I’ll remain in APC to honour Buhari – Shittu

Chief Adebayo Shittu, Communications Minister and gubernatorial aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State, spoke with SOLA ADEYEMO in Ibadan on the state of affairs in the party as a result of recent defection of some members of the party to the African Democratic Congress (ADC), among other issues

You have remained silent since most members of the Unity Forum group of the APC in Oyo State, who you are their leader, defected to the ADC. Are you still a member of the APC?

My position has always been as constant as the northern star, and that is to the fact that as one of the founders of APC, having taken active part, including my participation in the Constitution Drafting Committee of APC, it is too late in the day for me to jump boat for whatever reason.

More importantly, God has provided the glue to bind me together with APC, and that is the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. Recall that I was with him as a prominent member of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). We took decision to come into relationship with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), which of course brought about the formation of APC. I have also had a good fortune of being appointed a minister. Yoruba do say that (a kii bonile je, ka bonile mu; ki o di ojo iku ki a yeri) meaning that a person does not wine and dine with a benefactor and in the time of travail, deserts him. And in any case, a day of death will never come for APC.

I concede to the fact that those who left for ADC had good reasons to do so, particularly because when the then leadership of the party messed us up as members of the Unity Forum then, one expected the leadership of the party to take a proactive step of bringing all of us together and discuss with us. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. So, those who left had good reasons to leave because of the clear injustices that were meted out to us. A lot of the people who left were members of the state and National Assembly. They still have aspirations and with what happened at that time, it seemed as if they were at the end of the road. Of course I too have my ambition, but I believe as a strong fighter, who will not run from fighting, I believe in fighting for justice within the system, and that was what took me to court to fight for justice.

So, I am still a member of the party and I will remain a member of the party under President Buhari. I am very confident that I and others who remain will triumph. I cannot but assure you that once I get the ticket of the party, for the governorship election, all these members who have left will certainly come back into the APC fold. And I think that I can conclude with all sense of responsibility and humility that as the APC stands today, I am the only aspirant who can win Oyo State for APC in the general elections.

But, the internal wrangling and lack of internal democracy has made many people to believe that APC has lost its status and people, especially in Oke Ogun area where you hail from are now looking for a better alternative in ADC. What is your reaction to that?

I can assure you that if I am able to get the ticket of the party like I have told our leaders, APC in Oyo State has only two options: either I get the ticket, and since I enjoy the confidence of the generality of our people in Oyo State, I will be able to win Oyo State over for the party. The only other option, I will say, although I stand to be corrected, by the election results when it comes is that if I don’t get the ticket, then APC can forget about Oyo State. It is clear. You see, our people especially in Oke Ogun of Oyo State, feel so cheated. When the 2015 election was held, the people of Ibadanland, who are the majority did not vote for Governor Abiola Ajimobi. They rather voted for Senator Rasidi Ladoja, my former boss. But we in Oke Ogun, of the 10 local governments, nine voted massively for Ajimobi, and in appreciation of that when he was going round on a thank-you tour, he did promise Oke Ogun that indeed it was now their turn because they did what was so unthinkable; that they showed patriotism; they showed commitment to the success of APC. Unfortunately, after he had won, it would appear that he is reneging on that commitment. All our people are waiting to see what will unfold and so consequently, I am restating that if get the ticket of APC for the governorship election, I am 90 per cent sure that APC will win Oyo State. If I don’t get the ticket, no other person of the current aspirants of the APC can deliver Oyo State for APC.

Considering the fact that delegates of the party will determine the choice of candidate, and there were parallel congresses last time, do you still think your group can have its way?

I have gone to court and we are still there. It is because of vacation that the case has not been decided. Once the vacation is over, we shall know where we are going.

What would you do if the court’s decision favours Governor Ajimobi?

There is no way to favour fraud; there is no way to favour corruption; there is no way to favour compromise. Let me use JAMB as an example: there is no way one can gain a university admission without obtaining JAMB form, writing the exam and passing. Is it possible for anybody to acquire or procure a letter of admission into a government university in Nigeria without paying for JAMB form? It is inconceivable. In the same vein, what happened to us during those congresses was that we in the Unity Forum paid for 11,700 or so forms in good time and we contested; we participated in the congresses, and we delivered. The other group led by Governor Ajimobi somehow refused or neglected to pay for forms. So, for you to now think that they will now bring any result and that result will be acceptable by the national body of the party is what we are putting to test in the court. So, I can assure you that there is no way they can defeat us in court. There is no way. But more importantly, it is in the interest of anybody who claims to be a member of APC that if we want to win, it is better for us to be together than for the PDP or the ADC to win. I mean that it is inconceivable. And so the option is there for our party people to take the path of honour, so that the APC can remain the party in government.

