The Northern Governors’ Forum also congratulated Jonathan on his birthday.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress may have begun moves to pull former President Goodluck Jonathan into the race, Noble Reporters Media has learnt.
NoRM gathered that some APC governors and party leaders on Friday night in Abuja held a meeting with Jonathan where the subject of their discussions centred on issues not unconnected with the 2023 presidential election.
Our correspondent, however, gathered from sources privy to the meeting that the APC governors and leaders mounted pressure on the former president to prepare to take another shot at the nation’s number one seat in 2023 since he’s still constitutionally allowed to lead the country for another term of four years.
The APC governors who met with Jonathan, it was gathered were led by the Governor of Kebbi State, who also doubles as the Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Atiku Bagudu. The others were Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru and the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, who just defected to the ruling party a few days ago.
Also at the meeting were some APC leaders, including former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, said to have visited Jonathan in commemoration of his 63rd birthday.
But NoRM learnt they were part of those who held a private meeting with ex-President Jonathan during their visit.
However, no member of the Peoples Democratic Party attended the meeting, sources said.
Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, had commended Jonathan for continuing to serve Nigeria with zeal and commitment.
Lalong also described the former president as a true democrat whose “passion for the growth of democracy is reflected not only in his records while in office but also of his current engagements where he has travelled round the world to monitor elections and also engage with stakeholders”.
The Plateau governor further praised Jonathan’s patriotism and dedication to the unity, peace and development of Nigeria as well as his good counsel on various issues.
Lalong urged the former president to remain focused on his life of service which has brought honour and goodwill to Nigeria.
On his part, President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier congratulated Jonathan on his birthday, describing him as a leader who has brought honour to his country.
The former president had lost his bid for a second term in office in 2015 to Buhari in 2015, but the duo have remained close since then with Jonathan representing the country in quite a number of international events.
Also, a year ago in his Otuoke, Bayelsa country home, Jonathan had hosted both Badaru and Bagudu when the governors paid him a thank you visit following the victory of the APC governorship candidate in the 2019 governorship election in the state, David Lyon.
But Lyon was later sacked by the Supreme Court which declared PDP’s Douye Diri the winner of the election.
Political watchers say the North and the APC are warming up to Jonathan with a view to queuing behind him for the 2023 presidential election on the platform of the party.
The lawmaker also berated Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State for claiming that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has been unfair to the Southeast.
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP – Abia South), has said that the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has done nothing for the South-east region.
Speaking in an interview on NoRM‘s known Media TV on Friday, the Abia Senator disclosed that the APC has been unfair to the region adding that all the region wants is ‘justice and equity’. He opined that if the Presidency is leaving from the north and coming to the south, then the South-East must be given a chance.
He also condemned the Muhammadu Buhari-led government for clamping down on #EndSARS protesters and labelling them terrorists. He asked the federal government to own up to its mistakes during the protests which led to widespread violence and destruction of lives and properties.
Abaribe noted that the #EndSARS protests showed the failure of the APC government and how it could not handle such a delicate matter. He said the present government is mired in the past and has no connection to the 21st century and the information age.
Eyinnaya accused the the current administration of using propaganda to get to power and now blocking Nigerians from speaking through its agencies.
Abaribe opined that the governor has another agenda for defecting to the APC and not because of the alleged injustice meted out to the Igbos.
“The governor is free to leave for any party but he should stop blackmailing the PDP and its leadership”.
He noted that the governor does not have the support of the members of the National Assembly from the state who are the true representatives of the people.
He further revealed that Umahi’s defection will be gauged in the 2023 general elections, urging Nigerians not to place value on the movement of the governor to the APC.
In the same vein, he issued a strong warning to the Governors, Aminu Tambuwal, Ben Ayade, and others against leaving the PDP for APC.
The leader of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Primate Elijah Ayodele, has spoken on the defection of the Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
He said that Umahi had begun a journey that will lead to the end of his political career, adding that APC will crack soon, and the reason behind him joining the party will not be achieved.
Ayodele explained that if the governors cross to APC, they will lose their political grounds completely.
“The governor of Ebonyi, David Umahi, has set out on a journey that will see the end of his political career. He will lose his political credence,” he said in a statement to newsmen on Thursday.
“Also, to the governor of Sokoto, Aminu Tambuwal, the governor of Cross rivers State, Ben Ayade, and the Governor of Abia State. If they decamp to APC, They will lose their political grounds completely.
“I foresee that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will crack and if the Governors cross to the party, their aim will never be achieved.”
I know people might call him names, but that is the price men of principles have to pay for acting according to their conscience and convictions” President Buhari added.
President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the defection of Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, to the All Progressives Congress (APC), describing it “as a bold move driven purely by principle rather than opportunistic motives.”
Reacting to the defection, President Buhari said: “I am proud of Governor David Umahi for taking this bold decision in accordance with his conscience and principles rather than any external influence or coercion.”
According to the President, “Good governance is very important to us in the APC, and I’m glad that the governor has cited this as a major factor in his decision to join us. I urge our citizens to pay less emphasis on identity politics if we want our democracy to make a positive impact on our country.”
He noted that “with men like Umahi, I foresee a brighter future for our democracy because the voters will be more motivated by performance records of parties and their candidates.”
“Let me once again; commend the boldness of Governor Umahi for taking this courageous decision in a country where principles are in short supply among many.
Ologbondiyan also confirmed that the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party would meet on Thursday.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has claimed that some disgruntled members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will form a new political party ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, hinted this while speaking on NoRM‘s known Media on Monday.
“We are aware in the Peoples Democratic Party that there are those who are losing out in APC and they are contemplating a third force just as they did in 2014.
“And as such, they are looking at coming to the PDP and breaking the party by taking members of the PDP to create a new political party,” Ologbondiyan said.
The PDP spokesman also insisted they were not bothered about which region of the country APC will zone its presidential ticket for the next election.
“The PDP is a holistic political party and we are not going to allow distractions. The leadership of the PDP under Prince Uche Secondus is steadying the party for the purpose for which Nigerians are aligning with us come 2023,” he added.
The lawmaker noted that Ojebode would be missed by the APC and Oyo people.
Samuel Ojebode, a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State is dead.
The renowned Awoist, 87, died on Saturday.
He was the authority of the APC in Oyo Federal Constituency.
Senator Teslim Folarin has expressed sorrow over the death.
In a statement on Sunday by his spokesman, Yekeen Olaniyi, Folarin said the exit was another great loss to the progressives family in Nigeria.
Folarin recalled that his contributions to the party and his electoral victory in 2019.
“Baba’s last most crucial political assignment on earth was marked with monumental electoral victories as he delivered House of Assembly seats, House of Representatives seats and Oyo Central Senatorial seat to APC. He hosted peaceful, fruitful and rancor-free APC meetings.
“He was an exemplary leader, considering his boldness, oratory prowess, bluntness, integrity and dexterity. I will miss Baba. He was quite steadfast and dogged in defence of good governance and his death has robbed the progressive family of one of its eloquent defenders.”
Folarin commiserated with the family, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, Dr Sokan Ojebode, founder of Atiba University, and others.
He prayed that Ojebode’s soul finds solace in the bosom of God.
The candidate said he would push for the rehabilitation of major roads in Ikorodu and those of other areas in the senatorial district to ease movement.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday urged residents of Lagos East Senatorial District to come out en masse on Oct. 31 and vote for the party in the by-election.
Chief Kaoli Olusanya, APC Vice Chairman, Lagos East Senatorial District, made the appeal during a meeting with community leaders, party members, and other residents in Agbowa, Ikorodu.
He commended residents for always coming out to show support for the party as well as its candidates at campaign venues.
