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BREAKING: DSS releases Sowore

The Department of State Services has released rights activist and presidential candidate of the African Action Congress in the February 2019 general elections, Mr. Omoyele Sowore.

His co-detainee, Adebayo Bakare, was also freed.

They were freed hours after Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja had given the DSS 24-hour ultimatum to release the two men.

Their lead defence counsel, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), confirmed this development to our Correspondent on Thursday.

He said they were released about 7pm on Thursday.

“They were released about 30 minutes ago. They were released to one of our lawyers,” he said.

He also told our Correspondent that the agency had paid the sum of N100,000 awarded against it by Justice Ojukwu for making the court to adjourn till Friday for frivolous reasons on Thursday.

The two men, who are now being prosecuted by the Federal Government on charges of treasonable felony, were arrested in August over their call for ‘Revolution’ protest against what they described as “bad governance.”

But the had DSS continued to hold them in custody despite separate court orders ordering their release.

It came to a head on Thursday when the judge, who frowned at the conduct of the DSS, issued a fresh order directing the agency to release them within 24 hours.

Earlier in the day, a group of half-naked women from Sowore’s birthplace in Kiribo, Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, had stormed the Federal High Court, Abuja, to protest the continued illegal detention of their son by the DSS.

Most of the women, numbering about 30, were decked in white wrappers and bra, but with no clothes covering the rest of the upper parts of their bodies.

Police declare Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer, others wanted

The Anambra State Police Command has declared Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lawyer to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu wanted.

The Commissioner of Police, John Abang, made the declaration on Tuesday in Awka, the Anambra State capital.

Abang said the declaration of the lawyer and other IPOB members wanted, was in connection with the alleged murder of two police officers in Oraifite, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of the state on Monday.

He said, “I’ll like Nigerians to know that Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, a member of the proscribed IPOB, has been declared wanted.

“I’ll seek the cooperation of law-abiding Nigerians, East, West, North, and South that wherever they find this individual, they should report to the nearest police station for possible arrest and prosecution based on the rules and laws of Nigeria.”

The command’s Police Public Relations Officer, Haruna Mohammed, had in a statement said two police officers were killed by the suspected IPOB members while others were inflicted with machete cuts in the incident.

IPOB had on Tuesday accused the police of setting fire on the home of Ejiofor in Oraifite, Anambra State.

In a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, the group wondered why the Police would go further to raze the lawyer’s home even after killing two unarmed and innocent civilians.

It maintained that the carelessness of the police in handling the petrol they used to drench Ejiofor’s home and nearby businesses before setting them on fire led to the fire that gutted a police van.

The statement read in part, “The unprovoked Nigeria police and army invasion of the home of our lawyer, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, barely four days after the painful burial of his elder brother is proof that those running Nigeria have descended into the abyss of iniquity from which they may never recover.

“Not even during the darkest days of Abacha’s dictatorship did anyone witness such brazen intimidation of a legal counsel or the attempted assassination of a defence counsel in a high profile case.

“It is the golden rule of every legal system under the sun that defence counsel are not harassed, intimidated or killed but it seems nothing is sacrosanct in the present circumstance.

“We don’t expect the roundly docile and cowardly Nigeria Bar Association or their impotent and subdued National Judicial Council to rise up in condemnation of this contemptuous behaviour by Aso Rock in this latest attempt to kill Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor.

“This level of dictatorial impunity against the rule of law, judicial process and natural justice must not be condoned by any right-thinking person.

FG’s request for our transfer to prison, frivolous —Sowore, Bakare

Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-detainee, Adebayo Bakare, on Tuesday, described the Federal Government’s application for their transfer from the custody of the Department of State Service to prison as frivolous, vexatious and unarguable.

They said the fresh application filed by the government before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja was meant to frustrate the court’s order for their release from DSS custody.

They also described the application filed on behalf of the Federal Government by the prosecuting counsel, Hassan Liman (SAN), as contemptuous for being a contravention of the order directing the DSS to release them from custody.

This is contained in their notice of preliminary objection filed before the court to challenge the Federal Government’s fresh application.

Sowore and Bakare are being prosecuted before the court by the Federal Government on charges of treasonable felony instituted against them in the wake of their call for #RevolutionNow protests across the country to demand better governance.

The DSS continues to hold them in custody since August when they were arrested, despite separate court orders directing their release from custody.

The latest of the court orders was the one issued by Justice Ojukwu on meeting the bail conditions imposed on them after their arraignment.

They argued, through their legal team led by Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), that the application for their transfer from the DSS custody to prison, showed that there was no genuine interest to prosecute them.

Grounds of the application read, “The application was filed by the Complainant/Applicant to frustrate the execution of the order of release of the 1st and 2nd defendants/objectors from the custody of the State Security Service made by this Honourable Court on November 6, 2019.

“There is no genuine intention to prosecute the 1st and 2nd defendants by the complainant/applicant as the statement of witnesses this Honourable Court ordered to be availed the defence team is yet to be issued and served.

 

N2.5bn libel suit: Atiku files deposition against Buhari’s aide, Lauretta Onochie

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday, appeared at the registry of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Maitama, Abuja, to sign and file his deposition in support of the N2.5bn libel suit which he instituted against President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, earlier in June this year.

Pictures of the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate in the last presidential election with his lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), and others in the legal team were sent to journalists on Tuesday.

In one of the pictures, Atiku was seen seated while holding a pen above a white paper with Ozekhome bent over the table beside him.

In the caption accompanying the pictures, Ozekhome stated, “Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, today, at the Central Registry of the FCT, High Court, Maitama, Abuja, with his client, His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Waziri Adamawa.

