Weekly political notes
Metuh’s Trial: Court Gives Officials Five Days To Subpoena Jonathan
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has ordered its bailiff to ensure the service of its subpoena on former President Goodluck Jonathan within five days from Wednesday.
The subpoena is to make Jonathan appear as a defence witness in the ongoing trial of former Peoples Democratic Party spokesperson, Olisah Metuh.
Metuh is facing trial for alleged diversion of N400 million from the Office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki. The defendant had also obtained a subpoena for the appearance of Dasuki in court as his witness.
On Wednesday, the court registrar confirmed the service of the subpoena on Dasuki but noted that Jonathan was yet to be served, after a first attempt to serve him (Jonathan) by the bailiff. Consequently, Justice Okon Abang gave the court official five days to serve Jonathan with the subpoena.
He added that in the event that the bailiff was unable to serve the former President with the subpoena in person, Metuh, for whom the subpoena was issued, will have to apply to court to allow the bailiff serve Jonathan through substituted means.
While nobody is above the law, the Abuja court and Metuh’s insistence on the appearance of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan in the ongoing trial of Metuh over corruption charge is unprecedented. But be as it may, why the insistence to have the former president in court when he can be represented by his lawyer via a deposition in a sworn affidavit to the court? It is hoped that this move is not a ploy by the defendant to delay trial or rope in Jonathan and rubbish his image.
Even though it is possible for Jonathan to evade service just like Senator Dino Melaye did at the peak of his botched recall, it will be to Jonathan’s advantage to honour the invitation. If not for anything, it will afford him the opportunity to clear the air and prove his critics wrong or right. But in case Jonathan decides to ignore the order, it is believed there are other legal options available for the court to continue and conclude the trial.
APC Condemns Maina’s Secret Recall
The All Progressives Congress says reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina, former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, into the Federal Civil Service was an embarrassment to the Federal Government.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Bolaji Abdullahi, stated this while speaking with journalists on, Tuesday, in Abuja. He said the development was unacceptable and also embarrassing to the party. “We are all shocked like any other person. It is almost unbelievable that such a thing can happen.
“We are also delighted that President Buhari has ordered full scale investigation into the circumstances that led to this individual to be reinstated into the public office,’’ he said.
Abdullahi said the APC desired that those that were part or found to be part of the development would face appropriate consequences.
The development is not only embarrassing to the APC, it is shocking, surprising and baffling to Nigerians. It has put a question mark on the APC government’s anti-graft fight. It is high time the APC leadership called Buhari government and his cabal to order. They are gradually becoming a shame to the country. It has been one scandal too many for a government that came to power on a change mantra. This is another pointer to the fact that Buhari has lost control of his government to the cabal, who are working closely and intimately with him, but never believe in his philosophy and anti-corruption fight. What an irony.
APC should know that it is not enough for Buhari to order for Maina’s immediate sack and probe of his reinstatement. Expectedly, Buhari would have ordered for Maina’s immediate arrest and subsequent trial, while as a matter of urgency, he metes out appropriate punishments to all those who played roles in the embarrassing saga, without minding whose ox is gored. But can Buhari do this?
Prisoners To Vote In 2019 Elections-INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said it is making plans with the Nigerian Prisons Service to ensure prisoners can vote in the 2019 general elections.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Tuesday, in Abuja, at a dialogue session tagged Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Dialogue.
This development is coming three years after a Federal High Court in Benin, Edo State, ruled that prisoners in Nigeria have the right to vote in all elections conducted in the country.
Yakubu said the commission was considering creating polling units in Nigerian prisons to give some categories of prisoners the opportunity to vote. He explained that only “certain categories of prisoners” would be given the opportunity
Why is INEC so much interested in prisoners voting in 2019, when non-prisoners find it difficult to vote in elections? What is of great importance and concern in an election is not who votes, but the transparency of the exercise. After all, the number of prisoners in Nigeria is too insignificant compared to number of Nigerians that are being disenfranchised in previous elections due to INEC’s logistics lapses.
Ahead of 2019, it is expected of INEC to adequately address the logistic, technological cum human challenges that often characterise and mar their elections. This is more important than who votes. Besides, if all these could be addressed by INEC in time, there is a possibility that every eligible voter, including prisoners can vote in 2019 without hitches.
Presidency Clarifies Amount Released For Second Niger Bridge
The Vice President’s spokesperson, Laolu Akande, has clarified the error in the statement credited to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on amount released for construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge.
Akande gave the clarification on Tuesday following some media quoting of Osinbajo as announcing $2b released for the project instead of N2b.
According to Mr. Akande, during the APC governorship campaign in Onitsha, Anambra State, on October 20, Osinbajo had reiterated the Buhari administration’s commitment to keeping its promises to the Nigerian people.
He said that one of those promises was the construction of the second Niger Bridge, adding that the correct amount released was in the official news release he sent on the vice president’s remarks during the campaign rally same day.
While there is need for this clarification, what is of utmost importance now is to ensure that work commences on the bridge soonest. This is because the bridge has become a consistent victim of campaign promise by successive presidents since 1999. Being a project that is mostly needed by the people of Southeast, they cannot wait to see the project executed. Also expected by Ndigbo to be executed alongside the bridge is the dilapidated Enugu-Onitsha road that has become a nightmare.
Also being a major gateway to the Southeast region, it is hoped that the Buhari government will execute the project, at least to assuage the grudges of Ndigbo against his government.
Buhari’s Govt Full Of Scandals- PDP Govs
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum, on Tuesday, took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and described it as a government of scandals.
Speaking at the 76th National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PDP, which held at its national secretariat, Wadata Plaza, forum chairman and Ekiti governor, Ayodele Fayose, urged party members to continue to speak up on the failings of the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration. He said: “if we don’t expose them, nobody will do so.”
Fayose dismissed the anti-corruption war of the Buhari administration as a case of armed robbers engaging perceived thieves in a fierce battle.
This is a case of kettle calling pot black. There is no doubt that Buhari’s government has been characterised by too many scandals. Yet, it is not different from what was witnessed in the immediate past administration of the PDP.
The only difference now is that scandals are erupting in a government that gave Nigerians so much hope, only to be faltering. Besides, APC has consistently blamed PDP for the country’s woes, without doing much to address them. So PDP governors should know that they are not different from their APC counterparts. They are all politicians who fend for their pockets. They are not worthy or exemplary leaders of the people.
Southern Governors Demand Devolution Of Powers
The Southern Governors Forum (SGF) has thrown its weight behind calls for devolution of powers and true federalism. This was part of the resolutions taken at the end of its summit at the State House, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos on Monday.
The governors also reiterated their commitment to the growth and unity of Nigeria.
Speaking at the end of the meeting, Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode said the forum has resolved to push for devolution of powers and collaborate with one another, to push for the development of the southern part of Nigeria.
While it is commendable that Southern governors have seen reasons to form a common front like their Northern counterparts, it is hoped that they would sustain the new found relationship, which was kept in limbo for more than a decade.
What the Southern governors asked for, which is devolution of powers may remain a dream or facade until they collectively and sincerely work assiduously for it. This is because their Northern counterparts appear not to be ready to let go of the status quo that favours them.
This is where the Southern governors political sagacity and diplomacy will be put to the test. Whichever way they deploy strategy to convince the rest of Nigerians, especially the National Assembly members to buy into the quest for power devolutions in Nigeria is immaterial, provided result is achieved. The Southern governors should know that all eyes are on them and it is time for them to prove that they are true leaders of their people.
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