Ambode, Shettima urge aggrieved APC members to exercise patience

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and his counterpart in Borno State, Kashim Shettima on Tuesday met with aggrieved members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Southwest over outcome of the primaries of the party to elect candidates for the 2019 general elections. 

The two governors, who were members of the National Peace and Reconciliation Committee set up by the APC to pacify aggrieved party members, specifically met with party bigwigs including former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore; Adeniyi Akintola, among others. 

Shettima, who chaired the meeting, held at the Government House in Oyo, Ibadan described Governor Ambode as the politician of the year for displaying uncommon courage and spirit after the party’s primaries in Lagos, saying that his display of sportsmanship would forever remain a reference point for others to learn and emulate.

He said, “Governor Ambode is my own politician of the year and the ultimate peacemaker. We are here essentially to build bridges of understanding, to reconcile with our aggrieved members and seeks ways to make appropriate recommendation to the NWC of the party for us to make progress as a family and to make amends where necessary.

“We have a lot to learn from Governor Ambode, he demonstrated courage, he demonstrated an unparalleled generosity of spirit that has never been shown by any Nigerian politician. Many people were spoiling for a fight. I believe that power is from God and believe me, the kind of respect that his actions have generated for him across the nation is much more than spending 18 years in power.”

Speaking to journalists shortly after the closed door meeting, Shettima said the Committee would forward its observations and solutions to the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party for appropriate action, while urging aggrieved aspirants to exercise patience as the party will do everything possible to address their grievances.  

“We have finished our assignment here in Oyo, Ekiti and Osun States. We listened to our members and we have noted down their grievances and most importantly the solutions proffered and we are going to forward those observations and solutions to the National Working Committee of the party for appropriate action and we implore them to exercise patience, to show courage and to emulate my very good brother, Governor Ambode, who is a study in tolerance, accommodation and courage.

“But definitely, the NWC will take far reaching decisions to ensure that we have come on board to achieve our dream of winning the 2019 elections. Everyone is important in this movement and we are not going to underrate anyone,” the Borno Governor said.

Also speaking, Ambode said though it may be tough to permanently heal the wound aggrieved aspirants might be nursing as a result of the fallout of the primaries, but that it was important for all to move on and truly unite for the party’s victory at all levels come 2019.

“There is no amount of wound that can manifest in your hearts as being present here that we can permanently heal. The most important is that we have created a platform for us to be able to start to bond our family – the APC family together.

 “We were once one family but yes people who are seated here have one or two reasons to complain but we are peacemakers. What is important is that we must bond together and also carry that crusade of making our party to win the 2019 elections.”

 He said when there is life, there is hope, and as such the aggrieved aspirants should understand that there could be better opportunities waiting for them at the end of the day.

 “The elections coming next year will not mark the end of our party and so obviously there will be other things that can come out more fruitful than the competitions that you had actually envisaged that you are going to be the winners.

“It is in that spirit that I would just like you to imbibe whatever it is that you can emulate from my own way of responding to the situation at hand. When there is life, there is hope and there are greater opportunities ahead and it is in that same spirit that we have come here,” Governor Ambode said.

 On her part, Senator Sa’ida Bugaje, also a member of the Committee said Ambode’s actions after the primaries had resonated beyond the State and had become a learning curve in leadership and sportsmanship for future leaders.

“I was at a youth forum recently where young people were dissecting Governor Ambode’s leadership story as a perfect example. They said they had never seen such in the history of Nigeria since 1999. They said they look up to Governor Ambode as a role model in terms of peace and good leadership,” she said.

Other members of the Committee include the former deputy governor of Ekiti State, Professor Modupe Adelabu and the D-G of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside.

Atiku, Ezekwesili, Kukah disagree over Peace Accord meeting absent

By Newsdesk

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Obiageli Ezekwesili and Matthew Kukah, a Catholic bishop, have disagreed over the invitation and absence at the Peace Accord signing on Tuesday.

While Atiku and Ezekwesili claimed that the  National Peace Committee, led by former head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar, did not invite them, Kukah, one of the proponents of the accord, argued that invitation was sent out to the candidates contesting for 2019 election including the PDP candidate.

