The Welsh Labour leader has suggested the Union “is over” in its current form and should be reinvented as a “voluntary association” of four nations.
In comments rejected by Downing Street, First Minister Mark Drakeford complained of a lack of interaction with Boris Johnson and claimed there was “no institutional architecture to make the United Kingdom work”.
Appearing before the Commons Welsh affairs committee, he added: “It is all ad hoc, random, and made up as we go along. And I’m afraid that really is not a satisfactory basis to sustain the future of the UK.”
Mr Drakeford also described his own relationship with Mr Johnson as “remote” and claimed that the limited number of meetings during the pandemic had made the “security of the future of the UK” more difficult.
Calling for a new devolution settlement after the crisis, he added: “I do think the effect of the pandemic and the last 12 months has been to polarise opinion in Wales about the way it should be governed.
“What we have to do…is we have to recognise that the union as it is, is over. We have to create a new union.
“We have to demonstrate to people how we can recraft the UK in a way that recognises it as a voluntary association of four nations, in which we choose to pool our sovereignty for common purposes and for common benefits.
“Without the Prime Minister playing his part in all of that, I think it undermines the efforts of those of us – and I include myself certainly in this – who want to craft a successful future for the UK.”
Mr Drakeford’s comments appear to put him at odds with Sir Keir Starmer, who has sought to enhance Labour’s position as a unionist party since becoming Labour leader in April last year.
Asked about the intervention, the Prime Minister’s spokesman told reporters he “absolutely” did not share Mr Drakeford’s view on the Union.
A Downing Street spokesman added later: “We have confronted this virus as one United Kingdom, working with the devolved administrations and local partners. This will continue as we move to build back better together.
“There have been hundreds of meetings and calls with the devolved administrations and local partners since the pandemic began – including the weekly calls between the first ministers, deputy first ministers and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
“This has also included COBR meetings, committees and dozens of other meetings with UK Government Ministers and officials. This will continue to be a key part of the planning and communication of the overall response.
“The PM has always fully supported devolution and this government continues to put the union at the heart of everything we do.”
Separately, Number 10 also pushed back against claims that a second Scottish independence referendum could take place by the end of this year.
It came after the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford suggested a new poll could take place just months after the Holyrood elections in May.
Responding, a Downing Street spokesman said: “We’ve been very clear on our position; the PM will be the voice of the majority of Scottish people who voted decisively to remain part of the UK. He will stand against anyone trying to break our United Kingdom.
“Scottish people have been clear that what they want to see is the UK Government and devolved administrations working together to defeat this pandemic.”
My first shot at Femi Fani-Kayode was published on the 21st of April 2020 in Sahara Reporters – it was my reaction to a man masquerading as the representative of the oppressed during the day while dining with the oppressor at night!
Shocking was my first word in the said article. More shocking were the reactions that followed, both from FFK and his many hired hands against me on the internet – hired hands who, like their principal, are empty barrels, all noise; no content, thick dark clouds blown away by the wind without the anticipated rain.
I don’t know Femi Fani Kayode from Adam. And I am glad that he and his many friends, who have claimed to know me, don’t know me either. That, of course, should suggest something to them. But I doubt their intelligence to understand it.
The matter here is Nigeria, having weight and occupying the cyberspace – no personal interests in or against Uncle Femi.
The news of his return home to APC must have come to the ignorants as a surprise but not those who have followed this razor-tongue who lacks honour, integrity and consistency.
Do I need to remind us of a boast he made of his ever-shifting consistency? Hear him: “My opposition to the BUHARI Government for the past five years has been as constant as the NORTHERN STAR and it remains as strong today as ever.” (Emphasis mine).
“Self.” That’s the crux of the matter to our “Southern star.” That’s all he has to say about the critical issue of betraying our national brotherhood to service his friendship with the late Abba Kyari, and by extension the Buhari-led APC Government of the day.
His fraternity with the Yoruba Nation for which he was screaming from the rainforest to the hearing of the desert fields is worth nothing more than his ego. What a time for Femi to decamp to APC, when the forests of Oduduwa are occupied by armed, Fulani herdsmen, and the brave among the people like Sunday Igboho are prioritising the security of the Yorubas over bread-and-butter politics.