Olusanya, however, said coming out in large numbers at campaign meetings was not enough, urging them to translate their support to massive votes for the party.
“We are happy that everywhere we have been, we have always received massive support from the people of Lagos East.
“You always come out to show how much you love the party and our candidates.We really thank you.
“Yes, we know we will win, but we want to win overwhelmingly. We, therefore, urge you to come out en masse on Oct. 31 and translate your support to massive votes for APC”, he said.
He said though the party had always won in the Senatorial district, the number of votes had decreased over the years.
Olusanya said the total votes the party recorded in the entire Ikorodu division in 2019 was 45,000, describing the figure as disappointing.
The APC chieftain said that other areas in the Senatorial district – Epe, Kosofe, Somolu, Ibeju Lekki – recorded low figures, and the results did not reflect the party’s popularity.
He urged residents to use their voter cards to change the trend and deliver massive votes for APC in the by-election.
Olusanya commended residents of Agbowa and those of neighbouring communities of Ikosi-Ejirin and Imota for warmly receiving the party’s campaign team.
He said they would not regret their support for the party, describing Mr Tokunbo Abiru, the party’s Senatorial standard-bearer, as a competent and trusted candidate.
He said that Abiru would not disappoint if elected.
Olusanya said Abiru retired as CEO of Polaris Bank after transforming the bank.
He said the candidate would bring the same interventionist zeal in the service of the people.
Abiru, on his part, said he was contesting the seat because he wanted to make an impact in the Senatorial district.
He said he had the passion, the drive, and competence to offer quality representation, and would not disappoint if elected.
He said he would carry out programmes and initiatives to alleviate poverty, promote employment and social inclusion in the constituency if elected.
Abiru appealed to residents of the Senatorial district to come out en masse and vote for him on Oct.31.
Noble Reporters Media culled that a good number of residents were at the campaign meeting.
Some of the prominent party chieftains include a former Lagos lawmaker, Mr Segun Olulade; Chairman, Igbogbo Baiyeku Local Council Development Area, Mr Sesan Daini; and Director, Special Duties, APC Lagos East Campaign Committee, Alhaji Musiliu Ayegoro.
NRM learnt that the campaign train had another meeting at Imota, where they equally sought votes from residents.
Earlier, Abiru and his campaign team visited Oba Mudashiru Bakare, Ranodu of Imotaland, for blessings.
Edo State governor Godwin Obaseki has said he risks losing his integrity if he returns to the All Progressives Congress.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents after the meeting with President Buhari, Obaseki dismissed suggestions that he was set to leave the PDP for the APC, which he said would amount to going against President Muhammadu Buhari’s gospel of integrity.
“[Buhari] said that he wants to leave a democracy that is built on integrity, accountability and hard work. Those were his words and I subscribe totally to that,” Obaseki told journalists after meeting Buhari on Friday morning.
“I couldn’t have contested on a party, won on that party and then consider moving to another party.
“It is not the kind of thing to do; it’s not the right thing to do and I am sure you will not encourage me to do that.”
He, however, pledges loyalty and support to Buhari, whom he said was instrumental to his reelection as Edo State governor.
Obaseki said: “You would recall a couple of weeks before the election, I came to see you and you assured me that we were going to have a free, peaceful and credible election. That is what we had during the election of 19th September and the whole world has acclaimed that Edo election was perhaps one of the best conducted in recent times in Nigeria. This could not have been possible without your insistence that the right things be done, and for that, we want to say thank you very much.”
Obaseki dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) following his disqualification from the party’s gubernatorial primaries.
Obaseki also said he was not disposed to replace former APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, as the new godfather of Edo politics, saying “I should he dealt with accordingly,” if he attempts to do so.
The newly elected Governor dismissed the idea of godfatherism in the polity, adding that the concept was outside the purview of the constitution of Nigeria.
“In the case of godfathers in our politics, I have said in several fora that the whole concept of godfatherism is very dangerous to our democracy,” Obaseki said.
“And that is why when we came into the political fray 2006/2007, the mantra then was to get rid of godfathers from our political life. The reason is simple, the godfather has no constitutional responsibility, the godfather acts outside the constitution and controls people who are constitutional players. So, if we allow that sort of situation to continue, it will be worse than military rule.
“When people who have nothing at stake, no checks and balances just arbitrarily decide that this is the way the constitution should be interpreted or constitutional players should operate, that’s why problems come in.
“God forbid I become a godfather, I should be dealt with accordingly because it’s dangerous to the concept of democracy.”
On how he plans to go about unifying the Edo people after such exchanges of hurtful words during the campaigns, he responded thus: “It is really unfortunate that there was so much bitterness and I can assure that most of it did not come from my camp because, we were not desperate but that is neither here nor there.”
Governors of the All Progressive Congress (APC) stormed Akure, the Ondo state capital on Saturday as Rotimi Akeredolu kicked off his re-election campaign ahead of the November poll.
Some of the Governors present in Akure were Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state, and Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state.
However, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who was expected to flag-off the campaign was absent.
Also absent was the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The party’s flag was presented to Akeredolu by acting National Chairman and Yobe state Governor, Mai Mala Buni.
“Ondo State is receiving first-class governance,” Sanwo-Olu said during his speech. “Ondo state is receiving a progressive man that has brought about real development.”
Akeredolu has “confirmed all promises,” Fayemi said as he urged the crowd at the campaign event to return the Governor for a second term. “Four more years of APC is four more years of development.”
Speaking in Yoruba, Akeredolu warned his supporters that “there is work to do” in order to prevent contesting parties from rigging the election.
Also present at the event was the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
“The turnout here is an indication that he is done well for the people of Ondo state,” the Minister said, “and that there is a very great likelihood that he will be re-elected. And I believe that when he is re-elected, he will perform better than what he has done now, despite the limited resources he has.”
‘The masses are with us’ Meanwhile, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party postponed the flag-off of its campaign for candidate Eyitayo Jegede till September 12; it was originally scheduled for today.
Instead, the PDP campaign team met in Ibadan to strengthen strategy for the November 10 election.
Jegede, after the meeting, said the APC stood no chance.
“The people of Ondo state have now seen the negative effects of APC administration,” he said.
“If they are sure of their position, then they should not have threatened violence, they shouldn’t have said they are relying on federal might, which is what they have been saying all along.
“The masses are with us and they should not impose any violence on the state; let’s have a free and fair election, any day, any time APC will go down.”
The National Organising and Mobilising Secretary of the PDP, Sen. Austin Akobundu, also said the PDP will not take anything for granted in its quest to reclaim Ondo state.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said it will only accept credible candidates for the October 31 concurrent legislative by-elections scheduled to be conducted across eight states of the Federation.
APC Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni, gave the warning while inaugurating the Party’s Screening and Appeal Committees for the by-elections at the APC National Secretariat, Abuja, according to a statement released on Thursday by spokesman Yekini Nabena.
The Committees are saddled with the responsibility of screening APC Candidates for the by-elections.
Buni, who was represented at the inauguration on Wednesday by the APC Caretaker Committee secretary, Senator John Udoedeghe, further stated that the party was moving in a new direction and would ensure that things were done properly.
He charged the members of the Committees to be fair to all the aspirants and ensure that only those with impeccable records in their careers were chosen as APC candidates.
Responding on behalf of the other members, Prof. Stephen Ocheni assured that the members of the Screening and Appeal Committees would discharge their assignment with fairness and a sense of responsibility. Ocheni who was a former Minister expressed gratitude to the national leadership of the Party for the confidence reposed in them and for giving them the task to perform on behalf of the Party.
