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Weekly political notes


Court Sacks Akwa Ibom Council Chairpersons, Declares Appointment Illegal
A court in Akwa Ibom State has declared as illegal, the local government caretaker committees in the state.The 31 local governments in the state have been run for about two years now by chairpersons handpicked by the state governor, Udom Emmanuel.A State High Court at the Abak Judicial Division, presided by Justice Ezekiel Enang, declared on Tuesday that the setting up of the caretaker committees was unlawful because there was no provision for such within the Nigerian Constitution.

The court accordingly ordered Governor Emmanuel to dissolve the caretaker committees immediately.A lawyer, Nsikak Akai of the Nsikak Akai and Associates, Abak, who filed the suit against the Akwa Ibom State government and Mr. Emmanuel, said that he checked through the Nigerian constitution, but could not find any provision that empowered the governor to set up caretaker committees to run the local governments in the state.

While the judgment is a welcome development, especially coming from a State High Court, it is hoped that the governor will obey it. Having ordered that the councils’ caretaker committee should be dissolved forthwith, it is expected that elections are conducted immediately.

Since 1999, whether under caretaker committee or elected council chairmen arrangement, the state governors have always handpicked their preferred allies and followers to fill the positions. Elections into the positions are mere formalities, because the state electoral commission is at the beck and call of the state governors. This is why this judgment looks like a pyrrhic victory. Head or tail, the governors are the victors in this game until the constitution is amended and the people begin to take control through their votes.

David Mark’s Presidential Posters Flood Makurdi
Former Senate President and senator representing Benue South, David Mark’s 2019 presidential campaign posters on Tuesday flooded Makurdi metropolis. The posters and the banners, bearing the inscription of Mark and urging him to contest the next presidential election were also flaunted at the secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where a congress took place. Mark was absent at the crowded meeting, which sought to reunite members and keep them abreast of the party’s recent outing in Abuja after the Supreme Court’s victory.

Hmmm, presidential ambition is within Mark’s fundamental rights. Besides, he is qualified for the position constitutionally. Having occupied the senatorial seat since 1999, which made him the longest serving senator in the country, crowning it with a presidential seat in 2019 will be a dream come true for Mark.

After all, Mark may need the seat badly, having failed to retain his seat as Senate president in the present 8th National Assembly, following his party’s loss of the presidency to APC in 2015 polls. Achieving the presidential ambition in 2019 may make Nigerians forget that Mark was the only Senate president, who returned to the Senate as an ordinary member. That will provide opportunity for others from the zone to taste the senatorial seat which has become Mark’s birthright.Even though it is often said that charity should begin at home, Mark should know that securing Nigeria’s presidency goes beyond flooding Markurdi with posters.

Ex-Minister, Nwosu Rules Out Obiano’s Second Term In Anambra
A former minister of Health, Professor Alphonsus Nwosu, on Wednesday ruled out the chances of Governor Willie Obiano of the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) getting a second term in office in the November election.He said Anambra State could not afford to continue “on its costly path of self-inflicted isolation from the national grid by belonging to an enclave political party.”

Nwosu spoke in Nnewi, while addressing a meeting of Anambra Union, a group comprising of professionals, retired civil servants, ambassadors and academics, attended by six aspirants from the APC and PDP.

He said that the next governor of the state must be produced by either of the two opposition parties because of their national outlook.Nwosu is entitled to his opinion, considering that he has only one vote and can only speak for himself. When has APGA become an enclave party to Nwosu, who despite being a PDP member supported the party strongly during Governor Peter Obi’s administration and when Ex-Biafran Warlord, Dim Odimegwu Ojukwu was alive? If Obi’s exit from the APGA and Ojukwu’s demise is what made APGA an enclave party to Nwosu, it means that Nwosu never believed in the party, but in individuals.

With Nwosu’s quality exposure and antecedent, it is expected of him to rely more on track record and pedigree of the aspirants than on party platforms. If being in mainstream politics is the factor, where was Nwosu’s party (PDP) in Anambra when Obi was governor of the state for eight years on the APGA platform and Obiano succeeded him on the same party platform? Come November 18, people of Anambra will choose their governor, not based on the sentiments of Nwosu and his group.