What a time to ditch the Homeland when even Adams Oshiomole is worried about the illegality tagged revalidation of party membership, a process that is unknown to APC constitution!
Sir, I repeat the question: Who is bankrolling this? This was a question you were once asked; and to which your response betrayed you as a person with a short fuse and no plugs.
Indeed, some fellows are without shame. If on a national television, Channels TV at that, before Maope Ogun-Yusuf and millions of live viewers as witnesses, the Honourable Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, accused you of taking N2billion from Rivers State meant for the resurfacing of the Port Harcourt Airport Run Way, l expected you to pick the gauntlet by clearing your name or calling Amaechi a liar.
And as if trying to urge you to action, Maope, following the principle of fair hearing, demanded for a proof which the Minister promised to produce the following morning. Did he? Amaechi, Maope and Channels TV owe Nigerians the answer.
For you, it seems it has always been about money. The need for another pretty “bedmate”, after your last walked away must have brought you under intense pressure for this desperate jump. Sir, life shouldn’t just be about money and women.
Sir, the masses can no longer be kept in PERPETUAL darkness. “Ile ti mo!” It’s daybreak! Your return home at a time the Asiwaju of APC is not even sure of a spot in the backline speaks volumes.
Having read you like book and knowing you more than you do yourself, the “constant Northern” star is on a political business mission to do the needed damage to South-West political calculation in 2023 on behalf of the Fulani Oligarchy who were erstwhile partners of your progenitor, the late Chief Victor Babaremilekun Fani Kayode, AKA Fani Power!
I know it’s always difficult for abusive silver spoon progenies to take correction. But, sir, a time must come in the life of a man when he must be truthful to himself. With all due respect, sir, you have fooled yourself while attempting to fool us by this move to APC. The consequences are fatal.
As you prepare for a season of political irrelevance, l promise you sir, meddlesome interlopers like you won’t have patronage in the dynamics of 2023. Go and dust off your inherited law books, at least for charge and bail services to put meals on your table. It is better than this executive “area boysim.”
Whilst you are at it, you may also do well to help us disseminate this admonition to your colleagues and traitors alike:
Eph 4:28 “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”
There is dignity in labour and living within one’s means: “ni iyi omoluabi.”
On my reference to your espionage mission to PDP, do I need to remind you that the peak of your political stewardship was in the PDP?
You were rewarded beyond your deserving: Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs; Minister of Culture and Tourism; and later Minister of Aviation, leaving out party intervention appointments where you held sway. But how did you pay the PDP back?
You defected to APC in May 2013, a decision you said you took after a visit to Governor Kayode Fayemi in the State House. Let’s save the details of your discussion with His Excellency.
You came into APC and “dazzled” like a million stars in the galaxy without a territory. Out of frustration you jumped back on the PDP’s boat on an undertaking mission in June 2014, just nine months to the next presidential election. How did you do it sir?
Even the devil may need to learn camouflage from you. You then mesmerised them with your oratorical prowess and became the oracle of their future and destiny.
The election came, and Buhari was announced on Tuesday, 31st March, 2015. On Wednesday, 1st April, 2015, you congratulated him.
Just three years after, October 2016 to be precise, you were back to the ground of your vomit at the state house in Ekiti -to greet the new captain I suppose.
Howbeit, in the company of your wife and baby. The duo had gone out to the bank to pick up the benefits of your family visit while you swung in the comfort of the same office where you had negotiated your defection with Governor Fayemi then a few years back. But now you were face to face with Gov. Ayo Fayose, expecting your wife back. What heartlessness! Out of the drama in the bank, the news broke.
But you were never broken. People who cannot see through your games, who are hailing you and calling you their hero should have their heads examined.
Please, don’t blame PDP for not trusting you in 2019 when you offered your services for the Atiku/Obi Campaign Organisation. They have learnt how to treat ship-jumpers like you from APC. It’s was a case of once bitten, twice shy. Their discernment is now public knowledge.
The future is not only bleak for fraudulent politicians, it is, too, for political parties who have carried on without accountability. Why should we expect transparency from people who don’t give account of their campaign funds, nor subject party financial books for audit? “Se bi eni bama daso fun ni, ti orun la wo”: the person that will promise you the gift of a garment, must be well dressed. Corrupt entities promising to fight corruption.
