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How PDP Can Win 2019 Presidential Election – Primate Ayodele |The Republican News

The Spiritual Leader of INRI Evangelical Church, Lagos State, Primate Elijah Ayodele has said that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar will find it difficult to unseat President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 2019 polls. He said PDP would not be able to stop Buhari from winning the 2019 election because the party refused to do the right thing. According to Ayodele, he had warned the PDP to give the presidential ticket to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki. In this interview conducted by VERA WISDOM-BASSEY, Ayodele still maintains that it’s only Saraki that can unseat Buhari, while pointing out how Atiku can win among other national issues.

What is the hope of the common man in Nigeria?

The government has nothing for the common man in Nigeria, that is what I see, the common man is just nothing before them. I call on the leaders to be closer to God; to be sustained and survive.

Shouldn’t the big churches come to the rescue of the people?

All those big churches are supposed to have hospitals where they should treat Nigerians free, but it seems their own market is more expensive than the government’s. The churches are making life difficult for the people, especially the big churches, in the sense that they request for money from their members, and these members cannot afford two square meal.

How can the government improve the economy?

Why not put the right people to plan the economy. It should be planned for the common man. As it stands now, if any state pays N30,000 as minimum wage, the economy will shut down. One of the things affecting the economy is the oil wells, why is the oil-rig given to the individual? Why not let each state manage it and if they don’t manage it well then, they are on their own. There are talks about recovered looted funds, where is the recovered looted fund? What are they using it for? Let the recovered looted funds be used appropriately, all these are not happening. They may say it’s given to state governors, who are the state governors? What of the monthly allowances they collect?

Are we still going to see an anointed leader emerge in February?

I am still saying it, there is nobody that God cannot use, and the person I am still saying is Saraki. The election is going to bring more problems. If Buhari wins, there is going to be more problems, not APC or PDP or any political association is our problem now. At the moment, we are in problem, they are all confused on what to do.

After the election, there is still going to be more problems, after Buhari’s government, what will happen next is a serious agitation for break up, there will be too many people to contend with. There will be an argument on zones, this one will say this is our zone and that is our zone, the world is watching on what has been threatening the unity of Nigeria, Nigeria’s unity is under threat.

Amnesty International was asked to move out of Nigeria by the military as a result of a report they gave, do you think this is right for us as a country?

Let us not trouble ourselves on Amnesty International because there is still going to be another body that will still fight Buhari’s government. And there is still going to be trouble in IDP camps as a result of the outbreak of disease that will ravage the people there.

Do you think the election will be free and fair?

There will be a free and fair election.

What is the future for Nigeria?

God is the future of Nigeria.

Buhari said this year will be tougher than last year, what will happen to an average Nigerian?

Even if it’s not Buhari that will win, any other person that enters there will still find it tough. That is why we have to set aside January 14 for prayers.  (The Sun)

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APC Won’t Present Opportunists Like Saraki, Dogara – Oshiomhole |RN

John Alechenu, Abuja

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, has vowed that the party will not field people he described as opportunists who seek to use the party’s platform to pursue their selfish interests.

He said the party had learnt from its past mistakes and was prepared to make amends by ensuring that “bread and butter politicians” were not given the party’s tickets to contest the forthcoming general elections.

Oshiomhole said this while addressing members of the APC Governorship and National Assembly screening committees in Abuja, on Monday.

Although Oshiomhole didn’t mention the names of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who dumped the party for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, events he mentioned relate to the actions taken by them.

The APC national chairman said, “We do not want to field opportunists who are simply seeking a political vehicle for some selfish purposes.

“What has happened in recent past is enough for us to begin to look at the character of those who are seeking office in the APC platform.

“If before now we have taken for granted the powers of the National Assembly, how those powers can be used for national goals and how it can also be misused to undermine national progress.

“The current situation we are facing here, where two principal officers have chosen to put their personal interest over and above the national interest.

“Refusing to consider budget meant for physical infrastructure. Budget meant to re-order the way our budget is executed, to move money away from consumption, which recurrent expenditure represents, to capital projects, which will benefit our people.”

He also said it was sad that the National Assembly was delaying the passage of the budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission for the 2019 elections.

Oshiomhole explained that the party would henceforth ensure that only persons with the intellectual capacity to articulate issues on the basis at which laws and bills were considered as well as those with the capacity to carry out oversight functions to ensure that Nigerians get value for money would be those considered worthy of the party’s tickets.

