The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed for Monday, June 30, for the hearing of a suit urging the court to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise Professor Olawale Oladipo as the National Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The plaintiffs in the suit are the state chairmen of the party in Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ondo as well as financial secretaries in Lagos and Ekiti. They are Chief Adebayo Dayo, Alhaji Olayinka Taiwo, Alhaji Gani Olaoluwa, Chief Ebenezer Alabi, Dr. Tope Aluko and Chief Taiwo Kuye.
The defendants are INEC, the PDP and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
Prince Oyinlola was suspended and expelled from the party sometime in November 2013 but was reinstated to office by the Court of Appeal.
Dissatisfied with this decision, the plaintiffs proceeded to the Supreme Court to challenge the ruling. They also filed a motion at the Supreme Court for a Stay of Execution of the Court of Appeal judgment which reinstated Prince Oyinlola.
That application would be heard on July 6, 2014.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, counsel to INEC, Vilba Kintai asked the court to strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction, insisting that it was an intra-party dispute.
The commission argued that it does not recognize Prof Wale Oladipo who was nominated by the South West Caretaker Committee as the national secretary of the PDP because the party’s leadership had not produced any court order to that effect.
Counsel to Prince Oyinlola, Mr Gboyega Oyewole, also filed a preliminary objection seeking the dismissal of the suit. He argued that the suit is subjudice because a sister case exists in a court in Abuja where Prince Oyinlola is challenging his expulsion by the party.
The lawyer also noted that Prof Oladipo whom the plaintiffs want the court to recognise is not a party in the present suit.
Counsel to the plaintiffs, Ifeoma Esom, wants the court to dismiss the preliminary objections raised by the defendants. The plaintiffs seek an order directing INEC to recognise and deal only with Prof Oladipo until 2016 when a new National Convention of the PDP will be convened to elect his successor.
Counsel to the PDP, Mr Yamzat Yusuf has however told the court that he has only just been served with the preliminary objections and would need time to respond.
The presiding judge, then directed all parties to exchange and reconcile briefs before adjourning the matter to Monday June 30, 2014 for further hearing.
President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed shock and sadness over the death of renowned business man and religious leader, Abdul–Azeez Arisekola-Alao.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, read: “On behalf of himself, the Federal Government and the people of Nigeria, President Jonathan extends sincere condolences to the Arisekola-Alao family as well as the people of Ibadan and Oyo State on the passing away of the famed Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland.
“As they mourn the famous entrepreneur, community and religious leader, President Jonathan urges his family, relatives, friends, associates and dependents to be comforted by the fact that Alhaji Arisekola-Alao lived a much fulfilled life, and in passing on, leaves behind a legacy of significant and commendable achievements.”
The President also noted that Arisekola-Alao would always be remembered and honoured, especially for the remarkable entrepreneurial skills with which he established many successful businesses and created jobs for numerous Nigerians, as well as for his religious leadership and philanthropic gestures.
He prayed that God Almighty would receive his soul and grant him eternal rest.
Also, the Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, has also sent his condolence to the family of the late businessman. The Governor said that the passage of the front line politician and religious leader would leave a vacuum that would be very hard to fill in Oyo State in particular and Nigeria in general.
According to the Governor, Aare Arisekola would be sorely missed by all for his widely acknowledged philanthropy, statesmanship and entrepreneurial leadership.
Governor Fashola said that the indelible mark left by Arisekola in the field of commerce and industry and the contribution he made to the economic development of the South West region and Nigeria in general would never be forgotten in a hurry.
The late Ibadan businessman and the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Abdulazeez Arisekola Alao died on Wednesday June 17 at a hospital in Switzerland where he was undergoing treatment.
After 21 years, the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election is still being referred to as the best ever conducted in Nigeria’s history.
On that day, millions of Nigerians trooped out to perform their civic duty, looking beyond ethno-religious bias to participate in the electoral process.
The controversy here is that the election, believed to have been won by late Chief Moshood Abiola on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party, was annulled by the military regime under General Ibrahim Babangida.
After waiting for over a year with his mandate nowhere in sight, Abiola declared himself the lawful President of Nigeria on June 11, 1994.
His address, delivered in Epetedo, Lagos, included an announcement that he has formed a government of national unity which he was to head.
He died on July 7, 1998 in Abuja fighting for his mandate.
South West states have declared today a work-free day while many civil society organizations have lined up different events to mark the day.
Head, Sports Desk of Channels Television, Austin Okon-Akpan, today (Tuesday) announced the commencement date of the Channels National Kids Cup as May 24-27.
