2019: Tinubu Begs Saraki, Tambuwal, Kwankwaso |The Republican News

By Felix Nwaneri

  • Sani: APC doomed if Tinubu’s reconciliation fails
  • Kaduna faction suspends el-Rufai for 6 months


There are indications that the presidency and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have finally opted to beg chieftains and major stakeholders of the ruling party, who are threatening to dump the platform ahead of the 2019 general elections. New Telegraph exclusively learnt from party sources at the weekend that the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is reaching out to the aggrieved party members and doing everything possible to convince them to shelve their plan. In the past few days, Tinubu has been meeting and begging aggrieved party stakeholders.

It was particularly gathered that Tinubu, who heads the party’s National Reconciliation Committee, is not only appealing to the APC stalwarts to stay, but to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and the ruling party in the 2019 general elections.

Buhari had charged Tinubu to resolve disagreements among party members, party leadership and political office holders in some states of the federation. So far, Tinubu has met separately with the members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC); Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former Governors Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano). He also met with the immediate past governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Wamakko and his predecessor, Aminu Tambuwal, at the weekend.

Though details of some of the meetings were not made public, multiple sources said Tinubu is using the opportunity to appeal to the APC chieftains to stay in the party and support Buhari’s government. The party leaders lamented that Buhari alienated them from the government they sacrificed to enthrone.

“Tinubu is appealing that they should stay; not just to stay, but to support the President’s second term bid. He is also begging them to cease fire, come closer and that whatever it is, especially the issue of 2019, would be negotiated,” he said. When asked what have been the responses of those the APC national leader has so far met, the source said: “Most of those he has met welcomed him, but that doesn’t mean that the issues at stake have been resolved. Body language would be smile and ‘we are still with you,’ but don’t take that to the bank.”

He added: “Nobody will come out to basically tell you what his or her grievances are, but reconciliation is not a one-day thing. It cannot be at the first meeting and it is beyond meeting with state excos of the party. It requires oneon- one meetings with those involved. So, we are expecting that more meetings would be fixed, and where there are issues, would be discussed at length.”

On the conditions the aggrieved party chieftains gave for their continued stay in the APC, the source said they are open to negotiations, but that the last straw would be if the party leadership insists that there won’t be a convention to elect a presidential candidate for the 2019 elections. His words: “If Buhari says he will not run in 2019, they will stay in the APC and support whoever wins the presidential primaries. If he says that he will run and wants the party to endorse him as the sole candidate, they will move out.

If he says he will run and that the party will have primaries; they will stay and fight him at the primaries and that is what he is afraid of. You know that anything is possible in a primary election.” Expressing the fear that the Tinubu committee may run into hitches, another source said a lot of things have gone wrong within the ruling party and that most chieftains have made up their minds on the President before now.

His word: “Too many things have gone wrong and reconciliation, less than one year to the elections, is likely not to yield the desired result because people made up their minds about Buhari a year ago and it is difficult to heal the wound of three years.

“Those with the President are practically unmarketable. The expectation was high at the inauguration of this government, but the President has underperformed. So, I think Tinubu is just playing along because he was the first victim. He knows that the damage has been done.

“Tinubu also knows that he was sidelined and there is no guarantee that things will improve if the President comes back. So, except he (Tinubu) extracts something really big, he would just be doing a paper work. And I must tell you that he would have his Plan B. “How do you reconcile the various factions?

There are so many aggrieved people and how do you recruit them for the next elections? Even if you succeed in recruiting them, the tendency is that they will work half-heartedly.” Buhari, on his part, is said to have realised that a lot of party chieftains are not happy with him and has also resorted to appeal for their support. “Tinubu is begging aggrieved party chieftains who are not happy with the president and APC. These people sacrificed a lot to build the party and they cannot because of one man, who got it wrong, allow it to go down. But, now that he (Buhari) has realised his mistakes, the belief now is let’s rebuild the party for him to come back,” one of the sources said. (New Telegraph)

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Youths Protest Rumoured Plan By Saraki, Others To Return To PDP |The Republican News

                                   Senate President Bukola Saraki

Success Nwogu, Ilorin

Some youths in the Kwara State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party on Monday protested against the rumoured plan by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki; his former special adviser on Special Duties and Parliamentary Affairs, Alhaji Moshood Mustapha (popularly known as MM); and other associates of the Senate President to defect from the All Progressives Congress to the PDP.

