The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the impeachment of the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Mr Simon Achuba.
In a statement on Saturday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, the party alleged that the action was done in violation of the Constitution.
“This action of trying to remove the deputy governor via unconstitutional methods and in total disregard to the verdict of the judicial panel is, in itself, a gross misconduct and grave constitutional violation for which the State Assembly, as an institution, ought to have removed Yahaya Bello as the governor of the state,” it claimed.
The statement came one day after members of the Kogi State House of Assembly impeached the embattled deputy governor in what they said was a unanimous decision.
In his reaction, Mr Achuba described his impeachment as illegal and insisted that he remained the deputy governor of the state.
On its part, the PDP slammed Governor Bello and accused him of being desperate to use underhand measures to “forcefully remove” the deputy governor.
“Our party holds that by coercing the State House of Assembly against the deputy governor even when the State Judiciary Panel acquitted him of all allegations, Governor Bello only confirms that he has lost public trust and now desperately resorting to dirty politics and crafty methods for survival,” it alleged.
It added, “The PDP, however, alerts that the next victim of such underhand methods would be the state assembly itself, which now appears to be on the way to being used to enact draconian rules to suppress and intimidate the people of Kogi State, since there is no way Yahaya Bello will win the November 16 election and return to office.”
The opposition party said the incident has reduced Kogi to what it described as a butt of jokes among compatriots in other states.
It noted that ahead of the coming governorship election, it was confident that the governor would be “kicked out of office” through the ballot box.
The PDP accused the governor of seeking to repress his deputy over the exposure of alleged impunity and corruption in his administration.
It said Nigerians expected Governor Bello to respond to the allegations by Mr Achuba and called on the citizenry to condemn the deputy governor’s impeachment.
“Nigeria is a nation governed by law and nobody, no matter the desperation, should be allowed to turn her or any part thereof, to Banana Republic,” the party said.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Saturday reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government towards free and compulsory education of the first nine years of a child school life across the country.
Osinbajo gave the commitment in Ibadan while speaking at the Divine Proclamation Service of the Dominion University,
The Vice President recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, had, on June 20, made the declaration, on free and compulsory education.
He stressed that the assignment to provide free and compulsory education at the basic level was an important one for the government
He, however, said that Federal government would not force any state to do so but would be working actively with states that chose to enforce the free and compulsory education.
”We will support them in whatever way we can to ensure that they achieve the objectives of free and compulsory education.” he said.
Osinbajo commended Oyo state government under the leadership of Gov. Seyi Makinde, for keying into the free and compulsory education programme as declared by the Federal government.
He described Makinde as visionary leader from his commitment to the provision of free education for children in both public primary and secondary schools in the state.
Osinbajo saluted the courage and passion of Bishop Taiwo Adelakun, the Founder of the Dominion University, towards provision of quality education.
He called on well meaning Nigerians and philanthropists to support government and private universities toward quality education delivery in the country.
In his address at the occasion, Makinde, said that free and qualitative education had come to stay in Oyo state under his administration.
” Though we understand that four years is not enough to really get to where we are going but it is enough to lay solid foundation upon which successive administrations will build on. ” he said.
He said his administration would make the necessary investment without minding who would take the glory down the line.
He congratulated Bishop Adelakun for setting up the university and asserted that the proclamation of the institution would be the beginning of the journey that would produce the kind of leaders that Nigerians want.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Bishop Adelakun, is the Presiding Bishop of Victory International Church, Ibadan.
The Dominion University is situated along Ibadan-Lagos road and is the 77th in the number of private universities in Nigeria.(NAN)
Too many critical observers, there is a cloud of uncertainty over future of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of 2023 presidential election. Even with more than three years to the next general elections, there is already heightened apprehension in the camp of the ruling party over the retaining power beyond 2023 after President Muhammadu Buhari has served out his second term in office.
The anxiety is not unconnected with the perception in many quarters that it is only the Buhari factor that has sustained the party since 2015 when it ousted the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which had dominated the Nigerian electoral politics for 16 uninterrupted years.
In the estimation of many, Buhari has been APC’s greatest asset, having been instrumental to the party’s victories at elections.
To lay credence to the uncertainty in the party, the immediate past governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, was explicit in his warning recently that the APC will go extinct with the exit of President Buhari in 2023.
Rochas, appraising the future of the party recently, said: “I have never thought of leaving the party. I felt that time will take care of most things. But my only worry is that the party APC may disappear with the exit of President Buhari because, for the moment, Buhari seems to be the strongest pillar now upon which this party is built on the basis of his reputation and for the fact that the north still remains the major decider in Nigerian politics.”
Senator Okorocha was not alone in forseeing doom for the APC, with the immediate past National Chairman of the ruling party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, having also expressed reservations and concerns.
He had argued that the question of the party retaining power beyond 2023 will certainly arise because President Buhari, who is the figurehead of the party and its agenda, will not be qualified to contest again.
Oyegun was more poignant and pungent in his prediction. According to him: “When the APC was formed, all the predictions were that it will implode in another year or two, but the APC did not implode. The APC will however have issues in 2023 and it has to start now that it has time to put its act together for 2023, because there will be no President Buhari to contest then.”
Both Shehu Sani, a Senator who represented Kaduna Central senatorial district in the 8th Assembly, and the APC Rivers State 2019 governorship candidate, Prince Tonye Princewill, equally expressed concerns over the future of the party beyond the Buhari era.
For Senator Sani, the “APC is not a party founded on ideology; it is a party found on resentment against PDP and a party that is founded under the banner of President Buhari. It is unfortunate that, for all the promises and pledges of cleaning, reforming and reconfiguring this country, the ruling APC had failed.”
Summing up the prevailing mood, Princewill recently noted: “I agree that the APC will need to begin to reflect on life after Buhari. It was Buhari that won that election against all odds. So, if he is not there, it will be different.”
These apprehensions may have obviously prompted President Buhai to challenge the national leadership of the party and the APC state governors on the need to institutionalise the party to guarantee its survival beyond his tenure.
According to the President: “What I will say to the chairman of the party and governors in return for your congratulating me is to make sure you really institutionalise the party so that when we leave, the party will continue to lead.”
All these are certainly strong indicators that the ruling party is not only standing on shaky ground but is also a confirmation that the tornadoes tormenting the party portend danger ahead.
It is stating the obvious that ahead of 2023 elections the APC has become a party divided against itself.
This is evidenced in the array of crises within the party, the endless debate over the party sticking to zoning arrangement, and the inordinate ambitions of individuals and ethnic nationalities in laying claim to the right of producing the next president.