Nigerians must be weary of accusations and counter accusations of political parties and their gladiators. From now on, political parties that will receive our support must not only present credible candidates, but must equally present thier credibilities by making public their audited books from 2019 to 2023.
Your return to APC should serve as an eye-opener to all Nigerians that politicians are a selfish lot in pursuit of nothing but personal aggrandizement; and that both the APC and PDP are same evil coin of oppression.
Head or tail, they both have nothing to serve other than affliction. And if affliction will not rise the second time, it would be through our decision to courageously shun both parties and embrace a new way forward.
Sir, God has been merciful to you and the land has been gracious beyond what your name should command. It’s now time to engage in something meaningful!
Chief David Oluwafemi Adewunmi Abdulateef omo Fani-Kayode, I wish you the best that the only political party built on Islamic jurisprudence in Nigeria has to offer.
A party that is openly supporting foreign jihadists against his people under the guise of Fulani herdsmen. May this decision not erase whatever is left of your father’s name in the South West and Nigeria at large.
(Dr. Bolaji O Akinyemi can be reached via: email@example.com)
National Chairman, All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole
Olalekan Adetayo and Sunday Aborisade
The ruling All Progressives Congress on Wednesday said only the decision on the party’s preferred candidate for the position of the Senate President for the 9th Assembly had been taken.
It said the zoning formula for the remaining positions in the Senate and those in the House of Representatives was still being worked out.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Lanre Isa-Onilu, said this at a press conference at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
He said, “We have decided who will be the next Senate President according to what democratic principles allow and that person is Senator Ahmed Lawan.
“That has been done and announced, it is left for the party to cross the‘t’s and dot the ‘i’s to get that sorted out.
“My emphasis is on the fact that we are not going to share powers, including what the PDP people call juicy committees and we call strategic committees, with people that Nigerians have rejected. They are exclusive for the APC.
“We don’t need them to head any committee where they are going to compromise the promises we have made to Nigerians.
“Nigerians cannot give us a mandate and we will go and give part of it to those they have rejected. We cannot betray the people of this country and we will never do it. The zoning arrangement for all the other positions is in the works.
“Just as the media and Nigerians have been informed about who our preferred candidate for the Senate Presidency is, we will come out to tell you what the zoning formula will be for the remaining positions in the Senate and also in the House of Representatives very shortly.”
The party spokesman said the APC had decided to go beyond zoning to identify candidates who were fit for the positions.”
In reaching the decision, he said there was nationwide consultation among party leaders.
Isa-Onilu said the presidential system of government being practised in Nigeria encouraged the “winner to take all.”
This, he said, was the reason why the PDP would not be allowed to produce any leader in the National Assembly.
He said, “It is democracy. I have listened to the PDP and in their usual style, they exhibited gross ignorance. What we practise in Nigeria is called presidential system of government. In this type of government, it is winners take all. Once you win, you take whatever you want. There is no room for power sharing.
“We don’t need it because we don’t need them (the PDP) to run this government. We have enough number to run this government. In any case, when we were campaigning, we never told Nigerians that we were going to share power with any other party.
“What we told them was that they should entrust power to us. As it is clear that we have made good use of power in the last four years, we are going to make better use of it in the next four years.
“Nigerians accepted this. It will be a betrayal of that trust to go ahead and start sharing power with a party, particularly the PDP, that has been rejected by Nigerians.
“They were banking on the experience of the last four years when some traitors within the APC fold sold our birthright to an opposition party. Some people now took that to be the new norm. It is not. In fact, that action was not democratic. It was treachery. “
APC does not envisage election
The party spokesman also said the APC did not envisage any election on the floor of the National Assembly.
He said names of the preferred candidates would only be read to them.
He added, “We have enough number to elect all our officers. We don’t need a single vote from the PDP. In any case, we don’t actually envisage any election on that day because we are going to present our members that will occupy these positions.
“All our members are very experienced politicians who understand what this means. When we get to the floor, we are going to read out the names. If the PDP so desire, it can bring its candidates up. Since the party does not have the number, it will be an exercise in futility for the PDP to nurse the ambition to share from what Nigerians have taken away from them.