Below is the party’s schedule of activities for the legislative by-elections:
– Screening of Aspirants: Wednesday August 26th, 2020 – Thursday August 27th, 2020.
– Publication of Claims and Objections: Friday 28th August, 2020
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives has rejected the 774,000 jobs from the Special Public Works Programme of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The party, in a statement by the leader of the Caucus, Rep. Kingsley Chinda dissociated itself from the scheme, describing it as politically motivated.
He accused the APC-led government of misusing Nigeria’s scarce resources with the intention to expend N52 Billion under the guise of “creating employment” for only three months.”
Read Full Statement Below:
The PDP Caucus in the House of Representatives has unequivocally rejected and dissociated itself from the Special Public Works Programme of the Buhari led APC Administration.
The caucus signed by its Chairman Kingsley Chinda (PDP Rivers) is strongly admonishing its members to ignore the letters written to Senators and House of Representatives members by APC State Coordinators of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) on behalf of the Minister of State (Labour and Employment), asking for the nominate of 30 and 25 individuals respectively from each Local Government Area in their constituency.
The statement reads ” The Caucus considers this correspondence – a condemnable attempt to bribe and hoodwink the institution of the National Assembly into complicity in the misapplication of Nigeria’s scarce resources for the implementation of a questionable, misguided, absurd and arguably unlawful scheme that alarmingly intends to expend N52 Billion under the guise of “creating employment” for only three months.”
“This regrettably is the most unsustainable employment scheme implemented by any government”
“While the caucus espouses the eradication of poverty and the creation of gainful and sustainable employment for the burgeoning population of unemployed Nigerians under this administration, it flies in the face of reason and common sense why this government insists on expending enormous resources for the implementation of a politically motivated transient Programme, dubiously shrouded as “employment” having no empowering or enduring benefit to ordinary Nigerians especially when several viable and veritable job and wealth-creating alternatives exist for the application of the funds.”
Rep Chinda said “Elementary division of the approved Programme budget of N52billion by 774 LGA’S in Nigeria implies expenditure of N67.184million (about $150,000) in each LGA of Nigeria which if applied judiciously and transparently will suffice for the establishment of a Viable Industry in each LGA”
“He added that for several years to come will provide gainful, enduring and sustainable direct and indirect employment for more than 100 skilled and unskilled poor unemployed Nigerians per LGA and provide an invaluable opportunity for future growth, skill acquisition and economic development.”
“New International Labour Organization (ILO) data reveals that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMES) account for a staggering 70% of employment worldwide, as they constitute more than 90% of enterprises in all developing countries of the world and in addition to creating employment, they are the engines of economic growth and social development contributing up to 70% of the GDP of all countries in the world (ILO 2019).”
” According to World Bank estimates, 600 million jobs will be needed by 2030 to absorb the growing global workforce, which makes SME development a high priority for many governments around the world (The World Bank 2020) and should ordinarily be of extreme priority to the Nigerian Government”.
“From the estimated sum of N67.184million intended to be expended in each LGA of Nigeria, N1million per SME can be utilized for the creation and development of 67 SME’S per LGA who will engage in viable and lucrative businesses in the Agriculture, mining and other value chains that in most instances would be peculiar to each individual LGA and create gainful employment for up to 3 or more poor Nigerians per SME.”
“Even in emerging markets and developed countries of the world, Micro Enterprises which are usually categorized as having less than 10 employees constitute between 75% to 95% of businesses in the country (OECD 2020, The Company Warehouse n.d.), it can very confidently be inferred that these enterprises probably constitute up to 99% of the businesses in Nigeria”.
The creation and development of 67 SMES in each LGA will provide at least 134 actual sustainable jobs per LGA and 103,716 nationwide. The impact on Nigeria’s economy and GDP will be astronomical and will set Nigeria on the path to economic growth and development. The gains to Nigerians and Nigeria’s socio-economic growth and development can be sustainable and enduring if the Nigerian government (Executive and Legislature) tackles the three cardinal challenges faced by SME’S which according to the International Labour Organization (ILO 2019) include Regulatory Environment.
Access to Finance and Skills shortages by instituting, amending or repealing legislation to avoid complex rules and regulations that impede SME growth, consistent provision of significant financial intervention to SME’S and adequately funding NDE, SMEDAN and other relevant government agencies to continuously provide sublime entrepreneurship training and skill acquisition.
This is common sense and not rocket science! The inability of the Buhari-led APC administration to conceptualize viable ideas for the expenditure of N52billion for the benefit of ordinary poor Nigerians as has been eloquently elucidated by the PDP Caucus of the House of Representatives emphasizes the dearth in cerebral capacity and acumen within the administration to proffer solutions to the myriad of issues bedevilling the nation and informs its inability in more than 5 years to record significant achievements in the administration’s focal campaign tripod of Security, Corruption and Economy.
The Minister of State (Labour and Employment) further bolstered this obvious deficiency when in an attempt to explain and defend the administrations reasons for initiating the Special Public Works Programme, during his speech on Thursday 28 May 2020 displayed alarming ignorance in erroneously likening the Programme to initiatives utilized by industrialized nations like the United States, during the Great Depression and later adopted by Colonial African and Asian countries to tackle poverty and spur economic recovery, growth and development (Premium Times 2020).
“While the concept behind the Buhari administration’s Special Public Works Programme appears to be similar, fundamental differences exist in the initiation, implementation and duration when compared to the innovative programmes utilized by industrialized nations during the great depression and similar initiatives by African and Asian nations as alluded to by the Honourable Minister.”
“These programmes were usually instituted by formal legislation creating dedicated sources of revenue for engagement of poor unskilled workers in the development of specific significant public infrastructure for an extended period for the benefit of current and future generations.”
“The remuneration of workers was either equal to or more than the related countries minimum wage (depending on skillset) with extensive opportunities for skill acquisition while responsibility for implementation of such programmes was domiciled with the heads of the relevant agencies.”
“On April 8, 1935, the US Congress approved the Emergency Relief Appropriation Bill which funded the Works Progress Administration (WPA) one of the agencies under the New Deal programmes created by President Franklin Roosevelt to relieve the economic hardship of the Great Depression, this National Works Program employed more than 8.5 million people on 1.4 million public projects before it was disbanded in 1943 after 8 years (as shown in the Library of Congress 2020, Wikipedia n.d.). Many famous American Landmarks like The Camp David Presidential Estate in Maryland were built under the WPA (Wikipedia n.d.). Similar Public Works Programmes in China (Elegant, S., Ramzy, A. 2009), India, Ethiopia and Rwanda (Zimmermann, 2020) and recent collaborations between ILO and several countries around the world are instituted by formal legislation with dedicated consistent funding, targeted at development of major public infrastructure for extended periods with extensive opportunities for skill acquisition and are either permanently part of the countries extant laws (like India) or have been in existence for decades (like China, Ethiopia and Rwanda).
” None of the countries mentioned by the Minister instituted Public works programmes for three months with no guaranteed consistent source of funding, no specific public infrastructure intended to be developed, no available opportunity for skill acquisition, no plan for implementation or coordination between MDA’S, no transparent identification of unskilled poor target population, politicisation of recruitment procedure and payment of remuneration less than the minimum wage of the country”
“The Buhari administration’s insistence that the Special Public Works Programme is an employment intensive scheme implies that the monthly stipend of N20,000 proposed by this administration as remuneration for target workers is a violation of the provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act 2019 enacted under this same administration which stipulates in Section 3(1-3) that every employer shall pay a minimum wage of not less than N30,000 to each worker every month, the minimum wage shall be the minimum total amount of money an employer of labour is required to pay the lowest-paid worker or employee monthly and any agreement for the payment of wages less than the national minimum wage are void.”