Don’t you think you would have been in a better stead to emerge as ADC’s flag bearer if you had joined the party?

I would be if I were to be a desperate person. If I don’t believe in honour, I would have crossed over. If I don’t believe in showing appreciation to somebody who has honoured me with a ministerial appointment, I would have crossed over. How many Nigerians can be minister in their life time? So, if someone has honoured me with that, he deserves honour; he deserves gratitude. He deserves to be shown that one appreciates the wonderful opportunity he has given me. Certainly, life can never be the same.

Many political office holders rode on the goodwill of President Buhari to win elections, but to the opposition, the goodwill is no longer there, and in fact, many of them do not want the President to seek re-election. Are you still sure that APC can win in 2019?

I am as confident as anybody could be. To start with, if you will recall what made Buhari the doyen of the people, it is the fact of his integrity. As an incorruptible leader; as a passionately patriotic leader; as a leader who represents change for the better in Nigeria, what has reduced from all of these attributes in Buhari? Is it his integrity that has now been compromised? Is it his compassion for the less-privileged that has reduced? Or is it his patriotism? A lot of people when shown mercy and have benefited from a system, easily forget the ladder with which they climbed up. I pray that we shall all be alive to see what will happen in 2019.

One of the interesting things that  have happened is in Sokoto State, when Governor Aminu Tambuwal decided to cross carpet, but in one fell swoop, 250 grassroots politicians, who were his aides, resigned from his government. These were the people who assisted him to be there. If they were not of value, they would not have been appointed as aides to him. One day, they all left because they considered the action too desperate and too senseless. In Misau and Bauchi generally, all the senators that left have been put on danger list by the ordinary people. We don’t welcome that type of thing. But that is the reality as they now find it difficult to go to their homes. In Kano, because of Rabiu Kwankwaso’s disagreement with Governor Ganduje, he has not been able to go to Kano in the last three years because Ganduje is very loyal to the government and to President Buhari. This is because people are incensed with him.

In every place where this is happening, you find this situation. If you want to compare this with Oyo State; it is different because there was an injustice that was so glaring to be over-looked. But like I told you, if I get ticket, all of them will come back. If I don’t get ticket, believe you me, all of them have promised that they will all come together and vote for Buhari in the 2019 presidential election. In Kwara State, when the people in PDP saw that Bukula Saraki was coming to PDP, they decided to come and replace him in APC. Come to also think of it, in the South-East, in the last election, the APC got less than five per cent of votes and that was despite that the past government controlled the states, but refused to do anything of note for the development of the eastern states. Today, every federal road in the five eastern states is being repaired with more than N16 billion provided by the federal government. So, the Igbo have decided that this time around, the equation must change and that is what is happening all over the country.

Unfortunately, I must say that if there would be any serious negative impact on the fortunes of APC, it will be in Yorubaland because of a number of factors which are known to you. On the whole, I must say that I don’t have any doubt in my mind that President Buhari will win by a greater margin on the basis of the region he comes from; on the basis of the hero worship of his action by the poor in the society. People who are less-privileged know that most of those leaving the party are leaving because of their selfish interest. It is not because of the interest of the masses. This is because from the various positions that these people are leaving, it can be seen that they have not added anything to the plight of the common man in the society.

What then is your message to Nigerians?

My clear message is that Nigerians should shine their eyes because 2019 is the year that a lot of people would want Buhari to leave because they know that if he stays, he will be more strict against corruption; he will be more committed; he will put all in place to ensure that this fight against corruption which has been sustained in the last three years is further strengthened to ensure that we have the needed change in the area of anti-corruption; in the area of transparency in governance; in the area of people being accountable in their responsibilities.

There are some policies of the APC government in Oyo State that many Nigerians are complaining about, for example the demolition of the Fresh FM Music House of Evang. Yinka Ayefele. Don’t you think that this perception will affect your party in the 2019 elections?

