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2019: We Must Shop For Northern Presidential Candidate With Unblemished Record – Utazi

From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The Senator representing Enugu North senatorial zone in the National Assembly, Chukwuka Utazi, has sounded a note of warning to politicians of South- East extraction not to dream of contesting the 2019 presidential election as the current political configuration did not support the region producing the next President of Nigeria in 2019.

Utazi who spoke during the recent non-elective National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja, equally recalled the circumstances that led to the internal crisis that rocked the party, saying intimidation, impunity, the imposition of candidates and lack of internal democracy as factors responsible for the crisis. He hinged the secret of the relative peace in the Enugu State PDP fold to the meticulous leadership recruitment in the state, endorsing the governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for the second term.

What problems do you envisage could bring PDP down again?

The problem responsible for the PDP crisis was lack of internal democracy. The party made the mistake of imposing unpopular candidates against the wishes of the people. The aggrieved ones left PDP and joined the APC where they became governors, legislators and were elected into many other positions. This is exactly what robbed us the opportunity and resulted in PDP losing the grip of the power in many places.

In the past, individuals were larger than the parties and a governor, for instance, would bring his son in-law, his brother in-law and sister in-law into government. We did it to an embarrassing level and the effect was the internal squabbles that almost crippled the party.

My appeal is that we should avoid those mundane issues responsible for the shameful party crisis that lasted so much. I know that this great party, the PDP will re-launch itself into power and reckoning if it allows popular candidates to enjoy a popular mandate.

I also know that leadership recruitment has always been a very serious problem in the country just like in other political climes. The ruling party, APC is also facing the same leadership recruitment challenge even as a relatively new party.

If the PDP can get the recruitment process right, the party can go places. PDP must recruit popular candidates, de-emphasize money politics; allow a candidate with potentials to raise money from the electorate that he will be answerable to.

For instance, former President Barak Obama was the least financially qualified candidate for the President of America, but he became richer than John McCain who was from a very wealthy family because of the one dollar policy where everybody contributed to his campaign.

PDP must resist the temptation of supporting candidates with huge financial muscles to avoid the mistake that brought Ali Modu Sheriff who many believed has the money to solve the problems of the party. We are all witnesses to what such decision did to the PDP and we have to learn from that mistake.

Looking forward, I want to advise that the PDP start shopping for a good presidential candidate from the northern part of the country. He must be somebody with good credentials, unblemished records and all of us must be ready to contribute money to make him the President of Nigeria who can be answerable to Nigerians, not the godfathers that made him the President. If we do so, the sky will be our starting point for the party.

What is the situation with the PDP in Enugu State?

We are very much intact and I can boldly say that the PDP has always been in charge of Enugu State; as if no other party exists. We are a very big united family and I can make bold to say that the state has been very careful in leadership recruitment. This is the secret of the leadership progresses recorded in Enugu.

For instance, if we had chosen an unpopular candidate as the governor, all of us would have been in disarray by now. Despite the crisis at the national level, and the threat from the APC, PDP in Enugu is still very intact. There is no dissenting voice anywhere. All the legislators from Enugu and other elected persons are intact. Nobody is talking about defecting to the APC because they all have the feeling that they are in the right party. There is bound to be movements where you have divisions within a party.

No politician of repute from Enugu left the party throughout the duration of the PDP crisis at the national level. I want to reassure that we are going to continue with that one peaceful family because we have a very good governor who means well for the people and have equally done well so far.

Are you then passing a vote of confidence on the governor to continue in office beyond 2019?

Of course, I am passing a vote of absolute confidence on him to continue because he has done well. I don’t see anything stopping him especially now that the storm is over. I have heard people insinuating that the crisis between me and the governor is over too but I can say with a measure of confidence that I have never had any problem with my governor.

Based on your advice to PDP to shop for a northerner as a presidential candidate, are you saying that PDP members of Igbo extraction should not contest the 2019 presidential election?

I am not expecting any Igbo person to contest for president under the PDP platform in 2019. Based on truth and fact on the ground, the political configuration of the party will not allow for an Igbo presidency in 2019. There is an existing zoning arrangement between the north and the south. It will be foolhardy for the Igbo to contest in the 2019 presidential election. I know that the Igbo have bright chances of the north complete their terms.

