Monday, September 30, 2013

New PDP Alleges Plot to Arrest Obasanjo, Atiku, Crack down on Members

Indications that the crisis within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has worsened was further established Sunday as the breakaway members of the party under the leadership of Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje alleged that there was a grand plan by the presidency and mainstream party to arrest former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and crackd on its supporters.

The splinter members of the PDP also wondered why Obasanjo would be linked with the ‘New PDP’, stressing that, “We do not know why General Olusegun Obasanjo is being linked with the New PDP. Let us state unequivocally that this foremost nationalist does not in any way – either directly or by proxy – have anything to do with our existence and operations.

“Ridiculing and plotting the arrest of such a distinguished personality that fought to keep this nation as one entity and contributed immensely in making PDP the most vibrant, virile, versatile and biggest political party in Africa as a nobody is not the best strategy to use to fight the cause of President Goodluck Jonathan, who knows what Chief Obasanjo did to make him President in the first place.”

According to a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the New PDP, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, said: “We received intelligence reports that the Presidency was putting finishing touches to what it calls “Operation Total Crackdown on G7 and their allies in the New PDP. When we got details of the plot to arrest and commit the leadership of New PDP to prison without charge we thought it was a joke.”

Eze said the reality of the plot to arrest Obasanjo dawned on them after reading the interview of Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, confirming that President Jonathan was under pressure to arrest Obasanjo and Atiku without any further delay.

The spokesman of the breakaway PDP further said: “The sin of these two distinguished Nigerian statesmen, according to those plotting their “demystification”, is their alleged support for the New PDP, including the G7 Governors. That this evil plot is being conceived by the Presidency confirms that the Abacha days are truly here again with us.”

According to Eze, it was after reviewing the plots to arrest Obasanjo and Atiku and the crackdown on members of the splinter PDP that the national chairman of the new PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, summoned an emergency meeting of its National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to brainstorm on how best to respond to the situation.

Accordingly, the statement said the meeting concluded that they should not succumb to intimidation for any reason whatsoever.

He said: “Our conclusion at the end of the meeting was that we would not be intimidated for any reason, even if it means death, as we are fighting a just cause of reclaiming, recovering and establishing our party based on the vision of its founding fathers as the party is currently usurped by some members who do not know how it was formed.

“Baraje, knowing how dirty some of the hawks in the Presidency can fight when pushed to the wall, directed NWC members to write their wills immediately after the meeting as we have entered the stage of no retreat, no surrender – fully determined to reclaim what rightly belongs to us.

“The NWC also resolved to urge the G7 Governors that on no account should they be intimidated or frightened by any tactics or strategy employed by State Forces to coerce them to forgo any of the issues they have been asked to present before President Jonathan during the October 7 meeting,” Eze said in the statement.

The New PDP expressed sadness that instead of employing diplomacy to attend to the issues that caused the conflict, the presidency prefers to use force, stating: “We are not disturbed as we are ready for any of its tactics. In this regard, we wish to urge both the presidency and those detailed to attack us not to waste further time or wait till October 7 to start arresting us as there are thousands of Nigerians ready to step into our shoes and fight this cause to its conclusion.”

The New PDP quoting former United States President, Theodore Roosevelt, who said: “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country.

“It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else,” Eze stated.

culled from Thisday

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My critics implemented a shoddy privatisation programme – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has berated his opponents, particularly those who handled the past privitisation exercise, saying they are now “opening their mouth wide” to attack his administration.

Jonathan, who said this while addressing Nigerian professionals in New York, United States, on Monday said the privatisation of public utilities by his administration was being done in a transparent manner.

He also said the problem of the Boko Haram insurgency was being exploited to blackmail his administration.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria report, the President said that so far $3bn had been realised without any form of corruption compared to the privatisation that took place in the past.

Jonathan’s critics that played key role in the past privatisation included former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and an ex-minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai. Berating his critics, the President said, “In the country’s past privatisation, we know what happened there and yet those who sat over the exercise are the same people who are opening their mouths wide to attack this administration.”

