weekly political notes
Obasanjo Attacks Buhari, Knocks N’Assembly Members
Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday came hard on President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to fix the country’s economy as he promised during campaigns rather than expressing frustration with the gloomy economic situation.
Obasanjo spoke during a lecture he delivered at the First Akintola Williams Annual Lecture in Lagos titled: “Nigeria Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Governance and Accountability.’’
He said that it would have been needless for Nigerians to cry for a change of government if things were rosy in the country before Buhari took over.
The ex-president also faulted the proposed borrowing of US$30bn by the Buhari administration, arguing that such would amount to taking the soft option capable of hurting the country in future.
Besides, he cautioned Buhari against castigating his administration alongside previous ones, describing such as uncharitable, fussy and uninstructive.
According to Obasanjo, if the current administration does not fix the economy to relieve the pain and anguish of many Nigerians, the gains recorded in fighting insurgency and corruption will pale into insignificance.
Obasanjo also took a swipe at the National Assembly, describing it as a den of corruption by a gang of unarmed robbers and that it stinks worse than the judiciary.
He said: “Once you are a member, you are co-opted and your mouth is stuffed with rottenness and corruption that you cannot opt out as you go home with not less than N15m a month for a senator and N10m a month for a member of the House of Representatives. The National Assembly is a den of corruption by a gang of unarmed robbers.’’
Saying that Obasanjo was at his best element again is like stating the obvious. He is a man who doesn’t mince words or shy away from criticism. It is a game he knows how to play well. This may be a tip of the iceberg for Buhari and his government, as it appears the honeymoon between him and Obasanjo is over. So, Buhari should be prepared to receive more knocks from OBJ, not only verbally, but in letters. Obasanjo is a man of acerbic letters and words, who has no friend, especially when his interest is on line. It is in his character and he doesn’t hide it.
Even before he came back as elected president of the country in 1999, he never spared successive military governments of his criticism. He has continued with the habit since he left office in 2007, without minding whose ox is gored. This is even when it is clear that most vices that have bedeviled the country’s democracy today were a creation of his government.
It is hoped that the attack on Buhari’s government has nothing to do with the ten month pension the government reportedly owes former presidents. However, no matter what one feels or thinks about Obasanjo and his antics, it does not vitiate the import of his assertions. That is a fact that is too dangerous for Buhari government to ignore.
Rerun: Wike Accuses INEC Of Giving Amaechi Result Sheets
AHEAD of the December 10 rerun election in Rivers State, the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has accused the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of handing over original copies of result sheets to the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, towards an alleged plan to rig the poll.
Wike, who spoke in Etche Local Government Area on Wednesday, alleged that Amaechi made the disclosure on Tuesday in Abuja, during a meeting of Rivers APC leaders.
The governor said he was in possession of the proceedings of the Abuja “illegal” meeting of the APC. He alleged that Amaechi assured the Rivers APC leaders at the Abuja meeting that the original result sheets supplied by the INEC would be used for the December 10 rerun elections to facilitate victory for the APC candidates.
“While we are working for the people of Rivers State to convince them to vote for us, the APC is busy working with the INEC to rig the rerun elections.
“On December 10, follow your results bumper to bumper. Don’t allow anyone to swap results. I urge the Etche people to follow their results,” he said.Reacting through his media office, Amaechi described Wike’s allegation as wild, baseless and an attempt to intimidate INEC into doing his (governor’s) bidding.
He said: “We know his game. This is an old worn-out trick that will certainly fail. Wike is scared, profoundly afraid. This is why he is telling these spurious lies. He knows he will lose at the polls, if the election is free and fair.”
While Wike’s allegation is too weighty to be ignored, it is not new. It behoves security agencies to investigate it, while Wike provides them with a clue. Coming at a time Nigerians have not heard the last of the similar case of alleged printing of result sheets by an APC chieftain is worrisome.
However, it could not be ruled out that all these might be politicians’ gimmicks to divert attention ahead of the election. Whatever is the case, there is need for urgent and proper investigation of the allegation.
For INEC, voters and security agents, the election should not only go on as scheduled, it should be conducted and concluded in a most transparent manner. This is because it has lingered for too long and has denied the people of the State effective and proper representation at the National Assembly. It has also become blight on the country’s democracy.
Sack Justice Abang, Fayose Tells NJC
Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has called on the National Judicial Council (NJC) to save the judiciary by sacking Justice Okon Abang.In a statement issued on Wednesday, and signed by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, the governor said: “In the face of these indictments by the appellate court, the NJC must wade in and save the judiciary from Abang.”
Fayose added: “Again, three justices of the Appeal Court descended on Justice Abang, describing his judgments imposing Jimoh Ibrahim as the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate in Ondo State and the one affirming Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the PDP National Chairman as fraudulent.
“It should be recalled that in June, a five-member panel of the Court of Appeal led by Justice Morenike Ogunwumiju said that Abang ‘raped democracy’ when he annulled the election of Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, and ordered INEC to issue a certificate of return to Mr. Uche Ogah, without evidence of forgery against Dr. Ikpeazu. The court went on to say that Abang embarked on a wild goose chase and that he spoke from both sides of his mouth.