“The former Vice President was physically at the Registry to sign his witness deposition (on oath) before the Commissioner for Oaths, on the case he instituted against Lauretta Onochie.

“The Waziri is claiming amongst others, the sum of N2.5 bn only, from the Presidential Assistant on Social Media, as general, aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages against her.

“Atiku is claiming this sum from her for her defamatory story published on her twitter handle and Facebook page, in which she stated that Atiku was on the UAE watch list, as a wanted man, asking, ‘shopping for terrorists?’”

Atiku had, on June 26, 2019, instituted the suit against Onochie for her alleged libelous tweet against him via her twitter handle on May 7, 2019.

The tweet allegedly suggested that Atiku was on the watch list of security operatives in the United Arab Emirates and had travelled to shop for terrorists in the Middle East.

Buhari commissions military made-in-Nigeria war vehicle in Kaduna
He prayed the court in the suit marked CV/2287/19, to order Onochie to pay him the N2.5bn as “general, aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages over the untold embarrassment, derision, public ridicule, odium, obloquy, marital disharmony, mental agony and psychological trauma which the defendant’s publications have caused the claimant.”

Denying the allegations in the said tweet, Atiku said it was “politically orchestrated” “solely to cause maximum damage” to his “high reputation” while challenging “the purported victory” of Onochie’s boss, President Buhari in the last presidential election at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

The presidential candidate of the PDP in the February 23, 2019 poll had, through a May 14, 2019 letter signed by Ozekhome, demanded from Onochie an apology, a retraction of the said post and a payment of N500m compensation to him “to assuage” the damage allegedly done to him by her social media post.

He also threatened to sue her should she fail to accede to the demand “within 48 hours”.

Justifying his suit, Atiku stated in his statement of claim accompanying his suit, that rather than show “remorse by retracting her earlier publication”, she further, on May 20, made “another derogatory publication and also published same online in the social and other print media” against his person.”

Hate Speech bill impressive – US Embassy

Political Officer of the Embassy of the United States of America, Jerry Howard, on Tuesday described the Hate Speech bill before the National Assembly as an “impressive” piece of legislation needed to address issues of discrimination, hostility and violence in Nigeria.

Howard stated this during a meeting with the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate and sponsor of the Hate Speech bill, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, at the National Assembly, Abuja.

According to the United States Embassy official, the visit was intended to engage the sponsor of the Hate Speech bill and to seek an understanding into the proposed legislation under consideration by the Senate.

Following explanations by Senator Sabi Abdullahi on the bill, Mr. Howard described the response of the media as “misleading” and “hysterical” of the contents of the bill and what it actually seeks to achieve.

He, therefore, advised the sponsor of the bill to engage and educate Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations in the country on its proposed contents so as to muster support for the bill.

Speaking on the decision of the US Embassy to engage the National Assembly on the Hate Speech bill, Howard said, “We want Nigeria to succeed and we think a prerequisite for Nigeria’s success is successful democracy.

“For democracy to succeed, the people must have a house, the people must have a place where their representatives can argue and complain, come up with new ideas and come up with solutions to guide the executive branch and lead the country forward.”

He commended the lawmaker for the level of work and research carried out on the bill.

“I’m very impressed with the research you’ve done on the bill. The media has had a field day with this, really.

“You’ve thought it through. I was depending on the media for my education, and it was very misleading. You’ve done your research and it is very interesting.

“But you have a difficult job selling this to the NGOs, CSOs. You need to talk to them. You’ll need to talk to Civil Society Organizations, you need to educate them. You’ve educated me,” Howard said after Senator Abdullahi explained the contents of the bill.

Earlier, speaking on why he decided to introduce the bill, the lawmaker said, “Part of the reasons why violence takes place is attributable to discriminatory practices.

“It is discrimination that creates the socio-political imbalance that you see leading to a group feeling shortchanged and marginalised.

“Discrimination is also another very serious matter why I sponsored the bill. This bill basically is about preventing discrimination, and prohibiting people who incite violence,” he explained.

Abdullahi further stated that the bill’s introduction by the National Assembly has the backing of Section 45 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

The Section states: “Nothing in Sections 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 of this Constitution shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society; in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom or other persons.”

On measures in place to ensure that the bill is not abused by politicians, Senator Sabi explained that “an Independent Commission shall be constituted and whose membership will be restricted to persons without any history of promoting ethnic or religious causes, or anyone with political affiliations.”

He added that the passage of the Bill by the National Assembly into law will address all forms of discrimination, hostility and violence which are on the rise in the country.

 

NASS grants full autonomy to LGs, INEC to conduct council polls

 

The National Assembly on Tuesday, granted full financial and administrative autonomy to all the 774 local council authorities across Nigeria by amending section 124 of the nation’s constitution.

The section provides a consequential provision for the making of the local councils, a full third tier government without undue interference from the state governments.

The ammendment was one of the 22 others approved by the House of Representatives last week and ratified by the Senate on Tuesday.

Both chambers had through a conference committee harmonised versions of the ammendments into the constitution carried out by each of them last month.

By the development, the National Assembly had ratified all the 23 clauses and sections that had been ammended by both chambers.

The newly ammended document which would be sent to States Houses of Assembly, for approval, also approved the creation of the Office of Auditor General of the Local Government as well as the State Local Government Service Commission.

The section equally deleted the State
Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) from the constitution thereby vesting the powers to conduct council elections on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

It however, retained the immunity clause in the constitution for the President and Governors by adopting the Senate version of the ammendments on the issue and rejected the House of Representatives version which removed the immunity clause.