“There are positions for minority parties; the APC will not contest those positions with minority parties. They belong to them.”
Isa-Onilu said Senator Ali Ndume’s position on the party leadership endorsement of Lawan as the Senate president was not wrong, saying the dissenting senator was merely expressing his fundamental right.
He, however, said since he had signed to be a member of the APC, he must be ready to abide by the position of the party.
PDP senators will support Lawan – Senate spokesman
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, has said senators elected on the platform of the PDP, will support Lawan to succeed as Senate President in the 9th National Assembly.
He also assured Nigerians that the decision of the APC to pick Lawan as its candidate for the office of the Senate President, would not lead to any crisis.
Lawan: Oshiomhole has APC’s leaders backing
Abdullahi, who is also the spokesperson for the APC senators canvassing support for Lawan, said the Senate Leader’s choice was not unilaterally done by an individual but was a collective decision of the party.
He said the APC leaders after due consultations only asked the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, to announce Lawan as the party’s candidate.
This, according to him, was contrary to claims by Senator Ali Ndume that Oshiomhole’s announcement did not have the backing of President Muhammadu Buhari and that of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“I was at the dinner along with other APC senators-elect, the National Chairman of our party, Adams Oshiomhole, never made any announcement or submission that can be described by anybody as imposition.
“He said in the spirit of avoiding what happened in 2015, the party leadership along with the Presidency, gave the required direction for the party as regards the position of President of the 9th Senate in a very persuasive and convincing tone and recommended Senator Ahmed Lawan for the position.
“The recommendation was spontaneously and instantaneously applauded by all the APC senators-elect in attendance without anybody dissenting.
“So, for Senator Ndume to later tell a story of imposition and shock through his media briefing, is nothing but being economical with the truth,” he said.
I’ll contest deputy senate presidency, says Kalu
However, a former governor of Abia State, Uzor Kalu, has said he will contest the position of the deputy senate president in 9th National Assembly.
Kalu, who is also Abia North senator-elect, wanted the APC to zone the position to the South-East in the interest of equity and justice.
Speaking with journalists at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Wednesday, Kalu said he was aware that the APC, which had the majority in the Senate, had zoned the Senate President position to the North-East and the Deputy Senate President to the North-West.
He said, “I am a very loyal party man. The party has zoned the Senate presidency position to the North-East and I want to respect the party’s will. But the second position is what we are not going to allow to leave the South-East.
“So, as far as I am concerned, in the South-East, I am going to run openly on the floor of the house for the position of the Deputy Senate President.
“I am not going to listen to the party neither will I listen to anybody. Nobody that wants to be the Deputy Senate President is more loyal than I am to the party.”
Asked to react to the threat by Kalu’s position, Abdullahi said no APC senator-elect would go against the party on that day.
He said, “I don’t have the idea on what the party is doing on the position of the Deputy Senate Presidency. The party will ensure that a senator from each of the geopolitical zones benefit from the leadership positions, that is, two presiding officers and the four principal officers.”
He said Oshiomhole was correct for saying that the ruling party would take all the available leadership positions meant for the majority party in the Senate.
He said, “Oshiomhole was actually talking to those in the majority. The majority will have their way while the minority will have their say but the two must co-exist.
“Let me tell you very clearly that we have been engaging our colleagues in the PDP and I will tell you that majority of them are actually working for us to see that we have a harmonious, rancour-free, non-tumultuous Senate.
“Our colleagues in the PDP are not interested in any fight. We are engaging them and we are talking. They know the truth and I know that we shall work together and succeed together.”
Abdullahi ruled out the possibility of a repeat of the 2015 crisis on the day of inauguration.
Meanwhile, Isa-Onilu said the party could not help the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, who had been denied his certificate of return as a senator-elect because he was still on suspension.
He said the governor himself was aware of his suspension, hence, he had not reported his dilemma to the party.
He said, “This party cannot take any action. Don’t forget that Governor Okorocha is on suspension. As far as this party is concerned, that situation remains. He also has not come to us to say the situation he has because he also realised that he is on suspension.”
