Taraba former acting governor dumps PDP for APC

By Newsdesk

Ahead of 2019 election in Taraba state, a former acting governor, Garba Umar, has dumped People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for All Progressives Congress (APC).

Umar dumped the party two years after completing his term with former late governor, Danbaba Suntai, who was buried recently.

The ex-acting governor, who announced his defection to APC at meeting held by a group in his new party, Integrity Group, in Jalingo yesterday, said he took the decision after consultations with political stakeholders in and outside the state.

Umar said he decided to join hands with politicians of like mind to save the state from alleged bad governance, apparently referring to the incumbent governor, Darius Ishaku.

‘‘I can see future in APC, and if we work together as a team, the party will wrestle power from PDP in the state come 2019.

‘‘I want to assure you that this is the APC and I am part of it one hundred per cent. ‘I have decided to join my brothers of like mind to see how we can salvage the state come 2019.

‘‘I assure you of my unwavering loyalty and willingness to make all necessary contribution for the success of this party and our mission,’’ Umar added.

The former acting governor stated that he had made an arrangement to officially decamp along with hundreds of his supporters to the APC.

The Chairman of the APC Integrity Group, Uba Maigari, said that the party was honoured to have the former acting governor and political appointees that served under him joining the party.

Maigari stressed that the former acting governor’s goodwill and political connection would enhance APC’s chances in 2019 general elections.

Umar, fondly known as UTC, was chosen by Suntai as his deputy after the impeachment of the then Deputy Governor, Sani Abubakar.

He became the state’s acting governor after Suntai’s plane crash in 2012. But was later sacked by the Supreme Court in 2014 when the apex court ruled that Abubakar’s impeachment was illegal and ordered his reinstatement.

Ambode seeks lawyer’s support on constitutional reform, power devolution

By Newsdesk

Barely a month after the Senate kicked against devolution of power to states and fiscal federalism, Lagos state governor Akinwunmi Ambode, has urged legal practitioners to back state on need to actualize the constitutional review.

Meanwhile, Ambode has described return of President Muhammadu Buhari after 103 days in vacation in London, United Kingdom (UK), as a good omen for the country.

Ambode tasked lawyers to utilize the golden opportunity of the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution to lend their voices to the call for redress of all the aberrations that had stunted growth and inhibited capacity of States to harness their potentials.

The governor made the appeal at the ongoing 57th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Lagos, which was also attended by his counterparts from River state governor; Nyesom Wike, Kano state; Abdulahi Ganduje, Sokoto state; Aminu TAmbuwai, Ondo state; Rotimi Akeredolu and others.

He said: “Let me use this opportunity to call on the Nigerian Bar Association as a body and members to raise your voices in support of the demand for devolution of power to States and fiscal federalism, especially the review of the current revenue sharing formula.

“These, in my view, are fundamental and critical to creating an enabling environment that will accelerate development in all parts of the country. The ongoing process for the review of the 1999 Constitution presents a golden opportunity for us to redress all the aberrations created by the interjection of the military that have stunted growth and inhibited the capacity of States to harness the huge potentials of our nation,” Ambode added.

Speaking on the theme of the conference, “African Business: Penetrating Through Institution Building,” Ambode stressed that weak institutions was responsible for major factor inhibiting growth in Nigeria and Africa, saying that the development had constituted a major disincentive for investment in the continent, which in turn, was hampering efficient and effective harnessing of the huge resources in the continent.

He said in most cases, institutions are weak because their establishment is influenced by personal and short-term considerations, while in some other cases, institutions are deliberately weakened in order to make them subject to the whims and caprices of the leadership.

As a way out, Ambode said: “Building and sustaining strong institution requires our collective commitment to the rule of law.  It entails building the capacity of such institutions to be able to discharge their responsibilities effectively and transparently while also being accountable to the people. It must create an atmosphere of confidence, mutual understanding and protection against arbitrariness.

“We must take a cue from developed economies where the integrity of their institutions is not compromised for whatever reason. In those climes, it is the institution that puts officials of the State in check and not vice versa as we have experienced and are still experiencing in most parts of the continent.”

The Governor said such ideal situation and global best practice was what Lagos State had been striving very strongly to attain in order to build an economy that is globally competitive.

“This has been one of our key commitments in the past two years as exemplified by the reforms we are implementing by way of security and judicial sector reforms. Happily, these efforts are yielding the expected outcomes,” Ambode said.

