PDP leadership is not divided- Party spokesperson

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has refuted media reports of division and camps within the national leadership of the party, saying such reports are false.

The national publicity secretary of the party, Olisa Metuh, speaking at the national headquarters of the party in Abuja, said the party has also had some administrative lapses and these had been corrected.

Even though he declined to say more, he made it clear he was referring to the recent face-off between the national secretary of the party and a top aide of the national chairman which had made national headlines for some days.

Supreme Court upholds Suswan’s election

A panel of judges at the Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, has upheld the election of the governor of Benue state, Gabriel Suswan in the April 2011 elections.

The ruling thereby dismisses the appeal by the governorship candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Steve Ugba which prayed the Court to order the state’s governorship election tribunal to commence hearing of his petition seeking to unseat Mr Suswam irrespective of expiry of the 180 days provided for by the constitution.

In the lead judgement read by Justice Kayode Ariwoola, the apex court held that the constitution has prescribed that election petition at the tribunal should be heard and concluded within 180 days of filing such petition as such “the appeal is  just an academic exercise and abuse of court process.”

According to him, “no court can by any mean or way elongate, extend the 180 days specified by the constitution. There is no contradiction between Section 36 and Section 285(6) of the 1999 Constitution.

He added that “a petition need not be heard completely before a tribunal will deliver its judgment, in compliant with section 285(6), once a tribunal makes an order within 180 days and the party affected heads for an appeal, the 180 days keeps running.

“The lower court can order a re-trial of that petition but not outside the 180 days provided for by the constitution as any order outside this is null and void. No court has the jurisdiction to go beyond the enabling law” he added.

Professor Ugba had through his counsel, Rotimi Akeredolu, approached the apex court to challenge the decision of the Court of Appeal, which affirmed the verdict of the election petition tribunals that dismissed his petition  on the ground that it was not heard within 180 days as stipulated in section 285 (6) of the constitution.

He also wanted the court to overrule itself on its decision in the Borno governorship election appeal where it dismissed the petition of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Alhaji Mohammed Goni because it was not heard within 180 days as stipulated in section 285 (6) of the constitution.

He contended that the decision was reached per incuriam because the court did not consider the effect of its interpretation of section 285(6) of the constitution on some other basic and fundamental provisions of the constitution.

The apex court last week, struck a similar application against the election of the Akwa Ibom state governor, by the ACN and its gubernatorial candidate.

Jonathan meets Edo PDP leaders over July polls

President Goodluck Jonathan, late on Sunday, met with the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo state at the presidential villa.

The meeting which lasted for about two hours had in attendance prominent politicians from the party, including the party’s national chairman, Bamanga Tukur, a former national vice chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Tony Aneni, and the Esama of Benin, Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion.

The meeting was also attended by the PDP’s governorship candidate, Major-General Charles Airhiavbere (rtd) and the Chairman of the Edo State chapter of the party, Dan Orbih.

Details of the meeting was not made known to state house correspondents but sources say that it is not unconnected with the forthcoming July 14 governorship elections in the state.

ACN condemns PDP for berating Buhari

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has described the statements made by former Head of states and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the 2011 general elections, Muhammadu Buhari on Monday as being in order.

In a press statement issued on Tuesday in Osogbo, the Osun state capital, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, said that considering the massive rigging of the 2011 general elections, irrespective of the so-called endorsement by some visceral foreign election monitors, Buhari’s statement was apt.

The ACN also said it “denounced the crude, vitriolic and impudent verbal attack on a former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, by the presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for no other reason than his timely warning against election rigging in 2015.”

The party said the statement for which Buhari is now being mercilessly savaged was nothing but a warning against those who may be planning to rig the 2015 general elections, hence should not have rankled anyone who believes in free, fair and transparent polls.

The former head of state had warned that the rigging and violence associated with the 2011 general elections will be repected in 2015 if President Goodluck Jonathan continue his style of governance which does not “listen to advice”.

The ACN  said the viciousness of the seemingly coordinated attacks by the presidency and the PDP raise a lot of concern regarding their plans for the 2015 elections.

