Makarfi Formally Takes Over PDP Affairs

MakarfiThe Peoples Democratic Party’s Caretaker Committee Chairman, Ahmed Makarfi, has officially taken over the affairs of the party, including the daily operations of the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.

The Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Senator Jubril Walid, told party members at the handing over ceremony in Abuja that the Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee would be the one to conduct another convention that will elect principal officers for the party.

Apart from preparing the party for a national convention, the caretaker committee is also expected to reconcile the erstwhile chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff and others who were aggrieved after the party’s convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

A reconciliatory meeting had been held which lasted into the early hours of Tuesday. Although, the embattled chairman of the party, Ali Modu Sheriff, was absent in that meeting, other aggrieved members were reconciled,

This gave rise to the official handing over of the party’s secretariat to the caretaker committee at day break.

Mr Makarfi has assured members of the party that he would stick to the mandate given to his committee.

Some members of the various interests groups who were initially aggrieved have also pledged to support the caretaker committee.

It was generally agreed that all aggrieved members should reunite and form a common front to provide credible opposition to the incumbent government.

PDP BOT Hands Over Party Secretariat To Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee

MakarfiThe Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has handed over the party secretariat to the Senator Makarfi-led caretaker committee to run the affairs of the party till a national convention is held to elect principal officers.

This comes as the party says that it is putting in place temporary structures that will run its affairs ahead of a national convention that will produce principal officers.

Mr Makarfi disclosed this to journalists in Abuja after a marathon meeting of the board of trustees, serving and former governors of the party and their serving National Assembly members.

The meeting was initially scheduled to be a reconciliatory meeting of contending members of the Makarfi-led caretaker committee and the embattled chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff but the party later confirmed that Mr Sheriff had travelled before the meeting started.

In spite of his absence at the meeting, the leadership of the party insist that they were on track to unite the party and are currently putting structures in place to pilot the affairs of the party.

Among those at the meeting were the BOT chair, Tom Ikimi and Professor Jerry Gana who is also a member of the Mantu-led concerned PDP stakeholders’ forum.

Jonathan Promises To Engage In More Developmental Projects

Jonathan in Edo State for Rally.President Goodluck Jonathan has promised Nigerians that his administration will continue to engage in more developmental projects that would be of benefit to all citizens. 

At a gathering of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the south-south region held in Edo State on Saturday, President Jonathan stressed the need for the party members to be united while seeking political positions.

“Elections are coming and we have different interest and we use this platform to appeal to the people to know that at every level of election from the State of Assembly, Governors and National Assembly that so many people will be interested in the position.

“Struggles to be in these positions must be done in unity in order for us to get all our states back,” he said.

President Jonathan stated that ahead of the coming elections, there is the need to appeal to warring members of the party to sheath their swords.

Jonathan, who attended a commissioning ceremony of the Benin Ore road said that the road was made to serve Nigerians better.

He stressed that every internal wrangling in the party had been resolved and that every party member is treated equally.

“There is no discrimination, no godfather, no imposition. This is the only party that gives you the freedom and opportunity to climb to the highest. For Tom Ikimi to leave APC it means that the last oxygen has been removed and the state will return to the PDP.

“We will improve on all our infrastructure. We cannot do all the roads the same day but we will continue to work on the them,” he said.

He welcomed those that joined the party and assured them of the party’s commitment to providing a level playing field for all.

The national chairman of the party, Mr Adamu Muazu, also absolved Mr Tom Ikimi and other defecting members of the All Progressives Congress to the Peoples Democratic Party.

Oshiomhole To Build University Campus In Ikimi’s Local Govt.

OshiomholeEdo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has promised to build a campus of the University of Education in Igueben, the Capital of Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State.

Governor Oshiomhole, who said this yesterday at an APC rally at Igueben, urged the people to apply common sense and resist the temptation to defect.

While advising the residents to be wise and resist the temptation to defect to the People’s Democratic Party, he promised that he would not engage in politics of individuals but rather would focus on development.

