A member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kassim Afegbua, says he will not support Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki for the second term in office.
He disclosed this on Monday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
“At least I am bold enough to come out in the open and say that I will not support Obaseki. It would have been different if I was hiding or pretending to be supporting him and doing some damages,” he said.
When asked if he will work against Obaseki being the PDP’s candidate in the forthcoming polls, Afegbua neither affirmed nor denied it.
He noted that his position on the governor is not borne out of greed, resentment or hatred, calling on some processes in democratic governance to be followed.
The former PDP spokesman in the 2019 presidential election is apparently aggrieved at Obaseki’s emergence as his party’s candidate shortly after decamping from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“My position on Obaseki is not borne out of desperation, greed or money politics. My position on Obaseki is borne out of the fact that there has to be a difference in the way and manner that democracy is run in this country.
“Someone cannot just join a party within 24 hours, you surrender every whims and caprice of the party to him and then you sit back and tell me that you are celebrating your Christmas early enough in the day,” he said.
Speaking further, Afegbua said he would distance himself from the PDP primary that produced Obaseki as the party’s candidate.
It will be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed September 19 for the Edo governorship election in the state.
A member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and a former commissioner in Edo State under the Oshiomhole administration, Kassim Afegbua, has defended the former governor’s actions in regards to the upfront payment of 75% for the construction of the Edo Specialist Hospital.
Oshiomhole had come under fire for allegedly breaching the state’s Public Procurement Law (during his tenure) which states that any contractor working on a government project should not receive more than 25% upfront payment upon the award of a contract.
But according to Afegbua, the 75% upfront payment was done in view of the fact that the equipment are state of the art items and also, “so that the company would not default in terms of manufacturing them”.
“These are not items you can buy across the counter. They are items that have to be manufactured to suit specifications,” he said on Wednesday during an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today.
Afegbua further explained that Section 47 of the procurement law, however, contains some exceptions which include that “in the event that you are going to pay more than 25%, there has to be a written request from the company. There also has to be a bank guarantee and or, an insurance bond to ensure that when you pay such amount of money, the contractor will not run away from site.
“So what we did as an EXCO, a body for which Governor Obaseki was part and parcel, was not out of place,” he said.
His comments were in response to allegations by Andrew Emwanta, the Senior Special Adviser on Public Affairs to Governor Obaseki, against the Oshiomhole administration.
Emwanta who was also a guest on the programme, had stated that not only was the payment of the 75% a breach of the law, but no equipment were actually delivered.
Speaking further, the SSA alleged that when President Muhammadu Buhari came to commission the hospital towards the end of Oshiomhole’s government, the equipment in the hospital were all hired from Lagos.
After the commissioning, according to him, the equipment were returned and the hospital was placed under lock and key.
“So when I hear the former governor talk about how the place was locked, he himself, locked the hospital.
“When the (new) governor came, the hospital was opened and we discovered that there were no equipment because when they hired these equipment from Lagos, before Oshiomhole left the government, they returned this equipment and there is no way the government can conceal such a public trust because health is at the core of every government policy,” Emwata said.
But Afegbua debunked the claims about the hired equipment, noting that the hospital is 75% ready in terms of equipment, 100% ready in terms of structure and set to function.
He also insisted that Governor Obaseki was not only aware of the process but was at the time, a member of the EXCO who saw to the execution of the payment plan.
“When we were approving that contract in 2016, as a government, as an EXCO, Governor Godwin Obaseki was our colleague then. He was part and parcel of the EXCO. “He also was one of those who gave advice that it would be better for us to have a 75% advance payment so that we can meet the fluctuations that were imminently going to happen as a result of our Naira devaluation,” he said.
According to him, “the same government on September 18, 2018, wrote a letter of commendation to Vamed (the Contractors) for having fulfilled the terms of contract of supply of equipment to that hospital.
“For you to now set up a commission of enquiry indicting us, it means that Obaseki is also indicted so, If he wants to try us, he should also remove his immunity and join us in the dock so that we can be tried together”.
Speaking further, the PDP spokesperson said he believes that the present government has deliberately refused to bring in and train personnel that would utilize the “sophisticated” equipment at the hospital, all in the bid to blackmail the past administration.
Meanwhile, Obaseki had earlier in the week assured the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that anyone found culpable, no matter how highly-placed, will be called to account for their action.
“We have been putting the right measures in place and if there are resources of government that need to be returned back, we will not hesitate to ask for it,” he said.
“Since I came into office, you can’t find this type of breach that you have mentioned. If people have to face prosecution, whether civil or criminal, they will have to be prosecuted”.
To prove how well he is doing, Afegbua said the elder statesman attended to some of his friends and associates who visited him on Sunday at his Minna Hilltop mansion in Niger State.
