The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd), was in Sokoto State on Saturday to visit former president, Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
The visit was to celebrate with the Second Republic President, whose 90th birthday was on February 25, while General Buhari was away in the UK.
General Buhari seized the opportunity to explain why he missed the February 25 date.
“Your Excellency, my coming today is to felicitate with you over your 90th birthday anniversary. I have personally sent a letter to you informing you that I was in London and hope the letter was delivered to you.
“I would have loved to come with some of our colleagues who were here earlier but for my trip to London where I went to have some rest after campaigning in all the 36 states of the federation in addition to several townhall meetings.
“I pray Allah to grant you good health and more fruitful years ahead,” Buhari said.
He described Shagari as a great nationalist, lauding him for his commitment to Nigeria’s peace and unity.
The Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko, who accompanied the APC presidential candidate to Shagari’s Sama road residence alongside other members of the APC in Sokoto, also highlighted Shagari’s virtues of discipline, humility and nationalism.
Former president Shagari was full of smiles and gratitude to his visitors. He also urged Nigerians to continually pray for the peace and stability of the country.
He wished General Buhari success in his political ambition.
Buhari overthrew Shagari during his civilian regime in a military coup on December 31, 1983.
The defection of some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors may not have ended, as it appears another aggrieved governor of the party may be on his way to join the five who earlier defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
There are strong indications that the Governor of Jigawa State, Mr Sule Lamido, may be the latest to jump camp as there are reports that there are consultations currently going on to seal the movement.
Reports reveal that Governor of Rivers State and the Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign, Mr Rotimi Amaechi met with Governor Lamido in Abuja on Sunday in a meeting the reports show may be linked with a possible political bombshell.
Recently Governor Lamido and President Goodluck Jonathan are reported to have lost affinity, an indication that the purported rift between the two may lead to a very drastic move.
Governors Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara, Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State, Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State and impeached Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State had on Nov. 26, 2013, left the PDP to join the APC.
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital, has struck out the suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, seeking an order sacking the four sitting governors who defected from the party to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The presiding judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, in a ruling on Friday, struck out the suit against the governors on the grounds that the originating processes filed by the PDP to initiate the suit were invalid.
The court upheld the arguments of the plaintiff that the originating processes were wrongly issued and served on the defendants.
Justice Kolawole also held that the absence of endorsement on the processes violated section 97 of the same law.
He held that irregularities in service of a process on a party could only be ignored if such party decided to wave his rights.
The PDP had in December 2011, sued the governors and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, asking the court to declare the defecting governors’ seats vacant.
The governors are Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano and Abdulfatai Ahmed of Kwara.
A former Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako was removed from the suit shortly after his impeachment.
While the Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, recently placed second in the APC presidential primary election, Governor Rotimi Amaechi has been named among the contenders who could be the running mate for the party’s presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.
Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole on Wednesday recounted his administration’s achievements in the past 6 years, at an event which held at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin.
Elders in the All Progressives Congress, including two presidential aspirants – Atiku Abubakar and Muhammadu Buhari, Audu Ogbeh, Imo Governor – Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Sokoto state – Aliyu Wamakko, Bola Tinubu as well as the Deputy governor of Edo, Oba of Benin, Dr Pius Odubu, Edo State APC Chairman, Barr Anselm Ojezua and Edo Chief of Staff, Hon. Patrick Obahiaghon.
Party supporters, market women, civil society groups were also present.
Addressing the crowd, Atiku, who spoke on behalf of himself and Buhari, noted that “six years ago, Edo State was liberated.
“Today we can see true transformation on the ground”, he said, casting a shade on the PDP’s transformation agenda, which he said was merely being carried out on the media.
“Go to any APC State, you will see true transformation” he said, noting that reports heard in PDP states were “all lies”.
He further campaigned for support for the forth coming elections, asking the crowd to vote in APC in all states of the federation.
Recounting his achievements in his 6th year as governor, Oshiomhole said “we are here to mark six years of revolutionary changes in Edo state”
According to him, the state was on “cloud minus zero” when he became governor but noted that his administration had brought change to the state. He stressed on his administration’s efforts regarding infrastructure, water resources and health.