In his opening remarks, NBA President, Abubakar Mahmoud, acknowledged the efforts of the Lagos State Government at building strong institutions, saying that the State had made greatest institutional transformation in recent times.

He said the decision to host the conference in Lagos again was not just because of the facilities and infrastructure but also to support the transformative journey which the State had witnessed.

“Our last conference in Lagos was in 2009. We are delighted to be here once again, especially to join the State to celebrate its 50th anniversary. We have come back here not just because of the conference facilities and other infrastructure but also to support the transformative journey that this State has witnessed in the last several years.

APC justifies reasons Buhari’s broadcast speech focus on national integration

By Newsdesk

The All Progressives Congress (APC), has charged Nigerians to support President Muhammadu Buhari in his drive to ensure national integration is entrenched in the country.

Expressing satisfaction over the President’s concise emphasis on the unity of the country, deputy national chairman of APC (North), Lawal Shuaibu, told journalists on Monday that the most important function of a government is security.

“Any action that can threaten the security of life and property, should be the primary concern of any responsible government,” he said.

Shuaibu stressed that the President’s speech, among other important issues, is specifically aimed at reassuring Nigerians of their safety in any part of the country.

According to him, “One major concern that can be deduced from the speech is the President’s conscious attempt in nipping in the bud the purported quit notice given by some misguided youths in the north, as well as, their counterparts elsewhere who having been heating up the polity by fanning the embers of discord. The security of life and property of every Nigerian, regardless of tribal or religious affiliations, is non-negotiable. This is the primary promise of the APC to Nigerians.”

He added that, two years ago when the APC came to power, the country was in a dire state of insecurity, saying, this party has put everything into improving the situation. No one would be allowed to take us backward as we build on recent gains.

Shuaibu, who pointed out that this is not the time for long talk or speeches, assured Nigerians that the APC would continue to work hard in ensuring that citizens get full value for their trust in the party.

“This is even as we ensure that the unity and sanctity of an equitable nation is protected. No law abiding citizen of this country shall be short-changed. We, at the Party, are particularly delighted to see the President back hale and hearty,” he said, adding that the APC is delighted that the President has been able to send a very strong message to Nigerians.

“The Party is also glad that the President has shown his characteristic spirit of love, care and forgiveness, despite the orchestrated and unnecessary politically motivated attacks on his person by a few bad eggs and their social media outposts.”

Insisting that the Party will under no circumstances toy with the goodwill of Nigerians, Shuaibu said the APC will still surpass the expectations of Nigerians.

“Going back to vomits spewed out by Nigerians in 2015 is never an option. Our Party will continue to do all necessary to fulfil promises,” he said

PDP insists on Nigeria’s restructuring, condemns APC claims

By Newsdesk

Following return of President Muhammadu Buhari to Nigeria, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has raised need for restructuring of the country in a manner that would boost growth, development and prosperity.

The party’s stand on restructuring came barely days after All Progressives Congress (APC), query need to embark on restructuring of the country.

National Publicity Secretary of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Dayo Adeyeye, made the clarification in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja.

Adeyeye said the clarification became necessary following a statement credited to the National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bolaji Ojo-Abdullahi.

The PDP secretary stressed that he read with amusement Ojo-Abdullahi’s statement that PDP has never been and is not interested in restructuring,

He expressed surprise in sudden interest of APC in restructuring after several months of denial by elected and appointed officials that APC did not promise restructuring in its manifesto and during the 2015 campaigns.

His words, as the word implies, restructuring is a process of re-arrangement, re-organization or re-formation of the manner or way in which something (in this case governance) is done.

“As used in the Nigeria political lexicon, restructuring refers to the Modification of the System of governance to guarantee the socio-economic and political growth and development of the Nigerian people.

“It is imperative to inform Nigerians that our party is not against restructuring of the system of governance in the country in a manner that places Nigeria firmly on the path of growth, development and prosperity,” Adeyeye added.

The PDP spokesman explained that it was the commitment of PDP to constantly seek solutions to the challenges confronting the nation that led it to amend its constitution.

He added that the party’s constitution was amended to include equitable devolution (decentralization) of power for greater functionality, national integration, rapid economic and social reconstruction.