But speaking through his Media Adviser, Muyiwa Adekeye, El-Rufai said that the Jonathan administration did not understand transparency.He challenged the President to be specific in his allegations.

The former minister said, “President Jonathan is dealing in innuendo as is the tradition of his government. He should make specific allegations against specific persons since he claims to know what went on in the previous privatisation regime.

“We are all witnesses to how rules have been bent in the ongoing power privatisation in favour of investors with close ties to government. This government does not understand transparency, and is in no position to practise it.”

Reacting to the allegation of shoddy performance as the chairman of the National Council of Privatisation, Atiku said he was proud of his achievements.

Atiku who spoke through his Media Adviser, Malam Garba Shehu, expressed confidence that his tenure was not in President Jonathan’s frame of reference.

Shehu said, “(He) acquitted himself well when he held sway at the NCP.

“We are very proud of Turaki’s legacies at the NCP and that his vindication is there for all to see in the reports of the separate investigations by both the Senate and the House. We have our records. Let us see his own.”

On security, Jonathan said that in the past, the major security challenge facing the nation was armed robbery. He said that terrorism had emerged as the major challenge in the country now.

Jonathan, however, stressed that the challenge of terrorism was being seriously tackled by the government.

He stated, “I appreciate that we have a serious security challenge with Boko Haram insurgency. This is the area where the government is being blackmailed, but by the grace of God this will soon be a thing of the past.

“Before now it was robbery, until terrorism took us by surprise. Soon it will be a thing of the past.”

On Nigerians in Diaspora, the president acknowledged that they had excelled in their respective professions in the US.

He stressed “Nigerians in Diaspora are an important group particularly those in the US.”

According to him, the administration needs them to work in different areas of the Nigerian economy.

“You do not have to relocate to Nigeria to make the necessary impact, you can come and establish businesses to create jobs for your brothers and sisters at home,” Jonathan said.

The coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in her remarks said that the country’s economy was growing stronger, noting that the Jonathan’s transformation agenda was helping the economy.

culled from The Punch

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Namadi Sambo and PDP Crisis

Those who want Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo’s job should be very happy with the current crisis in the PDP. Reason being that, he has been in the back seat as regards resolving the crisis, despite the fact that the major players in the crisis are governors from the north, the region where he is supposed to be the number one political leader. And it is a common practice in Nigerian politics, that such crises involving major players from a particular region of Nigeria are most times tackled by a political stalwart from the region who is holding the most senior national political position. When Atiku Abubakar and Goodluck Jonathan were vice presidents, they played such roles. Atiku was instrumental in dousing the heat when speaker Ghalli Na’Abba’s leadership of the House of Representatives attempted to impeach former president Olusegun Obasanjo. Similarly, the then vice president Goodluck Jonathan was Yar’Adua’s point-man in stemming the tide of the Niger Delta crisis and he (Jonathan) perfectly achieved the expected results.

In the present Nigerian political scenario; Vice President Sambo is-or should be-the primary representative of the entire northern block in the Jonathan administration, and the north is his primary constituency. As a sitting vice president, he should have been that most needed point-man for President Goodluck Jonathan in the north, thus he should have been instrumental in appeasing the aggrieved PDP governors from the north. Rather, President Jonathan has seen himself being preoccupied with negotiating with people he does not even understand their language. Why is Namadi Sambo not playing that very important political role?

Before becoming the governor of Kaduna state, Namadi Sambo was not among Kaduna state’s thorough-breed first-rate politicians. His then boss; Senator Ahmed Makarfi made him the governor in an attempt to sideline Suleiman Hunkuyi and Yusuf Hamisu Mai Rago. With the current situation of things, vice president Sambo appears to still be living inside the shell of Kaduna politics. A mere look at his close political aides attests to this. It seems VP Sambo is not a natural aggressive politician in terms of building vast contacts and influence. This has resulted in his inability to establish the necessary political structure in the north. Furthermore, Sambo always tries to play safe as well as be politically moderate to avoid any collision with his boss, but the Nigerian politics sometimes requires a calculated adventurism. Moreover, some Governors in the north see Namadi Sambo as their equal or even see him as a junior when it comes to the art of politicking.