“These are clear indictments on Justice Abang and in a civilised society, he ought to have resigned without the prompting of anyone. Or, how can a judge that has been adjudged severally as giving fraudulent judgments and acting like Father Christmas still sit in judgment over cases involving Nigerians?”
Even without Fayose’s clarion call, there is an urgent need for the NJC to re-assess or review the competence or otherwise of Justice Abang in the temple of justice. This becomes necessary following some of his controversial judgments that have defied logic and put the integrity of the judiciary in question. If it is discovered that Abang does not understand the law well, he could be sent back to school or at worst, sent on sabbatical for proper grounding in adjudication.
After all, nobody is above learning. For instance, former-president, Olusegun Obasanjo has gone to the National Open University (NOUN) to acquire a degree in Theology. Since then, he has become a man of powerful epistles, writing urgent letters to the powers-that-be, when it mattered most. If applying similar approach will save Justice Abang from delivering controversial judgment and the NJC’s integrity, so be it.
Nigerians Will Not Dump Buhari In 2019-Presidency Replies Galadima
Presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, has dismissed the assertion that the masses will desert President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, describing it as unfounded and utterly ridiculous.
Shehu, who was reacting to a media interview granted by a longtime ally of Buhari and Chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Buba Galadima, who said that President Buhari would be abandoned by the people in 2019.
Shehu described Galadima’s calculation and prediction as confusing and misleading. He said the masses were solidly behind Buhari because he is not stealing their money and their future.
“The President’s enormous goodwill remains ever-strong, because the people are convinced that he is acting in their best interest, despite the temporary unintended consequences of reforms.”According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari is far from being isolated and he enjoys very strategic relationship with ordinary Nigerians.
“If Buba Galadima thinks that because he has no role and no job in this government that means the president is isolated, he is putting himself up to ridicule.”Many may be surprised by the political tantrums between the Presidency and Buhari’s longtime political ally, Alhaji Buba Galadima regarding the 2019 presidency. Well, nothing is surprising about it, considering the cold relations between Buhari and Galadima since the former became President.
Considering the camaraderie that existed between the duo since Buhari joined politics in 2003, it was expected that Galadima would play a key role in Buhari’s government. That has not happened for reasons best known to Buhari. Notwithstanding, and just like every other concerned party stakeholder and Nigerian, Galadima has expressed his concerns over Buhari’s government and political future. Interestingly,Galadima is not alone in this. Before now, the President’s wife, Ashia and other party stakeholders have raised the same issue.
Meanwhile, while it is the job of the president’s spin-doctors to defend the presidency at all times, such defence should be issue-based and not mere brickbats. Galadima appears to be on point on the matter at hand, given that he is not alone in his assertion. But 2019 is still a bit far and it is Nigerians who will choose their president, not Galadima or the APC leaders. If there are personal differences between Galadima and Buhari, it is part of politics, which can be sorted out before further damage is done. Besides, when the going was good nobody heard them. Why now?
Mimiko Meets Buhari, Denies Defecting To APC
Ahead of today’s governorship election in Ondo State, the outgoing governor of the State, Olusegun Mimiko, has denied insinuations that he was planning to join the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Mimiko said this after his second visit to the Presidential Villa to see President Muhammadu Buhari.
The governor said: “I came to apprise the president of the security situation in my state. As the chief security officer of my state, if there is any credible threat to security, I owe the responsibility to Nigerians to apprise President of what is going on in the state. President was in my state to campaign for his party. I extended to him the courtesies of receiving him at the airport and seeing him off as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, not as APC.
“I understand that people have speculated that this means I am going to APC. There is nothing of such. I only extended normal courtesies, which protocol demands.’The question that is begging for answer here is; is this explanation by Mimiko necessary? It may not be, because the outcome of today’s election will tell whether Mimiko will defect to any other party or remain the Iroko of Ondo politics. After all, it was the same way Mimiko denied and promised never to defect from the Labour Party that brought him to power. Today, he is leaving office as PDP governor. So, what is the big deal if he decides to join APC tomorrow, depending on how today’s election turns out.
Mimiko should spare Nigerians the denial because it cannot be ruled out and he is not different from other political harlots. Why the worry, when defection is not unconstitutional for governors or ex-governors. Nigerians are watching to see Mimiko’s next political move.
Edo Residents Protest Planned N300m Home For Oshiomhole
Pro-government and anti-government protesters clashed in Benin City, Edo Capital on Tuesday, over the alleged plans by the Edo Government to build N300 million retirement homes for former Gov. Adams Oshiomhole and his deputy.
The pro-government group and rival members of some civil society organisations (CSOs) fought at Ring Road, Benin, when the latter marched through the streets over the amendment of the pension law to give mouth-watering benefits to the former governor and deputy.Edo State House of Assembly, last week, amended the 2007 Pension Rights of the Governor and Deputy Governor Law to include the provision of a building valued N200 million for a former governor and N100 million for his deputy.
