Weekly political notes

Sen. Aisha Alhassan

Sen. Aisha Alhassan

Women Affairs Minister, Alhassan, Slumps In Adamawa IDPs Camp
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Jumai Alhassan, on Tuesday, slumped at the Internally Displaced Persons’ camp in Fufore Local Government Area of Adamawa State.Alhassan was on a two-day official visit to the state, when she slumped shortly after presenting relief materials to the IDPs.

The incident which would have been a national tragedy, was averted by the swift intervention of her aides and the camp officials who administered first aid on her.

There is no doubt that what happened to Alhassan could have happened to anybody, but to God be the glory for her survival. The development has once again raised question on the health status of public office holders.

It is an open secret that Alhassan has been having health challenges since she was appointed minister. A development that made members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to once offer a special prayer on her behalf. It is only in Nigeria where public office holders hardly quit, otherwise, is it not better for Alhassan take a rest and also take adequate care of herself for the main time?

After all, she has been a senator and now a minister. What else does she want that is more important than her health? Public office work requires time and adequate energy, especially in Nigeria, where bureaucratic bottlenecks hold sway.

Meanwhile, several factors, including suffocation could be responsible for the ugly incident. It is good that Alhassan survived the ordeal to experience what the IDPs are passing through on daily basis. It is left for her to ruminate over it and take the clear message back to her boss for proper intervention.

Sheriff

Sheriff

Sheriff, Makarfi Resolve To EndPDP Leadership Tussle
The two factional chairmen of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi, met in Abuja and resolved to end the prolonged leadership crisis bedeviling the party.

Reading a joint statement issued by the two in Abuja, the deputy national chairman of the party (Sheriff’s faction), Dr Cairo Ojougboh, said that the meeting between the two leaders resolved to set up a joint committee to reconcile aggrieved segments of the party in the country and in the Diaspora.The statement said that relevant organs of the party would be consulted to resolve the crisis and pursue the vision of the PDP founding fathers.It said that the two leaders urged stakeholders to remain calm and refrain from any actions and utterances that could further divide the party.

This development is cheering news, not only to the PDP members, but to genuine lovers of democracy in Nigeria. This is simply because, there is no democracy without virile opposition, which is lacking in Nigeria today.

It is also quite interesting that the two factional chairmen have dropped their ego to allow peace to reign in the party.Thanks to party members and other Nigerians who worked behind the scene to make this peace move possible. Obviously, the PDP members have proved bookmakers wrong with this giant step.

It is hoped that this peace move is sustained and managed effectively to put the party in the right direction.Many are waiting to see the outcome of the reconciliation. That will either shame those who blame APC-led Federal Government for instigating the crisis or vindicate them. Also, former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who has jeered at the PDP and called it a dying baby could eat his words.

Kano Gathering Not About 2019, Says Ex Gov. Aliyu
Former governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has denied speculations on plans to organise political meeting aimed at setting templates for the 2019 presidential election.

Aliyu maintained that his son, Mallam Ibrahim Babangida Aliyu, would take a bride in Kano today.He said prominent Nigerians like former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, governors Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano), Emirs and other politicians who have indicated interest to attend would only be there for the wedding and not political realignment.

The former governor urged politicians to avoid acts capable of distracting the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, who he said must be given the much-needed support to succeed, especially now that the country is in recession.

Aliyu, why the denial and explanation, when you have not contravened any law? Are you no longer interested in the politics of 2019, whereas you contested senatorial election in 2015 and lost? Didn’t you nurse presidential ambition in 2015? This is even after serving two terms as governor. Be mindful of the fact that every Nigerian doesn’t suffer from amnesia.

It is known that even if the gathering in Kano today is for your son’s wedding, politics will surely be discussed, unless politicians are not coming there. Which is not possible. It is not hidden that politics in Nigeria is a profession for those playing it. If that is the true situation, what else will politicians discuss when they gather together, apart from politics, probably the 2019?Aliyu, please spare Nigerians this political denial and explanation. It is not new. It is part of politicians’ gimmick.

How We’re Spending Recovered Loots, Says Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that his administration is channelling the recovered funds towards the development of critical infrastructure and the implementation of social inclusion programmes for Nigerians.