Political pundits and indeed Namadi’s boss, President Jonathan must have been expecting the vice president to be at the forefront in resolving the current crisis in the PDP, even before it escalated into its present market square fight status. The impression in the polity is suggesting that Namadi has not made any calculated political move to pacify the governors and convince them that they are doing more harm to him than to Jonathan. Even if he had done something, it has not yielded any tangible results. 

Well, it is not late for vice president Mohammed Namadi Sambo to do a reality-check on how strong he is in terms of influence and connections in each state of the north. He should reach out and build a strong political base in each state in the north. He should create for himself a political charisma like that of Atiku Abubakar- connect not only to the top ladder politicians but those at the bottom - this can be done via strong connection with the traditional class, experienced politicians and those holding political power including establishing people through government patronage. His boss, President Jonathan is an easy going politician- he would give him some good space to play such politicking.

Coming back to the current crisis in the PDP, vice president Sambo should make a calculated and silent move to reach the aggrieved governors for a win-win solution. He could utilize the elderly personality of Governor Murtala Nyako, being a former military governor and Chief of Naval Staff. Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso- could also be useful due to his vast political experience and influence. Vice President Sambo should see the current crisis in the PDP as a real challenge to his political career and he must stand up to it, except he wants to be continually seen as a political liability to President Jonathan indeed.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State,, 08036070980. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

BREAKING: Jonathan orders immediate deployment of troops to Nasarawa

The Federal Government has ordered immediate deployment of troops to troubled Nasarawa state.

The Director, Army Public Relations Department, Brigadier General Ibrahim Attahiru, told journalists in Abuja the troops, will join the police to stem the tide of violence in the state.

The North-central state descended into chaos Friday following clashes between two ethnic groups.

An unknown number of people have died while several thousand others were displaced after their houses were razed in the violence now in its sixth day.

As commander-in-chief, President Goodluck Jonathan must approve deployment of troops to any part of the country.

culled from Premium Times

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Police Inspector General weds Zarha, daughter of ex-FCT Minister

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, on Saturday married, Zarha, the daughter of a one-time FCT Minister, Ibrahim Bunu.

The wedding “fatiha’’, which took place at the National Mosque, Abuja, was conducted by the Chief Imam of the mosque, Ustaz Musa Mohammed, who prayed for the success of the marriage.

Dignitaries at the wedding include Vice-President Namadi Sambo, two former Heads of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, the FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed, and members of the National Assembly.

The reception, which was held at the ThisDay Dome in the city-centre, was attended by Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe state, the Acting Governor of Taraba, Garba Umar, Senators Andy Uba and Paulinus Igwe.

Others dignitaries at the reception include the former Chief Security Officer to late Gen. Sani Abacha, Maj. Hamza Al-Mustapha, business moguls, Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola as well as Akin Oshuntokun, a former Managing Director of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Adamu Bello, who spoke on behalf of the bride’s family, described the turnout for the marriage as “fantastic’’ and expressed gratitude to Allah for the event.

Mr. Bello urged the couple to live according to Islamic tenets for the success of the marriage.

In his remark, Mr. Oshuntokun also noted that the large turnout was a reflection of the goodwill which the I-G had from all the nooks and crannies of the country.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Atiku to Obasanjo: You lied

Former vice president says Obasanjo’s claim that he cannot travel to the US is untrue.

A former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has reacted angrily to a statement credited to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in which he (Obasanjo) alleged that Atiku risked jail if he travelled to the United States.

Atiku served as deputy to Mr Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007.

Garba Shehu, Media Adviser to Atiku issued a strong statement Wednesday from Abuja defending his principal, following corruption charges made by Mr Obasanjo in an EFCC magazine, Zero Tolerance.

