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Weekly political notes

By Samson Ezea
11 February 2017   |   4:00 am
Ex-Gov Shema Weeps Over EFCC Arrest In Katsina Court Immediate past governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shehu Shema, broke down in tears on Tuesday at the premises of the State High Court, following his re-arrest by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). His aide, however, insisted the former governor was not arrested.…

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo PHOTO: NAN

Ex-Gov Shema Weeps Over EFCC Arrest In Katsina Court
Immediate past governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shehu Shema, broke down in tears on Tuesday at the premises of the State High Court, following his re-arrest by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). His aide, however, insisted the former governor was not arrested.

The court had during its sitting on January 10, 2017, fixed Tuesday to hear arguments of Shema’s lead counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN) and EFCC counsel, Jibril Samuel Okutepa, over its competence to entertain the commission’s decision to arraign Shema before it.

While the EFCC insisted that the court has jurisdiction, Daudu said Shema ought to have been arraigned before a Federal High Court and not a state High Court. The court, however, fixed February 21 to rule on the matter and asked Shema to report on the next adjournment date.

Thereafter, there was a mild drama in the court room as Daudu returned moments later and urged Justice Ibrahim Maikaita Bello to protect his client, because there was a move by the EFCC to arrest Shema.

Haba, Shema why the breakdown in tears? Just because of arrest and maybe brief incarceration? If Shema could do this, what is expected of people that were illegally arrested and dumped in prison for years without trial? Maybe Shema has forgotten that prison is meant for human beings, not animals. Besides, he does not enjoy immunity now. Weeping over arrest has shown that Shema may not be man enough. Moreover, he should have known that life is full of ironies.

Having seen that shedding crocodile tears didn’t stop EFCC personnel from arresting him, it behoves Shema and his legal counsel to be ready to give account of his stewardship as governor of Katsina state for eight years. This is because any worthy leader should always be ready to give account of his stewardship. Anything contrary to this may be the beginning of Shema’s journey to jail. And one wonders what Shema will do then, having wept like a baby over mere arrest.

Recession Will Soon Be History–Osinbajo
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, has assured Nigerians that the current recession will soon be over as the government is determined to put back the economy on a sound footing through diligent implementation of the recovery and growth plan.

In a statement on Wednesday, the acting president said the government is committed to a continuous engagement with people to explain government policies, as well, as receive advice and criticism.

He said in a few paragraphs statement that: “With complete focus on improving the economy everyday, the recession will soon be history.”
“Cabinet Ministers have gone round eight states so far, holding town hall meetings, the most recent was On Tuesday in Ilorin, Kwara State capital. There will be more of such meetings in the other States that are yet to be visited.”

There is nothing new in Osinbajo’s narrative. The word of endless optimism by the present government, especially from Osinbajo has become a tradition. It is expected of him, considering that he is a renowned pastor and seasoned lawyer. But it seems he has forgotten that action ought to speak louder than voice. The truth is that hungry and angry Nigerians are not interested in endless promises, until they see government’s genuine effort towards tackling recession.

There is urgent need for the recession to be tackled before it turns to depression that has nothing to do with the passage of history. History is event of the past and recession is event of the present in Nigeria. And there is no correlation between the two now.

Osinbajo should learn to promise less, while the present government should do more. Meanwhile, the jamboree called town hall meetings is more of publicity stunt for the government, than solution to the recession.

Nyesom Wike

Rivers Rerun: Police Recover N111m From 23 INEC Officials
An investigative report submitted on Wednesday to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris has accused Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike of giving N360 million bribe to electoral officials to rig the December 10, 2016 legislative elections in the state.

The chairman of the 15-member Special Joint Investigative Panel, made up of officers from the Nigeria Police and the Department of State Services (DSS), DCP Damian Okoro, said of the N360 million, N111, 300,000 had been recovered from 23 Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials.

He said three Senior Electoral Officers (EOs) admitted receiving the money directly from Governor Wike. The EOs were present at the Police Force Headquarters during the presentation of the panel report and exhibition of the recovered bribe money in Abuja on Tuesday.

Okoro, without mentioning their names said they were the team leaders, who collected the money from the Governor and shared among their colleagues on electoral duty in Rivers State.

He said the three senior EOs were given N20 million each, while   twenty others got N15 million each, out of which N111, 300,000 was recovered and displayed at the Police Headquarters.

In his remarks, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris said the INEC officials arrested in connection with electoral malpractices in the Rivers State rerun election would be prosecuted.

He said the findings of the panel and a police report would be forwarded to the Attorney General of the Federation, adding that the necessary action would be taken.

Rivers rerun has become a running project. And it may not stop soon considering the undercurrents and shocking revelations that has continued to trail the endless exercise.

The police panel alleged that the recovered bribe money was offered by the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike to influence the outcome of the rerun. Wike has denied and asked the police to show evidence.

It is up to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to dig into the matter without bias. Nigerians deserve to know how come so much money was given to INEC officials for just National and State Assembly rerun and nothing was recovered from two governorship elections in Ondo and Edo states. Is it only in Rivers that electoral fraud happens; did all the money recovered come from the purse of one political party?

The earlier the police substantiate its claim with more incontrovertible evidence the better, unless it wants Nigerians to believe that it is on a vendetta or witch-hunt mission.

PDP In Alliance Talks With Seven Political Parties Ahead 2019-Jerry Gana
Nigeria’s main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said on Wednesday that it was in talks with seven other political parties for potential alliance ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Jerry Gana, a former Minister of Information and member of Ahmed Makarfi-led faction, Prof. Jerry Gana, disclosed this during the presentation of a report by the PDP’s strategy committee in Abuja on Wednesday.

Gana, who expressed optimism that the APC will be defeated in 2019, said preliminary outreach by the PDP yielded positive responses from seven people-focused and social democratic parties. He said the alliance will not culminate into a mega party as being rumoured, but will be a separate and highly principled initiative of the PDP.

This is a bold step in the right direction by the crisis-ridden opposition PDP, that lost its bearing immediately it lost the 2015 presidential election. While the party is in alliance talks with other parties, its members should be on the guard to avoid having another Ali-Modu Sheriff in their midst. The party should also be mindful of the fact that time is of essence, considering that 2019 is fast approaching.

While it may be too early for anybody to express optimism that APC will be defeated in 2019, what is urgently needed is a strong and viable opposition that can put APC on it’s toes. This is seriously lacking in the political space and all eyes are on the PDP.

Don’t Compare Yar’Adua’s Health Case To Buhari’s – FG
Amid the unabating controversy trailing the indefinite medical vacation of President Muhammadu Buhari in London, United Kingdom, the Federal Government on Thursday said there is no basis for comparison between the President’s health case and that of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. The Presidency also debunked insinuations in some quarters that the Senate may void President Buhari’s request for extension of his vacation period.

Fielding questions from State House correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting chaired by Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the President was not sick and not in any London hospital.

Well, while nobody is comparing the two because they are quite different, there is need to avoid the repeat of the previous experiences. As a mortal, it is expected that President Buhari should be sick, but keeping his health condition secret is the height of hypocrisy.

One thing that is certain is that constitutionally, President Buhari has a specific duration to be absent from duty. Immediately, the time expires and he does not return to duty, the needful will be done. The country has to move on and the absence of one individual cannot hold the country down. Nigerians are hoping that the intrigues and controversies over Buhari’s vacation will soon be a thing of the past.