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State Congresses: Tension in APC

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has been gripped by tension as the ruling party holds its state congresses across the country tomorrow. While a few state chapters of the party have already harmonized positions to ensure that the exercise is hitch-free, it is anxiety in most states as the various blocs and factions battle to control the party’s structure.

The state congresses will elect officials who will run the affairs of the party in states for the next four years. Among states that will be battle ground are Imo, Lagos, Rivers, Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Oyo, Ogun, Cross River, Benue, Ondo, Kogi and Taraba. Crises have trailed the ward and local government congresses in these states and there are no signs that tomorrow’s state congress would be an exception.

In Lagos for example, it is a fierce battle among loyalists of the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for the chairmanship of the party. Already, six members of the party have declared interests to replace the outgoing chairman, Chief Henry Ajomale.

They are former Head of Service in the state, Dr. Sunny Ajoseh; former members of the Senate, Tokunbo Afikuyomi and Ganiyu Solomon; a grassroots politician, Alhaji Mutiu Are; former Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture, Tunde Balogun and the incumbent Vice Chairman (Lagos West APC), Chief Funso Ologunde.

A party source, who confirmed the list to New Telegraph, yesterday, said the party leaders were divided over who would emerge as Ajomale’s successor and that is why none of the aspirants has been unanimously endorsed ahead of the congress.

He said though members of the new executive would emerge through consensus arrangement, leaders of the party in the state were yet to decide as at yesterday, who would be chairman among the aspirants. But he hinted that the chairman may likely emerge from Lagos Central senatorial district.

His words: “Though the chairmanship race seems to have been narrowed down to people from Lagos Central, only Tinubu can decide who will be the chairman among the aspirants. Nobody can predict what Tinubu will do because all the aspirants are close to him and he may decide to back anyone of them for the position.” Also speaking to New Telegraph, a member of the State Working Committee (SWC), said: “A lot of people are showing interest, but it is only those who collected forms that we know are contesting.

Nobody can say this is the person who is going to be the next chairman because the calculation may change at the last minute. In fact, some members of the present executive are not even sure whether they will return or not. So, we are all looking forward to Saturday to know the next executives.” In Taraba, there was a call yesterday for the state congress to be postponed.

The Secretary of one of the factions in the state chapter of the party (Unity Forum), Mr. Aaron Artimas, who made the call, said that at least six local government areas might have their ward congresses cancelled as a result of massive irregularities that marred local government congresses. He listed the councils to include Ibi, Donga, Lau, Takum, and Ussa and added that the ward congress in seven out of the 10 wards in Jalingo Local Government Area also stand the risk of cancellation.

“Some aspirants came in with desperation and were willing to do whatever it took to have their persons on the delegates’ lists. That is why we had a situation where the duly assigned returning officers would collect materials and these would be snatched from them by hoodlums hired by desperate politicians,” he said.

Artimas accused the party leadership of not playing fair and taking sides with the Minister of Women Affairs, Senator Aisha Alhassan, against other aspirants.

He said: “Some of the aspirants have lost electoral value to a great extent and they felt the only way to succeed was to rig. Unfortunately, the current party leadership in the state is not being fair to all.

They have taken sides with Senator Aisha Alhassan, who has promised to return them to their offices. And we believe that she is being used by some political interests in the state to destabilise the party ahead of 2019 general elections in the state.

”It would be recalled that most governors of the party had seized the opportunity of the May 5 and 12 ward and local government congresses to affirm their grip on structures at the grassroots. Results of both exercises also show that most senators and ministers lost control of the party’s structure in their respective wards and councils.

It was, however, mixed fortunes for the governors of Imo and Benue states, Rochas Okorocha and Samuel Ortom, who lost to opposing camps in the their respective states. In states under the control of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) such as Rivers and Akwa Ibom, political appointees like ministers and heads of agencies of governments and parastatals held sway.

Among senators who had poor outing in the ward and local government congresses were Senators Shehu Sani, (Kaduna Central), Suleiman Hunkuyi (Kaduna North), Ajay Boroffice (Ondo North), Solomon Adeola (Lagos West), Magnus Abe (Rivers South East), Nafiz Gamawa (Bauchi North), Rabiu Kwankwaso, (Kano Central), Lanre Tejuosho (Ogun Central), Yele Omogunwa (Ondo South), David Umaru (Niger East), Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central) and Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara Central). The ministers are Chief Audu Ogbeh (Agriculture), Babatunde Fashola (Power, Works and Housing), Abubakar Malami (Justice) and Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Affairs).

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Jonathan warns Buhari against rigging Ekiti poll

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari against succumbing to pressure to subjugate democracy by rigging the Ekiti State governorship election, in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC), stating that such action would haunt him at the end of his tenure.

 

Dr. Jonathan also advised him against bowing to any such pressure to use presidential powers negatively, but urged President Buhari to use his powers to strengthen democracy in Nigeria. The former President, who gave this advice during the inauguration of the first over-head bridge in Ado- Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, warned that President Buhari would be haunted by posterity if he does “because what you go with is the name that you leave behind.”

 

His words: “I don’t believe anybody can defeat the PDP in Ekiti if election is going to be held. I want to advise President Buhari not to deploy power to truncate Ekiti election. Though as a President, you have the power, but don’t do that because of posterity. History will record whatever you do and the power of a leader is determined after leaving office and not when he is in the office.