The crises at the national, state and local levels of the party seem to confirm observations that the APC was not founded on an independent ideological basis but as a bulwark in opposition to the PDP.
There is certainly no love lost at the national level, as it has become very difficult for the national leadership to forge a strong and united front. It has been a case of disgruntled members of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) calling for the head of a beleaguered National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole, and/or his National Working Committee (NWC) members, and even the Director General of PGF levying one grievous allegations or the other against him.
And although crises have always reared their ugly heads within the party, the Buhari factor, his perceived integrity and transparent posture as the rallying point of the northern agenda, has always provided the succour the APC has leveraged on to emerge victorious at elections.
Although he had, while meeting with the national leadership of the party recently, promised to be more party conscious in taking decisions, it has become more or less an empty pledge considering his refusal to intervene in the rising spate of crises engulfing the party both at state and national levels.
For instance, if the rift between the governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki, and the National Chairman, Oshiomhole, on one hand and the State Assembly crisis rocking Edo and Bauchi on the other, are domestic in scope, what has been his level of intervention in the feud between Oshiomhole and some APC governors and some disgruntled members of the national leadership of the party?
Also, why has it become very difficult to secure his consent to organise a National Executive Committee (NEC) party meeting for over seven months now? What has been the level of involvement of the party’s national leadership in monitoring the Federal Government’s ’s compliance to the party policies and programmes?
Beyond the divisions and rifts tearing apart and threatening the party’s very foundation ahead of 2023, the endless debate on the possibility of the party to religiously stick to its zoning arrangement has become a potential time bomb waiting to explode in 2023.
At the peak of the build-up to the campaign for President Buhari’s re-election, the contradictions between Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Lagos State governor Babatunde Fasola and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, stood out among the cacophony of voices for and against the zone to produce the president in 2023. The confusion painted a grim pictures of the future awaiting the ruling party.
While Osinbajo and Fasola dangled carrot at the South West, assuring that they would produce the president in 2023, Mustapha promised the South East that their support for Buhari’s second term can give life to their 2023 presidential ambition.
The onerous task before the party now should be how to amicably decide on which zone gets the 2023 presidency between the South West and the South East. The crossroads on the best way to reconcile the doublespeak which the party leaders used to solicit votes for President Buhari currently hangs on the neck of the party, especially in ensuring that it does not degenerate into an unmanageable mess ahead of the 2023 elections.
And so it appears that there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, judging by the recent report credited to the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, who remarked that the country needs to choose competence over zoning when electing the next president in 2023.
While adding his voice to the debate and clamour that the presidency needs to return to the South, Governor el-Rufai, who has been mentioned among those eyeing the 2023 presidency, even though he is yet to declare interest, argued that competence and not “zoning” should be the deciding factor.
In the prologue he recently contributed to a book, “Power of Possibilities and Politics of Change in Nigeria”, authored by the Director-General of PGF, Salihu Lukman, el-Rufai insisted that zoning must be abandoned, describing it as “opaque” and arguing that it is a barrier to political equality.
“Even with our success in the elections, there is room for improvement. Barriers to political equality, such as our seemingly entrenched though informal rule for zoning candidacies according to regions of origin, need to be de-emphasised and ultimately abandoned in favour of an emphasis on qualification, competence and character,” el-Rufai wrote.
The far-reaching implication is that the inability of the APC to surmount the hurdle of fielding a candidate in the mould of Buhari may cost the party the 2023 ticket. The dilemma is that should it decide to zone it to the South, wouldn’t the PDP play a smart one by fielding a northern candidate to curry favour and win the sympathy of a northern region bent on retaining the seat?
Should the party, on the other hand, decide to zone the presidential ticket to the North, won’t that lead to a protest vote against the party by southern interests to underscore that no zone has the birth right of producing the Nigerian president?
Mindful of the delicate nature of the situation facing the party ahead of 2023, the National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, told Daily Sun that putting the issue of zoning on the front burner at this time is a distraction from the party providing the much vaunted dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
The party spokesperson, who also reacted to the debate over zoning, said: “The issue of zoning is an entirely different matter. Governor el-Rufai was right when he opined that any part of the country can produce the next president. The issue of which zone to produce the next president is a party matter.”
So, it appears the die is cast for the APC to sort out the outcome of its fortune and future. The 2023 presidency, in the view of many, will determine the future of the party. With all the ethnic nationalities laying claim and jostling to produce the next president, the last may not have been heard of what becomes of the the party beyond the 2023 general elections. The future lies in the womb of time.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Youth Leaders across the 21 Local Government Area Councils in Kogi have signed a peace pact as the governorship election in the state draws close.
The Peace Pact was signed at a “Political Parties Peace Forum’’ meeting on “Vote, Not Fight: Election No Be War” with APC Youth Leaders Forum on Non-Violent Election in Kogi on Saturday in Lokoja.
The youth leaders promised to desist from negative activities that could disrupt the electoral process before, during and after the governorship election.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was organised by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in collaboration with Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).
NAN also reports that the Programme was supported by UKaid, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and 2Baba Foundation.
Mr Ben Aga, the Senior Programme Manager of NDI in his presentation on “Electoral Offences and their Penalties’’ counseled the youth leaders to toll the path of peace or face the wrath of the law.
Aga listed some of the electoral offences and their implications to include forging of PVC cards, wilful removal or destruction of ballot papers or boxes at polling units as well as interference with result sheets.
Others he said were illegal printing or possession of ballot papers, improper use of voter’s cards, vote buying, selling, impersonation of voting and unruly behaviour at political party meetings.
Aga revealed that penalties for the offences as provided in the 2010 Electoral Act as Amended in 2015 carried sentences upon conviction ranging from N50 million to N500,000 and Prison terms ranging from 10 years to 12 months.
Ms. Halima Sadiq, the Acting Executive Director, PIBCID said the organisations would work to create safe spaces for youths participation in politics.
She enjoined the youth leaders to take the message of the meeting back to their respective areas, adding “It is another opportunity to change the narratives of our state.’’
Sadiq, however, appealed to political office seekers, party members and supporters to engage in issue-based campaigns, devoid of hate speeches and spreading of unfounded information that could mar the electoral process.
Mr Ben Ajewole, the Project Officer of PIBCID said the campaign was targeted at youths because they were always at the forefront of electoral violence.
Ajewole said that the campaign would also build their capacity to resist the temptation of being used to perpetrate violence.
Durotifa Olusegun, Kogi West Zonal youth leader speaking on behalf of other youth leaders commended the organisers of the peace forum for the opportunity and pledged that they would desist from illegalities that could disrupt the election. (NAN)
Babachir Lawal, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, has said that APC National leader and former governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu, stands a chance of being a good President of Nigeria after President Buhari completes his tenure in 2023.