Speaking during the Station’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, Mr Okon-Akpan stated that teams to participate in the National tourney include states from “Jigawa, Sokoto, Kaduna, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Abia, Rivers, Ebonyi and Kwara” adding that “we are ready to start catching them young”.
Mr Okon-Akpan, who noted that four teams will be representing Lagos State, added that the excitement that has greeted the competition will make it absolutely interesting.
He singled out Ishiaka Adedeji from Ebute-Metta Primary School, whom he tipped to be one among many star players to be watched during the competition.
He urged the relevant football authorities in the country to “monitor and support these group of players” insisting that “the next Cristiano Ronaldo will emerge from the group”.
He commended the efforts of School Road, Aba in Abia State for producing some Super Eagles players and wondered how the players from Lagos and other States will handle the protégés of footballing heroes past.
He however sent the message of the Lagos representatives, who just concluded their preliminaries, to those coming from around the country, including School Road, Aba.
He said “the Lagos guys said don’t care if they are coming from any school, they are ready and will fight till the end”.
He likened the talents of Yusuf Ajayi to world goalkeeping legends, George Campos of Mexico and Jose Luis Chilavert of Paraguay, who were famous for their specialty in dead ball situations and acrobatic goalkeeping style.
Mr Okon-Akpan promised Nigerians that the competition will be no less as interesting as the national and international competitions that take place in Nigeria, Africa and the entire world and maintained that “for us at Channels Television, the objective is simple, we want to be able to catch them at this level. Not necessarily take them to one club or academy”.
“The fact that you take them out of their classrooms and give them the opportunity to show that they can play football; they have talents in them, I think it is admirable” he said.
He however berated the unfortunate incident of age cheats during the preliminary stage of the competition and warned that all hands will be on deck to check other schools coming from the states mentioned above and ensure that the scourge is reduced to its barest minimum during the competition.
The expanded meeting convened by the Federal Government to look at security situation in Nigeria has kicked off in the Presidential Villa with President Goodluck Jonathan presiding.
The meeting which has a fuller house as against what happened a week before, has many of the governors from the opposition parties present.
The President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Nigeria and the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, as well as the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor are also attending the meeting.
Twenty-four governors are in attendance while the governors of Jigawa, Imo, Oyo, Rivers, Kano, Ogun, Plateau, Edo and Yobe are being represented by their deputies.
The security chiefs in attendance are; the Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the Inspector-General of Police, the Comptrollers-General of Customs and Immigration, Corp Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps and the Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp.
The Interior Minister, Mr. Abba Moro, Minister of Defence, General Aliyu Gusau, the Minister of Police Affairs, Mr. Abduljelil Adesiyan, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Viola Onwuleri, Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adeshina and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, are also present.
The expanded National Security Council meeting was summoned by President Jonathan following the bombing in Nyanya, Abuja and the abduction of over one hundred female students from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno.
The Nigeria Customs Service has warned Nigerians to be wary of the consumption of contaminated rice that could be illegally smuggled into the country through neighbouring African countries.
The area comptroller Oyo/Oshun command of Customs, Richard Oteri, who gave the warning at the headquarters of the command in Ibadan on Saturday, told Channels Television exclusively that some of the rice seized from smugglers by his team were not good for consumption.
While disclosing the large seizure that was made along the Iseyin/Saki axis of Oyo State, the area comptroller advised consumers to check rice properly in the market before purchase, as some of the contaminated ones could be re-bagged and sold to Nigerians.
Oteri pointed out that smugglers may use the festive season to perpetuate their nefarious activities and bring in contraband goods, but he stressed that the command was “ready to make sure they do not succeed”.
A total of 1,300 bags of 50kg rice with a duty paid value of 16 million Naira were seized by the crack team led by Alajogun Joseph.
Oteri further stated that the importation of rice through Nigeria’s sea ports was the only allowed form of importation. “All those importers who bring in rice through neighbouring African countries will continue to be treated as smugglers with the full weight of the law bearing on them,” he said..
A total of 15,485 bags of 50kg rice with a duty paid value of approximately 173million Naira have been seized by the Oyo /Osun Area Command of Customs in the past one year as a result of intensified heat on illegal importation of rice into the 2 states.
Making this disclosure in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, Oyo/Osun Area Comptroller of Customs, Richard Oteri, several unscrupulous Nigerians have resolved to make smuggling their tasks in life despite its attendant risks to the lives of individuals and the economy of the country at large.
