APC Will Meet The Demands Of Nigerians– Shettima

Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima has hinted that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will meet the huge demands and expectations which the nation as a whole has been yearning for.

Governor Shettima’s statement is coming after the registration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a political party in the country by INEC yesterday at its headquarters in the FCT.

The governor said the APC will strive exceptionally hard to provide Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic, religious and political affiliations with the long desired style of governance.

Speaking through his special adviser on communications Isa Gusau, in a congratulatory statement issued to newsmen in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, the governor noted that with the calibre of credible political leaders, highly respected technocrats, academics, successful captains of industry, rights activists and policy gurus associated with the party, Nigerians should expect refined governance that will turn the fortunes of the country around for the good of its people.

“I am very optimistic that our party has very patriotic, credible and competent Nigerians who are selfless and ready to work for the quick re-invention of Nigeria for all Nigerians

We have highly respectable people and this is why Nigerians have very high expectations from the APC, we must then get to work immediately as a family, to think out of the box, to bring something new and concrete that is capable of making the difference. Nigerians have so many demands but the demands are just about basic things that are achievable with good leadership” Shettima said.

Governor Shettima took over from Ali Sheriff under the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Borno state, one of the states dominated by the nation’s leading opposition party since the return of democracy in 1999.

ANPP is among the parties that worked for the formation of an opposition party expected to give the leading political party in the country the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) a fight in the 2015 general elections.



APC Will Put PDP On Its Toes – Afegbua

The Special Assistant to Governor Adams Oshiomhole on media and public affairs, Kassim Afegbua has said that the official registration of the All Progressive’s Congress (APC) will empower the merger to keep the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on its toes.

He said this while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

Speaking about the merger and its mission to unseat the ruling PDP, Mr Afegbua responded to comments made by a former member of the PDP Board of Trustees, Ebenezer Babatope,  who described the merger ‘a conglomerate of strange bed fellows.’

“What unite them is a common ideology of what they intend to achieve,” he said.

He added that the PDP from formation was an amalgamation of all manners of persons, all shades of opinions coming together with the sole purpose of easing out the military from government.

“So it will be wrong of anybody in the PDP to see another party as being made up of strange bed fellows,” he said.

He said that Nigerians, for the past 14 years, have been under the PDP rulership, so they have seen the limits, (sharps and bends) of the PDP and so to a large extent they are yearning for an alternative

APC will put PDP on its toes.

“If it is not performing, it will now wake up. If it was performing, the agitations and yearning of most Nigerians would not be there in the first place.”

He said a two party system is gradually evolving with PDP and APC as the strongest parties currently dominating the nation’s political system.

A two party system will checkmate the excesses of any ruling party.

He also accused the PDP of not following its manifesto to the letter. Former president Olusegun Obasanjo, discarded the manifesto to set up the Presidential Policy Advisory Council headed by former defence minister, TY Danjuma produced another document which jettisoned the original manifesto.

He also said that all ACN turned APC governors are performing better than their PDP counterparts. He added that there are ‘available, verifiable’ facts to prove this.

The former PDP member said he likes to ‘play opposition’ because the ‘ruling party will not give room to ventilate your opinion’.

While defending the APC for having many ‘older generation’ leaders, Mr Afegbua said his former position as acting national chairman of the National Democratic Party revealed that “there was no way you can run political parties without having those individuals who have seen it all”.

“You must tap experiences from people,’ he said.

He called for attitudinal change on the part of the youth.  He said the quality of the mind of the youth is ‘something to worry about’.

Lai Muhammed Allays Fears Of INEC Not Registering APC

Interim National Publicity Secretary, of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Lai Mohammed, has dispelled reports on plans by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), not to register the merger party.

Mr Mohammed, made this assertion on Channels TV’s Politics Today, where he stated that the merger party has met all the requirements of law as regards its application, hence there is no need for it to be fretful while it awaits INEC’s affirmation of the merger party, he stated.