The National Assembly also made provisions for Independent Candidacy in future elections in Nigeria by ammending sections 65 and 106 of the 1999 constitution.

NEWSSam Nda-Isaiah makes revelations about Buhari, Jonathan, Daura, TY Danjuma

The publisher of Leadership Newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah, has made some revelations about President Muhammadu Buhari, his nephew, Mamman Daura. among others.

In his latest article, Nda-Isaiah, stated that Daura anointed former minister of defense, TY Danjuma, to be President Goodluck Jonathan’s deputy, following uncertainties over the health of late President Umaru Yar’Adua.

He also said Daura only nominated one junior minister for Buhari in 2015 and that the minister was not re-appointed by the president in 2019.

The publisher also disclosed that Namadi Sambo had lobbied for his predecessor, Ahmed Makarfi, to be appointed vice president but Jonathan instead chose him, following recommendation of Danjuma.

Sam Nda-Isaiah further revealed that Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, was personally chosen by the president not Daura as widely speculated.
He said Danjuma interviewed and recommended former governors of Niger, Kaduna and Katsina, Babangida Aliyu, Namadi Sambo and Ibrahim Shema respectively.

The publisher recalled that Jonathan, however, dropped the Aliyu because the then Senate President David Mark was also from the North Central.

Sam Nda-Isaiah wrote: “When President Umaru Yar’Adua got terminally ill and it became apparent that the worst might happen, and fearing that the North was in disarray, and to avoid making the mistake of choosing a vice president without capacity when the inevitable finally happened, Abba Kyari and I decided to meet General TY Danjuma to convince him to chair a meeting of a select group of serious senior northerners to shortlist names of a possible vice president.

“M. Abba went to Kaduna to inform GMB, M. Mamman, Dr Tukur, M. Ahmed Joda and a few others. While in Kaduna, he informed M. Mamman first about the proposed meeting. Almost without thinking, M. Mamman said there was no need for such a meeting. The best thing that could happen to the North was for Gen. Danjuma himself to agree to be vice president. Dr. Tukur also said exactly the same thing. Except that he added that the only problem was that TY would say “rainin ya yi yawa!” — roughly translated, it means that TY would say the insult was too much to ask him to be vice president to Jonathan.

“GMB was to visit M. Mamman in the evening of that day, so M. Abba decided to wait for him to give him the message. When he came in, without knowing what M. Mamman and Dr. Tukur had said, he simply said that the only person he trusted to be vice president at that time was TY himself. M. Abba laughed and called me. He said something funny was happening and that he would give me details when he arrived in Abuja. M. Ahmed Joda also said the same thing.

“M. Ahmed Joda, another great mind who had operated at the highest levels with perpendicularity virtually all his life – in the civil service, in journalism and in the private sector — took it upon himself to make arrangements for the meeting in his house. But this time with TY as the proposed vice president. I didn’t hear anyone raise the issue that what we were discussing was in fact a Christian-Christian presidency. I was intrigued by what I was seeing and hopeful that there was nothing wrong with Nigeria that could not be solved with what was right with Nigeria.

“I was in fact the only one in that meeting that drew the attention of the house to the fact that what we were discussing was a Christian-Christian presidency which could pose a problem in a complex polity like Nigeria. I was told clearly that it didn’t matter and that “we all know TY very well”. At this point I knew that these people whom some people had fondly called “Kaduna mafia” had in fact earned their stripes. They represent what is good and what is right with Nigeria.

“The story eventually leaked in ThisDay. TY himself showed me the story and quickly said he was sick himself. I laughed and told him people who were discussing this didn’t think he was that sick. That discussion continued until our greatest fear crystallized, at which time the now President Jonathan himself invited TY to help him choose a vice president from among the serving governors.

“After interviewing a few of the governors, he gave Jonathan three names: Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Namadi Sambo of Kaduna State and Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State in that order. Babangida Aliyu was disqualified on grounds of zoning, as Senate president David Mark and himself were from the north-central zone.

That was how Namadi Sambo, who was at that time mobilizing support for his predecessor Ahmed Makarfi to get the job, received a call from TY to see him. The rest, as they say, is now history.

“Now some home truths. Let me knock out the bottom out of some “received” opinions or rumours. First, M. Mamman does not control the president. That is not his style. Even if that were his style, it would be silly for anyone to assume that the president could be controlled. And, in fact, anyone who thinks PMB could be controlled does not know the first thing about him. One of the adjectives freely used to describe PMB for decades is “stubborn”. If M. Mamman had that kind of hold on the president, Sambo Dasuki would not be in detention today. Sambo Dasuki is M. Mamman’s brother-in-law and they are close.

“Another thing: M. Mamman did not appoint or recommend Abba Kyari to the president for chief of staff in 2015. The president called M. Abba and told him, and he in turn informed M. Mamman just about the same time the appointment was announced. I know this because I should know. In the entire first-term cabinet of PMB, M. Mamman had a hand in the appointment of only one junior minister, who is in fact no longer a minister in the current cabinet.

“Yes, the president and M. Mamman are close — in fact very, very close — and they have been so since they were children growing up together. They are a family but most importantly they are friends and confidants. The president is three years younger than him — he, the president, is the uncle; the older one is the nephew. And because of that, the president enjoys bullying him as his uncle, probably to leave no one in doubt as to who is the uncle. They have a complicated relationship and they are inseparable. Somehow, the president has come to depend on M. Mamman’s vast brain power over time.”

Dino: Adeyemi remains my political wife — Smart: Melaye is my political houseboy

Dino Melaye and Smart Adeyemi have launched into a war of words after the Kogi west senatorial election rerun.

