Weekly political notes
Buhari Declares June 12 Democracy Day To Honour Abiola
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that effective 2019 Nigeria’s Democracy Day, marked every May 29 for the past 18 years, be shifted to June 12 to honour Moshood Abiola, the winner of the 1993 presidential election.
The Buhari government said Abiola will now be conferred with the nation’s highest honour, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR.
The government also said Abiola’s running mate in that election, Babagana Kingibe, is to be conferred with the second highest honour of the Grand Commander of the Niger, GCON.
Also to receive a GCON is the late Nigeria’s foremost pro-democracy activist, Gani Fawehinmi.
Hmmm, it is not surprising that tongues have been wagging since President Buhari made the pronouncement to the happiness and disappointment of many Nigerians.
Such is expected and may continue for a while, considering the timing and motive of the announcement, which looks altruistic and suspicious.
But this cannot take away the importance or essence of the honour, especially on MKO Abiola; a man who was a true symbol of democratic struggle in Nigeria. The honour is long overdue and well deserved.
There have been calls for this, but successive governments, including that of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who once said that Abiola was not the Messiah Nigeria needed failed to do it.
This was despite the fact that Obasanjo was the greatest beneficiary of the June 12 struggle that paved way for the return of democracy in 1999.
President Buhari by this action has truly scored a wonderful political goal against those opposed to his second term bid, especially the ex-military generals-Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida and others, who never believe or recognise the importance of June 12 election struggle in the country’s democratic history.
NASS Plots Impeachment Against Buhari, Passes Vote Of No Confidence On IGP Idris
The National Assembly has threatened to invoke its constitutional power of checking President Muhammadu Buhari if he fails to accede to their demands.
The Chairman of the National Assembly, Bukola Saraki, read the resolutions of the lawmakers after a closed-door session, which lasted about three hours on Tuesday.
The resolutions were on insecurity around the country, ongoing prosecution of lawmakers, disregard of National Assembly authority by the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris among others.
The lawmakers said they won’t hesitate to invoke their constitutional right if Buhari fails to act.
The National Assembly members are not saying anything new. Nigerians have heard this before and are not surprised hearing it again.
It would be recalled that some National Assembly members have threatened Buhari with impeachment before now, but it ended in futility.
This may not be different especially as there is disagreement among the lawmakers on the plot.
This threat is not necessary at this point, because it cannot sail through. Not because it is not constitutional or achievable.
It is, but the process is too distractive to be embarked upon now. Besides, it will overheat the polity and create divisions among Nigerians.
NASS members and the presidency know this. It is quite unfortunate that cat and mouse relationship between the executive and legislature since Buhari came into office has remained a threat to the country’s democracy.
On IGP Idris’ continued refusal to honour or respect Senate’s authority or leadership, only President Buhari knows why his government has continued to condone such crass insubordination, by treating the IGP with kids’ glove. Buhari should know that the development has put his government in a bad light.
Both the executive and the National Assembly should know that democracy survives on the rule of law. Each arm should therefore submit to the constitution so that this democracy is not undermined.
APC Will Rule Nigeria Forever-‘Mama Taraba’
The Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, has expressed hope that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) “will rule Nigeria forever”.
She said this while addressing journalists shortly after the inauguration of her factional chairman of the APC in Taraba State, on Monday, in Abuja.
The minister, who also indicated her intention to contest for the governorship seat in Taraba, which she lost in 2015 said the APC would not only win the presidency, but will add more states in 2019.
The minister popularly known as ‘Mama Taraba’ also said the party´s coming national convention would be peaceful.
“Crisis is normal in a big party like APC, once we can do our national convention, then we face the opposition PDP and I assure you that APC will win more states like Taraba in 2019.
“I will make sure that in my zone, I follow up and by God’s grace Gombe and Taraba states will be taken over in 2019. And don’t even talk about Nigeria, because it’s already APC and it will continue to be APC forever.”
Mama Taraba, apart from being entitled to her opinion, has spoken like a Nigerian politician.
Her optimism is not different from that of former National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Vincent Ogbulafor, who once bragged that PDP would rule Nigeria for sixty years.
But ironically, Ogbulafor was forced out of office before PDP was defeated in 2015 elections.
Now that Mama Taraba, who had before now publicly pledged her unalloyed loyalty to ex-vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has boasted of APC being in power forever, Nigerians are waiting to see how the party will weather the storm in 2019 elections.