This is even as he said the party would not abandon the 57 senators who remained faithful to the party during the trying times.

He said, “For us as a party, we have chosen to learn from the positive lessons from this development so that we do not repeat those mistakes by selecting people who as far as human capacity is we can assess and predict that if elected, they will remain faithful not only to our party but more importantly to the Nigerian nation.

“As we speak, I am proud that we have 57 senators who have refused to be induced or misled or otherwise manipulated into moving to other parties or reward for juicy positions.

“It will be ungodly for us as a party not to reward those who believe in the party and the government of the day led by President Muhammadu Buhari.”

The former Edo State governor equally expressed regret that the party’s National Working Committee was still grappling with the “fraudulent” state congresses conducted by the previous party executive.

He said, “In many of the states, we had challenges arising from the way congresses were conducted. Many of them were quite fraudulent; that has been the challenge we have been trying to resolve since we came.

“Screening of aspirants is not a formality. That is why we tried to search for men and women of integrity who cannot be compromised.”

Some aspirants seeking the party’s ticket to contest for the Senate and House of Representatives seats have expressed apprehension over the comments made by the chairman.

One of those who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution said, “This goes to confirm some of our fears.

“My colleagues and I were discussing the news that the party leadership has a list of preferred candidates and this whole screening thing is meant to give legitimacy to their scheme. We are watching and waiting.”   (Punch)

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Buhari Has No Vision, Capacity To Develop Nigeria, Says Saraki |RN

                                         President Muhammadu Buhari

Simon Utebor, Yenagoa

 

The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, says that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, lacks the vision, capacity and the patience to develop the country.

Saraki made the comment on Thursday when he led his Presidential campaign team on a courtesy visit to Governor Seriake Dickson at Government House, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

The Senate President asked Nigerians to replace the current leadership provided by the APC, saying that the party had caused disunity in the country.

Saraki stressed that the country was in dire need of a leader like him with a demonstrable capacity to unite the deeply divided country and create a sense of belonging through fair distribution of appointments in the country.

He argued that it was indeed impossible for anybody to give what he doesn’t have as shown by the inadequacies of the current APC leaders.

He further said that the country was in need of a young vibrant leader with the capacity to withstand the rigours of governance at all times.

He said that running governance must be accompanied with the inseparable willingness and capacity to give all-round attention to the demands of the job.

The Senate President, who also spoke on the raging debate on restructuring, stated that it would be wrong to perceive restructuring as a move to develop a few states.

Saraki said that restructuring would create opportunities for the respective states of the federation to actualise their developmental potential and ensure national growth in the interest of the future generation of Nigerians.

He stated, “2019 is a very crucial election for this country; we are at the crossroads as we have never been so disunited as we are today.

“Wherever you go, people ask questions: where do you belong? We need to address the issue of unity in this country; it is time for everybody to have a seat on the table, a time for everyone to have a sense of belonging in this country. It is not about me.

“There is a new order in the world today, wherever we go, we see leaders that have a vision, that are ready to develop their countries. A lot of us talked about the Asian tigers, but they did not come by chance, or trial and error, they became tigers because they have visionary leaders.

“They are leaders that are ready to defend their countries, that have an idea of what they want to do.  As I keep on saying, you cannot give what you don’t have.

“Where we are now, we have a leadership that has no vision for us. We must bring visionary leadership to the presidential level so we can move this country forward.”

In his remarks, Governor Dickson said that the time had come for the country to move away from the evil of bigotry and indeed a leadership founded on feelings of sectional superiority.

He restated the position of the elders and leaders of the Niger Delta that the 2019 election would be a referendum on restructuring.

He said, “We must get quickly to that point where we build a new Nigeria; where to be appointed as Director General of the Department of State Services or the Chief of Army Staff, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and to be whatever you want to be, you don’t need to come from a particular tribe, or someone who worships one type of God or another.”

The presidency, in its reaction, described Saraki’s comment as crude, condemnable and derogatory of the President.

In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, the Presidency, however, called on Buhari’s supporters to display restraint in language and conduct.

Noting that Saraki’s sole aim of joining the PDP was contesting for the President, Shehu said the Senate President had shown himself to be a very dangerous person who could go any length to promote his personal interests.