On the reported suspension of Senator Kabir Marafa, Isa-Onilu said it was within the powers of the party executive at the ward level to discipline errant members.
He added, “It is within the power of the party executives at the ward level, if they have good reasons to initiate punitive measures against a member they have considered to have flouted the rules of the party.
“In this case, we don’t have all the facts at the NWC. They don’t really need to come as far as this level before they can take that decision.” (Punch)
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PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar at Rivers state party rally
By Ike A. Offor
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had another great crowd in his party presidential campaign rally in the stadium in Rivers state. Like his rally in Kano state yesterday, he had a jam-packed stadium and the crowd was entertained by the music superstar, Davido.
His campaign yesterday in Kano state, in which Kwankwasiya was the blaring slogan screamed by everyone in the jam-packed stadium, sent shock waves to the ruling party. The crowd prompted the national chairman of the ruling party, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to allege that the crowd was paid for by Alhaji Kwakwaso.
Oshiomhole reportedly alleged that Kwakwaso bought 700,000 persons who were imported into Nigeria to Kano from Cameroon. An allegation many have seen as a moaning of a dying man.
But many analysts said that if Oshiomhole made such statement, it means that the party is indeed worried by the size of the crowd in Kano state and wanted a way to wish it away by smearing it with such unfounded allegation.
Meanwhile, the outing by the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari was nothing but very shambolic one in Ogun state today. For the very first time since his presidency, Buhari was booed, pelted with water bottles and stones.
Angry looking President Buhari after being booed and stoned at APC rally in Ogun
Buhari was not allowed to finish his part of the ceremony of raising the hand of the gubernatorial candidate of Ogun before he was pelted with water bottles, stones and other items the irate youths found worthy of throwing at him and other Chieftains of APC.
Davido performing at PDP rally in Rivers state
PDP rally in Rivers state
PDP rally in Rivers state
Oshiomhole, Amosun and others were booed, stoned and water bottles were thrown at them. At some point, the DSS agents had to stand between irate youths who were armed with pellets and the president and other APC chieftains.
President Buhari was later taken away by the DSS officers to avoid him sustaining any injury.
PDP presidential candidate, Atiku was rather having some good time in Rivers state where the music star Davido gave a very exciting performance to the crowd.
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The House of Representatives on Tuesday adjourned its plenary session until Feb. 19.
The adjournment was sequel to a motion moved by the Deputy House Leader, Rep. Idriss Wase (APC-Plateau), at the plenary session presided over by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, in Abuja.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the lawmakers on Jan. 16 resumed for the 2019 legislative duty after the Christmas and New Year break.
Moving the motion, Wase, who represents Wase Federal Constituency of Plateau, said that the adjournment became imperative because of preparations toward the forthcoming general elections.
He said that the postponement of plenary sittings would allow members vying for one position or the other to focus on electioneering and other political activities of their political parties.
The Speaker, therefore, put the motion to vote and it was unanimously supported by the members.
NAN reports that the legislators after passing the Minimum Wage Bill did not deliberate on the 2019 Appropriation Bill, which still before the House, before moving for the adjournment.
Earlier at the plenary, Speaker Dogara, Reps Ahmed Yerima and Edward Pwajok formally announced their defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
While Pwajok represents Jos South/Jos East Federal Constituency of Plateau in the House, Yerima represents Missau/Dambam Federal Constituency of Bauchi State.
The legislators announced their resignations from APC in separate letters to the House of Representatives, which were read on the floor of the House by the speaker.
Dogara, who represents Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency of Bauchi State, said that they resigned their membership of the APC due to irreconcilable differences.
The legislators said that they defected to the PDP after due consultations with their constituents.
NAN reports that a gale of defections has continued to affect the lower chamber in the aftermath of the party primaries, in which several members failed to secure their parties’ tickets for the 2019 elections. (The Sun)
The People Democratic Party (PDP) in Niger State on Friday received a big boost ahead of next month’s general election as it received 1,500 members of the People Democratic Movement (PDM
) from Chanchaga Local Government Area of the state.
The entire structure of the party in 11 wards in Chanchaga collapsed into the PDP with it 1,500 members.