Asides the promise of a university campus in their community, the Governor assured the people of continued development despite the defections to other party.

Igueben Village Square was packed to capacity as the All Progressives Congress members from all the wards turned up in mass for what they termed a unity rally, with banners of aspirants dotting the crowd.

A former APC Chieftain, Tom Ikimi, who hails from the Local Government, left the party for the PDP but the party leaders declared that his exit was inconsequential.

Chairman of the Party, Anselm Ojezua, told the gathering to remain strong and united.

Sometimes when prominent party members defect, the party in that location loses elections to the opposition.

The 2015 elections will either support or refute this theory in the case of Igueben.

PDP Replies APC On Boko Haram Sponsorship

Boko HaramThe People’s Democratic Party is not taking the statement by the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress on the backers of insurgents in Nigeria lying down.

Less than 24-hours after John Oyegun accused the PDP and its leadership of knowing the sponsors of Boko Haram, the PDP has condemned the APC leader’s accusation, saying the statement is completely lacking in validity, character and intellectual content befitting of a National Chairman of a political party.

The PDP, in a press statement released on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said that Mr Oyegun has succeeded in further exposing the desperation of the APC to launder its image through renewed propaganda and blackmail.

The PDP further said “Nigerians have since noted the pattern and timing of violent attacks against our people which betray a trend tailored against the PDP and the Federal Government and provide impetus for the APC to find a voice and thrive.

“They know that it has become a recurring decimal that whenever the PDP or the Federal Government records or is about to record a major milestone, insurgents launch attacks on the people”

The PDP, however, advised the APC to be nationalistic in its dealings and shun statements of divisive tendencies.

The All Progressives Congress, APC, had, on Tuesday, challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to act decisively and hand two alleged sponsors of the Boko Haram group to the International Criminal Court (ICC), The Hague, for investigation and prosecution.

The party said that a foreign negotiator engaged by the Federal Government had revealed that a former governor and a retired General were sponsors of the Boko Haram sect.

Chairman of the party, John Oyegun, who made the disclosure, insisted that the APC was not behind the Boko Haram sect and demanded that the Federal Government should act immediately to end the growing insecurity in the North-East.

Mr Oyegun, who was speaking during a press conference in Abuja, further noted that “Boko Haram sponsors have been exposed. They are within the ruling PDP. They are friends of President Jonathan. He cannot pretend not to know who they are and what they have done and are still doing.”

APC Challenges Jonathan To Handover Alleged Boko Haram Sponsors To ICC

John_OyegunThe All Progressives Congress (APC) has challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to act decisively and hand two alleged sponsors of the Boko Haram group to the International Criminal Court (ICC), The Hague, for investigation and prosecution.

The party said that a foreign negotiator engaged by the Federal Government had revealed that a former governor and a retired General were sponsors of the Boko Haram sect.

Chairman of the party, John Oyegun, who made this disclosure, insisted that the APC was not behind the Boko Haram sect and demanded that the Federal Government should act now to end the growing insecurity in the North-East.

Mr Oyegun, who was speaking during a press conference in Abuja, further noted that “Boko Haram sponsors have been exposed. They are within the ruling PDP. They are friends of President Jonathan. He cannot pretend not to know who they are and what they have done and are still doing.

“President Jonathan cannot pretend not to know the alleged role that Ali Modu Sheriff has played in the establishment and growth of Boko Haram, yet he never allowed the man to even be questioned by any of the security agencies under his control.”

The APC further noted that they have been “vindicated” adding that “we have no hand in the Boko Haram insurgency. The raison d’etre of our party is the well-being and security of Nigerians

“The sponsors of Boko Haram are within the PDP and the Presidency. They are known friends of President Jonathan. He knows them and they know him.

