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Weekly political notes

By Samson Ezea
04 February 2017   |   3:20 am
Chairman of Senate Adhoc Committee on Humanitarian Crisis in the North East, Senator Shehu Sani said on Wednesday that nobody could stop his committee from completing its investigation...

Senator Shehu Sani

I Am At War With Kwankwaso Over N300Billion Debt–Ganduje
Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on Wednesday disclosed why he is at ‘war’ with his predecessor, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, whom he said left N300b liabilities when he left office in May 2015. He said such a huge debt made it almost impossible for him to run the affairs of the state.

Ganduje, who spoke in Kano said: “It is on record that the same transition committee that the former governor and I appointed under my deputy governor, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, uncovered N300b liabilities even while Kwankwaso insisted that he did not leave any debt for me.”

“But because I felt then that debt, loan or liabilities were normal thing, I didn’t even bother to talk about it, but this really provoked Kwankwaso and he started making frantic moves against my government; even when it was clear when we came into office that there was nothing in the coffers for me to pay salaries and that prompted us to seek loans so that we can start on a good note.”

Ganduje is speaking like a typical Nigerian political godson who is fighting tooth and nail to gain freedom from his godfather. This has become a tradition and Ganduje is living up to expectation. It is public knowledge that Ganduje and Kwankwaso were strong political allies before now. So at what point did they part ways and what was the bone of contention? It is only both of them that know.

Instead of engaging Kwankwaso in a political war over the debt he allegedly left behind, why didn’t Ganduje drag him to the anti-graft agencies with evidence? Even though Ganduje did not disclose how the debt was incurred, there is need for him to do so, at least to prove that he is not into a fruitless political war with Kwankwaso all because of 2019. Ganduje should explain how the crisis is benefitting Kano citizens and how he is managing the debt.

Kwankwaso on the other hand, should realise that he is no longer the governor of the state now, but a senator. Instead of dissipating energy and time to fight his estranged godson and successor, Kwankwaso should face the business of lawmaking. There is also need for him to accord the occupier of the office of governor due respect.

Andy Uba Dumps PDP, Defects To APC
Sen. Andy Uba, representing Anambra South Senatorial zone on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Uba disclosed this at a news briefing on Wednesday in his home country, Uga, Aguata Council Area of the state. The lawmaker said he joined the APC at the ongoing registration of party members in the state.

According to him, APC has ideology and focus, which he needed to tap into to provide quality representation to his constituents. Uba further said that he joined the APC because of other personalities in the party with sound ideas and whom he looked up to in politics. He listed some of the personalities to include the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, and APC National Auditor, Chief George Muoghalu. Uba stressed that with such calibre of people, the party would take the state to enviable heights.

The senator said he would be very effective in serving the yearnings of his people more now that he is in APC and urged other Igbo politicians to join the bandwagon.

While it may be within Uba’s constitutional rights to decide where to pitch tenth politically, it is fraudulent for him to suddenly abandon PDP that made him who is politically. Just like any other politician, Uba has adduced reasons for his action, but his reason is questionable.

Uba can tell it to the marines that he joined APC, because of its ideology and focus. The people know too well that his motivation is his quest to contest the forthcoming Anambra governorship election on the APC platform. So, there is nothing surprising about Uba’s action. He does not need to tell lies about ideology or no ideology; after all he is just like every other cash and carry Nigerian politician, especially those from the Southeast zone.

Besides, this is not the first time Uba is defecting. It will be recalled that he defected to the Labour Party in 2010 when he contested governorship election in Anambra and lost woefully. Who knows whether Uba will be offered the APC governorship ticket, let alone winning the governorship? Uba over to you, a trial in APC will either convince or delude you.

Presidency: Southeast Should Wait Till 2023–Okorocha
Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, said on Wednesday that Ndigbo should wait till 2023 to actualise their dream of president of Igbo extraction. He was probably reacting to a call by former President Olusegun Obasanjo urging Ndigbo to give it a shot in 2019.

Governor Okorocha’s comments came two days after Southeast leaders backed President Muhammadu Buhari for another four years in office, beyond 2019.

According to the governor, even though he is not in support of zoning, nevertheless, the Presidency has been zoned to the North for two terms of eight years, hence the Igbos should wait till 2023.

Speaking to State House correspondents after meeting with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, in company of the Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, in Abuja, he assured that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was strong in the Southeast.

Anybody who has been following Okorocha’s antecedents politically knows that he likes courting controversy. He talks from both sides of his mouth and can be too loquacious to be a governor.

Why is Okorocha now saying that Southeast should wait for 2023 to produce president, whereas he contested the APC presidential ticket in 2015 against President Buhari and others? Is he saying that if he had won the APC ticket and the presidency then, he would have relinquished power to the North?

Okorocha should be reminded that there are political comments that are better reserved than disclosed. Is he saying that he has struck a deal between Ndigbo, APC leadership and Northern politicians that presidency will be ceded to the Southeast in 2023. Even if such deal was brokered, was it cast in stone? Who are the parties involved in the deal?

It also hoped that the likes of Okorocha learnt something from the alleged agreement between President Goodluck Jonathan and the Northern PDP leaders in 2011, which never saw the light of the day.

Besides, when has Okorocha become Igbo leader to speak authoritatively on political issues affecting the Igbos? Is it not high time Okorocha left the issue of 2019 presidency and faced the task of governance in his state, which is his primary responsibility? He cannot be chasing rat while his house is on fire.

Shehu Sani Tells APC: Nobody Can Stop Our Investigation
Chairman of Senate Adhoc Committee on Humanitarian Crisis in the North East, Senator Shehu Sani said on Wednesday that nobody could stop his committee from completing its investigation of misappropriation of funds budgeted for internally displaced persons in the region.

Sani, who held a two-hour’ meeting with leadership of All progressives Congress (APC), told journalists at the party national secretariat that the final report of his committee would be ready when the senate resumes from break. The party leaders told the senators that they were not comfortable with members of the party washing their dirty linens in public.

He said the leadership of the party assured him they were not opposed to the investigations, but they did not like his choice of words on the floor of the Senate.

While it is hoped that Senator Shehu Sani remains consistent in getting to the root of the alleged diversion of funds meant for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Northeast, there is need for him to watch his back.

It is clear that with the way Sani is going, neither the presidency nor the party leadership is happy with him. Sani by his action and inaction, so far, has shown that he is an independent-minded politician. But his party may find him disloyal. He is more of the peoples’ man than a party man. Whether this will prosper him politically or not will be known in a matter of time.

Meanwhile, if the party leadership is not opposed to the investigations, why is it worried over its members washing their dirty linens in public? Such should not worry the party, unless it wants the Sani-led Committee to shield the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Engr David Babachir Lawal from further probe. But doing so will amount to putting President Buhari’s anti-graft crusade on trial and the backlash may be enormous.