the allegation that the anti-graft agencies, especially the EFCC are just engaging in media trial and witch-hunt. It is curious how the anti-graft agencies could lose such high profile corruption cases that seemed over-dramatised in the media?
With this development, it is time the government and its agencies appraise strategies and approaches to the anti-graft war, before the battle is totally lost. It is either the anti-graft agencies are not doing thorough investigations and diligent prosecution or that they are playing to the gallery.
If these are the problems, it means that there is need for urgent overhaul of the agencies for better performance. That is if the present government is sincere, transparent and committed to its so-called anti-graft war.
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