Na’Abba Challenges Politicians Over Jonathan’s ‘Single Term Agreement’

The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mister Ghali Na’Abba has challenged those claiming that President Goodluck Jonathan signed an agreement to restrict himself to a single term to come out with proofs to back up their claims.

Speaking on Channels Television programme, ‘’View From The Top’’, Mr Na’Abba said that although it is important for people to honour agreements they entered into, he was not privy to any document suggesting that there is any agreement.

He said: “Anybody has the right to contest to be the President of Nigeria, wherever he comes from, but when there is an agreement, that agreement must be upheld, no matter the pain. If we don’t learn to honour our agreements, then we are not men of honour.

“In this case, none of us have been briefed after the primary elections of 2011 by anybody about the process these governors followed in giving their votes or asking their delegates to elect Goodluck Jonathan to be the party’s presidential flag bearer.”

Na’Abba was among many top politicians that left the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in a highly publicized defection to the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in 2005. He said that unlike the current wave of defections, his was not an easy decision, leaving the PDP back then.

He explained that the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo, in his bid to elongate his tenure in office, “embarked on what they called re-registration exercise in the party”, with the aim of “having total control of the party.”

He further alleged that those of them who were seen not to be in support of the president’s plan “were marked out for total elimination from the party.” So, means had to be devised for them to either leave the party or be dismissed. He said that they were denied the opportunity to be re-registered as members of the party.

Hence, they opted out of the party and fought the scheme. He noted that they did not leave the party just because they wanted to.

He, however, regretted that his expectation that whatever party he joined after PDP would be a truly democratic party with internal democracy was not what he found, so he decided to return to his party, the PDP, in 2007, just after the presidential election.

Speaking from experience as a one-time defector, Na’Abba noted that the possibility of recent PDP defectors returning to the party would depend on their objectives, as there were people in politics for the purpose of acquiring power, while there are also developmental politicians.

“Once power seeking politicians find what they need, they may not come back, because for them all the platforms are the same. There are no differences in ideology; which is why many politicians contesting for positions cannot provide their party manifestos,” he explained.

Mr Na’Abba also commended the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, saying despite the circumstances that he has found himself, he is doing his best.

“The current House of Representatives cannot be compared to that of 1999 to 2003.  Because that time, members came almost on their own, so they didn’t need anybody to direct them, and this was why the House was quite independent.

“After 2003, when the potential for the House to do a lot of things was realised by the executive arm, it was silently decided that that degree of independence should never be allowed within the legislature. So the next occupants of the House and the Senate were mostly handpicked by the party or the President.”

He also shared his views on the National Conference and other matters of national importance.

Group Accuses Police Of Causing Political Imbalance In Rivers State

The Coordinator of the Save Rivers Movement, Igo Aguwa, has accused the Rivers State Police Command of causing political imbalance in the state and allowing itself to be used as an instrument of impunity against the Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s administration.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Mr Aguwa traced the history of such situations to 1965, “when the Akintola led Action Group refused that the NCNC campaign in western Nigeria. In 1966 thereafter, there was a coup. You remember also in 1982, we had Adewusi as the Inspector General of Police, where the mobile police was used which led to the acronym, Kill And Go.”

He alleged that the Police Command led by Joseph Mbu, disrupted the inauguration of the NGO and also refused to provide security when hoodlums raided the rally in Khana local government because they were loyal to the opponents of the State Governor, who had staged rallies to promote the leader’s weaknesses in office.

“We believe that everybody should have a level playing field where people can sell their programme, their ideas and let the electorate decide.”

“We are only sensitising on the programmes, the positives and even receiving criticisms to act better,” he said.

CP Mbu had accused the group of campaigning without permission from the electoral umpire, INEC, but according to the former House of Reps member, campaigning as defined in the Electoral Act “talks about people campaigning for elective positions.

“That does not mean that the parties will be docile until anytime there’s an election.”

He continued by saying: “It’s getting to the election period, let’s face it. That is why the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI) has been going around in Rivers State, selling the negative ideas of the government and highlighting the weak points” adding that “nobody is perfect.”