Maybe the likes of Mama Taraba are among APC faithful, who believe that 2019 will be an easy ride for the party.
Mama Taraba appeared to have counted her eggs before they are hatched. She seems to have forgotten that politics is an unpredictable game, unless there is something she and her party members know about 2019 elections that other Nigerians do not know.
If not, one wonders what is driving her optimism and courage.
It is hoped Mama Taraba by her assertion is not trying to flatter the party leadership and the presidency to curry political favour in 2019.
Lagos APC Faction Faults Oyegun Over Inauguration Of Rival Chairman
The Fouad Oki-led group of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos on Tuesday, faulted the inauguration of Tunde Balogun as the state party chairman by the National Chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun.
Oki, who convened a parallel state congress of the party on May 19, challenging the group led by Bola Tinubu, faulted the inauguration in a statement he issued in Lagos.
Oki accused Oyegun of being compromised and said his group would do everything possible to challenge “the illegality.”
“I am certain we have not heard the last of this. Truth is we knew they were going to do what they did because the Oyegun-led NWC is full of weaklings.
“But we are undaunted in our resolve and we will continue to show resilience on the struggle to free our people from the shackles of a bigot,” he said.
Oki, you have to provide evidence that your faction is the authentic one. Oyegun’s action may have emanated from the report of the appeal panel that investigated the report of committee that conducted the congress in Lagos.
It would have been suicidal for Abuja to drop the Tinubu faction for that of Oki. Tinubu is not only a political force in Lagos.
He is in Southwest and the country at large. Battling Tinubu politically requires time, energy, sufficient fund and good strategy.
Tinubu is politically on ground with retinue of loyalists across the country that are always ready to fight his cause at anytime.
It will be a tough battle for anyone to confront Tinubu in Lagos. But time will tell how how far Oki and his group can go.
Ekiti 2018: INEC Identifies 299 Flashpoints
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has identified 299 flashpoints among polling units in Ekiti ahead of the July 14 gubernatorial election in the state.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Abdulganiyu Raji, made this known at the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room dialogue on Ekiti Governorship Election, on Tuesday, in Abuja.
Raji said the commission was ready for the election and was working with security agencies to address the situation before the poll.
It is good that INEC appears to be proactive in their plans towards conducting the Ekiti election by identifying these flashpoints.
It is important it collaborates with security agencies and residents of these areas to identify those that might likely instigate crisis during the election.
This will help in ensuring that the election is hitch-free.
This is in view of the fact that since 1999, governorship election in Ekiti has always been characterised by controversies and intrigues.
All eyes are on INEC to see how it will conduct Ekiti election, considering that it will serve as a signpost to what will happen in 2019 elections.
So, it is good to remind INEC that it cannot afford to fail Nigerians in Ekiti election. The stake is already high and nothing short of free and fair election is expected.
Oyegun, Izunaso Should Be Imprisoned
The Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, has asked the leadership of the APC to begin the prosecution of its outgoing National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and the National Organising Secretary, Osita Izunaso, for allegedly flouting court orders to inaugurate state chairmen of the party whose elections are being challenged in court.
Okorocha said the manner the two party leaders, especially Oyegun, had piloted the affairs of the APC showed that the party leaders must have overrated his capacity in allowing him to succeed Chief Bisi Akande as the national chairman of the party.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, Okorocha said Oyegun had taken the party backward to the extent that there was no state the party did not have crisis or factions.
While it is obvious that Okorocha is embattled, there is no doubt the Oyegun-led leadership of APC has taken the party backward.
Since assuming office, Oyegun has not steered the ship of the party to the right direction.
Most times, especially during crisis, Oyegun usually appeared clueless and confused, thereby compounding the situation.
But why didn’t Okorocha observe or complain about Oyegun’s inadequacies before now? It is simply because Okorocha was in control of state party structure, before losing it to his estranged political allies and opponents in the last state congresses.
Okorocha had hoped to use the structure to railroad his son-in-law and Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu into office as his successor in 2019.
Alas, Okorocha appeared to have been beaten in a game he thinks he knows how to play well, by those he claimed to have trained and made.
Worsening Okorocha’s predicament is the tactical support his opponents seem to be enjoying from the presidency and zonal leadership of the party.
It seems this is a payback time for Okorocha as majority of those fighting him are those he has been dinning and wining with before now.
They know Okorocha’s political strength and weakness, and appeared to have used it effectively against him in the battle for the soul of APC in the state ahead of 2019 elections.
No comments yet