The defectors were led by the local government chairman of the party, Hon. Suleiman Alhassan and were received by the PDP chairman in the local government, Hon. Jamilu Saidu in a ceremony in Minna on Friday at the party local government secretariat.
This is coming barely one week after the PDP chairman in the state, Alhaji Tanko Beji, received no fewer than 3,000 members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from Edati local government who defected into the party.
Speaking on behalf of the defectors, the chairman of PDM in Chanchaga local government, Hon. Suleiman Saidu, said their decision to pitched their tent with the PDP was borne out of their conviction that the party was the only one that had the capacity to bring all Nigerians together for peace and development irrespective of their ethnic and religious differences.
Hon. Saidu said the four years APC government had taken the country ten years backward in all aspects of human development, pointing out the country was more divided along ethnic and religious lines than ever.
“This government has succeeded in causing sharp division among Nigerians along ethnic and religious lines. It has also failed to handle the security challenges in the country today.”
According to him, the peaceful conduct of PDP primaries across the country and the confusion that greeted other parties after their primaries, was a clear indication that PDP remained the largest and with the capacity to take the country to the promise land.
“PDP is the only party that can guarantee peaceful co-existence of all Nigerians, regardless of ethnic and religious differences.
“It is the only party that has the interest of the masses at heart, that can reduce the current unemployment and hardship in the country, and that is why we decided to join the party.”
He assured the party that he and his co-defectors would work assiduously to ensure total victory for PDP candidates at all levels in the forthcoming elections.
Receiving the defectors amidst cheers and jubilations at the party secretariat, the Hon. Saidu assured them that the party would carry them along, stressing that “our umbrella is big enough to accommodate everybody whether new members or old members.”
He reminded them that PDP would go into the election fully prepared and would protect their votes from the polling units to the final collation centres.
“We will protect our votes with our last blood from the polling units to the final collation centre; we will resist any attempt to manipulate people’s mandates because the only thing left for them now is to rig the election. (The Sun)
About 20,000 former members of the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom State on Monday defected to the Peoples Democratic Party.
Those who left the APC included units, wards and chapters’ officers from the 31 local government areas of the state.
They were received into the PDP at a ceremony held in Uyo, the state capital.
The state governor, Udom Emmanuel, commended the new members for joining the PDP which he described as the only grass roots party in the country.
While describing the new members’ decision as being about the soul of state, the governor urged them to always stand in defence of the state.
He said, “This is unprecedented in the history of our state.
“What you are doing today is not about me, it is not about the party chairman, or any other person. It is about the soul of Akwa Ibom State.”
The governor said he was not losing sleep over the threat by the opposition to take over the state.
He described such threats as coming from “empty vessels that make the loudest noise.”
Earlier, the state chairman of the PDP, Mr Paul Ekpo, had described the number of new members as unprecedented in the history of the PDP in the state.
He said, “It has never happened in the history of Akwa Ibom State that people in their thousands and on their own would decide and say we should come and receive them into the Peoples Democratic Party.
“We have been preaching industrialisation, peace and stability and workability but little did we know that our preaching has touched the minds of so many people in the state.” (Punch)
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan
Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party has accused President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress of posting what it called fictitious figures as votes secured by the President at the APC Presidential primary.
It said the plan behind the huge figure was to hoodwink Nigerians and create an impression of massive support for President Buhari ahead of the 2019 presidential election.
The PDP said the alleged resort to the allocation of figures had shown that Buhari and the APC had lost hope of winning genuine votes in the 2019 general elections and want to rely on the allocation of fake votes to attempt to rig the main election.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, claimed in a statement on Sunday, that the Presidency forced the direct primary on the APC because of its determination to conjure figures ahead of the general elections.
He said, “Nigerians will recall that the PDP had alerted of intelligence reports that the Presidency forced a direct presidential primary on the APC so as to ‘eliminate delegates accreditation and pave the way for the allocation of millions of conjured votes, which they intend to use as a basis to authenticate the fictitious votes they intend to declare for President Buhari at the general elections.’
“The PDP had also alerted of how ‘very senior officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission including a blood relation of the President, who is in charge of the commission’s data centre, masterminded and pushed the plot.