Responding on behalf of Atiku, a spokesperson for the former vice-president, Paul Ibe said “I can confirm he did not receive any formal invitation to the signing of the peace pact.”

Also, Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of African Action Congress (AAC) and Ezekwesili argued that the committee did not send any invite to them.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, who signed the peace accord, arrived at the event shortly after 3:00 p.m., and appended his signature to the agreement brokered by Abdulsalami Abubakar.

The President joined other candidates in forthcoming polls to sign the agreement on Tuesday at a ceremony in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Some of the items on the accord include running an issue-based campaign, and refraining from speeches that would incite violence.

The accord also entails the candidates to support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a free and fair process, among others issues.

Buhari was accompanied to the event by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole.

The Chairman of the committee and former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, urged various candidates to shun violence and support a peaceful exercise.

A former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mohammed Uwais, and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi Adeyeye, also admonished the candidates to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner.

It would be recalled that Abdulsalami Abubakar and Kukah led presidential candidates to sign a similar accord in 2015, a measure that was widely deemed crucial to the peaceful outcome of that contentious election.

PDP urges electorate to disregard Kashamu’s Guber ambition 

By News desk

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged  the people of Ogun to completely disregard Sen.  Kashamu Buruji and  continue to support its authentic governorship candidate, Mr Ladi Adebutu.

PDP made the call in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday in Abuja.

Ologbondiyan described the party flag Buruji, Senator representing Ogun East, presented to himself  as PDP Ogun governorship candidate, as fake.

He said the purported presentation of a fake PDP flag to himself was done when the authentic flag had been handed to the party’s candidate, Adebutu, by the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.

“Senator Buruji, in his forced hallucination, has failed to realise that Nigerians, particularly the voters in Ogun, have seen through his antics.

“Nigerians  know that he is not the PDP governorship candidate in Ogun. They also know that he is a clown on a journey to nowhere.

“Nigerians are aware that Sen. Buruji never purchased PDP nomination form; never participated in our governorship primary or in any process related to nomination of governorship candidate of our party or any position whatsoever.”

Ologbondiyan said that those using Sen. Buruji as their agent had turned him into object of public ridicule, particularly in his charade of organising a rally to hand a fake flag to himself.

“The PDP, therefore, urges the people of Ogun to completely disregard Sen. Buruji as a clown and continue in their support for the PDP governorship candidate,  Adebutu, who is already coasting to victory,” he said

Obasanjo’s endorsement of Atiku can’t guarantee victory in 2019-FG

By Newsdesk

Following former President Olusegun Obasanjo stance on people’s Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate for next year’s election, Atiku Abubakar, the Federal Government has said that the endorsement guarantee victory at the poll.

FG argued that though it was the constitutional right of the former President to support a candidate for an election, but the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari will be returned to office.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who spoke on behalf of the government yesterday in Abuja, said Obasanjo’s candidate would be defeated after the poll.

“With due respect to former President Obasanjo, it is his constitutional right to support any candidate of his choice and we urge him to go out and campaign vigorously for any candidate he wants to support.

“He has not hidden his preference for the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and we wish him very best of luck.

“However, I want to assure you that his candidate will be defeated roundly and comprehensively. It is not about endorsement, endorsement does not win election,’’ he added.

The minister also responded to a statement credited to the former President that, “only a fool will sit on the fence when his or her country is being destroyed with incompetence, corruption lack of focus, insecurity nepotism and brazen impunity’’.

Mohammed said he held Obasanjo in high esteem and probably he was not properly briefed on the development in the country to have made such conclusions,.

“The facts are all there that this government has done more than any other governments in three and half years.

On corruption, the minister said that the government had put in place institutional reforms which had confirmed its sincerity and commitment to fighting the menace.

“It is not about putting people in Jail but what are the things put in place to address this endemic problem.

“Take the example of Treasury Single Account TSA, which was not initiated by this government. It is only the Buhari administration that has the political will to implement it.

“Before we came in, there were over 22,000 government accounts in various banks.

“Since we came, we reduced it to one account and from 2015 to date N8.9 trillion has passed through the TSA which is as a result of transparency and accountability,’’ he said.

The minister said that even with lean resources, the Buhari administration had spent more on infrastructure than the 16 years of the PDP administration.