I think people should start differentiating from party and individuals. I belong to the APC in Oyo, but what is happening is not new. Even, my own property was demolished in Saki by this same Ajimobi government. I was building a CBT centre, and it was demolished. The case was in court before the demolition and it is still in court. That is to show you that while the head of a government may act in a way, it does not mean that such is the policy of the party. When some people tell me ‘Ajimobi ti ba egbe je’ (Ajimobi has destroyed the party), I tell them he has not. A

Makarfi: PDP presidential ticket shouldn’t be for money bag

The presidential ticket of the Peoples Demoratic Party (PDP) should not be for the highest bidder but for the person with integrity, an aspitant Senator Ahmed Makarfi, said yesterday in Lagos.

Makarfi said contrary to certain opinions, money would not determine who picks the PDP ticket, and that money had never been a determinant factor in who became the President of Nigeria.

He said: “When did Nigeria start to produce Presidents because of resources? Former Presidents Shehu Shagari, Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and now Muhammadu Buhari did not become President based on money.

“In one of the southwest states I visited, a member said other aspirants have been giving them money and gifts, but I don’t have to give them money or gifts to vote for me in the primaries because they know I am the best man for the job.”

Makarfi said he was confident of picking the party’s ticket, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report.

Makarfi, a former governor of Kaduna State, was Chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee. He is one of the 12 presidential aspirants.

The PDP aspirant, who has concluded meetings with PDP members in the Southwest, said his exceptional performance as chairman of the caretaker committee would give him an upper hand at the primaries.

“PDP has become a beautiful bride because of what I did. The party was considered dead until I came in as chairman of the caretaker committee and turned it round.

“No other presidential aspirant in the party has my pedigree. I have been assured of becoming the groom by members who are aware of those efforts and have sworn they will not sell their votes at the primaries.

“Since I joined the PDP, I have never left the party.

“My experience as a member of the Senate committee on finance for eight years is also an advantage. I will bring the experience to bear when I pick the ticket and emerge as president,” he said.

On a female vice president, Makarfi said he had wanted a female running mate if he won the primaries, but the person he had in mind declined and opted for a lower responsibility.

He lamented that Nigerian women were yet to take up the challenge of becoming presidents or vice, noting that those positions were not exclusive to men.

“I look forward to seeing a female president not even vice in Nigeria someday. It is time the women stop taking back seats,” he said.

The PDP aspirant, reacting to INEC’s registration of more political parties that brought the number registered to 91, said while it allowed freedom of association, there was need for sanity.

“I know that the major parties will reduce the number via coalitions and MOU’s. However, it is not the duty of political parties to do so,” he added.

Rescuing Nigeria from the greedy, the corrupt, the looters, my greatest achievement, Buhari says

Front Roll; President Muhammadu Buhari in handshake with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon Justice Walter Samuel Onnoghen, the outgoing NBA President Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud SAN, Incoming NBA President Mr Paul Usoro SAN, Chairman NBA 2018 Technical Committee on Conference Planning and others during the 58th Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference 2018 held at the International Conference Centre in Abuja. POTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. AUGUST 26 2018


Nigerian leader, Muhammadu Buhari, enumerated some of his greatest achievements on Sunday, saying that breaking the shackles of corruption and re-establishing the rule of law have been some of his finest moments.

“Given the enormity of the challenges we inherited and the yearnings of a citizenry earnestly desirous of a new way of running national affairs, our first challenge was to transform our country speedily into a society where impunity in the management of national resources would be replaced with a culture of accountability and transparency,” Buhari said in a speech to a conference of Nigeria Bar Association.

“In order to achieve this, we have had to disrupt age old assumptions and unsettle ancient norms in the management of our national patrimony, as you have all witnessed in the last three years,” he added.

Besmart: Mr. Buhari might be posturing. Nigerians go to the polls in February and opposition leaders have accused him of turning a blind eye when his officials are accused of corruption or indicted for looting, and using the fight against corruption to punish his political adversaries, ahead of an election that may be hard to win.

ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 2018 NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION ANNUAL GENERAL CONFERENCE,

ABUJA, 26TH AUGUST, 2018.

Protocols

I am delighted to address this distinguished gathering on the occasion of the 2018 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association. Let me thank your Association for the invitation to declare this Conference open and to express my hope that the Conference will consolidate the position of the NBA as a prime stakeholder in our national affairs. 

