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Weekly political notes

By Samson Ezea
10 December 2016   |   3:31 am
Former President Goodluck Jonathan was reported to have said that it is unsafe to talk about events and situation of things in Nigeria, at an event in Gbaramatu, Delta State, recently.
Goodluck Jonathan

Goodluck Jonathan

It’s Risky To Talk About Nigeria Now- Jonathan
Former President Goodluck Jonathan was reported to have said that it is unsafe to talk about events and situation of things in Nigeria, at an event in Gbaramatu, Delta State, recently.

The reluctance of the former president to speak on national issues raises concern about his standing with the incumbent administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, which has accused many of his ministers, aides and party men of barefaced corruption during his six years of governance.

Against Buhari’s sustained onslaught, the expectation is for Jonathan to offer some explanation to dispel the heavy charge of corruption against him and his government. But the ex-President, in pleading his constraints said so much by saying nothing.

Is Jonathan trying to be smart by half or displaying cowardice? Hasn’t he talked about Nigeria since he left office? What has changed now that made talking about Nigeria risky? Why is Jonathan afraid of talking about the country of which he is a major stakeholder? Is he hiding anything? Even those who have a lot to hide are talking about the country today. If it is risky for him to talk about Nigeria, who did he expect to talk on his behalf? Or is he saying that his colleagues who talk about Nigeria now are doing so at their own risk?

Whether Jonathan likes it or not, he should know that it is expected of him to talk about Nigeria now. This is especially in the light of the impressions the present government has created about his government as it concerns corruption.

Meanwhile, Jonathan’s long silence to many may mean admission of guilt, which is not good for him and his loyalists. It is obvious that if there is anytime the country needs to talk about, it is now. This is because of the unprecedented developments happening across the country.

Asiwaju Bola AhmedTinubu

Asiwaju Bola AhmedTinubu

PDP Denies Merger Talks With Tinubu, Others
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BoT) has dismissed media reports of alliance talks with a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and others.

The Chairman of PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jibrin said such reports by the Ahmed Makarfi camp of the PDP were unfounded.

In a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, the PDP BoT chair said the party had never contemplated partnership with Tinubu and other APC chieftains with the purpose of forming another political party.

This denial from the PDP BoT chairman is expected, but it would have made more sense, if it had come from the Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee of the party. It will be recalled that the same BoT chairman had complained of not being carried along, when Makarfi set up the party’s merger committee headed by Prof. Jerry Gana recently.

This is a pointer to the possibility that the BoT and the Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee are not on the same page. This development is not good for whatever plan is in the pipeline to reposition the party, be it merger or alliance.

It is expected of the party stakeholders to be on the same page. For now, it is as if there is misunderstanding between the Makarfi-led faction of the party and the BoT, which had been on the side of Makarfi faction. The earlier the party stakeholders cement the emerging crack, the better for the party.

Bill For Christian Courts Passes Second Reading In House
The House of Representatives on Tuesday fast-forwarded a proposal to establish the Ecclesiastical Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory and the 36 states of the federation.

A bill seeking to amend the 1999 Constitution in order to establish such courts passed second reading at the House in Abuja.
A replica of the Sharia Court of Appeal, the bill defines the functions and jurisdiction of the courts, as well as, the qualifications of the presiding judges.

The judges shall be cardinals drawn from the Christian faith.

“The Ecclesiastical Court, when established, shall complement the regular courts in adjudicating in matters relating to the tenets of the Christian faith between individuals and groups that yield and submit to its jurisdiction,” a notation on the bill read. It was sponsored by a member from Plateau State, Gyang Istifanus-Dung and eight other lawmakers.

Without any iota of doubt, this bill is a flipside of the Sharia Court. This has shown the extent to which religion has divided Nigerians, instead of uniting them. With Sharia law and court for Muslims, Ecclesiastical Court for Christians, which Court is going to address the issues of traditional religion and others? Maybe soon, there will be a bill for establishment of Cathoilc, Anglican, Pentecostal, Shiite, Sunni Courts and others.