The youths, on the sidelines of a media briefing by a PDP group, Face of Change, displayed placards that expressed their opposition to the rumoured defection.

Some of the placards read: ‘No to Bukola Saraki and cronies in the PDP,’ ‘MM defection is a liability,’ ‘PDP exco, shine your eyes,’ and ‘PDP gov ticket is not for sale.’

The state Coordinator, Face of Change, Alhaja Kubrat Abdullateef, however, said in an interview with journalists in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, that the protesters were only expressing their personal views, adding that they were not part of the conference.

She said, “What we are trying to do is that we do not want a repeat of what had happened in the past when Bukola Saraki planted his cronies in our party and we had a very rancorous primary. We are guarding against that and we do not want a repeat of that. Those who are carrying placards, that is their personal opinion.”

Abdullateef lamented the action of some members of the party, which she said, bordered on anti-party activities.

She said, “With the spate of incidents over the last couple of weeks, it seems the party is apathetic to anti-party (activities).  As much as we welcome new members into our party, it is important to highlight the fact that there is a laid-down process that allows one to be a member of our party.”

The state Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Gidado Alakawa, said the party was not against the entry of new members or the return of former members, adding that new members and returnees must however abide by the constitution, process and procedures of the party.

He also stressed that the protesters were only expressing their democratic rights, adding that the party leadership did not have the power to reject new members.

“Everything we do in this party follows certain procedures and rules. To that extent, there is always this opportunity for free entry and free exit. There should not be anything personal about people coming into the party. Generally, people that want to come to the party are free to come as long as they are ready to work with the rules and regulations that guide entry into the party.

“There are rules that govern  any form of re-admittance of any former member of the party, who for whatever reason left the party and is now coming back into the party. It is not for the party leadership to say who must not come in or who must come in.

“Beyond that, the party already has a structure and the structure is working along with the constitution. So those people saying they do not want X,Y to come into the party, that is their opinion but the party leadership will do whatever they can to work in line with the constitution and in line with the desire of the majority of our people to be sure the party wins in all elections.”  (Punch)

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DRAMA: PDP Reps Celebrate Colleagues’s Defection To APC |The Republican News

house-of-reps                               House of Representatives

John Ameh, Abuja

There was drama on the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday when the Peoples Democratic Party members celebrated the defection of one of their colleagues to the All Progressives Congress.

The defector, Mr. Johnson Agbonayinma, hails from Edo State.

Unlike in previous cases where the PDP lawmakers protested against the defection of their members, the lawmakers jubilated as they wished Agbonayinma well.

Agbonayinma became the eighth member of the PDP to defect this year and the second this week.

He described the PDP as “darkness”, where he could no longer belong because he had seen the “light” in the APC.

“The PDP has shut the door against me”, he told the House in his letter read by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.

PDP members, including the Minority Whip, Mr. Yakubu Barde; Deputy Minority Leader, Mr. Chukwuka Onyema; Deputy Minority Whip, Mrs. Binta Bello; Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Relations, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje; and the Chairman, Committee on Public Petitions, Mr. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, danced as they bade Agbonayinma goodbye.

They chorused, “Agbonayinma, bye-bye; Agbonayinma, bye-bye; we wish you luck.”

Onyema raised a point of order to give the position of the caucus on the defection.

He said, “Even though we oppose defection; in the case of Agbonayinma, we are actually happy that he is leaving.

“He is like a tumour. You know when you have cancer and it is cured, you feel happy because it has left you.

“The PDP house will be better without Agbonayinma being with us. So, Agbonayinma, bye-bye.”

The lawmakers danced and sang again amid laughter.

Agbonayinma was a member of the Ali Modu Sheriff-faction of the party before the Supreme Court recognised the then Senator Ahmed Makarfi faction as the authentic leader of the party.

The Edo State Deputy Governor, Mr. Phillip Shuaibu, witnessed the defection.

Agbonayinma later addressed journalists in company with the Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, at the National Assembly.