He said there was no state in the country without one or two infrastructure development being embarked upon by the federal government.

The minister said the Administration had commissioned the Abuja to Kaduna standard rail gauge while the 156 km Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge would be ready for commissioning in March next year.

He said the government had made fund available for five critical infrastructure projects including the Mambilla power project, the East-West Road, the second Niger Bridge, the Abuja – Kano and Abuja-Lokoja-Okenne highways.

Mohammed said the efforts of the administration in diversifying the economy away from oil had yielded fruits with achievement recorded in agriculture, particularly in rice production and solid mineral sectors.

On power supply, the minister said the administration had improved on generation, transmission and distribution than it met them in 2015, while Nigerians are benefiting from its numerous social investment programmes.


AGF, Obasa, others to implement State Assembly, Judiciary autonomy

By Newsdesk

President Muhammadu Buhari has constituted a Presidential Implementation Committee on Autonomy of State House of Assembly and Judiciary.

The committee will be chaired by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, with the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Ita Enang, as its secretary.

Representatives of state judiciary in the committee, according to the statement released by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Sunday, include the chief judges of Kogi and Bayelsa states, Justice N Ajanah and Justice K Abiri respectively.

Others on the list were Grand Khadi of Gombe State Sharia Court of Appeal, Kadi Abdullahi Usman, and the acting President of the FCT Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Abbazih Sadeeq.

State legislatures are to be represented by the Chairman of Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria and Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, as well as Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, Abel Riah.

Adesina explained in a statement on Sunday that the committee was set up in accordance with the ‘4th Alteration to the 1999 Constitution’.

He stated that the purpose of the committee was to drive the actualisation of the autonomy granted to the legislature and judiciary at the state level.

According to him, the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) is to be represented by Marwan Adamu; Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, Bala Hadi; Body of Chairmen of Houses of Assembly Service Commissions, Musa Agwai.

The committee also has as members Senate Committee Chairman on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters, Senator David Umaru; and House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Federal Judiciary, Aminu Shagari; as well as the Accountant General of the Federation, and the Secretary of the National Judicial Council (NJC).

Others members are DG of the Nigerian Governors Forum or such other representative as the forum may wish to nominate; Chairman of the Forum of Finance Commissioners in Nigeria; President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro; and Chike Adibuah who is to represent Civil Society Organisations.

Adesina disclosed that the terms of reference of the committee include to assess and review the level of compliance by all the 36 States of the Federation with Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

He added that the committee would monitor, ensure and cause the implementation of financial autonomy across the judiciary and legislature of the 36 states, as well as consult and relate with the appropriate federal and state MDAs.

The presidential aide explained that the committee would ensure and where necessary enforce the implementation of the constitutional provision, and come up with appropriate modality or model to be adopted by all the states of the Federation for implementation and/ or compliance with Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

He said President Buhari would formally inaugurate the committee in due course.

Sanwo-Olu redesigns campaign manifesto ahead 2019 election

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah
Barely a week after flagging off his 2019 gubernatorial campaign, All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has changed his manifesto to accommodate citizens  complains.
Sanwo-Olu, however, assured residents that his administration would ensure delivery of modern housing scheme for low-income earners in the state.
The APC candidate disclosed these while addressing thousands of party supporters at a political rally held in Kosofe Local Government Area.
On why he redesigned his manifesto, Sanwo-Olu stated that the move was to run an all-inclusive government if elected, stressing that his government would consider wishes of all Lagosians in policy formulation.
 While promising to initiate policies that would lead to employment generation, the APC governorship candidate said his administration would increase the number of primary health centres and expand their operations to cater for more residents in the senatorial district.
This, he said, was part of his programme to deliver quality and affordable healthcare in all public-owned hospitals.
He said: “Today, our campaign for the governorship election has begun and there is a purpose for starting the campaign in Kosofe. In the past weeks, we embarked on state-wide consultations to listen to your wishes and expectations. Now, the campaign has taken off and we are here in Kosofe to speak to our people at the grassroots. This is a demonstration of our resolve not to run an elitist government. We will listen to you.
“As part of our programmes, we will provide quality and affordable education for your children from basic school to tertiary institutions. All the schools owned by the state would be upgraded and they will be equipped with modern facilities. We are planning to increase the number of primary health centres and also strengthen them, so that more people can have access to quality healthcare.
“In line with our plan to ease traffic situation in Kosofe area, I have considered people’s request on Agboyi Bridge and I promise that my administration will deliver the project if elected.”
The APC candidate said his administration would construct the much talked about Agboyi Bridge to ease vehicular traffic in the area, while also promising to deliver modern housing scheme for low-income residents.
Member representing Kosofe Constituency 1 in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adebayo Osinowo, who is the APC senatorial candidate for the Lagos East, described Sanwo-Olu as “a man people can trust”.
Osinowo said APC had led Lagos well in the last 19 years, urging the residents to vote for all the party candidates in the coming general election.
Former chairman of Agboyi-Ketu LCDA, Yetunde Arobieke, who doubles as the Deputy Director General of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu Independent Campaign Group in the district, said the huge crowd at the rally indicated the readiness of the Lagos East residents to give APC highest number of vote in the election.