What is of essence is for the lawmakers to dissipate energy on bills that will better the lots of the people. Religion ought not be the problem of Nigeria. It is only that some disgruntled elements and fanatics have exploited it to divide and destroy the country for their own selfish reasons. How has the Sharia law or court better the economic well being of Muslims in the country? How will the Ecclesiastical Court if established, take care of economic problems of Christians in Nigeria? How has religion developed the country’s economic well-being and that of an average Nigerian?

Obasanjo Gives Conditions to Support New Mega Party
The proposed mega party by some opposition politicians from major political parties in the country may already have run into a hitch, following the stringent conditions allegedly handed down by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to support the new party.

It was learnt that when the notion of the mega party was brought to Obasanjo’s notice, the former president, who was not averse to a new formidable opposition party, was quick to give a condition that his former deputy while in office, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, should not by any means whatsoever become the party’s presidential candidate in the 2019 elections.

Obasanjo has over the years proved to be too important to be ignored in the affairs of the country. Hate him or like him, he has become indispensable. Maybe, because of what he is capable of doing and saying at anytime.

 Ima Niboro

Ima Niboro

Lest we forget, he is instrumental to successes and failures of many politicians from 1999 till date. Some of these politicians are still active and influential players in the polity today. So, it is expected that they will always reach out to Baba for support.

Moreover, it seems that whoever ignores Obasanjo in the political calculation of Nigeria is doing so at his own peril. That is the reason every political group or politician has always tried to seek his support.

Meanwhile, it appears there is something between Obasanjo and Atiku that Obasanjo is not telling Nigerians. Obasanjo’s opposition to Atiku’s presidential ambition before and after they left office in 2007 has become a major issue. But Baba why? This is despite the fact that Atiku has secretly visited you to mend fences with you. Are you not being petty or vindictive?

Former President Jonathan’s Media Aide, Ima Niboro Joins APC
A former Special Adviser on Media to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Ima Niboro, has joined the All Progressives Congress (APC). Niboro was ushered into the APC on Monday at his residence in Udu Local Government Area of Delta.

He said: “My membership of the APC is true.’’

Niboro said his joining the APC was meant to align Delta with the government at the national level and to attract development.



From Niboro’s speech, it is obvious that he has learnt a lot from politicians, while he served in government. If not, how will his defection to the APC galvanise development in Delta? If the needed development was not galvanised in Delta, when Niboro and his boss, Jonathan were in government with a buoyant economy, is it now that the economy is in recession that development will be galvanised in Delta?

There is nothing new in Niboro’s narrative and action. Just like every other politician, he needs political relevance and protection. Besides, there are reports that majority of Jonathan’s ministers are planning to defect to the APC before 2019. If the reports turn out to be true, Niboro’s case maybe that of being the first to cast the stone. Hope Niboro’s defection to the APC is unconnected with the alleged questions over his stewardship at News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). Whichever one, time will prove Niboro right or wrong.

‘Why APC Is In Crisis’
A series of initial missteps by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) shortly after the 2015 elections is the genesis of the internal crisis the party is currently grappling with, its chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun said on Wednesday.

Oyegun, who has led the APC since its formation, said some unfinished businesses amongst political heavyweights who played a key role in the formation of the party, further compounded the situation the party now finds itself.

Oyegun’s statement came when he received the leadership of the Senate in his office on Wednesday afternoon.

It is baffling that after several denials that there is crisis in the APC, the party’s national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun is now admitting the obvious. Why now? Maybe, it has dawned on the APC leadership, presidency and National Assembly leadership that if they did not close ranks, 2019 is danger. This is especially with the plan by some aggrieved politicians to float a mega party.

The question is; will the APC leadership and the presidency achieve genuine reconciliation, considering that a lot feathers have been ruffled?