Buhari disclosed this while presenting Nigeria’s Statement at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71) in New York, on the theme, “Sustainable Development Goals: A Universal Push To Transform The World.”He told world leaders that corruption freezes development and undermines the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Saying that President Buhari is at it again at UN General Assembly, is like stating the obvious. For a president who has a penchant for discussing his country’s issues abroad, he has done it again in a contradictory manner at UN Assembly Summit. Not many Nigerians would remember when and where President Buhari made a categorical statement on how the recovered loots are being spent.

Snippets concerning the recovered loots have often emanated from his ministers and media aides. Most time, they contradict each other, thereby confusing Nigerians and confirming lack of communication synergy within the government circle.

Now, how and why will the President tell the world leaders that the loots are being spent on critical infrastructure, when his media aides and ministers have told Nigerians that the funds are not being spent now because of legal encumbrances?

The other day, it was Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, who was in London contradicting the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on the actual amount of recovered loot. Hope, the recovered loots have not been re-looted as usual, even before being accounted for.

Meanwhile, why is effective communication a problem for President Buhari’s government? Is it that the barber does not know his work or the tools are bad? Nigerians need explanation before the situation goes out of hand.

Government should make a clearer and coherent explanation, not only on the recovered loots, but other contending and topical issues at stake now. It is the constitutional rights of Nigerians to know it.

The people will also like to know when and how, the looted funds were appropriated for use by the National Assembly. For it is a constitutional offence to spend funds that are not appropriated.

Yahaya Bello

Yahaya Bello

Jubilation In Kogi As Supreme Court Upholds Bello’s Election
Hundreds of supporters of Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, burst into wild jubilation on Tuesday, in Abuja, after the Supreme Court upheld the election of Bello as governor.

The apex court’s judgment, therefore, ended the controversies created by the death of the Kogi State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the November 2015 poll, Prince Abubakar Audu, after the former governor had established a commanding lead over the then incumbent, Capt Idris Wada (rtd.), of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The apex court, in unanimous judgments in four separate appeals, agreed that Bello was properly substituted to replace Audu as the candidate of the APC in the governorship election on November 21 and the supplementary poll held on December 5, 2015.

Well, while the Apex Court’s judgment has put to end the battle for the soul of Kogi State, with Bello as the victor, it may widened the cracks, not only in the APC in the state, but at the national level, unless something is done urgently.Truly, it is public knowledge that supporters of Audu/ Faleke joint ticket name never hidden their opposition against the choice of Bello as Audu’s replacement, and since he became governor, Bello has been giving it back to them, especially the state party leadership, without minding whose ox is gored.

So worrisome has been the fact that, while the legal battle lasted, people of the state suffered as Bello government struggled to meet up its financial obligations.Even though, some people saw the battle as that between the “Lion of Bourdillon” and the “Northern Oligarchs” in the APC, the question now is the way forward for the state. The battle has been fought and won. If governor Bello truly meant well for the state and the party, it is expected of him to be magnanimous in victory. Who knows!!!

Bello should be mindful of the fact that this is his first term in office and tomorrow will be another day. Especially considering the fact that he got his first term, somehow, on a platform of gold.

Don’t Throw Rivers Into Crisis, PDP Warns INEC
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to throw the state into another round of crisis.

The Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Mr. Samuel Nwanosike, issued this warning on Tuesday, while reacting to a statement by the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mr. Aniedi Ikoiwak, affirming the controversial result of Tai Local Government Area in the March 19 State House of Assembly election rerun.

Nwanosike warned that any attempt to impose the result of Tai LGA on the people of the state by the REC could lead to another crisis. He stated that there was a court order that had restrained INEC and its REC from announcing the result of the LGA in favour of any of the parties, until the interlocutory injunction on the result was vacated.

Rivers PDP’s concern is understandable. While the basis or otherwise of the court order or injunction should not be a subject of debate, PDP should not add to the seeming political crisis in the state, by taking law into its hand.

If the election result is imposed by INEC as alleged, it is the responsibility of the court to right the wrong. So, it behoves PDP as the ruling party in the state to maintain peace, unless the party has lost confidence in the judiciary. How can? It is not possible, because the party in the state has benefitted immensely from court judgments.

