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ACN slams PDP over comment on Fashola’s celebration

Lagos State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) blamed the criticism of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the governor’s celebration of his days in office on ignorance.

The party accused the opposition party of afflicted by misplaced belief that it will exert non-existing strength and acceptance with the people of the state.

In a statement, the party’s Publicity Secretary, Mr Joe Igbokwe, berated the PDP -led Federal Government of having nothing to show more than 12 years in the saddle. He noted that with resources of over N100 trillion it had not better the lots of the people.

He said: “Thinking it will gain relevance by denying that the ACN government in Lagos has recorded immutable milestones in its stay in power, the party advises the PDP to first go and atone to Nigerians for prosecuting the destruction of a rich and vibrant country than making ignorant statements with the hope that it will make impact in capturing Lagos is a wild dream.

“We know that in making that spurious allegation, Lagos PDP misconstrued these celebrations, which are no more than fruitful engagement with vital stakeholders in Lagos, the PDP was ruled by the belief that the celebration was tantamount to the many revelries and wild orgies the party has made of a fundamental principle of state policy since 1999. “We want to educate them that what they are childishly labouring to criticise are meaningful forums that offers the governor an opportunity to report to select stakeholders and take their feedback.” It is understandable why such would not appeal to a party that sees power merely as opportunity to wine, dine, make merry and share booty.

“While we insist the PDP that has excelled in ruining Nigeria these past thirteen years of unrestrained destruction, is the least qualified to talk about performance in government, we want to let Lagos PDP know that Fashola is celebrating milestones Lagosians will ever see as a golden era in the annals of the state’s history. “We want to let the PDP know that unlike their party and its so-called governments that are seized with unending profligacy, the celebration of days by Fashola’s government are only meant as strategic engagement forums between the governor and different segments of the Lagos society.” We want to educate them that what they call celebrations are no more than sessions of strategic engagement where the government renders account and takes important input from these critical stakeholders for the betterment of Lagos.

“In the celebration of his first 100 Days, Fashola engaged the youths, in his 900 Days, he engaged the Artisans. In his 1,000 Days, he engaged the Public Service, while in the 1,100 Days, he engaged members of the diplomatic community. In the 1,200 Days, Fashola engaged the Organised Private Sector, while in the 1,300 Days to 1,700 Days, he engaged the general public. in the 1,800 Days, he engaged the professionals and we dare say these meaningful engagements has improved transparency in the governance of Lagos.”

Igbokwe further said: “Lagos ACN wondered how the PDP, which recently exported the culture of idleness and slothfulness to Lagos by closing down the city on a busy working day for a meaningless jamboree where public fund was freely lavished, now feeling so uncomfortable about such periodic engagements, as Fashola’s celebration of his days in office . “We know that reporting back to the people does not matter to the PDP. Neither does it care about drawing input from the people to improve governance. “We know that the Lagos PDP is struck by a credibility crisis and the complete lack of home support it enjoys in Lagos, has led it to believe that ranting ignorantly over issues it hardly understands will give it electoral currency that will engineer a miraculous takeover of Lagos. “Lagosians know so well about PDP to fall for its antics. At least the wreckage they have left in Nigeria these past thirteen years is enough to warn any person that would wish to give the PDP hemlock a second look. We want to assure them that Lagosians are wiser to their antics.”

Source : The Nation


#Nigeria Fayemi: My worries about the Nigerian polity

• Fayemi
• Fayemi

Governor Kayode Fayemi is not just a politician, but also a scholar. In this interaction with journalists in Lagos, the Ekiti State governor addressed controversies surrounding the West’s attempt to integrate the region, the security report on Osun State and the Ondo State political imbroglio. Group Political Editor BOLADE OMONIJO was there.

 

Is regional integration possible with the altercation between ACN and Labour Party in Ondo?

What is wrong, if Aregbesola one of the leaders of the Action Congress of Nigeria wants his party to produce the governor of Ondo State? I have already told you about style and language. Is there anything fundamental about Aregbesola’s involvement in politics? Will he be promoting other parties? If we go as far as Adamawa, we sent people to Kogi, we sent people to work with our party in all the states we have potentials to win, what is wrong with that. The people you say people are not harassing, Adams in BRACED, don’t they come to campaign in Edo for PDP, do they get harassed? Has their rally been disrupted? Let us be fair about it. If we have a problem with Aregbesola language or style there is nothing wrong in advising him to moderate his style. I still insist that Ondo believes in regional integration. In regional integration everywhere it happens, you will have leaders who are uncomfortable with one another. Take the European Union, at the beginning, Britain stood out, they said they didn’t want to be part of it, Germany and France pushed on for some time till it became economically unwise for Britain to stay out of it as they realised that the market, that big European market, is there for them. This is an economic and development issue, it is not a political issue. It is not about the governors, it is about the economic necessity. Can we survive on our own? Can we remain in our silo? What happens to us when this handout from Abuja, that we call allocation stops? How do we want to organise our society? It is a futuristic agenda, it is not even an agenda for now.

What is your view on recent development in Osun State and its effect on the image of your party?