His speech was partly a comparison between PDP and APC administration in the state, as well as preparing the people for the forthcoming elections.
“APC will defeat the president in Bayelsa,” he said adding that the opposition will defeat the PDP in Rivers, Cross River, Delta States.
On the 2015 general election, he said “by February next year, we will not vote on the basis of tribalism. We will vote on the basis of who provides power”.
He maintained that “for as long as PDP is in power, Nigeria people will be out of power”.
Governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu Wamakko, has warned politicians to show maturity in speech and conducts ahead of the 2015 general elections.
According to Wamakko, actions of politicians before, during and after the elections are major determinants to peaceful elections.
Wamakko said that politicians and their supporters must show maturity in their conducts in order for the 2015 elections to be peaceful.
The Governor also raised concern over attitudes of security officials during the elections in Ekiti and Osun, which he said were capable of impeding peaceful elections in 2015 if not checked.
According to him, all stakeholders, including security officials and INEC, have major roles to play in ensuring free, credible and peaceful elections in 2015.
While INEC has promised a level playing field for all political parties during the elections, Governor Wamakko says politicians who tend to divide the country along ethnic and religious lines could undermine any sincere efforts of INEC to conduct credible polls.
He urged politicians to put state interest ahead of self in other to move the nation forward.
With just about five months to the 2015 elections, Nigeria’s political atmosphere has been getting charged by the day.
Several political groups are rallying supports for candidates of their choice ahead of the elections date.
Both the ruling People’s Democratic Party and major opposition parties like the All Progressives Congress have used several fora to sell their ideologies ahead of the time the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, would lift the embargo for political campaigns.
Nigeria would go to the polls again in February 2015 to elect a new president, governors and legislators who would manage the country for another four years.
A Federal High Court in Abuja has shut down the case instituted against the governors of Kwara, Rivers, Adamawa, Sokoto and Kano states by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to declare their governorship seats vacant on account of defection to opposition party.
The legal action, instituted six months ago by the PDP to challenge the legality of the defection by the governors to the All Progressive Congress (APC), was struck out by the court on the grounds of failure by PDP to properly serve the originating summon and other court processes tothe defendants.
Ruling in the disputed mode of service of court summon to the governors adopted by PDP, Justice Gabriel Kolawole held that PDP failed to follow the procedures allowed by law in reaching the defendants since December 10 when the court action was instituted.
The court agreed with lawyers to the governors that they have not been served with court papers and as such the court cannot assume jurisdiction until the plaintiff has done the needful and put its house in order on the effective service of court summon.
The service of court process allegedly effected at No. 40 Blantyre Street, the new office of the APC was declared illegal, invalid, defective and was dismissed by the court for not having the court’s endorsement.
“The court cannot assume jurisdiction until the plaintiff (PDP) has done the needful and put its house in order on the effective service of court summons.
“The purported service of court process allegedly effected at No. 40 Blantyre street, being the new office of the APC, was earlier declared illegal, invalid, defective and, accordingly, dismissed by the court for not having the court’s endorsement”, he said.
Justice Kolawole held that the issue of service of originating summon by the plaintiff on the defendant was fundamental before any court can take further action against any defendant adding that in the instant case, the service done by PDP was not in conformity with the procedure of the court.
He thereafter adjourned the case indefinitely pending the time the plaintiff will comply with the law in the service of the originating summon on the five governors.
Governors Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara, Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers, Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State, Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State and of Adamawa had on Nov. 26, 2013, left the PDP to join APC.
The former Sokoto State Governor, Mr Attahiru Bafarawa has described the code of ethics recently launched in Abuja by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as an unrealisable programme because the party lacks the internal democratic tenets and moral standard to implement all the contents in the code of ethics.
Speaking to Channels Television during the North West zone People’s Democratic Party (PDP) rally in Kaduna on Tuesday, Bafarawa said that he left the APC with his supporters to the PDP due to the injustices meted to them by the party leadership.