Adefarati’s Son, Agagu’s Brother Make Akeredolu’s Commissioners List
Son of the late former Governor of Ondo State, Chief Adebayo Adefarati, Adegboyega, and the younger brother of late Governor Olusegun Agagu, Femi, were among the list of commissioner-nominees, presented to the state House of Assembly on Tuesday, by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for approval.

Others were; a media consultant, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi, Hon. Taofiq Abdulsalam, Rasheed Badmus, Prince Solagbade Amodeni, Saka Yusuf Ogunleye and Mrs. Omowumi Olatunji-Edet; among others.

Where are the sons and daughters of Yemisi and brothers of Ojo (ordinary Ondo citizens) in this list? Even though, they are entitled to be nominated to serve the state, must the nominees include sons and brothers of the former governors and other known personalities? Maybe soon, housemaids and drivers of former governors of the state will equally be appointed into government.

After all, it is not an unconstitutional act. But why not children or relations of those who have not served before or who have no godfathers? When will the young grow and when will the youths actually become leaders of tomorrow in Nigeria? This is a continuation of politics of cronyism and prebendalism in Ondo State.

We ‘ll Win 30 States In 2019 –PDP
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said its target is to win a total of 30 states in the 2019 general elections.PDP National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye said this at party’s national secretariat in Abuja, on Tuesday, where a governorship aspirant in Anambra State, Dr Alex Obiogbolu picked the Expression of Interest/ Nomination form for the party’s governorship primary.

Adeyeye said despite its loss in the 2015 general elections, PDP remains a party of choice for Nigerians. He expressed hope that PDP will win November 18 Anambra State governorship election and go on to win a total of 30 governorship seats across the country in the 2019 polls.

Adeyeye’s optimism is expected. Maybe he is still basking in the euphoria of the recent Supreme Court judgment on the party leadership tussle, forgetting that the party has herculean tasks ahead of 2019. Adeyeye should be reminded that it is needless for one to count his eggs before it is hatched.

With Anambra governorship election fast approaching, PDP’s performance in the exercise will be a pointer to what it can do in 2019. After all, this is the same PDP, which said it would rule Nigeria for sixty years, only to be voted out of power after sixteen years. The PDP leadership should do more of grassroots work, mobilisation and reconciliation than talking. After all, elections are won in the field, not on pages of newspapers.

I Stand By Letter Of Corruption Against Ortom–Tsav
Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, the Commissioner in charge of the Public Complaints Commission (PCC) in Benue State, says he would not retract his alleged damaging comments about Gov. Samuel Ortom as requested by the Tiv Traditional Council.

Tsav said, on Wednesday, in Makurdi, Benue State, that he stood by his letter, where he urged the anti-graft and security agencies to investigate allegations of corruption against Ortom.Tsav in the said letter accused the governor of “executive recklessness” and privatisation of the state.Instead of asking Tsav to retract his comment, the Tiv Traditional Council ought to have supported and commended his effort, unless the council is also benefitting from Gov. Ortom’s alleged act of corruption.

Tsav deserves the support of well-meaning Benue indigenes. He has shown courage and patriotism. He can only be asked to retract his comment, when it has been proven that his allegations against Ortom were false. After all, investigating a sitting governor is not the same thing as prosecution, knowing that he enjoys immunity. Benue people deserve to known how their state is being run and Ortom should always be ready to explain. It is not about Tsav. It is about the future of the state and good governance for the people’s benefits.

Why Senate Rejected Power Devolution To States – Saraki
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has blamed sentiments from parts of the country for the rejection of devolution of powers clause in ongoing 1999 Constitution’s review by lawmakers. Saraki made this known in Abuja. He said if the voting on the amendments had come months before agitations for restructuring and inciting remarks from some Nigerians, it would have scaled through.

According to Saraki, the fact that it did not pull through means that there are some Nigerians that are not sure of what it is, and a lot of people equated devolution of power with restructuring.

Saraki is free to say anything he likes to justify National Assembly’s decision to reject devolution of more powers to the states. That does not mean that it is not known that the decision was predicated on self-preservation.

No amount of rhetoric or sophistry by Saraki and his colleagues will convince Nigerians, as it was obvious before the amendments that National Assembly members were never in support of devolution of powers or restructuring. This is simply because of their fears that devolution will weaken the “Centre” render National Assembly members ineffective and possibly jobless.

In this article:
David MarkUdom Emmanuel
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