Babachir whose appointment was terminated by President Buhari in October 2017 after he was accused of violations of law and due process in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE), said this when he spoke to a cross-section of newsmen in Yola, Adamawa state on Friday October 18th.
“By 2023 when Buhari’s tenure will be over, he’ll go back to Daura to face his cows like I am doing. But you see, every leader must leave behind a legacy. I will like to see that he leaves behind a legacy of achievement.
Bola Tinubu is my friend of many years. Buhari is my big boss. Bola Tinubu without prejudice that he’s my friend, will make a good president. Other issues notwithstanding, he will make a good modern president because the presidency these days is scientific” he said
It would be a gross understatement if you describe him as a chip off the old block. Save for his height-about seven feet, and broad frame, he is a perfect replica of his father, General Ibrahim Babangida, in appearance, character and intellect. Like his old man, he is deeply intelligent, yet witty; very introspective, yet genial; above all, a gentleman who, according to his friends, is generous with his time, and, perhaps, his resources.
Over the past 20 years, Muhammad, a security consultant, has made his mark in diverse business endeavours like banking, real estate, education, and oil and gas. He has also served on the boards of Unity Bank and NEXIM Bank-where he heads the Committee of the Board on Finance and General Purpose, Credit and Strategy.
A polyglot, and an outdoor adventurist who passionately loves playing polo, basketball and tennis, Muhammad Babangida has also served on the boards of several government and private organizations, both at home and abroad.
Apart from breaking off his father’s shadows, Muhammad, in this interview, spoke about the day his world metaphorically collapsed when his mother, Dr. Maryam Babangida, succumbed to cancer. He also talked about the scariest day of his life, April 22, 1990, when Major Gideon Orkar led some middle-ranking soldiers and subalterns to attempt to sweep the carpet off his father’s feet at Dodan Barracks, Lagos.
The coupists almost got General Babangida and his family, having penetrated his official residence and broke into his bedroom. But the General escaped through a default route with his family. Muhammad was abroad at the time and had to endure 24 long hours before he could get news about his family. “Those were the longest hours of my life,” he said. “It was the scariest moment of my life.”
Indeed, the coup was one of the bloodiest in Nigeria’s history. Apart from Lt. Col. U.K. Bello, General Babangida’s ADC, who was shot and killed during the coup, Dimka, General Mamman Vatsa, and 40 others were convicted and executed via firing squad.
Muhammad Babangida also told the story you never heard or read anywhere. He recalled that night in June of 1993 when his father made the nationwide radio and television broadcast annulling that year’s presidential election (held on June 12, 1993). General Babangida voided the vote when it was apparent that his friend and candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Basorun M.K.O. Abiola, was coasting home to a landslide victory.
Young as he was then, Muhammad, said he and his brother, Aminu, asked their father why he cancelled the vote that would have seen his friend rule the country after him. Rejecting the word ‘challenge’, Muhammad recalled that they were in the family’s expansive living room at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, when his father walked in.
“We were in the living room when he had done the recording,” Muhammad recounts. “He came and he said, ‘I just annulled June 12.’ We both looked at each other and we looked at him, and said: why would you do that? And he said ‘you are too young to understand the intrigues of governance.’ And we said, but it is about you and your administration. And he said, ‘well, perhaps, this is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life.’ So, you could see that his hands were tied. He was limited. He couldn’t do what he would have wished to do. And this is probably a story most Nigerians don’t know.” Excerpts:
What does it mean to be the first son of General Ibrahim Babangida?
We thank Almighty Allah, it is a rare privilege, and a great honour for me to have a dad like my father who is highly distinguished. He has taught us so much and I am very privileged to be his son.
I know the name Ibrahim Babangida must have opened a lot doors for you.
We thank Almighty Allah.
But conversely, what burden or burdens does the name bring to you?
Being his first son, there is no doubt there is that weight you have to carry. There is that burden you have to carry as his first son. It is always there. But on a scale, I think the benefits and the privileges outweigh the burdens. And wherever we can help, we are definitely able to come in and help people when the need arises. Overall, we are very privileged to be children of our father.
Can you let me an insight into few of the burdens that you have had to carry as the first son, the heir of the Babangida Family?
I think the first thing that is always in the minds of people when they encounter children of such great Nigerian would always be something like: ‘Ha, these children…’ There is always this preconceived idea of the character of the children, a stereotyping of some sort, which is always wrong. There is the idea of ‘They are spoilt children. They do not have the discipline’, and stuff like that. For us, having to break through that barrier, first, in most cases, is a big challenge. And we know this. And by the time they interact with us, then, they realize we are not that stereotypical tag they put on such children. That is one of burdens we’ve had to overcome. Sometimes, it’s a very big issue for us.
How do you handle it?
Be yourself. Be as natural as possible and that is who you are. That is how we were brought up. We were not brought up to have any air around us, or any immaturity, or lack of respect. That’s how we were brought up. We were brought up very well by our late mother. So, we always carry that with us. And fortunately, after some time, that speaks for us in most cases; and we don’t draw attention to ourselves. We are very quiet, we are very private as much as possible and people begin to have a different impression after encountering us. We thank God.
People generally believe that you people from privileged homes live perpetually under the shadow of your rich or legendary fathers and mothers. People don’t give you credit for your personal achievements. How do you handle that challenge? Or, is it not a challenge?
One of the biggest issues in the society is that people are not ready to look deeper than what is on the surface. On the surface it appears, like you narrated, that we are just here; we are privileged children; and we don’t need to do anything. Then again, you remember that the shadow of our father is so large and we, as children, are trying to create our own shadows somewhere else. Somehow it’s quite difficult because these are people who have been in the thick of things for, maybe, 40 years of this nation, whether at the level of the army, or at the national level where he was president, and so on. Trying to break that has been a problem, but we know that at our own individual levels we are doing so much. At our own level, we have our own companies; we have our responsibilities that we are doing. And we appreciate the fact that his image is larger than we can imagine. Obviously, his name always opens doors. Like I said, we are very privileged and we thank God.
What is the scariest moment of your life as the heir of General Babangida?
I think there are a few. But the one that scared me, and that I would remember most was the attempted coup of 1990; the Major Gideon Orkar coup. I was away and the family was in Lagos. I was out of the country at that time. So, you can imagine not being there when all this was going. You are able to have information. You are not able to make contact with your parents; your family. And you are just in a foreign land; totally on your own. Many thoughts were just racing through my mind at that time. And the fact that I was not able to make contact with them for at least 24 hours created a lot of panic and anxiety in me. That remains, perhaps, the most serious moment of my life. Those were the longest 24 hours of my life. They were the most anxious. That remains one of the scariest moments in my life.