He stressed that his moving to PDP was to enable him serve the people of Sokoto State and Nigeria better.
He also scored the performance of the incumbent administration in Sokoto State led by Governor Aliyu Wamakko low, stating that his new party, PDP would definitely take over the state in 2015.
He said that his 8-year administration as Sokoto State Governor recorded massive infrastructural transformation when compared to that of Wamakko, adding that the people of the state would decide which party to vote for in 2015 election.
The Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, has insisted that he is still a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), contradicting claims that he has joined the All Progressives Alliance (APC) with other members of the G7, also known as the new PDP (nPDP).
At a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, the chairman of the defunct nPDP, Mr. Kawu Baraje, said that all the members of the group, including governor Aliyu, had decided to join the APC.
However, the declaration was swiftly responded to by the spokesman to the Niger State Governor, Mr Danladi Ndayebo, who insisted that the governor remained a member of the PDP and had not moved.
“The media report that Governor Aliyu has moved to the APC is not true. It is false. It is unfounded and so should be dismissed. Discussions are ongoing, negotiations are on with the president and until this is exhausted, Governor Babangida Aliyu remains a member of the PDP.
“We are shocked at the announcement of the merger even before a final decision is taken on the matter and that was why the governor was not present at the meeting where the merger deal was sealed. He remains a member of the PDP until talks are over with the president,” he insisted.
Governor Aliyu had walked out of Tuesday’s meeting before the merger was decided.
The G7 members are made up of Kwara State Governor, Ahmed Abdulfatah, Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, that of Sokoto State, Aliyu Wamakko, Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, the Governor of Kano State Rabiu Kwankwanso, Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi and Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State.
With the statement by Aliyu’s spokesman, it is not yet clear if the governor will still remain a member of the G7.
The governors had decided to form the nPDP after PDP Special Delegates Convention held in August.
The governors walked out of the convention ground with the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, to the Yar’adua Centre in Abuja where they announced the formation of the new PDP.
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Father Matthew Hassan Kukah has called on the federal government to review its policy concerning the Almajiri School System.
Speaking as one of the discussants at the 2nd Nigeria Governors’ Forum in Sokoto, Father Kukah said “We probably have not thought this out very clearly” wondering whether we are not running into a corner by having a school where the children by just being almajiris are stigmatised”.
He wondered “how many serious members of the Nigerian elite will send their children to these schools?” asking if graduands of the schools will “show up at NNPC and say I have a Phd from Almajiri secondary, primary and say I want to function in this country”.
Most dangerously, according to him, is the whole question that if Catholic and/or Christians can send their children or teach in such schools.
He said the idea by the federal government “does not create an integrating society” blaming the emergence of the dreaded Islamist Boko Haram sect on the fact that “everybody has returned home”.
He further adds that “now schools are being identified with religion, ethnic groups and so on and so forth”.
“The issue of Almajiri school was first initiated by the Sokoto state government in 2008 and we have a peculiar reason for doing it” noting that “the federal government sent the then minister of education, Prof Ruqayyatu Rufa’i to come and take literature on the schools”, he said.
He accused the federal government of not “coming to know from us what we mean by this Almajiri schools, why we had these Almajiri schools” insisting that “that is where the mistake has been done” alleging that “they (federal government) only took it and started to claim that it is their policy”.
Governor Wamakko noted that the federal government did not credit the state government for starting the initiative promising that the policy wouldn’t have failed if the Sokoto state government was consulted before the policy was made national.
The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has found the need to review its activities as a group, and the progress made by the country, with a view to chart the way forward for the country.
Rivers State Governor and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, alongside his Sokoto State counterpart, Aliyu Wammako shed light on the forum’s retreat while appearing on a special edition of Channels Television’s breakfast programme Sunrise, from the ancient city of Sokoto.
The host governor, Aliyu Wammako stated that general belief in the forum on the need to have a dialogue geared towards moving Nigeria forward was the major motivation for him volunteering to host all the 36 Nigerian governors in Sokoto State for the Nigeria Governors’ Forum retreat.