Recession: Obiano Abolishes School Levies, Wheelbarrow Tax, Others
The Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, on Tuesday said he foresaw long suffering as a result of the recession in the country. Consequently, he said he had abolished some levies and taxes in the state to cushion the effect of the economic downturn on the people.

He said: “Following the formal announcement by the Federal Government that the nation’s economy had gone into a recession, I consider it my duty, as your governor, to distil the message of the economic situation of the country down to the grassroots.Well, Obiano’s assertion may be a good step, it’s timing and legality appears suspicious and political. Political in the sense that Obiano may be seeking a second term in the office next year and this may be a ploy to gain support.

Hoping that the government will further make concessions that will allow local governments to function properly as envisaged in the constitution.

PDP, Fayose Are Nigeria’s Problems, Says APC
The All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State has described Governor Ayodele Fayose and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the nation’s greatest problems.

It said the governor’s lawless public conduct was a threat to democracy and by extension, the nation’s economic development.It also accused the PDP of preparing the ground for an atmosphere of insecurity that was scaring investors from Nigeria, by deliberately neglecting the fight against Boko Haram, while the fund for weapons to combat the insurgents was shared by the PDP leaders, including the governor, who allegedly got more than N2bn to run his election.

The Ekiti APC Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, stated these on Tuesday, while reacting to the PDP and the governor’s outburst that President Muhammadu Buhari was Nigeria’s problem.When will Fayose and the APC stop this soap opera? This has become the political stock-in-trade of the PDP and APC members since the 2015 polls. If APC at the national level is not blaming PDP at the national level, PDP in the state will be blaming APC government in the state.

Members of the PDP and APC should spare hungry and suffering Nigerians these blame game antics and provide leadership to move the country forward. It is time for public office holders to talk less and do more.

That is the reason they are occupying public offices. After all, the difference between APC and the PDP lies in name and nothing more. It is just different sides of the same coin. So, if Fayose and PDP are Nigeria’s problems, it means that APC members are also problems.

My Successor’ll Not Come From Igbinedion’s Family, Says Oshiomhole
Ahead of the Edo State governorship election, Governor Adams Oshiomhole has reiterated that his successor will not emerge from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), or from the political family of former Governor Lucky Igbinedion.

Governor Oshiomhole disclosed this while addressing journalists in Benin, the state capital, on Tuesday.Oshiomhole, who criticised Igbinedion for claiming that the PDP would win the poll by a wide margin, said that he was aware that the former governor and other leaders of the opposition had been “in pains” since he (Oshiomhole) became governor in 2008.

Oshiomhole is a man who loves to talk. He could be too blunt and loquacious often. Most time, he plays to the gallery. If not, how could he say authoritatively that his successor will not emerge from the PDP? Maybe Oshiomhole has forgotten that his influence to determine his successor has ended with his choice of Godwin Obaseki in his party primary, unless he will be compelling Edo people to vote for Obaseki, whether they like it or not. Or maybe he has concluded arrangement with INEC to announce Obaseki as the winner of the rescheduled poll and tell other contestants to go to court.

Let Oshiomhole not forget that in 2007, he recovered his mandate in the court. If he could succeed in doing so in 2007, any other candidate can repeat the feat this year. Edo people will decide who becomes their governor, not Oshiomhole, no matter the grandstanding. It is just a matter of days.

Yakubu Dogara

Yakubu Dogara

Budget Padding: Jibrin’s Allegations Destroyed NASS’ Integrity, Says Dogara
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said the budget padding allegations against him and other leaders impacted negatively on the integrity of the National Assembly.

The Speaker said this in his remarks, while welcoming members back to plenary from their eight-week recess.Mr. Dogara said the scandal orchestrated by former House Chairman on Appropriation, Abdulmumini Jibrin, posed a threat to the corporate integrity and image of the House as a democratic institution.Dogara’s sermon makes no sense. Nigerians know that since 1999, National Assembly has been far from integrity on all fronts. Not even in law making and oversight function that are its major constitutional responsibilities.

That is why Nigerians were not amazed when Jibrin leveled the allegation of budget padding against the House leadership. And Dogara said that it was not corruption.

Now that Dogara and his supporters have referred Jibrin issue to the Ethics and Privileges Committee of the House, it will be business as usual. Which is suspension for Jibrin and allegation of padding swept under the carpet. So, where is the NASS integrity that Dogara is sermonising?

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