Even though the protesters have the constitutional right to protest against the pension rights, of what impact is the protest when it cannot change the law? Where were the protesters when the Assembly members amended the law to pay ex-governors such bogus pension? It will be recalled that before now, similar Pension Acts had been passed into laws in states like Lagos, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and others. After the initial controversies and protests, nothing was heard of it again. Some of these ex-governors, who are beneficiaries of bogus pension laws are ministers and senators that are still drawing huge sums from government.
It is unfortunate that after cornering huge chunk of monthly security votes that is unaccounted for, ex-governors have continued to milk their states dry through an arranged and fraudulent pension laws. The most frustrating thing is that this bonanza for ex-governors is being forced down on Assembly members, who offer themselves as errand boys of governors, rather than representatives of the people.
Meanwhile, with the way Oshiomhole carried himself while in office as governor and what he represented, not many would have believed that he would subscribe to this political rip-off called pension. But this development has confirmed that Oshiomhole is, after all, not different and that Nigerian politicians are the same. If not, how could a right thinking ex-governor accept such bogus pension scheme in a recessed economy that is heading towards depression?
Ondo 2016: Appeal Court Reinstates Jegede As PDP Candidate
The Court of Appeal has sacked Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in today’s governorship election in Ondo State. The court, ordered that Ibrahim be replaced with Eyitayo Jegede, who belongs to the Ahmed Makarfi faction of the party.
The Appeal Court set aside a ruling of the Federal High Court by Justice Okon Abang, which declared Ibrahim the candidate. All the objections filed by Ibrahim and his loyalists at the Appeal Court were dismissed.
From the judgment, it is obvious that Ibrahim and his loyalists from the onset were in for a spoil and to cause distraction. The subterfuges and legal intrigues they deployed in approaching the case spoke volume of their intentions. So, for the outgoing governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, his godson Jegede and the Makarfi faction of the PDP, the judgment is a big relief. Perhaps, coming too late to the election day is worrisome. Whichever way, the victory is better late than never, considering that anything is possible in Nigerian politics.
Meanwhile, Mimiko’s eight years in office as governor, upon which Jegede stands on cannot be wished away in deciding the outcome of today’s election. So all things being equal, Jegede still stands a good chance, despite the legal distractions that delayed his campaign and mobilisation.Tinubu Is Not Sick, Afikuyomi Replies Lalong
Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, a close ally of chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has refuted the claim by Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong that the former governor of Lagos is sick.
Afikuyomi, who claimed that he travelled to the United States) with Tinubu to witness the recent elections, said the former governor is in a remarkable state of mental and physical wellness.
He said: “It is therefore absolutely incorrect and most embarrassing for anyone to attempt to invent such a laughable reason for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s absence at the rally. The fact that somebody went for medical check-up does not mean he is ill. In the likely event that Asiwaju, like all mortals, was ill at all, I doubt if Lalong would be the first to know by reason of relationship, proximity and trust.
“Prominent politicians like the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, have been speaking with Tinubu. Governor Amosun particularly communicated with him a day before the Ondo rally and he can never claim not to have spoken with him. I have also remained in constant touch with Asiwaju Tinubu since my arrival in Nigeria. We speak daily as a matter of fact.”Is good we are hearing the voice of Senator Afikuyomi after he had been in political oblivion for sometime now. But he seems to contradict himself, even though he is not the official spokesman of Tinubu.
If Tinubu has spoken to Amosun, what in Afikuyomi’s thinking will stop Tinubu from speaking to Lalong, who is also an APC governor? That somebody is sick does not mean that the person should be lying critically ill in the hospital. One can be sick and be off-hospital patient. It all depends on the nature of the sickness.However, the Tinubu Nigerians know is capable of speaking for himself at anytime, but his studied silence since the crisis that rocked Ondo APC governorship primary, which was resolved against his political interest is a clear sign that all is not well.
Sagay Slams Senate For Delaying Magu’s Confirmation
The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) has lambasted the Senate for delaying the confirmation of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu.
Speaking on Tuesday, Sagay described the delay as a psychological attack against Magu, but argued that it would not slow down the anti-corruption momentum.He said: “This will not stop the fight against corruption. An acting chairman is a chairman whose position has not been approved by the Senate, but he is still the chairman. He has all the powers of the chairman. So, they can delay it but all it amounts to is a psychological war.”
With the delay in the confirmation of the appointment of Magu by the Senate for more than a year now, Magu may go down in history as the longest acting chairman of the anti-graft agency. Even though, the Senate has not given any reason for the delay, it may not be unconnected with frosty relations between the executive and the upper chamber.
It will be recalled that apart from Magu, there are other pending appointments that have not been confirmed by the Senate for reasons best known to the legislative arm. Why Magu’s own has become topical is because it has to do with the anti-corruption fight.
If the Senate has no ulterior motives, it is high time Nigerians are told why Magu’s confirmation has become a hard nut to crack. Or, is the delay part of the conspiracy to nip the anti-graft fight of President Buhari’s government in the bud? Hoping that the Senate is not helpless, following the alleged inter security rivalry that has reportedly delayed Magu’s security clearance from the DSS.
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