Adeyemi defeated Melaye on Saturday after a court-ordered rerun, unseating Melaye who had previously been declared winner in the general election.

Melaye, via his twitter handle, remarked: “The reaction of men and women of goodwill all over Nigeria especially the wonderful people of Kogi west who truly voted for me is a testimony that God is with me and with us all. I won the election and Adeyemi remain my political wife,” he said.

Senator Dino Melaye. (SDM)@dino_melaye

The reaction of men and women of goodwill all over Nigeria especially the wonderful people of Kogi west who truly voted for me is a testimony that God is with me and with us all. I won the election and Adeyemi remain my political wife. Thank you Nigerians. Victory is certain- SDM

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Adeyemi, in an interview with journalists, described Melaye as his “political houseboy”.

“When a servant steals the garment of his master, the garment will be too big for the servant… the joy of having his master’s garment will cause the servant to misbehave to people he ordinarily could have respected. The over-sized garment made Melaye to misbehave while in the senate,” he added.

Melaye, meanwhile, also said he has survived five assassination attempts.

“I want to specially thank God almighty that he preserved my life after five attempted assassination, combined forces of security agencies, INEC, federal, state and LG powers,” he said.

“I was fought on land, in the air and spiritually. It was not about election but my life. God I thank you. The forces against me are not beyound God. People should not worry about me, i am fine and will always be. I just thank God that the plan to kill me did not succeed. A living Dog is better than a dead Lion. I thank God for life. My name is Daniel i can not fall or fail.”

Melaye, who was of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015, had defeated Adeyemi, then of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Both men swapped parties in 2019, with Adeyemi losing but getting the result annulled by the tribunal which ordered a rerun.

The rerun was conducted on November 16 but declared inconclusive and INEC conducted a supplementary election.

Adeyemi got 88,373 votes to defeat Melaye who polled 62,133.

Melaye, however, has vowed to contest Adeyemi’s victory at the tribunal.

“I will challenge the temporal and evaporative victory of Adeyemi at the Tribunal. Victory attained by violence and fraud is tantamount to defeat, for it is momentary. It is not about Dino Melaye, it is about Nigeria and our electoral system. I stay the course. Not over yet,” he tweeted.

Aisha Buhari indicted the entire political elite — Governors

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) says Aisha Buhari, First Lady, did not only indict governors when she lamented that things were getting out of hand in the country.

The First Lady said at a meeting in Abuja on Friday that citizens do not have access to portable water in some states, yet they have governors there.

The forum said the entire political elite are indicted by the statement.

In a statement signed by Abdulrazaque Barkindo, spokesman of the NGF, the forum also said governors are working to lift millions of citizens out of poverty.

“Governors are doing their best to lift Nigerians out of misery and Nigerians are beginning to witness an improvement in their standards of living because of the conscious efforts of state governors throughout the country,” the statement read.

“Public schools in Kaduna state have receive a serious boost, aged women in Ekiti state are receiving stipends from government to keep their bodies and souls together, food security has taken the front burner in Ebonyi, Lagos and Kebbi states, unqualified Permanent Secretaries have been uprooted in Adamawa State and youth empowerment has taken centre stage in Ogun.

“That the nation’s religious leaders have to be told by none other than the first lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari, that things are getting out of hand, is an indictment not just of governors, as the reporters would like the general public to believe, but of the nation’s entire political elite.”

“Unfortunately, the haste to paint state governors with one brush or the race to hit the front pages in this case, destroyed the message that the first lady seeks to convey. Mrs Buhari was sermonising on anyone in a position of power or authority to fear Allah in whatever they do because, according to her, as it is said in the scriptures, everybody would eventually account for his deeds before the Almighty God.

“To insinuate, therefore, that the first lady was referring to governors when she said, ‘People cannot afford potable water in this country while we have governors,’ erroneously suggests that only state governors would meet God on the day of judgment.

“It was in the same breath that she said, “We should either fasten our seat belt (meaning tighten our belts) or do the needful or we will all regret it very soon because, at the rate things are going, things are getting completely out of hand. The VP (Yemi Osinbajo) is here, some ministers are here, they are supposed to do justice to the situation.”

Matawalle: Yari paid himself over N300m as severance just before leaving office

Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has said that he will use savings from the state’s repealed pensions law for youth empowerment and development of infrastructure in the state.

Matawalle gave the assurance on Wednesday while assenting to the repealed law in which former governors, deputy governors, speakers of the state House of Assembly were supposed to collect about a billion Naira annually as upkeep allowance from the state government.

He noted that “the repealed law which was hurriedly passed by the immediate past administration of the state did not take into account the social and economic realities of the state”.

According to him, former Governor Abdulaziz Yari paid himself over N300 million as severance just before he left office.

He promised that his administration would only pay allowances as provided by the Revenue and Fiscal Mobilization Commission.

“I was shocked when I received a letter from former Governor Yari for the payment of the money that the failure of which I learned, the former governor threatened my administration with a court case.

“I called a meeting with my deputy as well as the speaker of the House of Assembly and we all agreed that we do not have any interest in such retirement allowance,” the governor said.

“Although the immediate past administration in the state left behind pensions liabilities of local government workers, primary school teachers and state civil servants amounting to about N10 billion.

“Apart from other liabilities such as promotion benefits, workers annual increment and the rest which have put the state in a terrible financial quagmire.

“The immediate past governor Yari is requesting the state government to pay him a whooping amount of N120 million annually, made up of a monthly upkeep allowance of N10 million.