Obasanjo shifts ground on Atiku’s 2019 Presidential choice

By Newsdesk

Ahead of the 2019 election, former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Saturday shifted ground on his preferred Presidential candidate, from endorsement of his formal vice, Atiku Abubakar, to anyone with plans for growth and development.

Unlike previous outing where Obasanjo had singed Atiku’s praise, at the event marking 27th  annual Owu National Convention in Iwo, Osun, he urged Nigerians to vote wisely.

The former president, who said he would not campaign for any particular candidate, stressed that Nigerians should consider the credibility of the candidates and their ability to drive growth and development before casting their vote.

Addressing the gathering filled with dignitaries including Owu monarchs as well as indigenes of the Yoruba sub-ethnic group, the former President argued that credible leadership would promote good governance.

It would be recalled that Obasanjo had recently lampooned President Muhammadu Buhari after announcing his forgiveness for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate and tagged him as the next President.

Earlier, Chairman of the Supreme Council of Owu Obas, Oba Hammed Oyelude, said Owu being the largest Yoruba speaking ethnic group in the South West Zone had been contributing to policy development in the country.

Oyelude, who is the Olowu of Owu Kuta, said the Royal Union of Owu People had been contributing to policy development in the country.

He called on Owu people to participate in politics in order to contribute to national development.

Oyelude also called on indigenes of  Owu to support and vote for any indigene contesting for any political office.


Imo Speaker, 17 other lawmakers join Okorocha’s son in-law’s party

By Newsdesk

The crisis rocking All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday took another twist after Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Acho Ihim, led 14 other lawmakers to dump the party.

Also, three members of the People’s Democratic Party, apparently to have seen the line towed by Speaker, announced their defection.

The 18 lawmakers left their parties to join another party, Action Alliance (AA), barely days after the State Governor, Rochas Okorocha’s son in-law joined the party.

Ihim made the announcement while reading a letter written by the defectors during an emergency sitting at the chamber of the State House of Assembly in Owerri, the state capital.

He explained that 15 lawmakers of the ruling APC, including himself, as well as three lawmakers of the PDP, decided to join AA to further their political life.

According to him, the APC members cited the injustice, impunity and abuse of rule of law allegedly by the leadership of the APC as their major reasons for dumping the party.

With the latest development, the Action Alliance party has the majority of the number of members in the House while the APC remains the minority.

Reacting over the lawmakers action, the State APC Chairman, Daniel Nwafor, described the lawmakers’ decision as unfortunate and regrettable.

Nwafor told newsmen that the defection by the lawmakers would affect the party.

He was, however, confident that the APC would remain strong and work hard to win elections in the state in 2019.

“I have received the news of the defection of some APC lawmakers to Action Alliance and I must say it’s regrettable and unfortunate,” the APC chairman admitted.

“Their defection will surely shake our party, the All Progressives Congress, but we will not be deterred.

“We have to remain strong and re-strategise to cover up for the loss, it’s politics. We have to unite in our party and remain focus so we can win the general elections come 2019,” he added.

APC reacts over Lagos Commissioner’s resignation

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

The All Progressives Congress, APC, has described defection of Commissioner for Energy and Mineral resources, Olawale Oluwo, to People’s Democratic Party, PDP, as exit of a mole within the party ranks.