“We hold no brief for anyone. But it is true that if elections are rigged, as they have been so shamelessly and brazenly done by the PDP since 1999, naturally people will react, and in doing so it is impossible for anyone to predict how far things can go. This is what, in our opinion, Gen. Buhari warned against. If the presidency and the PDP have no intention to rig in 2015, why are they so worried about the consequences of such action?” ACN said.

“The 2011 elections also left Nigeria divided along ethnic and religious lines, more than at any other time in the history of Nigeria, hence no one should tell us about the polls being the best since Nigeria returned to civil rule, just because some self-acclaimed monitors said so!” ACN said.

The party also expressed serious concern at the growing propensity of the presidency, in particular, to use intemperate language in its response to any statement it perceives to be critical of its principal.

“We have said it before and we will like to repeat it: any statement emanating from the presidency must be presidential through the use of civilised and elevating language… This is because such statements are read all over the world, and provide a window into the minds of those overseeing the affairs of state.

“The voice of the presidential spokesman is the voice of his principal, the President. That is why his statements must be sober and guarded, in addition to reflecting deep introspection. The insults heaped on Gen. Buhari, a former Head of State – for merely exercising his right to freedom of speech is totally unacceptable and run against the tenets of decorum and mature political discourse,” it said.

Oshiomhole asks Jonathan to deny plans to scuttle Edo election

Edo state Governor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to publicly declare that he will not work against the will of the people in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in the state.

The Governor said this on Tuesday while receiving the 2011 Champions Man of the Year Award at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Ikeja Lagos.

Comrade Oshiomhole made the remark while reacting to reports by the former BOT member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, that with the support of the Presidency they will recapture Edo State.

The governor who is seeking another term in the July elections, urged the President to choose those he wants to serve either the rich to the detriment of the poor or vice versa.

Mr Oshiomhole called on President Goodluck Jonathan to publicly deny insinuations by some PDP leaders that he will work against the wishes of the PDP using the apparatus of the Presidency.

The former Secretary General of the Common Wealth Chief Emeka Anyaoku who chaired the occasion reiterated his call for true Federalism in Nigeria with the six geo-political zones as the Federating states.

Chief Emeka Anyaoku remarked that for Nigeria to make progress there has to be a drastic departure from the way things are run adding that Nigeria needs a leader with the character of Governor Adams Oshiomhole

No Obama-like

The President of the Trade Union Congress, Comrade Peter Esele, who wass the guest speaker of the occasion, said Nigerians are the architects of their problems as they elect leaders based on ethnic and religious divide rather than people who show the competence to effectively take the nation out of its economic doldrums.

He added that it will be difficult for Nigeria to get an Obama-like president, a claim to which the Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola agreed with him. Mr Fashola however said he is convinced that Nigeria can get a President better than Obama as the people’s psyche is adjusting for the better.

Comrade Oshiomhole said the success being celebrated in Edo State today is due to the free hand given him by the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and their support to his bold challenge against the godfathers who had tried to entrench unproductivity to his government at the inception of his administration.

He noted that every leader must choose who they will serve and dedicated the award to Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, his private secretary, who was killed about two weeks ago in his house by unknown gunmen.

 

Oshiomole takes campaign to Anenih’s land

The governor of Edo state, Adams Oshiomole, on Tuesday, flagged-off his re-election campaign in Esan Senatorial district of the state, insisting that this year’s electioneering campaign will be issue driven.

Esan is the home town of the national leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, where Mr Oshiomole’s party has recorded minute support in previous elections.

The governor who is seeking his re-election on the platform of the Action congress of Nigeria (ACN) stated that he will immortalise the three journalists that died in the convoy crash by building a democracy House in their honour.

Comrade Oshiomhole took time to enumerate the projects his administration has carried out in Esan Land in the past three and half years, while he urged the people to ask the PDP to show their own report card when they come to canvass for votes.

The PDP ruled the stated from 1999 to 2008.

The campaign began with the some leaders of the PDP publicly declaring their support for the ACN.

The Director General of the Oshiomhole Campaign Organisation, Barrister Ize Iyamu congratulated the decampees on the choice they had made and he urged the people of Esan to be wise and vote for the ACN for the continued development of their land.

The national leader of the ACN, Chief Tom Ikimi said the election is important to the democracy of Nigeria and appealed to Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) to ensure they conduct a free and fair election.

Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in his remarks noted that despite the fact that he did not get massive support from Esan land in his last campaign, he did not discriminate against them but gave equal share of what every other part of the state has benefited from his government.

He appealed to them to ignore ethnic sentiment and declare their freedom from the influence of political godfathers.

Azazi blames Boko Haram attacks on PDP

The National Security Adviser, Andrew Owoye Azazi has blamed the rise of insurgence by the fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram in the country on the internal wranglings of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties.

The retired General made this known during the second day of the South-south economic summit where the collapse of the nation’s security challenge was deliberated on.

Tracing the rise of Boko Haram’s attack, the chief security adviser to the president stated that “the extent of violence did not increase in Nigeria until when there was a declaration by the current president that he was going to contest.”

“PDP got it wrong from the beginning, from the on-set by saying Mr A can rule, Mr A cannot rule ……according to PDP’s convention, rules and regulation and not according to the constitution and that created the climate for what has manifest itself, this way.”

He added that there is some level of political undertone to the problem.

He also noted that the bombings, suicide attacks and jail breaks that have been raging the northern part of the country “could be traced to the politics of exclusion of the PDP in the region.”

Blaming the notion of anointing candidates and the ‘do or die’ attitude of the political party, Retired General Azazi asked why “is it possible that somebody was thinking that only Mr. A could win, and that if he could not win, there would be problems in this society?”

“Let’s examine all these issues to see whether the level of violence in the North East just escalated because Boko Haram suddenly became better trained, better equipped and better funded, or something else was responsible.”

“It takes very long for somebody to be a sniper,” Mr. Azazi said.

He affirmed the level of sophistication of the group but also gave assurance that the government is aware of all their doings in a bid to addressing the issue. “I can assure you that Boko Haram can garner that level of sophistication over time, if it has not got it already. There are a lot we know that they are doing, and there are a lot that could be done to address the problem.”

“But, then I must also be quick to point out that today, even if all the leaders that we know in Boko Haram are arrested, I don’t think the problem would end, because there are tentacles. I don’t think that people would be satisfied, because the situations that created the problems are not just about the religion, poverty or the desire to rule Nigeria. I think it’s a combination of everything. Except you address all those things comprehensively, it would not work” he added.

On a final solution, the security adviser discourage just the use of force but called for a collective effort to address the economic problems of the north saying “it is not enough for us to have a problem in 2009 and you send soldiers to stop the situation, then tomorrow you drive everybody underground. You must look at what structures you need to put in place to address the problem holistically. There are economic problems in the North, which are not the exclusive prerogative of the Northerners. We must solve our problems as a country.”

He noted that the relationship between national security and development is inseparable, because “one cannot do without the other” the NSA said.

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court dismisses Sylva’s case against PDP

The Supreme Court has upheld the appeal by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Abuja to hear the suit filed by former governor Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa state.

Mr Sylva asked the court to declare him the rightful candidate of the party in the last  governorship election in the state.

The judgment which was written by the Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour and delivered by Justice John Fagbiyi noted that the cancellation of the April 2011 governorship election in Bayesla state as a result of the suit filed by Mr Sylva saying his tenure will not end until May 2012 which was upheld by the Appellate Court, had rendered the January primaries null and void ,as it went with the cancelled polls.

The court maintained that it is non-partisan and since primaries are clearly a party affair the law courts has no jurisdiction in the suit, ruling that it is  “an intra-party affair in which courts cannot interfere.”

Mr Sylva had filed a cross-application to the Apex Court in January asking the court to evoke Section 22 and constitute itself as a court of first instance and act as a trial court following the Court of Appeal’s decision to return the case to the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The decision of the Court of Appeal was based on a suit filed by the leadership of the PDP against Sylva’s matter that was in the high court.

Justice Rhodes -Vivour noted that in the circumstance it will be an anomaly for the Apex Court to evoke Section 22 and try the suit as if it were the court of first instance since it lacked jurisdiction.

He concluded that the court will continue to remain a passive onlooker on internal party affairs and there after dismissed the ruling of the Appellate Court and the suit filed by former governor Timiprie Sylva, pending before Justice Gabriel Kolawole at the Federal High Court Abuja.