“The ex-governor who recently wrote to the state government in this regard, was also under the repealed law supposed to be collecting the exact amount he was collecting as his monthly salary while as governor which should continue for him for life as his pension.

“In addition to these, he is supposed to get two vehicles to be bought by the State Government and replaceable after every four years; Free medical treatment for former Governor and his immediate families and vacation within Nigeria and outside.

“Thirty days vacation within Nigeria or outside Nigeria and a 5-bedroom house in any location of the choice of the former Governor within the country,” he said.

The governor further noted that the law also extended similar largesse to former Deputy Governors, former Speakers of the State Assembly, and former Deputy Speakers.

“If allowed thus, it will overstretch the lean resources of the state at a time when the same people who were supposed to pay the meagre amount as pensions to retired civil servants refused to do so and handed them over as liabilities to the present administration,” Mutawalle observed.

He said his administration was trying to put the state on a sound footing through the stoppage of armed banditry and other security challenges by attracting direct local and foreign investors to the state to gainfully engage its teeming unemployed youths towards rebuilding the state to the envy of others.

The governor, who tasked the past leaders to be selfless while charting a new course for the state, stressed that his administration will continue to focus more on matters of state development and the wellbeing of its citizens

Matawalle assents law banning payment of jumbo allowances to Zamfara ex-governors, deputies, others

Zamfara State Governor, Bello Muhammad Matawalle, on Wednesday signed into law a bill banning the payment of jumbo allowances to former governors, their Deputies, ex-Speakers and other past political office holders in the state.

Daily Trust reports that the Zamfara State House of Assembly had yesterday outrightly repealed the law that allows jumbo payment of pension and other allowances to former governors, their deputies, Speakers and their deputies in the state.

The abolishment of the law came barely 72 hours after a letter written by a former governor, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar, to Zamfara State Government demanding for the payment of his upkeep allowances running into millions of Naira leaked into the public.

The letter generated heated debates within and outside the state.

According to the letter, the monthly upkeep allowances for an ex-governor in the state is N10million and backed by law which was amended and assented to on the 23rd of March, 2019.

Jonathan dares Lamido to prove he was involved in Malabu deal

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has challenged Sule Lamido, ex-governor of Jigawa state, to prove that he was involved in the Malabu oil deal.

In an interview with The Sun, Lamido had said Jonathan traded off the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last governorship election in Bayelsa state because he was trying to avoid being prosecuted by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari over the Malabu deal.

The deal involves the award of oil prospecting licence (OPL) 245 to Malabu Oil and Gas.

OPL 245 is an oilfield in the Niger Delta. It has about nine billion barrels of crude oil, estimated to worth half a trillion dollars. The sale of the block, which is considered as one of the most lucrative on the continent, has been replete with allegations and lawsuits.

Lamido had said the federal government used the Malabu case to blackmail Jonathan into supporting the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa.

“They are holding him by the balls because he (Jonathan) sure knows his problem with Buhari and with this government. And the issue of Malabu, I think, played a key role, I said so. So, the election were won and lost by PDP. PDP history, PDP tradition and Jonathan were behind him. That I can say anywhere because the issue of Malabu is an issue I know very well. I had cause to discuss it with him,” Lamido had said.

But reacting in a statement Ikechukwu Eze, his spokesman, issued on his behalf, Jonathan accused the former governor of Jigawa of peddling falsehood.

“Our attention has been drawn to a Sunday Sun publication of October 25, 2019 in which Alhaji Sule Lamido claimed that former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan traded off the Bayelsa elections in order to escape being investigated over the controversial Malabu oil deal,” the statement read.

“We chose to make this clarification just to set the record straight, especially as a number of the former President’s close associates have been asking questions about the blatant statement credited to Mr. Lamido.”

Jonathan asked Lamido where he was when he supported the PDP in the 2015 governorship election in Bayelsa.

He accused the two-term governor of PDP of spreading “cheap lies to confuse the public”.

The statement below:

Our attention has been drawn to a Sunday Sun publication of October 25, 2019 in which Alhaji Sule Lamido claimed that former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan traded off the Bayelsa elections in order to escape being investigated over the controversial Malabu oil deal.

In an interview granted the newspaper, Lamido was quoted to have said: “The leadership of the APC and the government are blackmailing Jonathan and I think I can say it anywhere that he traded this for his own freedom.”
Ordinarily we shouldn’t be responding to an interview of this nature because it is obvious that given his amiable nature, former President Jonathan does not consider the idea of joining issues with individuals on the pages of newspapers a decent conduct. We are also well aware of the former President’s belief that truth always has a way of catching up with statements rooted in lies and propaganda, such as this one. Furthermore, we considered that when former President Jonathan was in office Mr. Lamido was one of the governors that worked closely with him.

However, we chose to make this clarification just to set the record straight, especially as a number of the former President’s close associates have been asking questions about the blatant statement credited to Mr. Lamido.