 

“The will of the people must be allowed to stand at all times, because power belongs to them and we must respect their verdict through the ballots. I am using this opportunity to call on Mr. President. I was there, and

 

I know (that) when you are there, there is so much pressure from everybody to use all the powers you have to subjugate democracy,” he said. He, therefore, called on Buhari not to bow to pressure by attempting to subjugate democracy in Nigeria, as doing that would amount to undermining the country’s path to greatness.

 

Jonathan said that advanced countries of the world today achieved greatness from the selfless sacrifices made by both leaders and followers. Part of the sacrifices, he said, made by their leaders includes not interfering with the democratic process that brings in successive leaders into office.

 

“All the great democracies you are seeing in the world, those great countries were built by people who made sacrifices to make their countries great.” Jonathan also used the opportunity to commend Nigerian youths whom he described as great and hardworking people. Although he admitted that the youths were confronted with challenges, especially not being encouraged with creativity, he called on governments at all levels to encourage them to be hard-working. He further stated: “We have challenges – no power for creativity. With the limits we have, we know the great things you are doing.”

 

The former President expressed optimism that with the level of support by the people, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is a party to beat in the forthcoming election. Jonathan further called on Ekiti people to vote for the PDP in the July 14 governorship polls even as he thanked them for their support to Governor Ayodele Fayose. He commended PDP for choosing youthful governorship candidate and his running mate, adding: “Nigerian youths are not lazy. I don’t believe that, because I have worked with them closely.

They are great people with great potential who should be celebrated by any leader.” In a veiled reference to Buhari’s recent statement abroad, he said “As leaders we must make sure we present a country that will make us proud and not to use our country as a negative example in Africa to the outside world.

 

The idea of portraying Nigerians’ negative manners had occurred on two occasions under this present government. These are mistakes we should not make.” He thanked the people for their support for the PDP since 2015 and urged them to do more in the coming governorship election.

 

“Fayose will never compromise the interest of Ekiti people for anything. He is a leader who speaks truth to power. In fact, Fayose is a leader and he has done well for his people. Any leader who wants to encourage his people must encourage the education of the youth. If you don’t encourage the youths, they will be exploited. “As youths, you have to be aware that we are operating a knowledge-based economy. So you must be proficient in the use of computer. You can’t compromise this if you want to fit into the 21st  century economy,” he said.

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Nigeria more transparent under Buhari –Lai Mohammed

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Solicits TI’s support on anti-graft war

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said Nigeria is more transparent under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. The Minister said this to a delegation of Transparent International (TI) led by its Chair, Delia Ferreira Rubio, who visited him in Abuja, saying President Buhari’s  administration is committed to eradicating corruption in the country. “Nigeria has never had a more transparent and more accountable government than the Buhari’s administration,” the Minister said.

 

He regretted that TI and the local civil society organisations affiliated to it have not offered the necessary support to the Federal Government in its anti-corruption war. The Minister, therefore, called on TI to support Buhari’s ant-corruption war, especially in the area of advocacy and capacity building. He noted that when the government disclosed that 55 people stole N1.34 trillion between 2006 and 2013, a section of the civil society alleged that the publication was one-sided, instead of supporting the govern  ment’s action.

 

He tasked TI and its affiliates to show more understanding for the sociological complexities of fighting corruption in Nigeria since the nation operates a federal system of government. The Minister said Nigeria is succeeding in its anti-corruption fight because the fight is led by a President, whose integrity is beyond reproach, noting that his worst critics won’t say he indulges in or encourages corruption.

 

Earlier, Ms Ferreira Rubio had told the minister that her visit to Nigeria, which incidentally was her first in Africa, because the country can set the tone for the continent in the fight against corruption.

 

She added that TI’s mandate is to offer support through civil society organisations and the private sector to foster the fight against corruption. Ms Rubio advised that while the government is doing a lot to fight corruption, it should ensure more transparency and more efficiency in service delivery.

 

“We are not an opposition anywhere in the world. We are just an NGO working in over 100 countries of the world. We are not enemies. We are here to help,” she said.

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Woman appeals to IG over missing husband

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She should check SARS –PPRO

 

Mrs. Adeshina, wife of a Lagos State politician, Mr. Okokuku Adeshina, has called on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris (IGP), to warn and caution his officers as not only her husband’s life is in danger but all. Tina, who spoke with journalists over the weekend, said Idris should compel his officers and men to stop being instruments in the hands of politicians who use them to harass their opponents.

 

The distraught woman disclosed how some policemen stormed their house at Ikorodu area of the state on Tuesday evening, and without any search warrant, and whisked her husband away to an unknown destination.

 

According to her, she said her husband called her with an unknown number two days after he was whisked away by the policemen, who wore antirobbery jackets over the mufti clothes, and told her to run far away with the children.

 

She said, her husband told her that it was a political big wig in the state that was behind his present travails in order to win him over to his camp. “My husband called me with an unknown number and said I should take the children to a safe place that the policemen that came to arrest him on the pretence over land dispute are actually working for an opposition politician who wants him to join his party,” she lamented.

 

“Yesterday, an unknown number called me again and I quickly answered thinking it was my husband but the person on the line told me that my husband had escaped.

 

I haven’t been able to get through to him on his phone since the day he was taken away and the man that called claimed to be a policeman that helped him escape, while on their way to the hospital. I believe that my life and those of my children are now also in danger and I don’t want to die,” Mrs. Adeshina cried. However, when contacted, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti said, he was not aware of the arrest.

 

Oti, however, said Mrs. Adeshina should go to SARS office to check if her husband is there. It is only when she has done this that he would then know what to do.

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