Agbonayinma said he had observed that in spite of efforts being made to rescue the PDP, it appeared to be set on “dying, dying, and will be dead.”

He cited the recent national convention of the party as another “wasted opportunity to check the reign of impunity in the PDP.”

“PDP is totally factionalised and a house that is divided against itself will not stand. I decided to leave because I couldn’t face the heat in the dark house.

“I left darkness for light. The so-called unity list that produced the current leaders of PDP only brought more disunity to the party.”

On his part, Gbajabiamila said he was elated that Agbonayinma joined the APC, saying he had always known him to be a man with a “progressive mind.”

He added, “If you know Agbonayinma, he is the kind of person that should be in the APC, not in the PDP. I knew that it was only a matter of time he would join the APC.”

Only on Tuesday, a member from Imo State, Mr. Raphael Igbokwe, defected to the APC from the PDP.

His defection cut the numerical strength of the PDP to about 119. Agbonayinma’s exit further brought it down to 118.   (The Sun)

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PDP: Those Parading Themselves As Fresh PDP Ought To Have Been Arrested , Jailed – Fayose


…As he welcomes Secondus, other national leaders to Ekiti LG election rally

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, who is also Chairman, Peoples’ Democratic Party’s Governors’ Forum, has said that those who have identified themselves as Fresh PDP ought to have been arrested, and jailed for disrupting the peace of the nation.
Governor Fayose was reacting to the development, in Abuja, on Wednesday, in Ado-Ekiti, while he played host to newly elected national Chairman of the PDP, Unche Secondus, who wasbin the state in company of other members of the party’s National Working Committee ( NWC) for the local government election rally coming up in Ado-Ekiti, on Thursday.
The event was well attended by a mamoth crowd from across Ekiti State.
While Secondus said the Fresh PDP are mere distractors, who should be ignored, Governor Fayose said they are miscreants meant for the prison.
Secondus said, “We are not distracted by elements of distractions, we are focused we know the enemies are at work, we know several things have been going on with some wanting to prevent our convention. But since we have had a peaceful convention they are not happy. We know these people, even those from outside and we will name them when the time comes.”
In a visibly angry mood, Governor Fayose said: “In a civilised society those parading themselves as fresh PDP should have been clamped into jail. They are simply charlatans. I won’t be surprised and we are doing investigations to know those who are behind them. In a society like Nigeria, where we need a virile opposition, we need to continually put the government of the day on its toes for them to know that Nigeria is greater than all of us, some miscreants would just make press statement and say they are splinter group or whatever they call themselves.
In a proper democracy, they are supposed to have been arrested and detained for breaching the peace of the society as their action is unwarranted and uncalled for.
But we are not going to celebrate such by making an issue out of it. Nigeria needs peace at all times. We are not going to go back to the days of Sherif and co, by giving attentions to those idiots making noise all over the place. This party will remain focused and move on.
“I urge Nigerians to ignore them. When I saw them on the Internet, they were faceless people I cannot recognise so they remains a set of jobless and miscreants.
Also reacting to aggrieved members who were defeated and pulled out of the convention, Fayose said: ” What is important about the convention is for the party to be transparent and we have done that. And the moment the party has put in place the necessary level playing ground, everybody defeated at that election should be honourable enough to accept it. There would be another opportunity tommorow. I am a consistent man, and don’t live a spoilers life.
” Let me tell Nigerians that the PDP has done our convention and we have our leadership and we are now more focused than ever and forging ahead and will reclaim the Villa and give Nigeria a befitting leadership.
The governor also reacted to those who have dragged the party to court demanding the cancellation of the convention. He said: ” I don’t mind if you go to court, it is different from some people going to the television and parade themselves as fresh whatever, are they dirty before.If you feel aggreived, ideally they have all signed undertaking to accept outcome of the convention. How can you who didn’t get a single vote now go to court over what? The apex body of the country’s judiciary has warned judges to be wary of politicians in the build up to the general elections in 2019. And I am sure no judge would want to put his jobs on the line by allowing jobber politicians who are looking desperately for money. We will not join issues with those from the latrine.” (The Sun)

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BREAKING: Convention: PDP Clears, George, Adeniran, Secondus, Others



Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

The screening committee of the Peoples Democratic Party has cleared all the nine national chairmanship aspirants and certified them fit  to take part in Saturday’s national convention of the party.