He thanked those who reached out to them when the death report surfaced and asked Nigerians to disregard it.
Babangida who turned 78 in August was military president between August 27, 1985, and August 26, 1993.
Read the full statement below:
It has become consistent fake news for quite some time now wishing our own IBB, the one we easily refer to as “the last don” of Nigeria politics, dead.
The “fake news bill” would be a suitable response to this category of fake news carrier. IBB is very much alive and bubbling.
He just started attending to friends and associates who came to see him today, Sunday, 15th December 2019 right here at his Minna Hilltop mansion.
He is full of life and in his characteristic bubbling mood. May Allah forgive those who wish IBB dead. God is the giver and taker of life, not humans.
Death, as the irrevocable end of all creation, will surely come to everyone someday and at the appointed time and hour, but to deliberately spread fake news and wish someone dead, is to take humanity to another bizarre level.
May Allah forgive them.
IBB, by the special grace of Allah, the omniscient and omnipotent One, shall live to fulfill his journey and destiny in life, to the consternation of those who are always wishing him dead.
This is about the third time this year.
We wish to thank those who took time to reach out to us, home and abroad, to find out the truth. We thank you all for your love, care and concern.
May Allah grant us all good health, sound mind, and long life. Amin.
The spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kassim Afegbua, has criticised the 2020 budget proposal presented by President Muhammadu Buhari last week.
Afegbua who was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics, said he expected the president to take his time to present a well-rounded budget that captures the current realities of the country.
He, therefore, described the proposed budget as “brilliant in nothingness”.
“The 2020 budget is very brilliant in nothingness, beautiful in rhetorics and empty in terms of realist appraisal of what the issues are, with respect to getting us out of the present predicament we’ve found ourselves,” he said.
“I was expecting that the president will tarry for a while to consult with his economic advisers so that they can make some very wonderful inputs into the budget but the haste at which he presented it, certain benchmarks that are not realistic, point to one direction that the APC-LED Federal Government does not understand the dynamics that obtain in the present government”.
Meanwhile, Mr Afegbua also took a swipe at the APC government over allegations of attempting to gag the press.
Reacting to comments by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, about the government’s plan to license WebTV and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into the country, he said he believes the move is aimed at stifling the activities of the press.
“I’m still trying to wonder why a government that is not trying to gag the press would come up with very obnoxious fees that will be paid by media organisations if in their own opinion they are found to have contravened certain sections of the NBC Code or NBC Act,” he said.
“I think under a democracy, the president does not enjoy that fiat to decide or to decree things into existence in a manner that will suggest that it is taking over the responsibility of the National Assembly which is vested with that responsibility of making laws, for the good governance of the country, to the extent of increasing penalties for breaches from 500,000 to 5 million and in that sequence, is quite undemocratic.
“The law guiding the broadcast media is very clear.
“The NBC Code is an old law that was put in place under the military government and is long overdue for some amendments but we are worried about a situation where the APC-led Federal Government has an NBC that is headed by an APC card-carrying member, who ran for election in Kwara State for governorship and is being made to be the Director-General of the NBC to superintend or moderate the activities of the broadcast media”.
The recent verdict of the Presidential Election Tribunal has continued to stir diverse reactions within the two major parties involved.
Latest in a series of arguments over the ruling, stemmed from a discussion between Mr Kassim Afegbua, the spokesperson for Peoples Democratic Party’s Presidential Campaign Council and Mr Salishu Mohammed a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who were both guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday.
Mr Kassim Afegbu while speaking on the controversial issue, called on the judiciary to wake up to its responsibility of safeguarding Nigeria’s democracy.
“Within these 100 days, we are also seeing that some Governors are negotiating with bandits. The Katsina State Government drove all through the forest and celebrating that they were strike deals with bandits.
“For me, the critical issues of security, unemployment, decayed infrastructure and all of that have to be captured properly if we are actually going to make headway”.
Also sharing his thoughts on the government’s performance so far, Presidential candidate of the Action Democratic Party, Sani Yabagi, said he is yet to see signs that would give Nigerians some confidence that the nation is on the right path.
He believes that while there have been a lot of programmes and motions, there is little to no implementation.
“In 100 days, nothing has changed in terms of the security architecture of this country. People are still being killed, kidnapped, and bandits are having their free will to do what they like.
“The President preparing to go to South Africa is good, but we have bigger problems at home.
“I think the 100 days is just about programmes, motions, no movement yet in terms of what is going to happen,” he said.
Meanwhile, Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, Femi Adesina, has asked Nigerians to expect good things under the administration’s second term.
He also believes that the concept of 100 days in office, ordinarily does not apply to returning governments and therefore, assured Nigerians that progress is being made in the key areas of security, economic development and the anti-graft war.
The spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign, Kassim Afegbua, has criticised the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government over its style of governance.
