Chief Bode George’s claim that the national leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, apologized to him should be taken as the meditations of a man in search of political relevance, Mr. Sunday Dare, Media aide to Tinubu, said yesterday.
Dare told Vanguard yesterday: “Bode George takes himself too seriously. He is in search of political relevance, which has since deserted him.”
George, leader of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Lagos State, was quoted in a national weekly yesterday as claiming that Tinubu had, last year at the burial of Alao Ariseokola in Ibadan, apologized to him for purportedly conspiring with others to put him in jail.
He had been quoted as saying: “They called Bola; he shook my hand and said he was sorry. It was in public. Since then, if we meet in public, we greet. But our concepts of politics are different.”
However, responding in a text message to Vanguard last night, Dare said George’s claim “to seek political rehabilitation through a bogus claim that Tinubu begged him for forgiveness is unexpected of a leader like him.
“Tinubu bears Bode George no ill feelings. Although Bode George has used every media interview to attack Tinubu, Tinubu has hardly responded.
“The task of nation building, presently at hand, is more urgent than this distraction.”
The President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) and National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, are to meet today to resolve simmering issues on the zoning of principal offices in the National Assembly and the incoming government, sources close to the party have said.
The meeting is in the wake of fresh intrigues in the party that have led to the realignment of geo-political caucuses within and outside the National Assembly.
In the most remarkable development over the weekend, the influential South-West caucus of the party, led by an influential opinion moulder, was said to have dumped the Senate presidency aspirations of Senator George Akume from Benue State in favour of Senator Ahmed Lawan from Yobe State.
The move, it was gathered, was on the premise of safeguarding the South-West’s aspiration of enthroning outgoing Minority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, as Speaker.
The move to dump Akume, Vanguard learned, was meant to checkmate the speakership aspiration of Yakubu Dogara from Bauchi State in the North-East. The move by the South-West Caucus, Vanguard learned, was upon the formidable threat of the Northern House caucus to throw up Dogara, a popular member of the House, as the Speaker.
Dogara is said to have received almost a unanimous support from the about 200-strong Northern caucus of members-elect.
However, the move by the South-West APC caucus is being resisted within and outside the region by other forces.
Buhari, according to one source, was also said not to be pleased with the development as it could leave the number one and three top positions in the government in the hands of the far north, edging out the North-Central.
A source privy to the ongoing development told Vanguard last night that associates of the President-elect are troubled that having the President and the Senate President from the far north could throw up old assumptions that Buhari and the people of the far north are inconsiderate of the feelings of North-Central.
“This is the first time that Buhari is getting strong support from the North-Central and it would throw up old and buried assumptions that Buhari and the people of the core North always want to use the Northern minorities for political gains,” a source in APC, privy to the development, said.
Akume, Saraki supporters pleased
Buhari’s consideration of the North-Central for the office of Senate President, it was learned, had thrown a spanner into the works of the South-West to team up with the North-East for the Senate Presidency.
Campaigners for the two leading North-Central senators in the contest, Akume and Bukola Saraki, were said to be pleased with the seeming intervention from Buhari, it was learned last night.
Determined to sideline the proposed amendments to the 1999 constitution, the Federal Government, yesterday, prayed the Supreme Court to issue an order of interlocutory injunction against both chambers of the National Assembly.
The government urged the court to stop the federal lawmakers from taking any further step towards passing the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Fourth Alteration) Act, 2015, into law, until hearing and final determination of the suit pending before the apex court.
It filed the application through the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, pursuant to Order 3 Rule 14 of the Supreme Court Rules as amended.
Meanwhile, Adoke has already secured the services of another Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a former AGF, Chief Bayo Ojo, to handle the matter on his behalf.
The AGF told the Supreme Court that the National Assembly was determined to proceed with the passing of the constitutional amendments by overriding the veto of same by President Goodluck Jonathan, despite the fundamental nature of the issues raised against the proposed alterations to the constitution.
The AGF argued that it would be in the interest of the whole Nigerian Polity that the issues in the substantive suit are resolved one way or the other by the court, before the National Assembly could proceed further on the proposed alterations to the constitution.
According to the AGF; “Hon. Samson Osagie, Minority Whip of the House of Representative, said to the whole world at a Press Conference purposely called on the issue in this suit that despite any case filed against the said Act (which actually is a Bill); the National Assembly would go ahead to pass it into law. ”
The AGF contended that the balance? of convenience tilts in favour of resolution of the legal grey areas concerning the proposed constitution amendment, before any further step could be taken on the Bill.