The PDP had filed an appeal at the Supreme Court challenging the ruling of the appellate court which gave jurisdiction to the federal high court to try the matter.

The Appeal court, presided over by Justice Zainab Bukachuwa, declared that the lower court overreached itself by making an order purporting to stop the primary and returned the substantive case to the lower court after declaring that it had jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

However Mr Sylva refused to start the case afresh by heading back to the lower court but instead went to the Supreme Court.

Sylva alongside four other contestant where disqualified by the PDP from participating in the Bayelsa state governorship election primaries which held on November 22, 2011.

A member of the House of Representative, Seriake Dickson won the party’s nomination and won the governorship election.

Mr. Sylva is currently being prosecuted for corruption by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for financial misappropriation during his tenure as the state governor.

 

PDP welcomes Obasanjo’s resignation

The newly elected executives of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have welcomed the resignation of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, as the chairman of the Board of Trustee (BOT) of the ruling party.

The national vice chairman of the PDP in the South-west, Engineer Segun Oni described the resignation as a “welcome development.”

The former governor of Ekiti state with the party’s executive in the south west, on Wednesday, met with the former president for a closed door meeting.

Engineer Oni paid aid glowing tribute to the former BOT chairman for his style of leadership which he claims has “continued to give the party an edge in the body politics of the country.”

He also said that “though the former president resigned his appointment, the party will continue to tap from his wealth of experience in the development of the party and Nigeria in general.”

The party members came from the states of the South-west geo political zone on a familiarization visit to

Commenting on the recently conducted congresses in Ogun state, the South west vice chairman of the party said “as far as the leadership of the party in the zone is concerned, there were no congresses held in the state as the exercise was grossly in contravention of the directives of the central working committee of the party which had earlier called for an immediate suspension of congress.

Sit-tight leaders

The Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) has also commended the former President for

Speaking to Channels Television in Abuja, the national president of the interim management committee, Mr Felix Akhagbue said that the former President took the step because he does not want to be a sit-tight leader.

Mr. Akhagbue dismissed reports that a new executive has been elected to run ALGON.

He insisted that any action taken by any member of the organisation is illegal.

ACN says PDP convention is a mockery of democracy

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) says the kangaroo national convention held by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday has sealed the fate of the party as an undisputed one-man-show that is totally contemptuous of internal democracy.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party described President Goodluck Jonathan as an emerging dictator who, in the process of remaking the PDP in his own image, has further pushed the party into the realms of abyss.

It said President Jonathan must by now be regretting the day he took a swipe at other political parties for lacking in internal democracy, when his party cannot even spell the word ‘democracy’, not to talk of possessing it.

“Only a few weeks ago, President Jonathan said the PDP is the only truly democratic party in the country, while all others are mere one-man shows. In making the statement, the aphorism that ‘he who lives in a glass house does not throw stones’ was lost on the President.

“Today, the joke is on the same President, who cajoled and arm-twisted others to step down for his anointed candidate as Chair of the PDP during a mock convention. It is now obvious that President Jonathan either does not understand what internal democracy means, or he is being deliberately cheeky in castigating other political parties for lacking in internal democracy,” it said.

ACN said with the PDP convention debacle, coming shortly after he single-handedly installed the governor of his state – against all democratic tenets – President Jonathan has finally jettisoned all pretence to being a democrat, and has transformed from a closet dictator to an Emperor and a Maximum Ruler of the PDP kingdom.

“Interestingly, the President, in a speech read on his behalf by Vice President Namadi Sambo at the so-called convention, described the PDP as the ‘strongest party in the history of the country’. What he does not realize is that resorting to brute force and arm-twisting to achieve a pre-determined goal do not constitute strength in politics. Rather, they are the early signs of megalomania and the onset of full-blown dictatorship,” the party said.

It said the situation is compounded by the fact that the PDP is the ruling party, adding: “If there is any truth in the saying that no one can give what he does not have, then the PDP as a ruling party is incapable of sustaining or deepening democracy in the country, hence should be voted out of power by the good people of Nigeria at the next general election.”

Tukur is new PDP’s Chairman

77 year old Bamanga Tukur has been declared the new national chairman of  the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Mr Turkur emerged, the consensus candidate for the party’s chairman, after all the other ten candidates stepped down for him at the 2012 national conention of the ruling party in Abuja.

