PDP Crisis: Goodluck Jonathan Sets Up Reconciliation Committee

PDP Crisis: Goodluck Jonathan Sets Up Reconciliation CommitteeAs part of efforts to address the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria’s former President, Goodluck Jonathan, has announced the composition of a special Reconciliation Committee.

The committee would be made up of former Vice President, Namadi Sambo, former Senate President, David Mark and other eminent members of the party.

The former president made the announcement in Abuja, after a stakeholders meeting. He appealed to members of the party to bury their differences in order to end the crisis bedeviling it.

He stated in his address that although the party has experienced some difficulty in the last two years, the situation was not strange especially in a democratic setting.

“There is no doubt that our party has in the last two years, gone through some difficulties. However, in a democracy, this is not strange in the life of a political party, especially after losing power to the opposition party as we did.

“I should note that the situation is similar, albeit milder, even in advanced democracies. We should not forget that the labour party in the United Kingdom, the Democratic Party in the United States both of which lost power at different times, have also been making efforts to reunite, reconcile and and re-energise to become stronger before the next general elections.

“I will like to point out that every election cycle throws up challenges as well as opportunities for a political party,” Mr Jonathan stated.

Other members of the committee include all PDP governors or their deputies, two former governors to represent the north and the south, Deputy Senate President, Senate Minority Leader, two former ministers and two representatives from the youth wing of the party.

David Mark Jnr. Seeks Better Funding For Golf In Nigeria

David Mark Jnr. Advocates Better Funding For Golf In NigeriaThe Technical Director and Coordinator of the Otukpo, Benue State-based David Mark Golf Academy, Mr David Mark Jnr. has appealed to sports enthusiasts to support the development of the game at the grassroots level.

Mr Mark Jnr. made the appeal while speaking at the 2nd Annual Amateur Golf Tournament for junior players at the Otukpo Golf Club.

He said that junior golfers from Nigeria are in a position to win medals at the 2018 Junior Olympics if given the necessary support.

The tournament which featured junior golfers and amateur players from ‎Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue and Bauchi States was teed off by former Senate President, Senator David Mark.

Senator Mark stressed the need for Nigerians to invest in sports at the youth level in order to positively engage the youths in productive ventures.

Three Serving Southeast Governors To Join APC Soon – Okorocha

Imo Govt. Floats New Airline Says It Will Boost State EconomyThe Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has disclosed that three serving southeast governors would soon join the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The governor disclosed during the APC southeast stakeholders’ meeting at the Imo International Conference Centre in Owerri, the state’s capital.

He called on the people of the region to continue to support the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration so that the Igbos would not be left out in the scheme of things at the national level.

Governor Okorocha further disclosed that as a former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, joins the APC, the vacuum of a national leader would be filled.

“Now that Igbo leaders are together in APC, Nigerians will hear us. There is a vaccum of leadership in the Southeast APC.

“I am a governor, my brothers Chris Ngige and Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu are Ministers; hence the importance of Ken Nnamani coming at this time.

Right Party For The Igbos

“I decline of the leadership of Ndi-Igbo in APC. With Ken Nnamani, the question of who is the leader of APC in the southeast has been answered. Ken Nnamani is the leader of APC in the southeast.

“Senator Nnamani should then work with other leaders like Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Jim Nwobodo and a host of others to give Ndi-Igbo political direction.

“Those who have joined the party or who want to join should do so to build the party and not to cause confusion. APC is the right party for the Igbos and the only party that can guarantee Igbo presidency.

“We are going to support President Muhammadu Buhari for the eight years he is going to lead the nation.

“This is the time for Ndi-Igbo to come and work together. We are also going to use the Anambra election to show that APC has arrived southeast.

“The Igbos played bad politics in 2015. Today we have lost a lot. We are not anywhere because of our bad politics,” Okorocha added.

Politics Of Ideas

Supporting the notion, Senator Nnamani said the Igbos need more of their representatives at the national leadership of the APC where decisions were made, and even at the National Assembly and other strategic areas.

“Some of us going into APC are not doing so because of hunger, but in the interest of the Igbos.

“We should play politics of ideas, and avoid abusive words. Ndi-Igbo do not have the ingredients for opposition politics. We do not have the media or business or money to play opposition politics, but we won’t ask for handouts.

“How the Yorubas voted in 2015 should be an eye-opener. They voted both sides, but the south-east put their eggs in one basket. I am not of the view that everybody should be in APC, but those who have seen the need should do so.

“If governor Okorocha has realized that he needs more hands in APC, he should be commended. We are worst enemies of ourselves. If we work together we will go very very far. This is the time to play National Politics.

“Some people could say we have the Deputy Senate President, but he does not attend the meeting of APC caucus where important decisions are taken.

“We must think ahead. The benefit of that office is therefore personal and does not enhance the political fortunes of the south-east people,” the former Senate President said.

Electoral Institute Stresses Need For Electoral Reform

Electoral Institute, Electoral ReformThe Electoral Institute says Nigeria needs to improve its electoral service delivery and get the reform process right in order to stabilise its democracy.