I am informed that with an average attendance of over 10,000 participants, this Conference represents one of the largest single gathering of lawyers anywhere in the world. I congratulate you all for this achievement which is a plus for our nation.

The theme of this 2018 NBA Conference — “Transition, Transformation and Sustainable Institutions” — is one which is apt in the light of our contemporary domestic and global challenges. I also consider it significant in view of the fact that it demonstrates the willingness of the NBA to address issues, not only related to the immediate practice of law but more importantly, to solutions of wider society’s problems.

As you will recall, this administration’s emergence marked the first successful civilian transition in Nigeria’s democratic history, following the outcome of the 2015 General Elections.

Since the inauguration of this administration, I have had the privilege of observing at first hand how societies experience transition, attempt transformation and build or strengthen institutions to manage these processes.

In order to achieve this, we have had to disrupt age-old assumptions and unsettle ancient norms in the management of our national patrimony, as you have all witnessed in the last three years.

Given the enormity of the challenges we inherited and the yearnings of a citizenry earnestly desirous of a new way of running national affairs, our first challenge was to transform our country speedily into a society where impunity in the management of national resources would be replaced with a culture of accountability and transparency. We needed to deploy our resources to address our common needs rather than the greed of a callous few.

While we have made appreciable progress in several sectors, including public awareness of the need to challenge the corrupt and the brazen in our midst, we have also learnt useful lessons on the dynamism of our society. However, elements within every society, including some lawyers, can equally become unduly resistant to change, even where it is proven that such change is to serve the interest of the larger society.  At worst, corruption fights back.

As we gradually move into another season of intense political activities preparatory to the 2019 General Elections, I enjoin you to remember that by reason of your profession, you all have a responsibility to work for national cohesion and unity through your speeches and public positions and most importantly in your advocacy in court.

In the context of opinions and narratives about our past and present political and socio-economic experience, you cannot afford to jettison rational and proper analysis of issues in a manner which builds, rather than destroys the nation. I also urge you to work to uphold and improve the sanctity and integrity of our judicial and electoral institutions which play a fundamental role in the sustenance and growth of our democracy.

However, let me remind you all, my dear compatriots, that the law can only be optimally practiced in a Nigeria that is safe, secure and prosperous.

As you go into this Annual Conference, let me assure you of the resolve of this administration to promote measures that will achieve a vibrant economy under which the practice of law will thrive.

Through fiscal discipline, good housekeeping, we navigated the difficult days of economic transformation at the beginning of this Government in 2015 and have now come to improving economic indices, including the consistent increase in our foreign reserves; thirteen straight months of decreasing inflation; the expansion of social safety nets programmes as well as the blockages of historical drain pipes in our national treasury, all within the context of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

It is equally significant to emphasize that our willingness to hold persons accountable for offences against society, through the judicial process, will equally transform the future of public service in Nigeria in a positive manner.

Rule of Law must be subject to the supremacy of the nation’s security and national interest. Our apex court has had cause to adopt a position on this issue in this regard and it is now a matter of judicial recognition that; where national security and public interest are threatened or there is a likelihood of their beingthreatened, the individual rights of those allegedly responsible must take second place, in favour of the greater good of society.

I believe that lawyers can contribute to another core objective of enhancing our business environment and promoting social justice by promoting respect for the Rule of Law; contributing to the law reform process and putting national interest and professional ethics above self in the conduct of their business.

I trust that this Conference will achieve tremendous success and I urge you all to participate actively in its various intellectual and social activities in order to build new bonds and strengthen old relationships. I congratulate the incoming National Executive of the NBA led by Mr. Paul Usoro, SAN, and wish them a successful tenure in the task of advancing legal practice in Nigeria.

In conclusion, may I wish you all, once more, a very fruitful Conference. It is my hope that the outcome of your deliberations will impact positively on the socio-economic fortunes of our country and Africa in the years ahead and improve access of the poor and under-privileged in our society to justice. I look forward to reading the conclusions of your conference.

Your Excellencies, My Lords, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Bar, it is now my pleasure to declare the 2018 Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association open.

Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Edo APC Leader Proposes Direct Primary — Leadership Newspaper

Aheadof the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) scheduled for later this week, a chieftain of the party in Edo State, Honurbale Charles Idahosa, urged the NEC to adopt the direct primaries which have been suggested by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, saying the process was more democratic.

