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Archive for the tag “Action Congress of Nigeria”

Jonathan qualified to contest 2015 election – PDP

President Jonathan
President Jonathan

…Vows to reclaim Edo State

The Peoples Democratic Party said on Thursday that President Goodluck Jonathan is eminently qualified to contest the 2015 Presidential election if he is interested in vying for another term in office.

It also warned those haggling for the job of in 2015 to stop distracting him from executing his laudable programmes for the country.

The South-South National Vice Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Steven Oru, who gave the hint when he inaugurated the state executive committee of the party in the state, warned members to stop disturbing and distracting Mr. President on the issue of 2015 when the time is still far.

He said, “President Jonathan, who is just in his first tenure in office is imminently qualified to contests if he wants to.

“Mr. President is as qualified as any other person to contest in 2015”, noted Oru who added that “Mr. President is qualified to contest in 2015 because after all this is his first tenure.”

In this regard, the South-South National Vice Chairman of the party called on all well meaning Nigerians and people of Bayelsa State to rally round President Jonathan in his quest to deliver on his election promises.

“When we get to the bridge in 2015, I know we shall cross it with Mr. President”, he added and vowed that the PDP will recapture Edo State in the next governorship election.

He said the PDP won the last election at the polls but the Action Congress of Nigeria won in court.

Source: The Nation Newspaper

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Buhari, Tinubu move to revive alliance

Written by Abbas Jimoh

A meeting on Sunday between Buhari and Tinubu in Lagos was meant to revive alliance moves between the Action Congress of Nigeria and the Congress for Progressive Change, party officials told Daily Trust in Abuja yesterday.

Retired General Muhammadu Buhari visited ACN leader Bola Tinubu at his residence in Lagos, where they met behind closed doors.

Sources close to the two leaders said they discussed the political future of the two leading opposition parties, especially how to restart consultations towards merger or alliance ahead of 2015.

The meeting came as, according to one source, some People’s Democratic Party leaders who are angry over the outcome of the party’s recent convention consider working with the opposition parties to confront the ruling party.

Sources in CPC and ACN said the Buhari-Tinubu meeting discussed a possible alliance that would include the other main opposition party, All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP).

National secretary of CPC, Buba Galadima, told Daily Trust yesterday in Abuja that the two leaders had “fruitful discussions” on alliance and workable plans ahead of the next general elections. He said they also reviewed some of the issues that scuppered previous alliance moves before the 2011 elections.

For his part, CPC spokesman Rotimi Fashakin said, “The visit is part of the ongoing cooperation among progressives in breaking the primordial barriers of yore and ensuring that the yearnings of the people for a stable, virile and just nation are satisfied.”

Spokesman for the ACN, Lai Mohammed, was not available for comment yesterday.

But two top ACN officials told Daily Trust that there had been moves for Buhari and Tinubu to meet and that a birthday event both of them attended in Abuja last week was used to facilitate the Sunday meeting.

“We are starting early to avoid the pitfalls of previous meetings and talks,” one ACN official said. “We want to be sure we got it right this time around, dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s; moreover that we have some aggrieved PDP members giving us vital information on their parties internal wrangling and how we can overcome our own differences.”

ANPP’s spokesman Emma Eneukwu, was not available for comment; he had however told our reporter earlier in an interview that the party “is in serious talks with other opposition parties ahead of the 2015 elections.”

Source: Daily Trust

#Nigeria ACN Govs Demand Security Overhaul

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Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State

 

By Adibe Emenyonu

Governors elected on the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) have demanded an overhaul of the security architecture in the country.

They made the demand when they paid a condolence visit to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State over the gruesome murder of his Private Principal Secretary, Mr. Olaitan Oyenrinde.

Oyerinde was killed in the early hours of Friday, May 4, 2012 by unknown gunmen.

The police, meanwhile, announced Sunday that Oshiomhole had offered a reward of N10 million to anyone who could volunteer information that would lead to the arrest of the killers.

The governors said the time had come for the Federal Government “to do something urgently before the situation gets out of hand”.

Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola, speaking on behalf of four other governors — Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun; Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti; Babatunde Fashola, Lagos;  and Abiola Ajimobi, Oyo — said the security situation in the country remained precarious because all security agencies (military, police, SSS) are under the direct command of the Federal Government.

He said if state governors were in direct control of at least the police alone, most crimes like murder, armed robbery, assassination and kidnapping would to a large extent be nipped in the bud.

“But the situation we find ourselves in this country is that state governors are merely called chief security officers of their various states, while the Federal Government is in direct control,” he lamented, adding that there must be a reversal of the status quo.

Also speaking, Fayemi said it was a sad moment not only for the Edo State Government but for all of them in the labour community especially as the late Olaitan was a major link between Edo and other ACN states.

His words: “We came to commiserate with you and the family of Olaitan. Though we cannot query God, but we have the right to question why bad things happen to good people. Those who have cause to come in contact with him know that he is a principled man.

“We pray that God in His infinite mercy will give the wife and the children the fortitude to bear the loss. However, we have decided collectively we will contribute our quota in supporting the family our fallen hero left behind.