We really do not know why Mr. Lamido, chose to speak like he did, especially with such hostility, contempt and lies against former President Jonathan. However, one thing is clear: In his anger and apparent bile-filled disposition, Mr. Lamido, an otherwise astute and erudite politician, obviously dropped the ball by electing not to speak responsibly like a statesman. He actually came off the interview sounding like a sulking skunk, to whom logic or reason meant nothing. It didn’t matter to him that, as a well respected member of the society, he shouldn’t make such weighty claims against a former President if he was only guessing, like he admitted. Hear him: “And the issue of Malabo, I think, played a key role.” So hugely pathetic!
Apparently seized by some inexplicable resentment, Lamido held on to the lie currently being pushed by few mischief-makers to the effect that former President Jonathan helped the All Progressive Congress (APC) to win the last gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State. Unfortunately, the former Governor jumped into this convenient bandwagon of grovellers without first thinking of the burden of substantiating his claim. What to do? Orchestrate a raft of incongruent drivel of cheap lies to confuse the readers. In one breathe, Lamido alleged that Jonathan worked against his party “because he was very, very angry with (Governor) Dickson,” in another he claimed that it was “because he (Jonathan) sure knows his problem with Buhari and his government. And the issue of Malabu, I think, played a key role.”
This absurd claim definitely would have gained more traction in the public space if it really made any sense. But it didn’t. What, if we may ask Mr. Lamido, is the correlation between Jonathan supporting APC because he was angry with Governor Dickson and Jonathan supporting APC to avoid prosecution over Malabu?
Where was Lamido and his ‘Malabu problem’ when Jonathan campaigned vigorously and helped PDP to win Bayelsa governorship election in 2015, under the same President Buhari?

It is important to establish at this point that Mr. Lamido probably knows very little about the Malabu case, for which he was not supposed to have commented blindly. In the first place, the Malabu oil block was not given out by Jonathan. It was a deal that was sealed during the time of late head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha. We feel that Mr. Lamido is in a position to know that the business of oil exploration has an international dimension, as such, it is clear that it is not only the Nigerian Government that is looking into the Malabu case. If that is the case, he should also have known that there are atleast three other countries outside Africa that are investigating the matter. Assuming without conceding that the former President Jonathan is culpable as Lamido alleged, would a trade off deal with the Nigerian Government also free him from blame in other countries like Italy, United Kingdom and the United States?

His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan is convinced that Mr. Lamido’s awkward intervention in this matter was deliberately designed as a form of blackmail. Having tried many other ways to discredit the former President to no avail, Mr. Lamido is now scheming to project Malabo as Jonathan’s Achilles heel. Here again he has failed because the true story of Malabo is already very well known to Nigerians.

Mr Lamido, we believe, is too smart not to realise that when the pot conveniently calls the kettle black, it is a grand design to confuse, deceive and cover up the truth. Lamido served as Governor of Jigawa State for two terms under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after which the ruling APC took over his state. Is he then telling Nigerians that he cut a deal with APC, helped the ruling party to procure victory at the polls and take over his state?

The fact is that it is not only in Bayelsa State that the country had experienced such a situation where PDP or even APC had lost elections to another party. Holding Jonathan responsible for PDP’s loss in Bayelsa without first investigating the issues that determined the fate suffered by the party in the state is not only disingenuous but also detrimental to the image and aspirations of the party.

It is true that Jonathan who is a former deputy Governor and Governor of Bayelsa States as well as former Vice President and President of this country is well loved and respected by his people. However, it will be tantamount to playing God for anybody to expect that the former President should command a vice-like grip on every Bayelsan in all the local government councils in his state.

Rather than cast aspersions and throw shades because of pre-existing animosities and prejudices against the former president, what is expected of party leaders like Mr. Lamido is to seek to interrogate whatever went wrong in Bayelsa, to avert a repeat in another state.

We believe that further interrogation of Lamido’s other weird claims is not necessary in this space, lest it gives the unfortunate interview more attention than it deserves. However, we feel that it is important to reiterate, as we have always done, that former President Jonathan did nothing wrong as far as the Malabu deal is concerned. He therefore doesn’t need to cut a deal with anybody within or outside Nigeria.
For the umpteenth time, we restate the following facts to proclaim Dr. Jonathan’s innocence:

Former President Goodluck Jonathan did not ask for or collect any bribes over the Malabu deal, neither has he been charged for asking or collecting bribes, neither will he ever be charged with asking for or collecting bribes, because such never happened.

The fact remains that as recent national events continue to vindicate former President Jonathan, and as the world continues to celebrate him, those who are insecure will feed such propaganda to their media agents to serve their narrow interests.

We have always made it clear that beyond this wave of conjecture, former President Jonathan was not linked, indicted or charged for collecting any monies as kickbacks or bribes by any law enforcement body the world over.
It bears repeating that the documents relating to the transactions and decisions of the Federal Government on the Malabo issue, during the Jonathan administration, are in the relevant Government offices, where they are accessible.

We would like to point out that all the actions taken by the Jonathan administration in relation to activities in the oil industry were legally conducted by relevant Nigerian Government officials and were carried out in the best interest of the country

We call on anyone, including Mr. Sule Lamido, who has any shred of evidence linking former President Jonathan to any wrongdoing in the case of the Malabu incident to waste no time in publishing such evidence or forever remain silent.

While we wait for such an impossible task to be undertaken by Mr. Lamido and his co-travellers, we would also want to draw their attention to the following fact:
Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as an elder statesman, is a father figure to all Nigerians. His door is open to all who wish to pay him courtesy visits or seek his counsel. That should not mean that he automatically subscribes to whatever political agenda his visitors subscribe to.

While he was president, former President Jonathan had the largeness of heart to receive then members of the All Progressive Congress at Aso Rock Presidential villa, including Muhammadu Buhari, who he conferred an award on in 2014. Ahead of the last governorship election, most of the gubernatorial aspirants and candidates from different political parties in Bayelsa state visited Jonathan as a father of the state and that is a role the former President will continue to play.

We wish to state categorically, that Dr. Jonathan remains a faithful member of the PDP and had no reason to have worked against his political party in the last election. That the PDP lost in the gubernatorial election to APC is unfortunate, but attributing the defeat to the former President is to be gratuitously obsessed with blackmail and red herring.