“It is, therefore, ludicrous that 29 days after our statement, the Presidency and the APC staged a circus show in their party’s state secretariats, in the name of Presidential primary and came up with fictitious figures as votes secured by President Buhari.
“Nigerians were thoroughly amused as they see through the lies in APC’s allocation of fictitious 2.9 million votes in Kano, 1.9 million in Lagos, 802,819 in Katsina, in addition to other conjured figures in other states.”
Ologbondiyan added that what the APC and the Presidency failed to note was that Nigerians were already aware that no ballot allegedly took place and that such figures could not be tallied through mere voice vote involving few members of a derelict and disorganised party.
According to him, what counts in a general election is the participation of registered voters with Permanent Voter Cards and not fictitious figures from a padded party register or party members, many of who do not exist or hold PVCs.
Moreover, he said that the APC did not have the number of members it was posting as having participated in the “circus”.
“We want the APC and INEC to know that our party is already privy to the polling centres in certain states which they are planning to use to allocate fake votes for President Buhari in the 2019 general elections and that we have also devised legitimate strategies of exposing and dismantling such plans ahead of the elections, just as the PDP did in Osun State,” he added. (Punch)
National Chairman, All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole
Niyi Odebode, John Alechenu, Chukwudi Akasike, Sam Awoyinfa, Godwin Isenyo and Chidiebube Okeoma
The National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress on Tuesday released its approved mode of primaries for 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory for Saturday’s governorship primaries.
According to the list, the direct method, which involves all registered card carrying members of the party; and the indirect mode where elected and statutory delegates take part, will be used.
The APC NWC released the list of approved methods in a statement by the party’s acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, in Abuja.
The states that are to elect their governorship candidates via the direct method are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Cross River, Edo, Ekiti, Imo and Kano.
Others are Lagos, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Taraba, Zamfara and the Federal Capital Territory.
States that got the nod to pick candidates using the indirect mode are Adamawa, Benue, Borno, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina and Kebbi.
Others are Nasarawa, Oyo, Kogi, Kwara, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto and Yobe.
Before the Tuesday directive of the APC NWC, some state chapters of the party, including Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Imo and Bauchi, had adopted indirect primaries
The Ogun State chapter of the APC had, at a meeting attended by the state executive of the party, leaders and lawmakers on Thursday, opted for indirect primaries.
In Imo, Governor Rochas Okorocha-backed state executive had said it preferred the indirect primaries despite the opposition of stakeholders, including Senator Hope Uzodima.
The requests of state chapters of the party in Adamawa, Kaduna, Oyo and Rivers for indirect primaries were, however, approved by the NWC.
The PUNCH gathered that the NWC, after weighing options available to it, decided to change the methods in some states.
It was further learnt that such was the case in Imo State where the Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Rochas Okorocha hails from, as the NWC opted for direct primaries.
A highly placed member of the party, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to journalists on the issue, said the decision had to be taken to save the party from implosion.
The source said, “The case of Imo, especially, had to be handled carefully because it is currently our stronghold in the South-East. We decided that we must take a position which will encourage members to remain in the fold. We went for direct primary for two reasons.
“One, we have cases in court arising from the last state congresses. We have learnt a thing or two from the legal tussle between the former National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, and the Chairman of the party’s National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
“If we go for the indirect method and the court nullifies the actions of the faction of the state executive in charge of the process, we will have a problem but if we have the direct method where all card carrying members of the party participate we will be safer, it is that simple.
“Secondly, the direct method is more difficult if not impossible to manipulate and the outcome is likely to generate less acrimony.”
Recall that Article 20 of the APC Constitution (October 2014, as Amended), stipulates how primaries for nomination of candidates for election from the local government chairmen to those vying for the position of president should be conducted.
Article 20 (iii) reads, “Nomination of candidates for governor shall be through direct or indirect primary election to be conducted at the appropriate level.
“(iv) a. Further to Article 20 (iii) of this constitution, indirect primaries for the purpose of nominating a candidate shall be done at a designated venue for that purpose, by an electoral college of delegates democratically elected by members of party from the various wards contained in the particular constituency at congresses.”
Stakeholders reject indirect primaries in Kaduna
Some stakeholders in Kaduna on Tuesday reacted negatively to the NWC announcement.