“For those who killed him, we assure them that they must be caught because like you said, it was not a case of robbery or unorganised event. It was deliberate because those who did it knew full well that this is a government that has earned the confidence of the people, and they had to do what they did.”
Oshiomhole assured his fellow ACN governors that the killers would be fished out.

He told them that already, a 14-day ultimatum had been given to the police to track down the killers, adding: “I hope Abuja is sensitive to what is happening and will call the godfather to order. Otherwise, we will call him to order and we have the capacity to do so.”

According to Oshiomhole, “I have already told the police that inasmuch as we do not believe in killing because no office is worth spilling human blood for and that we rely on them to do their job… but if they are not willing to help us, we will help ourselves.”

He said the calculation of those who are behind the killing of Olaitan and the accident that resulted in the death of the three journalists in his convoy was to create distraction and fears among the people so that on the election day, they would have a field day with their rigging strategy.

“But what they have failed to realise is that I have conquered fear many years ago,” he declared.

Describing the late principal secretary as one of the most competent staff that worked with him during his days at the NLC, Oshiomhole said: “He reads my mood, understands my body language. And when I came in as governor, I had to persuade him to come and work with me. That is why his death is more painful to me.”

Announcing the N10 million reward in Benin City Sunday, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Force Headquarters, Abuja, Mr. Peter Gana, said no stone would be left unturned to get the killers.

The DIG said he was in Benin City to complement the efforts of the state police command.

Source : Thisday

Oshiomhole: They Can’t Kill My Fighting Spirit

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Governor Adams Oshiomhole
– As Gunmen Shoot Dead Edo Governor’s Aide

By  Adibe Emenyonu

Six days ago his convoy was presumably attacked along Warrake-Auchi road in Edo State by a truck that curiously veered off its track and headed straight for the staff car, missing it by the whiskers.

Three journalists were killed while others including security details, sustained various degree of injuries.

The following day, at about 2.45 am, the home of his information commissioner, Mr. Louis Odion, was invaded by four gunmen who also missed him because he opted to pass the night at a friend’s house located in another part of the city.

And in the early hours of Friday, his Principal Private Secretary who was on secondment from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Olaitan Oyerinde, was shot dead by unknown gunmen.

But a traumatised Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has said nobody can kill his fighting spirit.

NLC Deputy National Secretary, Oyerinde, 44, was shot dead by four gunmen who invaded his house located in Ugbor area, Benin City around 1.00 am.

THISDAY gathered that shortly after the gunmen stormed the compound, they tied up the security guard while two of them forced their way through the front door and made straight for his bedroom.

On realising it was Mr. Oyerinde’s brother-in-law who was actually sleeping on the bed and not Oyerinde, they immediately left him and went for the wife, Funke, asking her to lead them to the husband who, unknown to them, was sleeping in the living room.

On sighting him, they instantly fired four shots, one to the head, chest, abdomen and hip, killing Oyerinde instantly. The gunmen later fled without taking anything from the house.
Oshiomhole has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the police to conclude investigation and bring to justice Oyerinde’s killers.

He gave the directive to a group of protesters who demonstrated in solidarity with the state government over Oyerinde’s killing. He advised them to resist all temptations to resort to violence.

Oshiomhole said: “We have written a petition to the state commissioner of police in which we informed him of the meeting held at the residence of the godfather where they took a typical evaluation of the forthcoming election. They agreed it is impossible for them to win, but they also resolved at that meeting presided over by the godfather that they will take series of actions to intimidate my person and if possible to eliminate me.
“At that meeting they said they will kill under the guise of armed robbery, they will kidnap some people, many of my personal staff and some of our key leaders to pretend as if they are victims of kidnapping.”

The governor said he also informed the police that at the meeting they resolved that weeks before the election they would detonate bombs in parts of the state in order to scare people from going to vote.

He asked rhetorically: “What is our crime? Our crime is that we have mobilized our people, we have deployed public resources for public good and the godfather is angry. We have no apology for the stand we have taken and we will not slow down. The blood of these young men will fire me on to fight and defeat the godfather as there is no going back. They have killed my son, they have killed my brother, they have killed my people, but they cannot kill my spirit.”

Oshiomhole said: “If the police do not find the killers, if they do not do proper investigation on the killing of those journalists and Olaitan, as governor of Edo State, I will provide the leadership to the people to find solution.

“They must not fight like cowards; they should come and let us engage face to face. Like cowards they shot Olaitan on the head, they shot him on the chest, they shot him on the belly, to make sure he never survives. Why will a man in his eighties preside over the death of young children, why will an old man who has children, great grand children, supervise the killing of young people? Why will Airhiavbere (PDP governorship candidate in the state) who wishes to lead Edo State be only talking about tribalism? They are planning violence and planning killing.

“I want to serve them notice. We have the capacity, we have the men, we have the people and if they do not behave we can stop them from coming to Edo State. I have no cause to cry today, rather than cry, the blood of those young men will whet my appetite for justice.

