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Weekly political notes

By Samson Ezea
08 September 2018   |   4:23 am
A group has paid the N45m required by President Muhammadu Buhari to buy the presidential form of All Progressives Congress (APC), a presidential aide said. The group’s action comes barely 24 hours after formal announcement of dates for the APC primaries and fees for forms for various political positions by the party.

Group Pays N45m To Buy APC Presidential Form For Buhari
A group has paid the N45m required by President Muhammadu Buhari to buy the presidential form of All Progressives Congress (APC), a presidential aide said. The group’s action comes barely 24 hours after formal announcement of dates for the APC primaries and fees for forms for various political positions by the party.The pro-Buhari group, Nigeria Consolidation Ambassadors Network for Buhari paid the mandatory N45m for the expression of interest and the nomination form for the president.

The cheque was received by the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole in Abuja.Bashir Ahmed, the President’s assistant on new media announced the action and shared pictures of the ceremony on his Facebook page.Who says APC leaders and President Muhammadu Buhari have not learnt political gimmick very fast? They have shown that they are good and smart students of Nigerian politics. Now that one group has bought form for President Buhari, who has before now complained bitterly about the high cost of the form and his inability to afford it, another group will soon be arranged to hand the form over to him.

This is part of the political games to make everything look real and credible, but Nigerians know better. In the days ahead, Nigerians will know the relationship between those behind the group and Buhari. The group is not an ordinary group and N45m is not pocket money.

Those who can do away with such huge money to buy form for Buhari know what they have benefitted or stand to benefit from Buhari’s government. Remember that those who also contributed immensely to Buhari’s election victory in 2015 are still complaining bitterly about his government’s lack of patronage and reward. Those who are spending their hard-earned money for Buhari’s reelection should shine their eyes. It is alleged that a governor from one of the Northcentral states, who is struggling to pay workers salary bought the form for Buhari, using the group as a decoy without considering the legal implication of such action as it concerns the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.

Electoral Bill: PDP Asks National Assembly To Override Buhari
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the National Assembly to use its constitutional power to override President Muhammadu Buhari on the Electoral Act 2018 (Amendment) Bill.PDP made the call in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Monday in Abuja.President Buhari in refusing to sign the bill gave reasons, which to the PDP were not sufficient. The President is declining assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill due to some drafting issues that remain unaddressed following the prior revisions to the Bill, the Presidency said.

“President invites the Senate and House of Representatives to address these issues as quickly as possible so that he may grant assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill,” presidential aide Ita Enang said.Politicians are it again. They have not changed and may never change irrespective of their political leaning. Why all these noise and hullabaloo about President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to assent the Electoral Bill? Why now, just few weeks to parties’ primaries and few months to general elections? Is it not the same electoral bill the National Assembly members spent weeks fighting on sequence of elections with the Presidency, only for them to surrender later? Who is deceiving who; themselves or gullible Nigerians who are fighting and quarreling because of them?

Mind you, it is about them (politicians) and how they can latch on the intentionally created lacuna in the law to manipulate their way to victory in the election. It is not about good laws that will engender free and fair elections. Nigerians have seen this political gimmick in 2015, when then President Goodluck Jonathan refused to sign the 2014 electoral bill, despite spirited efforts by INEC and major stakeholders in the polity. Heavens did not fall. The development made INEC to conduct 2015 elections with the 2010 Electoral Act with some questionable provisions that gave political parties leeway to manipulate primaries and the elections.

Example of such provisions is Section 31, which says that INEC has no power whatsoever to reject a candidate submitted by political parties. With this provision, INEC is just a mere observer in party primaries. The party leadership has the final say on who becomes its candidate in an election.

Now that President Buhari has declined assent to the bill again, citing some errors, what stops the National Assembly from reconvening urgently to address the issue, if they really mean well for the country? If possible let them override the President if he declines assent again.