Agebua, who appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today said if the APC can govern the nation well, Nigerians would not be agitating.
His comments follow the Revolution Now protest that held on Monday in some parts of the country, an act that led to clashes between security agencies and protesters.
“If you look at the blueprint of the Revolution Now, they are asking for quite a number of very salient issues.
“But for the failure of government, for the failure of the All Progressives Congress-led government in certain critical sectors of the nation’s economy, both politics and the welfare of the people, this Revolution Now is beginning to gain attention in the minds of the people.
“If things were right, if the APC could seat down and provide governance, if they can govern the country very well, people will not be agitating for things like Revolution Now,” he said.
Afegbua’s comments follow the protest by some aggrieved Nigerians who in Lagos, Abuja and some parts of the country to express their displeasure over the spate of killings, unemployment among several other issues.
To the PDP presidential council spokesman, today’s demonstrations send a strong signal to the ruling class against bad governance contrary to the belief by some people that it was successful.
“For those APC chieftains who are overfed with the menu of some ideological precepts, they may see this as not succeeding, but in the minds and hearts of Nigerians, they are making a very strong statement over the misgovernance in the last four years.
“The APC government appears so confused, so rudderless, so clueless to the extent that there is no conversation on sensitive national issues,” he said.
When asked how the APC was voted into office despite alleging it to be so clueless, the PDP chieftain said he wouldn’t want to comment on something considered as a prejudice since the matter is pending in the court.
He, however, insisted that the 2019 presidential election to his opinion didn’t meet the requirement for being considered as fair.
A spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kassim Afegbua and a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Daniel Bwala, have argued a survey, ‘Buhari Meter’, which identified top policy issues that President Muhammadu Buhari should address in the next four years.
The survey which was carried out by Africa Polling Institute became the topic of discussion on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday. Key areas like Economy, Security, Infrastructure, Education and Corruption were highlighted by respondents in the 5019 sample-sized survey across the country.
According to Afegbua, the statistics of the survey confirmed that the Buhari-led federal government failed in delivering on their mandates.
“The statistics confirm the first four years of APC as a colossal failure. The economy has to wear two solid feet to the extent that it will be able to create jobs.
“I think the APC-led Federal Government is just rotating in circles and expecting different results.”
He explained that the Federal Government should address unemployment and Security challenges, to drive the country’s economy.
“This government needs to bring back those who have lost their jobs first before talking about 100 million Nigerians who are to be taken out of poverty in the next ten years.
“If you want to drive your economy, you must get your security architecture right; who are those guys coming to invest in the economy, are they the ones who will face the issue of banditry, kidnapping and bad roads.”
In reaction, Bwala said that the APC has a robust policy agenda to address the challenges highlighted in the survey and hope that it will be made available to Nigerians for proper accountability.
“The party has a comprehensive and robust policy agenda that will address all that in the next level proposal that our party will make efforts to make it available to Nigerians which people can focus on.”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of incompetence in handling the nation’s security challenges.
PDP’s spokesperson Mr. Kassim Afegbua, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari arrived into the country from his ‘private’ visit to the United Kingdom, said the President lacks the capacity to lead Nigeria out of its security crisis.
“The President has no capacity to manage us because he is busy managing himself,” Afegbua.
He accused the Federal Government of not addressing insecurity, claiming that it will be surprising if tomorrow’s headline does not capture any report of killing.
“I think what we have witnessed in the last four years is a replay of crass incompetence in the way and manner that the security of this country is being handled.
“Don’t forget that the Constitution (1999 as amended) states clearly that the primary responsibility of any government, particularly a government that prides itself as an anti-corruption government is the protection of lives and properties.
“And as we speak today, without sounding immodest, you will agree with me that it will be a surprise if tomorrow’s headline says no killing because almost every day when you read the newspaper it is one killing, too many,” he stated.
But reacting to the allegation, Adesina said the security challenges are as old as Nigeria.
He, however, reiterated the President’s commitment to tackle the security challenges effectively.
“The security challenge is almost as old as Nigeria. But we know that it spikes at some time and reduces at some time. We have challenges on our hands in different parts of the country.
“The President had been tackling that even before he travelled. It’s going to be a continuation of what he has been doing.
“Every week, there is a security meeting where the security chiefs and everybody in the security architecture meet with the President and they look at the problem and the steps being taken to solve them,” he stated.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have continued to trade blames over the poor state of the economy.
Mr Kassim Afegbua, PDP presidential campaign council spokesman, and Mr Jasper Azuatalam, APC’s deputy director for the south youth mobilisation, presidential campaign, continued the ongoing debate Wednesday while appearing on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
While PDP claimed that the lives of Nigerians were made better under its 16-year rule, the opposition party said the TraderMoni initiative is only a scheme for vote buying which has not really influenced the lives of Nigerians.