Chairman of the committee, Mr. Osagie Ize-Iyamu, presented certificates of clearance to them a few minutes ago at the National Executive Committee hall at the party secretariat located as Zone 5, Abuja

The aspirants are Prince Uche Secondus, Chief Gbenga Daniel, Mr Jimi Agbaje, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, Prof.Taoheed Adedoja, Prof Tunde Adeniran, Chief Olabode George, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi and Mr Aderemi Olusegun.

Ize-Iyamu said that the list of other aspirants cleared for other offices would be displayed at the party secretariat.

Chairman of the Convention Planning Committee who is also the Governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, congratulated the cleared aspirants.

He asked them to present the names of their agents to the accreditation committee. (Punch)

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Buhari Is Unstoppable In 2019, Says Mohammed Lawal |The Republican News


President Muhammadu Buhari

Former Deputy Director of Buhari Presidential Campaign Council, Mohammed Lawal, has dismissed opposition to the re-election efforts by President Buhari’s friends and supporters, saying it is certain that no one can stop the moving train in 2019.  Lawal, who is a director on the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), in an interview with VINCENT KALU, insists that there are more than enough strategies in place to defeat anyone standing against the president at the next general elections.

Not minding that some governors have endorsed President Buhari for second term, there are indications that some people want to stop him. Do you see that coming to pass?

We know that within the party there are some people who still bear grudges, as a result of resounding defeat they suffered in 2015, and some of them are still presidential aspirants, and they will like to re-contest. In Nigeria’s party politics, the president has the first right of refusal.

During the meeting of the highest stakeholders of the party, a motion was moved for a vote of confidence, and the party said, ‘we have confidence in the way you are leading us, leading the party and leading the country.’ That was a vote of confidence passed on President Muhammadu Buhari to continue.

All the party’s major stakeholders were there. The only major stakeholder who was not there and who contested 2015 presidential primary election with President Buhari was former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Some of the governors individually came out to say that they have absolute confidence in the President, and they moved a motion in very clear words that he should continue in 2019. The stakeholders also chorused, and it is only the president who can say no.

The president wants to take it easy, he is a human being and not an angel, and some people felt offended in one way or the other, and have complained. The president in his humility, apologised, and gave example and reasons for the appointments he has made, which may be tenable to some and untenable to others.

He wants to go about to make people to understand that there are problems, and that things may not work as expected and we have come far, and what is of paramount importance to us is the country; the legacy we are going to leave behind for our children and grand children and generations to come.

In-fighting in a party that came and took over from a ruling party that misruled and ravaged the country for 16 years is not going to get us anywhere; so let us understand each other, and sit down and lay a fresh foundation for this government and country with President Buhari in the saddle.

God willing, nobody can stop him, and he is going to contest to continue to do the good work that he has started for this country.

Recently, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service and a member of President Buhari’s kitchen cabinet, Hameed Ali, during the official opening ceremony of Buhari Support Organisation’s (BSO) national headquarters in Abuja complained that Buhari appointed people who didn’t work for him during the 2015 presidential election. How can this be addressed so that it won’t jeopardize the president’s re-election bid?

Hameed Ali’s BSO meeting came earlier than the APC NEC meeting. As I told you earlier, during the NEC meeting the president apologised for such. What is important is, there are people placed in positions, and the president has finished his own.

For example, if the president made me the chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority, it is now left for me to go and continue to do what I’m supposed to do to others to give back the goodwill the president gave to the people who are lower than me. There are people who are supposed to carry on with the mandate, by giving back to the electorate; giving back to the people, but they didn’t do that. They shouldn’t come and complain, blaming the president. The president cannot go and begin to give appointments at local governments, in ministries etc.

Once he gives at a level like our own, NNPC as board member, I thank him so much for that, I didn’t expect it, but it is not for me to go and tell the president to put these people in NNPC refinery or any of the NNPC parastatals, it is me that should do that. I shouldn’t go and complain or blame the president for not doing that, I should do that. As far as NNPC is concerned I represent him there, and I should do what I’m supposed to do so that the goodwill will go back to the president.