Finally, Dr. Jonathan would want to counsel Mr. Lamido and others in his shoes to look at their national passports. They would see that their citizenship is Nigeria. We are first Nigerians before we are members of any political party or social organisation. If Mr. Lamido does not know that, then it is a pity. A big pity indeed.

Ebonyi APC member seeks amendment of constitution to allow Buhari contest third term

Charles Enya, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi state, has filed a suit, seeking the amendment of the constitution to allow President Muhammadu Buhari get another term in office.

According to Daily Trust, Enya, who served as organising secretary to Buhari during the 2019 general election, filed the suit (FHC/AI/CS/90/19) before a federal high court in Abakiliki, the state capital.

Enya described the two-term tenure limit for presidents and governors as “discriminatory”.

He asked Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, as well as the national assembly, to remove constitutional clauses hindering elected presidents and governors from seeking a third term in office.

The defendants in the suit include Mohammed Sani-Omolori, clerk of the national assembly; the national assembly; and Malami.

Section 137 (1)(b) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, provides that “a person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections”. While section 182 (1)(b) states that “no person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections”.

The APC member is seeking possible expungement of both sections. According to him, “that section 137(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (as amended) restricting the president to only two terms of four years each, is inoperative by virtue of its discriminatory nature in relation to the executive and legislative branches of government in Nigeria, and therefore null and void and thus inapplicable”.

He is seeking an “order of the court nullifying and setting aside section 137(1)(b) and 182(1) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). And directing the first and second defendants to delete and expunge sections 137(1)(b) and 182(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended).”

Meanwhile, Buhari has dismissed reports that he is interested in a third term.

“I’m not going to make the mistake of attempting a third term. Besides the age, I swore by the holy book that I would go by the constitution and the constitution said two terms,” the president had said at the national executive council meeting of his party earlier in the week.

APC crisis deepens as aggrieved NEC members insist Oshiomhole must resign

The crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC) has taken a new turn as some aggrieved members of the party’s national executive council (NEC) are insisting on the resignation of Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman.

Before Friday’s NEC meeting, some party members had accused the national chairman of deliberately delaying the meeting, asking him to convene it or step down.

However, at the end of the meeting, the call for his resignation is still ongoing.

At a press briefing after the NEC meeting, Lawal Liman, chairman of Zamfara chapter of the party, who led the aggrieved NEC members, said Oshiomhole’s resignation would provide an enabling environment for genuine healing, reconciliation and the practice of true democracy within the party across the country.

Liman, who is also the spokesman for APC State Chairmen’s Forum, alleged that Oshiomhole had usurped the powers of the party’s NEC due to his “dictatorial and despotic tendencies”.

“Most of the goodwill acquired by the party, by reasons of its religious adherence to the provisions of its constitution and the tenets of internal democratic practice, has taken a downturn principally due to the dictatorial and despotic tendencies of Adams Oshiomhole, who has usurped the powers of NEC,” he said.

“This may have been responsible for the admonition of Mr President, who insisted that the party organs at the state, local government and ward levels must be strengthened and accorded due respect, with regard to the powers and responsibilities conferred on them by the party’s constitution.”

Liman said the “facade conducted by Oshiomhole in the just-concluded NEC meeting left much to be desired”.

“He (Oshiomhole) completely ignored Mr President’s advice and defied all known rules for meetings by precluding contributions from members and ending the meeting abruptly, without achieving anything. This is most unfortunate and undesirable,” he said.

“Arising from the foregoing and having regards to the huge responsibilities bestowed on us as officers of the party and in the overriding interest of our members, we are left with no option than to demand that Oshiomhole resigns his position as national chairman.

“This will stem the slide and provide an enabling environment for genuine healing, reconciliation and the practice of true democracy within the party across the country.”

Appeal Court reaffirms Tambuwal’s election

The Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, on Friday, reaffirmed the election of the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, as duly elected in the governorship election held in the state.

In the appeal overseen by four judges, the lead Judge, Justice Husseini Mukhtar, said the appellate court upheld the judgement of the tribunal which had earlier dismissed the petition filed against the governor by the All Progressives Congress and its governorship candidate, Hon Ahmed Aliyu.

The court noted that both appeal and cross-appeal are lacking in merit and thereby dismissed them at no cost. The court also took time in resolving all issues brought before it in favour of the respondents.

Three other judges on the panel, however, agreed with the lead verdict delivered by Justice Husseini Mukhtar.

Aliyu and the APC had on 16th October 2019, filed the appeal before the Court, challenging the judgement of the tribunal that dismissed Aliyu’s petition.

The petition had challenged the declaration of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Governor Tambuwal, as the winner of the general and supplementary polls conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, on 9th and 23rd of March, 2019, respectively.

Bloodbath averted as anti, pro-Oshiomhole protesters clash in Abuja

Security agencies prevented what could have been a bloodbath on Friday as protesters demanding the sacking of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, and those for him engaged in a free-for-all.

First to assemble at Blantyre street of the APC National Secretariat were the anti-Oshiomhole protesters.

They had earlier protested on Thursday. They disrupted vehicular and human movement.

The situation took a new twist when the pro-Oshiomhole group arrived at the scene leading to a clash.

They freely used dangerous objects, big sticks, and stones against each other making passers-by to scamper for safety while houses and offices hurriedly shot their entrances.

To arrest the situation, policemen stationed on guard at the secretariat fired canisters of teargas to disperse the groups.

An eye witness said, “They came with all manners of weapons, big stones, and cutlasses, warning everybody along their way to disappear or be killed.

“We had to run for cover especially when the teargas from the security agents became unbearable.”