The Director-General of the Electoral Institute, Professor Abubakar Momoh, made the remarks on Thursday during a meeting with stakeholders in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He said that although series of talks and committees had been formed to establish a panacea to credible elections, the independence of the nation’s electoral body had come into question.

Highlighting the role of the media, Professor Momoh pointed out that the issues of rising poverty, corruption and erosion of public institutions should not easily sway media practitioners.

He said that the media has a huge role to play in solving the many challenges bedevilling the nation’s electoral process.

The guest lecturer, who is a professor of Political Science at the University of Ibadan, Adigun Agbaje, posited that the attitude of politicians was largely to blame for Nigeria’s eroding democratic values.

Other experts at the gathering also cited the experience at the Edo State governorship election as one of the ways politicians erode the foundation of democracy.

They maintained that the culture of impunity during elections must be addressed.

The stakeholders said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s renewed focus on reforming the electoral process should be sustained to the letter.

The Federal Government had constituted an Electoral Reform Committee headed by a former Senate President, Mr Ken Nnamani.

The government said the committee was set up, not as an imitation of the Justice Mohammed Uwais’ panel, but to improve on the preceding one.

FG Says Electoral Reform Committee Not An Imitation

Ken Nnamani on Electoral Reform CommitteeThe Nigerian Government says its newly inaugurated Electoral Reform Committee is not an imitation of the Justice Mohammed Uwais’ panel.

The government, however, said it had constituted the committee to improve on the preceding one.

The head of the committee and a former Senate President, Mr Ken Nnamani, made the clarification on Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Reduce Poll Rigging

Senator Nnamani pointed out that President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to turn around the nation’s electoral system, in order to reduce the prevalence of polls rigging and violence.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, also made further explanation on the newly inaugurated committee.

He said the 24-man panel was carefully selected from across board.

Mr Malami was hopeful that the committee would among other things, enthrone transparency and come up with implementable recommendations.

He said the committee had been given 10 weeks to submit its report.

Diversionary and Unnecessary

Dr. Dele Ashiru

However, a lecturer at the University of Lagos’ Political Science Department, Dr. Dele Ashiru, was of the belief that another electoral committee was unnecessary.

Dr. Ashiru berated the government for its refusal to implement the recommendations of past committees that had been set up to review Nigeria’s electoral system.

He told Channels Television that recommendations of past electoral committees were yet to be implemented, describing the Nnamani panel as diversionary and unnecessary.

Ashiru wondered what area of the electoral system had not been covered by the Justice Uwais report.

He highlighted some of the recommendations of the Uwais panel, which he believed if implemented, would provide solutions to many challenges faced during elections in Nigeria.

The academic emphasised the need for the Electoral Offences Commission and the exemption of the Independent National Electoral Commission from the internal affairs of political parties, as key recommendations that should be implemented.

Former Senate President Ken Nnamani Dumps PDP

Nnamani Nigeria’s former No 3 man, former Senate President Ken Nnamani, has dumped the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Senator Nnamani, on Saturday, formally announced his exit from the party on which platform he became the Senate President.

He told Channels TV that he would be taking a break from partisan politics for a while but will be ready to advise or assist the government of the day to help achieve its desires.

The former National Assembly Chairman, said that he would also not hesitate to criticize the government for its errors.

Senator Nnamani said, “I do not believe I should continue to be a member of the PDP as it is defined today. This is certainly not the party I joined years ago to help change my country.

“I do not also believe that the PDP as it is managed today will provide an opportunity for me to continue to play the politics of principles and values which I set for myself as a young man on leaving graduate school and working for a large multinational in the United States in the 70s and 80s.”

Appeal Court Verdict: David Mark Calls For Calm

David Mark Senate President on PDPFormer Senate President, David Mark has called on his constituents to remain calm and be law abiding following the Benue State  Election Appeal Tribunal which ordered a re-run of Benue South senatorial election.

In a statement issued by the Media Assistant to Senator Mark, Paul Mumeh on Saturday, the Senator told his constituents not to be deterred by the verdict, but be strengthened ahead of the re-run.

He believed that he won the election convincingly and has no doubt that his constituents would turn out en masse to vote for him again.

“Whatever the situation may be, one thing I know is that my people are solidly behind me. They also appreciate the fact that I have done more than enough to lift up Idoma nation to a position of eminence in the contemporary political history of Nigeria”, Senator Mark stated.

He insisted: “I won the election clean and clear. If we go back to the polls 100 times, I will still win convincingly”.

Earlier on Saturday, the Appeal Court ordered a fresh election to Benue south Senatorial district won by Senator Mark of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Daniel Onjeh of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Appeal Court Nullifies David Mark’s Election

Appeal Court Nullifies David Mark's ElectionA Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi, Benue State capital, has nullified the election of former senate president, David Mark.

The Makurdi division of the Court of Appeal on Saturday, ordered a re-run of the poll within 90 days.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate for Benue South, Mr Donald Onjeh had challenged the decision of the National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal, which upheld the victory of Senator Mark of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Mr Onjeh’s lawyer, Adetunji Oso, also urged the Appellate Court to allow his appeal and set aside the decision of the Tribunal.