He stated that this is the second time the Governors’ Forum will be meeting outside Abuja, having met in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state before stressing that the forum has now resolved to henceforth rotate their meetings across the states to enable them know more about the country and know the truth based on facts and figures and not just on emotions.
He reeled out topics outlined for the retreat to include good governance, economy, security, and rule of law which are all very important to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum. He also stressed that focus will be on taking stock of how they have performed with a view to agree on how to move forward.
Excess Crude Account Is Illegal
While responding to a question on the perceived lack of understanding for the NGF’s purpose among Nigerians, Governor Amaechi referred to the NGF’s role in the Oil Subsidy debate. According to him, “if we didn’t step in, oil subsidy would have hit 3 Trillion. That we are talking about 2.3 Trillion now is because the NGF stepped in.”
“We refused to collect our monthly allocation more than 4 times in 4 different months because it was ridiculous to hear that oil subsidy that was 300 billion Naira when Yar’adua was alive or when Obasanjo was President had astronomically risen to trillions…and Governors had to step in. And when we stepped in, things had to stop.”
He also mentioned that the Governors’ Forum stepped in on the issues of the excess crude account. “Since January, before the second term election of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum Chairman, what was left in the excess crude account was between 8 and 9 billion dollars, as at last month only 4 billion dollars from 9. So you can begin to see the role we play, the absence of the Governors’ Forum will worsen the case.”
He went further to emphasize the alleged illegality of the Excess Crude Account, “if the Supreme Court has said it is illegal, the fact that they’re still keeping that account shows how much respect we have for our judiciary.”
“The more they (Federal Government) keep that money, the more the account is mismanaged. We don’t know how the money is managed, we will just wake up one day and they will say its 9 billion, the next meeting in 2 months, 4 to 5 billion would have disappeared. Who is doing that?”
Governor Wammako referred to the Excess Crude Account issue as very painful for the Governors. “We all spoke against this account and we believe that this money is supposed to be invested in the future of Nigeria by way of creating jobs for our youths, by way of investing more in the areas of infrastructure but keeping the money doesn’t make sense, Nigerians are not as happy as they should be.”
Governors And Corruption
On the alleged corruption of some governors, Governor Amaechi highlighted that things have changed from what it used to be in the past. He said that in this generation, it is the governors who are complaining about corruption and Nigerians should have noticed that this is because there is a new sense of responsibility among the governors.
He complained that the Federal Government’s approach towards corruption has been inadequate.
The interview also touched on several issues like Nigeria’s electoral process, the reduction in states’ monthly allocation, allegations of corruption in the NNPC, the Senate’s report of 500billion Naira being stolen from the SURE-P account and the National Assembly’s report that 2.3trillion Naira has been stolen from the oil subsidy account.
Governor Wammako also seized the opportunity to talk about the developmental projects embarked on by his administration, claiming that the state is already reaping from its good roads and other infrastructures in terms of investment coming into the state from the agro-allied sector, mining and so many other sectors. He also emphasized the peaceful state of Sokoto as a major achievement of the administration.
Invited as resource persons for the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, are Professor Wole Shoyinka, Professor Chidi OdinKalu, Professor Junaid Mohammed, Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais, and many other prominent Nigerians.
Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko, has described fairness and justice as the key to security and peace in Nigeria.
This is the strategy, which he said, he had employed to keep his state secured.
The Governor, while speaking to Channels Television, advised his counterparts to also maintain strong communication with security agencies operating in their states.
“Once there’s fairness and justice there will be less friction.
“We believe in prayers, we are always praying …5 times a day for the state and the country at large.
“As a government, we have very good working relationship with our security agencies in the state; we give them whatever they require to function properly in the state because they are doing their best.
“We have been campaigning actively to let the citizens of the state know how to report any special behavior in their communities to the security agencies and we give them assurance that their privacy will be protected.”
Finally, Governor Wammako suggested building an atmosphere where everyone would feel welcomed and loved, no matter where they came from. “Everybody feels he or she is part of the state and we are working towards ensuring the state maintains its peaceful nature at all times.”