The stakeholders under the aegis of Kaduna State Aspirants and Stakeholders Forum described the adoption of the indirect primary for the state as a sham.
The state chapter of the APC, led by Air Commodore Emmanuel Jekada (retd), said to be loyalists of the Kaduna State Governor; Nasir El-Rufai, had adopted indirect primary.
Jekada had said the direct primary was not applicable to Kaduna because of the absence of a comprehensive register of party members, which could lead to chaos.
However, the stakeholders’ forum at a press conference in Kaduna on Tuesday faulted the APC chairman.
Spokesman for the aspirants and stakeholders, Alhaji Hassan Sandi, an aspirant for the House of Representatives seat, said the indirect mode was designed to ease vote buying.
Sandi said, “We remain resolutely committed to direct primaries as the most efficacious mode of determining our best candidates for the governorship and legislative positions in Kaduna State.
“We are convinced that adopting direct primaries will not only diminish the corruptive influence of vote-buying, it will give party members a voice and promote the growth of a strong, virile and people-rooted APC.”
Ogun aspirants hail APC NWC
Two governorship aspirants in Ogun State, Senator Adegbenga Kaka and Dapo Abiodun, hailed the decision of the NWC.
Kaka said it was what the NWC earlier prescribed, and what the stakeholders agreed upon in the meeting of September 5, 2018.
Kaka said, “It is in consonance with the communiqué issued at the end of the party’s stakeholders meeting held on September 5, 2018, in Abeokuta, the state capital. Whether they like it or not, the decision of NWC supersedes that of the state executive committee.
“Since the proponents of consensus openly admitted its failure, they should also admit the failure of indirect primaries by embracing direct primaries as directed by the NWC.”
Abiodun, who spoke through one of his media aides, Olamide Lawal, said, “It is a good development that the NWC did not dance to the tune of the state executive committee. The NWC has refused to be intimidated.”
When contacted, the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Wole Elegbede, said, “I will get back to you, I need to consult with the party hierarchy.”
It is a welcome development – Imo APC
The Imo State chapter of the APC said that it was at home with the direct primaries.
The party state Publicity Secretary, Jones Onwuasoanya, said APC in the state was expecting no fewer than 1,000,000 party members to vote.
He said the method would allow members of the party the opportunity of choosing the people who would represent it during the general elections.
Onwuasoanya said, “We are confident that this (direct primaries) will afford Imolites and the world the opportunity to appreciate how popular our great party is in the state as we are expecting more than 1,000,000 registered party members to participate in the process across the state.”
“This landmark decision is a good step towards resolving all claims of popularity by some aspirants and we urge them to intensify efforts at mobilising party members to vote for them.”
Rivers APC, Abe disagree on decision
But the governorship aspirant on the platform of the APC in Rivers State, Senator Magnus Abe, said the decision of the NWC to adopt indirect primaries for Rivers State should not override the earlier decision of the party’s National Executive Committee.
Abe stated that the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, had during the party’s last NEC meeting, listed Rivers State as one of the states where direct primaries would be held.
Abe said NEC had earlier decided to adopt direct primaries in Rivers State because of the many legal issues facing the party in the state.
“But the decision of the NWC to hold indirect primaries in Rivers State goes against the grain of reason.
“First, because direct primaries were ordered in other states, including Imo State that has similar issues we have in Rivers State. Also, the National Chairman of the party at the last NEC meeting of the party had himself listed Rivers State as one of the states where direct primaries would be held because of many legal issues that we are facing.”
But the Rivers State Chapter of APC described the approval of indirect primary option for the state by the NWC as a welcome development.
A statement by the State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Chris Finebone, read in part, “This decision is in line with the resolution of the expanded State Executive Committee taken at its meeting of Thursday, September 6, 2018, as directed by the NEC of our party.
“In the said meeting, the direct, indirect and consensus options were critically examined and the majority of members overwhelmingly voted to adopt the indirect mode of primaries.
“Therefore, it is satisfying that all the reasons given for adopting the indirect mode of primaries were found to be convincing, hence the acceptance of the option for Rivers State by the NWC.” (Punch)