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Mimiko dumps PDP

A former governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, has sent his letter of resignation to the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state as he has concluded arrangement to go back to his former party,  the Labour Party.

It was gathered that the former governor, who joined the PDP in 2014 and later became the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, dumped the party following a disagreement between him and some national leaders of the party shortly after he left office as the governor in 2017.

In a letter addressed to the state leadership of the PDP on Wednesday, Mimiko said his decision to leave the party was personal to him.

The letter read in part, ” I hereby with utmost humility inform you of my decision to resign my membership of the PDP with effect from today, June 13, 2018, for some well-thought-out personal reasons.

” It was an honour working with the many prominent Nigerians with whom I shared the PDP platform for the entire period I was in there as a member.

“Accept please the assurance of my very high regards.”

It was learnt that Mimiko would be joining the Labour Party he left in 2014, today in his hometown, Ondo, but without many of his aides who have remained in the PDP.

However, the State Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Clement Faboyede said Mimiko’s exit from the party would not have any negative impact on the party, saying the party was waxing stronger on a daily basis.

“Mimiko is a human being,  he has the right to his opinion, we have tried at all levels to discourage him but he insisted on leaving. One thing I know is that PDP will not die as he (Mimiko) leaves.  We have survived many turbulent times in the past, so if he goes it cannot affect us negatively,” Faboyede declared.

Buhari using Abiola’s name for politican gains – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says President Muhammadu Buhari is using the name of late Moshood Abiola, presumed winner of 1993 presidential election, to gain “political capital”.

On Wednesday, Buhari conferred on Abiola posthumously, the award of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) — 20 years after his death.

The president also declared June 12, the day on which the election held in 1993, as the new Democracy Day.

But reacting in a statement, Kola Ologbondiyan, spokesman of the PDP, said Buhari’s action showed “smacks of hypocrisy and political desperation ahead of 2019 presidential election”.

“President Buhari’s action merely sought to use the name and person of Chief Abiola to gain a political capital and not out of genuine reverence and recognition for him. The party recalls that President Buhari, who was serving in the military administration of General Sani Abacha during the travails of Chief MKO Abiola, did not associate either by words or actions with the late winner of June 12 election,” the statement read.

“History did not record President Buhari as sympathetic to the Abiola’s family when his wife, Kudirat, was gruesomely murdered by the agents of a government which president Buhari served.

“It is therefore a sign of political desperation for President Buhari to seek to use Chief Abiola’s name as a tool to sway Nigerians in less than twelve months to an election where he is seeking a second term.”

In a veiled reference to Babagana Kingibe, Abiola’s running mate in the election who later abandoned his principal, PDP said: “It is also shocking that the respectable grave of Abiola can be dishonoured by granting a posthumous award on him along with someone who denounced the June 12 mandate and preferred the company of his (Abiola’s) traducers. Even those who now masquerade as change agents were opposed to the naming of University of Lagos after Chief Abiola.

“If President Buhari genuinely wants to honour chief Abiola, he should do so by ending all anti-democratic proclivities of his administration and allow for the rule of law and respect for our constitution.”

The opposition party said Buhari should shelve his desperate actions in his quest to win the 2019 presidential election as Nigerians would no longer be deceived by “such antics”.

APC Reps member formally defects to PD

A member of the House of Representatives who represents Kachia/Kagarko federal constituency, Adams Jagaba, has formally defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The Kaduna lawmaker in a letter read on the floor of the House by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, cited injustice and continued suspension from the APC as his reason for defecting to the PDP.

Mr. Jagaba had dumped the APC after the party announced his suspension. He also described the APC as a sinking ship.

Mr. Jagaba is the first defector in recent times that has favoured the PDP in the House of Representatives. All others have mostly defected to the APC.

More details later…

Rowdy Senate session as Dino Melaye ‘decamps’

The embattled Kogi West senator, Dino Melaye, attended the Senate plenary on Wednesday after some weeks absence.

Mr Melaye has been bed-ridden since he landed in the hospital after a failed attempt to evade being taken to Kogi State by the Nigerian police.

The lawmaker, raising a point of order on Wednesday, thanked his colleagues, members of the House of Representatives, his constituents and the Nigerian populace for standing by him during his travails with the police.

He also took his time to thank the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for their support.

“Specially, I appreciate the Peoples Democratic Party for making statement during my recall exercise and asking everyone to stay aback. Politics has been shown not to be individualistic but to be about issues and purpose. To the National Chairman and executives of PDP in Kogi State, I salute you.”