“Examples of the amendment can be found in preamble 2(b) and (e), Section 7(b) and (f), and many more provisions of our party constitution.”

Adeyeye said it was also against the backdrop of the commitment of the party to restructure the system of socio-political governance for better functionality and efficiency that made the party to organise the 2014 national conference.

Bayelsa seeks APC congress violence probe

By Newsdesk

Following death of two persons during All Progressives Congress (APC) in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State, the government has expressed concern over regular violence and insecurity that often take place during APC activities in the state.

The two deaths was recorded when gunmen suspected to be political thugs invaded APC secretariat during inauguration of the new caretaker chairman, Joseph Fafi, which also left nine persons injured.

In a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Jonathan Obuebite, the People’s Democratic Party-led government described the incident as a barbaric and serious breach of existing peace in the state,

The Bayelsa government noted that the incident was against all democratic and acceptable norms, urging Nigerian Police and other law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the recent outbreak of violence during the party’s non elective congress.

It appealed to Federal Government and the National leadership of APC to call its officials in Bayelsa to order as their activities were becoming disgraceful and highly embarrassing to government and the law abiding people of the state.

“It is a very sad commentary that, the APC in Bayelsa state has turned itself to a lawless and violent organization, where its leaders and supporters resort to violence at every slight provocation.

“Even for internal matters of the party that ought to have been handled with maturity and reasonable level of understanding” the statement added.

Reacting to the incident, leader of APC in the state, former Bayelsa state governor, Timipre Sylva, decried the shooting and killings, stressing that efforts to bring the party to disrepute had failed.

Sylva, who commiserated with families of the victims and visited the injured, apologized to APC supporters and loyalists attributed the dwindling fortunes of the party to poor leadership of the former chairman, Tiwei Oruminigha.

Sources said that invasion of the party could be linked to alleged undue expulsion of ex-chairman of the party and his executive members, by the National leadership of APC, appointing an interim executive to pilot the party affairs.

According to him, today, they thought they can intimidate us, small children and cowards; they came here to scare the people, but they have failed in their attempts

“The ship of APC has started sailing in Bayelsa state and no one can stop the ship, now this party will begin to function.

“To all supporters and Bayelsa people, I am in the state to officially present Joseph Fafi as the one that would run the affairs of the party in the state; now, Fafi is the new party Acting Chairman,” Sylva added.

INEC registers new party, APP, swears-in nine RECs

By Newsdesk

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has registered another political party, African People’s Party (APP), increasing number of parties in the country to 46.

INEC also swear-in the nine newly appointed Residents Electoral Commissioners (RECs), urging them to duties without fear or favour especially as 2019 general election draws near.

The commission’s chairman, Mahmooh Yakubu, disclosed the registration at the commission’s headquarter in Abuja on Wednesday during swearing-in ceremony for the nine RECs.

Yakubu said that the party was on yesterday issued Certificate of Registration in compliance with a court order, saying, APP originally applied for registration as a political party, three years ago.

He hinted that the commission had so far registered 2,092,434 new registrants under the on-going nationwide Continuous Voter Registration.

“At the end of the first quarter of the exercise, some 1,810,153 citizens were registered. The exercise is now in the second week of the second quarter and already some 282,281 citizens have been registered, making a total of 2,092,434 new registrants so far,” he added.

Yakubu, however, disclosed that the swearing in of newly sworn-in nine RECs came at an auspicious time, at exactly 548 days to the 2019 General Elections, and after the conclusion of the Commission’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021.

He urged them to be fair to all, desist from partisanship, saying, as election managers, they would be responsible for implementation of the commission’s plan.

According to him, as election managers, you must maintain the required openness and consultation. At the same time, you must be very firm and courageous on the side of the law as well as our regulations and guidelines as required of you as unbiased umpire. Be fair to all, partisan to none.

Yakubu said that as new appointees, they would be immediately deployed to field orientation in the four elections to be conducted by the commission over the next few weeks.

The elections according to him were; Dukku North State Constituency by-election in Gombe State , the Eti Osa I State Constituency in Lagos State and Kware/Wamakko Federal Constituency in Sokoto State. Also included was Anambra State Governorship election scheduled for Nov. 18.

One of the newly sworn-in RECs, Mike Igini, who responded on behalf of others pledged that they would be guided by mission and core values of INEC.

He added that the discharge of their duties would be guided by integrity and all other core values that guide their works at the states.