Will it be right to say that herdsmen menace in your senatorial zone has been taken care of completely?

All I can tell you is that we are still on it because discussion over the issue is a continuous process. It is not going to be easy because the Fulani must continue to rear their cattle. However, the good news is that we have recorded some level of achievement in that regard especially as they are no longer in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area. We told them point blank that the area is now a- no- go area after the massacre of some persons in Nimbo. Interestingly, since they left there has been a respite.

What has been the experience so far on the floor of the Senate?

As informed people, I told my senatorial zone, the Nsukka people that they hardly make mistake in leadership recruitment. They are getting the outcome of that good leadership recruitment. Let me also inform you that I served as a Deputy Speaker between 1991 and 1993.

I am a lawyer and have served in the executive and legislative categories. I did not come to the Senate as a green horn but with lots of experiences and I always fall back on those experiences in making my contributions on the floor of the senate. 

We must endeavour to recruit people with vast experiences in certain areas because history has proved that they do very well. If we send greenhorns there, they will never say a word let alone move a motion, or sponsor a bill.

I strongly believe that with the level of political maturity in the zone, Nsukka people would not have made a mistake in getting the right people to represent them. I can say with some level of certainty that when I leave the senate, Nsukka people will still recruit another good person to give them quality representation at the senate.

Having said that, what the electorate should expect from me is leadership by example and service above self. I will always think of what will benefit them first and give them quality representation in the National Assembly.

My happiness is that I have been able to include the 9th Mile-Makurdi Expressway in the budget this year. I had wanted the dualization of that road but when I could not succeed, I ensured that the federal government will resurface the road with a budgetary allocation of N1 billion.

I have also been able to get a 55km Adarice, Umulokpa road into the budget this year. If the federal government can do the road, it will in no small measure help the predominantly agrarian people of the communities have access to their farmlands to reduce the high cost of foodstuff in the country.

Do you have any regret raising some issues on the floor of the Senate that has generated controversies in the country?

I don’t know your perception and definition of controversy, but I am one person who speaks from my heart bearing in mind national interest. My contributions have never been beclouded by selfish interest.

I also know that there is every tendency that people may misunderstand and tag anybody who is not a praise singer to the system as controversial. My joy is that when I look back, I can claim that all I have done in the senate are all about national interest. We will never get it right if we continue with narrow-minded thoughts.

Finally, will you run for the governorship in 2019?

My answer is that we will wait until we get to the river to know how we are going to cross the bridge. For now, I am doing very well in the Senate, working very hard for my people and I can tell you that I am comfortable over there.  (The Sun)

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APC, Others Angry As PDP Says Buhari Government Destroyed EFCC |RN

Image result for okoi obono obla
Special Adviser to the President on Prosecution, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla

John Alechenu, Olusola Fabiyi, Eniola Akinkuotu and Ade Adesomoju

The Peoples Democratic Party, on Thursday, accused the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government of destroying the independence of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission.

The PDP said the EFCC and ICPC were created during its 16-year reign to curb the menace of corruption in the country.

The party said this in a statement by its Head of Publicity Department, Mrs Chinwe Nnorom.

But the APC, the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla; and the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), berated the PDP for saying that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration destroyed the independence of the anti-graft agencies.

The statement said the PDP, which was established on August 31, 1998, had remained the only viable, prosperous and most visionary political party in Nigeria.

The PDP statement by Nnorom stated, “(The) PDP administration established two major anti-corruption agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission to curb the menace of corruption in the country.

“These efforts reduced corrupt practices and further increased the confidence of foreign investors that resulted in huge investment inflows into the country.

“The APC-led government of today has destroyed the independence of these agencies with their selective approach of using ‘deodorants’ when APC members are involved and ‘insecticides’ when it concerns the PDP members and other Nigerians.”

The statement said the PDP, therefore, remained the best political party in Nigeria.

It, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to return the former ruling party to power in 2019, saying it had learnt from its past mistakes.

The PDP stated that the chairman of the party’s National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, congratulated members and supporters of the former ruling party on the achievement.