Our party, the Action Congress of Nigeria, has a manifesto. Our manifesto is not apologetic in any way about how we see the Nigeria state today. We believe in the promotion of equity. We have offered what we consider to be the mechanism for re-ordering state, federal and local government relations. That is properly documented. Whether it is called in some sectors devolution of power or it is called by another decentralisation or it is called true federalism. There are all sorts of names that are used for what we believe in. We all have our styles of governance. It may be easy for me because of my nature to relate with an Ayo Fayose who is my brother, regardless of whatever his political position is or Oni or any of the other people in my state in a manner that Governor Aregbesola may find difficult, if not impossible, to relate with Iyiola Omisore or even his predecessor; Governor Oyinlola. That is personal style but we must not elevate that personal style to the level of fiction because that is exactly what is happening with the so called security report. I come from a security background as many of you know. I know how security reports are put together and when you put together a report that is mishmash of discussion, I don’t want to say beer parlour or pepper soup joint discussion, with no head no tail, I have my worries. Governor Aregbesola is seen as fiery and fearsome, but he is quite soft at heart. It may be difficult for some to believe that is really what he is. Because he is a shy person, his own mental defence mechanism may be to put a wall between himself and those who he doesn’t want to relate to but when you really subject it to logic what is in that report that is worthy of a second look from any serious minded person. As I said in my statement, we had a flag before Osun had a flag. Lagos had a flag 20 years ago. It was the only state that remained when the other states were balkanized. We have an anthem. If you come to Ekiti, we don’t sing just the national anthem, we sing our own Ekiti anthem and if you come across any document from Ekiti State, you will see that it is not the federal government coat of arms that we have in the state. We don’t even have the Federal Government’s coat of arms on our document. That is not to say that we are not a constituent part of the federal state called Nigeria, and we are proud to be, but we believe that we need an identity that speaks to the core value of our state, that our people can relate to and when you see the Ekiti crest, if no name is written on it, if you have 10 crests put together and you see the Ekiti crest you will not be in any doubt. You will actually say this must be Ekiti without being told. I think that is what Governor Aregbesola has done.

What about Omisore’s threat to stop and search the convoy of Aregbesola?

How is it going to be done? Some of the people fighting him, where were they in the politics in their state. You have my brother who claimed to be the South West Chairman of their party.

It will not be news to you that he has no place at home. He couldn’t even go home. He is settling quarrel all over the South West, he could not go home to his party to resolve the conflagration that is there.

Is it feasible for a state to champion secession?

Is Osun State championing secession? One, it is not feasible. We have our own design, our own grand dream about what we want to achieve for our state. I have just come from the opening ceremony of the Lagos Economic Summit. Lagos is still a sub nation in Nigeria but it is the fourth largest economy in Africa. It is not a sovereign state, but many of the things that Lagos wants to do, many sovereign states in Africa cannot do. It is a matter of choice. If Osun has a vision of building a state that is self sufficient, that has food security, that can respond to the needs of the people and you then find that difficult, then it is not secession that you are worried about. You are worried about what the performance level will do to the fortune of your own party, if he was to achieve all of those elements. It is the same old age battle between the reactionaries and the progressives. That is what is happening. Don’t let us kid ourselves. I dare say it has some level of Abuja connection in it. We are not worried. We have no issue with the Federal Government. The issue that we have with the Federal Government, we have put them on the table, the lopsidedness of the relation between the centre and the state. That is open; people know our position on that. We want our regional bloc to serve the people of this region. We are unapologetic about that and nobody can accuse us of going into our siloh because that is a model that is being represented everywhere. As we speak some people are gathered in Asaba called BRACED meeting on South South agenda and working on the South South development. Let us not mix development with politics. They are not meeting on South South sharing of money, they are meeting on how to bring development to the region. Peter Obi, my brother and his colleagues gather time to time to organise in response to the economic challenges in the South East and unless we do that how am I going to access the N3 billion food market in Lagos, if I don’t work within the regional hub and discourage Lagos from even venturing into Agriculture so that I can bring the food here? That, for us, is the issue. The time for governance is for governance. It seems to be in their own views which are being parroted by the media, Aregbesola is the most recalcitrant of the lot. If you can crush him, Fayemi is easy, Amosun used to be with us we can get him back, Ajimobi is a nice man, Fashola is a technocrat. That is their own estimation and that is what is driving what they are doing. Unfortunately for them they are on the wrong track. 

How will you describe what happened at the venue of the botched Adebayo Adefarati Memorial lecture in Ondo?

It is a worrisome development. I hope, it is not yet an ugly event. If it is an ugly event, I hope it is not going to become a process; that it will remain an event. I was surprised by what happened. I want to be as frank as possible. I found it strange because I regard the governor of Ondo State as my brother and I have said this to many of you on many occasions that in my party, I am seen as the closest link to him, even when some of the leaders in my party are not necessarily very cordial in their relationship with the governor. I have always maintained that the relationship that I have with him goes beyond the personal. We have very strong personal bond. We were in the trenches together. We fought together, even though, he was on the other side, (the Labour Party) but were both the underdogs when we went into our elections and necessarily, we exchanged notes. We did many things together, even now, particularly developmentally. He was one of the first people that I spoke to when the Adefarati family came to me that I should come and give a lecture. I told the family when they came that since this was not a partisan matter; it was a memorial of somebody who had been governor of a state, who had been a leader of the progressive movement. I don’t think it should be partisan, and I asked the family pertinent questions: who are the people that are coming? Have you told the governor of the state? What role will it play at the event? The family members made it clear to me that they had informed the governor, even though they had difficulty in seeing him but they handed over the letter to his Chief of Staff.