“The powers to grant exemptions conferred on the Minister of Labour and Employment in Section 4(2) of the act requires an order through the National Labour Advisory Council and published in the Federal Government Gazette taking into consideration reports from National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission or other such body that may make representation for such exemption”
“The PDP caucus is unaware of the constitution of the National Labour Advisory Council by this administration till date as is statutorily required and as was demanded for by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) since 2018 or any subsisting order for exemption published in the Federal Government Gazzette which if in existence is another violation of the Act having not been issued through the National Labour Advisory Council. There is also no record of any report from the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission or any other body making representation to the Minister for exemption from the provisions of the National Minimum Wages Act.”
” The President who endorsed the payment of N20,000 for implementation of this programme, the Minister who has hijacked and is superintending its implementation and the NDE’s Director General who is the agency’s accounting officer is in violation of extant provisions of the National Minimum Wages Act and should be sanctioned according to provisions of Section 9 of the Act. Ironically the Act never envisaged that the Minister who in Sections 11-13 is saddled with the enforcement and monitoring of the implementation of the Act would be its chief violator.”
“The probable illegality of this Programme is further emphasized by certain actions of the Minister of State Labour and Employment which appear to be in violation of the NDE Act. All powers bestowed on the Minister in the Act are clearly on the substantive Minister, the Minister of States assertion about being the supervising Minister of the NDE is alien to the Act, any internal policy’s or directives within the Ministry flowing from Nigeria’s flawed Ministerial appointment system cannot supersede provisions of formal legislation”
“The initiation and appropriation of funds for the Special Works Programme under the NDE and not the Ministry was based on the statutory mandate of the agency and confers responsibility for implementation on the agency. According to Section 20 of the Procurement Act, the NDE Director-General is the agency’s accounting officer and will be held accountable for the expenditure of funds appropriated for the agency”
” The NDE DG’S public outcry about being oblivious of the processes instituted by the Minister of State for implementation of the Programme indicts the Minister who in excising the implementation of this Programme from the Management of NDE has arrogated powers to himself not conferred on him by the NDE Act and prevented the DG from performing his statutory functions and assuming responsibility for the expenditure of funds allocated to his agency.”
“In his 28 May 2020 speech, the Minister of States reference to provisions of Section 16(1) as justifying his creation of Special Committees known as State Selection Committees across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT is flawed and at variance with that provision of the Act which indicates the substantive minister can from time to time constitute a Special Committee of the Directorate and not special committees”
“Considering the cost implication of the creation of this Special Committee as stipulated in Section 16(2) of the Act which allows the NDE Board to prescribe allowances payable to organizations and persons elected as members of the Special Committee of the Directorate, the Act does not suggest the creation of several committees across the 36 states which will unreasonably incur expenditure on behalf of the government”
“The skewed composition of members of the State Selection Committees in favour of APC members, political thugs and party stalwarts confirms the suspicion that these State Selection Committees are conduits for misappropriation of Nigeria’s Commonwealth for settlement of APC members and for the prosecution of a false employment narrative and façade”
“The PDP Caucus of the House of Representatives as members of the National Assembly do not exonerate themselves from responsibility in the approval of funds for implementation of the misguided Special Public Works Programme and unreservedly apologize to Nigerians for the planned misapplication of their scarce resources”
“The recent revelations from the House of Representatives probe of the NDDC, the surreptitious introduction and questionable consideration of the controversial Water Resources Bill; the attempt to railroad the House into the passage of the plagiarized Infectious Diseases Bill and the clandestine consideration and passage of the CAC Act are a few examples of the current dictatorial, biased and divisive modus operandi of the APC led 9th National Assembly were decisions are taken on behalf of members without their full knowledge or participation, issued hinging on statutory functions and privileges are concluded upon by individual members in leadership positions and were opposing views are unwelcome and stifled”.
“The Caucus has resolved to employ legislative and lawful processes including the institution of legal action were necessary to address any encroachment on the performance of our statutory functions and fundamental human rights.”
“The blatant and brazen disregard of a co-equal arm of government and elected representatives of the Nigerian people by the Minister of State who was grandstanding before the Nigerian people and the tacit approval of his actions by the President in authorizing his continued implementation of this skewed programme regardless of definite pronouncements by the National Assembly and apparent violations of legislation in this regard confirms the Buhari administration’s aversion to the Rule of law, constitutional provisions and institutions and disinterest in the wellbeing of the Nigerian people.”
“The ulterior motives of this administration in the implementation of this programme are obvious and no longer left to conjecture! This is an APC initiative intended to enrich APC stalwarts by creating opportunities to pilfer Nigeria’s resources under the guise of creating employment.”
“The intended allocation of slots to elected political officials as suggested by the Minister are as follows; Governors – 40, Senators – 30, House of Representatives Members – 25, Ministers – 50, House of Assembly Members – 20, Council Chairmen – 20, Religious organizations and organized bodies – 20, which gives a total of at most 205 in each LGA. What is the plan for engagement of the balance of about 795 individuals and how will ordinary Nigerians who are not stalwarts or members of the APC participate in this scheme when the State Selection Committees were selected by this APC administration and are composed of APC members?”
“Multiplication of N20,000 by 1000 persons in each of the 774 LGA’S of the country gives a total of N46.44billion as the actual amount to be utilized for the programme in three months leaving a balance of N5.56billion when deducted from the total approved sum of N52billion. Why is there a surplus of N5.56billion and what is this amount intended to be utilized for in three months when the CBN is supposed to make payments directly to the accounts of beneficiaries? ;
“Are the banks who are supposed to handle registration and collation of data of beneficiaries selected through a transparent process in line with extant laws of Nigeria or were they simply selected because they are cronies of the Minister of State and this administration? Is this administration admitting its inability to fight corruption and indicting its own agencies by inferring that transparency of the process can only be guaranteed through banks? ;
“Will the government be charged by the banks for the provision of services that should ordinarily be carried out by the relevant government agency? Are there really any public works identified to be maintained by 1000 persons in each LGA for three months when most LGA’S in Nigeria hardly have any infrastructure? The questions are innumerable!”
“This programme has obviously not been very well thought out and is destined for failure from the onset. It will, unfortunately, be a monumental waste of the nation’s resources and another sad footnote in the chequered history of the Buhari Administration! We admonish the government to jettison the planned three-month Special Public Works Programme for more sustainable alternatives that will utilize related funds to the benefit of Nigerians.”
“This is a defining moment for the APC leadership of the National Assembly whose inaction has elicited the appellation of a lame-duck legislature from the Nigerian populace who have lost faith in the ability of the 9th assembly to hold this administration accountable for their actions.”
“The only path to redemption for the 9th Assembly is to refuse to fund the programme subsequently until the executive engages the legislature appropriately.”
The Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has criticised the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Following a meeting of the State Executive Committee, the party challenged the present administration to a public debate on the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and acclaimed expenditures of the state government.
According to the State Publicity Secretary, Taofik Gani, this formed part of the resolutions of the party reached at the end of its meeting held on Monday.
It faulted the ruling APC over purported claims that it has given advice and progressive suggestions to the governor, both privately and publicly in the interest of the resident.
The opposition party accused the APC of failing and extorting the people, describing the party as “very arrogant and incompetent,” as well as not fit and proper for the present challenges in the state.
It also resolved to take up the ruling party – vote for vote, and strategy for strategy ahead of the forthcoming bye-elections and the general elections in 2023.
The PDP stressed that the inadequacies identified in the Sanwo-Olu led administration would be its winning asset going into any future election in the state.
It noted that those aspiring for elective posts would commence their screening on Tuesday, saying the PDP remained resolute as a united party to winning the bye-elections in the state.