“As s a human organisation, there might have been some issues or areas we could not cover when we were governing. We promise to make amends as and when given the opportunity again in 2019,” the statement added.

The former ruling party believes Nigerians have not forgotten the enormous infrastructural developments, policies and programmes developed by it in contrast to the current APC-led government.

It added, “The PDP no doubt, initiated several reforms that transformed the country from the decay of long years of military dictatorship/failed civilian administration and never resorted to self- pity, blame and propaganda as it’s seen today.

“For the record, in 1999 the image of Nigeria internationally was in a deplorable state with very poor human rights records. The PDP took conscious steps to change that perception and within a very short period, it restored the country to its pride of place among the comity of nations. We promise to do it again come 2019.”

It recalled how former President Olusegun Obasanjo “worked diligently with other western powers to settle all our foreign debts accumulated by the military, thereby detaching Nigeria’s economy from the burden.

The PDP noted that Nigeria’s unity remained the core principle of the founding fathers, saying throughout the 16 years of the PDP government, the party took deliberate actions to sustain and maintain this principle by building bridges across the nation.

This, it said, could not be said of the APC-led administration given its alleged lopsided appointments, which it argued had aggravated the agitations for self-determination and secession by some sections of the country.

The PDP, however, declared that the party would not support such agitations.

Disprove allegations of recovered loot, ruling party tells PDP

But, the APC challenged the PDP to first disprove allegations of billions of naira and other foreign currencies recovered from members of the former ruling party by the EFCC.

The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, stated this in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Thursday.

Abdullahi stated, “Instead of saying our party has destroyed EFCC’s independence, they should contradict the billions of naira, dollars and pounds recovered from its members who held positions of authority in the past. It is when they provide evidence that this is not true that we can talk.

“If they want to lay any claim to moral superiority, they should refute evidence adduced by the EFCC about the recovery so far made, then, we can talk.

“Let them challenge the verdict of a competent court of our land which recently ordered the permanent forfeiture of property and billions of naira in cash belonging to Diezani Alison- Madueke (former minister of petroleum resources).

“If they can successfully challenge all these, then, they can speak. As for them returning to power, Nigerians are now wiser.”

PDP statement reckless, irresponsible –Junaid Mohammed

Speaking in a similar vein, a Second Republic member of the House of Representatives, Dr Junaid Mohammed, described the PDP statement as “reckless and irresponsible and lacking any empirical evidence.”

He noted that even though it was evident that the EFCC could do better with better attention and support from Buhari, the anti-graft body had not lost any serious thing under this government to justify the PDP’s gloating.

Mohammed added, “The PDP ought to shut up and spare Nigerians. I don’t believe that the EFCC has lost anything under this administration. When the EFCC started, frankly speaking, both Nuhu Ribadu and Ibrahim Lamorde had their challenges. President Obasanjo was in the habit of conniving with them to achieve his aims.

“This is not to say that the attitude and the management of the economy between the EFCC and the current administration is what it ought to be.

“Sometimes, you have to give political direction to some of these agencies. And of course, you have to assure them that you will be with them should they get into trouble; that has not been the attitude of the Buhari Presidency.”

Claim is nonsensical, says Presidential aide

Also, Obono-Obla, in an interview with The PUNCH on Thursday, described the PDP’s claim as “nonsensical”.

He said contrary to the opposition party’s claim, the EFCC had become more efficient under the current administration.

He argued that the independence of the EFCC was completely eroded under the PDP government to the extent that the anti-corruption agency was unable to charge any politically-exposed person under former President Goodluck Jonathan administration.

Obono-Obla described the PDP government as “chronically and scandalously corrupt” to the extent that “a minister was able to steal the equivalent of the allocation of 19 northern states in four years.”

He explained that neither Buhari nor those connected to the President interfered with the activities of the anti-graft agencies.

The President’s aide added that the APC-led government had charged “very prominent, highly influential and highly connected politically-exposed persons” with various offences.

Obono-Obla added, “The claim by PDP is nonsensical. It is hogwash and balderdash.

“The PDP does not have any argument because since the APC government came on board, the EFCC has become so efficient.

“In the first quarter of this year, the EFCC secured more than 200 convictions and recovered over N400bn.

“How much was recovered by the EFCC when the PDP was in government or when Goodluck Jonathan was in office?