He dismissed as a ‘mere speculation’ reports that INEC was planning to write a letter to proponents of APC to find another name because of a court case instituted by a political party over the APC acronym.

“On the contrary, we’ve gotten very encouraging response from INEC so far” Mr Mohammed said, as he gave a breakdown of all the steps taking by various parties that make up the merger.

The former spokesperson of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) also denied claims that the party will be dominating the merger party.

We Have Prosecuted Over 200 Electoral Offenders Since 2011 – Jega

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega on Monday said that the commission has investigated and prosecuted over 200 persons who allegedly breached the electoral laws.

Mr Jega, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, accused Nigerian politicians of always seeking to ‘jump the gun’ during elections. He said INEC has done its best in checking this trend.

“I want to say categorically, we have done or best. We have prosecuted over 200 people successfully,” he said.

He said some of the electoral offenders, including members of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) and INEC staff have been fined or jailed.
“Before our commission was inaugurated, there was no record of a single successful prosecution of electoral offences,” Mr Jega said.

He said though the number represents a drop in the ocean, the commission had reasons to prosecute about one million people over multiple registrations.

“On registration alone, we do have evidence to prosecute close to a million people for clear cases of multiple registrations,” he said.
He said the commission lacks the resources and personnel to prosecute all these offenders.

Mr Jega said INEC is currently working on how to relinquish the responsibility of prosecuting electoral offenders to another agency.

He said, “We are partnering with the NBA (Nigerian Bar Association), in fact, we have been discussing this partnership and now we are taking it a level higher and our hope is that before we commence the process of continuous voters’ registration, which we hope will commence by the third quarters which is July – September God willing, we also want to make example of those who have done multiple registration.

“We will do it, but it is very challenging. The best thing is to have another agency that can actually handle prosecution of electoral offenders.”

Logistic problems

Mr Jega said managing logistics during elections is a major problem that INEC have been contending with for a long time insisting that the commission has done its best to minimise this challenge.

He said, “I want to assure you that globally, there’s no country where you can say it is 100 percent free of this challenge of late arrival of materials.”

He said since he assumed office, the commission has been partnering with the security agencies to hasten the deployment of materials to areas with troubling terrain.

“Where it is necessary to move material by aircraft or helicopter, the navy helped us during the 2011 elections. Where it was to move it in the riverine areas the navy helped us and even provided security to minimise challenges arising from the activities of militants groups,” the INEC boss said.

He said INEC devised a strategy of deploying materials to areas far from the city centre before deploying to closer areas but that this, as it happened in the recent Edo Council polls, has its own challenges.

He said the commission has reduced the incidences of late arrival of material to election venue by about 60 percent since 2011.

Staggered Elections

Mr Jega maintained that staggered elections are not the best for Nigeria, saying that the series of staggered elections in the country resulted from court judgments which affected tenures of some governors.

He said, “Certainly, some staggering helps the process. The kind of staggering we have now in terms of saying this kind of elections should take place now and then you sequence it; that kind of sequencing of major elections, I think has been helpful, it helps us to focus and it helps us to poll resources together and to deploy them appropriately.

He said, “But if you take staggering to a staggering extent, if I can put it that way, really it will also have its own challenges. It means for example if we have to every election state by state in all the 36 states and the FCT it will take us three years.

“If you are doing Presidential election for example, you have to do it nationally and in every place because the results have to be announced for a candidate to be returned.”

Mr Jega said conducting staggered election has its limitation and insisted that what is important is for INEC to have the independence of deciding when to conduct a holistic or staggered election.

“If you legalise it by saying do elections state by state or do election region by region, you will create additional problems which are not presently anticipated,” he said.

Electronic voting

The INEC chairman said the commission at the moment does not have any legal bottleneck and is not hindered from seeking innovative methods of conducting its operation even with the use of technology.