In an affidavit deposed to by one Theophilus Okwute, a lawyer in the chambers of Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN and Co, which was attached to the application, he averred before the apex court thus; “That I listened to Hon. Samson Osagie, the Minority Whip of the House of Representative on the NTA 9 o’clock news on 24/04/2015 when he said that the National Assembly would go ahead to pass the (Fourth Alteration) Act (Bill) 2015 into law despite any Court action because no order had been made against the National Assembly to restrain it from doing so.
“That by that very disposition of the said Hon. Samson Osagie who spoke to the press as a Principal Officer of the Defendant/Respondent, it is clear that the Defendant/Respondent is determined to proceed to pass the Fourth Alteration Act (sic) into Law despite the pendency of the substantive suit herein.
“That fundamental questions were raised by the Plaintiff/Applicant on the proposed alterations to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the Fourth Alteration Act, 2015 which is in issue in this suit.
“That it will be in the larger interest of Nigeria that those issues be resolved before the Defendant/Respondent takes any further step in giving effect to the proposed alterations to the Constitution.
“That with the utterances of Hon. Samson Osagie at the Press Conference earlier alluded to in this affidavit, it is clear that the Defendant is determined to ignore the proceeding before this Honourable Court on the proposed alteration and proceed to give effect to the alterations to the Constitution.”
“That the Defendant/Respondent will not lose anything or suffer any prejudice if this application is granted.
“That the balance of convenience tilts in favour of granting this application. That the whole Nigerian legal system shall be put into confusion if the Defendant/Respondent proceeds to give effect to the Fourth Alteration Act (Bill) 2015 and this suit succeeds such that the Constitution remain unaltered, meaning that the Act is void and or no effect.
“That the Constitution is the basic law of Nigeria and should only be amended following due process. That it will be in the interest of justice to grant this application”, he stated.
FG had asked the apex court to nullify all the proposed amendments to the constitution.
In its originating summons, it prayed the Supreme Court to declare as unconstitutional, the amendments as proposed by the lawmakers.
”Specifically, FG urged the court to set aside sections 3, 4, 12, 14, 21, 23, 36, 39, 40, 43 and 44 of the Fourth Alteration Act, 2015, purportedly passed by the Defendant.
It contended that the said Fourth Alteration Act 2015, was not passed with the mandatory requirement of four-fifths majority of members of the Defendant (National Assembly), and the mandatory due processes provided for under the relevant sections of the extant Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.
”As a follow up. President Jonathan equally wrote separate letters to the Senate President, David Mark and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, asking them to halt moves by members of the National Assembly to go ahead with the constitution amendment process.
”In the letter which was served on them by the AGF, President Jonathan urged them to restrain other federal ‘legislators from tampering with the 1999 constitution, as issues regarding its proposed amendments, are already before the Supreme Court.”
AS Nigeria awaits the inauguration of the eighth National Assembly, the political space has understandably become awash with speculation about who will be Senate president and, therefore, chairman of the National Assembly.
The speculation is understandable. The Senate president will not only be the number three man in the country, he will play a pivotal role in governance and the political direction of the country’s post May 29. However, much of the speculation about who the cap best fits has focused on geopolitical issues especially the zoning formula of the in-coming governing party.
Most Nigerians expect, and expectedly so, the position to be zoned to the North Central geo-political zone of the country. The North Central not only delivered over whelming votes to the APC, it is the minority north with a convergence of ethnic nationalities.
If the position is truly, as speculated to come from the North, it is generally hoped to come from the North central since the core north, North west already produced the President. Therefore, zoning the Senate presidency outside the North central will be tantamount to deepening alienation of the zone. More importantly, given the sensitive times the country is going through, the Senate needs a competent, respected and accomplished president who can command the respect of his colleagues, provide effective leadership at the national assembly and work well with the other arms in the interest of democracy and good governance.
Therefore, if it is about equity, fairness and competence, Senator Bukola Saraki deserves our support. To say that Senator (Dr) Bukola Saraki, has made Kwara State the envy of many, including the leadership of his former party so much so that he became a target of political persecution is to say the obvious. Though rough and tough as it were, Bukola Saraki’s influence did not wane as he insisted on pushing for the deepening of democratic tenets and today, he has emerged as the undisputed political heavyweight in Kwara State.