“The man who exposed these Boko Haram sponsors is a Jonathan-appointed Negotiator. He has no axe to grind, neither does he have any motive to shield the APC or portray the PDP/Presidency in bad light. In fact, if he had any sympathy at all, it is for the man who hired him, President Jonathan.”

Below is the full text of Mr Oyegun.

Finally, The Truth Is Out!

Good afternoon Gentlemen of the press, and thank you for honouring my invitation to this press conference.

Before I address you today, kindly permit me to play the full interview of Dr. Stephen Davis, the Australian negotiator who was appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan to help secure the release of the over 200 girls who were abducted by Boko Haram on April 15th.

The interview was aired on Arise Television on Thursday Aug. 28th.
INTERLUDE: PLAY VIDEO
Thank you for your patience, gentlemen.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) like many well-meaning Nigerians had resolved long ago that the issue of the Boko Haram insurgency should not be politicized. In view of this, the APC expressed its willingness and readiness to cooperate with the Federal Government in neutralizing the insurgency. Regrettably however, instead of accepting this offer of cooperation, the PDP-Federal Government has consistently pointed accusing fingers at our Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the sponsor of Boko Haram. They have called us all sorts of derogatory names, but failed to provide any shred of evidence to support their claim.

It has been very clear to us that the vehemence and persistence of this accusation, the deliberate distortion of statements made by our leaders to paint us as Boko Haram sponsors and the way the PDP-led Federal Government has gone to hire foreign PR firms, at a huge cost to taxpayers, as well as foreign and local hack writers to push this narrative, they were struggling hard to cover up something. We waited patiently knowing that the truth will one day surface.

In a rare moment of truth, a top official of the Jonathan Administration, no less a personality than the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi, situated the Boko Haram problem within the PDP. Shortly thereafter he was fired, and he later died in controversial circumstances. Still we waited.

They distorted and misrepresented the statements made by our leader, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, to try to convince the world that he was indeed the main sponsor of Boko Haram. They continued to echo the same slander about Gen. Buhari that was started by Presidential Spokesman Reuben Abati in 2011, and for which he and his cohorts eventually begged to settle out of court and to apologize to the General. Still we waited.

When their attempt to link Gen. Buhari with Boko Haram failed, as his popularity among ordinary Nigerians continued to soar, he was suddenly attacked by suicide bombers. Those who planned the attack believed this as the final solution to what they perceived as the threat he represents to the realization of their ambition. By the grace of God, he survived. We do not claim to know those who attacked him, but we do know those who provided the atmosphere for that attack to take place. Still we waited.

When the government declared a state of emergency in three worst-hit states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe in 2013, thousands of troops were deployed to the three states. But the unusual happened. The number of attacks simply skyrocketed. It is common knowledge that in any territory that has been placed under a state of emergency, the military takes charge of security, erecting checkpoints as part of efforts to keep a tab on security. Such was the situation in Borno in April 2014, when over 200 girls were abducted and driven away in many trucks. Soldiers posted to a nearby checkpoint were said to have withdrawn shortly before the attack. Who ordered their withdrawal? Some of the trucks in which the girls were being carted away broke down, yet no one challenged them. Despite this bizarre occurrence, they refused to accept responsibility and continued to cast aspersion on our Party, the APC, as the sponsor of Boko Haram. Still we waited.

Boko Haram routinely enriched their arsenal with tanks, Armoured Personnel Carriers, guns, trucks and other military equipment which they seized from the Army. From the videos they release from time to time, one could see Boko Haram insurgents driving around unchallenged in convoys of up to 60 vehicles made-up of tanks and other military vehicles they seized from our military, in a territory that is under a state of emergency. What is happening? No one could fathom it. Still we waited.

A man known to all as the kingpin of Boko Haram, a man who helped to arm them so he could win elections and decimate his opponents, was moving around with the best security ever. He is a known ally of the President and he is not known to be under any immunity. Yet he was never arrested or even questioned. Still we waited.