“The only clear categorical hindrance is in electronic voting. The law says categorically that electronic voting is prohibited and until that prohibition is lifted we even have challenges in terms of experimenting and piloting or getting some machines and beginning to see which are the best that can be used for electronic voting are,” he said.

He said the commission had sent a recommendation to the National Assembly that as they review the 1999 constitution to “look at that provision and perhaps remove that prohibition. So that once it is removed we may not be able to do it in 2015 but we can begin to experiment and identify which models are suitable to Nigeria.”

Permanent Voter Card

Mr Jega said before the 2015 general elections, INEC will distribute permanent voters’ card to all registered voters in Nigeria.

The voter cards are to replace the temporary ones issued at the end of the voters’ registration in 2011. The cards are valid for 10 years.

Last year, the Federal Government approved N2.6 billion for the printing of 40 million out of the 75 million permanent voter cards in the first phase of the project.

The government has approved additional N33.5 million for the project’s second phase.

Mr Jega said “the permanent voter cards are chip-based carrying all our biometrics that was captured during the registration.

“We intend on election day to use a card reader to verify and to authenticate who is the true owner of that card. We believe that once we are able to do this successfully, then all these phenomenon of politicians purchasing voter cards and giving it to other people to come and vote with it on Election Day will be eliminated.”

Relocating voters

The INEC chairman said all registered voters must vote at the point where they have registered.

Mr Jega disclosed this in response to a question tweeted-in by a lady who was watching the live programme on Channels Television from Abuja.

However, when a voter relocates, Mr Jega said “the electoral act clearly specifies what to do. You can change or transfer your registration status. All she needs to do in her case is to apply to the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the FCT giving all the necessary information why she has moved, what were the details of her previous registration, what was her polling unit and where is she now located.

“Once she does that application and it is verified, her details will be transferred to her new place and then we will issue her a permanent voter card in the new place.”

NIPSS Inaugurates Development Centre For Political Parties

National institute for policy and strategic studies NIPSS, Kuru in Jos North Central Nigeria in collaboration with United Nations Democratic Governance for Development Project (DGDII), has established a centre to strengthen the capacity of political parties in becoming key pillars of the country’s democratic polity.

The need to have people-oriented political parties with properly organised structure devoid of being hijacked by wealthy financial backers that will be well rooted in society with broad based electioneering; prompt the NIPSS and Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) to establish a centre with a comprehensive curriculum that sets the foundations for parties and provide strategic and techniques for how political parties can institutionalise themselves.

Commissioning the centre, the Special Assistant on Political Matters to the Vice President, Senator Isaiah Balat,  observed that without strong and dynamic political parties, democracy cannot survive on the long run.

The Political Party Leadership and Policy Development Centre is to open avenue for political parties to be fully involved in policy, research, sustained learning experiences and opportunities for practical application for effective pro-democratic actors and make the country’s democratic institutions stronger.

The centre which is a model on the continent of Africa according to DGD Project Director, Mourtada Deme, is to put in place a comprehensive capacity development plan that identifies key areas for technical assistance to party support.

Leading the Nigeria Labour force at the occasion, NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar, condemned the attitude of leaders that were not present at the event, describing it as misplaced priority.

Political parties and its officials are expected to seize the opportunity, the centre is offering in making political parties stronger as essential pillar of a vibrant, well established and resilient democracy by taking advantage of the facility available at the centre in deepening  and making the country’s democratic dispensation a reality.

APC Zones Presidential Slot To The North

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has ceded the presidential slot to the Northern region ahead of the 2015 elections.

The decision to cede the presidential slot to the Northern zone was reached after a series of meeting which was held last week amongst top leaders of the coalition party.

It is no longer news that opposition parties have decided on a merger which brought about the creation of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in a bid to wrestle power from the ruling People’s Democratic Party.

According to information gathered by Channels Television, some key members of the ruling party in different states of the federation are being wooed to cross over to the mega alliance party.

