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Weekly political notes

By Samson Ezea
10 March 2018   |   4:48 am
Former interim chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmed Makarfi, has denied voting for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 general elections.

Ahmed Makarfi

Makarfi Denies Voting For APC In 2015
Former interim chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmed Makarfi, has denied voting for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 general elections.

Makarfi, who is also a former two-term governor of Kaduna State on the platform of the PDP, was accused of voting for the then opposition party by an ex-militant, Asari Dokubo.

In an interview published by the Daily Sun newspaper on Saturday, Dokubo alleged Makarfi, who was then a senator, after voting for the APC, flaunted his ballot paper before a crowd.

Reacting to the allegation through a statement by his spokesperson, Muktari Sirajo, on Monday, Makarfi described it as false in all ramifications.

The former governor said he had always been a PDP loyalist to the core, adding that he had stuck with the opposition party through thick and thin and maintained his faith in it even when defection from the PDP was the easy way out.

Dokubo is entitled to his opinion. But if one may ask; of what effect is Dokubo’s allegation now that 2019 elections are drawing closer? Is he playing a script written by politicians to discredit Makarfi ahead of 2019? Dokubo should throw more light on how he got to know that Makarfi voted for APC in the last general elections. It is hoped Dokubo is not relying on social media or beer parlour rumour to form his opinion.

Meanwhile, Dokubo should be reminded that it is Makarfi’s constitutional right to vote for any party of his choice in an election. It must not be his party. Again, if at all Makarfi voted for the APC in 2015, there might be genuine reason for doing so then against his party, PDP. But whatever may be the reason, the question is; is Makarfi better off today with PDP in opposition struggling to bounce back to power? The choice is his.

Lagos APC Opposes Tenure Elongation For Oyegun, Others
The Lagos State All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday, kicked against the tenure “elongation” for the party’s national and state executives.

The state chapter said the decision is against the Nigeria’s and the APC’s constitutions.

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

The extension, approved by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party at its meeting in Abuja, saw the tenure of the NWC, headed by the party’s National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun and his executives, extended.

The tenure of the NWC, going by the party constitution was scheduled to end in June, having been elected in 2014.

But rising from a Consultative Forum held at the State House Marina, Lagos, on Tuesday, leaders of the party in the state said the extension of the tenure of the party’s executives by one year was against the spirit of the constitution.

Hhmmm, who are the so-called leaders of APC in Lagos without Tinubu, Ambode, and the party chairman, Ajomale? But why are they complaining, when neither Tinubu, Ambode nor Fashola has publicly complained about the tenure extension of Oyegun-led NWC? Or are the so-called leaders saying that Tinubu, Ambode and others are complaining by proxy. But that may be seen as act of cowardice.

Instead of ranting like an ant or claiming that the extension was illegal, the Lagos APC leaders should be bold enough to approach the court to seek redress. It is not enough to oppose the extension on the pages of newspapers. One thing Tinubu’s loyalists in APC should know is that from the look of things, it may no longer be business as usual for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu ahead of 2019. Recent events in the party are strong indicators to that effect.

Imo 2019: Araraume Dares Okorocha
One of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirants Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, has declared that Governor Rochas Okorocha cannot decide his destiny.

He stated this in Owerri on Tuesday, while reacting to Okorocha’s recent comment that he can never be a governor in the state.

Araraume made the remark while addressing newsmen at his campaign office shortly after his arrival from Abuja, where he attended a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the APC.

“It is only God who gives power, nobody can decide the fate of another; if you do that, you will only be challenging your God.
“My destiny is in no man’s hand, but God, in 2019,” Araraume said.

Well, it is good that Araraume has openly challenged Okorocha for once. Okorocha has recently behaved as if there are no reasonable or worthy persons in Imo state again.

It is too early to praise Araraume to high heaven, considering that there is a lot of work to do if Okorocha must be stopped from turning the state to his fiefdom after 2019. It is an assignment Araraume cannot carry out alone, because he lacks the capacity to match Okorocha’s antics. This is where patriotic Imo indigenes need to come together to rescue the state so that they will not regret after 2019.

Implementing Minimum Wage Not Gimmick To Win 2019 Elections- Oshiomole
A former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, says the federal government’s proposal to implement a new minimum wage is not a political gimmick to win the 2019 general elections.