About two days to the event, I called him and confirmed to him that I would be coming to deliver Baba Adefarati’s 5th Memorial lecture. He said that he didn’t like the way the lecture was being handled, that he felt that there was a political undertone and all that, which is natural. Any of us could come with any impression of this matter and I said to him, well as far as I am concerned, this is an important thing to do. It is the 5th anniversary of a man in whose administration he himself was very much involved as a commissioner, even more than someone like me. I told him that I would come over to him and we would go together to the event which. But, before I left Ado-Ekiti, I received the first warning shot because my advance team was already there, and, they informed me that there was problem, altercation between the Labour Party supporters and those of the Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN) at the venue of the event, but at that time they had not attacked Dr. Olaiya Oni. It was the early period of the day.

Did you at that point get in touch with him again?

Again, I called my brother and said this is what I was hearing about the place and I hoped it was proper for me to come and he said that he too had heard that there were problems, they were not allowing members of the Labour Party to come in. that was his own perspective. By the time I got to Akure, I discovered that it was really pointless going to the place because the feedback I was getting was not palatable. I went to the house of our party leader; the former Secretary to the State Government under Chief Adefarati; Omo Ekun, Chief Wunmi Adegbonmire. I was there with our National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande and some other chieftains, watching the development whether things would calm down or not. We eventually got a message that the situation was yet to abate. My own security team actually wanted to go, but I felt that it wasn’t proper. If I had gone, those who had been shooting and throwing all sort of things, my own security team would have found it necessary to respond and that would have escalated the entire thing beyond what later transpired. So, I decided that I was leaving town. Again I called my brother that given what had transpired, I couldn’t go to the event, I was returning to Ado-Ekiti and he said that he was in Ile Oluji at the time. We agreed to see subsequently.

Do you think this could foretell what to expect during the campaign?

What I found surprising was that an event of this nature could be turned into a redress rehearsal for the shape of things to come in Ondo State. I really do hope it is not the shape of things. It was also more shocking to me, naturally, when matters like this happen, security people will do their investigation and Ondo and Ekiti are like Siamese twins, there is very little you can do in one angle that will not filter to the other. I was surprised when I discovered from evidence shown to me later that elements close to the party and government in Ondo State were central to everything that happened. I don’t know if my brother was aware of the role they played because it is also possible as governors often find themselves in a situation where their supporters and their key actors may do things that they are not privy to. It is not impossible that he may not even know the activities of some of his men but I have it on very good authority that at least three of the drivers of the fracas are key officials in his party. It was not spontaneous. It was not accidental. It was organised and they had been there since 7am. In fact, some of the people they used had effrontery to go to an event where the governor was presented an award same evening to lodge a complaint that the money they gave to them was not enough and I don’t think that is something I really want to associate with the governor of Ondo State. I feel very strongly as earlier said that I am almost regarded as umbilical cord between my party and himself because we have close relationship. I respect him, I discuss a lot of things with him, particularly in relation to our states because hardly can one do anything without the other.

Beyond the Fayemi/Mimiko personal relationship, what about the two states?

We are closely tied, not just because of our shared history, but also because of the practicality. There are many of my people who live in Akure and come to Ado-Ekiti, including senior functionaries of my government. I wouldn’t want a situation in which Ondo State citizens in Ekiti and Ekiti citizens in Ondo will find themselves in the line of fire which they had not caused which is driven by political machination rather than any objective animosity on the part of both states, particularly, the two of us really have nothing but I also know that in politics, friends easily becomes enemies and I will hate a situation in which that will be the case. I have seen a lot of reports in newspapers, attributing what happened to all sorts of funny things like ACN aspirants fighting among themselves, Labour people not being allowed to come into the venue.

Do you agree with those expressing fear that we may be sowing the seed that could consume the Republic?

What is much more fundamental and which I think should worry us collectively and, as leaders in the media and society I will like all of us to reflect on it together, is the potential that this holds even for the survival of our democracy. The West has a history in this country, and more often than not, the West is always the trigger of crisis. There are those, particularly conservative elements in this country who always find it necessary to arrest development in the West without considering the full implications of that on the country and more often than not when that thrives, it ends up destroying the very fabric of this fragile democracy called Nigeria and I hope we are not going down that route again with Ondo State becoming Achilles heel in our country.

There are those who will even see some of the things that I have jokingly talk about with you on development in Osun. I am an unapologetic advocate of regionalism and many of you have read my interview or comment that I do not necessarily believe that we all must belong to the same political party for regionalism to take root. I used to give example that in our lifetime Chief Kehinde Sofola came from the same community as Chief Obafemi Awolowo and he was Attorney General of the NPN, the party in government in the Second Republic. There is nothing that says that we cannot even belong to the opposing side. Let us market ourselves to the people. Let us sell our idea to the people and it is on the basis of that that we should ask for their votes and for legitimacy. None of us should be indulged in any attempt to force ourselves on our people. Once there is a legitimate product of legitimate process, the ownership comes automatically In my state I make bold to say that some may say Fayemi is a passivist. Governor Ayo Fayose was with me to greet me on my mother’s passage. When former Governor Oni’s mother died, I was one of the first people that went there, in spite of our political differences and I was at her funeral. Politically, many of you may know that Chief Afe Babalola is not exactly on my side of the divide, but at every opportunity because I recognise that he is an icon, we have a state calendar, he is one of the first people on the Ekiti state calendar as a brand ambassador for my state. That is me. I don’t see why I cannot disagree with you politically and still share bread with you. Call it naivety, lack of readiness to play politics the way it is meant to be played in our setting. I think this is an intellectual process and we can have an intellectual approach to disagreement which does not impair my personal relationship with you. That is why I am saddened by what happened in Ondo State. The lecture did not make a single reference to the impending election in Ondo State, neither did it talk about the relationship between my party and the Labour Party. It focused on how we could rebuild this society on the basis of equity, fairness and justice.

