Thursday, November 21, 2013

Obasanjo To Jonathan: Tread Softly On G-7 Governors

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has advised President Goodluck Jonathan to tread softly with the G-7governors who are threatening to dump the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), in the interest of the party.

The governors are Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (Sokoto), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa).

The governors want Alhaji BamangaTukur removed as the national chairman, even as they demand internal democracy and lifting of the suspension on Governor Amaechi, among other conditions. Although they have had a dialogue with Jonathan, peace remains elusive in the party.

A few days ago, five of the G-7 governors were in Abeokuta to meet with Obasanjo to inform him of their resolve to defect to the APC but their host reportedly cautioned them against doing so, while he reportedly advised them to embrace the party’s internal mechanism to resolve the matter. He also promised to speak with Jonathan over their agitation.

A credible source close to the former president disclosed to LEADERSHIP that Obasanjo had spoken with Jonathan, advising him against pushing the seven governors out of the party as the 2015 general election draws nearer.

The source, who is also a member of the PDP BoT, said: “Baba (Obasanjo) has spoken with President Goodluck Jonathan about the issues raised by those PDP governors. He advised him against being unnecessarily harsh on them. He reminded the president of the danger in sending seven governors away, with electioneering around the corner. He assured those governors would not leave the party, that he was talking with them and persuading them to remain with the party.”

Speaking further, the source said: “President Jonathan explained to him that he had no problem with any of the governors and that some of them like the governors of Adamawa, Rivers and Kano are having problems with the chairman of the party (Tukur) whom they want removed but that he had no such power to do so. He also told Baba that some of them were merely sympathizing with those who have lost the party machinery.

Our source also explained that Obasanjo had briefed the governors on the outcome and “that is why some of them kept away from the Sokoto Retreat organised by the Rotimi Amaechi-led Nigeria Governors’ Forum”. 

Another source who corroborated him explained that although Obasanjo had been stopping the aggrieved governors from defecting to other parties but two of them would surely jump the ship.

“Former president Obasanjo is trying his best behind the scenes to stop those governors from going, but there is nothing he could do that can stop Murtala Nyako and Amaechi from leaving the party, not because of President Jonathan but because they have lost out in the power tussle in their states. So, they have no choice but to go, but the remaining five would surely remain as advised by Obasanjo whom they see as their father.”

Anti-party accusations: PDP invites Baraje, Oyinlola, others to defend themselves

The Umaru Dikko-led Disciplinary Committee of the ruling PDP has formally invited the suspended former acting national chairman of the party, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, former deputy national chairman Dr Sam Sam Jaja, national secretary Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Ambassador Ibrahim Kazaure to appear before it to defend themselves on five-count allegations of misconduct inimical to the party on Wednesday, November 27, 2013, at the PDP presidential campaign office popularly called “Legacy House” in Abuja.

A statement by the committee signed by its secretary, Onwe Solomon Onwe, who doubled as the deputy national secretary of the party, yesterday, said it had received cases of anti-party activities against Baraje, Oyinlola, Jaja and Kazaure from the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).

The committee added that, in keeping with Section 57(4) of the PDP constitution, it has since informed the affected persons of the allegations and subsequently invited them to state their own side of the story.

The charges against the accused include staging a walkout along with others at the August 31, 2013, Special Convention of the party in a manner contrary to Section 58(1)(b)(g) and (h) of the party’s constitution; and dragging the party to court on September 2, 2013 without first exploring the internal remedies of the party contrary to Section 58(1) (L) of the constitution.

Other allegations are that the accused persons have made disparaging statements in the media against the PDP national chairman, Bamanga Tukur, and other national leaders of the party including unduly publicising disputes/differences within the party contrary to Section 58(1)(i) of the party’s constitution. Oyinlola particularly wrote letters to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on September 1 and 23, 2013, respectively seeking recognition for the suspended members as NWC members of PDP.

They are further accused of factionalising the party by creating “new PDP” and recruiting members of the party in the National Assembly into their ranks since August 31, 2013, contrary to the provisions of the party’s constitution.

“The affected persons may wish to present their cases orally or in writing either in person or through a counsel of their choice. They may also wish to call witnesses,” the committee said.

I’m unaware of PDP Disciplinary Committee – Oyinlola

But Oyinlola has said the PDP Disciplinary Committee is unknown to law.

He said the fact is that he swore to an oath of office stipulating that he will respect and protect the grund norm of the PDP in his capacity as the custodian of the seal of the party.

Oyinlola, in a statement issued and signed on his behalf by his media aide Deji Falegan, said he was conscious of the provisions of the PDP constitution which states without any equivocation that “nominations to membership of the Disciplinary Committee at the national level shall be ratified by the National Executive Council of the PDP”.

In effect, he said, Oyinlola, “as a law-abiding member of the PDP is not aware of the composition of any disciplinary panel that is not ratified or known to the National Executive Committee of the PDP’’.

‘’This reaction itself is being made out courtesy for the media and its right to inform and be informed, as Oyinlola has not received any correspondence from any quarters and would not honour any invitation from any illegal body since that would amount to violating the constitution of the party. As individuals and elders, the PDP national secretary has great respect for the members of the NWC committee that is, however, not recognised by the PDP constitution which stipulates that the party’s NEC is the statutory body to approve the composition of a disciplinary body at the national level,” he stated. ‘’It is important to stress that the first meeting of NEC of PDP, which is statutorily expected to be a quarterly affair, deliberated on the composition of NEC but never agreed on its membership at the meeting. I am also sure that the second NEC meeting, out of the seven meetings that ought to have been

held statutorily by the present NWC did not also agree on the membership of any Disciplinary Committee. It is rather funny, illogical and antithetical to democratic conduct for the NWC that has consistently denigrated the judiciary, the constitution of the PDP and even the extant grund norm of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to be talking about discipline and internal party democracy, when it has continued to show disregard for the rule of law, and fundamental human rights.

“All these could only indicate indecent political behaviour and lack of accountability and integrity as the party’s spokesman, Chief Olisa Metuh, who in his interview with the Sun newspaper of Tuesday, November 19, 2013, was quoted as saying ‘if you didn’t commit the act, the party will not suspend

you’; he stated the position of the NWC to summarily accuse and judge Oyinlola and others.

“Metuh’s reaction clearly gives cause for concern about their true commitment to democracy. I wish to re-assert that I will NEVER compromise illegalities and destructive tendencies that border on the culture of impunity, tyranny and oppression that could be interpreted as the hallmark of dictatorship.

This is indeed the time for introspection and protection of the PDP from descent into anarchy’. If these people truly mean well, they would have taken the pains to examine the causes and effects of occurrences that are fragmenting the PDP instead of further adopting measures designed to put the PDP into disrepute. I was removed by Justice Kafarati on January 11, 2013, and vacated office immediately, as a politician with honour, respect for the rule of law, and a second address.

“Between January and August 2013, I took steps to dialogue with the national leader, His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan and communicated my grievances to him in writing a couple of times; I made representations to the Chief Tony Anenih Committee; I submitted a memorandum to the PDP Governors Panel headed by His Excellency Alhaji Ibrahim Shema; consulted with the Prof. Jerry Gana Committee; and also had informal consultations with the Governor Seriake Dickson Reconciliation Committee through Chief Dosu Fatokun and agreed to meet with the committee, among other moves, to find an amicable solution to my persecution and illegal removal from office. Yet, they have continued to trail Oyinlola with rabid and unimaginable downbeat intentions.

“I pray that history will be merciful in judgement to all actors in this saga; and that some people will refrain from continuing to take actions that would enter their names on the negative pages of history.”

culled from Leadership Newspaper 

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