Weekly political notes
President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected the tenure extension for the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman and other elected state officials.
The President told members of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party in Abuja, on Tuesday, that the tenure elongation is illegal.
This comes one month after the NEC announced the elongation of the tenure of the party’s National working Committee and other executives by one year, effective June this year.
But President Buhari on Tuesday, explained that after due consultation, it became imperative to overturn the resolution to extend the NWC’s tenure as it contravened Article 17 Sub-section 1 of the Party constitution, which recommends a 4-year tenure for all elected officials.
This is interesting. It is hoped that Buhari’s position is truly on legal point, and not to appease some interests that do not want the Oyegun leadership lead the party into 2019 elections. If not, what has changed in the party’s constitution between the period of the tenure elongation and on Tuesday that made Buhari to suddenly change his position on the matter?
Is Buhari saying that the seasoned lawyers in the party, including the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo did not read or interpret the provisions of the party constitution well to avert the tenure extension initially? This is even when some party stalwarts and their supporters complained about the illegality of the elongation, but was ignored.
Now that it seems like Bola Tinubu and others are having the last laugh with Buhari’s position on Oyegun’s tenure, it is hoped that the development will not create crisis in the party ahead of 2019 elections.
Meanwhile, was anyone surprised with this development? I don’t think anybody is or should be, because it appears more of politics than constitutionalism?
Police Declare Dino Melaye Wanted
The police on Wednesday declared Dino Melaye, a senator from Kogi State, wanted.
The lawmaker was declared wanted alongside Mohammed Audu, son of a former governor of the state, Abubakar Audu.
Police said the duo have also been placed on Interpol watchlist for allegedly providing false information to the police in relation to an alleged attempt on Melaye’s life last year.
The announcement was made in a statement signed by Kogi Police Commissioner, Ali Janga, and distributed by the Force Headquarters Wednesday afternoon.
This is an added twist to the Melaye-police saga. What is really happening between Melaye and the police if one may ask? Is it a case of witch-hunt, politics of 2019 elections or nemesis catching up with Melaye? It looks more of the two former than the latter.
But why declaring Melaye wanted, even when he is a senator with a known home and office address? Is it to intimidate or scare him away ahead of the 2019 polls?
So worrisome and suspicious was the fact that Melaye was declared wanted at a time the police said the suspects arrested in connection with alleged gun running have escaped from the police custody in Lokoja.
It is often said that a friend in need is a friend indeed. So, where are Melaye’s allies, especially in the Senate? This is the time to stand up for him, unless they want us to believe that Melaye is on his own and has always been. After all, politics is a game of permanent interest.
Again, Court Asks Sureties To Produce Nnamdi Kanu Or Go To Prison
The Federal High Court in Abuja has asked the prosecution to issue an enrolled order for the appearance before it, three sureties in the trial of leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
Kanu, who is facing trial for alleged treason, was required to be produced in court by his sureties. He has not been seen after since September 2017.
Justice Binta Nyako had asked the sureties to explain why their N100 million bond should not be forfeited, produce the defendant or be remanded in prison.
Although the court repeatedly made the order, the prosecution was yet to serve the defence counsel with the court summons on the matter.
Mrs. Nyako adjourned the case for the sureties to respond to the demand by the court.
This development is very disturbing, especially as it is obvious that the sureties may not be able to produce Kanu. Weekly Political Notes had earlier suggested that all those who pressured the sureties to bail Kanu should rise to the occasion now by standing strongly behind them. Nothing has changed since then, except that Kanu’s co-defendants in the matter are being tried in Kanu’s absence.
The sureties should not be allowed to be humiliated or punished by the court, just because of their kind gestures. There should be a way out of this quagmire and such way should be political and not legal.
National Assembly To Extend 2017 Budget To May 31
National Assembly members want to extend the 2017 budget spending to May 31, pending the passage as well as presidential assent to the 2018 budget.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Mustapha Dawaki, stated this at a joint public hearing on the national budget held at the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, last week announced that the 2018 budget will be laid before both chambers on April 19 and passed on April 24.
Dogara said the harmonised date was decided by both chambers of the National Assembly.
Nigerians are neither enthusiastic nor surprised over the extension of 2017 budget to May. This is not unconnected with the fact that budgets passed by successive governments have not impacted directly on the lives of the average people. So, what is the big deal about the extension of budget life?
Nigerians will be quick to say that if National Assembly members like, let them extend the budget to December. As usual, nothing much will change or happen in the life of an ordinary Nigerian.
Budget, as far as majority of Nigerians are concerned is just a fantastically bandied figures never implemented to the letter by successive government at all levels in Nigeria.
2019: Atiku Declares Presidential Bid
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has officially declared his intention to run for president in 2019, on the Platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Abubakar announced his candidacy in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on Tuesday, four months after dumping the All Progressives Congress.
The former Vice President said his decision to make the announcement in Rivers State is because he believes Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike represents what he represented in 1998/99 as the live wire of the PDP.
Atiku’s declaration was long expected, especially since APC. It is Atiku’s constitutional right to contest the presidency, whether he succeeds or not this time around is a different ball game.
Atiku’s desire to be president could be described as desperate and courageous, after he was compelled to move from one party to the other in a bid to actualise his dream.
What should be of concern to Atiku and his supporters in this project is whether the PDP governors and leaders will be ready to support him to win the party ticket. This is considering that the PDP governors may want one of them who will be finishing his second term in 2019 to fly the ticket. If this happens, it will make it Atiku’s fourth attempt to become president. But if Atiku succeeds, he will equal Buhari’s presidential bid record.
Looted Funds: PDP’s Apology Not Enough –FG
The Federal Government has asked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to go the whole hog with its apology to Nigerians by returning all looted funds from the public treasury under its watch in 16 years.
In a statement issued in Abuja by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Monday, government also challenged the PDP to show the genuineness of its apology through a discernible change of attitude.
Well, PDP’s apology may not be enough, especially when it was made without restitution. It is better than not apologising at all. But the timing of the apology is questionable, coming at a time the 2019 is gathering momentum. This may make Nigerians to see the apology as a smokescreen. This will also give APC the leeway to bash PDP and beat its chest that it has been vindicated.
But to Mohammed and his APC-led government, it is time for Nigerians to know the exact amount you people have recovered from the looted funds during PDP administration. This will help Nigerians to know whether APC government is truly better than the PDP. Meanwhile, conflicting statements by top APC government officials at different outings about the recovered funds have created more confusion than understanding.
It has continued to question the sincerity of the APC-led government on its anti-graft war. If one may ask: why has it become difficult for the government to reconcile the account of the recovered funds and give Nigerians the accurate figure? Is the money so much that counting machines cannot count it or are some people trying to delude Nigerians with bandied figures to pave way for relooting of the recovered loots?
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