He said the court erred when it held that the papers tendered by his client were mere documentary hearsay.

The documents, according to Mr Oso, demonstrated that while the collation of results for the Benue South senatorial district’s election on March 28 was still ongoing in seven of the nine local government areas, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), declared Senator Mark winner of the poll.

Nnamani Tasks Buhari On War Against Corruption

Nnamani Tasks Buhari On War Against CorruptionNigeria’s former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the war against corruption is extended to all parts of the country.

Senator Nnamani, made the call sequel to President Buhari’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where the President described corruption and cross border financial crimes as “major obstacles to development and economic growth”.

Senatoe Nnamani advocated the spread of the anti-corruption campaign across board irrespective of who is involved and in which administration he served.

He also asked the Nigerian President to ensure that all issues of monumental graft, especially those that have brought Nigeria international disrespect such as the Halliburton and Siemens scandals are prosecuted.

Various groups have also called on President Buhari to intensify efforts in his fight against corruption as Nigeria celebrates its 55 years of independence.

A Clergy, Rev Funsho Ajibode, during a march, organised by New Convenient Church to commemorate the Independence Day anniversary in Osogbo, to urged the President to take Nigeria notches higher than he met the country.

He noted that Nigeria at 55 is yet to reach its potential and might not be unconnected with the way it had been governed in the past, stressing that a lot of things were misplaced.

Enugu Governor-elect Promises Better Days Ahead

EnuguEnugu State Governor-elect, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has thanked the people of the state for electing him, promising better days ahead when he assumes office.

Presenting his acceptance speech at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Campaign Office at Independence Layout in Enugu the capital city, the governor-elect thanked the party men and women, and the leadership of the party at the national, state and local government levels.

He expressed gratitude to the elder statesmen in the like of former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, former governors and the state incumbent governor, Sullivan Chime, and the entire Enugu State for their support.

Mr. Uguwanyi affirms his commitment to seeing through the legacy of the four-point administrative blue print of the present government, noting that he would usher in his own new agenda which include, employment generation, social services , good governance, rural development, security and justice.

He further praised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for conducting a free and fair poll, adding that he is happy that his election had been widely acknowledged as transparent and credible, devoid of violence and crisis.

The state residents who defied the heavy rain of April 11 in Enugu to vote for the Mr. Ugwuanyi, however, made known their expectations in the area of employment, education and social amenities.

They also said they wanted the incoming government to address the environmental challenges on Mmiriocha Bridge in Abakpa Nike, where wastes and erosion are threatening the neighbourhood.

National Leadership Of PDP To Reconcile Factions In Kwara

Kwara PDPThe Kwara State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has been undergoing rejuvenation to ensure the success of the party in 2015.

Since the emergence of the present executive, the party has been battling to reconcile aggrieved members and the situation led the national leadership of the party to send a reconciliation committee to visit the state to reconcile aggrieved members.

The State Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Iyiola Oyedepo, after emerging as the head of the party at the state congress of the party, had affirmed the crisis and fractions within the party and promised to tackle it.

The national leadership, in its effort to ensure that no excuse is given for lapses in the state, then inaugurated the North Central Zone Reconciliation Committee, headed by the former national chairman of the party, Dr. Bello Haliru, to visit and reconcile members in the state.

The 15-man committee, which also includes the former Senate President, Adolphous Wabara, held several closed door meetings with relevant stakeholders and has pleaded with those aggrieved to sheathe their swords and not do anything that would affect the chances of the party.

They also applauded the state executive for its effort to ensure that the party remains relevant in the state.

The national leadership of the party had earlier held a big rally in Ilorin to express support for the members who did not defect to the All Progressives Congress, APC but decided to stay within the party.

The Metropolitan Square was filled with party faithful within and outside the state who promised to work for the success of the party.

Commenting on the alleged friction within the leaders of the party in the state, a party chieftain, John Dara, at the rally, agreed that there was rivalry but noted that there was no bitterness.

Another notable member of the party, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, had expressed belief that the PDP was well positioned and ready to wrestle power, adding that the harmonious relationship among leaders would ensure victory for the party in 2015.

2015 Elections: Jonathan Restates Commitment To Conducting Credible Polls

PPresident Goodluck Jonathan has assured Nigerians and the international community that he is more committed than ever before to making the 2015 elections more credible than the 2011 elections.

The President said this when he received the report of the National Forum on Electoral Reform, headed by former Senate President, Ken Nnamani.

The President commended the efforts and what he called painstaking commitment of the forum to come up with the report, which outlined some key areas that the relevant departments of Government would look into to strengthen the electoral process.

The recommendations by the National Forum on Electoral Reform include; the establishment of electoral offences commission, funding of INEC and support for constitutional/electoral reform proposals made by the commission, compliance to internal democracy and campaign finance regulation ahead of the 2015 elections and respect for the rule of law by political parties.

The President, while reacting, noted that the recommendations were not strange, as they were in tandem with the Federal Government’s thinking and policy.

Particularly on the establishment of an electoral offences commission, President Jonathan noted that there was a bill before the National Assembly, and agreed that there must be a dedicated body to ensure “that people who commit electoral offences would not get away with it.”