Speaking to journalists in Benin City yesterday, Idahosa who was Political Adviser to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole when he was governor of Edo state said the direct primaries would bring less rancour and would ensure popular candidates emerge during primaries compared to the consensus option which he said only a privileged few would decide and the delegates option which he said was too expensive.

“I support direct primaries and I am going to use this opportunity to appeal to the members of NEC to confirm the position of the NWC so that we can all have a collective responsibility in choosing the candidate in respective positions we are going to contest for.

“If we all have a hand in picking the candidate, automatically, we also have to work to return that candidate but when you say consensus though it is in our constitution, it is deceitful. It means some few privilege few sitting in one room and taking a decision that we have arrived at a consensus.

“So it is an appeal to the NEC for them to do the right thing otherwise it will polarise the party, there will be problem. The one they did the other time is still giving us problem till date.

“The NWC has approved it, the national chairman is in support because that was the first position he took in Osun, followed by the National Leader in Lagos.”

He said the direct primaries had worked in the past “In 2007, I contested the governorship ticket with Adams Oshiomhole, it was direct primaries. I lost. It was very clear to me that I lost because Oshiomhole at that time was already a household name and the entire members all work for him because he was a product of direct primaries. You can see that he was popular, he won that election”

Buhari: national interest should override personal liberty

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said the rule of Law must be subject to the supremacy of the nation’s security and national interest.

Opening the 2018 Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Abuja, he urged lawyers to work for national cohesion and unity as the 2019 elections approach.

The President told the lawyers: “Our apex court has had cause to adopt a position on this issue in this regard and it is now a matter of judicial recognition that; where national security and public interest are threatened or there is a likelihood of their being threatened, the individual rights of those allegedly responsible must take second place, in favour of the greater good of society.”

There have been criticism of the government over the detention of some individuals, such as former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki, Shiite leader Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife. Dasuki is being tried for alleged treason and  El-Zakzaky is court facing charges.

The President also urged the lawyers to uphold the sanctity and integrity of the judicial and electoral institutions.

Charging them to carry out proper analysis in cases that have to do with nation-building, he reminded them that law can only be optimally practiced in safe, secure and prosperous Nigeria.

He added: “Given the enormity of the challenges we inherited and the yearnings of a citizenry earnestly desirous of a new way of running national affairs, our first challenge was to transform our country speedily into a society where impunity in the management of national resources would be replaced with a culture of accountability and transparency. We needed to deploy our resources to address our common needs rather than the greed of a callous few.

”In order to achieve this, we have had to disrupt age-old assumptions and unsettle ancient norms in the management of our national patrimony, as you have all witnessed in the last three years.

”While we have made appreciable progress in several sectors, including public awareness of the need to challenge the corrupt and the brazen in our midst, we have also learnt useful lessons on the dynamism of our society. However, elements within every society, including some lawyers, can equally become unduly resistant to change, even where it is proven that such change is to serve the interest of the larger society.  At worst, corruption fights back.

”As we gradually move into another season of intense political activities preparatory to the 2019 General Elections, I enjoin you to remember that by reason of your profession, you all have a responsibility to work for national cohesion and unity through your speeches and public positions and most importantly in your advocacy in court.

”In the context of opinions and narratives about our past and present political and socio-economic experience, you cannot afford to jettison rational and proper analysis of issues in a manner which builds, rather than destroys the nation. I also urge you to work to uphold and improve the sanctity and integrity of our judicial and electoral institutions which play a fundamental role in the sustenance and growth of our democracy.

”However, let me remind you all, my dear compatriots, that the law can only be optimally practised in a Nigeria that is safe, secure and prosperous,” he said

The President also assured them of the resolve of his administration to promote measures that will achieve a vibrant economy under which the practice of law will thrive.

Through fiscal discipline, good housekeeping, he said that his administration navigated the difficult days of economic transformation in 2015.

He added: “And have now come to improving economic indices, including the consistent increase in our foreign reserves; 13 straight months of decreasing inflation; the expansion of social safety nets programmes as well as the blockages of historical drain pipes in our national treasury, all within the context of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.”

The post Buhari: national interest should override personal liberty appeared first on The Nation Nigeria.

Buhari Media Organisation Reacts To Donald Trump’s ‘Buhari Is Lifeless’ Comment

President Buhari has reacted to the alleged remark as described by America’s Donald Trump, and tagged it as disrespectful.

The reaction came through the Buhari Media Organisation.

Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has described America’s Donald Trump remarks on President Muhammadu Buhari as disrespectful.

President Donald Trump’s hate speech notwithstanding, the organisation said on Monday that President Muhammadu Buhari is fit and capable to run for the 2019 elections and oversee the affairs of the country for four more years.

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) made this assertion in response to the report by the Financial Times that the American President had made disrespectful comments imputing ill health on President Buhari.

The group’s Chairman, Mr. Niyi Akinsiju noted that this was not the first time the US President was heard to make such derogatory remarks at World leaders, and thus President Buhari would not be distracted by such.

“We are aware that President Trump’s disrespect for World Leaders is not new; his comments on Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, calling him ‘meek and mild’; his reference to Germany’s Leader, Angela Merkel’s actions as ‘insane’, or his outlandish Tweet at the UK’s Theresa May, and more recently, the alleged remarks he made after meeting President Buhari.”

“It is indeed not the first time President Trump would be heard to lower the standards of respect for his colleagues on the World Stage.

“We are not surprised, we know that this age-long character of the US President would not change anytime soon. But it is important that we put it on record that President Buhari remains fit and sprightly, even for the next decade.”

“We recall that during President Buhari’s visit to Trump in the White House, the US President commended the successes that the Buhari administration had recorded especially in the fight against insurgency and the war on corruption.

The US President was full of admiration for Nigeria’s President during the visit, thus such outlandish remarks as reported by the Financial Times are not just to be taken with a pinch of salt but are untrue in themselves.”

The group noted that President Buhari has continued to show fitness and capacity to run the country post-2019.

It went further to highlight that though the President’s 800 metre walk, where he acknowledged the cheers of members of his constituency, was not intended at showboating, it was an unscripted reference point that further proves a fit and lively President.

The group noted that President Buhari would not be distracted by this report, whether it was indeed said or in fact unsaid, but would in his character continue to remain focused on his mandate to deliver on his promises to the Nigerian people.

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Nigeria’s Problem Goes Beyond Restructuring – VP Yemi Osinbajo

Restructuring is not the solution to the problem of Nigeria as being suggested in many quarters, the says.

The Vice President gave this opinion through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, in a statement, while he was answering questions  from Nigerians at a town hall meeting in Minnesota, the United States of America, on Sunday.

Accroding to The Punch, he also wondered how past Nigerian leaders, including a military dictator, former and former , spent the oil revenues that accrued to the country during their administrations.

Osinbajo insisted that the problem with Nigeria can only be alleviated through the proper management of the nation’s resources and not necessary through about geographical restructuring.

“The problem with our country is not a matter of restructuring and we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into the argument that our problems stem from some geographical restructuring. It is about managing resources properly and providing for the people properly, that is what it is all about.

“I served for eight years as Attorney General in Lagos State and one of the chief issues that we fought for in Lagos State was what you call fiscal federalism. We felt that there was a need for the states to be stronger, for states, to more or less, determine their fortunes.

“So, for example, we went to court to contest the idea that every state should control, to a certain extent, its own resources (the so-called resource control debate). We were in court at that time up to the Supreme Court and the court ruled that oil-producing states should continue to get 13 per cent derivation.

“While we were at the Supreme Court only the oil-producing states and Lagos were interested in resource control, everybody else was not interested in resource control for obvious reasons.

“Now, that is the way the argument has always gone. Those who have the resources want to take all of it, while those who do not have want to share from others.” he said.

Osinbajo said his view was that the government must create an environment that would allow people to realise their economic potential.

In June, Osinbajo had said that the present administration was not opposed to restructuring as being canvassed in many quarters.

Osinbajo stated this while addressing traditional rulers from Ekiti State at the palace of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe, ahead of the governorship election in the state.

He had said, “I want to say that this country is strongest, this country is best when we are one, when we are united. It is a united country that can make a difference.

“We are fully in support of any form of restructuring that benefits the people of our country.

“That is why, for example, the President just signed this into law, a bill which enables Houses of Assembly to be autonomous; so that their finances are autonomous. This is some form of devolution of powers.

“We are also keenly supportive of anything that gives a measure of independence for states so that the states can realise their own potential and do very well for themselves in every way. The President is keenly supportive of all of those things.