Driven by a high sense of accountability and respect for the rule of law, Senator Saraki abandoned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where he was apparently comfortable, to pitch his tent with the APC and thus began the task of cleaning the mess he discovered in the PDP from the position of weakness as a member of the opposition party, using the broom. This, he did fearlessly, not minding threats of witch-hunting using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Special Fraud Unit (SFU); the two agencies that trailed him for nearly four years and found nothing to charge him with.
This was a governor poised to instill accountability, established the Price Intelligence Unit, (PIU), in Kwara State to checkmate over invoicing, through which he saved millions of naira for the state for which he got an international award. For a state with a meagre resource a little above N3b, he established the Shonga farm, health insurance policy, aviation college and Harmony diagnostic centre, which till date, remain models in prudence financial management.
Without doubt, these explain why Saraki’s emergence as a strong contender for the office of Senate President was greeted with joy, particularly as the new government is expected to usher in government of prudence management of national resources. All over the world, the ability of the Senate president to organize and lead, as well as ensure a smooth and cordial relationship between its members and the presidency or otherwise, has been known to largely affect the running of the country and the delivery of electioneering promises.
With the sensitive and strategic position of the Senate president, it requires that the man or woman who will lead the senate must be one that understands the leadership intricacies, operation, body language of most members and has negotiating powers, as well as the ability to rally support for the president with little or no difficulties. Indeed, these qualities cannot be compromised if the party at the centre or by extension, the president, must redeem and execute party manifesto, and maintain law and order, while grappling with the task of governance and delivering on people-focused policies.
While most names on the table for the exalted position qualify to lead being senior members of the National Assembly and of sound intellectual judgment, Senator (Dr) Bukola, however, fits well and has the administrative exposure needed for a stable senate that will assist the new Buhari presidency to quickly settle down to work, particularly as he was a former chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), a period that saw the governors’ forum witness relative peace and the governors enjoy true friendship.
Interestingly, the new Senate will be peopled by a good number of some former governors most of whom were part of the NGF when Dr Saraki was chairman. Traversing the chairmanship of various committees in the senate such as chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Food Security, Education and later Environment and Ecology, debates were robust and deliberations ideal and people-based. The high-point of his quality committee leadership was the championing of bills to sanitise the environment, such as the Gas Flaring Bill and the Noses Amendment Act on oil spillage.
Saraki’s passion to formulate laws to ensure total eradication of oil spillage in oil bearing communities as well as ensure timely clean-up, remediation of impacted areas and payment of adequate compensation to affected communities remains unrivaled.
As the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ecology, he proposed the Nigeria Oil Spill Detection and Regulatory Agency (NOSDRA) Amendment Bill which aims to ensure that oil companies responsible for Oil Spillage and other harmful environmental activities do not go scot-free. It is on record that Saraki’s effort resulted in the $83.3million compensation paid by Shell to communities in Ogoniland that were victims of oil spillage for decades.
Dr Saraki as a first term senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is credited with raising the motion considered as the most important motion of the 7th Assembly. His motion on “Transparency And Accountability In The Management Of Fuel Subsidy Scheme” has been referred to as the singular legislative act that exposed the monumental fraud in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) where officials illegally diverted over N1trillion in the name of fuel and kerosene subsidy in 2012 alone.
There is no doubt that Saraki’s intellectual weight, good nature and friendship contributed in no small measure to the success of the current republic. This played out during the party convention in which the leaders of APC led by Asiwaju wanted Odigie Oyegun as party chairman, while most of the governors wanted former governor of Bayelsa, Timipre Silva. Saraki played a stabilising role by insisting that the wish of the leaders and legacy members of the Party must be respected. Saraki also eschewed primordial sentiments, voluntarily stepped down his presidential ambition by insisting that Buhari was the best option for Nigeria, which expectedly, pitched him against certain dominant interests.
Indeed, if Saraki is allowed to lead the next Senate, it is definitely not for him but for Nigeria. A Saraki Senate presidency will not only be a stabiliser, a bridge builder but ensure a robust senate. Saraki’s Senate Presidency is definitely for Nigeria’s progress. This will also give the president a breathing space.
A product of King’s College, Lagos and Cheltenham College, Cheltenham, London, Dr Saraki studied at the London Hospital Medical College of the University of London where he obtained his M.B.B.S (London). He had worked as a Medical Officer at Rush Green Hospital, Essex and as a Director of Societe Generale Bank (Nigeria) Limited, as well as appointed Special Assistant to the President on Budget in 2000.