“The independence of the EFCC was completely eroded to the extent that no politically-exposed person was charged to court. But we can see that they have charged very prominent, highly influential and highly connected politically-exposed persons, which is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.

“So, the PDP does not know what it’s talking about.

“Talk about the ICPC, it has recovered billions of naira. The ICPC has also secured the conviction of many politically-exposed persons.

“The PDP should shut up. The PDP was chronically and scandalously corrupt to the extent that one minister stole the equivalent of the allocations of 19 northern states in four years.

“Up to $20bn was unaccounted for. The foreign reserves were deflated. The late President (Umaru) Yar’Adua left $48bn in the foreign reserves; all the money was deflated.

“So what is the PDP talking about? We don’t interfere, the President does not interfere and the people connected to the President do not interfere with EFCC’s activities, unlike when the agency ceased to function under the PDP government.”

Diezani is your legacy, Sagay tells opposition party

On his part, Sagay asked the PDP to mark its 19th anniversary with sober reflection instead of boasting about its “achievements.”

Sagay told the former ruling party to remember that embattled Alison-Madueke was one of its products.

The senior advocate said this during an interview with The PUNCHon Thursday.

Sagay admitted that the EFCC and the ICPC were created by Obasanjo but added that these two agencies were weakened after Obasanjo left office.

He said the Buhari administration had recovered nearly a trillion naira alone this year from officials who served under the PDP.

The PACAC chairman asked the PDP to apologise to Nigerians and turn a new leaf as this was the only way to regain the confidence of Nigerians.

Sagay added, “I am disappointed in the PDP. If they are celebrating 19 years, they should celebrate with caution and give the nation an assurance that they would not bring such negative impact on our nation again and they have turned a new leaf.

“Yes, President Obasanjo was the one who proposed the establishment of the EFCC and the ICPC? After Nuhu Ribadu left the EFCC, what became of the EFCC? These people just neutralised these agencies and turned this country into an ATM from which they kept on withdrawing money until there was nothing left.

“So, they destroyed our economy; their greed was overwhelming. If you look at Diezani for instance, there is no day that goes by that money is not recovered from her. In Thursday’s papers, it was reported that the EFCC had recovered about half a trillion naira from these people.”

PDP can only talk of impunity

–CACOL

In a similar vein, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders said the only legacy the PDP could talk about was the promotion of criminality and impunity.

The Executive Chairman, CACOL, Debo Adeniran, said although the PDP created the EFCC and the ICPC, the party frustrated the war against corruption.     (Punchng.com)

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Court Of Appeal Sacks Sekibo, Upholds Abe’s Election |The Republican News

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

The Court of Appeal  Abuja division, yesterday dismissed an appeal filed by George Sekibo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Sekibo was challenging the judgment of the Rivers State National Election Tribunal which sacked him as the senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District.

According to the appellate court, Sekibo’s appeal lacked merit as it did not show any reason the decision of the lower court should be set aside.

In a unanimous judgment, a three-member of the appellate court dismissed Sekibo’s appeal and upheld the judgment of the Rivers State election tribunal which earlier sacked him on June 29, 2017.

Consequently, the appellate court ordered that Sekibo be replaced by Andrew Uchendu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The court pointed out that the lawmaker only reproduced his closing remarks at the end of the tribunal hearing and did not challenge the judgment itself, which meant the Court of Appeal had no business considering it.

The state election tribunal had in its judgment also held that Sekibo’s opponent, Uchendu, was the true winner of the senatorial seat and directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue him a certificate of return.

Uchendu had contested INEC’s decision to award the December 10, 2016, victory to Sekibo after neglecting to recognise the results of some wards and polling units in the districts.

Sekibo was declared the winner by INEC Returning Officer, Oji Ekumankama on December 12, 2016.

According to Ekumankama, Sekibo won 93,098 votes to defeat Uchendu, who had 34,193 votes.

However, the panel, sitting at Apo Quarters in the Federal Capital Territory, agreed with Uchendu, saying he won the lawful majority votes cast and instructed INEC to withdraw the certificate of return that had been issued to Sekibo.

Sekibo, 60, was first elected to the Senate in 2007, and also won his first re-election.

