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Weekly political notes

By Samson Ezea
07 October 2017   |   4:15 am
Alison-Madueke has been in the UK, where she travelled shortly after leaving office in 2015. She is believed to have been barred from leaving the UK, where she is also being investigated for money laundering.

Alison-Madueke has been in the UK, where she travelled shortly after leaving office in 2015. She is believed to have been barred from leaving the UK, where she is also being investigated for money laundering. AFP PHOTO / JOE KLAMAR

Diezani Pleads To Face Trial In Nigeria
A former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to compel the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to bring her back to Nigeria from the United Kingdom to defend corruption allegations levelled against her.

Alison-Madueke has been in the UK, where she travelled shortly after leaving office in 2015. She is believed to have been barred from leaving the UK, where she is also being investigated for money laundering.

On Tuesday, her lawyer said she would like to appear in court in Nigeria to defend the multiple allegations of crime bordering on money laundering of over N450 million, wherein her name was mentioned.

Obinna Onya, Alison Madueke’s lawyer, stated this at a court case instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alleging that $115 million was doled out by the former minister in an attempt to compromise the 2015 general elections.

Diezani’s demand is bold and at the same time suspicious. Why is she eager to be extradited to Nigeria to face trial, even when she is still being investigated by UK authority over alleged financial fraud? Is she afraid of receiving ex-governor of Delta State, James Ibori’s treatment in UK, while hoping of something milder in Nigeria? Well, whichever, it is her constitutional right to defend herself against financial allegation, whether in UK or Nigeria.

But Diezani should have known that many Nigerians would prefer she is tried in UK instead of Nigeria. The reason is obvious. Which is that the Nigerian Judiciary cannot be trusted, especially when it has to do with financial fraud.

Meanwhile, why hasn’t the AGF facilitated Diezani’s extradition before now to enable her face trial, instead of the EFCC to be trying her on the pages of newspapers? Or is it that the AGF, a senior lawyer, does not trust the Nigerian judiciary as well? Nawaooo

2019: Southeast PDP Okays North For Presidency
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South East has endorsed the party’s decision to zone the presidential ticket to the North and the position of national chairman to the Southern part of the country.

Rising from a meeting of the Zonal Executive Committee of the party held in Enugu on Monday, the South East PDP reiterated its commitment to national unity and reaffirmed the party’s earlier agreement on the zoning of positions for the forthcoming National Convention.

This was announced during presentation of communiqué at the end of the meeting, which was attended by former Vice President Alex Ekwueme, Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; his Abia counterpart, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu; the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu and other members of the National Assembly from the zone; Secretary of the party’s National Caretaker Committee, Ben Obi; Speakers of State Assemblies and other principal officers of the party.

Southeast PDP has just affirmed the earlier decision of the party’s national leadership. So, this is expected, considering that Southeast PDP has no option. PDP’s decision to zone 2019 presidency to the North is not only to calm frayed nerves in the party, it is in line with the country’s political calculation ahead of 2019. But the question is; what is being offered the Southeast zone in the whole arrangement? It seems nothing serious is being offered to the zone in 2019.

PDP leadership at all levels should be mindful that the forthcoming Anambra governorship election is a test case for them. There is every need for the party to make a statement with the election.

2019: INEC Warns Politicians To Stop Campaigns
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the ban on campaigns was yet to be lifted.

He said INEC had also reached an understanding with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute more staff members involved in the 2015 poll bribery scam in 21 states.

The EFCC is prosecuting 205 INEC officials from 16 states. On the recall of Dino Melaye, the INEC chairman said the agency will proceed courageously with the process. Yakubu spoke at the quarterly Consultative Meeting with the Media in Abuja.

Well, Oga Yakubu, you can’t knock at the gate and say the dog should not bark. You ought to have known that since your commission announced dates for the 2019 elections, Nigerian political leaders have abandoned governance to play politics. It is expected of Yakubu to know that in Nigeria, politicians often mix politics with governance and most time place the former above the latter.

It is not enough to warn politicians against early campaign, without punishing the defaulters accordingly. Unfortunately, this is not the first time and will not be the last, politicians will be breaching campaign guidelines and INEC has always remained helpless and toothless. What amounts to campaign? Ask yourself.

Kachikwu: Ministry Expresses Shock Over Letter’s Leakage
The Ministry of Petroleum Resources has expressed shock that a letter written to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Minister, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, was leaked to the public.

A press statement by Idang Alibi, the ministry’s director of press, said the letter was a confidential communication to President Buhari on activities in the ministry.

Why is the Ministry’s director of press crying wolf? It is a possibility that the letter was leaked by some mischievous workers in the ministry or some persons in the Presidency; all in a bid to embarrass Kachikwu and Buhari. Besides, there is no big deal leaking confidential memo or letter in this age of information technology.

Not too long ago, similar letter from Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-rufai to Buhari was leaked and heaven did not fall. So the hue and cry over the leakage is distractive and diversionary.

What is of utmost importance is the content and consequences of the letter, which deserves urgent action from Buhari. Kachikwu’s action is exemplary and commendable. It is hoped that Buhari will not gloat over the letter or treat it with levity as usual. Nigerians are still waiting for President Buhari’s action on the report of the panel that investigated the ousted SGF Babachir Lawal and his NIA counterpart, Ayo Oke.

Ebonyi Govt Begins Registration Of IPOB Members
The Ebonyi State government has begun data capturing and registration of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) living in the state. The government said the youth were misled to join the agitation by the group.

The State Commissioner for Economic Empowerment and Job Creation, Uchenna Orji, said this in Abakaliki on Wednesday. He said the exercise was going on simultaneously in the 13 local council areas of the state.

He said the initiative by the state government would make the IPOB members economically independent and help reduce social vices and other forms of criminality currently plaguing society.

Is Ebonyi government saying that without IPOB agitation, it wouldn’t create jobs for the unemployed in the state? This shows that the government is not only lacking in ideas, it is not proactive as well. How is the government sure that the people it is registering are IPOB members. It seems the government wants Nigerians to believe that it knew IPOB members before now and that the state is a stronghold of IPOB members.

It is important for the government to ensure that something meaningful comes out of the exercise. Nigerians are familiar with this kind of approach by government that often ends in futility and politics.

Senate Probes Police IG Over Corruption Allegations
The Senate has set up an eight-man ad hoc committee to investigate allegations of corruption brought against the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, by a senator, Isah Misau (APC-Bauchi).

The senate also mandated its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate Police allegations against Misau, and present its findings to the House.

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) had alleged that Misau did not follow due process when he retired from the force. It was disclosed that the Senate’s resolution followed a Point of Order by Misau, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy.

Misau had told his colleagues that he had been having a running battle with the IGP over the level of corruption in the NPF.

Even though it is the constitutional function of the Senate to probe alleged public fraud of this nature, the worry is that reports of probes usually end up gathering dust on the shelf. That is why Nigerians are tired of endless probes by the National Assembly. As usual, this probe of IGP will not be different. So, why embark on wild goose chase with much energy and time, when its outcome will be of no effect?

It is not that one is being protective of the IGP or in support of corruption. But it is obvious that the government of the day and its anti-graft agencies appear not to be interested in probing the allegation against IGP. Assuming that the Senate probe indicts the IGP, will the Senate prosecute him or remove him from office? The answer is No. This is why the Senate should spend more time making laws that will strengthen the institutions, instead of engaging in endless probe, that are not of interest to the executive.