In line with a Yoruba adage that says when a drum starts sounding too hard, it is about to burst, the PDP and the Presidency ratcheted up their attacks on our party, labelling us as Boko Haram sponsors. They hired a foreign firm, Levick, for US$1.2 million in taxpayers’ money, as well as a number of out-of-luck hack writers and pseudo analysts, one of them from Russia, to help push the narrative. Still we waited.

Then their drum exploded!

Dr. Stephen Davis, a man hired by the President Jonathan-led Federal Government to negotiate with Boko Haram for the release of the Chibok girls decided to speak out, believing the best way to tackle the insurgency is to expose the sponsors. And who are they? On international television last Thursday, and as you have just seen and heard, he named former Borno Governor Ali Modu Sheriff and a former Army Chief, Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, as the sponsors of Boko Haram.

Prodded by Sahara Reporters in a subsequent interview on whether Gen. Buhari and Malam Nasir el-Rufai were sponsors, he said the Boko Haram commanders who gave him the names of their sponsors did not mention their names. The die is cast. The truth is finally out! Boko Haram sponsors have been exposed. They are within the ruling PDP. They are friends of President Jonathan. He cannot pretend not to know who they are and what they have done and are still doing. His myriad of intelligence agencies, including the DSS and the DMI, cannot pretend they do not have any information on these men.

It is true that Ali Modu Sheriff was, until recently, a member of our Party. But the Party always suspected that he was a mole, planted to hijack or at best weaken the new Party for the PDP. He is not new to that role. He helped to decimate his former party, the ANPP, to an extent that the number of states under its control fell from seven in 2003 to three by the time he left as Governor.

We know for sure that Ali Modu Sheriff was planted in the APC to help decimate our party. We confronted him openly during the merger negotiation but he denied vigorously. His surrogate for the post of the Chairman of the APC, Chief Tom Ikimi together with whom they planned to hijack the Party for the Presidency was firmly rejected. Realizing they have failed, they fled our party and returned to where they came from, and were duly embraced by their controllers.

President Jonathan cannot pretend not to know the alleged role that Ali Modu Sheriff has played in the establishment and growth of Boko Haram, yet he never allowed the man to even be questioned by any of the security agencies under his control. All through his time with our Party, every time they accused us of sponsoring Boko Haram, on the basis of his presence, we challenged them if they had evidence to arrest any of our members who is suspected to be a sponsor, they never did. They dared not, because Sheriff was their agent. Even if he had remained in the APC after we democratically encouraged him to go, they would still not have arrested him.

Recall, gentlemen, that immediately Sheriff went back to the PDP, the Maiduguri Airport that had been closed to even the pilgrims from the state on grounds of security, was re-opened specially for him. What more evidence does anyone need that Sheriff was and remains President Jonathan’s Man Friday?

Our Stand

The truth is finally out. We have been vindicated. We have no hand in the Boko Haram insurgency. The raison d’etre of our party is the well-being and security of Nigerians

The sponsors of Boko Haram are within the PDP and the Presidency. They are known friends of President Jonathan. He knows them and they know him.

The man who exposed these Boko Haram sponsors is a Jonathan-appointed Negotiator. He has no axe to grind, neither does he have any motive to shield the APC or portray the PDP/Presidency in bad light. In fact, if he had any sympathy at all, it is for the man who hired him, President Jonathan.

We have said it all along. Boko Haram was politicized purely for one reason, and one reason only: To be used as a trump card for President Jonathan to win another term. For that strategy to work, the APC, which they see as the only stumbling block to the PDP’s victory in 2015, must be maligned and labeled. Gullible, duplicitous and self-serving politicians like Femi Fani-Kayode swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker, and started parroting the glaring lies. PDP Spokesman, Olisa Metuh, an obvious pawn on the chess board, followed suit, labelling a party that comprises Nigerians of all ethnic and religious hue a Janjaweed and Islamic party. Now he is stewing in his own juice.