Ibom Over Udom’s Rumoured Defection To APC — Leadership Newspaper

Despite persistent denial, the rumoured defection of the Akwa Ibom State governor, Emmanuel Udom from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP on whose platform he was elected three years ago to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC has continued to gain ground and is the subject of formal and informal discussions in the state and within the national political circuit.

Coming on the heels of last week’s defection of his political godfather and senate minority leader, Obong Godswill Akpabio to the APC,the planned defection is set to rock the oil- rich state as there is mounting resistance. 

Several groups and individuals have upped the stakes in either denying the plot or vowing to resist it.

They include Ibom Patriots, former governorship aspirants and other leading political and opinion leaders.

The Ibom Patriots ,which is at the epicentre of the manouvre has as its members, theimmediate past Commissioner for Transport, Dr Godwin Ntukude, Chairman of Ibom Power, Engr Etido Inyangand others among several notable PDP bigwigs in the state. Rising from a meeting in Uyo over the weekend, members of the group acknowledged the defection plans and passed it off as impracticable.

The Chancellor of the group, ObongBassey Inuayen, who was a strong contender for the office of governor in 2007, said “We have read the rumourthat Deacon Udom Emmanuel plans to defect to APC. We believe those peddling the rumours are hallucinating. Is it possible for a sane person to leave a comfortable house to a dilapidated building?,he asked.

He revealed that on Wednesday last week, stakeholders from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District met with Governor Udom Emmanuel and he said emphatically that he had no plans to defect to the APC.

“ In the meeting that the governor had with most of us from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, the governor said that he would rather go home and rest instead of defecting to APC”, Inuayen insisted. 

According to the Patriots, Governor Udom’s body language is not that of a man who wants to dump PDP for APC.

“As far as we know, GovernorUdom Emmanuel is not defecting to the APC. The day he is defecting, the Patriots will let you know. But for now, there is no such consideration,” Inuayen stated.

But despite the strong denials from the state government and other supporting groups and individuals, sources from both parties have however lent credence to the planned defection. In 2016, there were also rumours that the governor had perfected plans to defect to APC but it came to naught.

The commissioner for Worksand a close associate of the governor,AkparawaEphraim Inyang- Eyenhad then debunked the rumour,saying: “saying thatGovernor Udom will defect to the APCin his second term, I think is a conjecture and let me sound it very clearly, the governor is a man of character and principles. He is not one of those politicians who would want to jump all over the place because of what they think they could get.”

In APC, the party he is planning to move to, it was also learnt that his move may not be accorded the same treatment that his predecessor in office, Akpabio enjoyed last week.

Senator Anietie Okon, however described the defection rumour as the handiwork of “those who have mis-stepped and overrated themselves. They are finding a way to dig back and be relevant,” he explained.

Tinubu told me he’d ‘support a Buhari on the hospital stretcher’ in 2019 to preserve his Presidential Ambition in 2023

Senate Presdient Bukola Saraki has replied because he knew he’d lose his seat in 2019 and he needed automatic ticket.

They (Saraki and Aminu Tambuwal) “left the party to return to a motley agglomeration that would promise them what true democracy could not: automatic tickets, sharing of the national wealth and other offices and privileges,” Tinubu had said.

Saraki, in a statement on his Facebook page, said that he’ll “not allow him (Tinubu) create a wrong, false and mischievous impression about the reasons for my decision to exit the APC and present his prejudice as facts for public consumption.”

Saraki said that he had, on several occasions, discussed with Tinubu that the executive does not carry the legislature along in “key policy decisions,” and that a government within the government exists.

Saraki said during Tinubu’s move to seek reconciliation within the APC, he (Saraki) told him that he wasn’t sure the leadership style of the current administration would change.

Saraki however said that Tinubu told him that “he himself always expressed his displeasure with the style of the government and also mentioned that he had equally suffered disrespect from the same government which we all worked to put in office.”

Saraki added that Tinubu “expressed a strong opinion that he would rather ‘support a Buhari on the hospital stretcher’ to get a second term because in 2023, power will shift to the South-west.”

“This viewpoint of Tinubu’s was not only expressed to me but to several of my colleagues. So much for acting in national interest…. Tinubu will rather live with the identified inadequacies of the government for the sake of fulfilling and preserving his presidential ambition in 2023,” he continued.

The senate president added that his “uncertain and complex relationship with Tinubu has been continually defined by the event of 2014 when myself and other leaders of the APC opposed the Muslim-Muslim ticket arrangement about to be foisted on the APC for the 2015 polls.”