Mr Melaye, who attended the chamber with a neck support, also asked the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to mandate the sergeant-at-arms to create a seat for him at the opposition wing of the chamber.

Thereafter, he announced he would sit beside former Senate President, David Mark, pending the time a seat will be allocated to him.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, granted his immediate prayer of sitting beside Mr Mark for the day while noting that his request for a permanent seat at the opposition wing will be looked into. But the decision didn’t go down well with APC senators.

First to oppose was the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, who said Mr Melaye’s movement without proper allocation negates Order 56 (3) of the Senate.

“Senator Dino Melaye remains one of our senators of the APC stock. I sat there for eight years and I know how the seats there are. I have sat here for the last three years and I know the difference. We have the best seat to give him at this side. If there is any difficulty with his seat, we’ll find any other one for him.

He requested the chief whip to bring Mr Melaye back to the APC wing of the chamber.

Next was the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who argued that Mr Melaye’s action was borne out of his welfare and right to exercise freedom. He urged APC senators to respect the action.

Godswill Akpabio, the Senate Minority Leader, said the movement is not about party allegiance. He said the PDP is willing to accept any APC senator who wishes to cross.

“Where we are now is the Nigerian Senate. Whether to the left or the right. At any point in time that any senator on the left feels that his or her seat is not comfortable. He is welcomed here. I want to welcome Senator Dino here. We are the ones that should have complained, but we are not complaining. We must be our brothers’ keepers,” he said.

Amidst rowdiness still, Barau Jibrin (Kano-APC) said the National Assembly is empowered to regulate its proceedings according to section 60 of the constitution. He prevailed on the Chief Whip to return Mr Melaye to his seat pending the time he is allocated another seat in accordance with Senate rule.

“The order of the Senate clearly specifies that every senator shall sit on a seat that has been assigned to him by the Senate President. Therefore, the position canvassed by the Deputy Senate President does not hold here because it is against the Nigerian constitution.

“In this regard, the Senate Leader or the Chief Whip should as a matter of urgency, due to the health situation of Senator Dino, have a seat that is OK for him. Sitting in a seat different from what is assigned to him is against the constitution.”

Also in defence of APC senators, the Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye, urged Mr Saraki to avoid setting a bad precedent by allowing the change of seat.

“The qualification of any member of the National Assembly is that he be a member of a political party. In the Senate, seats are assigned based on membership of a political party.

“We are setting a bad precedent. We are beginning to institutionalise chaos if we use any excuse to transfer any member across the aisle. On the basis of the constitution, I will take Dino across this place and any seat he wants, we will give to him.”

Mr Saraki however defended his position noting that Mr Melaye did not at any time mention that he wanted to defect to another party.

“I don’t think at any time in his contribution the issue of change of allegiance or party ever came up. It’s not an issue that has come up today at all. He talked about his state of mind and comfort. None of us has been through what he has been through neither do I think the rules have ever foresaw this kind of situation. As part of our spirit of giving support, we will accommodate his request and make sure that seat is comfortable so that you can come back.”

Mr Saraki’s statement on party affiliation clarifies the current official situation as regards Mr Melaye’s political party. To decamp officially, Mr Melaye would have to write the Senate president of his decision to leave his party and join the opposition. The letter would then be read during Senate plenary.

Shortly after the senate president’s ruling, Kabir Marafa (Zamfara-APC) rose to speak against the ruling. He urged Mr Saraki to reverse his position.

“Mr President, I respect your rulings and I agree with your rulings,” he said. “However, on this matter, we are setting a bad precedent.”

Mr Saraki ruled him out of order.

Senator in EFCC custody for allegedly receiving N1.1bn vehicles from Omokore

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday confirmed it detained a serving senator for allegedly receiving several vehicles valued at over N1.1 billion from an oil mogul currently standing trial for financial crimes.

The senator, Bassey Akpan (PDP, Akwa Ibom Central) was a commissioner for finance under the Godswill Akpabio administration. He is the current Chairman, Senate Committee on Gas (Upstream).

EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, who confirmed the arrest, said Mr Akpan was taken into custody on Tuesday after the lawmaker evaded arrest for several months.

Mr Uwujaren did not provide further details on the arrest. Also, he did disclose when the lawmaker would be charged to court or released on bail.