Oshiomhole said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the 26th convocation lecture of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu on Wednesday.

The title of the lecture was “Crisis of Governance, Governance of Crisis: The Role of Education in Nibbling Governance Crisis in Nigeria.’’

According to the former governor, the government has said it will begin implementation of workers minimum wage by the third quarter of 2018.

Oshiomhole, who is also a former president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said the government’s pronouncement on the minimum wage “is only about a political will.’’

He said there was already a case to review the wages prior to the election, adding that he was not bothered about when the implementation of the new minimum wage would start.

Oshiomhole’s denial was expected, because he is a staunch member of the ruling APC. He has never been critical of the APC-led government. So it is not surprising that he denied that the planned minimum wage implementation is not political gimmick by APC to win 2019 election. This is even when its timing makes it to be so.

Oshiomhole should have known that it is not enough for APC-led government to commence the implementation of a minimum wage by the third quarter, when most state governments have not been able to pay workers minimum wage of N18,000.

This is despite the billions of Naira given to the governors as bailout fund and Paris Club refund. Why not amend the law to allow states pay minimum wage, according to their financial capacities and standard of living in the states? Fixing a new minimum wage when most states have not been able to pay the current minimum wage is like putting the cart before the horse.

Nigerian Senators Receive N13.5m Monthly, Apart From Salaries-Shehu Sani
The senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, has revealed that he and his colleagues receive N13.5 million monthly as “running cost.”
In an interview with The News, Sani said the running cost does not include a N700,000 monthly consolidated salary and allowances which they also receive.

“I think what we can say is that the running cost of a senator is N13.5 million every month,” the senator said.
He explained that though there is no specification on what the funds was meant for, each lawmaker is mandated to provide receipts to back up their expenses.

Sani explains: “But what I am saying is that that money (N13.5 million per month) must be receipted for what you do with it. But what you are given to go and spend without any accountability is N750,000.”

“The constituency project itself is given on a zonal basis and almost every senator will go with a constituency fund of about N200 million, but it is not the cash that is given to you.

“You will be told that you have N200 million with an agency of government for which you will now submit projects equivalent to that amount. And it is that agency of government that will go and do those projects for you.”

Nigerians, do you hear Senator Sani? This is revealing and shocking. Thank God it came from the horse’s mouth, not a hearsay or allegation. Will Senate leadership deny this or at worst punish Sani with suspension as usual for letting the cat of the bag. No wonder since 1999, despite pressures and inquiries, the National Assembly leadership has refused to disclose the exact salaries and allowances of its members.

With this disclosure, Nigerians can now see why the National Assembly members will do everything possible to sustain the status quo and ensure that restructuring will not take place. It can be seen why its members, including some ex-governors, who failed woefully in leading their states are desperate to return to the senate in 2019. Saraki, it is over to you and your men to respond to Sani’s shocking disclosure. It is hoped you people will not compound Sani’s political woes by suspending him. Remember that he has been one of your strong loyalists. Besides, his suspension may be of no effect, because the deed has been done.

Nigeria’s senate president Bukola Saraki .

Senator Accuses Colleague Of Plotting To Remove Saraki
Abdullahi Adamu, who was recently removed as chairman of the Northern Senators Forum, is making moves to remove the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, the senator representing Ebonyi Central, Obinna Ogba, has alleged.

Ogba has on Thursday tendered “evidences” he claimed were phone conversations between Adamu and some other people on alleged plans to remove Saraki and other members of the Senate leadership.

This allegation has been recurring in the Senate for a while now. So it is not new. Attempts to remove Saraki are expected, especially in the light of the cat-and-dog relationship between the Senate under his watch and the executive. From Saraki’s actions and inactions, it is clear he is very mindful of the alleged plots and he watches his back closely.

Meanwhile, there is nothing unconstitutional and unusual in removing Saraki, provided he is impeached or removed by the two-third majority of his colleagues.

After all, if Saraki is removed, he will not be the first Senate president to be removed from office and he may not be the last. So, why the hue and cry about plot to remove Saraki when it is constitutional? Or does Ogba wants Saraki to suspend Adamu as usual?