The new RECs also included Asman Maikudi, Sam Olumekun, Prof. Riskuwa Shehu, Kassim Geidam, Jubrin Zarewa, Abdulganiyu Raji, Prof. Sam Egwu, and Sudiq Musa.

Also, the commission inaugurated a Joint Technical Committee on Electronic Voting System with the goal of determining the e-voting needs of INEC and present a Compilation of requirements for INEC’s Successful deployment of a suitable e-voting solution.

The committee would also assist the commission to evaluate the e-voting solution offered by  National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI),

According to the commission, the committee would assess operational, technical and social issues associated with an e-voting system and consider implications of extant electoral legal framework in Nigeria ahead of introduction of e-voting system.

“Evaluate the suitability of NASENI e-voting solution in light of other available solutions and consider other issue relevant to INEC’s choice and deployment of an e-voting solution, including the timing of such deployment,” the commission added.

INEC hinted that the committee was expected to submit a comprehensive report for consideration by NASENI and the commission.

Sokoto Assembly impeaches deputy leader, Ibrahim, over constitutional breaches

By Newsdesk

The Sokoto State House of Assembly has impeached its Deputy Leader, Kabiru Ibrahim, following a no-confidence vote passed by members against him.

Announcing Ibrahim’s impeachment, Speaker of the Assembly, Salihu Maidaji, disclosed that the decision to remove his deputy was reached at a plenary and  endorsed by the 21 members on Tuesday.

Maidaji said: “I have received a letter of vote of no confidence in the Deputy House Leader duly signed by 21 members of the Assembly in accordance with Order Six, Section 11, subsection (3) of the Standing Orders of Sokoto State House of Assembly 2014 as amended.

“The signatures of the 21 members that passed the votes of no confidence on Kabiru Ibrahim, member representing Kware as Deputy House Leader are hereby accepted. Consequently, we replace him with Ibrahim Sarki as the new Deputy House Leader,” he added.

In an interview with newsmen after the impeachment, the House Leader, Garba Bello, noted that the vote of no confidence followed alleged breach in sections of the state constitution by the ex-deputy speaker.

He accused Ibrahim of engaging in some political activities ahead of the 2019 General Elections in violation of INEC guidelines.

“Ibrahim arranged a delegation with other members to mobilise in support of a governorship aspirant and as such he breached our Standing Orders.”

Kwara electoral commission dumps card readers usage ahead LG election

By Peter Moses, Ilorin

Ahead of November Local Government election, Kwara State independent Electoral Commission (KWASIEC), has insisted that card readers would not be deployed for the council poll.

The chairmanship and councillorship elections into the 16 local governments have been scheduled by the electoral body to hold next three months.

KWASIEC Chairman,  AbdukRahman Ajidagba, made the stance on card reader usage during a meeting with representatives of registered political parties in his office in Ilorin.

Ajidagba said the state was not financially buoyant to acquire card readers for the council polls, saying, we abandoned the use of card readers for the local government elections to avoid hitches that may occur from the machines while the elections are in progress.”

The Kwara electoral commission boss, however, promised a credible, reliable and fair election even without the card readers.

Ajibagba, who described the political parties as the major players in the conduct of the election, solicited their cooperation and support for the success of the exercise.

He also advised the representatives of the parties not to incite the electorate before, during and after the elections, saying no credible poll could be achieved in an atmosphere of chaos and acrimony or violence.

He said the commission would soon release the time table for the polls to enable stakeholders to fully prepare for the exercise.

Speaking on behalf of the parties, the Vice-Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and former Chairman of Moro Council, Theophlius Sunday, assured the commission of their readiness to ensure a successful poll.

INEC receives petition for Kano lawmaker’s recall

By Newsdesk

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has said that it had received a petition from residents of Kano state demanding recall of Abubakar Kuki, a member of state House of Assembly.

INEC further hinted that the  petition emanated from the lawmaker’s constituents in Bebeji area, which he represented, even as he said that the document was received recently.

The electoral umpire’s announcement came barely two months after it received a petition demanding recall Sen. Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West Senatorial District at the Senate.

National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee of the commission, Adedeji Soyebi, disclosed receiver of the statement on Monday in Abuja.

Soyebi stated that in accordance with INEC guidelines for recall, the commission had formally acknowledged receipt of the petition to the petitioners’ representatives, adding it had also written to inform the affected lawmaker about the petition.