However, a source close to the commission, who does not want his name disclosed, told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr Akpan was detained to enable him explain his role in the controversial receipt of the vehicles.

The vehicles, most of which included top range exotic models, were allegedly received from the Chief Executive of Atlantic Energy and Sahel Energy, Jide Omokore, ahead of the 2015 presidential polls.

Mr Omokore, a close ally of former President Goodluck Jonathan, is currently being accused by the presidency of involvement in a $3 billion strategic alliance pipeline contract by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

r Omokore has since denied the accusations through his lawyer, R. A. Lawal-Rabana, who said his client did not collude with anybody to steal $3 billion as alleged by the presidency.

“As counsel involved in representing Jide Omokore in court, we wish to state that the relationship between Jide Omokore’s company, Atlantic Energy with NNPC/NPDC is well documented as a commercial transaction of which there has been part performance. There is nothing illegal or fraudulent about the transaction,” Mr Lawal-Rabana said.

However, an EFCC report on the matter accused the embattled lawmaker of receiving vehicles worth N303 million from Mr Omokore while he served as the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Finance.

The report also accused him of receiving the vehicles in his capacity as the Chairman of the Inter-ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee responsible for ensuring the completion of government projects through direct labour as a cost saving strategy for the state.

In return, two of Mr Omokore’s firms – Bay Atlantic Energy and Sahel Energy – were said to have benefited from contracts from Mr Akpan’s committee.

“Senator Bassey Akpan received a BMW X5 BP worth N50m; an Infinity QX56BP worth N45m; a Range Rover worth N40m; three Toyota Hiace buses worth N27m; two Toyota Hiace High-roof buses worth N16m, six Toyota Hilux D cabin vehicles worth N42m as well as other vehicles worth N83m,” the anti-graft agency report said.

“He received the vehicles from Omokore while heading a committee which was giving contracts to the same Omokore. He has been invited on several occasions, but he refused to show up. He was supposed to come to the EFCC office on Monday, but he refused,” the report added.

The EFCC said the vehicles, which ranged from Mercedes Benz luxury cars to campaign buses and trucks, were acquired with the proceeds of fraud.

Apart from Mr Akpan, the EFCC report said Adamu Mu’azu, a former PDP chairman, also received vehicles valued at about N504.5 million, including a Mecedez Benz G63, valued at N45 million between May and August 2014.

The report said the current chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, also received vehicles worth N310 million from businessman.

On June 28, 2013, the EFCC said Mr Secondus received a Benz G63 worth N36 million, apart from two Toyota Hilux vehicles worth N14 million he received on April 8, 2014.

“On July 8, 2014, he (Secondus) received 10 Hiace buses worth N90 million, while on November 13, 2014, he received 15 Hiace mid-roof buses worth N120 million. He also received a N50 million Range Rover Biography SUV,” the report added.

However, Mr Secondus has denied the allegations against him.

He recently filed an application in Port Harcourt, which restrained the federal government or any of its agents, including the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, from including his name among the lists of treasury looters, the government says it is releasing in series

Ekiti 2018: Deji Ogunsakin emerges Prof Eleka’s running mate in PDP

Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose on Friday afternoon picked for Ado-Ekiti Local Government Chairman, Ayodeji Kazeem Ogunsakin as the running mate to the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).

Gov Fayose announced announced this at Ado-Ekiti. The candidature of Ogunsakin is expected to strengthen the party’s fortune at the governorship election coming up in July 2018.

Ogunsakin 39, was born to the popular Bello Ogunsakin family of Ado-Ekiti. His late father, Alhaji B.S Ogunsakin was a Muslim leader, businessman, and commercial farmer, and highly respected community leader.

Deji Ogunsakin attended Ekiti Baptist High School, Igede -Ekiti, University of Ado-Ekiti (now EKSU) and worked as a banker before he joined politics.

Ado-Ekiti indigenes adjudged him as one of the best preforming Chairman in the history of Ado-Ekiti Local Government.

Medical trip shows Buhari unfit to rule effectively , says PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says President Muhammadu Buhari is unfit to attend to state matters.

The opposition party said this while reacting to the president’s medical trip to the UK. Buhari left the country on Tuesday.

Speaking with journalists subsequently, Kola Ologbondiyan, spokesman of the PDP, said it is unfortunate that the president’s aides often shroud their principal’s health in secrecy.

