The defectors “left the party to return to a motley agglomeration that would promise them what true democracy could not: automatic tickets…”
Senate President Bukola Saraki and Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and others defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) because the party could not offer them an automatic ticket and unfettered access to the public till.
National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who made the claim in a statement he personally signed, entitled: “They Go Away Because We Go the Right Way,” said the defectors “left the party to return to a motley agglomeration that would promise them what true democracy could not: automatic tickets, sharing of the national wealth and other offices and privileges.”
The former Lagos State governor asked the people to go beyond the debate on the numbers in the Senate and the House of Representatives, saying, “we must pull back from the shallow headlines to recognise that something fundamental is at stake.
“Nigeria is undergoing a historic transition. Sometimes awkwardly, tentatively, yet inexorably, we nurture political and governance reform. We steadily close the door on the old malpractices that have caused a rich nation to reside in the tenement of the global poor.”
Speaking specifically on the Sokoto governor’s defection, the APC leader said: “Governor Tambuwal’s exit can be distilled to one cause. He covets the presidency. However, he had not the stomach to challenge President Buhari in a primary. Tambuwal felt further insulted that he would be compelled to face a direct primary just to retain the governorship nomination.
“But for the promise made by PDP headliners like Rivers State Governor Wike that he would have the PDP presidential nomination, Tambuwal would not have left. His exit had nothing to do with the governance of the nation. It was about forging a personal ambition predicated on the defeat of progressive reform not the advancement of it.”
On Senate President, he said: “Much the same for Senate President Saraki. Returning to the PDP, he harbours dreams of the presidency but Tambuwal’s ambition will dwarf Saraki’s when the two collide. If Saraki had remained in the APC, he would be unable to reclaim his Senate seat let alone the Senate Presidency. He thus bolted because he lusts for the presidency but was promised by the PDP, at least, a return to his position in the Senate. “For Saraki to talk about lack of governance is for him to deny who he is and the position he holds. This man stands as Nigeria’s Number three citizen. Clothed is he in ample power and influence. If he saw areas where the government and the nation needed help, he could have easily applied his energies to these areas. He could have drafted legislation and easily got laws passed.
“However, no progressive enactment bears his name for he cared not for progress. He has been more focused on changing the rules of the Senate to favour himself and changing the order of elections so as to coincide with his selfish designs.”
Part of the statement read: “The defections of some people from the APC have generated sensational headlines and exaggerated talk as to what their departures foretell for the APC, the party to which
I belong. Some have predicted the demise of the APC. Those who hope for our decline will be disappointed by the inaccuracy of their desires. The days, months and years ahead will bury such errant forecasts for these predictions are born more of bitterness than of objective analysis.
Much of the attention has centred on which party now controls this or that state and which party maintains a majority in the National Assembly. These considerations are important to members of the political class and the electoral calculations of the political parties. But these calculations cannot be all there is. We must be careful not to reduce our horizon to a mere accounting of elected officials moving from one party to another.
Many in the political class believe this scorekeeping between the parties encompasses all that is important. For such people, the mere holding of office is the sole objective. The quality of governance they provide means little to them. Yet, there are greater things at stake than the fortunes of individual politicians. The people of Nigeria focus their attention on something materially different than this narrow political game.
The people are more deeply concerned with the quality of governance they experience than with the intense cunning by which the political game is played. They are more interested in helpful policies than in the tempests created by politicians in pursuit of personal ambitions. That which provides a better life in a more prosperous nation is what beckons to them. That which shines in the eye of the political opportunist is dross to the average person.
We must pull back from the shallow headlines to recognise that something fundamental is at stake.
Nigeria is undergoing a historic transition. Sometimes awkwardly, tentatively, yet inexorably, we nurture political and governance reform. We steadily close the door on the old malpractices that have caused a rich nation to reside in the tenement of the global poor. The corruption of the past is ending; for it must end if we are to fulfil our collective purpose. With this correction, less public money will be diverted to private benefit. More will be afforded to the causes of the people. The economy is being transformed so that the average person will have a better chance of finding a better life.
We move toward a more democratic union. The old days where a handful of uninformed men and those with deep pockets decided everything for everybody are being swept away. The will of the people can no longer be ignored. Those who would be the masters over the people must now be public servants. A party or elected official may no longer rule over the people. They must govern for the benefit of the people.
By so doing, the arc of our national progress is shaped. Not everyone is happy with this trajectory. As a whole, the political class must relinquish some of its power and wealth so people can enjoy a more equitable portion of the national enterprise.
This is the correct and perhaps inevitable course Nigeria must pursue.