People shouldn’t be complaining, they know what to do and they have been given all the encouragement to do that. That notwithstanding, the president tendered his unreserved apology during the NEC meeting. He gave reason and that reason is tenable. Everybody knows that the economy is in a bad shape, and we are working to bring it back to life. Even the World Bank is giving thumb up on the management of the economy by the Buhari government. As it is picking up, the benefits will get to everybody.

The key issue is, work for the president, and defend the programmes and policies and work towards actualizing the mandate. Like I said earlier, the president is not a magician or an angel, he can’t be 100 percent perfect. If mistakes are made, they shall be corrected.

Even the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that stayed for 16 years, I’m sure that by the time they left, there were people who complained that they didn’t get anything. The president will continue to do his best to carry everybody along. Those who are in position and complaining that he didn’t do this or that; they should do what they are supposed to do.

Some of your party leaders are accusing some people who decamped from PDP to APC as polluting and causing crisis in the party. Do you agree with them?

Party dynamics dictate that people from PDP in this government are not APC members by hearts; they were pushed as moles, spies in order to spoil the goals or activities of APC. We are the ruling party, but PDP will want to come back as they were humiliated and shamed. So they can employ any tactic to come back, including deploying moles and spies to spoil our work.

I’m not surprised hearing that. They exist as moles and spies. They left PDP for our party, but they don’t want to be patient. Buhari started this battle over 15 years ago, he began with APP, ANPP, CPC and APC, and he has been patient, he didn’t jump from one party to the other.

You were in PDP, they didn’t give you the presidential ticket, you jumped to ACN, and you didn’t get it; and you didn’t get it in APC and you are going back to PDP, that is the Nigerian politician for you.

   The PDP says Buhari running will make it easy for it to win in 2019. According to its National Publicity Secretary, the president doesn’t have record of achievements, and has put the country in a worse state than he met it. How do you react to this?

Let us pray for God to give us life to reach that period and you will see. The situation Buhari found this country can be equated to somebody that found himself in 16-kilometre deep well.

PDP threw this country into a deep hole of 16 kilometers, and when we came we met Nigeria there – deep down 16 kilometers well, and we are trying to come out. We have been sweating to bring the country out from the deep well, and we thank God that we are on top. Price of oil was at its lowest level, selling at about $25 per barrel, but during their time, oil was selling for over $100 per barrel, they didn’t save anything. Agriculture was at zero level during their time, and look at the quantum of loot discovered and recovered.

I was reading the other day that former President Jonathan on the eve of election signed $500 million and N100 billion from the Central Bank of Nigeria to PDP machinery. That is how we found our economy. Everybody was desperate, and nobody knew that tomorrow was going to come. Manufacturing was zero.

We are now on the ground level from the deep well, and the World Bank as I said earlier has applauded the management of the economy and said we are out of recession and that there is good prospect, and if we continue like this, we are not only going to smile, but rejoice.

Look at Boko Haram that was everywhere. They terrified Kano, Abuja, Niger state. One side of Borno was in their hands and one side of Adamawa was also in their hands. With this, a right thinking person is saying that Buhari didn’t do anything, let them come to the field, we are waiting for them. Is it because we are not talking, when we start campaigns they would hear more? Nigerians will chase them with stones. They want to distract us, so that we put somebody they can overrun. I have been in this for almost 20 years. Buhari is there and I said earlier, God willing, nobody can stop him in 2019.

PDP is foreseeing an implosion in APC that will force some of your members returning to the opposition party

In any association, be it political, business, etc, there abound skirmishes and problems, which are addressed to arrive at a compromise. Like I said the president apologised to those who felt bad. There is no need for any implosion in the party as PDP is praying for.             

There was one time they said Tinubu was complaining. I said in an interview that he should not complain, and that if he was, I would interpret it that the vice president was complaining because he put him there. Tinubu is an experienced politician, and was not complaining as people insinuated. Buhari is not God and so cannot satisfy everybody 100 per cent. We are pleading with Nigerians to bear with Buhari, he is poised to make everybody to rejoice and as things improve and get better he is going to accomplish that. Let us continue to give him support and encouragement to continue to do the best to take Nigeria out of the woods that the PDP put us. 