That is why today, because their plan is to make us postpone again for the second time our campaign. We will go ahead because Olaitan in his lifetime was a fighter. I ask you not to be afraid, don’t be intimidated, don’t give up, if anything we should be more resolved. The godfather is finished and no one can rescue him and any old man that kills will have death awaiting his own children, brother and himself and when he dies he will be in perpetual fire.

“In the name of politics, these people are bringing violence to the state, they are killing, maiming and they are planning more. You will recall that in 2007 we lost three young men. You will recall that at the state House of Assembly they planted a bomb which was meant to kill our members in the Action Congress of Nigeria in the House of Assembly. Thank God the bomb did not detonate. You will also recall that they used machet cuts and tear gas to attempt to kill our members in the House of Assembly and in all of these the police have not done justice, those who tried to kill those honourable members, nothing has happened to them.”

Oyerinde read mass communication at the University of Lagos. He was deputy National Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and was seconded to work with the governor in November 2007.

He is survived by his wife, Funke, four children and aged father and mother.

A statement by the Special Adviser on Media to the governor, Mr. Tony Iyare, said the sequence of sordid events coming each time on the eve of the flag-off of Oshiomhole’s campaign raises grave concern and therefore demands thorough investigation by the security forces.

Before Oyerinde’s murder, a member of the state House of Assembly, Hon Johnson Oghuma, was also similarly attacked by gunmen.
Oghuma who represents Etsako Central had his car riddled with bullets as he was on his way to Fugar, his hometown.

Odion had, at a press briefing last Sunday, raised fears that top government functionaries were being targeted for elimination.

Reactions to Oyerinde’s killing came in torrents last night.

Benin Monarch, Omo ‘N’ Oba ‘N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa, expressed shock at unfolding events in the state.

Speaking when he granted audience to Oshiomhole in his palace, the traditional ruler said, “when I heard the news of the death of your private secretary, Mr. Olaitan Oyerinde, on Independent Television, I was shocked. We leave everything in the hands of God. We will keep on praying”.

He appealed to the political actors to play the game according to the rules.
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka also deplored the murder, saying “the agents of darkness and retrogression will not triumph”.

Soyinka said in a text message: “The hand of the assassin is clear as day. It reaches all the way back to the killing of Bola Ige. Please convey my deepest condolences to his (Oyerinde’s) widow, children and colleagues.

“Tell Oshiomhole we all stand by him against the agents of darkness and retrogression. They shall not triumph,” he said.

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) also condemned Oyerinde’s murder, saying it raises a lot of questions, especially coming shortly after the yet-to-be-resolved ramming of the Governor’s convoy by a tipper truck that claimed the lives of three journalists and a driver.

In a statement issued in Ibadan on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the killing of Comrade Oyerinde is also another indication of the growing state of anarchy across the country, to which the PDP-federal government has no answer.

It said if someone as close to the Governor as his private secretary can be so mindlessly killed in cold blood, shortly after what now seems to be a failed attempt on the governor’s life when the truck rammed into his convoy, it’s logical to be concerned about the safety of the Governor himself.

”Yes, there may not yet be any conclusive evidence linking anyone to these incidents, but there is a growing concern that they may not be unconnected with the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state, especially considering the desperation of the PDP to ‘reclaim’ the state at all costs.”

Source; Thisday

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

I’m full blooded Nigerian, says Ajimobi Governor Oyo State

Ajimobi
Ajimobi

 

Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi yesterday reaffirmed his Nigerian citizenship and not that of the United States, as alleged by some opposition elements to the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state.

The governor was at the Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos office of the American Consulate to apply for a visa to enable him travel to the US to woo investors.

He told The Nation that contrary to the claims by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that he was an American citizen, he remains a free born Nigerian.

Ajimobi was taken to the Election Petition Tribunal last year by the PDP, which alleged that he was not qualified to contest the election because he was a citizen of the US.

He, however, defeated the opposition at the tribunal and the appeal tribunal, which upheld his election after proving that he does not possess the citizenship of the US.

Speaking with The Nation yesterday, Ajimobi said: “I am a full-fledged Nigerian citizen. I don’t have any other country. I came here to apply for visa to go to the United States because we are going for an investment workshop and we are going with many of our people to look for opportunities for investments in America and invite them to come and invest here.

“I studied in America, of course, and I was there for about eight years. But since then, I have been here. Those who said I’m a US citizen are either mischievous or are misinformed. If I was a US citizen, would I have come here for a visa? I’ve not travelled to the US sine I became governor. In fact, I have not travelled to the US since 2003.

“For me, we must take advantage of the fact that Ibadan has been listed among the top 10 cities with investment potentials in Africa. I have been to South Africa, made presentation to the business community there. I have been to England, and I am going to America now. And this is paying off.

“One of the gains is the listing of Ibadan by the Financial Times of London as one of the top 10 investors’ destinations. Oyo State is now being recognised. Even the World Bank and others are now beginning to show interest in Oyo State because of our transparency, our good governance, our management style. I think everybody is now noticing Oyo State because the only way we can develop the state is to invite others to partner with us and get away from this rural-state syndrome where what people think is how to tell lies, how to pull people down, destroy others, engage in brigandage etc. “

Source: The Nation

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

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

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

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