“The former President is wrong,” Mr Shehu said. “It is widely known that Atiku didn’t enter government broke. He declared his assets at the commencement of his Vice Presidency and did so at the end of his term as required by the constitution, which is a sacred document to Atiku.”

According to him, “Atiku, who is currently returning from China after leading a private economic trade mission at the invitation of the Chinese government, travels often and has a well-documented record of building industries and putting thousands of Nigerians to work. And this record, quite frankly, has been thoroughly investigated.”

While reiterating that Mr Atiku had no case against him by any arm of the law in any country in the world, including the United States, Mr Shehu observed that “President Obasanjo’s repeated ‘jokes’ about Turaki not being able to go to America have become cliché, tiresome and not true.”

The media adviser recalled that in 2006, former Mr Obasanjo sent his National Security Adviser, NSA, to stop Atiku from travelling to the US, saying that the Vice President risked arrest on arrival.

He said that Turaki spurned that advice, left Nigeria to land at the Andrews Air Force Base, the official airport of the US government, to receive the best reception ever on a visit to America.

“So, we are used to those taunts,” he said.

He noted that when Atiku left office shortly before late Musa Yar’Adua was inaugurated as President, the former vice president spent three months in the US, adding that if they (US authorities) wanted him for anything, they would have met him.

“It is time to start dealing in facts. Specifically, the fact is that Atiku’s visa to visit the United States has been recently renewed.

“Another fact is Atiku is one of the most investigated politicians in Nigerian history. And every investigation, whether politically motivated here at home or by the FBI abroad, has yielded the same result every time: not guilty.

“If Atiku is guilty of anything, it is crushing persistent attempts at re-writing our constitution.

“Atiku has chosen the path of optimism and hope. Moving forward, he will continue working to fuel Nigeria’s economy through investment and job creation, while also passionately and persistently defending our young democracy,” Mr Shehu said.
culled from 

‘Why President sacked ministers’

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan’s dismissal of ministers Wednesday was said to have political undertones, especially coming at a crucial time in the life of the administration and the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) currently embroiled in a crisis.

Observers noted Wednesday night that virtually all the sacked ministers had links with state governors or powerful leaders opposed to the leadership of the party and the president in the run-up to the 2015 elections.

They discountenanced the government’s stated need for enhanced performance, transparency and accountability in governance as reasons for rejigging the cabinet. 

In August, Jonathan made public a rating procedure known as Performance Contract Agreement for ministers. 

Watchers of the polity then assumed that the rating would be used to weed out many of the ministers perceived to have under-performed since some of them joined the cabinet under the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s administration.

But Jonathan dispelled such an expectation, promising that rather than use the result of the assessment to consider whom to relieve of their portfolios, it would be employed to review his administration’s performance and delivery of set targets to Nigerians.

“I read all kinds of things in the media, that the president wants to assess the ministers so that he would know who would go and who would stay. That is not the purpose of this.

“We would have done it probably in the first week when we came on board, but the key thing is that we have given ourselves points that we think we will get at. 

“We believe that if we get at those points or even if we achieve 70 per cent of that, at least it will be better off for our own country.” 

The president reiterated that the assessment was to ensure enhanced performance, transparency and accountability in governance.

“I want to assure every one of you (cabinet members) who has taken part in the exercise that this is not a witch-hunt targeted at anybody,” the president said.

However, just as they had concluded following the ministers’ signing of the Performance Contract Agreement, observers easily said yesterday that Jonathan had done the exact opposite of his promise not to witch-hunt with the cabinet shake-up.

With the exception of one or two, the sacked ministers, observers believed, have links with those regarded by the movers and shakers of Abuja as opposition to the president in regard to the 2015 elections.

For instance, the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyat Rufa’i, is from Jigawa State. She was nominated by Governor Sule Lamido, one of the arrowheads of the group of governors bent on stopping Jonathan in 2015 and linked to the New PDP. 