Why some APC leaders are angry with Buhari–Dr Olufunmilade

•Party members now calling for ‘change the change’

Dr Femi Olufunmilade, a member of the Governing Council of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta is a stalwart of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He chaired the Buhari Survey and Strategy Committee during the 2015 presidential campaign. In this interview with IHEANACHO NWOSU, Olufunmilade explained the reason the incumbent administration is not succeeding in some areas. He expressed frustration that most key APC members who worked for the emergence of the government are still sidelined. He also spoke on the 2019 election, the ambition of some APC members and other happenings in the country.

Recently the southwest APC met and declared that the presidential ticket should be open to everybody, do you feel that is the way to go for your party?

You know we are in a democracy. In a democratic system, the rule of the game is the rule of law. If we get to a point where presidential candidates have to emerge, the normal procedure is for primaries to be organized and those who are interested that might have taken nominations will be free to compete, at the end of which a winner will emerge. So what Chief Bisi Akande echoed was nothing new, he was just stating the obvious that we will be as democratic as required; and whosoever feels he has what it takes to be president of this country should be free to contest as the flag bearer of the party. And he also added that whosoever emerges at the end of the day will get the full support of all stakeholders including themselves.

Don’t you see it affecting the unity of the party, because the party’s governors and NEC have given tacit endorsement of the president for another term?

Well, I don’t think it will impair the unity of the party in anyway, rather it will strengthen it because you are saying that anybody who has ambition is free to throw his hat into the ring. And since that statement was made, it is on record that prominent members of the party who have declared interest in contesting are from the north. Senator Adamu Alero is from the north and has indicated interest, you are aware of former vice president Atiku Abubakar, these are northerners; there has not been any prominent southern member, to the best of my knowledge ,whether prominent or non prominent, who has come out to say that he will contest. So, if anyone is aggrieved in the north, he doesn’t represent the entire north.

There is also this belief that it is a smart way by the southwest to make the contest difficult for the incumbent because of a seeming displeasure in the way the government has been handling not only the party but also governance  The incumbent, for all I know, has not even indicated interest in the office for a second term. Baba Akande said that he has not indicated interest for a second term. If he has indicated interest, then it will be a different ball game. Whether we like it or not, the mobilization for 2019 elections with the use of INEC timetable has started informally and it is for the president to come out and tell us if he will be contesting. As regards the issue of members of the party not being satisfied, I don’t think that is limited to the southwest. If it is an issue, it cuts across the entire country. I was privileged to coordinate a research to support his candidature in 2015, it was called Needs Assessment Survey of 36 States and the FCT, which he approved through his then chief of staff, Colonel Hameed Ali on the platform of Buhari Support Organization. Approval was conveyed to me by Dr Ibrahim Dauda, who gave the contacts of the BSO coordinators across the 36 states and the purpose of the research was to find out if beside the general items of the manifesto, the specific needs peculiar to the various states of the federation. I organized that and all the people that assisted me in doing that were senior members of the APC.

At the end of the day, most of them have been sidelined in the way things are done in this government. Most of them have not been given any appointment. What is more annoying is that most of the appointments made in this administration went to the party that we fought to remove from power. A lot of their members are getting appointments while members of the APC are left behind. Some critical appointments were not only given to PDP members, they were given to those we defeated. I’ll give you examples, you look at the NDDC, Senator Ndoma Egba was the Senate majority leader for the PDP, I personally cannot place my finger on when he defected to APC before the election but today he is the chairman of the NDDC. You look at someone like the Minister of National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, I don’t know if at anytime he formally moved into the APC, and so on and so forth.

So if you find people aggrieved, you can’t blame them. It is not all about appointments, there are also many positions we thought would have been open to members of the party, but as we speak, they are still being held by PDP appointees in various MDAs.

Is your grievance only in the area of appointments or are you also displeased with the president in the handling of things?