“In that same way, Save Rivers Movement is going around highlighting the positive parts of the government so that you don’t have only the negative perceptions out there in the market.”

Aguwa expressed fears that “what is happening in Rivers state is capable of undermining democracy in Nigeria.”

He admitted that the SRM was on a campaign to neutralize the perceptions being spread by Governors Amaechi’s opposition. “The SRM believes that the government has done well and our ideal is on promoting good governance,” he said.

Asked why the group is carrying out political activities using the NGO as cover, Mr Aguwa said “the truth of the matter is, an NGO could be politically inclined, could be health inclined. It could have any inclination but the important thing is we are not sponsored by government.”

He added that “it is within our rights within the constitution to have that NGO.”

He advocated that the group be given a level playing field as the State Police Command led by Joseph Mbu, had given protection to the opposition group, GDI, the same day the SRM rally was disrupted.

“The field is not level. What is titling the field right now is the impunity of the police,” he said.

He countered arguments that political gatherings are banned until INEC gives permission, adding that only campaigns for political offices are not allowed.

He stated that the bad blood between the Police Command and the group was a recent development as he had met with the Police Commissioner, as a friend, before the Obiakpor rally which was disrupted. “There was no indication that that would happen,” he added.

 

 

 

 

Violence Mars Save Rivers Movement Rally In Khana LG

It was a tale of destruction and violence at the Save Rivers Movement Rally at Khana Local Government Area in Rivers State on Sunday.

Members were just about to begin the day’s rally when hundreds of hoodlums pounced on the conveners including Channels Television crew destroying vehicles and inflicting wounds on anyone at sight and the injured are now receiving treatment in hospital.

At the end of the mayhem, the Channels Television’s Satellite Van was damaged alongside two operational vehicles and some cameras.

The case has been reported to the Rivers State Police Command, which is investigating the incident.

This is the second time the Save Rivers Rally would be disrupted as the first rally which was to hold at the Rivers State College of Arts and Science in Rumuola, last Sunday, was raided by men of the Rivers State Police Command, who dispersed members of the group using tear-gas.

The Police Commissioner, Jospeh Mbu, who ordered last week’s raid had accused the group and its leaders of staging a political rally, which they had denied. He also said the Command had received intelligence that the event will be violent, hence the raid.

However, the President of the Save Rivers Movement, Mr Charles Aholu, who had notified the Police Command on the event prior to the event date, insisted that the association is a non-governmental organisation formed to promote good governance, transparency, accountability and judicial practices.

The group said that they had requested security from the Police for both events, the inauguration which was disrupted by the Police last week and the rally which was stormed by protesters on Sunday.

Rivers Raid: Police May Be Justified by Constitution – Legal Practitioner

A Legal Practitioner, Ikechukwu Ikeji, says the Police raid on the Save Rivers Movement rally in Port-Harcourt on Sunday, January 12, may be justifiable under the Nigerian Constitution.

He threw his weight behind the point of view that everybody’s right of association is guaranteed under the Nigerian Constitution and those rights of association “include the right to hold demonstrations and sundry kinds of rallies.”

He, however, noted that Section 45 of the same constitution goes further to derogate from that right by saying that “nothing in the constitution or in some of the sections mentioned, including the right to freedom of association shall render invalid any law that is made by the National Assembly, that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society for the interest of public safety.”

He explained that this implied that a law could be made by the National Assembly in any form to curtail some of those rights so as to ensure public safety.

He went further to state that the Police Act is such law that the National Assembly had made which curtails the citizens’ rights of association for the sake of ensuring public safety, law and order. This according to him, empowers the Police to step in if it sees “that a particular situation may be likely to result in breakdown of law and order.”

Ikeji was asked to clarify the key elements that the Police would need to identify for it to conclude that a situation may result in breakdown of law and order, he referred to antecedents as the key elements that the Police would need to consider. These include the volatility of the polity and the environment, the parties involved, and the prevailing security situation.

Ikechukwu made this assertion on Channels Television’s daily breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise Daily’.

He insisted that it would be left for the court to decide who was right or wrong in the Rivers State crisis.

Watch this video for more of Ikechukwu Ikeji’s arguments.