To their credit, many politicians see the need for reform and even champion it. Yet, there are those in the political class who scheme against collective improvement. They seek to halt progress toward a fairer nation. They seek to hold to the old ways. The difference between the two parties and why some people returned to their PDP conclave must be seen in this light.
This is more than the competition over numbers. What rests in the balance is not whether one party has more elected officials on its roster, but which party has the right mindset and policies to reform Nigeria that she may become what goodness demands of her. We are in a locked battle to define the future of this nation and the quality of its governance. This battle pits one party, the APC, with all of its imperfections, that seeks national reforms against another party, the PDP, which symbolizes the perfection of the most selfish designs of the most selfish politicians among us.
This moral battle informed the recent defections. Those who belong to that PDP mode of thought could find no permanent comfort in walking the path of progressive reform and progress. All the things we have inaugurated such as school-feeding programs for poor pupils, social security for poor families, affordable housing programs, greater access to credit for small businesses and greater access to education and health care, these things the defectors could not well abide. They detested President Buhari’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) innovation because it barred them from misdirecting funds into a maze of unaudited accounts from which they could syphon as they pleased. Buhari cut off their clandestine illicit spigot. (The Sun)
Adeniyi Olugbemi, Sokoto
Two hundred and fifty-two Special Advisers and Special Assistants appointed under Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal’s administration have resigned their positions.
The affected aides said their resignations were informed by the recent decision of the Sokoto State Governor to dump the All Progressives Congress, the party which they are bona fide members of in the state.
They stated that their resolve to remain in APC will not allow them to function in their respective positions under Tambuwal’s government.
Addressing journalists on Sunday in Sokoto, the spokesman of the SAs, Hon. Dasuki Haske, also said their decisions were hinged on their loyalty to the party.
“We deem it fit state categorically that we are not ready to join Governor Tambuwal in his new party. That was what informed our decision. We will remain in APC and there is no going back.
“We are members of APC before taking up our appointments as SAs and it was based on the membership values that we were given such positions. Now, we have resigned because the governor has not performed well since inception to justify our support for him.
“We want to assure that we will work for the success of APC in the state come 2019 general election. We will work for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari and our state party leader, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko,” Haske said.
Another speaker, Abdullahi Ahmad Sokoto, said all the ex-aides will work for the success of APC in the state.
He added that the party remained the one to beat in any election.
Also speaking, a former Special Assistant, Hajia Rabi Tudunwada, alleged that she and other aides of the governor were called and compelled to swear with Holy Qur’an to secure their promise to defect from APC before they could be paid their August salary.
Hajia Tudunwada disclosed that some of them had refused to be part of the oath, which informed their decision to resign from their respective positions.
She posited that both PDP and Governor Tambuwal will be rejected in the forthcoming general elections by the electorate.
Responding, the state APC chairman, Hon. Isah Achida thanked the affected Special Advisers and Assistants for their loyalty to the party.
He also promised them rewards for their “steadfastness and commitment to the party.”
“We thank you for being loyal to the party and we are assuring you of equal treatment as loyal party members.
“We have taken cognizance of your loyalty and commitment,” Achida state (Punch)
… As Governor Tambuwal calls for calm
From Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
Some unidentified youths, suspected to be hoodlums, on Saturday, carried out attacks targeted on Igbo traders, in Sokoto, the Sokoto State capital.
Our Correspondent reports that the attacks occurred on Old Market Road, Bello Way and Emir Yahaya areas of Sokoto metropolis, at about noon.
The frightening incident, however, forced other Igbo traders to closed down their shops and ran for safety against the backdrop of the heightened security situation in other parts of the country.
An eyewitness who sighted the irate youths in their hundreds along Bello way said were armed with cutlasses, stones and sticks before l before razing down a building belonging to some Igbo traders.
A victim who simply identified his name as Chief Gabriel Okafor told our Correspondent on the phone that his house was reported razed down by some suspected arsonists.
“Right now, I just received a call from my wife that some youths have invaded my house and set it ablaze. My family narrowly escaped the attacks.” Chief Okafor alarmed.
Another victim, Mr William Emmanuel Usoh told Journalists that his Honda Civic car was touched by some unidentified youths along Emir Yahaya road.
Usoh explained that the timely arrival of men of the Nigeria Civil Defence and Security Corps (NCSDC), however, stopped the youths in their attempt to further vandalize shops within the vicinity.
When contacted the President General, Igbo Community in Sokoto State, Chief Charles Uwaga, confirmed the incident.
He said reports reaching him indicated that some of his members have been attacks within the state capital. “A member just called me that his house has been razed down. There are also cases of shops vandalization.
However, there was a heavy presence of security personnel that including Army, Police, Civil Defence Corps, especially within the state capital.
