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Weekly political notes

By Samson Ezea
29 April 2017   |   4:00 am
The ex-president said this in a book titled “Against The Run of Play,” written by the Chairman of ThisDay Editorial Board and former spokesperson of late President Umaru Yar’Adua, Olusegun Adeniyi.

It is expected that other members of Goje’s committee should have duplicate copies of the 2017 budget they have worked on.

Buhari Dismantling My Legacy; Jega, Mu’azu, IGP Betrayed Me-Jonathan
Ex-president Goodluck Jonathan has broken his silence about the 2015 presidential election, which he and his party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), lost to Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Jonathan bared his mind on how his successor is allegedly ‘dismantling’ his legacy with harassment. He expressed worry over what he called harassment of his family by Buhari’s administration.

The ex-president said this in a book titled “Against The Run of Play,” written by the Chairman of ThisDay Editorial Board and former spokesperson of late President Umaru Yar’Adua, Olusegun Adeniyi.

He also expressed disappointment in the former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Attahiru Jega, whom he said was insistent on conducting the poll in February when ’40 per cent of Nigerians had not collected their permanent voter cards and some parts of the country were under the control of Boko Haram.

Jonathan accused the former chairman of his party, Adamu Mu’azu, and security operatives of betrayal, wondering how it was possible for PDP to have lost in some states without co-operation between the APC, his own party chiefs and security operatives.

Well, there is nothing new in Jonathan’s narrative. It seems Jonathan does not have a good understanding of the undercurrents that drive and shape Nigerian politics, despite being in the game for years. There were clear signals before the election that despite the power of incumbency and financial wherewithal at Jonathan‘s disposition, there were conspiracies against him by his party faithful, especially from the North.

The conspiracy came in different directions. For example, the North which felt shortchanged by the sudden demise of late president, Umaru Musa Yar Adua in 2010, wanted power back by all means. Their move became glaring when the issue of failure to abide by the agreement to return power to the North in 2015 was raised against President Jonathan by the Niger State governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu ahead of the polls.

Jonathan in the bid to please the North played into their hands by surrendering the national security, PDP and the electoral apparatus to them.

Also not helpful for Jonathan’s reelection was the PDP crisis, which led to the exit of five governors from the party. And finally Jonathan’s style of politics, which pitched him against some influential party members and state governors that would have been of help to him.

Again, Lai Mohammed Explains Buhari’s Absence At FEC Meeting
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has explained President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence at Wednesday’s meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) because he was still resting.

The president failed to preside over the weekly cabinet meeting for the second time in a row. The Last FEC meeting held on April 13 and Mohammed had explained that Buhari asked his vice, Yemi Osinbajo, to preside over the meeting, because he was attending to other issues.

The meeting was not convened at all last week with presidential spokesperson saying the cancellation was as a result of the Easter holidays, which did not allow ministers prepare their memos for presentation to the Council early enough.

Addressing State House correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting on Wednesday, Mohammed said the president “asked that he should be allowed to rest and the vice president should preside.”

Nigerians are not surprised by Mohammed’s explanation. This is because they know President Buhari must have become wiser to stay away from stressful state activities or is fighting hard to regain his strength. Buhari has upon his return from the last overseas trip, confessed that he has never been sick like what he went through. He made it clear that Osinbajo would continue to act, while he took some rest. But less than 24 hours and to the amazement of Nigerians, a statement was issued by the Presidency reversing Buhari’s earlier position.

Instead of resting as earlier promised, Buhari, who returned to the country on Friday morning, resumed work on Monday. Since then, it has been hide and seek for Buhari and his official duties.

The questions begging for answers are; why the rush to resume work and now back to rest? Who prodded him into rescinding his earlier decision to rest and why? Why not handover power to Osinbajo and take good care of his health before resuming? Are there power mongers who want to hang unto power by all means, using Buhari as their tool?

Meanwhile, Just like every other mortal, President Buhari is not immune to sickness. As he recovers from sickness, he needs prayers and support of Nigerians, but he should also help himself and save the country, the embarrassment of the unfolding drama. What story will Lai Mohammed tell next Wednesday and the next?

Court Grants Nnamdi Kanu Bail
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, was granted bail on Tuesday by a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The bail was the first since the commencement of his trial for alleged treason. Kanu and three others are facing trial on allegations of treason, among others.

The presiding judge, Binta Nyako, gave the order to allow Kanu attend to his ailing health condition. According to the ruling, Kanu is to produce three sureties with N100 million each. He is also expected not to be among a crowd. The judge said Kanu must never be seen in a crowd of more than 10 people.

“No interviews and no rallies,” said Mrs. Nyako.
It is hoped that government and its agencies will abide by the bail ruling, considering that similiar bail in the past were ignored by the government. While some are critical of the bail conditions for being too stringent, restrictive and unconstitutional, others are of the opinion that Kanu needs it to enable him attend to his health concerns.

However, the decision to accept or reflect on the bail conditions lie with Kanu. He wears the shoe and knows where it pinches. He needs to weigh his options well, considering that his long incarceration without speedy trial is not good for his health and the Biafra struggle. Again, if it could take the court almost two years to grant him bail, then it may take more years to try, acquit or sentence him. He needs some respite.

Police Carted Away 2017 Budget Documents During Raid-Goje
The Chairman of the Senate committee on Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje, whose residence was raided by the police last week, said on Wednesday that files containing work on the 2017 budget proposal were carted away during the raid.

Goje, former Gombe State governor, made the disclosure before the Senate when the matter came under Order 43 of the Senate Rules and he was asked to report the raid on his residence, located at Asokoro, Abuja.

Goje’s committee, alongside a similar one in the House of Representatives, has oversight responsibility on the country’s budget. He told the Senate that the police carted away laptops and 18 documents that contained the work of his committee on the 2017 budget. The report on the budget proposal was scheduled to be laid this week. He added that the operatives broke into rooms whose keys they could not get and also carted away a sum of N18m.

With this development, it will not be out of place if the frosty relationship between the Presidency and the Senate takes a new turn. The passage of the 2017 budget may be delayed more than expected to detriment of Nigerians. It will not be a surprise if the Senate has decided to summon the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to explain the invasion of Goje’s apartment.

While it is the constitutional responsibility of the police to fight crime, such fight should be more professional than vindictive. Invading Goje or anybody’s house in a Gestapo style is condemnable and undemocratic. The Police owe Goje and Nigerians explanation and possibly apology if the need arises.

Meanwhile, Goje and the Senate should not use this as an excuse to delay the budget passage that is long overdue. It is expected that other members of Goje’s committee should have duplicate copies of the 2017 budget they have worked on. They should quickly make them available, so that the budget can be easily concluded and passed.