The meeting also congratulated the newly set-up South West Caretaker Committee, saying it has confidence in the committee to steer the geo-political zone of the party to electoral victories.
It assured aspirants in the bye-elections that there would be a level playing field and urged them to accept the results of the screening and primaries in the spirit of sportsmanship.
The party also asked them to direct all valid information concerning the PDP to the officially recognised party secretariats at the state and local government area (LGA) levels.
It warned individuals who act reactionary, especially those coming from outside the state to steer clear of Lagos or be publicly exposed and disgraced.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has been having sleepless nights after being confronted with facts about the role Governor Godwin Obaseki played in the establishment of the modular refinery in Ologbo, Edo State.
The governor’s Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, who stated this on Sunday noted that the refinery was getting closer to being completed.
“After last week’s visit of a Federal Government delegation to the Edo Modular Refinery in Ologbo, the APC is now clearly confused as their campaign seems to have been deflated by the stellar performance of Governor Obaseki and the near-total acceptance Obaseki enjoys from Edo people,” he said.
Osagie added, “The truth will continue to dwarf and ultimately blot out falsehood and propaganda, as the Ologbo visit by the Federal Government delegation has just done to APC’s efforts at misinforming the public.”
He explained that the Presidency sent emissaries to Ologbo in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area of the state last week, to inspect the refinery project.
According to the governor’s aide, the government officials were not only satisfied with what they saw on the ground but showered encomiums on Governor Obaseki for the landmark achievement.
“During the visit, the seed investment of N700 million which Edo State government made to kick-off this project was eloquently highlighted, as well as other interests of the Edo State government in the project.
“Understandably, this event gave the opposition sleepless nights and this feeble lie is the response they have decided to deploy in an attempt to pacify their supporters who have been questioning their jaundiced criticisms of Governor Obaseki and transferring their allegiance in large numbers to the ‘wake and see governor,” he said.
This comes in reaction to the comments by the APC Media Campaign Council Chairman in Edo State, John Mayaki, who asked the governor not to “take glory” for the refinery project.
Osagie also referred to the report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on how states in the country have performed in the area of reducing unemployment.
He said the impartial and data-focused agency highlighted efforts of the Edo State government at reducing unemployment figures in the state.
The governor’s aide added, “Since the NBS released its data, APC has stayed away from the matter and has discarded its earlier position that Governor Obaseki did not create jobs for Edo people.
“For every lie of the APC, we have documented facts which are available to members of the public and the relevant government agencies.”
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Sunday, told Governor Godwin Obaseki not to ” take glory” for the Edo Modular Refinery at Ologbo.”
APC’s Media Campaign Council Chairman in Edo State, John Mayaki says it amounts to “broad daylight robbery” for the Obaseki administration to claim a project that is funded by the Federal Government and some private businesses.
“As it stands now, no one can debate the fact that Mr. Godwin Obaseki is falsehood personified, a wrapped bag of lies that continue to give,” John Mayaki noted in a statement.
“From falsified and inconsistent academic records and credentials, the baloney has come to the point of broad daylight robbery of projects and initiatives.
“Today, the lie is with the Edo Modular refinery at Ologbo, a project that having been funded by both foreign businesses and the federal government has neared completion and commissioning.”
Giving further insight into the modular refinery, the statement explained that the “Edo Refinery and Petrochemical Company is owned by AIPCC Energy Limited, a joint venture between AFCOM and Peiyang Chemical Equipment Company of China and was built at the cost of 10.2million dollars. The refinery will be producing diesel, Naptha, and Fuel oil (LPFO).
“The Federal Government supported the project by granting duty waivers on refinery equipment and components.”
While claiming the Obaseki Government has failed in providing the needed infrastructure since he took the governor over, it added that the Edo leader has done nothing to address the challenges facing Edo State.
“While Obaseki is desperately trying to be at the front, center, and back of a private project that his administration in fact frustrated with his disastrous economic policies and pulverizing of the strong economic structures in place before his tragic emergence, the sites of his promised Industrial Park and GeleGele Seaport remain desolate, standing as a symbolic portrayal of his entire four-year reign: empty, dull, and without any life,” the statement added.
It, therefore, called on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Obaseki, to stop laying claims to “what does not rightly belong to them,” vowing that “we will be here all the way to sensitize the people and rinse them of the indoctrinated lies and deceits.”
The Department of State Services (DSS) has invited 10 leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State for an ‘important meeting’.
According to a letter from the security agency, the politicians are to attend the meeting scheduled to hold on Saturday at the DSS Command Headquarters in Benin City, the state capital.
A copy of the letter, dated August 20, 2020, and addressed to one Tony Adun who is also known as Kabakaba, was obtained by Noble Reporters Media on Friday.
While the DSS did not disclose the agenda of the meeting, it is suspected to be in connection to the forthcoming governorship election in Edo.
“I am directed to invite you (Adun) to an important meeting with the State Director of Security,” part of the letter read.
Adun was asked to attend the meeting with the National Chairman of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), and eight other leaders of the APC in the state.
They include Ehis Adams – APC Leader in Oredo, Osaro Idahosa – APC Leader in Ikpoba-Okha, and Okunbor Roberts – APC Leader in Ovia South-West LGA.
Others are ‘Atarodo’ – APC member, Kingsley Amedo – APC member, Richard Obe – APC member, Osarobo Idehen – APC member, and Dr Emma – APC member.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had fixed September 19 to conduct the election in Edo State.
In compliance with its Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election and in accordance with Section 34 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), INEC cleared 14 candidates for the poll on July 18.
The electoral umpire stressed that with the publication of the final list of candidates, no political party can withdraw or substitute any of the nominated candidates, as well as tamper with the list and particulars of the candidates in a manner inconsistent with the intendment of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Campaign Council for the Ondo State governorship election and the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is optimistic that the party will win the October 10 election by a landslide.
Governor Sanwo-Olu said APC’s confidence in the governorship election is further buoyed by the giant strides of Ondo State Governor, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) in different areas of human endeavours during his first term in the State.
Speaking during the inauguration of the 104 members of the APC National Campaign Council for Ondo State Governorship election by the party’s Caretaker and Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee headed by Governor Mai Mala Buni at APC’s Secretariat in Abuja on Saturday.
He assured President Muhammadu Buhari and APC leadership that Ondo will remain within the fold of the All Progressives Congress.
In his acceptance speech, he pledged the commitment, passion and dedication of the National Campaign Council members to deliver Ondo State to APC come October 10.
“Today, our great party the All Progressives Congress has begun a march to another victory in Ondo State. I have described this journey as a repeat performance of what we did less than four years ago when the people of Ondo State filed out in their numbers to elect my brother and friend, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (Aketi) as their sixth executive governor. The only difference in this year’s experience is that our victory will be a landslide.
“Four years ago, the residents of Ondo State affirmed their belief in progressive governance and today, that belief, the validation of our party, the APC as an assemblage of well-spirited Nigerians who are poised to serve the humanity has yielded positive results with several achievements recorded by the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu-led administration.
“The need for us to do more and because we know that we can do more for the people is the reason why our party is confident of victory at the polls. The party’s confidence is further buoyed by the giant strides of Governor Akeredolu in different areas of human endeavours”, he said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu stressed further that: “Since APC-led Government of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu was sworn in on the 24th February 2017, Ondo has moved from her hitherto parlous state and has returned to a trajectory of growth and development. This is a major feature of our party. We pride ourselves as harbinger of peace, progress and purposeful leadership wherever we have our foothold.
