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Weekly political notes


Donald Duke

2019: Okorocha Joins Senate Race

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has finally joined the list of governors who have declared interest in running for elective positions in 2019 general elections.

Okorocha had earlier declared that he would neither run for Senate, nor for President in 2019, but would be keen in who succeeds him.

However, the governor, while speaking at an event on Monday, said he had decided to run for Imo West Senatorial District in the 2019 general elections.

Okorocha said it would be a disservice to the nation, if he fails to contest considering his wealth of experience as a governor for eight years.

Imo people, where una dey? With the way things are going politically, the name of the state may change to Okorocha after 2019. It is very obvious that Okorocha may become the Oloye of Imo, as it used to be in Kwara State.

Many may argue what is wrong with Okorocha’s political ambitions and moves. There is nothing wrong with it constitutionally, but perhaps, morally?

While it is Okorocha’s constitutional right to contest for any elective position, the manner he is going about shows disregard for the sensibilities of Imo people. What is Okorocha’s scorecard in Imo as governor to deserve a senatorial seat? Is it because ex-governors believe that senatorial seat is part of their retirement benefits?

If Okorocha believes that his wealth of experience as governor for eight years qualifies him to be senator in 2019, can he tell Nigerians when wealth of experience replaced outstanding performance in public office? It is quite unfortunate that Okorocha has made so much mockery of Imo people and has continued to dare them politically ahead of 2019 polls.

Buhari Refuses To Sign Peace Corps Bill

President Muhammadu Buhari has declined his assent to the Nigerian Peace Corps (Establishment) Bill passed by the National Assembly in 2017.

In a letter read by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Tuesday, Buhari cited security concerns and financial implications amongst reasons for his decision.

Buhari deserves commendation for declining assent to the bill. Of what security importance is the Peace Corps, when the country is unable to reduce its over-bloated public service and where existing security agencies are underfunded?

Instead of creating another government agency, efforts should be made towards strengthening the existing agencies for optimal performance and service delivery.

Those behind the Nigerian Peace Corps can continue to fund it as a non-governmental agency, especially as it is clear that its services are not a priority for now.

2019: APC Extends Tenure Of Oyegun, State Executives

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has extended the tenure of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.

The extension was approved by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party at its ongoing meeting in Abuja.

The NWC is the executive arm of the party responsible for its day-to-day operations. It is headed by the National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun and its tenure was scheduled to end this year, having been elected in 2014.

The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, briefed journalists midway into the NEC meeting. He said the NEC decision was based on Article 13 of the party, which gives it such powers.

He said state executives of the party in various states also benefit from the one-year extension.

The extension essentially means the Odigie-Oyegun leadership will lead the APC into the 2019 general election.

This development was not a surprise to many observers, considering that ahead of the NEC meeting, the state party chairmen, who were stooges of the governors have passed confidence vote on Oyegun-led leadership.

At this point, those were opposed to Oyegun’s tenure extension should have known that they have lost it. So, it was obvious that the governors, whom Oyegun has managed to remain in their good book saved him from being humiliated out of office.

With this, where lies Tinubu’s reconciliation assignment in the party, considering his antagonism with Oyegun-led leadership? Will it end up as an exercise in futility, especially as it is obvious now that some elements in the party are determined to reduce drastically Tinubu’s influence ahead of 2019?

Or was the assignment a ploy by the powers-that-be to cage or rubbish Tinubu politically? If not, why didn’t President Buhari consult with the governors, party leadership and other key stakeholders before giving Tinubu the reconciliation job? But for now, Oyegun has last laugh.

2019: I Won’t Be Intimidated–INEC Chairman

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, has said he would not be intimidated by partisan pressure.

“I have passed the stage where someone can intimidate me to do what is wrong,” Yakubu said in the current edition of The Interview.

He made this statement in light of concerns about voter registration and accusations by politicians that INEC could not be trusted to conduct free and fair elections.