In another judgment, the same panel of the Court of Appeal upheld the election of APC’s Magnus Abe as a senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District.

The court affirmed the judgment of the legislative election tribunal delivered on June 27, 2017, and dismissed the appeal by Olaka Nwogu of the PDP on the grounds that it lacked merit.  (The Sun)

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Our Achievements In Office Are Undeniable – PDP |The Republican News

 

 

Jonathan at PDP convention

PDP non-elective convention 2017: The Republican News

After being tackled by leaders of APC on a statement made by the immediate former president, Goodluck E. Jonathan on his economic legacy, good economic team and how well he did with the economy, PDP has responded via this press release.

Here is the press Release:

  1. We have read comments made by the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC), Alhaji Bolaji Ojo-Abdullahi, Mallam Garba Shehu, Special Assistant to the President on Media, and other senior members of the Ruling Party such as former Governor, Segun Oni and Dr. Osita Okechukwu, the Director General of the Voice of Nigeria where they attempted to rubbish the comments made by former President Goodluck Jonathan that his Administration performed well during his term in office.
  2. It is our firm belief that these statements were borne out of ignorance, lacking in depth and are devoid of the Sort of critical thinking that one would expect from highly placed government officials. However, these officials seem bent on continuing what has become an official position of the Ruling Party to reduce commentary on public issues, and indeed the art of governance to comedy.

  3. It is shameful and embarrassing that having been in power for two and a half years, the Ruling Party is unable to point to cogent, convincing and data-driven achievements. Instead, it has spent the bulk of its time designing and implementing a communication strategy around massive propaganda, half truths and outright falsehood in an attempt to continually deceive the Nigerian people.

  4. For the sake of emphasis, we reiterate our position that the Administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan performed well during its term in office. There are no indices anywhere in Nigeria, or indeed in the world, by which the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari can be measured as performing better than any PDP administration since 1999.

  5. For the avoidance of doubt, some of the achievements of our Party while in power include:

(a) As at May 29, 2015, Nigeria was the Largest Economy in Africa valued at over $500billion. A combination of the incoherent policies and incompetence of the Ruling Party have significantly shrunk the size of the Nigerian Economy since the Inception of the Current Administration.

(b) As at May 29, 2015, Nigeria was the No, 1 Destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Africa. Up to that point, investors responded to the policies designed and implemented by the Jonathan Administration by investing billions of Dollars in the Nigerian Economy.

However, since the Inauguration of the Buhari Administration, investors have voted with their feet having been discouraged by the inchoate and incoherent policies being implemented by the APC led Federal Government.

(c) The Jonathan Administration maintained a ‘Single Digit Inflation Rate’ for several years. Inflation stood at 9.6% at the Inception of the Buhari Administration. The incompetence of the Current Economic Management Team has resulted in inflation rising as high as 18.72% in January 2017 before settling at 16.1% in July 2017. This had led to the Skyrocketing of the Price of goods, services and food items thereby making staples unaffordable to millions of Nigerians.

It is not a coincidence that the last time Nigerians had to deal with the Current level of widespread hunger and lack was when President Muhammadu Buhari held sway as military Head of State between 1984 and 1985.

(d) The APC led Federal Government inherited an economy that had grown at an average of 7% per annum for the previous 10 years. Indeed, when President Buhari spoke at the Chatham House in February 2015, he admitted that the Nigerian economy had experienced growth for several years. At the time, several global economic experts projected Nigeria to be among the top 7 growing economies in the world in 2016.

However, the APC led Federal Government has managed to lead the Nation to 6 consecutive quarters of economic recession without a coherent, cogent strategy to bring our economy out of the woods.

(e) The Jonathan Administration is widely acclaimed for conducting free, fair and credible elections. Since the Inception of the Current Administration, Nigerians have witnessed widespread and blatant manipulation of the electoral process to suit the whim of the Ruling Party. Easy examples can be found in the refusal to postpone the Ondo State Gubernatorial Election even though valid reasons existed that warranted its postponement; and the postponement of the Edo State Gubernatorial Election for no justifiable reason when it became obvious that the Ruling Party was going to lose that election to enable it to manipulate the process. Since the Inception of this Administration, the Phenomenon of “inconclusive elections” has become a regular feature of our electoral system.