How do you feel when people say your father is a living legend? Or, when some people, in some quarters, would say, your father would have been a perfect President for Nigeria but this and that. Again, how do you feel when people talk about issues like corruption and they say your father government created the process that fuelled corruption? How do you react to that? That is one. When people also vilify him for June 12, 1993, how do you feel? Do those things haunt you?
For me, the first thing that I would look at in relation to this topic is the human nature. First of all, as human beings we are not perfect. We are bound to make mistakes; and then society, no matter how good you are, no matter how well you think you have done, in governance or leading people, there would always be a section somewhere who would always have something negative to say about you irrespective of whatever type of position, whether it’s the presidency, the head of department, or whatever the case may be. That is society. And for me, my dad was able to administer the country for eight years; no doubt, he made a series of mistakes. But he has also made some very positive impact on Nigeria.
So, when people say those negative things, I would always bring out the positive. I would always let them realize that no human being is perfect. There is no Head of State or President in the history of this country that has been able to exit with a perfect record. There is nobody. And it will continue as such. You just come, do what you can do, play your part and move on. The next person will come and play his own part. Nobody can get all aspects of this nation in such a perfect order, it is not possible. So, I take with a pinch of salt. When I was much younger, it used to hurt me.
It used to hurt you?
Yes, I was very disturbed about it. But one thing he always said was that we should develop a thick skin to such criticism, as long as the intent was not evil or negative, or it was not malicious. Then, leave the rest. Do your part, give them the other side of the argument. Like June 12, we all understood that it would be one of the biggest things that would remain as something that would haunt us for the rest of our lives. We understand that. But I am sure deep down, my dad would have passed on the mantle of leadership to his friend. There is no doubt about that.
To Basorun M.K.O Abiola?
Yes. Like he said to me when I encountered him (on the issue). I said: why did you do this? He said, ‘Well, it’s part of governance that you don’t understand’ as a young boy at that time. So, to me, mistakes have happened, (what matters) is how you rise above those mistakes. We have learnt as a country. There have been tremendous benefits for some group of people who benefitted from that mistake, who are in the helm of affairs currently today. Because it was from that, that you saw the Southwest become so strong and is now developed to a point whereby their leader was able to create a bloc for the region where most of his protégés were in leadership positions at that time. And these were people who benefitted from the annulment of June 12.
So, there was always the positive side of that annulment which gave rise to what we are saying today. In as much as it was a painful experience, the nation has, I think, grown out of that by now; and we have mended fences from that hurt. The president now has been able to recognize the family, he has been able to cool the tempers, and we hope from that, we should just be able to move on. That is just my position.
The day you challenged you father on June 12, what was his reaction?
(Cuts in) I didn’t challenge him. He came to us, me and my brother, Aminu.
Yes. We were at the (Aso Rock Presidential) Villa at the time. We were in the living room when he had done the recording. He came and he said, ‘I just annulled June 12.’ We both looked at each other and we looked at him, and said: why would you do that? And he said ‘you are too young to understand the intrigues of governance.’ And we said, but it is about you and your administration. And he said, ‘well, perhaps, this is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life.’ So, you could see that his hands were tied. He was limited. He couldn’t do what he would have wished to do. And this is probably a story most Nigerians don’t know.
Mum was a pillar of strength and our rock. It would be 10 years this December that she left us. Honestly, we miss her so dearly every single day because, she made such a huge impact in our lives. She was everything for us. We miss her every single day.
I am so sorry to bring back sad memories, but the day she passed on, what was your world like, and the world of your siblings? Was there an immediate void?
Well, we give solace to the fact that as Muslims, we are always consoled by the fact that all of us have to go through it at one point or the other. There is nothing you can do to change it. But, when she did pass on, we were shattered as a family, as her children, because this was somebody who was in all aspects of our lives. She was always for ever present in our lives and we had to make certain adjustments, obviously. And life has not been that easy since her demise; but we thank God. We give thanks to the Almighty, well-wishers, family and friends for their continued support.
Mr Simon Achuba has insisted that he is the Deputy Governor of Kogi State.
He stated this in a telephone interview with Channels Television on Friday, shortly after he was impeached by members of the State House of Assembly.
“What they have done is nothing. I am the deputy governor of Kogi State and I remain the deputy governor of Kogi State,” Achuba said while condemning the action of the lawmakers.
Earlier, the House in a unanimous decision impeached the embattled former deputy governor following the submission of a report of the committee set up by the State Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajana, to investigate an allegation of gross misconduct against him.
Majority Leader of the House and member representing Ajaokuta State Constituency, Mr Hassan Abdullahi, had told reporters that the Speaker, Mr Mathew Kolawole, received the committee’s report which was studied and deliberated upon before the lawmakers took the decision.
A Complete Illegality?
Moments later, Mr Achuba stressed that his impeachment by the lawmakers was illegal, saying they didn’t follow the due process involved.
He said, “Impeachment has processes and the last process of impeachment is the verdict of the panel.
“If the panel says the case of the complainant is proved, it means that the accused which is the respondent in the case can be removed. But if their case is not proved, they can’t do anything concerning my office and that is the situation.”
According to Mr Achuba, the report before the Assembly stated that the case brought against him was not proved.
He explained that he did what was expected of him and presented himself before members of the seven-man panel set up by the Chief Judge in the state.
“So, what you have seen is the continuation of the illegality that I have complained about loudly.
“I will get a copy of the report in no time to prove to you that what they have done is complete illegality,” Achuba said.
President Muhammadu Buhari has been advised to take urgent steps that will lead to restructuring of Nigeria in order to rescue the country from its current challenges. Giving the advice in this interview by TUNDE THOMAS, renown cleric and elder statesman, Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi said restructuring is the only solution to Nigeria’s problems. The 89-year-old cleric further warned against Nigeria’s break up adding that such will be calamitous.
What is your assessment of Nigeria at 59?
Honestly speaking, this is not the Nigeria the founding fathers dreamt of. In 1960 when Nigeria gained independence from our colonial master, the British, there was a great expectation not only among Nigerians but also from other nations in Africa and the rest of the world that the new nation called Nigeria will be the hope of Africa and the black race. The expectation was that within a short period of time, Nigeria will transform into a nation everybody will be proud of, but sadly that has not been the story.
Although the founding fathers started very well, they laid a good foundation but everything changed with the military coup of 1966 and since then Nigeria has been declining but my prayer is that God will restore this nation on the path of glory and greatness. But if this must happen, we have to do the will of God and not our own will.