In the process of this dangerous politics, the Nigerian military which was globally acclaimed for its impressive showings at various peacekeeping missions around the world, simply suffered collateral damage. Apparently, fifth columnists in the military has sold the force out, first by denying it of the necessary fighting tools and then weakening it to such an extent that even the little it had was being taken away daily by insurgents. When the patriotic Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno tried to raise the issue of the poorly-equipped troops and their low morale, he was roundly pilloried. Now the world knows why!

Now that the cat has been let out of the bag and the real sponsors of Boko Haram have been exposed, we hope President Jonathan will summon the courage to do the right thing: Hand over the identified Boko Haram sponsors to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation and prosecution.

There is no doubt that Boko Haram has committed crimes against humanity in its scorched-earth campaign against unharmed citizens, and the most appropriate body to investigate and try the sect’s sponsors is the ICC.

According to Article 17 of the Rome Statute that set up the ICC, and to which Nigeria is signatory, the ICC is a court of last resort, expected to exercise its jurisdiction only if states themselves are unwilling or unable genuinely to investigate and prosecute international crimes.

In view of the fact that the alleged Boko Haram sponsors are either members of the ruling party or friends of the President, it is clear that the PDP-led Federal Government is unwilling and unable to try them, hence our call.

Nigerians can rest assured that the APC will not allow this issue to be swept under the carpet.

Now that it is clear that the PDP is behind Boko Haram for the sole purpose of winning next year’s Presidential Election, Nigerians must prevail on the PDP and the Presidency to urgently end this insurgency and the daily killing and maiming of innocent Nigerians!

The President must remember that he is the Commander-in-Chief! The buck stops on his desk. He must now do all it takes to stop the growing mess in our nation’s North-East.

Nigerians expect no less!

Ikimi’s Defection: APC Is Better For It – Tinubu

TinubuThe national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has given reasons why the party opted for Chief John Oyegun as the National Chairman rather than Chief Tom Ikimi.

In a statement dated August 31 but released on Tuesday in Lagos, Mr Tinubu dismissed Ikimi as an unreliable man lacking principles, who could have betrayed the APC.

“It was clear to practically let everyone who had the interest of the party at heart know that we simply could not have a man of Tom Ikimi’s antecedents as Chair of the party.

“As chairman of the NRC, one of the only two political parties in the country under the military transition programme, Tom Ikimi not only connived with the then military regime to annul the elections, terminate the democratic process and sell off his party.

“He became Abacha’s Foreign Minister, convincing the world that heinous state murders like the hanging of Ken Saro Wiwa were just acts! If Ikimi were the Chair of APC the party would have to sleep with both eyes open lest its chairman sell off the party before day break.

“No matter what anyone may say about me, it is unlikely that I can be accused of supporting incompetent or morally light-weight individuals for important political positions. My philosophy is to put the best forward, men and women of competence and integrity,” Tinubu said.

He described Ikimi’s lengthy letter as that filled with falsehood, cheap blackmail and abuse.

He also accused Ikimi of playing out the PDP script and asked Nigerians to ignore him as the PDP has nothing to offer Nigerians.

“He was never sincerely committed to the party. He was always playing out a PDP script. He only wanted the chairmanship of the party as a bargaining chip for negotiations with his benefactors.

“His defection purportedly on account of the loss of the chairmanship of the party is a mere subterfuge, once his ploy failed he had no other objective within the party, I knew he would go back to his sponsors.

“He is back in the company he deserves. And APC is better for it,” Tinubu concluded.

EDO 2012: Battle for the ‘Heart Beat’ state begins

The over 3 million people of Edo State will today decide who will occupy the Dennis Osadebay Government House seat as their governor.

Seven candidates are contending to become the governor of Edo state.

Those eyeing the coveted seat are:

1. Adams Oshiomhole of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)

2. Maj.-Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (retd.) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

3. Solomon Edebiri of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP)

4. Izevbuwa Roland of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC)

5. Andrew Igwemoh of the Labour Party (LP)

6. Mr. Paul Orumwense of the National Conscience Party (NCP)

7. Frank Onaiv of the Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP)

However, all eyes will be on three candidates: Misters Oshiomhole, Airhiavbere and Edebiri because of their antecedents.