However, normalcy has returned to the area as security agencies have restored order.

Buhari: I won’t make the mistake of seeking a third term

President Muhammadu Buhari has dismissed the reports that he is seeking a third term.

Buhari said this on Friday at a meeting of the national executive committee (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja.

“I’m not going to make the mistake of attempting a third term,” the president said.

“Beside the age, I swore by the holy book that I would go by the constitution and the constitution said two terms. I know that I’m in my last term and I can afford to be reckless because I’m not going to ask for anybody’s vote.”

The president said history would not be fair to members of the ruling party if the APC collapses after his second term.

“Every member of NEC from today should reposition himself or herself to make sure that you have dominated your constituencies politically. The aim is that history will not be fair to us if outrightly if the APC collapses at the end of this term,” he said.

“History will be fair to us if APC remains strong and not only hold the centre but make gains.”

Ize-Iyamu, Edo ex-Speaker, others dump PDP for AP

Former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu on Thursday led former Edo State House of Assembly Speaker Bright Omokhodion, former Deputy Speaker Festus Ebea and former state chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, Tony Omoaghe to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC)

Others were Mrs. Tawa Idubor, Chief Blessing Agbomhere, Etinosa Ogbeiwi, Emmanuel Momoh and several others.

They announced their mass resignation from the PDP through a voice vote after a motion was moved and seconded by Ebea (Edo Central), Emmanuel Momoh (Edo North) and Idubor (Edo South).

Giving reasons for leaving the PDP, Omokhodion said they had an intense and exhaustive deliberation on the political wrangling and demise of internal democracy in the Edo state chapter of PDP as well as consulted widely across the three senatorial districts of the state.

Omokhodion noted that the present leadership of the Edo PDP had lost its political direction, adding that all attempts to suggest ways of redirecting the fortunes of the party were resisted by the leadership of the party.

Omokhodion said the action of suspending top leaders of the party on spurious allegations were undemocratic and has reduced the morale of members to its lowest.

“That as a result of leadership failure, Edo State PDP no longer command the electoral sentiment of the Edo people.

“We, therefore in our numbers collectively resolve that Edo state PDP has failed in its objective mission to the people and we have this day resigned our membership of the PDP and have resolved to join the All Progressives Congress.”

Addressing party supporters, Pastor Ize-Iyamu said the resignation was not to give room for speculation or give impression that they were retiring from politics.

Pastor Ize-Iyamu cautioned them using against ‘throwing stones at the house we once inhabited, a house we have many friends and many associates.

He said, “PDP and any other political party for that matter were not our enemies. Please refrain from any attack that suggests that we are leaving PDP in anger or in bitterness. What is important is our primary objective in politics, why we chose to be in politics.

“Many people have different reasons for being in politics but for most of us in this group we see politics as an opportunity to represent our people, we see it as an opportunity to assess government and bring the dividends, the benefits of government to our people and we cannot be fulfilled if we play politics without being above to achieve these goals.

“People might call us names, but many understand why we have to do what we did. We have done what we have done because we believe that we just assist to bring development to our people. We must assist to bring solutions. It is not enough to just criticise and criticise. We want to be in the forefront of providing solutions.

“We want to assure our brothers there that we are not coming to a strange place. APC is home to many of us just like PDP was home. We are going into the APC with good intentions. We are not going there to join factions.

“We are going to join APC. We are going there to help strengthen the party and we intend to give our full allegiance to those in charge, those in authority. We will not undermine the powers that be. We will not join in any fight or name calling but we have come with the best of intentions.”

INEC fixes Nov 30 for Kogi west supplementary poll

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed November 30 for the supplementary election in Kogi west senatorial district.

Olayinde Lawal, returning officer of Saturday’s rerun election, had declared the exercise inconclusive because the number of cancelled votes (43,127) was higher than the margin between Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

While Adeyemi polled 80,118 votes, Melaye trailed with 59,548 votes, leaving a margin of 20,570 votes.

In a statement on Thursday, Festus Okoye, chairman of INEC’s information and voter education committee, announced the date of the supplementary election.

“The independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) met today Thursday 21, November 2019 and fixed 30th November 2019 for the conduct of the Supplementary and re-run elections for Kogi West Senatorial District and Ajaokuta Federal Constituency respectively,” he said.

“At the conclusion of the court-ordered Kogi West Senatorial re-run election on 16th November 2019, supplementary polls were indicated by the Collation/Returning Officer for the Senatorial District, affecting 20 Registration Areas. 53 Polling Units and 46,767 Registered Voters spread across 7 Local Government Areas of the Senatorial District.

“In addition. the court ordered the conduct of Supplementary re~run poll in Ajaokuta Federal Constituency affecting 22 Polling Units. Collation procedures shall be in line with extant Guidelines for Collation at the Supplementary polls.

“The list of affected Registration Areas and Polling Units will be uploaded on our website and communicated to the stakeholders in the respective Registration Areas and Polling Units.”

Pastor slumps, dies shortly after defecting to APC in Edo

A cleric identified as Pastor Aimola John has slumped and died shortly after joining Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to defect to the ruling All Progressives Congress.

Aimola was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital he was rushed to.

He had left the APC in 2015 alongside Pastor Ize-Iyamu and was among former PDP members that were returning home to the APC at the residence of Ize-Iyamu where he slumped.

He was said to have been a former chairmanship candidate for Owan East Local Governemnt Area.

Tributes have been poured in for him on the social media where he was hailed as a true loyal party man

A former Secretary of Owan East, Godwin Imoudu, who confirmed his death said late Aimola was in Benin to defect to the APC