However, one issue generating hiccups for the party leaders is that of the national chairmanship of the alliance party as the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) was billed from the onset to produce someone to occupy the national chairman slot. All that changed as the Action Congress of Nigeria national leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, decided to lobby in favour of the ACN for the slot.

The ANPP sounded it’s objection to this, prompting party leaders to hold talks with the ANPP.

It was reported that the merging parties agreed to cede to the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) the national secretary position and it was also learnt that the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, will likely occupy the position.

Nigeria Cannot Lead Africa With Bad Politics – Oshiomole

The Edo state Governor, Adams Oshiomole has said that for Nigeria to take his place as a leader in Africa, she must get her politics right.

To this effect, he disclosed that the African People’s Congress (APC) was formed to give Nigerians a robust platform for informed choice.

Governor Oshiomhole said this while addressing the Igbo Community in Edo State during a courtesy call at the State House.

He said if a democracy is not capable of bringing about change of parties that form government at all levels “that democracy is not on course”.

Using Ghana as a case stydy, Governor Oshiomhole said that the experience in the sister nation has shown that it is possible for the government to recognize the right of the people to determine who governs them.

“Nigeria cannot continue to play leadership of the African Continent if we don’t get her politics right,” he said.

The Edo State Governor while addressing the Ibos in the State said that his administration does not regard anyone or tribe as “settlers”. He added that the government has also decided to abolish all discriminatory policies in the State.

The Chairman of the Ibo Community, Chief Luke Abbas commended the governor for employing Ibos and accused his Abia State counterpart, Governor Theodore Orji of chasing non indigenes from the state.

VIDEO: APC Fails To Agree On Party’s Executive Committee

Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were unable to agree on the constitution of the executive committee to steer the party’s affairs, after meeting for five hours on Tuesday.

A leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Chief Tom Ikimi, who spoke to journalists after the meeting, said more consultations were needed before officials would be appointed.

Members of the merging parties who attended the meeting also explained that these are early teething problems in the effort towards building a formidable opposition party.

Leave NGF Issues, Go To Your States And Work, Ononuju Urges Governors

A public Affairs analyst, Katch Ononuju has said the controversies which followed the chairmanship election of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) is distracting political office holders from discharging their constitutional responsibilities.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ononuju advised all parties should ‘go back to the constitution’ to resolve their differences.

He said the governors are engaged in scheming out their colleagues from other states that they neglect their constitutional duties.

“I also will advise Nigerians to insist that their governors should go back to the states and deliver because I was in Ikeja (in Lagos) last night, from Opebi down to Alade Market I counted over 84 poles and I saw on those 84 poles only eight bulbs working.

“This shows part of that distraction that the governors’ forum provides. Governor should go home and provide the dividend of democracy.”

PDP Governors’ Forum Is Illegal – Lawyer

A lawyer and member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Harvey Ideozu on Wednesday said the formation of the PDP Governors Forum chaired by the Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio is “clearly in breach of article 21.1j of the PDP constitution which prohibits the formation of any body under the guise of the party.”

Mr Ideozu disclosed this in a telephone interview during Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

While prescribing sanction for members found to belong to bodies under the guise of the PDP, Mr Ideozu said the PDP governors are allowed to form any association but should not label it PDP Governors forum.

“Any member of the party will be disciplined that belongs to any group under the guise of the party,” he said.

Article 21.1j of the PDP constitution holds that “subject to the provisions of this constitution, the party shall have power to discipline member who promotes factions or belongs to any group under guise of the party and by whatever name called not being one provided for in this constitution.”

Other Governors Have Forsaken Amaechi – Ononuju

A public Affairs analyst, Katch Ononuju has said that other members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) have abandoned the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi and purported winner of the forum’s chairmanship election.

Mr Ononuju, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, quoted a local newspaper where the All Progressives Congress (APC) was reported to have confessed with Governor Amaechi to use the NGF election to ‘disgrace’ President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).