The National Assembly members will not do so, because their greatest preoccupation now is how to secure return tickets and not the law that will guide the elections. After all, there is really no lacuna, given that INEC has announced and commenced processes for 2019 elections relying on the 2010 Electoral Act. This is not to undermine the quality provisions in 2018 Electoral Bill, which include making card reader and biometric capturing constitutional and compulsory among others. Politicians know and work for what will favour them and not what will favour the polity. Don’t be deluded. Nothing has changed, despite the change mantra being mouthed. It is “them, them.”

Donald Duke Dumps PDP For SDP
Ex-governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, has said he would run for president on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).He announced his decision at the National Secretariat of the SDP in Abuja on Tuesday, where he was received by the National Secretary of the party, Shehu Gabam, the Publicity Secretary, Alfa Mohammed, among others. He said he left his party of about 20 years, because it had derailed and lost its values.

Duke can say anything he likes about PDP. He is not first and will not be the last to do so after benefitting immensely from the party. Such attitude has become part and parcel of politicians, just to justify their actions. Duke knows from inception that his ambition cannot be achieved in PDP, considering that the party has zoned its 2019 Presidential ticket to the North.It is hoped that Duke’s defection is for real. One doesn’t see what Duke can do different as SDP presidential candidate, unless he just wants to show a presence and keep himself busy.

Meanwhile, Duke is a good presidential material, but the political atmosphere does not favour him. Again, is SDP not part of the coalition arrangement with PDP and other parties? Hmmm, This is party politics in Nigeria for you. Party leaders need to survive by all means and this is the season to do horse-trading.

I Regret Not ‘Taking’ Lagos From Tinubu, AD In 2003 – Atiku
Ex-Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, on Monday said he regretted not doing much to help the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) win in Lagos State when he had the opportunity in 2003.
Abubakar, a PDP presidential aspirant, spoke in Lagos while holding meeting with members of the party in the state. He revealed how his former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo before the 2003 elections gave him the task to deliver the six Southwest states then governed by the Alliance for Democracy (AD) to the PDP.

Abubakar said in carrying out the task, he delivered all the states to the PDP, except Lagos. The former vice president said he deliberately did not do much to win Lagos, because of his relationship with the ex-governor, Bola Tinubu. Atiku’s outburst lacks maturity and decorum. It shows desperation. As an experienced politician, Atiku should know that certain things in politics are better left unsaid. This is because such could be self-indicting. Of what importance is Atiku’s expression of regret for not taking Lagos for PDP in 2003? Is he saying that Obasanjo gave him the task to deliver Southwest states in 2003, knowing full well that he Atiku was an undertaker?

Atiku should tell Nigerians more of what he did in 2003 elections to dislodge AD governments in Southwest states with the exception of Lagos. Atiku’s unguarded utterance reminds one of former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu’s confession of rigging elections for PDP.If Atiku is regretful of not taking over Lagos in 2003, what was the nature of the relationship between him and Tinubu that made Atiku to compromise the task? Atiku should know that this kind of utterances may not sway votes in his favour during the PDP presidential primary, rather it will portray him as a traitor. Who knows if that is one of the reasons his estranged boss, Olusegun Obasanjo has refused to forgive him till date. But Obasanjo is not God and can never be. If it is the wish of God that Atiku will be President, not millions of Obasanjo can stop him.

Corruption: No Hiding Place For Defecting Politicians– EFCC
Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu, said politicians defecting from one party to another would not be shielded from prosecution by the anti-graft agency.Speaking during a parley with editors in Lagos on Wednesday, Magu said there is no hiding place for such politicians in the fight against corruption.

“The fact that a politician jumps from one party to another will not stop EFCC investigation; we don’t stop investigation until it is concluded. It is only the courts that have the powers to decide on whether to exonerate or convict any indicted politician,” Magu said. Responding to alleged interference by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government, Magu said he had never received any instruction to stop any investigation.

As promising and optimistic as Magu’s statement sounds, what is important to Nigerians is his ability to walk the talk. Magu and his men should commence the process by investigating politicians who defected to APC before and after 2015 elections, who are occupying appointive and elective positions in the APC-led government today. Some of them have corruption cases hanging on their necks, but they are being treated like sacred cows by the powers-that-be and the anti-graft agencies. Nigerians know them because they are not ghosts.