The same is true of the other dropped ministers. Samplers: 

• Olugbenga Ashiru (Foreign Affairs) from Ogun Sate: Former President Olusegun Obasanjo reportedly recommended him for the cabinet post. 

Although he is leading a reconciliation effort in the fractured PDP, Obasanjo was said to have stoked the fire of rebellion in the party ahead of the 2015 elections. State House sources told The Guardian that the former president is not regarded as an innocent bystander in the PDP-New PDP crisis.

During last Democracy Day ceremonies, rather than join Jonathan in marking the day in Abuja, Obasanjo was guest of Governor Lamido in Dutse, the capital city of Jigawa State.

There, he was quoted as praising the developmental strides of the state administration and prayed that Lamido should extend the same to the national level from 2015.

• Ama Pepple (Minister of Lands) from Rivers State: She was the nominee of estranged Rivers governor, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who also claimed to have nominated the Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, who is today Amaechi’s nemesis.

Those in the know said Pepple was recommended along with Dr. Tonye Cole, son of Dr. P.D Cole, but the former was chosen for the cabinet post owing to Amaechi’s insistence.

As a source noted last night, “if President Jonathan had only one person to remove from the cabinet today (yesterday), that person would surely have been Ama Pepple because of her relationship with Amaechi.”

• Shamsudeen Usman (Minister of National Planning) from Kano: He was made minister under the Yar’Adua administration. Yet, he is reportedly close to the Kano State governor, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.

The governor, according to Abuja minders, is next to Amaechi in the hierarchy of “enemies of the President,” politically.

Kwankwaso’s role is well documented in the scuttling of alleged plan of the presidency to install Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State as the “chairman” of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF). 

The governor is one of the anti-Tukur elements of the PDP reportedly earmarked for “severe punishment” in the ongoing schism in the party.

• Erelu Obada (Minister of State, Defence) from Osun: She was a nominee of former Osun State governor, Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who is one of the leading lights of the Kawu Baraje-led New-PDP that is threatening to derail the ambition of Jonathan for a second term in office. 

A source revealed that Oyinlola nominated Obadan, a deputy governor under him, after he learnt that the portfolio of Minister of State, instead of a full cabinet post was allocated to Osun.

• Zainab Kuchi (Minister of State, Power) from Niger: She has links with the state governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, another vocal campaigner for a Northern president in 2015 

Sources said the governor was the “most slippery” of the governors advancing the interest of the North in 2015. 

“When he (Babangida) sees the president or his handlers, he will say ‘I’m with you.’ But when he turns back, he will say a different thing. So, the presidency people fear the man as they fear ‘Maradona.’” 

Other ministers affected in the shake-up are either from states controlled by the opposition and thus, seen as sympathetic to their cause, or that they had issues with the leaders in those states. 

But the acting Chairman, Caretaker Committee, South West People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Adedeji Doherty, dismissed insinuations that Jonathan was being influenced by the ongoing crisis within the ruling party.

The Lagos and Oyo state chapters of the PDP and the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) commended Jonathan’s cabinet shake-up. 

Reacting to the speculation that the likes of Ashiru and Obada were sacked by the President as a result of their closeness to Obasanjo and Oyinlola, who is one of the principal actors in the New PDP, Doherty said such thinking was not only wrong but anti-development.

Speaking with The Guardian on phone yesterday, Doherty said the shake-up was a prelude to the general one that is on the way and it is also long over-due.
culled from The Guardian 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New PDP: What Jonathan Should Do

The fact is, the root and the hidden-strength behind the PDP Governors at the center of the current crisis in the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) can be linked to former President Obasanjo. Obasanjo feels marginalized in Jonathan’s administration and it is obvious.The crisis, which has now gone beyond Obasanjo’s grievances, has transformed into a nexus of Obasanjo’s anger; Atiku Abubakar’s ambition and some PDP governors’ resentment. The bubble is about to bust. President Jonathan’s 2015 ambition is facing its toughest moment.