“Mr Chairman, let me assure you that the tasks you have given us will be approached with the highest sense of responsibility. We know that the people of Ondo State cannot afford to return to retrogressive life after experiencing progressive governance offered by the All Progressives Congress. Therefore, all the 104 members will roll up our sleeves and work hard for the victory that we truly and genuinely deserve.
“On behalf of members of the National Campaign Council, I hereby pledge our commitment, passion and dedication as we take up this national assignment to deliver Ondo State to the All Progressives Congress.”
Speaking on the task given to him to head the campaign council, Governor Sanwo-Olu said he is deeply honoured to be appointed as Chairman of the APC National Campaign Council for the October 10 Governorship election in Ondo State.
He said it is humbling to lead a team of very experienced women and men who would be working with his other colleagues and stakeholders for APC to retain Ondo State in the coming election.
“This is a moment of personal honour for me, but also of deep personal responsibility. I do not take this lightly and I believe every member of this high-level committee feels the same way.
“I will like to thank our great party, APC, for giving us this great opportunity to serve at the national level. It is a rare privilege and we will not take it for granted. We also thank the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led National Convention Committee for believing in us to retain Ondo State for our party.
“We wish to send a message of assurance to the President, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) that Ondo will remain within the fold of the All Progressives Congress.
“On this note, I wish to invite all party faithful to join the committee to achieve this task that has been placed before us by the leadership of the party. I will end by saying we are on the march to victory in Ondo State.”
A member of the Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) of the Lagos State All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Lanre Razak, has died.
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced the news in a tweet on Saturday.
He passed away “on Saturday morning at the age of 74 after a brief illness,” the Governor said as he expressed his sadness over the news.
Razak, who was also the Balogun of Epe, died at Reddington Hospital, Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu described Razak’s death as a rude shock, describing him as a great politician, a strong party man, and an advocate of masses oriented programmes.
“I am saddened by the death of one of our political leaders in Lagos APC, Chief Lanre Razak. He was a loyal party man and committed democrat, with a deep understanding of the state’s political landscape,” the Governor said.
“He was an extremely loyal politician, who did his best for our party, the All Progressives Congress.
“Chief Razak served his people and Lagos State passionately as Chairman of Epe Local Government Area and Commissioner of Public Transportation.
“He brought a lot of development to Epe as a council boss and also made a lot of positive contributions to turn around public transportation in Lagos during his tenure as member of the State Executive Council.”
Ahead of the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has denied its involvement in the violence that occurred during a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rally.
Speaking during a press conference in Benin City, the Edo State Capital, APC candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu distanced his party members from the incident.
Ize-Iyamu explained that the party’s campaign across the state has been generally peaceful and that his party has no reason to encourage violence in an election it is confident of winning.
“We heard of so much violence during the PDP rally in Etsako-West and they are accusing us of the destruction and shooting, saying APC is causing trouble.
“We did not go near their activities, we did not destroy any of their billboards and have no hands in any of the violence that took place at their rally.
“We don’t believe in violence and have no intention to encourage our members to be violent,” the APC candidate said.
He called on law enforcement agencies to rise to the occasion and bring perpetrators of electoral violence to book.
This comes two days after armed thugs purportedly stormed the venue of the PDP campaign in Apana community in Etsako West Local Government Area of the state.
No life was lost as security operatives were able to disperse the thugs to enable the PDP to conduct its rally.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike says the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government has failed Nigeria.
Wike disclosed this on Thursday while receiving the newly inaugurated Executive Council members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
While charging the PDP members to focus on governance rather than playing politics, he said the move is necessary to demonstrate a commitment to the people.
According to him, the ruling APC has failed to deliver on its electoral promises, adding that Nigerians are hoping on the PDP.
“APC has failed Nigeria. Nigeria is hoping on PDP. There is nothing anybody can talk about again. This is no more time for politics.
“You have promised and you have failed nothing to try you again. We have tried APC and it has not worked.
“Nigerians have realised that it is better they stay with PDP that has the future, that has the interest of Nigeria than the party that gives excuse every day.
“We are tired. You know there is a problem with Nigeria and you make promises that if you vote for me, I will do this. Now they have voted for you, yet you cannot solve the problem. The party cannot solve any problem,” he said.
Speaking further, the governor charged the party exco members to respect COVID-19 safety protocols.
He also asked them to run an inclusive party for all in order to maintain victory in future polls in the country.
The Benue state governor Mr Samuel Ortom has rejected the invitation extended to him by the All Progressive Congress to return to the party, noting that he is fully committed to the ideals of the Peoples Democratic Party, thereby putting to rest, speculations on his alleged defection plans to the APC.
Governor Ortom made this public at the PDP congress to elect a new state executive committee of the party was returned the John Ngbede led executive, admitting that the APC indeed reached out to him but the congress decision would determine if he would remain in the PDP.
Expectedly, the delegates passed a vote of confidence on him after a voice vote he put forward to leave for the APC, was rejected by the PDP delegates, promising to work for the victory of the PDP come 2023.
With that cleared out of the way, the issue of equitable distribution of power, where only the Tiv ethnic group has been ruling the state since its creation in 1976 was tabled.
The Senator representing Benue South Senator Abba Moro and the former senate president, Mister David Mark makes a compelling case for the zone to produce the next governor come 2023.
After acknowledging cheers from the crowd and taking his seat, delegates began casting their votes for the candidates running for the 39 positions led by the incumbent chairman, Mr. John Ngbede.
Some notable persons who were present at the congress on Saturday include former Senate Presidents, David Mark, and Iyorchia Ayu, as well as the three Senators representing Benue at the National Assembly.
The Director-General of the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), Mr Salihu Lukman, has called for an urgent constitutional review in order to resolve the internal crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a statement on Sunday, he said it was important for Chairman of the APC Caretaker/Convention Working Committee and Yobe State Governor, Mai-Mala Buni, to set up a constitution review committee and present proposals for amendments to the Extraordinary National Convention.
He explained that beyond proposals for constitutional amendment, there was an urgent need to consider developing proposed code of conduct for elected and appointed officials of the party as bye-laws to regulate the conduct of party leaders.
The PGF director-general believes the code of conduct is necessary to prevent situations where party officials abuse their office and conduct themselves in manners that can undermine the party’s commitment to the principles of public accountability, or even get stretched to issues bordering on criminal conduct and the probable extension of strategies of political bullying.
According to him, once the APC continues to operate as a closed party, its progressive credentials will remain only a claim of its leaders and anyone who challenges it will be bullied.
Lukman asked the party to consider taking all the appropriate steps to strengthen internal party rules as provided in the APC Constitution.
He, however, stated that his position on the internal crisis within the party does not represent the view of any APC governor or the Progressive Governors’ Forum.
Read the full statement below:
The Future of Progressive Politics in Nigeria
Salihu Moh. Lukman
Progressive Governors Forum
The critical issue of citizens’ participation in politics and how it leads to the difficult task of candidates’ selection is an issue that appears to be the cause of most of the frustrations Nigerians seem to be having with our democracy.
Additionally, it is the cause of virtually all intra and inter party disputes and conflicts in the country. Inability to resolve these issues and put in place functional systems that could regulate internal mechanisms for wider national political contests and ensure that there are some minimum standards of institutional behaviour that could guarantee periodic membership recruitment, which can be calibrated to citizens’ participation in the decision-making process leading to candidate selection during elections are the drawbacks.
These are dynamic challenges, which have been the focus of political inquiry for quite sometimes both in the developed and less developed democracies. Unfortunately, in our context, in Nigeria, these are issues that are at best discussed as subsidiaries to other associated democratic challenges, largely electoral laws.
The reality is that electoral jurisprudence may not even recognise or prioritise the challenges of membership recruitment in a political party, which could result in ambiguities, conferring more powers to individuals and power blocs in a political party.