The statement read, “The Presidency wishes to react to the crude speeches hitting the news from Senator Bukola Saraki, who recently joined the PDP with the sole ambition of running as the president of Nigeria.

“In response to the condemnable and extremely derogatory speeches by the PDP aspirant, we urge all Buhari supporters to display restraint in language and conduct and to always put across their points of view in a decent language.

“Throughout his political career, Senator Saraki has shown that he is a very dangerous person who can go any length to promote his personal interests.

“The language of his campaign is such that cannot be used against a domestic help.

“Does he just know that the President lacked vision? This is someone that the Senator had worked with very closely for more than three years.

“Amazingly, he never said all that he is now saying against him. Rather, his words for and on the President were always respectful and reassuring.

“That’s the man he called ‘My Father,” about him “there is no cause for alarm…a President who is healthy, witty and himself.’ What then changed, all of a sudden?

“Is he saying these blatantly false and crude things against the President because he is running for the same office? Could it be that he is targeting President Buhari because the party he just joined does not have any real issues to highlight?”  (Punch)

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Saraki, Tambuwal Left APC Because They Wanted Automatic Tickets – Tinubu

Bola-Ahmed-Tinubu

APC national leader, Alhaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu

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)

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Senators Sue AGF, DSS, Police For Alleged Plot To Remove Saraki |RN

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki

Eniola Akinkoutu, Abuja

Two lawmakers, Senator Rafiu Adebayo and Senator Isa Misau, have sued the Attorney-General of the Federation, the police, the Department of State Services, the Senate and seven others in order to stop the attempts to remove Senate President Bukola Saraki.

Senators Adebayo and Misau, who are supporters of Saraki, instituted the fresh court action marked FHC/ABJ/CS/872/2018 before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday.

Other defendants in the suit are the majority and deputy majority leaders of the Senate, the Clerk of the Senate, the Deputy Clerk of the Senate, the Senate President, the Deputy Senate President and the Deputy Minority Leader.

In the originating summons filed on their behalf by Mahmud Magaji (SAN), the plaintiffs want the Federal High Court to determine whether in view of the provisions of Section 50(1) (a) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution, Saraki, who defected to another political party as a result of the division in his former party, can be made to vacate his office other than in accordance with Section 50 of the constitution.

Adebayo and Misau, who represent Kwara-South and Bauchi-Central senatorial districts respectively, also want the court to determine whether Saraki can be compelled to vacate his office on the grounds that he is not a member of the political party with a majority of senators in the Senate in view of the combined reading of Section 50 of the constitution and Order 3 Rule 8 of the Senate Standing Orders.

The court was also urged to determine whether the Senate President could be said to have vacated his office by virtue of Section 50(2) of the constitution when he had not ceased to be a member of the Senate or the Senate dissolved.

In a motion on notice filed along with the originating summons, the plaintiffs prayed the court for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining all the defendants (except the Senate, Senate President and Deputy Senate President) jointly and severally either by themselves, their agents, servants and privies from unlawfully removing the Senate President pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

They also prayed the court for another order of interlocutory injunction restraining the AGF and the Inspector-General of Police from unlawfully interfering with the lawful legislative duties of the Senate President pending the hearing and determination of their originating summons.

Besides, the plaintiffs asked for an order of interlocutory injunction stopping the IG and the DSS from harassing, intimidating, arresting or detaining the President of the Senate in respect of the lawful exercise of his duties pursuant to Section 50(1) of the constitution and another order directing parties in the case to maintain status quo pending the determination of the substantive matter.

The motion was predicated on seven grounds amongst which were that the agents of the IG and DSS had taken steps to flagrantly breach the provisions of Section 50 by employing their agents to disrupt the plenary of the Senate without recourse to the said provisions.

Other grounds were that the constitutional provision of removal of the Senate President does not empower the AGF, police and DSS to unlawfully interfere with the legislative duties of the Senate by causing a blockade at the premises of the National Assembly complex or using their agents to disrupt the lawful duties of the Senate.

In a 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion on notice and deposed to by Senator Isah Misau, he averred that the Senate was a body recognised and established by the 1999 Constitution vested with powers of making laws for the good governance and well-being of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The deponent averred that the Senate held a plenary sitting between July 24 and 27 and that it was presided over by its President and that at the end of the sitting members adjourned till September 25.