Ologbondiyan said Nigerians have been taken for granted, deceived and “treated like lesser men and women without reasoning capacity”.

He said: “The confirmation of the presidency that President Muhammadu Buhari is unwell, ailing and unfit to attend to state matters, resulting to his latest journey to the United Kingdom for medical attention.

“This admission, though belated and coming after intense public pressure, has now put to rest, speculations on the health status of the President, as well as his attendant inability to effectively govern.

“It is however very unfortunate that the president and his handlers had chosen to shroud the issue of his persistent illness in secrecy under a government that prides itself on claims of transparency and integrity.

“Nigerians will recall that shortly before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April, Mr. President, without transmitting a letter to the national assembly, as required by the constitution, undertook a private visit to the UK, where his doctors are known to reside, five clear days ahead of CHOGM. Nigerians were left in the dark for the period despite demands for full disclosure by the PDP.

“Only last week, two days after his departure from the United States where he had gone for a state visit, Mr. President went ‘missing’ again.

“When concerns began to mount on his whereabouts, the presidency claimed he had a technical stopover in the UK, citing flight issues, only for revelations to emerge from the same Presidency, on Monday, that Mr. President was actually in the UK to see his doctors. In these circumstances, Nigerians were taken for granted.”

He said while the PDP does not have anything against the president for treating himself, Nigerians detest the deception that has trailed unabating health issue.

“The PDP therefore counsels President Buhari to be well guided and take charge of his health challenges,” he said.

PDP supports Melaye, urges members to vote against his recall

The Peoples Democratic Party has directed its members in Kogi State to vote against the recall of Senator Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi West) during the verification of signatures of petitioners holding on Saturday, April 28.

In a statement in Lokoja on Friday, the party said that it was not in support of the recall of Melaye from the beginning.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had fixed April 28 for the verification of signatures of petitioners that signed for Melaye’s.

INEC said that the verification would hold from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in 552 of 560 polling units in the seven local governments that make up Kogi West Senatorial District.

Meanwhile, Mr. Dickson Achadu, the PDP Director of Research and Documentation, who signed the statement, described the attempt to recall Melaye as “a product of an internal crisis in the All Progressives Congress.”

He, therefore, urged his party members to distance themselves from the exercise.

However, the party said it was in support of the senator’s agitation for good welfare for workers and the downtrodden, adding that the state had been made a laughing stock.

The statement urged INEC and security agencies to guard against being used in the plan to forcefully deny Kogi West quality representation at the Senate.

The party further urged its members to remain peaceful and law-abiding but refrain from submitting to intimidation and inducement by the sponsors of the recall.

Meanwhile, the Police Command in the state has assured the people of Kogi West senatorial district that the exercise would be peaceful and violence-free.

The Police Commissioner, Mr. Ali Janga, in a statement, urged them to cooperate with the security agencies to ensure that criminal elements do not hijack the process.

The statement, signed by the police spokesman, ASP William Aya, said that Janga warned political thugs as well as those who do not have business at the polling units to stay away.

He also expressed the command’s readiness to deal with any miscreants, urging law-abiding citizens to go about their lawful businesses.

He also advised members of the public to always avail the security agencies with credible information on the existence of criminal elements in any part of the state.

(NAN)

PDP to establish shadow cabinet

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it will soon form a shadow cabinet to pilot the ”party’s roadmap towards national economic recovery.”

A shadow cabinet is a group of politicians who hold a political post with their party, but whose party are not in government (that is, an opposition party). A member of the shadow cabinet is a ‘shadow minister’. The leader of a shadow cabinet is called the Leader of the Opposition.

The party said this will lead to good governance, ”in line with the wishes and aspirations of Nigerians, ahead of the 2019 general elections”.

The party in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbodiyan, on Friday said this was one of the resolutions of the party’s emergency NEC meeting held on Thursday.

The party also promised to deploy ”the instrument of its democratic structures at all levels across the country to legitimately and urgently rally all Nigerians to vote out the APC in 2019”.

“Finally, the NEC directs that the National Working Committee commences action towards the establishment of a shadow cabinet to pilot PDP’s roadmap towards national economic recovery and good governance, in line with the wishes and aspirations of Nigerians, ahead of the 2019 general elections.

“That the PDP leads a strong conversation and discussion towards a formal coalition of democratic forces to guarantee Nigerians the much desired all-inclusive platform ahead of 2019 general elections.