The consequence will include undermining membership participation and therefore reducing the critical task of candidate selection to some technical internal plebiscite, which may have very little or no democratic value involving only small section of the party membership. This reality creates conflicts, which weakens democratic institutions, including political parties, and retard political development.
Exploring these issues, Paul Webb and Stephen White, in the book Party Politics in New Democracies, argued that analysts could make damning conclusions about parties based on the consideration that ‘democracy is not fully realised until citizens expressed their shared interests as members of the same community.
Participation in the democratic process is vital to the political education of citizens if they are to develop this civic orientation. Contemporary political parties are unlikely to fare well by the civic democratic standards.’ This made them (Webb and White) ask: ‘Does this mean that parties are failing democracy?’
The question of whether parties are failing democracy made Richard Gunther and Larry Diamond, in the book Political Parties and Democracy to come up with the concept of ‘decline of parties’, based on which they submit, ‘in both developed and less developed countries, there is growing evidence that membership in political parties is declining, that parties’ ties with allied secondary associations are loosening or breaking, that their representation of specific social groups is less consistent, and that public opinion toward parties is waning in commitment and trust.
Does this mean, as some have argued, that parties as institutions are declining, that they are ceasing to play a crucial role in modern democracies, and that their functions may be performed as well or better by other kinds of organisations – social movements or interest groups, for example?’
Gunther and Diamond further asked: ‘Are political parties in modern democracies losing their importance, even their relevance, as vehicles for the articulation and aggregation of interests and the waging of election campaigns? Or have we entered an era, more keenly felt in the advanced industrial democracies but increasingly apparent in the less developed ones as well, where technological and social change is transforming the nature of the political party without diminishing its importance for the health and vigour of democracy?’
Both in the case of issues presented by Webb and White with respect to participation, on the one hand, and decline of parties as argued by Gunther and Diamond, on the other hand, they are all very familiar to the Nigerian political environment. It is almost as if the scope for political inquiry that made Gunther and Diamond reach that conclusion is Nigeria.
For instance, the scope for membership participation in our parties since 1999 could appear to be declining. Looking at the Nigerian reality, it will almost be easy to conclude that hardly any of our parties is mass oriented or having a relationship with any organised group. That being the case, to what extend is APC any different or orienting itself differently?
Will being different result in more decline in membership participation or will the APC succeed in opening itself up to ensure increasing recruitment of members and more participation through at least guaranteeing that structures of the party meet as provided in the provisions of the APC constitution?
These are practical issues. If APC is to open itself through membership recruitment, the debate around the issue of whether there is a credible and verifiable membership register will not be taking place. Rather, appropriate steps should have been taken to ensure the existence of a credible and verifiable membership register.
This may be a case of improving on what is already in existence. To improve on what exists may have to involve all structures of the party so that the question of managing the membership register is also not in dispute. For instance, how members are recruited would have a lot of implications in terms of the format that would be used to guarantee participation.
Take, for instance, the argument that the APC membership register is domicile on the Cloud. Who uploads it to the Cloud with whose authority and who is managing it? How was it generated in the first place? Are the members of the APC in the register that is said to exist on the Cloud, financial members? Who did they pay their membership dues to?
Immediately after the merger exercise, which produced the APC, between 2013 and 2015, there were strong internal debates towards establishing computerised membership data centre for the whole country, located at No. 10 Bola Ajibola Street, off Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos.
It could be recalled that on November 22, 2014, the APC membership data centre was reportedly attacked by PDP controlled Federal Government security operatives. Later, the Department of State Security (DSS), which carried the attack claimed that they acted following a petition, which alleged that the APC membership data centre was being set up to clone INEC Permanent Voters Card with the intention of hacking into INEC database, corrupting it and replacing them with APC data.
Part of the internal dynamics that were considered in commencing the establishment of the APC membership data centre included challenges during the conduct of the APC’s Congresses and Convention between April and June 2014. The projections prior to the Congresses were that the process of electing party leadership at all levels of the APC will be expanded beyond the scope of a limited number of party delegates, which should cover all members of the party.
On account of experiences during the conduct of Ward Congresses in April 2014, which exposes the problem of conducting all-members’ inclusive elections for party offices without authenticated membership records, the Chief Bisi Akande Interim Leadership initiated the establishment of the membership data centre.
Since the incident of November 22, 2014, when the DSS attacked the APC membership data centre, hardly anything was heard about the project. Around February/March 2020, the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC placed some newspaper advertorials inviting biddings from interested service providers to assist the APC establish computerised membership data register.
Although no reference was made to the previous APC membership data centre of 2014 in the advertorial, the invitation for bidding suggested either non-availability of a computerised membership register or if it is in existence, it is inadequate. Could this have been resolved and a standard register has been uploaded on the Cloud to support the desperation by the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC to have organised the primary election for the 2020 Edo State Governorship election through the direct method?
Against the background that the main focus of all political parties in Nigeria is to win elections fairly or unfairly, political practice and culture is the same across all the parties, including the APC as it is constituted today. It is all about recruiting membership based on individual aspirations for political offices.
Across all the parties, once an aspirant has strong financial capability, the party is surrendered to the aspirant. Such an aspirant would then proceed to nominate the party leaders from among his/her loyalists. Accordingly, presidential aspirants nominate party leaders at national levels and gubernatorial candidates nominate party leaders at States, Local Governments and Wards. Candidates for elections are similarly recruited. Presidential candidates recruit gubernatorial candidates and gubernatorial candidates recruit candidates for other lower offices from the ranks of loyalists.
Issues of participation and democracy are compromised, professional management of parties ignored, and disciplinary conduct of members and leaders undermined. The consequence is the preponderances of unethical, unfair and uncivilised practices by party leaders, and public officials. Party offices are reduced to centres of control by aspiring politicians with hardly any focus on services to members.
How is APC responding to these challenges? If anything, the reality is that the last activity of the party that differentiated APC from all the other parties was the December 10, 2014 National Convention that produced President Buhari as the Presidential candidate of the party for the 2015 election.
By every standard, that Convention and the primary election that produced President Buhari as the Presidential candidate for the 2015 election was adjudged to be transparent, fair and democratic even by fellow aspirants who lost the contest – Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Alh. Atiku Abubakar, Owello Rochas Okorocha and Mr. Sam Nda Isiah.
Thereafter, almost all the negative characteristics associated with the PDP and all the other parties became dominant features of APC. Most of the leadership conflict in the party, across all the 36 states bordered on issues of who controls the structures of the party so much that political bullying is now assuming a major feature in the APC.
Anyone who criticises or makes remarks that are not in sync with what leaders want to be propagated, get bullied and at the slightest opportunity, such persons are pushed out of positions they occupy, especially if it is an elective position. With all these, hardly any contest take place. All that keeps emerging is conflict even when we are expected to have elections.
Being a progressive party would require that APC is able to redress this problem, especially given the commitment to ensure that the party is dynamic, action-oriented and ensuring that we are able to bring about improvement in politics, government and the conditions of life of the generality of our people. Why should a progressive party shy away from debating issues affecting the party?
Why should politicians who claimed to be progressives and committed to rendering services to citizens be threatened by fellow party members who only attempted to diagnose the problems of the party? Why should any party leader imagine that anyone who advocates for opening the party up to wider participation by citizens through membership recruitment and ensuring the establishment of credible and verifiable membership register is an agent of imagined political opponent? Why should any politician disparage opposition to political contests? Is politics not all about contestation? How can there be contestation without opposition?