It is not about appointment per say; but you know that in the United States, when the president has won an election, the president has the power to appoint about 4,000 appointees. It is during the transitional period, the period between when he wins the election and when he is sworn in that he makes most of the appointments. It is taken as a very serious business. It is taken as a very serious business because the understanding is that those who share your philosophy and ideology and have bought into your manifesto will be better drivers of the manifesto and agenda you have for your country than those who were in the opposing party. So when we are talking about the way Buhari appointed a lot of people, this is what we are talking about. Even his own wife echoed it in the famous BBC interview. She said those who didn’t share our vision and mission are getting the appointments. It is not as if we are crazy about appointments, there are people you could appoint who are not necessarily APC members if they are professionals who have unique skills that can help to drive the change agenda forward. But to retain people and appoint people that were on the opposite side of the pole to us and put them in critical positions shows that the government lacks focus.

More than two years after, are you okay with the policies of this government?

What I can tell you is that, the APC government is performing to the extent of comparing the government to the PDP government, that is what I can say. We can’t compare APC government by any stretch of imagination to the PDP government. Look at the anti corruption crusade for instance, I don’t think it has ever been this good. It is not as if it is perfect, it falls short of our expectations still. There has not been any conviction and we’re talking of legal processes. What about insecurity, all the territories of Nigeria have been reclaimed from Boko Haram. Without Buhari coming into power, Boko Haram might have been in control of states today not to talk of local government. Money meant for arms were shared and looted, soldiers were afraid of facing Boko Haram because they were not equipped. That trend has been reversed and the international community has come to our support, we have the multinational joint task force, for which President Buhari when he came into power traveled to Niger, Chad , Cameroon, and we were able to cobble this multinational joint task force together. So when you look at this, you need peace for progress, he has been able to achieve relative success in that regard. The idea that impunity can go unchecked, he has checked that to a great extent through the anti corruption war. I’m not saying that he is excellent, there is still insecurity, for instance, the Fulani herdsmen, which he has not been able to fix, a lot of deaths go unreported.

We also have the low side of the anti corruption which one of them is the Maina issue that just came up. Someone who was arraigned on graft of monumental proportion, declared wanted by EFCC, he ran away from the country but he was brought back into the country and was even reinstated in the bureaucracy. That is unacceptable. It is sending a signal that no one can really explain. And it boils down to what someone can call having a government within a government. Some people who have a different agenda from Buhari are busy scheming for men and women of various character to hold positions within the government as a form of self help. And that will explain why a lot of the characters are in government. On that side, I’ll say the president scores a very poor mark. If your aides are doing the wrong thing and everyone is shouting about it, what have you done to check it?

The APC UK recently said it is ready to support a fresh hand, that it will back intellectuals like you for the plum office. What do you make of such position?

Like I said earlier, it is not news. The wife of the President came out to say some of the things happening in government. Recently she also voiced out her dissatisfaction with the financial management and operations of the State House clinic. She said they don’t have panadol or syringe, she needed to do an x-ray and they were advising her to go to London. She made enquiries and discovered they don’t have one functional x-ray machine, she had to go to a private hospital which is 100 percent owned by foreigners. She checked it up and realized that this same hospital had a budget of N3 billion. So it is not just APC UK members that are dissatisfied with the performance of this government, It is widespread even within the country. Look at the APC as a party, how many times do we have meetings as a party? Before the recent NEC meeting, when last did we have NEC last? How many times since we won the election? We are running into the third year now, by May next year we will be in the third year in power. How is the party faring? Are the staff paid? People are not interested in paying party dues, because they don’t see the party as representing their interest anymore. There is a lot of dissatisfaction within the APC and most of it are self inflected because they are really uncalled for. Most of the APC members within the country are also joining the clarion call of ‘change the change.’

The party still has more than a year to go before the next elections. Do you feel that it can correct some of its mistakes?

Well, I think it has gotten too late. A lot of people have made up their minds on what to do already because the way the party is, doesn’t really exist because there are no activities. Go to the party offices across the federation, you visit and you don’t see anybody. The party is just like an abandoned project. A lot of people are unhappy, they may not be as vocal as some of us who come out to say our minds from time to time. People feel that this is not what they worked for. You don’t need to be given an appointment to make impact, but there is even no room on a party platform for you to meet and make proposal on what they think about the expectations of the government in power. The leadership of Chief Oyegun is not inspiring. He ought to have been the one to put his feet down and say how the president should relate with the party, but that is just the case. You can give it to PDP in terms of internal democracy, until they imposed Jonathan. I will score them a high mark in PDP. If there was anything to be done, a lot of input and representation was allowed in the PDP.