He said when Governor Amaechi called a meeting yesterday (Tuesday), “nobody is with him. All those people you said voted or not voted when Governor Jang called his meeting, they are there.”

There has been intense scheming in the NGF, an association composed of the 36 governors in Nigeria, after its election for a new chairman. The Director General of the governors forum, who served as the returning officer at the election had announced that Governor Amaechi polled 19 of the 35 votes casted while his only opponents and Plateau state Governor, Jonah Jang polled 16 votes.

Anticipating there might be controversies from the election, the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola had secretly taped the voting and counting process – a short video clip already being circulated online.

In Mr Ononuju’s opinion, the video was doctored and may not represent what really happened in the conference room of the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge, Abuja, venue of the controversial election.

The analyst said the action of Mr Amaechi, who has vowed not to step aside for Mr Jang is disrespectful to the PDP.

“The PDP has found that it has within its rank members who have now turned themselves into rogue agents. These rogue agents like a virus beginning to affect the body of the party so the party moves to bring discipline. If it does not discipline these people who have now gone rogue, they might infect the body of the party,” Mr Ononuju said.

He said the PDP sees Governor Amaechi as a rogue agent who has “gone to contest; has gone to play a play with the opposition in a way other than the way mandated by the party because the party brought out Governor Jang as the consensus candidate he (Amaechi) now seems to be sponsored by the opposition.”

Not PDP Affairs

Joining the conversation on a telephone from Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, a lawyer and member of the PDP, Harvey Ideozu said whatever happens in the NGF is not a business of the PDP.

“The Nigeria Governors Forum is not an organ of the PDP neither is it a public office,” he said.

Contradicting Mr Ononuju’s earlier position of the PDP preferring Governor Jang as Chairman of the governors’ forum, Mr Ideozu said there is no provision in the party’s constitution for nominating persons interested in contesting for the chairmanship of the NGF.

He said, “There is no organ of the PDP that has said the election in the governors’ forum should be conducted in a particular manner or that any particular candidate should run or should not run.

“What we find now is that we are in a dangerous situation where it is possible that certain individual are manipulating the party and using the name of the party to force their personal position.”

According to the lawyer, the agreement to appoint a Chairman by consensus was not a general position reached by the NGF as a whole but by a faction of the body.

PDP Governors’ Forum

Mr Ideozu said the formation of the PDP Governors Forum chaired by the Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio is “clearly in breach of article 21.1j of the PDP constitution which prohibits the formation of any body under the guise of the party.”

While prescribing sanction for members found to belong to bodies under the guise of the PDP, Mr Ideozu said the PDP governors are allowed to form any association but should not label it PDP Governors forum.

“Any member of the party will be disciplined that belongs to any group under the guise of the party,” he said.

Article 21.1j of the PDP constitution holds that “subject to the provisions of this constitution, the party shall have power to discipline member who promotes factions or belongs to any group under guise of the party and by whatever name called not being one provided for in this constitution.”

Watch the complete interview with Messrs Ononuju and Ideozu in the video below:

VIDEO: Jonathan Welcomes Opposition Gang-Up Against PDP

Rather than respond to his endorsement by zonal leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2015 Presidential election, President Goodluck Jonathan chose to speak about the growing criticism of his administration by the opposition as well as the emergence of a new merger party which he referred to as a ‘gang-up’.

President Goodluck Jonathan told his party members at the PDP family dinner on Thursday night that they should always expect criticism from the opposition, warning that they should be bothered if the opposition remains silent.

He however insisted that the PDP remains the dominant party in the nation which has the interest of the Nigerians at heart.

According to the President, when the PDP was founded, the founding fathers created the party with the interest of Nigerians at heart and not by ganging-up against one individual.

The President without mentioning names inferred that the merger of some opposition political parties to form the All for Progressive Change (APC) was just a mission to gang-up against him or the PDP.

This he notes, is an anomaly which will enable the PDP to remain strong and the dominant party in the nation over a long period because it has the interest of people at heart.