Oteri added that the command was poised to make the business as unprofitable as possible for those who refuse to heed repeated government warning on smuggling.
The latest seizure of the command included 9 buses fully loaded with 481 bags of 50kg rice, fairly used cars, fabrics, and among other items.
Seizures and offloading of carefully concealed rice has become a common scene at the headquarters of Oyo/Osun Area Command of the Customs in Ibadan the Oyo State capital. Between March 2013 and March 2014 alone, almost 16,000 bags of 50kg rice have been intercepted, with the duty paid value put at about 173 million Naira.
Oteri disclosed that the smugglers get more crafty by the day, concealing rice with items like charcoal, yam flour, saw dust, yams, cassava waste and other dairy products.
He added that the Comptroller-General of Customs remains resolute in his commitment to fully implement the rice import policy and warned Nigerians who patronise neighbouring African ports instead of the nation’s sea sorts for smuggling purposes to desist from the act or lose their investment.
State governors, under the banner of the All Progressives Congress Governors’ Forum, have met in Lagos to deliberate on strategies to strengthen the party and have also taken a look at the state of the nation.
Reading from a communique issued at the end of their meeting, the Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, Rochas Okorocha, said that members of the National Assembly have a right to re-align themselves with parties of their choice without being sanctioned.
Other issues discussed at the meeting included, the alleged police brutality in Rivers State, preparations for the commencement of membership registration and the need for INEC to make adequate preparations for the upcoming elections in Ekiti and Osun states.
The forum maintained that there was need for adequate preparations in order “to forestall a repeat of the electoral sham experienced in Anambra and Delta States and to restore credibility in the electoral process”.
They also reviewed the preparations for the commencement of membership registration into the party, and urged all prospective members, sympathizers and party structures to fully support the process for a comprehensive documentation and registration of members.
On the political and security situation in Rivers State, the forum frowned at the conduct of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu and maintained “that the Nigeria Police Force is not a PDP police and such flagrant violations of the Constitution and laws of Nigeria should henceforth stop”.
They also deliberated on the need for strengthening the All Progressives Congress and its structures as well as discussed political developments in APC States with the aim of building a common development agenda.
Other APC Governors in attendance at the meeting include, Governors of Nassarawa, Osun, Ekiti, Ogun, Oyo and Rivers states; Tanko Almakura, Rauf Aregbesola, Kayode Fayemi, Ibikunle Amosun, Abiola Ajimobi and Rotimi Amaechi, while the Deputy Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umaru Ganduje represented his State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso.
The Interim National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Lai Mohammed, has said that the party had foreseen that the coming together of different parties would cause the APC problems.
While speaking on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ , he said that the moment the defunct ACN, ANPP, CPC, section of DPP and APGA, came together they knew it would lead to differences at some point with everyone wanting to protect interests but that they were well prepared for it.
He noted that the defection of the five governors from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, did not make things easier but the party had set up a Harmonization Committee to ensure a seamless blending.
The APC Chieftain refused to be compared to the ruling PDP in terms of party crisis. He argued that theirs was a different situation and indeed “unique in the history of Africa”, as what they achieved in merging such number of strong parties had never been achieved in the history of democracy in the continent.
He expressed optimism that the minor issues would soon be resolved with everyone coming back together. “What is important is that we will be stronger”. He stood by his past comments about the PDP not being able to handle its problems, insisting that the APC was different.
While referring to comments made by the PDP that the APC was made up of “strange bed fellows” with their make-up of different political parties, persons of different political backgrounds and lately the aggrieved PDP governors, Mr Mohammed said that the APC was simply playing by the rules of politics.
“You cannot effect a change from the outside, except u want to rig. In politics numbers are important.”
He dismissed the fear that the new members would pollute the values of the party, maintaining that the APC was a well structured party and the many people joining or defecting to the party would not pollute its values.
He enthused: “We have a manifesto, they can’t change it” but rather they would adjust from the ways of their former parties to do things in line with the APC’s ideology.
What exactly is the philosophy of APC?
As it has been a common criticism that Nigeria’s political parties lacked ideologies, since the defection of the five PDP governors to the APC, Mr Mohammed was asked to clarify the actual ideologies of the All Progressives Congress.
The APC Publicity Secretary said that the ideology of his party had never been hidden from the public as it had always been available on the party’s website for anyone who wished to know to read up.
He however went further to state that the All Progressives Congress was a “Left of the centre party”, a welfarist party that believed that the wellbeing of the people was the basic responsibility of any government.
The APC places the provision of amenities, security, and education as its priorities.