Senator Saraki is the leader of Kwara State politics and by extension, North Central and one of the national leaders of APC, who ensured that Buhari won the state and ultimately changed the direction of the election. He also serves as a tribal nobleman of high rank in Kwara State in his capacity as the Turaki of the Ilorin Emirate and also Turaki Raya Kasan Nupe. In a country deeply divided along religious, ethnic and political lines, Saraki is seen as a blend of all by having his origin in North Central with close ties to the South-West. Saraki is a Muslim with a Christian wife.
His consideration by the APC to serve in the capacity of the Senate President of the 8th National Assembly where the party and Nigerians are hoping he will further contribute his quota to the development of the country by firming up existing legislations and initiating new ones for the benefit of all Nigerians, certainly, is a good sign of the better things to come in the years ahead. Therefore, he deserves the support of all who genuinely mean well for Nigeria, APC and Nigerians.
Mr. Abdulwahaab Oba, CPS to the Kwara State governor, wrote from Ilorin, Kwara State.
DISPLAYING utter contempt for the 1999 Constitution he swore to uphold, President Goodluck Jonathan has sacked Suleiman Abba as the Inspector-General of Police. He replaced him immediately with Solomon Arase, a Deputy Inspector-General, in an acting capacity. Both the dismissal and the acting appointment are gross violations of the 1999 Federal Constitution, Nigeria’s supreme law.
Without citing any cogent reason, the President unceremoniously fired Abba, who assumed office nine months ago. Sadly, however, these actions are in keeping with the trend of impunity in the Jonathan administration, which has consistently conducted itself in an imperial manner, to the detriment of the rule of law, the common good and growth of our democratic norms. They have all the trappings of using power for selfish end.
The provisions of sections 215 and 216 of the 1999 Constitution, which guide the appointment and removal of the IG, are unambiguous. Section 215, subsection 1, states, “There shall be (a) an Inspector-General of Police who, subject to section 216 (2) of the Constitution, shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council…” Section 216 (2) adds, “Before making any appointment (not an acting appointment) to the office of the Inspector-General of Police or removing him from office, the President shall consult the Nigeria Police Council.”
The constitution, in the Third Schedule L (27), lists the composition of the NPC as the President (Chairman), governor of each state, Chairman of the Police Service Commission and the IGP. All the recent capital that Jonathan garnered when he conceded defeat to Muhammadu Buhari after the March 28 presidential ballot has been wasted by this breach of the constitution.
Many observers – local and international – praised the conduct of the police under Abba’s guidance. They not only appeared in neat uniforms, their conduct was passed off as being far better than in previous elections. Shortly after the March 28 polls, the National Peace Committee on the 2015 Elections, headed by a former Head of State, Abdusalami Abubakar, had commended the police “for their professional conduct.” This was also the position of the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, who said the conduct of the Nigerian police would be a reference point for the 13 other African countries holding elections in the next two years.
In spite of some lapses, the European Union observers gave a pass mark to the 2015 polls, describing them as the best in the past 16 years. John Kuffour, also a former president of Ghana and Head, ECOWAS Election Observer Mission, said, “The Nigerian elections are a pride, not only to Nigerians, but also to West Africa and the whole of the African continent; we are all proud of the success of the Nigerian elections.”
Yet, the uncommon speed with which Jonathan dismissed Abba is a stark contrast to the lethargy of the past five years. When Boko Haram extremists abducted 276 Chibok schoolgirls on April 14, 2014, Jonathan didn’t lift a finger for 18 days, by which time the girls had long disappeared. He spared Mohammed Abubakar, the then IGP, the military service chiefs, and the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, for their serial failures. Neither did Jonathan make any pronouncement on April 14, 2015, the first anniversary of the girls’ abduction, although the event was marked by other leaders the world over.
Boko Haram, for the first time in Nigeria’s post-Civil War history, beginning from mid-2014, captured large swathes of Nigerian territory. Yet, the President did nothing to boot out the non-performing security chiefs. In comparison, Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, apart from penning a personal letter to each of the bereaved families after al-Shabab Islamic terrorists murdered 150 students of the Garissa University on April 2, suspended some security chiefs. In December 2014, Kenyatta had sacked his security minister and accepted the resignation of the police chief, just hours after al-Shabab insurgents killed 36 quarry workers in the Mandera County.