At 59, we are not where we ought to be. Nigeria has become a big embarrassment but we still thank God that we still remain one. Although we still remain one but the desired unity is not there. Nigeria has become deeply divided. Ethnicity, religion and politics are dividing us daily and that’s why we need to sit down and dialogue. We need to tell ourselves the bitter truth whether we still continue to remain as one nation or not.Without doing that we can’t move forward. Without dialogue, Nigeria can’t move forward. Time is no longer on our side because we can’t continue like this. If we continue like this, we will get nowhere. If our leaders are pretending that all is well, they are deceiving themselves. Deception will not help. Nigeria is made up of so many nations, and we are not united and this is why we are having all these problems.
The British, our colonial master forced us together through the amalgamation in 1914, but it is obvious that arrangement is not working, and that is why we should dialogue, otherwise it will be difficult for us to move forward as a nation.
With what you are saying, are you suggesting the convocation of another national conference?
Organising another national conference will be a waste of time and resources. We’ve had series of national conferences in the past, what has happened to the previous conferences? What has happened to their reports and recommendations? They have been dumped and gathering dust. This is one major problem with Nigeria. We have problem with implementation of policies and programmes. Government at all levels is guilty of this. It is not only limited to the federal government. Implementation of policies is a major problem in Nigeria at all levels.
When former President Olusegun Obasanjo organized a national conference even though Obasanjo reluctantly organized that conference but at least there was a report, and there were recommendations, but were those recommendations implemented? No. The same thing repeated itself when former President Goodluck Jonathan was also there. The 2014 national conference was not only well organized but it also cost the nation billions of naira, and far-reaching decisions that can help move Nigeria forward were taken at that conference but when President Muhammadu Buhari got elected into office in 2015, he dumped 2014 national conference reports and recommendations.
Obviously, Buhari is not keen on implementing 2014 conference reports, and this is a major problem with Nigeria. Our leaders should realize that government is continuum, when you get into office, you don’t have to start your own programme all over again. You should continue from where your predecessor left, especially if it has to do with programme and policies that will impact positively on the citizens.
But this has not been the case with Nigeria, our leaders introduce politics into whatever they are doing. They politicize everything, and sadly they do this for their own personal and self interests. They don’t put the nation’s interest first.
If we now say we are going to organize another national conference, what’s the guarantee that its reports will be implemented? It will still be the same story. Organising another national conference will not only be a waste of time, but it will also be a waste of national resources as it will cost us billions of naira to do so. Instead of wasting time on another national conference, we can look at the reports and recommendations of past conferences and bring out those ones that can help move Nigeria forward.
Calls for scrapping of zoning in 2023 by Governor Nasir el-Rufai, Alhaji Bashir Tofa and some groups in the North have been generating controversy-
(Cuts in) All these are distractions, and it is the true characters of our political leaders. It shows that they are greedy and selfish. All these talks about 2023 are about self-interest and not about the interests of the common man. Our political leaders are greedy, very greedy. Those politicians talking about 2023 are not thinking of Nigeria, they are not thinking about the people. They are only thinking and concerned about how they will have their way. They are not bothered that today, Nigeria is bleeding. They are not bothered that there is hunger and poverty in the land. They are not bothered about the rising insecurity. They are not bothered that kidnappers, bandits and armed robbers are making life difficult for Nigerians. Are these politicians serious? Do they have the fear of God?
In 2019, politicians are already talking about 2023 as if they are God. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? These politicians should stop distracting Nigerians. What people expect from them now is good governance.
But what’s your take on the issue of 2023?
To be candid, I believe that the Southeast deserves it. Since Nigeria got independence, the Southeast geo-political zone has not produced the President. Igbo deserve it in 2023. Although late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, an Igbo, was Nigeria’s first president in 1960, but he was just a ceremonial president, the real power and authority was in the hands of the late Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.
But we should also not forget that the Middle Belt is also complaining of marginalization. They are complaining that they have been oppressed for long, and that they also deserve to have it in 2023. Not only that, some groups in the North, especially the Northeast and the Northcentral geo-political zones are also complaining of marginalization. They are also insisting that they deserve it in 2023.
So what’s the way out?
Restructuring is the key. It is the answer to all these agitations over 2023. If we restructure, then Nigeria will revert to true practice of federalism as it was done in the First Republic.
In the First Republic, when true federalism was being practiced, there was healthy competition for development among the regions. That time, there was no struggle for control of power at the centre like what is going on now. The military coup of 1966 disrupted that arrangement that was working perfectly well for us and since then struggle for power at the centre has become intense.
But restructuring will help Nigeria to move forward. Restructuring will do us a lot of good, but honestly I don’t know why President Buhari is not giving restructuring of Nigeria the attention it deserves.
Restructuring is the key, it is the solution to the myriads of challenges facing us as a nation today. I don’t know why Buhari and some groups in the North are opposed to restructuring or not keen on restructuring; without restructuring, Nigeria is not going anywhere. We can’t move forward without restructuring.
What’s your reaction to the recent declaration by elder statesman, Chief Ayo Adebanjo that there’s nothing wrong with Nigeria breaking up since the North is not making the country to work?
Adebanjo is obviously angry with the situation of things in the country. He is disappointed that things are not working and that Nigeria is not moving forward as a nation.
It is not only Adebanjo that is upset with Nigeria. But my advice is that we should still not give up on Nigeria. Moreover, break-up won’t be easy. It will be calamitous. It will lead to war, and when there is war, you can imagine the consequences. You can imagine the hardship and the loss of lives that will follow.
Already, Nigeria is bleeding from insecurity, from armed robbers, kidnappers and bandits’ attacks. Don’t also forget that in several parts of the country, some ethnic groups are fighting one another like what is going on among the Tiv and Jukun. There is already a lot of bloodshed in the land, and we don’t want more of that. But if Nigeria breaks up, the consequences will be grave. We will continue to pray for our nation, we will continue to pray for our leaders that God will touch their hearts to do the right things. Nigeria is a nation blessed by God with human and natural resources to prosper and become great but sadly that has not been the story, but definitely break-up is not the answer.
God wants us to remain as one, and this is why I’m appealing to President Buhari to take the issue of restructuring serious. Restructuring will do us a lot of good. I also want to appeal to Buhari and our state governors to pay attention to agriculture. They should realize that oil, which they all rely on for revenue will dry up one day. There are several nations that are not blessed with crude oil, and yet are very prosperous and great. What has been the gain of our over-dependence on oil? There is infrastructural decay all over the country. The roads are bad, hospitals are lacking drugs, unemployment is on the rise, but if our leaders pay attention to agriculture, we will not only be self-sufficient in production, then we will also become exporting nation in some agricultural products. There was a time Nigeria was a leading cocoa producer in the world. Our land is fertile. Paying attention to agriculture will help us a lot.