Source : The Nation

PDP candidates to emerge by consensus, says Aliyu

Aliyu Aliyu

By Jide Orintunsin, Minna

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates for the 2015 general elections in Niger State will emerge through consensus to avoid post-primary crises, Governor Mu’azu Aliyu has said.

Speaking  when he hosted the  state executive council of the party at Government House, Minna the state capital.

Aliyu said  that emergence of party candidates for the next general elections through consensus would help ensure that party discipline and supremacy are upheld.

He said a channel of communication would be opened for all aspirants and stakeholders to explore, so that the consensus candidates that would emerge would deliver Niger state to the PDP.

‘’We should not allow any other party to present better candidates than those of our party,’’ Aliyu charged the party leaders.

To ensure the success of the consensus project, the governor vowed not to impose any candidate on the party at any level of the electoral process, stressing that nobody should be deceived into accepting anybody that says he (Aliyu) has endorsed their candidacy.

He then advised the party leaders and members to pay attention to party discipline, reach out to the people and communicate activities of government and the party to the electorate to make the 2015 polls easier to win for the party.

He also said that the fight against corruption would require collaboration between the government and the party, lamenting that the country’s negative image within and outside is traceable to the level of corruption.

Earlier, the State Chairman of the PDP Alhaji Abdulrahaman Enagi had expressed gratitude to the government for the moral and financial support given to the party in the state.

Enagi said with the support received by the party the state chapter of the PDP had been adjudged the best in terms of management and general administration especially with the smooth conduct of the party primaries at all levels.

-The Nation

Okorocha, The Magician by Olusegun Adeniyi

On Monday, Governor Rochas Okorocha declared a four-day holiday for workers in Imo State. According to a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Obinna Duruji, the workers are to use this week to go to their communities and partake in the take-off of the Community Council Government (CCG), which the governor recently instituted in the state. And for this extra-constitutional fourth-tier of government, Okorocha has already approved the disbursement of N5 million to each of the communities in the 27 local councils from a subvention of N3 billion.

Of course, the N3 billion is not captured in the Imo State Appropriation Bill for 2012 which has not even been passed. But then that is a small matter in a state where the governor has practically become the sole administrator, expending public money and coming up with all manner of bizarre ideas without any legislative oversight. Almost every day now, Governor Okorocha awards multi-billion Naira contracts for roads, for schools, for hospitals, for hotels, for farms etc. and you wonder where the money to fund all these projects is coming from.

Governor Okorocha is evidently a populist and there is nothing wrong with populism except that it has to be rooted in realistic expectations. Okorocha for instance tells his Imo people that his state which still depends largely on its meagre allocation from the Federation Account is very buoyant. And with minimal internally generated revenue, he has declared free education at all levels in Imo State and has even decided to be paying salaries to primary school pupils! In fulfillment of that pledge, he actually went to some schools where the pupils lined up for him to pay them N100 each.

In Imo State today, it is one day, one promise. Okorocha is going to build a megacity in Okigwe; he will build two palm oil plantations; he will construct a 25-storey hotel; he will build three universities for the state; he will construct an ecumenical centre; and he has already taken over all federal roads in the state for which he has awarded contracts without any documentation!

I was in the United States during the April 2011 elections but I followed all the drama in Imo and actually wanted Okorocha to win. So when he did, I was very happy. Unfortunately, right from his first day in office, Okorocha started giving people cause for concerns as to whether he understands his brief as governor. I recall that as early in the day as August last year, his brand of governance was a subject of discussion at our editorial board. We marveled at some of his antics and actually did an editorial to remind him of his responsibilities. “His most notable achievement to date has been to make headline news for all sorts of gaffes. From daubing himself in blood and disguising himself ala ‘Aluwe’ while pretending to be a victim of road accident just to make a point about service delivery at the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, to whimsical decisions on traditional and academic institutions, Okorocha is literally making a mockery of his office and does not seem to care what people think or say,” we wrote.

We were also worried about the unwieldy nature of his political appointments. In addition to 17 commissioners and 14 Senior Special Assistants, Okorocha had appointed a further 80 men and women as Special Assistants and members of various Mayoral Affairs Committees. For example, he has a Senior Special Assistant on Lagos Liaison office and a Special Assistant on Lagos Affairs; Senior Special Assistant, NDDC and Special Assistant on Niger Delta; and of course he appointed for the state a Chief Comedian who is also a Special Assistant! And while swearing them in, the governor said they would have to source for funds with which to run their offices thus effectively turning them to no more than executive touts.

On March 24 this year, Okorocha was in Kosovo where he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with their government to construct housing estates, establish an agro-processing plant and build an independent power plant, all in Imo state. When completed, according to the governor, this planned power plant would supply the state with 500 megawatts of electricity! But as I watched the video clip on AIT, something struck me as odd. His host, the Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo, Mr. Behgdey Pacconi, had spoken in Albanian, the main official language of his country thus needing an interpreter. When it was the turn of Okorocha to respond, he apparently felt he also needed an interpreter so he decided to speak in Igbo language. A former senator on his delegation now had to interpret into English for the Kosovo interpreter to now translate into Albanian. The whole episode reminded me of ‘Icheoku’, arguably one of the best television drama series in the eighties.

But Okorocha is not without redemption as he is also a passionate man. I guess that is why he wants to achieve results quickly. But he must also realize that this is a democracy where planning, transparency and processes are also important for him to leave any lasting legacy. He cannot continue to run his administration by whims as is the case right now.