Misau claimed that the All Progressives Congress as a platform for the Senate President had been bedevilled by crises resulting in divisions and factionalisation at the federal, state and local government levels.  (Punch)

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Saraki’s Time Is Over, Says Oshiomhole |The Republican News

Adams-oshiomhole-new3

“I think Saraki’s time is over. He fails to understand that the Nigerian national projcect is not at his mercy or the mercy of his own dynasty.”

Excerpts of an address by the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, ADAMS OSHIOMHOLE, at a press conference in Abuja last week

Basically, to respond to some of the issues raised by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at the press conference he addressed two days ago. It is important we addressed some of the issues he canvassed so that the public is not misled into turning villains into heroes and twisting the facts that are really no secret to the Nigerian public. But it is important that we help the public to refresh their memories and arrive at their own individual judgement.

First, the Senate President raised the issue of the fact that he has always acted not on the basis of his own personal interest; that he has always acted on the basis of national interest. The truth is it is doubtful if the Senate President has ever acted either in the national interest or in the interest of his own political party before his defection recently.

Without going back to ancient history, suffice to start by looking at how, in the first instance, Senator Bukola Saraki became the President of the Senate. He decided, clearly against the party’s position, to enter into a deal with the opposition PDP and got a faction of the PDP and taking advantage of the provisions in the Constitution to side with him while the majority of the APC senators were having a meeting at the International Conference Centre in order to resolve the issue of leadership of the Senate and other principal officers of the Senate that is expected to be produced by the ruling party with majority senators in the Senate. Because he had put his personal interest over and above the interest of the party when he went into alliance with the PDP and he conceded the position of Deputy Senate President to the opposition in order to obtain the support of the opposition for him, Senator Saraki, to become the Senate President.

So, for the first time in our democratic history in Nigeria, we had a situation, which, whereas the APC has the majority in the Senate, the Senate went on to elect a PDP person as Deputy Senate President. This action alone portrays Senator Saraki for who he is; his personal interest comes before any other interest, including the national interest, including the interest of his political party. Having gone into this unholy alliance with the opposition and mortgaged the right of the ruling party, he proceeded to appoint opposition senators to head strategic committees whose activities can affect, either for good or for bad, the workings of the government and relationship between the government and the legislature. Senator Saraki did that in order to continue to protect himself against the wish of his party as Senate President. Again, that shows that the only thing that was always constant in the mind of Senator Saraki was how to cling on to power even if it means at the expense of his party or even of the country, and I will speak to that.

You do not need to be a political activist or a partisan politician to appreciate that, in an election year, every government around the world will do everything possible to ensure that it is seen to be working for the people of the country. So, like any other, the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerians expected that it will do everything possible this year to make up for lost time in terms of budget implementation and addressing critical infrastructures without which sustainable development is impossible.

The Senate under Saraki chose instead to delay the budget up to the end of the first half of the year, to coincide with the period of the rainy season such that those aspects of infrastructure such as roads, for example, cannot really be constructed during the rainy season. These were not errors of the head on the part of Senator Saraki’s leadership. They were clearly designed to frustrate the capacity of President Buhari’s government to address the physical infrastructural deficit without which the ordinary man in the street cannot feel the impact of governance. Again, I want to plead that I am not about to reveal anything. On receipt of the budget by Mr President, after going through it, Mr President cried out that the budget that was handed over to him by the National Assembly under the leadership of the Senate President was a clear distortion of the well-thought-out budget proposal that was submitted to the National Assembly. Whereas Mr President appreciates that the National Assembly could make some alterations in the budget, he did not expect that the budget would be completely rewritten and so grossly distorted as to make far more provisions for recurrent expenditure such that there is very little left for capital projects without which the Nigerian people cannot benefit from governance. And the President said this budget would be difficult to implement. You have all heard the stories of budget padding and no budget padding, but on this occasion, I would rather not delve into those.