Do you see a stronger party coming up for 2019?

I want to go beyond the normal Nigerian traditional way of looking at a political party whereby the objective is mainly to take power. It doesn’t matter who the people scheming for power are, whether they have what it takes to transform the country or deliver public goods to the people. All it is about is who the heavy weight is. They will say someone has a large purse or a large pocket, and those are the things they look when it comes to having a new alignment of forces and all that. Usually, it’s the same old people who are disaffected here and there that come together. It is an ideological alignment of forces. What I want and what many of my colleagues across the country within the APC and even other parties, is where people find themselves to be like fish out of water, people who are ideological, patriotic, principled, people who really want Nigeria transform for good in their life time. What they want is a meeting of like minds. We are not looking for who has money or who has a deep pocket, we are not looking for former this, former that, someone people will say we know him.

So you’re suggesting that if APC insists on Buhari in 2019, the party will likely implode?

I don’t want to use the word APC insisting on Buhari flying its flag. If we have a free and fair primary election in the APC today, President Buhari is going to lose fair and square. And a lot of delegates if they are not picked by the governor of Kastina State to do Buhari’s bidding, even a lot of delegates from Kastina State are going to vote against President Buhari. I know what I’m saying because I interact with them. The northerners are even more blunt, they may not be as outspoken as some of us. They are not happy. They think things can be done better than what we’re having.    (The Sun)

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Amaechi, PDP Defectors Liability To APC – Lauretta Onochie (Aide To Buhari) |RN


Transportation Minister, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi

Former members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) have become liabilities to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, Personal Assistant, Social Media to the President, Ms. Lauretta Onochie, has said.
She spoke at the 2nd Annual International Conference of the Progressive Solidarity Forum (PSF) in Abuja.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, Transportation Minister, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Senator Rabiu Kwamkwaso and Senator George Akume had led a long list of PDP members to the APC towards the 2015 general elections.
Onochie said the defectors constituted over 50 per cent of key players in the present administration, and could be found in almost every sector.
According to her, these defectors were a bad influence to youth in the country, whom she said, had been turned into organs of transmitting hate speech and raining abusive words and insults on the policies of government to discredit its work against corruption.
“People would ask: How do I cope with all the abuses, curses and excitement of the social media? Many of our youth do not understand what they are doing, they have never known freedom; so, we raise young people who are ignorant, who are timid and afraid of challenges, and when their rights are trampled on, they are afraid of challenging it.
“That brings me to those in this government who are here to serve themselves, those that the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (rtd) called PDP. He said that there are about 50 per cent of them in this government, but I say no, they are more than 50 per cent.
“They are everywhere; they are in the Presidency, they are in the National Assembly, you can find them in the Judiciary, they are in the law enforcement agencies, they serve their personal interests, they encourage our unsuspecting youth to be their foot soldiers on the social media to abuse and curse people while their own children are sipping tea in America, England or elsewhere. They are a bad example to our youngsters on social media,” Onochie said.
She also urged Nigerians to join hands with Buhari to win the war against corruption and indiscipline.
“Laws are meant to follow the smell of crime; if crimes are being committed, and these laws are not following them, then it means that some people are not doing their jobs. Those who are in charge of enforcing the laws, many of them are not doing their jobs.
“The Inspector General of Police is just one man, just as Buhari is just one man. The onus lies on each and every one of us to come together to challenge corruption where we find it. We need to say no to corruption and indiscipline.
“Corruption is everywhere, it stinks, and unless we all begin to fight it and join the president to fight it, corruption will kill this nation,” she added.
In his opening remarks, the Grand Patron of PSF, Dr. Ibrahim Emokpaire, said the essence of the conference was to ensure that the institutions saddled with the responsibility of sustaining the anti-corruption crusade lived beyond the existence of the Buhari-led government.

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