“It should be noted that he has not forgotten the fact that I took the bull by the horns and told him that in the interest of the country, he should accept the need for the party to present a balanced ticket for the 2015 General Elections in terms of religion and geo-political zones. Since that time he has been very active; plotting at every point to undermine me, both within and outside the National Assembly,” he continued.

Saraki concluded: “It should be known that Democracy is a system that allows people to freely make their choices. It is my choice that I have decided to join others to present a viable alternative platform for Nigerians in the coming elections. Tinubu and leaders of the APC had better respect this decision or lawfully deal with it. As for me, Allah gives power to whom He wishes. Human beings can only aspire and strive to fulfil their aspirations.”

Read the full statement HERE

Why Gov Darius, PDP Are Winning Elections In Taraba — Leadership Newspaper

Winning two fierce by-elections battles back to back for his party the PDP, while working to keep the state prosperous,has helped etched Governor Darius Ishaku in the political consciousness of Taraba state as a man who, against all odds, gets the job done. The red capped power broker is getting it right politically especially with winning tough polls.And dont forget that he is winning them in the face of dire situations: the so called federal might and the violent nature of the opposition in the state.But he keeps winning them all. And with his appeal spreading, even the ultra political class is starting to see him as a deft strategist. An erstwhile image of the apolitical professional has since given way to that of a cunning planner who knows how to win political battles like a don. A new political movement too has thus been born: Dariusiyya. At its core is the ability to make solid decisions, followed it through and pull off big surprises. He once succinctly summed it up himself when he said, “a leader thinks deeply into every decison. There are times we don’t even understand the leader or where he is going. But at the end, everyone is grateful for the decisons taken.”

He should know. He is an architect with a first class degree from the Ahmadu Bello Univeristy. According to the man from Takum, administration itself is like designing and building a structure the way only architects do. Careful planning, right measurements,and timely decision play a major role. One can not fail to see this architectural state of mind at work as DDI(as he is fondly called) go about his business. Those close enough attest to his hardwork: the early to rise and late to go to bed work ethics of a work-monger. One aide tells me it is almost uncanny how a man his age can keep up with the torturing regime of close to slavish labour. “You would find him up and early after meetings that went deep into the night. He works as if he is running out of time,” he said.

Hardwork is thus a cardinal doctrine of the Dariusiyya movement.It is noteworthy that the governor’s personal example has rubbed off well on the citizenry as staff and management of the MDAs are becoming more efficient.The civil service thus has been reinvigorated. A workman deserves his wages goes the old saying. So Arc Ishaku never plays politics with issues of salaries and other entitlements.He is among governors who detest any form of delays in payments of what is due workers. He hates the idea of owing and pays before the expiration of the month as stipulated. This hasn’t only restored workers confidence but has entrenched a climate of efficiency as well.

On the political front, the Dariusiyya movement has been able to win over opponents while opening the doors for new entrants. A deft negotiator, Governor Ishaku is not easily won over and insists on sound reasoning to make a move.This of course has its down sides but the positive effect of this is that politicians know that are dealing with a honest partner when discussing with him.

But above all, Gov Ishaku has shown that painstakingly listening to the Taraba people is very important to him. The last three years has been an exercise in listening to the yearnings and the aspirations of the people. Listening probably became second nature as a university Don who must always hear out his students no matter how irritatingly boring. Listening has given his administration the needed human face and that quality that separates democracy from dicatorship. As the governor listens, he also acts promptly. He started this right from the 2015 campaign where he deals immediately with needs whereever a community complains on the trail. He doesn’t clutter up everything in officialdom and redtapism. This has this given his leadership the practicality it needs in dealing with immediate issues of governance. Dariusiyya is about being practical, thinking on one’s feet, making deft thought-based decisons and taking all things into considerations. Dariusiyya is therefore a people oriented ideology that combines careful planning with positive actions. That’s why the DDI mystique is blowing through the air and carrying everyone along: farmers, teachers, students, traditional rulers, media men, health workers, engineers, youth and women groups alike.

–Bello is the SSA Public Affairs.

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Which party would you vote for President in the 2019 general election?

  • APC (52%, 3,230 Votes)
  • PDP (36%, 2,218 Votes)
  • Others (5%, 325 Votes)
  • None (5%, 320 Votes)
  • ADC (2%, 113 Votes)

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