(f) The Jonathan Administration had implemented an agricultural sector transformation programme that ensured a reduction of the National Food Import Bill by encouraging increased local production of staple food items. An example of the Results of this policy was the Reduction of the Price of a bag of rice from N14,000 per bag in 2012 to N8, 500 in 2014. The Price of a bag of rice currently stands at N18, 000 having peaked at N22,000 per bag in 2016.

The success of this programme ensured that the Massive flooding which hit many farming communities in the food production belts of the Country in 2012 did not result in famine and a radical increase in the costs of staple food items.

(g) The Jonathan Administration took an institutional approach to tackling corruption in the Country. In this wise, the Administration designed several technological tools to tackle corruption. These include:

• Treasury Savings Account (TSA)
• Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS)
• Integrated Payroll & Personnel Information System (IPPIS)

When added to other institutional anti-corruption tools like
the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Crimes Commission (ICPC), our Party instituted the existing institutional framework with which to fight corruption.

It is imperative to point out that, despite being in charge of the Executive and possessing a majority in both houses of the National Assembly, the Ruling Party has failed to add anything to or strengthen the Anti-corruption framework and infrastructure of the Country.

It is also incumbent on us to point out that the Current Administration has taken a pedestrian approach to fighting corruption by engaging in media trials rather than actively prosecuting cases in court. This approach has had an adverse effect on the Country with the Egmont Group, an international financial intelligence sharing anti-corruption body, using the Nigerian prosecution agencies penchant for sharing sensitive information with the Media as a basis for Nigeria’s suspension from the Group.

  1. The list of achievements of the Jonathan Administration, and indeed past PDP administrations are too numerous to mention and completely dwarf the wasted years of APC’s governance.
  • It is important to note that several senior members of APC who constantly feel the need to deride and denigrate our Party using falsehoods as a foundation were once members of our Party. It is important to point out, for instance, that Alhaji Bolaji Ojo-Abdullahi was a Minister under the Jonathan Administration, Chief Segun Oni was also a former member of our Party on whose platform he rose to become Governor of Ekiti State.

  • Having served in such offices, it does not lie in the mouth of such men to state that PDP failed Nigerians. If these men and others of their ilk find it so convenient to deny their past, we wonder what they will say about the Present in the near future.

    1. It is necessary to inform the Ruling Party that Nigerians are suffering under the Weight of the Anti-people policies they have been forced to live and do business under. As a result, the Ruling Party’s days at the helm of affairs are numbered. The professional propagandists of the APC will realize too late that blaming the ills of the Country on past administrations while doing nothing about them for four clear years will not save them on the Day of Judgement. And the Day of reckoning is very much at hand.

    God bless Nigeria! God bless the PDP!!

    Signed:

    Prince Dayo Adeyeye
    National Publicity Secretary
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    Economic Legacy: APC Chief, Balarabe Musa Tackle Goodluck Jonathan |RN

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    Former President, Goodluck Jonathan

    Niyi Odebode,  John Alechenu,  Olusola Fabiyi and Olaleye Aluko

    The National Vice-Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (South-East), Chief Emma Eneukwu, and a  former governor of the old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, have berated former President Goodluck Jonathan over his claim that his government had good economic programmes.

    Jonathan had, at the Non-Elective National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party held in Abuja on Saturday, said his government had a sound economic team.

    Related: Corruption: We Didn’t Plug All Loopholes, I Did Well, Had Good Economic Team, Says Jonathan

    He recalled that in 2012, there were flood disasters in many parts of the country, stressing that the floods damaged homes and farmlands on the plains of River Niger and River Benue, adding that despite the devastating effects of the natural disaster, there were no food shortages or arbitrary increase in prices.

    On the economic front, he said his government provided focused leadership through institutional reforms which he said impacted positively on the fundamentals for growth, especially in the last four years of his time in power.

    But Eneukwu, in an interview with one of our correspondents on Sunday, accused the former President of throwing the country into a mess.

    He said, “Even a blind man in Nigeria knows that (Goodluck) Jonathan threw this country into a mess. Billions and billions of naira are being refunded and found in private houses. Is the money not being refunded by people who served under Jonathan?