What’s your position on the controversy that is trailing the election of Professor Banji Akintoye as the new Yoruba leader by some groups recently in Ibadan?
I’m worried by the development. But the controversy wouldn’t have arisen if reconciliatory moves I and late Major-General Adeyinka Adebayo, late President of Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, made had been allowed to work out.
Some years back before his death, General Adebayo invited me to his house in Iyin-Ekiti. On getting there, he told me about the need for the two of us to intervene and settle the disagreement between Pa Reuben Fasoranti and Pa Ayo Fasanmi on who leads the Afenifere socio-cultural group.
At the meeting, we decided to invite both Fasoranti and Fasanmi to Iyin-Ekiti to resolve the issue. Both of them honoured the invitation. On their arrival for the meeting, we decided to leave both of them together in a room to talk to one another about the need to agree on a common leader for the Afenifere.
After sometime they came out, and told us that they’ve discussed, but to our surprise, instead of telling us that they have agreed on who will step down for the other, they just told us that they can’t take that decision on the spot, and that they will have to get back to their bases and brief their followers and supporters, and then get back to us. But surprisingly they didn’t get back to us again. That was the situation until General Adebayo died and even up till today neither Fasoranti nor Fasanmi came back to me, and since then they have been leading their separate groups. I made several efforts to reconcile the two, but it didn’t work out. Some prominent Yoruba leaders even came to meet me here in Akure over the issue but the situation still remain same. But I believe Yoruba need someone that can act as a rallying point. Other ethnic groups in the country also have such leaders.
On Akintoye’s election, it was a group consisting mostly of youths that elected him. He was not even there when he was elected. When he came to visit me in Akure recently, he even told me that he wouldn’t have accepted if members of the group that elected him informed him in advance. He further added that he made wide consultations before he eventually accepted. Since Fasoranti and Fasanmi can’t agree, my advice is that they should let Akintoye be.
I know that there are some Yoruba leaders who are even lobbying and desperate to become Yoruba leader, but Akintoye didn’t lobby, he didn’t impose himself, he wasn’t even aware that some groups have such plans for him, and this is why I said that we should let him be.
The Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Mr Simon Achuba, has been impeached.
Mr Achuba was impeached by members of the Kogi State House of Assembly on Friday in Lokoja, the state capital.
The Majority Leader of the House disclosed this to reporters at the premises of the Assembly complex.
All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart in Niger State, Hon. Jonathan Vatsa, has warned that any attempt to deny the Igbo the Presidency in 2023 amounts to a big threat to the peace and corporate existence of Nigeria as a country.
Vatsa reminded those who think otherwise about Igbo presidency in 2023 that it is their right to have a shot at the Presidency in 2023 and not a privilege, adding that “the South-East geopolitical zone must be allowed to produce the next president in 2023”.
Addressing newsmen in Minna, on Friday during a press conference titled “2023 and the way forward for Nigeria” Vatsa, frontline politician and former Niger State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism said he believes that “every well-meaning Nigerian, every good Christian, every good Muslim must support a President of Nigeria of South -East extraction”.
“I want to seriously warned that we should not take part of this country for granted. If Nigerians have conscience, equity and justice,:it demandd that they should allow the Igbo to produce the next President come 2023.
“If you look at the age bracket of those insinuating that the North can still retain the Presidency in 2023, you will agree with me that most of them have outlived their usefulness.
“I am quite convinced that Igbo have made their consultations from the North, South and majority of them are in support of a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction from South-East.
“I don’t think this is negotiable if at all we want is the peaceful and corporate existence of Nigeria as a country”.
He expressed disappointment over some political actors from the northern extraction who are calling for cancelation of rotational Presidency between the North and South, describing those behind such calls as “enemies of Nigeria”.
Vatsa said Ndigbo, because of their detribalised nature, could be found in the remotest villages in Nigeria, “living peacefully and doing their businesses and paying their taxes”.
He condemned the Arewa agitation for power to remain in the North, saying they should realise that South-East extraction is part of Nigeria and at such they should be given a chance to govern the country.
“A lot of Arewa have been speaking that power should remain in the North as if it is their birth right; Nigeria belongs to all of us and it is bigger than what we think it is. In the spirit of fairness, if we really want to be together the Igbo should be given a chance in 2023.
“Apart from the time of Dr Nnamdi Azikwe and General Aguiyi Ironsi, we have never had Igbo President, so Igbo should rise up and take what is due to them. The northerners are ready to support them and I am calling on Igbo to speak with one voice if they must win in 2023; they must come together and forget their differences.”
He however warned the Igbo to be careful about those who will go and collect money either from the North or South West to sell their conscience, adding that enough should be seen enough; the Igbo man should not be treated as second-class citizens in Nigeria.
The former commissioner also warned that the concentration of power in the North would not do Nigerians any favour rather it will bring disunity in the country.
The Federal Government has earmarked N65 billion for the reintegration of ex-militants under the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
Also, N37.83 billion and N80.88 billion were allocated to the North East Development Commission (NEDC) and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) respectively.
This was even as the government allocated N110 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of roads in every geo-political zone in Nigeria.
The roads which would be done through counterpart funding include the dualisation of Markurdi –Enugu Road; Akwanga –Jos-Bauchi-Gombe Road; reconstruction of the outstanding sections of Benin-Ofosu-Ore-Ajebandele-Shagamu Expressway; construction of Bodo-Bonny Road; pavement strengthening and Asphalt Overlay of Ajebandele-Ijebu-Ode-Shagamu Road; construction of Oju/Loko-Oweto Bridge to link Loko and Oweto and dualisation of Ilorin-Jebba.
Agriculture and rural development got over N11 billion for the promotion and development of the value chain across the country in more than 30 different commodities; N3.97 billion for the veterinary and pest control services.
Also, N8.20 billion was allocated for rural roads and water sanitation; N2.01 billion for National Grazing Reserve Development ; N813 million for mechanization and N1.48 billion would go for Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises (Life) Programme.
N2.86 billion was allocated for Food and Strategic Reserves, N1.81 billion went to agribusiness and market development.
Similarly, N1.67 billion was set aside for the Hawul Inter-Basin Water Transfer Dam project and N700 million was earmarked for Zungeru Wushishi Water Supply while N1.6 billion was budgeted for Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH). The same way, N1 billion went to Special Intervention for North East and IDPs.