“That the PDP deploys the instrument of its democratic structures at all levels across the country to legitimately and urgently rally all Nigerians to vote out the APC and return the nation to the path of national cohesion, stability and prosperity for the good of all,” the statement said.

Looters’ list: Dickson slams APC’s leadership style

Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson on Wednesday said the Federal Government led by the All Progressives Congress (APC) was engaged in shadow-boxing while abandoning the real essence of governance.

The governor described as childish the party’s constant attacks on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) including APC’s lamentation that it inherited an empty treasury from the PDP.

“You don’t need to say that you inherited an empty treasury. Are treasuries full to be handed over. Treasuries are supposed to be used to work”, he said.

The governor, who spoke at a live broadcast in Yenagoa to address knotty issues arising from the ongoing public sector reforms in the state said at the end of its first term, APC would be judged by its achievements and not by the failures of the PDP.

Admitting that the PDP made its mistakes, he said the party in power should concentrate on righting the alleged wrongs of the PDP instead of engaging in blame games.

He asked the party to learn from him noting that when he took over from the past administration, he wasted no time blaming his predecessor and pursuing past officials despite what he saw in the files.

He said: “Sometimes you have a feeling that the APC even though in power is still in opposition and still on a campaign mode. I would have thought that after all the things that they said PDP didn’t do well and you claim Nigerians have voted for you, so you do the things rightly.

“Here in this state, there was a governor, who was there for almost six years, and I know what I saw in all the files, all projects and programmes. Have I wasted any time looking behind to pursue people?

“We used a red line across it and we did things differently.  The point is that at the end of the day, you will every incumbent including the APC, they will be judged not by the failure of the preceding government, but by what they themselves had done.

“I think as the days and months are drawing closer, they will come to that realisation. And the sooner they realize that they will be judged by what they do or fail to do and not what the PDP didn’t do, the better.

“PDP is gone and the APC has won and supposedly they won because of those things that they are still talking about for three years. So, I consider it very childish. I thought that they should have done better than they are doing. Quite frankly, the PDP made its mistakes but the PDP also achieved a lot for our democracy  and for our country”.

Dickson lamented that the country was divided sharply under the APC-led government and asked the ruling party to ensure Nigeria’s unification.

The governor decried the wanton killings of citizens on daily basis by not just Boko Haram but also by the armed herdsmen.

He said instead of facing the issues and tackling the violence headlong, the APC was dissipating its energy on looters’ list.

“There is too much division in the country now. So, the APC led government has to unify the country. There has to be a country first before you can claim you are in power or in government. They have not been able to unify the country.

“Look at the wanton killing and destructions of precious Nigerian lives not only by Boko Haram but now by herdsmen and we are told that they are foreigners, which means we under a foreign invasion.

“Yet you are not addressing those concerns and issues. You are talking of PDP. One list today and tomorrow another list. Yet we all know ourselves in this country. I believe hat our politics should be mature. We are not enemies.

“That we are in different political parties does not make us enemies. Even if we are not friends because w have a number of friends in all parties, at least we are Nigerians. We are human beings. So, in the first place, we share a common humanity. So, we should treat one another with respect if not with love”.

Dickson further asked the people of the state to brace up to the ongoing public sector reforms insisting that his administration would ensure effective and productive public sector.

He lamented the rots in the sector and likened the state’s payroll to the voter register where he said all kinds of names could be found.

He said in 2012 he inherited over N5bn monthly wage bill in the service and N1.6bn in the local government area but worked very hard through various verification committees to bring it down to N3.7bn for state and N1.1bn for the council.

He said all his efforts were geared towards handing over a disciplines, efficient public service to the incoming government adding that the motive was not to sack anybody.

While saying that genuine workers affected by the exercise would be re-absorbed and redeployed to other areas, he insisted that persons who had no reason to be in the service must go.

“We want to leave behind a reformed, repositioned, motivated and efficient workforce.
Whatever is good for this state, we are going to get it done.

He said: “Those who would be affected are citizens, we have to look at genuine issues. We are working in avenues to ameliorate the hardships and create other avenues for survival.

“Many states are sacking workers. The central focus is not to sack. It is repositioning.

In this reforms, those with teaching qualification, working in the parastatals, who can teach, the state needs all of them.

“We have ways of absorbing people on the condition that they must be existing workers, they must be committed workers. If you are a workers in Abuja, Lagos Port Harcourt, this state has fed you enough for the past 20 year. Enough is enough”.