Projected voting pattern

The Heartbeat State is divided into three senatorial districts composed of several ethnic groups. Some political analysts have argued that this may affect the pattern of voting today.

The ethnic political dimension has been between sharing the powers among the three senatorial districts of the state, with major dominance in this election between Edo South and the Edo North district.

By INEC Figure, Edo South holds over 59% of the voters while the North and Central shares the balance percentage in succeeding order.

The North has the incumbent governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who is of the ACN; Etsako West, Labour Party’s Andrew Igwemoh is from Etsako East, and Prince Frank Ukonga of the Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP) is from Akoko Edo LGA.

For the Edo South, the main opposition party candidate, Charles Ehigie Airhiavbere, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Ovia North East LGA, Solomon Iyobosa Edebiri of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) Uhunmwonde LGA, Roland Izevbuwa of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Ikpoba-Okha LGA and Imaguomwanrhuo Orunmwense of National Conscience Party (NCP) Ovia North East LGA.

Edo Central is popularly referred to as the very stronghold of the PDP and is made up of five local governments namely, Esan West, Esan Central, Igueben, Esan North East and Esan South East making up the six constituencies at the state house of Assembly.

Esan central senatorial districts boast of a number of political heavyweights who have held their sway strongly at the national level.

Very notable ones now include the National Leader of the PDP, Tony Anenih who hails from Uromi in Esan North East Local Government. The National leader of the ACN, Tom Ikimi who hails from Igueben is also from this District just as well as the Minister of Works, Mike Onolememe.

INEC is ready

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has the assurance to citizens of Edo state that today’s governorship election will be conducted in a free and transparent manner.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Kassim Gaidam affirmed that security and logistics arrangement have been put in place to ensure a smooth and credible election in the state.

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Oshiomhole emerges ACN’s governorship candidate for Edo

Edo state Governor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has emerged the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) ahead of the governorship election in the state on the 14th July 2012.

Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who was the only candidate of the party that contested the primaries promised that if he secures the second tenure he delivers even more dividend of democracy to the people.

National Electoral Committee members led by Honorable Kenneth Kobani declared Comrade Adams Oshiomhole winner with 33,4217 votes out 34,1333 registered voters representing 97.9% of total votes.

Though Comrade Oshiomhole is the sole candidate of the ACN in the party primaries was however no less grand. All the politicians in the ACN had all gone to their various wards to mobilise their supporters to vote for their sole candidate.

The majority leader of the Edo State House of Assembly, Philip Shaibu said the victory of Mr Oshiomhole was to demonstrate their appreciation for the developmental projects across the state.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mrs Obuoforibo noted that INEC commended the peaceful conduct of the election.

A national leader of the Tom Ikimi recalled that four years ago the party nominated the governor on the basis of his reputation as a labour leader but four years afterwards, it is on the basis of his report card.

Former member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Patrick Obahiagbon in his characteristic verbose speech, paid glowing tribute to the governor. He noted that the endorsement of the Comrade Governor is the commencement of all mother and father political battles.” “But this time around it is not going to be between Governor Adams Oshiomhole and other political parties. It is going to be a battle between the people of Edo state and other political party” he emphasised.

Governor Adams Oshiomhole said he will not take the nomination for granted as he is aware that the ACN can boast of several gubernatorial candidates all of whom chose to stand down for him. He stated that he will remain “indebted to all of you (party members) and I will give my all to the good people of Edo state” who he added has received me at all facets.

The governor who was returned into office by a court of election tribunal noted that the state has witnessed the “final death of godfatherism”.

He promised that what they have seen in the past three years and four months will be little compared to the next four years.

Two Toyota Hiace buses were presented to the governor to commence his campaigns.