The array of demands tabled by the aggrieved members of the PDP- that the President drop his 2015 re-election ambition; removal of the PDP national chairman, Bamanga Tukur and restoration of the party executives in Adamawa and Rivers states including some PDP national executive members, Sam Jaja and his likes, who were disqualified from contesting at the just concluded PDP special national convention makes approaching the crisis quite dicey. President Jonathan has two options in approaching the crisis viz-the hard or the soft. As it appears, President Jonathan and his handlers seem to have chosen the soft approach for now. But is the soft approach -the current reconciliation going on, the best option? It seems the soft approach would be painful, while the hard approach may result into a deeper political crisis. 

It amazes observers of PDP politics that, President Jonathan always finds it tough to solve an internal political crisis within the party; particularly those that involve northern governors, despite having a vice president, PDP national chairman and a senior special adviser on politics from the region.This cannot be far-fetched from the fact that Vice President Namadi Sambo does not have a solid political influence in the region, unlike Atiku Abubakar when he was Vice President to Obasanjo. Bamanga Tukur has vast political experience and is very conversant with politics of the north, but has for long-time lost contacts within the cycle of Nigeria’s thorough-breed politicians, while Ahmed Gulak is just a local politician in Adamawa state, who even lost the PDP primaries for House of Representatives, he does not have ample knowledge of the politics of northern Nigeria let alone that of complex Nigeria. One interesting point here is, Obasanjo, despite his shortcomings, carries more political weight in the north and in behind-the-scenes politicking than the above three. So, he is smartly utilizing it to play politics.

As a typical Nigerian politician, coupled with the history of his party, the PDP, President Jonathan definitely has the hard approach on his table to tackle the current crisis. But the best option for President Jonathan is to employ same strategies that brought him to power in 2011.The strategies that granted him victory from the PDP primaries to the general elections- negotiations and the spirit of give and take. Nevertheless, President Jonathan has to do what he has to do in order to do what he wants to do.The smartest way out for Jonathan is to approach the crisis using ‘reductionistic tactics’ –tackling the aggrieved group by tackling each member of the group. Each of the major players in the formation of the faction, ‘New PDP’ has a particular reason for being aggrieved. Jonathan should take this to his advantage to soften the gang-up, and then face the group as a whole.

Anyone conversant with Nigerian politics knows that the demands laid down by the aggrieved members of PDP were meant to be leg-pullers for President Jonathan and his political team. The aggrieved members know that any miscalculated move in pursuit of his 2015 re-election ambition would be the end-of-the-game for Jonathan. Hurriedly succumbing to the demands to remove Bamanga Tukur as the national chairman of the PDP would be a political suicide, while blankly yielding to the governors’ demands would mean Jonathan completely losing of control of the PDP. Jonathan and his handlers must avoid prolonging the crisis, a failure to bring those aggrieved governors back to the PDP fold would seriously hurt the PDP in states it controls and those it does not, because those aggrieved governors have comfortable party platform options readily available for them- the PDM or the APC. 

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State,, 08036070980. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

PHOTONEWS: The 'Power Sharing Deal' in Taraba

Hauwa Suntai, the leader of the Suntai cabal evidently happy with the power sharing deal

Senator Uzodinma and his crew arrives Jalingo

Acting Governor hugs Senator Uzodinma upon arrival at the Jalingo at the airport

Governor Danbaba Suntai being introduced to his deputy, Garba umar yesterday at the Governor's Lodge

Hope Uzodinma and "Acting Governor" Umar Garba

Hope Uzodinma presiding over the resolution of the Taraba crisis with Mrs. Suntai representing her hubby

courtesy sahara reporters 

Bamanga Tukur Talks Tough, Says Any PDP Lawmaker That Joins New Faction Will Lose Their Seats

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Bamanga Tukur, has declared that the party would deal with members parading themselves as factional executives.

Mr. Tukur, who addressed the press in Abuja, said the National Working Committee he heads is the only recognized executive.