In a related development, Sokoto state government has urged all residents to go about their normal activities without fear of molestation, saying all arrangements have been put in place to ensure the security of lives and property.
A statement issued by Malam Imam Imam, the spokesman to Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said what is happening in other parts of the country, especially the South East, will have no negative effect on residents of Sokoto.
“Governor Tambuwal has urged for calm. He has met severally with security agencies, religious and traditional rulers. He is also in touch with members of the resident communities.
“In addition, the Governor is in touch with his counterparts in other states to see how they can synergise to ensure that peace is maintained.
“Residents are thereby urged to report any suspicious activities to constituted authorities,” the statement added.
The statement praised the people of Sokoto for being their brothers’ keepers and urged them to engage in acts that enhance unity, brotherhood and understanding at all times.
“We’re happy to note that so far, business premises, markets, worship centres and public gatherings have continued unhindered. This administration is committed to sustaining our cherished status as the most peaceful State in Nigeria,” it added. (The Sun)
Visits harmless, says spokesman
Tambuwal: we’re not politicking
There is disquiet in the All Progressives Congress (APC) over some governors’ visits to Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel, who are of the Peoples Democratic Party. (PDP).
The APC governors, who visited their PDP counterpart, are: Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto) and Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi).
The governors also jointly hosted Wike in Sokoto- an action that sent political circles guessing that a major plan was on.
A minister protested to the APC leadership in the Northwest over the trips, The Nation learnt yesterday.
Some Presidency officials are also said to be disturbed by the signal which the visits generated.
Some APC leaders were “shocked” that Tambuwal and Bagudu visited Wike before the last legislative election rerun in Rivers State, spending a day with him.
The two governors teamed up with Yari, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), to spend Christmas in Akwa Ibom.
Wike reciprocated the visits last weekend when he went to Sokoto. The Rivers State Governor was at the Sultan’s palace where he said the Niger Delta would not be part of any move to dismember Nigeria, adding that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable.
A source, reflecting on the development, spoke of “unease in the APC on the shuttles by Tambuwal and others to Rivers and Akwa Ibom states”.
“Some of our leaders are uncomfortable with snippets from these trips”, he said, asking not to be named.
“The timing of the first visit to Rivers State made some of our leaders to be suspicious. It was like paying a solidarity visit to Wike ahead of the Rivers State rerun elections.
“Some leaders have been suspecting that the three governors might be the arrowheads of a political realignment in the country.”
There have been talks of a new party ahead of the next general elections. The direction and planners of the “mega” party remain unknown.
The source quoted the angry minister as saying; “We heard what you people are planning.”
A party leader said: “Some of us have been angry with these governors because our members are going through hell in these states.
“There is nothing wrong in exchanging visits or comparing notes, but we saw the trips as missteps at a time we are seeking redress or justice for our members in the affected states.
“Of what use is an APC governor’s romance with a PDP governor in whose state APC members were attacked and maimed or where policemen were beheaded?”
The Department of State Services (DSS) last week gave indications that some politicians are under watch.
The politicians include those who are making “inciting” statements.
It could not be immediately ascertained if the governors in question are under watch.
But one of the governors had complained that his telephone conversations were intercepted by security agents.
Another source close to one of the governors added: “Of recent, we observed that some agents of a minister have been abusing our boss online over some of these visits.
“It is unfortunate that friendly visits are being turned into other things. Some of these governors have been friends before getting into office.”
APC National Publicity Secretary Bolaji Abdullahi said: “My reaction will be that I think we should not read too much political meanings to all these trips. Governors socialise, regardless of party affiliation.
“If governors decide to visit each other and socialise, I don’t think the party has the authority to stop them. I think we should not read any meaning into it.
“But if the party has reasons to suspect gatherings are contrary to what the party stands for, the party will meet and take appropriate action. At this moment, there is no basis for that.”
Alhaji Imam Imam, Tambuwal’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, said: “There is nothing political at all with all these shuttles. The commitment of the governor of Sokoto State to APC is not in doubt at all. Tambuwal is fully committed to APC. Our commitment to the President, the leadership of the party and all APC structures is unshaken and undiluted.
“We work within the confines of APC. Nobody should link us with 2019. During political season, we will engage in politicking. But this is a period of governance; we are now focused on governance.”
Imam added: “Tambuwal believes in inter-state trade. So long as states cooperate among themselves, the potential for the nation’s economic growth is large. When we visited Rivers, we had discussion on youth empowerment and sports; when we visited Aba, Abia State, the governor sold the idea of marketing Sokoto leather to them. When we went to Kano for inspection of projects, we interacted with some businessmen and one of them is now establishing a fertiliser plant in Sokoto.” (The Nation)