There is no doubt that Governor Okorocha came to office with a popular mandate and I believe he is in haste to make a difference in his state. But to do so, he must understand that running a government requires having in place proper structures which will enable him to promote transparency and accountability. He must also align the direction and goals of his administration within the available. I sincerely want Governor Okorocha to succeed but for him to do that, he needs to sit down to reflect on the kind of legacy he wants to bequeath to his state when his tenure is done.

Courtsey – Thisday

Beyond Aregbesola’s Treason Trial

Femi-Falana(1).jpg - Femi-Falana(1).jpg

 

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), was elected the governor of Osun State in 2007. But since it was a “do or die” election for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),  its candidate, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, was falsely returned by the Independent National Electoral Commission. The illegal declaration was fought in a protracted legal battle. Eventually, the Court of Appeal restored Aregbesola’s mandate after three and a half years.

Two months later, the appeal filed by the 30 chairmen elected on the platform of the PDP against the verdict of the Court of Appeal, which had ordered their removal from office, was dismissed by the Supreme Court. Having handled the case for the Osun State chapters of the Action Congress, National Conscience Party and All Nigeria Peoples Party from the High Court to the apex court, Aregbesola asked for my interpretation of the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Osun State & Ors v Action Congress & 2 Ors (2011) 10. Notwithstanding the pressure mounted on the governor by his party leaders to dissolve the council chairmen and councilors on the basis of the judgment he refused. He directed that they be allowed to remain in office since they had only one month left to complete their tenure.
The governor’s handling of two other issues confirmed his political maturity. The ACN members had vehemently opposed the appointment of a top lawyer in the ministry of justice in the state on the ground that she was used by the ousted regime to prosecute its political opponents including the governor. He made the appointment on the ground that the prosecutor was discharging her duty at the material time. In the same vein, he dismissed the objection of his party leaders on the appointment of a significant number of children and wards of PDP members in the state employment scheme. He made it clear that he is the governor the state and not the chairman of the ACN.

THE TREASON CHARGES
As far as the PDP leaders were concerned the stat Aregbesola of recruited 20,000 thugs under the pretext of job creation. It was also alleged that his decision to rebrand the state of Osun and design a flag, anthem and coat of arms were treasonable. It was, however, intriguing that the Director-General of the State Security Service, Mr. Ita Ekpeyong, who had discharged his duty without fear or favour, decided to team up with the ruling party in justifying the monstrous allegation that the governor had concluded arrangements to dismember the Federal Republic of Nigeria by excising Osun State there from. In a tendentious report  Aregbesola was alleged to be associating with a Muslim group, which is linked with the Boko Haram sect.
Although no one has referred to the specific provisions of any law violated by the governor, it is pertinent to examine the legal implications of the rebranding of Osun state in the context of the relevant laws. It is unfortunate to note that those who compiled the security report on  Aregbesola are not familiar with the constitutional history of Nigeria. Otherwise they would have found that in the First Republic, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria existed side by side with regional constitutions and that there were regional police forces.

Apart from the embassies of the Federal Government the federating units had consulates and properties in some foreign countries.  Even under the defunct military dictatorship when to keep Nigeria one was a task that required absolute loyalty every state had their own coat of arms. At a time that there were 12 states in Nigeria it was only the western state, which established a regional Court of Appeal, which served as an intermediary court between the State High Court and the Supreme Court. But in line with the tenets of federalism the remaining 11 states did not establish any Court of Appeal. Under the current political dispensation the Olagunsoye Oyinlola Administration in Osun State set up the Customary Court of Appeal in 2010. No other state in the south-west has set up such an appellate court even though it is provided for in the Constitution.
Another ridiculous allegation is that   Aregbesola dispatched some Osun State indigenes for training in Cuba. In spite of her economic difficulties aggravated by the economic blockage imposed by the United States over 50 years ago,  Cuba is acknowledged to have excelled in the areas of education, medicine and peace keeping operations. Because of his implicit confidence in the Cuban educational system  Aregbesola sent his first son, Abdul,  to Havana for his first degree in informatics before proceeding to the United Kingdom for post -graduate studies. For over a decade, the Cuban government has awarded scholarships to scores of Nigerian youths to study in Cuba. The federal ministry of education, which administers the scholarship scheme, has always appreciated the generosity and solidarity of the Cuban government. It is curious that the SSS has not accused the Federal Government of engaging in treason by allowing Nigerian youths to acquire education in Cuba!

IN DEFENCE OF AREGBESOLA
A few weeks ago, I attended the convocation ceremony of the Ekiti state university (ESU) at Ado, Ekiti state. Unlike most universities in the country which have commercialised their honorary degrees the ESU conferred doctorate degrees honoris causas on three distinguished Africans  namely Mr. John Dramani Mahama, Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, Director General of UNIDO and Professor Tekena Tamuno, former vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan.

On that occasion the anthems of Ghana, Nigeria and Ekiti State were played to mark the commencement and conclusion of the ceremony. The state governor, and  the Visitor to the university, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, was present at the occasion.  Last week,  Fayemi presented the staff of office to the Oba of my home town, the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi. The anthems of Nigeria, Ekiti and Ilawe were played to the delight of the audience. My wife asked me if the SSS would not accuse  Fayemi of treason for leading the audience to sing the Ekiti anthem. I reminded her that no one has ever been charged with any crime for singing the famous Egba anthem, which was composed by Fela Anikulapo’s grand father several years before Nigeria was born.
In a country where religious bodies, schools, trade unions, political parties, clubs and other friendly societies have their constitutions, anthems, mottos and emblems it is bunkum to accuse a governor of committing treason for causing a state to have a flag, coat of arms and an anthem. Indubitably, section 1(2) of the Constitution prohibits any person or a group from taking over the government of Nigeria or any part of it. Having contested and won the governorship election of Osun State  Aregbesola cannot be said to have taken government by force.