A major gap created by the current orientation of political parties in Nigeria with perverted political behaviour, which confers prerogative of membership recruitment to political leaders is the barrier that is making it almost impossible for parties, including the APC, to serve as vehicles for citizens’ participation. Once APC continues to operate as a closed party, its progressive credentials will remain only a claim of its leaders, and anyone who challenged it will be bullied.
APC can only be progressive if it is able to encourage and promote competition within the party as a prelude to electoral contests. The absence of competition has reduced, predominantly, the business of the party not to focus on issues of managing governments based on the capacity of party members to contribute to initiatives of governments controlled by the party especially with reference to agricultural development, jobs creation, education, health, infrastructural development, poverty eradication, and rapid technological development.
Although Reuven Y. Hazen and Gideon Rahat in the book, Democracy within Parties: Candidate Selection Methods and their Political Consequences, identified that ‘selection of party candidates is basically a private affair, even if there are legal regulations’, the need to open up parties and ensure that members are able to access electoral opportunities remain a primary condition for broadening the space for citizens’ democratic participation.
Hazen and Rahat have elaborately made the point that candidate selection in political parties is ‘predominantly extralegal process by which a political party decides which of the persons legally eligible to hold an elective public office will be designated on the ballot and in election communications as its recommended and supported candidate or list of candidates.’ Being a progressive party, APC would need to take all the appropriate steps required to graduate to a situation whereby members produce leaders and not leaders producing members.
Will this be possible? One of the challenges that APC leaders should be ready to confront as identified by Hazen and Rahat is that ‘recent phenomena of increased judicial involvement in politics is likely to lead to an increase in the adjudication of internal party affairs, including candidate selection. However, such involvement is still largely limited to the question of whether parties have adhered to the rules and regulations they have decided for themselves.’
What are the measures required to compel party members and leaders to comply to internal rules? This is a big challenge especially given that complying with internal rules may result in the loss of control of party structures as a result of which leaders are not able to emerge as candidates.
The risk of losing control of the party structures on account of which leaders are not able to emerge as candidates for elections is the dilemma confronting APC leaders today. Unfortunately, the fear of the consequences of not achieving the objective of emerging as candidates or producing candidates has made the phenomena of political bullying rampant in Nigerian political parties, including APC.
Anybody who is advocating for change in the orientation of how the party recruit members are adjudged to be paid agents and deserve no right to a fair hearing. Partly because those carrying out political bullying are powerful and considered to control powers of appointments in government and selection of candidates, no one wants to risk being accused of opposing their interests.
Consequently, APC is being corrupted by every passing day and therefore becoming more and more closer to PDP and in some cases even worse than PDP. Unlike PDP however, it needs to be recognised that in terms of accommodating dissent within the party, APC is more liberal, largely because President Buhari truly ‘belong to everyone and belong to no one’.
It is only because of the singular factor of President Buhari that groups of elected representatives in both the House of Representatives and the Senate could organise to produce leadership in 2015 against the wishes of the party. While this is certainly unacceptable, it may simply suggest either gap in provisions of internal rules of the APC or complete absence of rules required to regulate the conduct of elected representatives of the party.
Many have criticise the liberal disposition of President Buhari when it comes to the issue of internal party management and present it as the problem of the party. This is wrong and instead, in fact, it is the democratic strength of the APC, which is making it to stand out as the only party in the country with political contests taking place. The major issue is that instead of manifesting as political contests, we are having political conflicts. How can we ensure that what we are having in the APC is political contests and not political conflicts? This is the big task ahead of APC leaders to ensure that the party is truly a progressive party.
It was because of the very singular liberal disposition of President Buhari that made it possible for the struggle against the arbitrary conduct of the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC to get to the level of democratically dissolving the NWC and appointing the Mai Mala Buni Caretaker/Convention Working Committee.
But is that enough to guarantee that the APC will be opened up to the wider participation of members? Given that the most important mandate of the Mai Mala Buni Caretaker/Convention Working Committee is to organise a National Convention where new leadership will be elected, what are the steps required, which the Mai Mala Buni Committee should take to ensure that the national leadership of the party that will emerge are not nominees of potential Presidential candidates?
The best way to check whether new leaders are nominees of potential Presidential candidates could be perhaps whether they emerge from electoral contests. How fair was the contest and to what extent could the issue of credible and verifiable membership register support the process of electing the new leadership of APC at the coming national convention?
A very credible process should be recommended to sprout from membership registration/verification. This should mean that immediately following the membership registration/verification, party Congresses at ward, local governments and state levels hold to elect new leadership. This will have the advantage of ensuring that some levels of political negotiations are activated within the party to facilitate the emergence of new leaders.
It is possible that the process may still tilt in favour of some of the emerging power blocs within the party. However, if managed very well, it will be almost impossible for any single power bloc in the party to comfortably dominate the structures of the party across all the 36 states of the country and FCT. This will help to humble all the potential aspirants, especially for the 2023 Presidential election, thereby democratising power in the APC.
Because power is democratised, no one person can monopolised leadership and therefore impose himself/herself as presidential candidate of the APC. As a result, the issue of monopolising membership register such that it is the candidates that produce party members will begin to be minimised. Also, the party can bounce back and become appealing to citizens.
The other associated possibility is that the phenomenon of political bullying could be reduced since the problem of monopolising party membership is being minimised. But this will require that individual member of the party are able to assert themselves and ignore the threats of political bullies. It just means that courageous members are able to rise above the desperation of accessing political offices.
This is a hard call that could be suicidal for many party members. Beyond the courage of individual party members however, the party should consider taking all the appropriate steps to strengthen internal party rules as provided in the constitution of the party. Given all the experiences, so far, it is only logical that the Mai Mala Buni Caretaker/Convention Working Committee is able to setup a constitution review committee and present proposals for amendments to the Extraordinary National Convention.
Beyond proposals for a constitutional amendment, there is an urgent need to consider developing a proposed code of conduct for elected and appointed officials of the party as bylaws to regulate the conduct of party leaders. This is necessary in order to prevent situations whereby officials of the party will not abuse his/her office and conduct himself/herself in manners that could undermine the party’s commitment to the principles of public accountability or even get stretched to issues bordering on criminal conduct and the probable extension of strategies of political bullying to include the deployment of state law enforcement machinery and officials against fellow citizens and party members.
The Mai Mala Buni Caretaker/Convention Working Committee needs to be given every support within the party and by extension patriotic Nigerians sympathetic to the APC to be able to put APC on the part of progressive politics. As it is today, APC is the only party with the potential of promoting progressive politics based on ensuring that the party is able to put in place credible and verifiable membership register as the basis for membership and citizens’ participation.
The management of the membership must be such that it makes it easy for records to be updated and accessed. For the party to guarantee participation, processes of leadership emergence should be transparently democratic involving the wider scope of members. Beyond electing leaders, the internal rules of the party should be strengthened to ensure that all party organs are made functional and the conduct of party leaders, including elected and appointed officials, are regulated to ensure that the project truly progressive conducts and credentials.
In the final analysis, being progressives should mean that APC leaders are taking all the measures required to ensure seamless political contests within the party as a result of which political conflicts are giving way to healthy political contests. This would suggest a reversal in the process of decline of the party. Should this become the new reality, the APC then could begin to transform itself into a mass-oriented party with an expanded membership, developing relationships with organised interest groups.
Are these going to be the issues for debate as we move towards having a national convention to elect new leaders of the APC? Or are we going to submit ourselves as party members to the antics of political bullies whose only mission is to force every party member to silence and allow structures of the party to be manipulated to produce candidates for 2023? Time will tell. The struggle to make APC a progressively democratic party must not be surrendered to forces of reaction acting as political bullies!
This position does not represent the view of any APC Governor or the Progressive Governors Forum.