So, when I say that the Senate President has never put Nigeria first, I support this statement by the deliberate delay of the budget and the deliberate manipulation of provisions in the budget in a way that it would compromise the commitment of the government to address critical infrastructure. It is by now not a secret that as, Senate President, he conspired with others to try to create a sense of division within the ruling party, having failed to truncate the convention, where they assembled a couple of people who were neither delegates nor contestants for any of the offices at the convention to purport
to have formed a political party. There is nothing for me to add to the illegality of this action and the false foundation that the Senate President tried to lay. However, upon his illegal defection, which he had to do hurriedly because of the number of senators who he was playing on their fears that they would not be able to return to the Senate or that if they return they would be heading to prison if President Buhari is reflected. So, he had a situation whereby about 36 senators, who were on his list to defect, but consequent upon our election and our assumption of office, we took pre-emptive steps to reassure those senators. Many of you would not have witnessed the fact that the first meeting we had, a day after the convention, Sunday, June 24, 2018, the first person we met was Senator Bukola Saraki, to try to listen to whatever his grievances were and this I did in the company of the Vice President. At least, he was able to confess to that, when I tried to listen to negotiable or verifiable grievances. But, however, his real grievances are not negotiable. Which is about ambition, about values, and conflicting values of him as a person and the values of the APC. However, when he defected, however illegal his action was, he went to Ilorin to tell Ilorin people part of the truth, when he said, among other things, that he was leaving for two major reasons. Number one was that he alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari gave out over 200 juicy jobs without allocating some juicy jobs to him. And, he chose to speak for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, that even Dogara also was not given juicy positions. Again, I would have thought that not being a union leader, it is not for him to speak for the Speaker. The Speaker is well capable of speaking for himself. That is aside from the key issue, which was that he lamented that he was not given a share of the so-called 200 juicy positions. I asked, giving Senator Bukola Saraki, Senate President, juicy position, does that coincide with Nigeria’s public interest? Does that coincide with the interest of the people of Kwara State or the interest of the people of Senator Saraki’s senatorial district? At no time did he refer to the interest of his own constituency or the interest of Nigerians. The second reason he gave was that he was being persecuted. Again, even that, the alleged persecution of his person, not persecution of his people. Again, he never pretended that any of these actions have to do with the good people of Nigeria, they have to do with his person, to the extent that the alleged personal persecution of his person, not that of Kwara State people, or the people of his constituency or Nigerians. But, I think the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, was more explicit in corroborating Senator Saraki’s claim when he said he, as a governor, and Senator Saraki as Senate President, was being linked to armed robbery cases as part of their reason for defecting. Again, nothing to do with the Nigerian project, nothing to do with Kwara State people. However, what is the truth, as he linked the Senate President to armed robbery? Was it the Federal Government or arrested armed robbers? It was armed robbers who were arrested that alleged that the weapons with which they carried out their heinous crime, including the killing of about 35 indigenes of Kwara State, somewhere in Offa, that those weapons were procured for them. They made that allegation according to a police report, which is now known everywhere, so it is not a secret to be declassified

In support of my thesis that the Senate President has never acted with the Nigerian national interest in view, my final submission is the way in which he adjourned the Senate about two weeks ago. The Senate calendar is not a secret to the presiding officer of the Senate. The Senate calendar that was known was that the Senate was going to adjourn on a Thursday. By Tuesday morning or Monday night, Senator Saraki used his guest house, wrote out names of senators with provisions meant for signatories, for senators to decamp to the PDP from the APC. Happily, some of the senators present refused to sign. And that was what frustrated his calculation that by the time he was done, he was going to turn APC into a minority party in the Senate. For careful observers, is it a coincidence that as the Senate President was reading defections, his counterpart in the House of Representatives was also simultaneously reading the names of those who defected. So, there was a coordination for defection day. But happily, the pre-emptive steps we have taken to address those with genuine grievances frustrated their number such that from 36, he could not get more than 14 senators to decamp. This was on a Tuesday, the calendar of the Senate stated that they were going to adjourn on a Thursday. So, between Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the Senate was expected, like I confirmed from the Senate Leader, to look into the supplementary budget for INEC. What INEC requirement is not the equipment you buy from the shelf. You must order them and make allowance for the manufacturers to produce them. You don’t buy them the way you buy a pack of cigarettes from the shelf. So, time is of the essence.

However, the Senate under Saraki’s directive adjourned without considering the matter that was before it, including the budget for INEC. Now, if Senator Saraki adjourned the Senate ahead of schedule to resume towards the end of party nominations, can that act be said to coincide with the national interest? If you decide to frustrate the INEC by denying it the funding that it requires, can you be said to be a defender of democracy? If INEC doesn’t get their funds and, therefore, are unable to conduct a credible election, would that not lead to further serious consequences for our democratic process and our democratic environment?