In a case that dates back to August 2011, the outgoing President refused to reinstate Ayo Salami, then president of the Court of Appeal. This was after the National Judicial Council, which had initially recommended Salami for suspension, had cleared him of wrongdoing in May 2012 over his altercation with Aloysius Katsina-Alu, then the Chief Justice of Nigeria. Salami was never reinstated to his post until his tenure ran out in 2013.
Under Jonathan’s watch, the spectre of arbitrary – and suspicious – sacking extended to the corridors of the Central Bank of Nigeria. In February 2014, the President fired Lamido Sanusi, the then CBN governor, shortly after he accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation of not remitting $20 billion of crude oil revenue to the Federation Account. Although Sanusi headed for the court, Jonathan stuck to his guns, appointing a new helmsman immediately even when the audit report had yet to be concluded.
Similarly, when the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, staged a fraudulent Nigeria Immigration Service recruitment scam that caused the death of 18 people in March 2014, the President looked the other way. The President appears to move only when his personal interests are affected.
For Nigeria to grow, however, the country has to live by the rule of law and selfless leadership. It is important for the incoming administration of Buhari to obey the rule at all times: all appointments and terminations should be done in accordance with the dictates of the law and in furtherance of the public good.
The President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, has said the claim by the Boko Haram sect that it is a religious group is a fraud.
He also said the sect would be denied a recruitment base the moment people in local communities realised that its claim of being a religious group was nothing but a fraud.
Buhari said this while receiving a delegation from Nasarawa State which was led by the state Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, at the Defence House, on Monday.
In a statement signed by the Director of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Mallam Garba Shehu, Buhari was quoted as saying, “The fraud called Boko Haram can be defeated by denying it a recruitment base.
“No religion allows for the killing of children in school dormitory, in markets and places of worship. They have nothing to do with religion. They are terrorists and we are going to deal with them as they deal with terrorists anywhere.”
The President-elect also said he was greatly pained by the destruction of schools in the north-eastern part of the country.
This, he noted, could deny thousands of children access to education and a better future unless something was done urgently to avert “this tragedy.”
“The worst thing anybody can do is to deny children access to education. That will be destructive to their lives and we are not going to allow that to happen,” the President-elect said.
He also said that his government would help the states to get more money to improve infrastructure by ensuring that all federally-collectible revenues were paid directly into the Federation Account and each tier of government given its due share.
Buhari was also quoted as saying, “As at now, the government does not even know how many revenue accounts it has. We will give all the tiers of government what is due to them but we will hold them accountable as we would the Federal Government.”
Buhari while describing Nasarawa State as his own “political laboratory,” meaning the only APC-controlled state out of the 36 others. He adjudged the experiment as a success.
He said, “From one state, I now have 22 political laboratories.”
He commended Al-Makura for surviving many impeachment plots saying, “Without Nasarawa, there would not have been the APC.”
Earlier, Al-Makura had said he led the delegation to congratulate Buhari on his victory which was not only a victory for him but a victory for Nigerians.
In condemning his impeachment, he reminded the lawmakers of an April 23 court order that the status quo be maintained in respect of his office.
He said, “Another action in respect of the same office and the impeachment process is pending in court and will come up on May 7, 2015.
“I think public office holders and people who are put in positions to defend the Nigerian constitution must be law abiding.
“In the light of this disobedience to a court order and the impunity displayed in the course of the impeachment proceedings, the deputy governor is on solid ground. The action is illegal and a juge joke.”
Olanusi’s impeachment followed the submission on Monday of a report by the seven-man panel constituted by Chief Judge Olasehinde Kumuyi.
After considering the report during their sitting in Akure on Monday, the Majority Leader of the Assembly, Ifedayo Akinsoyinu, moved the motion for the impeachment of the deputy governor.
Akinsoyinu based his motion on the report which indicted Olanusi of the allegations of gross misconduct levelled against him by the assembly.
The report read, “Having found that all the seven allegations established against Alhaji Olanusi, the deputy governor of Ondo State, and placing reliance on the meaning of gross misconduct as defined in Section 188 (11) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, we hereby find that the allegation of gross misconduct has been proved against Alhaji Olanusi, the holder of office of the deputy governor of Ondo State.”
After the presentation and the secondment of the motion, the Speaker, Jumoke Akindele, requested the 22 members of the House to express their support for or objection to the removal of the deputy governor.
The members announced their support through a voice vote .