Akwa Ibom chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised the alarm over refusal of the Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar to give judgment on appeals filed against the party and its candidates by the All Progressives (APC) and some of its National Assembly candidates.
Addressing the press in Uyo, yesterday, the state publicity secretary of PDP, Mr. Ini Ememobong, said the court upon concluding hearing on the appeals filed by Bassey Etim, Emmanuel Ukoette and the APC against the judgments of the Election Petition Tribunal delivered in favour of Senator Bassey Albert (Akwa Ibom North East) and Unyime Idem (Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency) respectively adjourned for judgment on Tuesday October 15.
Ememobong said on the said date, the panel arrived the court premises but did not sit only for the registrar to announce in open court that judgment in all the cases on the cause list for that day would no longer be delivered, without any further explanation.
“We would have ignored the situation or second guessed that there were genuine reasons for the failure to deliver the judgment, but for the sudden celebration in the camp of the opposition APC, evident majorly on the social media accounts of APC media aides and supporters clamouring that they have caused a change in the panel to sit and hear the appeal and that the new panel is set to deliver judgement in their favour.”
He said the PDP was suspicious of the new found jubilant mood which as conveyed by the opposition APC, is predicated on their report of a new panel by the Court of Appeal whose mandate is to deliver judgement in favour of the APC.
“We urge the noble Justices of the Court of Appeal to do justice according to law and deliver justice, conscious that it is a sacred duty, which they took an oath to perform.
“They should be circumspect of political turncoats and opportunists masquerading as statesmen and federal agents, who promise them favours that can rob the judiciary of its nobility. The Justices must remember their sacred roles as ministers in the temple of justice and avoid the shame that their compromise can bring to their name and the noble profession. They must realise that what money cannot do, more money will not do. Integrity cannot be bought with money, no matter the amount.”
He said it had become traditional for the APC in Akwa Ibom to think that a change of panel would automatically guarantee their victory in court, just like they thought that “federal might” and “walking stick” contractors will help them win at the polls.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has challenged the Presidency to explain the source of funding for the office of the First Lady.
The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari on assumption of office in 2015 had promised not to run the office of the First Lady.
It said there was need for President Buhari to lead by example by ending alleged profligacy in the Presidency to give validity to his directives to ministers and other government functionaries.
Besides, the party noted that the failure of the Presidency to make details of its budget public placed a huge burden on it, especially in the face of allegations of budgetary corruption and financial sleaze.
It said unless the Presidency makes its budget public, any directive on cutting cost of governance was cosmetic.
“The PDP holds that Mr. President remains responsible and answerable for his presidential assurances and Nigerians expect an explanation on the violation of such sensitive undertaking.
“While the PDP is still monitoring the implementation of directive to government functionaries on cost cut, the party tasks President Buhari to take the first step by immediately fulfilling his promise to reduce the Presidential fleet as well as cut his over-bloated entourages and curtail the opulent lifestyle in the Presidency, which is daily flaunted before suffering and impoverished Nigerians.
President Muhammadu Buhari believes a majority of Nigerians will be less bothered about governance if the needed infrastructure is in place.
He made the remark on Thursday when he received a delegation of governors and leaders of the South-East on Thursday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The President noted that when a government struggles to put in place measures that would make life easy for the people, they won’t have an alternative than to speak out.
“We’re trying our best to make sure that infrastructure rehabilitation is carried out very quickly,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his media adviser, Mr Femi Adesina.
President Buhari added, “I personally firmly believe that if we get infrastructure correct – the roads, rail, power, most Nigerians will mind their businesses.
“They would not even care who is in government. But when you deny them infrastructure, it will be difficult for them to compete and move across the country and regions.”
During the meeting, President Buhari approved the release of N10 billion Special Intervention Fund for immediate repair and upgrade of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu State.
He said he was aware of the central nature of the airport to the socio-economic development of the South-East following its closure for repairs since August 24.
The President who noted that he was aware of the infrastructure deficits all over the country declared that his administration was working on remedying the situation.
He appealed to the governors to explain the government’s position to their people, stressing that his administration would not ignore the problems.
“Please, have the courage to continue to explain to your constituencies whenever they feel that there is laxity in government’s effort to rehabilitate infrastructure,” President Buhari pleaded.
He said, “We are doing our best within the resources available to the government. The Federal Government is working to fix the infrastructure deficit in the country.
“The challenges are there. It is our responsibility to fix things, we are doing it and we will continue to do our best in this regard.”
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State commended the President’s effort towards infrastructural development in the region.
He noted the quality of work at the second Niger Bridge and other ongoing Federal projects in the South-East, including the Enyimba Industrial City in Aba.
Governor Umahi, however, described the condition of inter-state Federal roads in the region as deplorable and urged the President to “kindly declare a state-of-emergency” on them with appropriate directives issued.
‘Chieftains of the All Progressives Congress Party (APC) in Ovia North-East Local Government Area of Edo State, have jointly issued ultimatum to their lawmakers-elect at the State House of Assembly, to resume plenary unfailingly on or before October 21, 2019, of face “consequential actions”.
They asked the members-elect, Vincent Uwadiae and Dumez Ugiagbe, to explain why they had failed to present themselves to be sworn-in as members of the State House of Assembly up till the moment.
The decision was taken on Tuesday at an enlarged meeting by party members across the 13 wards in the local government area. They said that the continued absence of the two representatives have created vacuum in the development of the local government area.
Chairman of the APC in the area, Ambassador Etinosa Ighodaro, while addressing the members, noted that the party had earlier sent letters to the two members elect to explain their refusal to be sworn in, which they said they were yet to reply to.
According to him, “The absence of the two members has affected the representation of Ovia North East. We no longer have any one to present our matters before the House.
“Other Constituencies are being represented by their honorable members who were elected the same time with our own. What offence has Ovia North-East committed that they will not have members representing them in the House?
“We call on our members-elect to immediately present themselves for swearing in the House. We cannot afford to lose out in the present developmental stride of the state government.” He said.
The US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to condemn Donald Trump’s pullback of US troops from northern Syria, a formal manifestation of the fierce bipartisan backlash against the president’s controversial policy.
The joint resolution is the first congressional denunciation of Trump’s move, which critics have savaged as essentially providing a green light for Turkish forces to invade northern Syria and attack Kurdish militias.
The House “opposes the decision to end certain United States efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces in Northeast Syria,” the resolution states.
It calls on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “immediately cease unilateral military action” in the area and urges continued US humanitarian support in Syrian Kurdish communities.