Though he was a consensus candidate, votes were still casted to affirm his election. He polled 3,185 votes out the 3,448 of the total votes cast to emerge the winner.

The ten candidates withdrew their nominations, just as the election was about to commence, citing “advice by leaders” and “for peace of the party.

Among those who voted at the event were President Goodluck Jonathan, the Vice President, Namadi Sambo and other top party members.

The emergence of Mr Tukur as the sole candidate for the party’s leadership position took a twist earlier in the week when he was defeated at the north-east zonal congress of the party in Bauchi state.

The party had zoned the chairman’s office to the north-east region with the 77-year old having the blessings of President Goodluck Jonathan and some senior members of the party.  But he was defeated at the zonal congress ahead of the national convention by the party’s acting National Secretary, Musa Babayo

Mr Tukur, had described his defeat at the North-east zonal congress as a ‘charade’ stating that, he believes the outcome of the event will not affect his aspiration to emerge as the next national chairman of the largest party in the country.

12 positions were up for grabs at the convention; eight of them including the national publicity secretary were affirmed after only one candidate remained unopposed for the posts. The remaining including the post of national chairman which had only one candidate still had to be decided by ballot.

Former governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola also emerged the sole candidate for the party’s national secretary, a position held by Professor Ahmed Rufai Alkali, who was amongst the ten that stepped for Mr Tukur.

Reacting to the emergence of Mr Tukur as the consensus candidate, Prof Akali explained that there were “rigorous persuasion and consultations” to get other candidates to stand down. “Some of us made the sacrifice to avoid divisions in the party,” he said. “The party is supreme” he added.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu described the emergence of Mr Tukur as the party’s leader, as a blessing and added impetus for the Party.

“Alhaji Bamanga Tukur’s emergence is a blessing for the party, being a respected statesman with a rich reservoir of experience and popular support needed to further strengthen the Party and consolidate the gains made so far”, he stated.

He called on the new party officials which he also described as a First Class team to ride on the popular support and good will enjoyed at the Convention to justify the confidence reposed in them by the party faithful and ensure the speedy realization of Mr. President’s Transformation Agenda.

Below are the new national officers of the People’s Democratic Party:

  • National Chairman – Bamanga Tukur
  • Deputy National Chairman – Sam Sam Jaja
  • National Secretary – Olagunsoye Oyinlola
  • National Woman leader – Kema Chikwe
  • National Auditor – Bode Mustapha
  • National Financial Secreatry – Bolaji Anani
  • National organising Secretary – Abubakar Mustapha
  • National Youth Leader – Garba Umar
  • National Publicity Secretary – Olisah Metu
  • National Treasurer – Bala Bawa Kaoje
  • Deputy National Treasurer – Claudius Emekise
  • National Legal Adviser – Victor Pam
  • Deputy National Publicity Secretary – Binta Masi Garba
  • Deputy National Auditor – Umar Ibrahim
  • Deputy National youth Leader – Dennis Arokpe
  • Deputy National secretary – Solomon Onwe
  • Deputy National Organizaing Secretary – Okechukwu Nnadozie 
  • Assistant legal Adviser – Mohammed Magaji

Avoiding contentious acrimony

Ahead of the voting, some governors explained to Channels Television the essence of a consensus candidate where they why they have decided to return some candidates without voting.

According to the governor of Benue state, Gabriel Suswan, “what the PDP as a party seeks to promote is the unity of the party,” adding that the agreement on a consensus candidate “is to make sure that we avoid a contentious acrimony or contest. In every human endeavor or political setting, people should thrive “consensus rather than contest” he opined.

Also speaking, the leader of the Northern governors’ forum and governor of Niger state, Alhaji Aliyu Babaginda, stated that “once an individual is agreed upon; there will be no need for contest because our constitution (PDP’s constitution) allows for standing unopposed.

“There is no point fighting or arguing over anything. There is nothing wrong with a consensus candidate especially when it is generally agreed upon” stated the Abia state governor, Mr Theodora Orji

About 5,000 delegates are at the Eagles square, venue of the event to choose new executives for the national convention.