Akindele consequently directed Olanusi to hand over all government property in his possession to the permanent secretary in the deputy governor’s office.
She also asked the permanent secretary to use all lawful means to retrieve all the property should Olanusi fail to release them immediately.
The process for the impeachment of the deputy governor lasted barely a week with the service of the impeachment notice on him.
Shortly after Olanusi’s impeachment, Governor Olusegun Mimiko sent in a letter requesting the approval of Oluboyo as his new deputy.
After the letter was read, Akindele directed the Deputy Speaker, Dare Emiola, to supervise the House Committee on Selection to screen the nominee.
This was quickly done with Eniola saying that Oluboyo was competent of being a deputy governor.
All the lawmakers that attended the plenary thereafter approved the appointment of the Agriculture commissioner as the new deputy governor.
After this, Oluboyo went to the Cocoa Conference Hall in the Governor’s office where he was sworn in as the deputy governor.
During the ceremony, Mimiko said he hoped the synergy among the three arms of government would be sustained.
He congratulated the new deputy governor, saying there was joy in the state immediately his name was mentioned.
Oluboyo, who pledged his loyalty to Mimiko,said the fact that one Akoko man disappointed should not be seen that all Akoko people were bad.
Olanusi’s impeachment was however described by the state APC as temporary.
The party said in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Abayomi Adesanya, that it was laughable that the ‘rubber-stamp’ Assembly could impeach the deputy governor and approve another person in a haste.
It alleged that Mimiko, who defected from the Labour Party to the PDP, had turned politics in the state into a desperate affair.
The statement read, “The impeachment of Alhaji Olanusi as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State is temporary. The whole process of the impeachment was a sham and charade. How on earth will a deputy governor be impeached within five days?
“It shows that there were unholy alliances among Governor Mimiko, the Chief Judge, and the governor’s stooges who call themselves lawmakers to embark on an illegal process to impeach a duly elected deputy governor.
“It was clear to the people of the state that before the directive of the Speaker to serve Olanusi the impeachment notice, the embattled deputy governor was not in the state.
“Without any court order, the speaker directed them to paste the notice of impeachment on the quarters of the deputy governor, this is unlawful.
“The Chief Judge, due to his relationship with Mimiko because we are aware that he was Mimiko’s best man during his wedding, has been assisting him to executive illegality.
“He set up a panel that was expected to sit for three months by giving room for fair hearing with the parties involved, the investigative panel only sat for five hours in just one day and found Olanusi guilty of gross misconduct without fair hearing and in absentia. The panel is acting a script from the governor. This is impunity pa excellence.”
Also, the state chairman of the APC, Isaac Kekemeke, said the impeachment had “consolidated Mimiko’s emperorship of the state.”
He said, “This is unacceptable, we will challenge this unconstitutional impeachment and lawlessness appropriately in court.”
But the PDP in Ondo State defended the Assembly, saying the impeachment of Olanusi should be seen as the verdict of the people of the state.
The Publicity Secretary of the state PDP, Banji Okunomo, said it was on record that Olanusi was represented at the sitting of the panel by his counsel, Benson Enikuomehin.
He said the Assembly would not have done anything if the panel had not found him guilty.
“The development was in tandem with the wish of the people of the state and this had been demonstrated as there was no single protest since the commencement of the impeachment process,” Okunomo added.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday said his administration had nothing to hide in respect of the claim by a former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Lamido Sanusi, that $20bn oil money was not remitted to the Federation Account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
To prove this, he said he had directed that the full report by PriceWaterHouse which was commissioned to carry out a detailed investigation into the activities of the NNPC be made public immediately.
Jonathan, in a statement in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati,also described the allegation by the All Progressives Congress that his officials were embarking on last minute illegal actions as “unfortunate and uncharitable.”
Buhari had while receiving an APC delegation from Adamawa State on Sunday, expressed surprise that instead of probing the allegation by Sanusi ,who is now the Emir of Kano, the Jonathan-led Peoples Democratic Party administration chose to fire him.
He stated that since Sanusi’s claim was documented, his administration would take a look at it after the May 29 handover date.
Buhari said, “On the issue of corruption, I heard that some people have started returning money. I will not believe it until I see for myself.
“You all remember what the Emir of Kano talked about when he was the governor of the CBN. He said $20bn, not N20bn, was unaccounted for; they said it was a lie. Instead of investigating it, they sacked him. And God in his infinite mercy made him the Emir of Kano. In any case, that is what he wanted. And since this was documented, our administration will take a look at it.”