Yakubu said: “I have passed that stage, where I can be intimidated, with due respect. And the real test is in what we have done (178 ‘mini’ elections) so far. The most interesting thing for me is that both parties accuse us equally. So, that means we are doing something right.”

He said he had never faced any pressure from the Presidency, or any other quarters, to bend the rules.

Mr. Yakubu, nobody or group will intimidate you because it is not necessary. Why will you be intimidated? What is required of your Commission is free and fair election.

And this cannot be possible without people being registered due to lack of computers, materials and personnel in the ongoing registration exercise.

Even though, the law did not say that every Nigerian must vote before elections are won, it behoves INEC to ensure that majority of Nigerians have their voter cards before the 2019 polls.

Also to be addressed urgently is the issue of under-age voting and registration, especially in the North. The scourge, if left unattended will put question on INEC’s integrity in 2019 polls.

So, Yakubu, work hard and ensure that INEC does not intimidate Nigerians in 2019 by denying them voter card to choose their leaders. That is the worst form of intimidation.

My Presidential Ambition Still Intact- Donald Duke

A former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, on Tuesday, said he had not backed down on his presidential ambition.

Duke made the statement in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

He said the speculations that he had dumped the aspiration were untrue. Duke said he had not officially declared for the number one seat in the country for strategic reasons.

“Sometime ago, I said I will run for the presidency of the country if the opportunity presented itself. Yes, my presidential ambition is still intact. I am only waiting for the opportunity to present itself to make the right move,’’ he said.

Duke, before nko, your presidential ambition is supposed to remain intact with you so far Nigerians have not voted you as their president. It may forever remain intact if the opportunity you are waiting fails to come.

It is hoped you will not allow yourself to be deluded with a promise of presidential ticket again; just like the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo did to you and some Southsouth governors in 2017.

After that the PDP presidential ticket was handed to late Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar Adua by the same Obasanjo and his cohorts. Surprisingly, it is the same Obasanjo that Duke is hobnobbing with.

PDP Asks Buhari To Visit Dapchi

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to visit Dapchi in Yobe State, where 110 school girls were abducted recently.

The party said Buhari should “halt the feasting with the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains in Aso Villa” and ‎visit the village to get first-hand information on the circumstances surrounding the abduction of the girls.

The PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Tuesday, said the visit would bridge the “disconnect” between the President and the people.

“It is disheartening that while the parents of our abducted daughters are wailing and the insurgents are fleeing deeper, the President and his APC leaders are busy feasting in the Presidential Villa and plotting their bound-to-fail 2019 re-election campaign.”

While PDP should be commended for at least playing the opposition role, Buhari doesn’t need to be asked by the PDP before he could visit Dapchi to sympathise with parents of the abducted school girls. After all, such visit may not bring about the immediate release or rescue of the girls.

PDP should be reminded that government cannot be completely shut down, because of the abducted school girls. What is of utmost importance now is to immediately rescue the girls so that it does not linger like that of the Chiboks girls.

Meanwhile, politicising the saga will not do anybody any good. But unfortunately Nigerian politicians like politicising everything to achieve cheap political gains.

APC Must Do Everything To Win Ekiti, Osun Elections– Oyegun

The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, John Odigie-Oyegun, has said that the party will do everything possible to win the governorship elections this year in Ekiti and Osun states.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the party’s National Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday, at its national secretariat, Oyegun said it was important for the party to win the elections in those states as they will be an indicator of the outcome of the 2019 general elections.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed the elections of new governors in Ekiti and Osun states for July 14 and September 22 respectively.

Oyegun is entitled to his opinion. If APC is ready to do anything including rigging and vote buying to win Ekiti and Osun states, Nigerians and the international community are watching.

Maybe Oyegun has forgotten that the scorecard of APC government in Osun is nothing to write home about, while PDP is in control of Ekiti.

Or, has Oyegun, even as ex-governor forgotten the incumbency factor? It is possible, that Oyegun basking in the euphoria of his tenure extension, recklessly made the comment.

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