It is also submitted that the 68 items in the exclusive legislative list in the Constitution on which only the National Assembly can legislate does not include flag, coat of arms and anthem. To that extent,  Aregbesola cannot be said to have usurped the legislative powers of the federal government. Neither has his decision to call the state the “State of Osun” violated Section 3 (2) of the Constitution, which states that there shall be ” a Federation consisting of states and a Federal Capital Territory”. In the United States of America from where Nigeria copied her Constitution most of the states have their courts of appeal, supreme courts, flags, coat of arms, police forces etc. Even counties (local governments) and corporate bodies including universities have their own police or quasi military institutions without being accused of courting treason.
The attempt by the SSS to link Aregbesola with the Boko Haram sect is dangerous. It should not be taken lightly as it was deliberately designed to promote religious crisis in a peaceful environment. No doubt, Aregbesola is a devout Muslim  but certainly not a fanatic. On the day of his inauguration he led the huge crowd at Osogbo to sing many Christian songs while thanking God for restoring his mandate. Last year, I attended a public function at Osogbo presided over by the governor. Before the commencement of the event he invited a pastor, an imam and an Ifa priest to pray for Osun state and the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To the embarrassment of the Christian and Muslim members in the hall there was a prolonged ovation when the Ifa priest said prayers in undiluted Yoruba language. At the end of the programme a born again Christian friend walked up to the governor and questioned his blasphemous policy of promoting idolatry. To which Aregbesola replied “you saw the reaction of the audience. The people were not clapping for the Ifa priest. They were applauding our decision to recognise and promoting traditional religion. That is in line with section 10 of the Constitution which states that the State shall not adopt any particular religion”.
It is germane to draw the attention of security forces to section 37 of the Criminal Code Act which defines treason as the act of levying war  against the State, in order to intimidate or overawe the President or the Governor of a State, and any person involved in the offence is liable to the punishment of death. In Dokubo-Asari v Federal Republic of Nigeria (2007) 30 WRN 1 at 75 the Supreme Court held that “a charge of treasonable felony is a very serious offence and is prejudicial to national security”. The late jurist, Dr. Akinola Aguda was of the view that a person accused of treason  “must be shown to have had the intention to intimidate or overawe the President or any state governor by any physical or unlawful means”. On intimidating or overawing the President the learned author opined that it “involves creating a situation where the government feels compelled to choose between yielding to force or exposing its members or the public to a very serious danger”.
From the foregoing a charge of treason or treasonable felony cannot be sustained against Aregbesola for having a state flag, coat of arms and anthem. So far no scintilla of evidence has been adduced to show that the governor has planned to levy war against the State with a view to intimidating or overawing the President. Instead of demonising the governor he should be commended for embarking on massive job creation in a country where mass unemployment has led to unprecedented wave of armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism and other violent crimes.

However, it is ironical that while the state security service was reading treason into the Osun State Aregbesola of treason the World Bank led officials of the federal government and 15 states to Osogbo to understand the employment generation programme of his administration.

•Falana is a lawyer and member of THISDAY Editorial Board.

-Thisday

Anxiety grips ministers as Jonathan plans shake-up

Dr. Jonathan
Dr. Jonathan

 

THE President may drop some ministers in a proposed cabinet shake-up, it was learnt last night.

The reshuffle may take place after the first anniversary of the administration on May 29.

A list of would-be ministers is being compiled and security checks are being carried out on them, according to sources.

President Goodluck Jonathan is said to be unhappy with the performance of about 17 ministers in his 42-man cabinet. But a senior government official, who confirmed the imminent shake-up last night, said: “Yes; it is likely, but it won’t be that massive.”

Besides security reports and random assessment of the ministers, the President has taken “a deep interest in the submissions of ministers” at the ongoing stewardship programme organised by the Federal Ministry of Information.

It was learnt that Jonathan is disappointed that some of his ministers could not give account of their performance so far.

Another source, who spoke in confidence, said: “I think there might be a cabinet reshuffle either a week before May 29 or a week after it.

“As I am talking to you, at least 17 of the ministers may be shown the way out. These ministers have not performed up to the benchmark set by the President. “

The fuel subsidy probe is believed to have shown to the President some of the challenges in some of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

At the ongoing stewardship platform of the Federal Ministry of Information, some of the ministers could not list their achievements, The Nation learnt.

The President is said to be unhappy with the pace of development in one of the ministries, considering the huge budgetary allocation to it last year.

A team was sent from the Presidency to conduct an appraisal of developments in the ministry and the verdict was not “encouraging”.

Jonathan, it was said, was shocked that the New Maitama Extension District in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was named after him. “He has decided to reject it because he does not want any minister to personalise governance,” it was said.

Said the source: “There was also a particular incident abroad when a minister did not live up to expectations of a public officer. There is no rationale for retaining such a minister.”

Responding to a question, the source said: “What the President is after is for ministers to be able to say exactly how many roads have been constructed; significant steps in the provision of housing; access to basic needs, such as water and electricity; and a situation where ministers in strategic ministries would have impacted on the lives of Nigerians.”

Pressed to give more insight into the imminent shake-up, the source identified some of the ministers. Some are said to have got hints of plans to drop them and have started lobbying to be retained.