According to him, a timetable and schedule of activities pursuant to the petition will be issued shortly.

The commission, in line with it guidelines, issued the timetable for the recall but suspended action on it following a court order secured by Melaye on July 13, stopping it from proceeding with the process.

However, INEC has approached the court to vacate the injunction to enable it to continue with the process.

APC national legal adviser,Banire, shuns disciplinary committee’s invitation

By Newsdesk

Embattled National Legal Adviser of All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Muiz Banire, has failed to appear before Disciplinary Committee set up by the party in Lagos state, to adjudicate on different allegations leveled against him.

Some of the allegations against Banire were on anti-party activities, misappropriation of campaign materials and logistics during last poll in the state.

L-R: Barr. General Counsel, Dr. Wunmi Bewaji; Chairman, APC Ward C Disciplinary Committee in Mushin, Mr. Bolaji Abass; Secretary of the Committee, Laide Badru and member, Muinat Mustapha during a sitting of the Committee on Petition against Dr. Muiz Banire at Bishop Aggey Memorial School, Ilasamaja, Mushin, Lagos, on Monday.

The committee, inaugurated by the party’s Ward C in Mushin Local Government Area, Lagos state, had summoned Banire to appear before its sitting at Bishop Aggey Memorial School in Ilasamaja, at 10 am on Monday.

Banire’s invitation was to defend allegations contained in a petition submitted against him by two members of the party, Olukayode Tolu and Ayodeji Adebayo.

The four-man committee was led by Bolaji Abass, other members include Laide Badru (Secretary), Wunmi Bewaji (General Counsel) and Muinat Mustapha.

It was gathered that the members of the committee waited for hours for arrival of the APC chieftain but were forced to commence sitting when it became obvious that Banire was not ready to appear before the committee.

Abass said the function of the Committee was simply to examine allegations leveled against Banire by concerned members of the party, assuring that the Committee would be fair in arriving at its decision which would be submitted to APC executive in the ward for onward delivery to Local Government chapter and then State Executive of APC.

The Secretary of the Committee (Badru) then called the petitioners and respondent (Banire), but while the petitioners were at the proceedings, Banire was conspicuously absent.

Badru later displayed copies of advertorials in two national dailies and evidence of receipt of courier letter inviting Banire for the sitting.

In his testimony before the Committee, Olukayode alleged Banire had committed grievous attrocities against the party and had carried out series of acts of indiscipline, which must not go unpunished.

Also Adebayo said it was such acts of indiscipline exhibited by Banire that caused the former ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) electoral defeat.

According to him, “Party discipline and party loyalty made APC what it is today. Whatever the decision of the party is, it is binding on all members and if a member goes against the party, there must be sanction.”

In the petition, the petitioners are asking that Banire be suspended from the party and debarred from holding any party office as well as contesting office on the platform of the party for a period of ten years.

Members of APC Mushin LG during a sitting of the Committee on Petition against Dr. Muiz Banire at Bishop Aggey Memorial School, Ilasamaja, Mushin, Lagos, on Monday.

They alleged that aside the fact that Banire had been continuously absent from ward meetings for more than two years contrary to Article 9 (2) (iii) of the party’s Constitution, he has also been engaging in unrestrained media campaigns against the party, its organs, leaders and functionaries, a development deliberately calculated to embarrass the party and bring it into disrepute contrary to Article 9 (2) (I) of the Constitution.

The petition reads in part: “That the member (Banire) has openly been encouraging and inciting Court actions against the party, its organs and functionaries when internal dispute resolution mechanisms have not been explored or exhausted contrary to Article 21 (A) (ii) of the Constitution.

“The member (Banire) has been conducting himself in such a way and manner as to constitute a distraction to the good policies and programmes of the Government of President Muhammadu contrary to Article 21 (A) (ii) of the Constitution.

“That the member (Banire) collected campaign “materials and logistics” – for the 2015 general elections and the recent Local Government Elections without deploying, disbursing or applying same for the benefit of the party. He has failed to pay, as at when due or howsoever, party dues and levies.

“That the member (Banire) has been conducting himself and continues to conduct himself in such a way and manner as could jeopardize, endanger or damage the electoral fortunes of the party and the party brand contrary to Article 21 (A) (ii) of the Constitution.”