Sanusi had written a letter to Jonathan that $49bn was not remitted to the Federation Account by the NNPC.
But following the controversy which the letter generated, a committee was set up to reconcile the account.
Sanusi later recanted and said the unremitted fund was $12bn. He later changed the figure to $20bn.
But Abati, in his statement, said Jonathan was concerned by the continuing suggestions that his administration had anything to hide on the allegation.
The statement read in part, “President Jonathan is also deeply concerned by the continuing suggestions that his administration still has anything to hide about the unproven allegation that about $20bn is unaccounted for by the NNPC during his tenure.
“To lay the matter to rest, President Jonathan in line with Section 7(2) of the NNPC Act, has directed that the full report of the PWC Forensic Audit of the NNPC accounts be released immediately to the public so that all Nigerians will be properly informed on the matter.”
When journalists asked Abati why Jonathan had to wait until Buhari said he would look into Sanusi’s allegation before making the audit report public, he said he did not know the circumstances in which the President gave the directive.
He said all he knew was that the issue had been in the public domain for a long time and that there was the need to lay it to rest.
Abati gave assurance that Jonathan would continue to do his best to ensure a smooth handover to the President-elect but regretted what he called the unfairness and combative frame of mind reflected in a recent statement by the APC’s spokesman, Lai Mohammed.
He said that as the APC’s spokesman threatened in his statement, the incoming administration would be perfectly within its rights to review all actions of the present government as it might deem fit.
Abati added that there was nothing wrong with that because the Jonathan government also reviewed the actions of previous governments on assumption of office with resultant benefits for policy and project implementation.
Abati’s statement explained, “We have noted with concern, the allegation by the spokesman for the APC, Alhaji Mohammed, that officials of the Federal Government are engaged in ‘last-minute looting of the nation’s resources, rushed privatisation of key institutions and hurried recruitment into the public service’.
“We also consider as most unfortunate and uncharitable, the suggestion by Alhaji Mohammed that the Jonathan administration is trying to “tie the hands” of the incoming government merely by continuing to discharge its constitutional responsibilities until the end of its tenure.
“The Jonathan administration which continues to do its best to ensure a smooth and peaceful handover of power to the President-elect deeply regrets the unfairness and combative frame of mind reflected in Alhaji Mohammed’s statement.
“President Jonathan has done his best in the past five years to discharge his constitutional responsibilities for good governance and effective leadership of the nation.
“Without any prejudice whatsoever to the freedom of the incoming administration to do as it pleases, within the confines of extant laws when it assumes office, the Jonathan Administration will continue to discharge its responsibility to govern until May 29, 2015.
“In continuing to fulfil the obligations of his office however, President Jonathan has not, and will never condone any form of unscrupulous conduct on the part of state officials.
“President Jonathan will also never authorise any attempt to create any problems for the incoming administration as the APC spokesperson, who ought to know that the outcome of the March 28 presidential election does not imply a cessation of governance, unjustly alleges.
“As Alhaji Mohammed threatened in his statement, the incoming administration will be perfectly within its rights to review all actions of the present government as it may deem fit.
“We see nothing wrong with that. After all, the present administration reviewed the actions of previous governments on assumption of office with resultant benefits for policy and project implementation.”
Vice President Joe Biden reportedly made a call to Jonathan on April 21, to intimate him of the decision to make him an envoy after leaving office on May 29.
The role Jonathan is to take is similar to that of Tony Blair, who after leaving office as United Kingdom Prime Minister, was appointed the Middle East envoy for the United Nations, European Union, United States, and Russia.
Following Monday’s impeachment of former deputy governor of Ondo, Alhaji Ali Olanusi by the Members of the state House of Assembly, the Ondo state commissioner for Agriculture Alhaji Lasisi Oluboyo has been nominated as the new deputy governor of the state.
This followed a letter written by the state governor Dr Olusegun Mimiko to the House of Assembly nominating him to replaced the impeached deputy governor Alhaji Ali Olanusi.
The State House of Assembly is at present sitting to approve the nominee.
NigerianEye had earlier reported that the former Deputy governor Alhaji Ali Olanusi was Monday morning impeached.
The impeachment motion was moved by the Majority Leader, Henry Akinsoyinu, who revealed that the seven impeachable offences of gross misconduct and abuse of office levelled against the Deputy Governor have been proved.