“From the record of performance of the APC in the last three and half years, I think it is obvious that this government does not have the capacity and the competence to manage the internal contradictions in the country and thereafter deliver on its electoral promises.
“To that extent, people have compared two scenarios. The first is that of PDP, the second is that of APC. And they can compare and trust that life was better under the PDP and this is very instructive. And if you look at what was gotten in the last three and half years, life has become much more difficult now.
“The APC will naturally come up with this weather-beaten rhetoric of saying that 16 years of PDP, they didn’t do well. We are doing so much and all of that. But when you look at the statistics, they are completely negative – whether our GDP, job creation or borrowing, unemployment, insecurity, anti-corruption fight,” Afegbua stated.
In reply to PDP’s claims, the APC said it would not bow to pressure by the opposition to stop the TraderMoni programme of the Federal Government, insisting that the initiative has bettered the lives of the masses.
APC spokesman, Jasper Azuatalam said he considered the criticism by the main opposition PDP an abuse on the sensitivity of Nigerians that voted the party into office in 2015.
Azuatalam accused the PDP of creating what he described as “hunger and poverty in the land”, vowing that the party would continue to deliver on its electoral promises to Nigerians.
“I consider this an abuse to the sensitivity of Nigerians who voted the All Progressives Congress (APC) to come and ameliorate the challenges, the poverty and the hunger that was created by the PDP.
“And I will want to state it here clearly and unequivocally that the APC-Federal Government will never stop the TraderMoni initiative because terming this to be vote buying means that PDP and their cronies are fighting so hard to see that Nigerians continue to suffer and the developmental strides of APC are not felt.
“I wonder how somebody will tag the TraderMoni an initiative that the Federal Government has brought to reach out to market people. The PDP has seen that this is making the people believe so much in the Buhari-led Federal Government and they are saying that Buhari must stop the TraderMoni. Buhari will never stop the TraderMoni, it will continue,” Azuatalam argued.
The TraderMoni is a federal government initiative aimed at providing two million petty traders across the country with collateral-free loans.
Human rights lawyer Femi Falana has condemned the alleged invitation of the spokesperson for former military President Ibrahim Babangida, Mr Kassim Afegbua, by the Department of State Service (DSS).
In a statement issued by him and obtained by Channels Television on Friday, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria said the security agency lacked the power to issue such invitation.
Mr Afegbua was in the news recently after he issued a controversial statement in which General Babangida allegedly asked President Muhammadu Buhari to step down in 2019 to allow for a generational shift.
The former military President swiftly distanced himself from the statement while his spokesman insisted that it was endorsed by his boss.
On his part, Falana noted that the Inspector General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, rightly decided not to press charges against Babangida’s spokesman following his invitation, upon realising that he did not commit any offence known to law over the issuance of the said statement.
He, however, faulted Afegbua’s summoning for interrogation over the same matter by the DSS, stressing that the decision of the police had ended his “needless harassment”.
“The Police had claimed that Mr Afegbua had defamed General Babangida; if the retired General was defamed in the publication, he has the liberty to seek redress in a high court.
“But the State Security Service has no power to convert the alleged civil wrong of defamation to a criminal offence to warrant the harassment of Mr Afegbua,” the lawyer said.
He further noted that the invitation by the DSS “constitutes a gross abuse of powers”, since the alleged denial of the press statement by General Babangida has not caused any threat to the internal security of the country.
Falana stated that the Supreme Court had held while ruling on a case sometimes ago that the power of the DSS “is strictly limited to the prevention and detention of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria as stipulated by section 2 of the National Security Agencies Act.”
He then called on President Buhari to restrain the security agency from subjecting Babangida’s spokesman to any form of interrogation.
According to him, such act violates Afegbua’s fundamental rights to personal liberty and fair hearing guaranteed by the Constitution.
Before reporting himself, Afegbua explains that he is simply being a law-abiding citizen by presenting himself to the police.
“When I was declared wanted on Channels TV and NTA, he (General Babangida) was the one who called me and said, ‘why are they declaring you wanted? Are you a criminal?’
“So, we laughed over it. He asked ‘are you on the run, have they given you an invitation?’ I replied No.
“So, I am very much in touch with him, I am not doing anything out of the blues. I am only here because I was declared wanted. I am not a criminal, I am not on the run. As a responsible Nigerian, I felt it was unwise on the part of the police to declare me wanted when I have not been invited,” he said.
He, however, explained that he has withdrawn his suit against the media houses but maintains his suit filed against the Inspector General of Police and the Nigeria Police Force.
“I have withdrawn the suit filed against NTA and Channels, formally filed at the Federal High Court. And so, I am suing the IG of police and the police as it were, for infringing on my right and demeaning my person and maligning my reputation,” he said.