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weekly political notes

By Samson Ezea
12 November 2016   |   4:19 am
The Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, has relocated to Abuja in order to ensure justice for Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, who is eyeing the Alagbakala Government House.
Olusegun Mimiko

Olusegun Mimiko

PDP Ticket: I’ve Relocated To Abuja, Says Mimiko
The Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, has relocated to Abuja in order to ensure justice for Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, who is eyeing the Alagbakala Government House.

The governor stated this in Akure, the State capital on Wednesday at a programme in honour of the Founder, Oodua Peoples Congress, Dr. Frederick Fasehun.

Mimiko, who was the chairman of the occasion, expressed the hope that Jegede would get justice.

The governor said: “I am now a part-time resident of Abuja these days in order to ensure my people get justice and I know the injustice will not stand.”

While it is understandable why Mimiko needs to install his successor, it is important for him to know that time is of essence. Besides, justice delayed is justice denied. Even at that, why the relocation to Abuja? Is he a lawyer or judge in the matter? Well, instead of Abuja, the right place for Mimiko to be now is in Ondo, campaigning vigorously for Jegede.

Mimiko should note that getting justice for Jegede in the court is one thing, securing victory for him at the poll maybe a herculean task. This is in view of the protracted legal tussle that has become a very huge distraction for Jegede and his supporters.

Meanwhile, as the election draws nearer, the party’s crisis may get to the Apex court and nobody knows what its outcome will be.

So, saying that this is not best of time for Mimiko, Jegede and their PDP faction in Ondo, ahead of the governorship poll is like stating the obvious. However, justice coming Jegede’s way very late into the election may cost PDP victory in the exercise. But nothing is impossible in Nigerian politics.

Moreover, if at the end, Mimiko fails to install his successor, his political career may suffer a serious setback. Unless in his usual character, he will jump to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), if that will guarantee him political relevance. Who knows!!!

Southeast Senators Meet Buhari Over IPOB, Others
Members of the Southeast Caucus in the Senate on Wednesday met with President Muhammadu Buhari on the challenges facing the zone.

They were led to the meeting, which took place inside the President’s office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and the caucus’ chairman, Eyinnaya Abaribe.

Ekeremadu later disclosed that issues raised during the meeting included that of the Indigenous People of Biafra, lopsided appointments and general infrastructure in the zone.

He said: “For us from the Southeast, we believe that dialogue is better than any other form of engagement. So we decided to visit the President and present to him some of the concerns of the South East, including issues of roads and general infrastructure.

“We also discussed the issue of security with him and of course, the issue of IPOB. We had a good conversation and he promised to look into the issues.”

While some may not endorse this move, considering how the zone has been treated under Buhari’s government, others will acknowledge it as a step in the right direction. Especially, having seen and realised that the zone’s belligerent posture against Buhari’s government has not yielded any good result.

It is hoped that the senators discussed genuine problems affecting the zone, not politics of 2019, that is more in their personal interest, than the general interests of the zone. One is not accusing or making insinuations against the senators, but just being inquisitive.

Lest we forgot; several Igbo leaders, politicians and traditional rulers have visited President Buhari before now, but the people of the zone are yet to see the outcome. Is there any difference with this latest visit by the senators from the zone?

It is for this reason that whenever Nigerian politicians visit the president on behalf of their people, the people are always skeptical until results are seen. However, the Southeast senators should not rely on President’s promise of looking into the problems of the zone, they should put him on his toes and sustain the dialogue.

Meanwhile, it is of note to remind President Buhari that looking into issues is not an answer rather, taking practical and urgent steps is what will produce result. This is not the time for campaign, but for governance. That is what is expected of him in the southeast zone.

Donald Trump Wins US Presidential Election
Seventy year-old Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, shattered expectations on Tuesday with an election victory that revealed deep anti-establishment anger among American voters and set the world on a journey into the unknown.

The Republican nominee achieved one of the most improbable political victories in modern US history, despite series of controversies that would have easily destroyed other candidacies, extreme policies that brought in criticisms from both sides of the aisle, a record of racist and sexist behaviour, and a lack of conventional political experience.

Trump’s victory against all odds and expectations show the dynamics and unpredictability of election. Especially, in a developed country like US, where there is a system in place to check and guard against election irregularities. To some, it is too shocking. But to others, it was indeed expected, considering the fact that Americans were already tired of persons in the political establishment.

With the choice of Trump, it is obvious that power belongs to the people. This is despite what Trump represented in the election.