He said anyone parading themselves as factional executives will be made to face the full wrath of the law.

“Anyone who also identifies themselves with the impostors will be made to lose their seats as required by law,” the party chairman said in Abuja on Wednesday.

Suntai Heads to Court as PDP Affirms Umar Acting Governor

The Taraba State Governor, Danbaba Suntai, Tuesday instituted a law suit against the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Haruna Tsokwa, and members of the assembly challenging their refusal to allow him resume duty as governor.

The law suit by the governor coincided with the intervention of the Senator Hope Uzodinma-led Committee and the unanimous agreement reached by the committee and stakeholders in the state that the acting Governor of Taraba, Alhaji Garba Umar, should continue to run the state until Suntai is strong enough to resume duties.

Suntai had on August 26 transmitted a letter to the speaker notifying him of his return after a 10-month absence and his readiness to take over his office as governor and the responsibilities thereof.
But the speaker had rejected the governor’s request on the premise that it had to be deliberated upon by the assembly before a decision could be reached on it.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the speaker and assembly, Suntai Tuesday approached the High Court in the state through Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), who filed the originating summons seeking redress.

In a copy of the originating summons obtained at the lawyer’s chambers in Abuja, the governor argued that Suntai’s letter notifying the speaker and the assembly of his return and intention to take over was not subject to the exercise of their discretion to accept or reject it, as it was “mandatory” for them to do so.

Izinyon, on behalf of his client, is, therefore, seeking a declaration by the court that the letter transmitted by Suntai was “absolute, mandatorily obeisant, immutable and cannot be debated or contradicted by any means whatsoever as the 1st and 2nd Defendants lack any discretion in the circumstance and that upon transmission of the said letter, the Plaintiff has automatically assumed his powers and responsibilities as Governor of Taraba State.”

He also wants the court to declare the press statement issued by the speaker and other lawmakers directing Umar to continue as acting governor, “null and void ultra vires and constitutionally void and of no effect whatsoever.”

Accordingly, he is seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the speaker and assembly from “debating, interfering with, doing anything in connection with or in relation to the letter transmitted by the Plaintiff to the 1st Defendant pursuant to Section 190(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).”

The law suit, notwithstanding, the crisis over who is in charge in Taraba State appeared to have been finally laid to rest yesterday, after all stakeholders in the state unanimously agreed that Umar should continue to run the state until Suntai was ready to take over the reins of state.

The decision was reached at the end of the peace meeting brokered by the Uzodima-led committee set up by the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to find a lasting solution to the political crisis in the state.
Other members of the committee are Alhaji Buhari Bala, Alhaji Kabir Shittu Mohammed, Senator Abubakar Umar Gada, Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Political Matters, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak; Prof. Richard King and Mrs. Bolajoko Doherty.

Briefing the journalists after the meeting, which had in attendance the wife of the governor, Hauwa Suntai, the acting governor, Senators Emmanuel Bwacha and Abubakar Tutare, Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ishiaka Bawa, Hon. Jerry Manwe, Hon. Aminu Male, Hon. Ibrahim Elsudi, members of the assembly led by Tsokwa and other PDP stakeholders in the state, Uzodima said the resolution was agreeable to all the parties. Stressing that there was no disagreement between Suntai and the acting governor, Uzodima said: “We don’t have a crisis in Taraba. The state governor, Danbaba Suntai, is relatively very healthy and there is no disagreement between him and his deputy who is now the acting governor.

“He’s (Suntai) also in support of the fact that the acting governor should continue to act and that he should always consult him and clear with him on major issues pending when he’s ready to fully take over the governance of the state and this is agreeable to all parties.
“So, Taraba State is now one united, strong government and PDP is still in control of this government.”

Corroborating Uzodima, Umar, who expressed gratitude to President Jonathan and the PDP National Chairman, Dr. Bamanga Tukur, for making it possible for the committee to come and resolve the crisis, said it had been agreed that he should continue piloting the affairs of the state until Suntai was fully fit to resume duties. He said: “Today, let me assure you that we have been able to tell ourselves the truth, we have been able to resolve our differences and today, I am assuring you that Taraba State is one.