Many people are making a strong case for the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqqayyat Rufai, who was able to stave off the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) crisis and initiate reforms.

The source said: “Although going by the assessment report before the President, the Minister of State for Education, Nyisom Wike, is rated higher in performance than Prof. Rufai, some forces are pushing for the retention of Rufai, in view of the synergy between the two ministers.

“The team work in the Ministry of Education between the two ministers has been fairly better than the case in the past.

“A strong case is also being made for the retention of the Minister of Works Mike Onolememen who has succeeded in fixing some roads, which had been written off. Some forces believe that Onolememen has performed better than most of his predecessors. But the President does not like a situation where some vital roads are about 40-52 per cent completed.”

Some of those who may join the cabinet, if there are favourable security checks on them, are a former Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund(PTDF), Hamisu Mai Rago;  the immediate past acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Kawu Baraje;  former Deputy Governor of Imo State Ada Okwuonu; former National Chairman Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo; ex-Governor Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former PDP National Organising Secretary Uche Secondus; former PDP National Publicity Secretary Prof. Rufai Alkali;  former PDP National Legal Adviser Olusola Oke; Senator Abba Aji and some of the aspirants who withdrew for the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, at the last National Convention.

But another source added that some members of the President’s kitchen cabinet are opposed to bringing “deadwoods” to the cabinet. The source said: “There are fears that some of the names being peddled may not add value to the cabinet.

“So, in the next few weeks there will be more amendments to the list of new hands to be injected into the cabinet.”

-The Nation

Ekiti PDP elders call for removal of secretary as crisis deepens

By Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

The crisis in the Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) deepened at the weekend, with party leaders  in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area calling for  Secretary Dr Tope Aluko’s expulsion.

Aluko allegedly stormed the venue of a meeting of the party at Igede-Ekiti and shot into the air to disperse the people.

Three persons were reportedly injured in the melee as people scampered for safety. They are said to be hospitalised.

The party leaders accused Aluko of some offences, saying his activities were dangerous.

Aluko was elected on March 18 during the state congress.

The leaders also called for the expulsion of Mr. Dapo Olagunju and Mr. Deji Aluko, two leaders of the party in the community, for allegedly fueling the crisis in the party.

A leader of the party in the area, Evang. Gbenga Adekunle Moses, described the action of the trio as having “the potentials to permanently castrate the party in the state”.

Moses urged President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamangar Tukur, to suspend Aluko “pending conclusion of investigations into the matter”.

He said the party has petitioned Police Commissioner Ibrahim Maishanu, adding that Aluko, who is a friend of former Governor Ayodele Fayose, has been invited for questioning on the matter.

Moses said: “We were in the meeting when, suddenly, the man, who claimed to be the PDP Secretary, emerged in a Peugeot 406 car and fired a gunshot into our midst.

“In fact, some of our members had to escape through the windows and fled for their lives. Many people were injured. This community is one of the strongholds of the PDP in Ekiti State. In the last election, we recorded about 4,000 votes while Aluko could only record 300 votes in Iyin-Ekiti for the PDP.

“This is an unfortunate incident for a man of his calibre. We want him expelled from our party for dragging the name of the party into the mud.”

Since the March state congress, where candidates loyal to Fayose won the key positions, members loyal to the former Governor Segun Oni have formed a parallel exco.

Aluko denied the allegation. He said the group stormed Liberty Hotel in Igede-Ekiti and attacked a former council Chairman, Mr Toba Daramola, and Chief Femi Akomolafe.

The party secretary said the former council chief had called a meeting to resolve some issues when about 200 youths stormed the venue.

According to him, the two party leaders denied Igede-Ekiti the position of Secretary.

Aluko said: “The hotel was damaged by the gun-wielding hoodlums. It is there for you to see.”

Aluko added: “When Akomolafe and Daramola were attacked, they called on me. I had to go there as a party leader. As soon as they sighted me, they started attacking my car. I fled the scene immediately and called the DPO, who later intervened.”

LP, PDP supporters join ACN in Ondo community

By Damisi Ojo, Akure

Scores of Labour Party (LP) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members in Irekari District of Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State have defected to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

The district comprises five wards.

The event took place during the meeting of Irekari District, hosted by Ward 3 of Idoani.

At the ceremony was the Senator representing Ondo North and a governorship aspirant on the platform of the ACN, Prof Ajayi Borofice.

He urged the residents to be patient, saying they would be liberated from the neglect by the ruling Labour Party (LP).

Borofice noted that by joining the ACN, the people would enjoy the economic and social integration sweeping across the Southwest.

He promised to support whoever emerges as the party’s flag bearer in the October 20 election.

A House of Assembly aspirant for Ose State Constituency in the last election, Olatunji Osati (aka Maxima), urged the party members to work harder to ensure ACN’s victory at the poll.

He hailed Borofice for working for the interest of the Yoruba.

The defectors include Mr Tomisin Ogidan, Lateef Ladan, Aneji Solomon, Akingbade Samuel, Bunmi Adejuwon, Ojo Ateere, Aboluje Femi, Victoria Ojo, Funmilayo Kolawole, Kehinde Akinola, Mrs Saidat Omosco, Mrs Bosede Ogunmola of the LP and Sola Oluwadare.

Others are: Audu Mustapha, Tola Falade, Sunday Arowosafe, Yemisi Owadare, Niran Ogunmola, Mrs Cecelia Daji, Ijimakinde and Mrs Seun Olowofola.