Hope Nigerian literary giant, Wole Soyinka, will keep to his promise to tear his green card. If you ask me, what is Soyinka’s own? Why take paracetamol for another person’s headache?

Fake Result Sheets: Protesters Storm INEC Office Ahead Of Rivers Rerun
Hundreds of protesters on Tuesday stormed the headquarters of the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja, over alleged production of fake results sheets for the Rivers re-run elections.

The protesters claimed that a former acting INEC chairperson, Amina Zakari, is conniving with some politicians of Nigeria’s ruling party to print fake result sheets. They called for the resignation of the INEC chairman, Mahmud Yakubu, as well as Ms. Zakari, who is an INEC national commissioner.

While such protest is not new, there is need to investigate it, especially if there is evidence of any link with INEC. Where evidence of INEC’s complicity is not available, it may not be out of place that the protest was political and should be ignored.

But even at that, there is need for the security agents to investigate the allegation and come up with their findings. This is considering the crisis and controversies that have continued to trail the Rivers’ lingering re-run elections. This is the only way the people’s confidence could be restored in the INEC and the re-run election slated for December 10.

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

My Worry Over 2019 Polls-Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked security agencies to ensure peaceful elections, warning it might be difficult to conduct the 2019 general elections across the country, if the conduct of a hitch-free elections in one state is difficult to achieve.

The President, who spoke in the light of the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State and National and State Assembly re-runs in Rivers State, directed security agencies to ensure violence-free elections in the two states.

Buhari, while giving the directive at a state dinner in Benin, the Edo State capital, on Monday night, said the elections would serve as litmus test for the general elections in 2019.

“What happened in the last elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers states disturbs me a lot.  I think we should go beyond these actions. Why do we kill each other? I have told the law enforcement agencies, if we can’t conduct an election in one state, then we should forget about 2019,” the President said.

It is interesting for President Buhari to admit that INEC and security agencies have not conducted credible elections since his government came into office.

The question is; is it enough for the President to express concern without matching words with actions? Can the security agencies alone make election credible? Can INEC conduct credible election without the support and co-operation of the politicians and security agencies? The answer is NO.
Now, as 2019 approaches, it behoves the executive, which the President is the head, to liase with the National Assembly to strengthen the electoral laws to deal with desperate and violent political office seekers. INEC has clamoured for these laws, before now, but to no avail.
Of utmost importance is strengthening electoral laws, equipping the security agencies and educating stakeholders on consequences of violating electoral laws. This will help reduce or eliminate election violence and irregularities in 2019. It is a known fact that politicians take advantage of some loopholes in the electoral laws to commit crimes during election.

Governors Seek Disbursement Of Ecological, Stabilisation Funds
As the economy bites harder, governors on Tuesday opened their bid for monthly withdrawals from the stabilisation and ecological funds.

Led by Nigerian Governors’ Forum Chairman, Zamfara State Governor Abdul’aziz Yari, the governors met with Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Governor Godwin Emefiele to perfect plans for accessing funds in the stabilisation account and ecological fund to address environmental challenges.

After the meeting with the finance minister, Yari said that the mission was a follow up of the resolutions reached two days earlier at the governors’ meeting.

He said: “We have a lot of funds in the ecological stabilisation funds. And those funds are not being discussed at the National Economic Council (NEC). What we discuss at NEC is usually briefing on Excess Crude Account and the Federation Account. But this fund is not being discussed at that platform. So we will like to have this fund every month because those funds are federation funds and we are having so many problems. We need the money.”

Hmmmm, governors are at it again, hiding under the umbrella of Nigerian Governors’ Forum. They are now asking for disbursements from ecological and stabilisation funds as if they will spend the funds on the ecological problems. Nigerians have not forgotten in a hurry how the governors mounted pressure on the then President, Goodluck Jonathan to share Excess Crude Fund.

Unfortunately, after disbursing the fund to them, many of them left their states in a financial mess at the end of their tenures.

While nobody is against withdrawal from the ecological/ stabilisation funds as requested by the governors, there is need to ensure that the funds are expended on ecological issues. Let it no be like the bailout fund that was given to the governors and many of them diverted it for personal and other uses. Others could not account for how the fund was expended on workers’ salaries.

Senate Probes CCB Over Alleged N8bn Office Project Scam
Strong indications emerged on Tuesday that a fresh war between the Senate and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) may have reared its head as the upper chamber has begun probe into alleged abandoned N8billion office project by the Bureau.

Consequently, the Senate has mandated its Committees on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, that of the Federal Capital Territory and of Public Procurement to, as a matter of urgency, carry out a holistic investigation into an alleged corrupt practice by the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB.