    “The man shouldn’t talk, he should bury his head in shame; his administration is almost the worst I can think of.  He never checked people who worked under him; it was free-for-all corruption.”

    Also commenting on Jonathan’s statement, Balarabe Musa, said past presidents, including Goodluck Jonathan, played on Nigerians’ short memories.

    Describing Jonathan’s handling of the economy as worse, Balarabe said, “Of course, Nigerians have short memories. What is our attitude to all the former presidents, particularly as to how they handled our economy?

    “We seem not to have realised that they did less than the present. They are now heroes in a way. They are almost now gloating and trying to decide the fate of the country.

    “The ex-President is not only to blame for our failures, his own was even worse. In the present, we have seen competence in a few things, but in his own (Jonathan) case, he showed competence in nothing. He allowed corruption to fester during his own time. But we are not sure if the present administration is not doing worse. This is because the state of the economy can only be reasonably determined by the state of the people.”

    Meanwhile, the ruling All Progressives Congress has asked the Peoples Democratic Party to forget its idea of returning to power in 2019.

    It alleged that the damage caused the country by the PDP when it was in power for 16 years was enough testimony of its alleged ineptitude.

    The PDP had said during its Non-Elective National Convention that it was ready to take over the government at the centre in 2019.

    Different members of the party who spoke at the event asked members of the former ruling party to get set to return to power in 2019.

    But the spokesperson for the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, told our correspondent that the PDP was merely dreaming.

    He said while there was nothing wrong in dreaming, it was wrong for the PDP leaders to think that Nigerians would trust them with power again.

    He said what “Nigerians are thinking now is restructuring,” which he said, was not the focus of the PDP.

    Abdullahi, who was a former minister of sports, said, “The PDP will not come back to power in 2019. For me, it is a mere expression of a wish, which will not come to pass.

    “They are talking about what they wish and not what is on the ground. The biggest issue now that Nigerians want is the restructuring of the country. The PDP does not think that way.

    “Does the PDP, which was in power for 16 years, has anything like that in its manifesto, the answer is no. So, the party should forget it.”

    When reminded that something close to it was in the report of the 2014 Constitutional Conference which the present APC government had refused to implement, Abdullahi said the last administration was also not ready for the implementation.

    “What did that government do with the report which was submitted to it about a year before the election? Nothing. So, how can they be talking about restructuring,” he asked. (Punchng.com)

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    100 PDP Members Defect To APGA In Anambra, Cite Obiano As Inspiration |RN

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    From Jeff Amechi

    Agbodo, Onitsha 

    No fewer than 100 former members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nkpor Ward 1 in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State yesterday defected to All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

    The leader of the group and former councillorship candidate of PDP, Mr Obioma Arinze Molokwu, who led others to join APGA at Idemili Council Headquarters said that they took the decision to defect to APGA due to the laudable developmental projects embarked upon by Governor Willie Obiano in the state.

    Molokwu said that the governor had exemplified good governance in his four years in office and needed to be supported for the second term, in order to consolidate on his achievements, saying that they took the bold decision to join the moving train of APGA that has given the state facelift within the shortest period in power.

    He noted that the Transition Committee Chairman of Idemili, Chief Ralph Nnabuife, who is from Nkpor community has been complementing the efforts of the state governor by embarking upon various developmental projects in the council, which spurred them to join him to lift up the party in the council and to ensure that Obiano emerged victorious in the forthcoming November 18 governorship election.

    While receiving the defectors at the council headquarters in Ogidi, the Transition Committee Chairman of Idemili North Chief Nnabuife flanked by the member representing Idemili North at the State House of Assembly, Hon. Toochukwu  Mmegbanaeze commended the group for appreciating the good work of the governor, which made them to join APGA. He said that Nkpor Ward 1 members of PDP who joined APGA reduced the campaign stress in the area.   (The Sun)

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    BREAKING NEWS: PDP Crisis: Lagos CP Hands Party Secretariat Keys To Bode George

    Bode-George

    Chief Bode George

    From: Chinelo Obogo

    Lagos State Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, has handed over the keys to the offices of the state’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to Chief Olabode George.

    Details later…

     

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