Dignitaries at the ceremony included Mrs Borofice, Gboye Ologbese, Pa Jaiyeola Coker, Femi Ikoyi, Kayode Odofin and Bakare Olukoyi.

-The Nation

How to rebuild Nigeria, by Tinubu

Tinubu
Tinubu
By Yomi Odunuga,

Former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has listed five pillars on which a new Nigeria must be rebuilt.

The eminent politician called for concerted efforts to combat grinding poverty with which 70 per cent of Nigerians are grappling, security of life and property, electoral reforms, independence of the judiciary, and true federalism in all its ramifications.

He spoke in Abuja at A Morning of Reflections, an event for the 50th birthday of the publisher of Leadership Newspapers, Mr Sam Nda-Isiah. The event was chaired by former Chief of Army Staff Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma.

The former governor noted that though many people have blamed prolonged military rule for the nation’s woes,  the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has failed in the past 13 years at the centre to address the problems.

Asiwaju Tinubu said Nigerians should blame the ruling party for what he described as “not a mere failure but a very woeful one”.

He identified some of the ills plaguing the polity and clogging its progress.

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader listed these as violence in parts of the North, inter-religious strife, inter-ethnic clashes and rising demand by ethnic nationalities, almost across the board, demanding a re-worked federation of Nigeria.

According to him, the solution to these challenges lies in the convocation of a national conference.

Tinubu said: “We must talk, and the time is now! There is no crisis in talking with one another and discussing our problems as a people, towards finding workable solutions.”

He saw the urgency in addressing the nation’s woes collectively, saying: “The nation balances at the edge of the precipice while standing on its weaker foot. Nigerians, in my view, need a conversation or what has been canvassed as a national conference.

“What we see is a serious decline in almost all facets of our national life. We see more corruption, the type that will make past corrupt governments look saintly. We see spiralling unemployment figures, poor electricity supply, general insecurity. We see brazen electoral manipulation. We are confronted with a judiciary that can no longer dispense justice and that is fast losing the confidence and trust of the people, because of too much executive pressure, especially by the ruling party.”

The former governor noted that the most potent danger to the democratic polity was the shackling of the judiciary by rigging judicial procedures in electoral disputes and hounding respected jurists because they would not dance to partisan music.

He cited the case of Justice Isa Ayo Salami, the suspended President of the Court of Appeal.

“The most glaring example of this has been the government’s attempt to cut short the career of one of our illustrious jurists, Court of Appeal President Justice Isa Salami. What was his crime? Refusing to put his sense of justice on sale. For this, they tarnished his name and plotted to end his career. They rumoured that he was in the pockets of the ACN. This is a terrible lie against a good man.

“His verdicts were not for the ACN. They were for justice. However, those in power could not tolerate his impartiality. They sacrificed one of Nigeria’s finest jurists to send a blunt message to other jurists: go against our wishes and you shall lose those robes you hold so dear.”

The former governor added that the same partisan sleight-of-hand has doomed adjudication in election disputes, with the controversial 180-day limit that has denied many aggrieved politicians justice.

“By restricting to 180 days the period in which election cases and disputes must be concluded,” Tinubu warned, “the National Assembly has denied Nigerians electoral justice. It places a moratorium on justice and denies Nigerians one of the fundamental rights enjoyed under a democracy.”

He urged the Federal Government to implement the report of the Justice Muhammadu Uwais report on electoral reform, if the government is serious about ending persistent electoral heists.

Tinubu said: “Our nation and our people have never sunk so low in despair and despondency, as we are today. I will be blunt. I will be political. The PDP-led Federal Government appears to be incapable of confronting the problems of this country.

“A nation must be led either democratically or through dictatorship of any form or guile. We have experienced dictatorship. We have blamed leaders; we have blamed the system. We fought for democracy, which we won. They gave it to us. A particular party has been in power, but what have we got? It’s been lamentation, poverty, lack of motion, sorrow, excuses and lack of development. These are challenges for us to address.

“The elder statesmen are here. They could have sat back in their rocking chairs, drinking fura de nono, eating  their slices of bread, whether it’s made of cassava or whatever.

“But if they are still coming around to help us, let us face the challenges. It’s about action to correct this nation.”

Courtesy – The Nation

Prove your denial, cousin tells Omisore

Omisore

A former Executive Secretary of Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State and a cousin to the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Iyiola Omisore, Mr Abayomi Omisore, has the former seantor  to apologise to the people of Osun State over his purpoted threat to attack the convoy of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.

The former senator has denied the report.

Addressing reporters at the weekend at the secretariat of the state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Iwo Road, Osogbo, the state capital, the former council scribe advised his cousin to respect the office of the governor.

Abayomi, who insisted that the former senator’s denial was not enough, urged him to show proofs that he never  vowed to attack the governor’s convoy.

According to him, the ideal thing for senator to do is to prove the denial beyond doubt in the interest of the Omisore family.

He said: “I cannot deny the fact that we are cousins, but I am distancing myself from that reckless statement. The Omisore family is noble, peaceful and dependable. So, the reckless utterance cannot be seen as the voice of our family. Our father was a great educationist, who built the Oranmiyan Grammar School in Ile-Ife in 1958 and another great school in Jos in 1967. I am sure if he does prove his denial now the Omisore family will soon come out with a position on the matter.”

The former council secretary said Aregbesola made himself a mentor to many young politicians in and outside Lagos, because of his visionary leadership and selfless service.

Abayomi said the governor’s safety is important because of his contributions to the polity.

 

by Adesoji Adeniyi- The Nation

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