The Senate, while accusing the CCB of mismanaging funds in the procurement of its headquarters building in Abuja, said the Bureau abandoned its N8billion headquarters building project and was seeking to procure a completed building worth over N4billion, which it described as unfortunate and completely unacceptable.

The resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion by Senator Dino Melaye, APC, Kogi West, who claimed he was in possession of documents that could nail the CCB.

While it is a public knowledge that there is no love lost between the leadership of the CCB and the Senate leadership over ongoing trial of the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, that will not stop the upper chamber from performing its constitutional functions. One of which is the planned probe of the CCB’s alleged N8b project scam.

Well, while nobody will stop the Senate from carrying out the probe, it is expected that the probe should be transparently and sincerely carried out. It should not be seen and used by the Senate leadership to settle scores with the CCB leadership because of Saraki’s trial.

The Senate should prove that its motive is altruistic and not a vendetta. This is especially, when it is obvious that the Senate has been doing everything within its power to emasculate and whittle down the powers of the CCB.

However, it is not hidden that the senator, who claimed to be in possession of documents to probe and nail the CCB is a staunch ally of the Senate leadership.

PDP Sets Up Committee To Consider Merger With Other Parties
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caretaker committee, led Senator Ahmed Makarfi, recently inaugurated a 115-member strategy review and inter-party affairs committee, with a mandate to consider the possibility of merging with other political parties.

Speaking while inaugurating the committee, Makarfi said the reason behind the alliance was part of the party’s strategy to return to power in 2019 through every democratic means.

The strategy committee is led by former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana.

According to Makarfi, the committee is to, among other things, explore strategies to engage all possible allies, with a view to building positive relationship in overall interest and in furtherance of democracy in Nigeria.’’

He said the committee was also expected “to recommend strategies to reposition the party and recommend necessary amendment to the constitution of the party.”

The only new thing in Makarfi’s narrative is that his faction of the PDP is perfecting plan to float a mega party with other political parties. Before now, the move has remained in the realm of speculation among politics watchers.

With this, it is obvious that the celebrated peace moves in the PDP between the two factions has not been successful. Hoping that this merger plan will not end up like that of the APC, which is now embattled by factional crises.

Let it not be that the major aim is to merge with other political parties just to wrest power from APC in 2019. They should learn lessons from the APC crisis and ensure that similar challenges are avoided by the proponents of the new mega party. They should know too that Nigerians have realised that politicians and political parties are the same. Whatever they come up with must be strong and different from what used to be.

Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State

Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State

Fayose’s Visit To Segun Oni Aimed At Creating Distrust In Our Party, Says APC
The Ekiti State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said Governor Ayodele Fayose’s recent visit to a leader of the party, Chief Segun Oni was part of the governor’s desperate moves to create distrust in the party ahead of 2018 governorship poll in the state.

The acting chairman of the party, Mrs Kemisola Olaleye also dismissed the various criticisms the visit had generated, saying former Governor Segun Oni didn’t receive any prior notice about the visit and that the former governor shouldn’t be castigated unjustly over the matter.

Addressing party faithful at a meeting held at ward 09, Ado Ekiti, on Tuesday, Olaleye said she was with Oni when Fayose paid the visit.

She said: “It was Fayose’s Chief of staff, Chief Dipo Anisulowo that actually called and said he was paying our leader a visit. Not long, we got a message that the governor and Anisulowo were around without prior notice.
“Even when the governor said he wanted to have a secret meeting with Oni, he rejected. He told him to say whatever he wanted to say in our presence as party leaders and confidants.”

Why are Nigerian politicians good at making mountain out of molehill? Why is Ekiti APC always afraid of Ayo Fayose’s cordial relations with some of APC chieftains in the Southwest? The other day it was Fayose and Rauf Aregbesola, today it is Fayose and Segun Oni. Did Fayose break any law by hobnobbing with APC chieftains?

Ekiti APC members should spare Nigerians this false alarm about Fayose and APC leaders in the Southwest. Have they forgotten that Fayose worked with Kayode Fayemi to defeat Segun Oni in the Ekiti governorship re-run election some years ago?

After all, political alliance is matter of choice and there are no permanent enemies in politics, but permanent interests. Are the Ekiti APC members saying that if Fayose defects to APC today with his supporters, they will not welcome him with open hands?

Haba, why the complaints, when neither Segun Oni nor Aregbesola has expressed concern over Fayose’s visit. Fayose has made it clear that the collective interest of the Southwest supersedes political party affiliation.