He also made an unsubstantiated allegation to the effect that the event of last Tuesday, that it was an attempt to carry out an illegal impeachment. How can a presiding office arrive at that conclusion that there was a plan to carry out an illegal impeachment? Until an action takes place how can you determine the status? If the act of impeachment is unlawful then you can probably understand where he is coming from. But, the truth is that it is lawful to impeach anyone including the President of the Senate, including the Deputy President of the Senate if the number required to do so is present. So, he cannot preempt that. As they say, you don’t have to be a pathological liar to understand this general saying that once you start with one lie you would need series of lies to support that one lie. I don’t want to use the word lies to characterise the action or the statements of the Senate President. Let us look at the facts. From their own statement, they said they were aware that the Senate President was illegally going to be impeached and, therefore, they mobilised thugs, their journalists, cameramen and video to the Senate building. They had told the world that they had adjourned till September 25. Meanwhile, about 15 PDP senators were in the Senate and for the effect they imported hundreds of thugs that molested one or two of our members that were sighted in the premises. And, in order to expose the lie, I ask you as defenders of democracy, did you find any APC senator in the Senate? So, if APC senators were not in the Senate and it was PDP senators that were in the Senate, what is the basis of the false claim that there was an attempt to carry out an illegal impeachment?

If he does not resign as Senate President, he will be impeached according to law, not by thuggery or anything that is undemocratic. He cannot sustain a minority rule in the Senate and that is what is hurting him as we speak. They have about 48 senators, we have 53 senators. So, how can 48 senators preside over 53 senators?

Let me conclude by saying that when I say the Senate President will be impeached, he will be impeached according to the law. And, the Constitution is clear on how a presiding officer can be impeached. And, because several impeachments have taken place, both on former Senate Presidents
and former Speakers, we are not about to witness what has never happened before; we have enough precedence to all back on.

I have looked at the Nigerian Constitution. It does not say that an impeachment, once mooted is by itself illegal. Until it is done and you look at how it is done, you cannot arrive at a conclusion whether the process was lawful or unlawful. I think Saraki’s time is over. The way he has manipulated the politics of Kwara State, he fails to understand that the Nigerian national project is far more complicated and it is not at his mercy or the mercy of his own dynasty.  (The Sun)

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You Can’t Decide Senate’s Leadership, PDP Tells Oshiomhole

   National Chairman, All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole

The Peoples Democratic Party on Sunday, asked the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, to stop his continued calls for the change of the leadership of the Senate, saying such was completely out of his decision.

The party urged Oshiomhole to also stop “his childish tantrums and get educated” on the fact that the positions of the Senate President and that of deputy Senate President did not belong to political parties but to Nigerians, who elected persons into the seats through their representatives in the Senate.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said Oshiomhole should also stop exposing his alleged ignorance in thinking that the Senate leadership could be changed by his “inconsequential orders as a factional chairman of a political party, when the law is settled that such power is vested only in the two-thirds votes, representing 73 of the 109 senators.”

Ologbondiyan added that Oshiomhole should know that the pressure allegedly being mounted by him on the issue would not yield any positive result.

He said, “We know that Oshiomhole is under intense pressure from the Presidency to overheat the polity, distract the National Assembly members and make as much effort to cause a constitutional crisis in the country, having realised that they cannot win the 2019 general elections.

“However, the PDP strongly cautions these desperate power grabbers to note that their actions have unlimited capacity to destroy our democracy.

“Nigerians have noted that since his imposition as the chairman of the APC, Mr Oshiomhole has done nothing but spewing hate speech and officially introducing a thug mentality into the polity, while causing confusion in every sector of our national life, including the Federal Executive Council, the security system, our legislature as well as in his dysfunctional APC, which as an undertaker, he is finally set to bury.

“Since Oshiomhole assumed office, the nation has witnessed various unimaginable constitutional infractions, including the invasion of the Benue State House of Assembly and the Ekiti State Government House by the APC-controlled federal security agencies, the escalated harassment of federal legislators and persons perceived to be averse to the APC’s re-election bid; the siege to the residences of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, by security agencies as well as the recent invasion of the National Assembly by security operatives.”

While calling on Nigerians and the international community to note the activities of Oshiomhole, as allegedly being directed by the Presidency, he said the PDP believed firmly the APC and the Presidency were fighting what he called a losing battle.

He added that they could not cow Nigerians into changing their resolve to end the nation’s nightmare by voting the APC out and returning the nation to the path of peace, national cohesion and economic prosperity. (Punch)

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