APC reaction came barely 24 hours after Oluwo resigned his appointment and dumped APC for PDP, basically to assist the party win the 2019 gubernatorial election in the state.

The party in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Joe Igbokwe, on Thursday, hinted that the former commissioner’s antics were known to APC hierarchy because every member contributions towards its development were often monitored.

The party machinery knows everyone and their inclination. We encourage all genuine APC members to remain firm and committed to loftier and greater ideals of taking Lagos to a higher level of excellence.

According to him, the party remains unshaken because Oluwo’s defection showed that he has been a mole of the PDP and has been working to undermine the APC.  His exit is a signal to other like minds who may with to follow his trail.

“It has been necessary to put this in true context so as to dismiss the false and capricious insinuation that his resignation was in principled objection to the party’s last primaries; far from it. He was only playing true to type, seeking as he had done in 2007 to reap from the primaries.”

Revealing the activities of the former commissioner, Igbokwe narrated that Oluwo “first made an attempt to reap from the challenges of internal party democracy in our progressive movement when he teamed up with one of the losers in the 2007 primaries of the Action Congress to stop Babatunde Fashola’s sure victory at the polls. The unfortunate political adventurism failed woefully.

“However, in the conventional demonstration of mercy and forgiveness,  Oluwo’s principal, Tokunbo  Afikuyomi was accommodated in the second term cabinet of Governor Babatunde Fashola as the Commissioner for Tourism.

“A similar milk of mercy and kindness led to the consideration Of Oluwo as a member of the Lagos State Executive Council under Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in the hope that he has purged himself of opportunism, disloyalty and vaulting desperation for power.

“Oluwo had hardly resumed as the Commissioner when he began his plot to use that office to advance his quest for political fiefdom. The object of his ambition was the positioning of his wife as the chairman of a local government.

“However, alert party men and women raised alarm about his anti-party antecedents wondering why someone who recently joined the party would want to use his position as commissioner to impose his wife on the constituency.

“The party rank and file aborted this abuse of power and reckless peddling of influence and everybody thought the lesson had been learnt. He, apparently, had not.

“As soon as the procedures for the general elections began, Oluwo once again became the only commissioner to seek his wife as the member of House of Assembly for Eti- Osa.

“By now the pattern of his ambition had become clear.  The intrigue that enabled him to make his wife the first- term commissioner’s wife to become the chairperson of the committee which organised the annual National Women Conference became clear.  It was meant to achieve undeserved visibility.

“This obnoxious attempt to deceive party members was again foiled and it is the aggravated frustration that has led to this defection,” the Publicity Secretary added.

Breaking News: 2019: Ambode’s aide resigns, joins PDP

Pained by All Progressives Congress, APC’s denial of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State second term, his commissioner for Energy, Wale Oluwo , has resigned his appointment.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Oluwo Olawale Wasiu, has resigned from the cabinet of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) with immediate effect.
The former commissioner, in a letter sent to the State party chairman on Wednesday, declared support for the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Jimi Agbaje.
Wasiu stated that his decision to resign is connected to the party’s conduct of the October 2018 primary elections in the state, which was characterized by massive voters disenfranchisement, intimidation and violence.
The former commissioner said: “In a particular case of the gubernatorial primary, which was conducted using the “open ballot” option in violation of the guidelines of the APC that specified the “Open-secret ballot” option, it is clear to me that the core principles of merit, competence, justice and fairness have been sacrificed by the APC on the alter of political expediency.”
Wasiu also noted that the integrity-deficient nature of the primary has significantly diminished the hard-earned reputation of the State as a reference point for free and fair democratic practice.
“The indifference of the APC to the continued use of an arm of government by a powerful group within the party, to intimidate critical institutions of democracy in the state, undermines the doctrine of separation of powers, creates an atmosphere of uncertainty and impairs governments’s ability to implement programmes that will benefit the majority of the people,” he added.

He also said, “I, Olawale Oluwo, will be joining the PDP to work with my friend and brother – Mr. Jimi Agbaje in the struggle to #FreeLagos “. #FreeLagosNow #iStandwithJimi

Oluwo has joined the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to ensure the party wins 2019 gubernatorial elections.