“Let me also add that all of us here, we‘re witnesses to the fact that few days ago, there were insinuations about Taraba State, and Taraba became a household name in this country. But today, we thank God that all our differences have been resolved and we are one and it was agreed that I will pilot the affairs of the state until my principal is able to come back and resume duties as our governor.

“And in doing that also, there must be consultation between me and my boss in carrying out my duties as acting governor of the state.” When asked whether the issue of the dissolution of the State Executive Council (SEC) as well as the appointments of a Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and Chief of Staff had also been resolved, Umar maintained that all the contending issues had been fully resolved.

“As I said earlier, all issues have been resolved and when I say the issues have been resolved including the issue of the executive council, there is nothing to worry about.”
He explained that he was in consultation with his boss on the reconstitution of the exco and it would be announced as soon as he has concluded consultations.

Addressing stakeholders before the commencement of the meeting, which was held behind closed doors, the committee, which arrived Jalingo at 11.55 a.m. in a chartered aircraft, said they were in the state to interact with the critical stakeholders with a view to identifying the causes of the crisis and properly locating them where they’re supposed to be. In the meantime, a political pressure group, Taraba Justice Forum, yesterday dismissed the accusation leveled against the acting governor by Bwacha of trying to grab power, describing the statement as false and a misrepresentation of reality.

In a statement signed by its General Secretary, Mr. John Ambulus, the forum said: “With our experience, since we launched this struggle for justice early this year, we can affirm that Bwacha, and not the acting governor, is the one that is power thirsty.” The group accused Bwacha of nursing governorship ambitions, “which he believes may not materialise except a sick governor is foisted on the people of Taraba State.

“Bwacha was elected to serve in the Senate and he should face his mandate and allow the governor or his aides speak on executive issues in the state.”

Nigerian Army retires 10 generals

The authorities of the Nigerian Army have retired some top generals of the Army. It was gathered that those retired were ten in number. Among those affected were the former Director of Training and Operations, Defence Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. Lawrence Ngugbane, the former Commander of Training, Doctrine and Command, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Mungonu, and the former Chief of Research and Development, Maj.-Gen. Obinali Ariahu.

A top military source said on Wednesday that the generals were retired because they had put in the maximum years in service. The source said that the retirement exercise was routine and not punitive.

The source added that the retirement exercise was expected to take place every quarter of the year. The source couldn't give the names of the others affected in the exercise.

“It is true that some of our generals have been retired. The exercise is a routine one. It is not a punitive retirement, they have reached their terminal level. “Some of them were asked to proceed on the compulsory terminal leave in June this year,” the source said.

Our  (the Punch Newspaper) correspondent could not contact the Director of Defence Information, Brig.- Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, for comments as the calls placed to his mobile telephone line indicated that it was switched off or in an area outside network coverage.
culled from punch newspaper

Monday, September 2, 2013

Breaking: PDP crisis could be resolved Tuesday- Metuh

The newly re-elected National Publicity Secretary of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, has stated that the party is working to resolve the crisis that followed Saturday’s Special National convention which led to the factionalisation of the party.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and seven governors walked out of the convention and later formed a parallel executive on Saturday.

The chairman of the parallel faction, Abubakar Baraje, had informed PREMIUM TIMES over the telephone on Monday that the faction he presides over will open its new secretariat on Tuesday.

But Mr. Metuh while addressing the press shortly after the maiden meeting of the new members of the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party, at Wadata Plaza secretariat said the leadership of the party and all other stakeholders will meet on Tuesday and ‘find a solution to the problem’.

“Consultations on what happened on Saturday and all issues therein are ongoing at the highest level of the party in this country. We are going to take the decisions and the reasons behind the decision after tomorrow’s meeting,” he said.

culled from Premium Times