Shortly before lawmakers voted 354 to 60 to pass the non-binding measure, Trump disparaged the Kurdish allies he abandoned in the face of the Turkish offensive, saying they were “not angels,” along with Republicans at home critical of his abrupt withdrawal.
Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, has said there are plans to review the wages of all political office holders including state governors in the country. His comments comes amidst calls by the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC for an increase in minimum wages of civil servants.
Speaking at a meeting with members of Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in his office in Abuja, Ngige said
“The last holistic wage review took place in 2011 and a new one is being planned. What is a governor doing with hazard allowance? What hazard when the state is feeding him and his family? What is a governor doing with constituency allowance? The whole state is his constituency. These are what will be holistically reviewed.”
Speaking further, the Minister said “government has put up the Presidential Committee on Salaries headed by the Minister of Finance and co-chaired by me” to review the wages and allowances.
According to Ngige “There are people who earn 300 percent of what others earn and they have the same degree.
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress during the 2019 governorship and rerun elections in Sokoto State, Ahmed Aliyu, and the party, on Wednesday, filed a Notice of Appeal over the judgement of the governorship tribunal.
A member of the party’s legal team, Barrister Bashir Jodi, disclosed this to our correspondent in Sokoto.
Recall that the tribunal had earlier in October, in Abuja, dismissed the petition brought before it, by Aliyu and the party, thereby upholding the victory of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
With Wednesday’s development, Aliyu and the party, are now contesting the judgment of the lower court at the Court of Appeal, Sokoto.
A former Lagos State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Olusegun Banjo, said on Tuesday that ex-governor Akinwunmi Ambode sidelined his ministry in the controversial purchase of 820 mass transit buses for N45bn.
Banjo said this during his appearance before an ad hoc committee set up by the Lagos State House of Assembly to probe the immediate-past governor over the purchase of the buses.
Ambode was expected to appear on Tuesday before the 16-man committee chaired by Fatai Mojeed, but he did not show up.
The immediate-past Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akinyemi Ashade; and ex-Commissioner for Special Duties, Oladejo Seye, also failed to appear but they both wrote to the committee explaining that they were out of the country.
Banjo, who served under Ambode as Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, however, said his former principal shunned the procurement tradition he met on the ground and did not carry his ministry along as regards the purchase of the mass transit buses.
Banjo said, “The way the ministry was structured (under Ambode), it did not allow us to function well.
“The N24bn did not come to my ministry. We didn’t have a running system. As a commissioner, I could not approve one naira. All the MDAs approached the governor directly.”
The ex-commissioner said Ambode’s administration “was not transparent,” adding that “a lot of things could be done without the knowledge of the commissioners.”
“I don’t know what happens to unbudgeted funds when it comes because the Ministry of Finance does not inform my ministry; we don’t have a running system,” Banjo said.
But, the Accountant-General of Lagos State, Mrs Shukrat Umar, when asked if the budget for the purchase of the buses was approved by the State Executive Council, said, “The State Treasury Office acted on Exco’s approval. The buses were in line with Exco’s approval. I would not know whether the Paris Refund Club was discussed or not.”
The Speaker of the Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, said the House would invite Ambode through a newspaper publication.
He said if the ex-governor failed to show up then, the Assembly would resort to issuing a warrant for his arrest.
The All Progressives Congress has said that Nigeria deserves a strong, vibrant opposition to play its conventional role in the polity to deepen democracy, a part which it believes the Peoples Democratic Party is not playing at the moment.
According to spokesman of the ruling party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, it is sad that Nigeria is becoming a one-party state. “As a party that believes in democracy and progressive politics, we cannot pretend any longer,” Issa-Onilu stressed.
The APC spokesman said democracy cannot be said to be fully operational in a situation where the supposed ‘main’ opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has become a joke, irresponsible and rudderless.
He said: “Even as the governing party, we recognize the importance of rigorous and intelligent interrogation of our policies and programmes by the opposition.
“There are a lot to gain by our democracy and our country in an atmosphere of robust engagement by responsible and patriotic opposition. The political system we practice has important roles for the political parties outside of power. The system envisaged that such parties would provide alternative viewpoints and put the governing party on its toes.
“Instead, the PDP and their minions have in the name of opposition continued to distract the government and Nigerians with their post-election delusions, salacious fictions, conjured rifts in government circle and of course the lowest of it all, the pathetic and senseless Jubril of Sudan malicious tale, among other fake news. Tragic!
“It is sad that PDP has finally proved incapable of filling this important democratic space. The other mushroom parties are even worse. Some of the smaller parties are filled with incurable charlatans issuing infantile weekly press statements on behalf of the PDP. Our democracy deserves better.
“The so called Congress of United Political Parties (CUPP), which could have filled the vacuum and engaged the APC administration in useful debates over governance, has become a comedy theater group and frontline PDP minion. CUPP has the unenviable mandate to try to intimidate and blackmail important state institutions such as INEC, the judiciary, and security agencies, on behalf of PDP with the hope of gaining political advantage having been rejected by the majority of the voters.
“As the current administration tackles our national challenges and at a period we all should focus on issues of nation building, the best PDP and its acolytes are offering is a distraction.
“While the PDP wallows in its obscene conducts, Nigeria under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration will continue to consolidate on its status as Africa’s largest economy. Despite inheriting a battered economy, the administration is growing the economy after pulling it out of recession.
“The administration’s record investments in agriculture, social investments and infrastructure projects is paying off hugely. For one, we are now currently the largest rice producing country in Africa as a direct result of conscientious efforts to diversify the economy.
“Our age-long corruption and impunity challenges is no longer the norm. The fight against corruption is oncourse. Collectively and individually, a reorientation in our national life and thinking is emerging”.
Mallam Issa-Onilu further stated that with the continued support of well-meaning Nigerians, the ruling party will do more for the shared prosperity, peace and progress of the nation.
Chief Robert Clarke says President Muhammadu Buhari is handicapped by the nature of government he is leading.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday politics, says the government of today in Nigeria operating “the 1999 constitution that allows corruption to rear its head in every field of endeavor cannot be fighting corruption cannot be fighting corruption.
According to Chief Clarke President Buhari is handicapped because the same system in which he operates is the one creating the corruption.
“You have a government that is fighting corruption whereas the system you are operating to fight the corruption is also breading the corruption. The system allows corruption to thrive,” Chief Clarke said.
He was of the opinion that the corruption cannot be eradicated because it emanates from the system.
Speaking about possible solutions to the corruption problem, Chief Clarke was of the opinion that since the constitution is the canker-worm breeding corruption in Nigeria, then it must be done away with.
“The constitution we are operating upon is a corrupt one… Let us change the constitution and restructure,” Chief Clarke noted.