He said that the ideologies of the APC were obvious from the differences it had made in states where the PDP once ruled. Citing examples of the APC states of Osun, Oyo, and Ogun, he stressed that a proper comparison between the APC’s three years of governance to the eight years spent by the PDP governors would enable people understand the ideologies of the party better.
He also added that the APC was already rubbing off on the PDP defectors rather than the party losing its own values.
The Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, who was among the five PDP governors that joined the APC, has already declared free education in Kano State, while the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has also set up a committee to develop a plan for the employment of over 5,000 youths in the state.
The APC leader also debunked rumours that the party was confused on who to present as its candidate at the 2015 General Election.
Laughing at what he termed “creative rumour mill that emanates from Nigeria”, he stated that the issue of who flies the party’s candidacy at any level has never risen as the party was busy building its structure.
With member registration slated for the end of January 2014, congress in February, to be followed by the National Convention in March, there was no way they could have had time to discuss candidacy.
He insisted that the Party’s constitution was clear on how candidates at different levels should emerge and there was no pressure on whom to put forward at the coming elections.
Ogun APC Crisis
Mr Lai Mohammed also tried to exonerate the national leadership of the APC on allegations that it caused the crisis rocking the Ogun State APC through its imposition of an executive on the members without following laid down rules.
He explained that part of the conditions for merger as required by the National Electoral Commission, INEC, was that names of interim national officers were expected to be provided, and the Interim National Committee set guidelines for selecting the persons who should be in the interim based on their political qualifications.
While providing details of the agreement with all merging parties, the set guidelines and the concessions given, he insisted that the party followed these rules as set during the merger agreements, adding that the people complaining about imposition of candidates in Ogun State APC did not know that agreements were made and rules had been set to ensure that old or new APC members were equally treated.
Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC), may be heading to the court to ask the federal government to explain the several deductions from their federal allocations.
Speaking to journalists after a meeting of the governors in Abuja, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, who is also the chairman of the forum, said that some states in the last few months have had about 40 per cent of the allocations deducted.
He described the deductions as illegal and that every constitutional means will be explored to ensure the deductions are stopped.
Other governors who attended the meeting include Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun state, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state, Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe state and the Deputy Governor of Borno state, Alhaji Umar Mustapha.
On the proposed National Dialogue, the governors said that the Party will make its stand known at the end of their National Executive Committee meeting, which is on-going at the Party’s National secretariat in Abuja.
The Amaechi-led Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has called on the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to resign her appointment or manage the economy well.
They said the non-compliance with the revenue projections of the Federal Government 2013 Budget, was a direct breach of the provisions of the Appropriation Act, 2013.
These decisions were part of the resolutions of the Governor Rotimi Amaechi-led NGF, which met on Tuesday evening.
Amaechi, who read the communique of the meeting, said “Members expressed concern in the management of the economy by the Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy and called for a strict adherence to the Appropriation Act, 2013.
They also pointed out that the National Economic Council (NEC) is the right body to manage the economy and not the Economic Management Team (EMT).
“Forum observed that the National Economic Council is constitutionally responsible for the management of the economy and should be used for that purpose as opposed to the Economic Management Team constituted by the Presidency.”
The governors also called on the National Assembly to separate the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation from that of the Accountant-General of the Federal Government for the purpose of accountability and better management of the economy.
States which were represented by their governors at the meeting were those of Rivers, Niger, Kwara, Osun, Ekiti, Ogun, Adamawa, Oyo, Lagos, Sokoto, Jigawa, Kano and Zamfara while deputy governors of Edo, Borno and Nasarawa states represented their governors.
A security analyst, Mr Ona Ekhomu has called on the Joint Task Force to increase its operations in Edo state, where members of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, are hiding.
Speaking on Sunrise, Mr Ekhomu said that the insurgency has moved to the southern region of the country, into states like Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo and Edo. He added that Edo state is where the Ansaru factionof the insurgency, which was operating in Kogi, is now running into to escape law enforcement and JTF, he said.
That means “Edo ought to have a good JTF operation in place”.
A human rights activist, Razaq Oladosu, while speaking on the programme debunked claims that the insurgency declared a cease fire in honour of the Muslim fasting season.
Voicing his suspicions of certain people in government, who are using the situation against the Goodluck led administration, he said that it is just an effort to misinform and distract plans and strategy on ground because they know their days are numbered.
Mr Ekhomu also said that the government needs to control the violence until Boko Haram’s will to fight is down, afterwhich dialogue will be more effective.