Winning Ekiti Is Important To APC, Buhari Says

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday evening said it was important for the ruling All Progressives Congress to win the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State.

He said the victory was important because the election would serve as a pointer to subsequent elections in the country.

Buhari said this while hosting members of the APC South West caucus to a dinner at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

All aspirants that contested the party ticket in Ekiti State with the winner, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, were also present at the dinner.

The President said forthrightness, candour, and integrity that hitherto characterised the people of the state appeared to have been lost in the state currently being governed by Ayodele Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party.

He said it was time for the APC to restore those lost values and return the state to the comity of states.

The President said, “I know Ekiti fairly well and Ekiti people are well known for their forthrightness, candour and integrity.

“All of these values seem to have been lost and we must restore these values and return Ekiti to its pride of place in the comity of states.

“As we approach the 2019 elections, the return of Ekiti into the fold of progressive states is important as the election of July 14 is going to be a key pointer to subsequent elections.”

He said all party chiefs must work together to ensure electoral victory for Fayemi.

Buhari insisted that he would never interfere in the internal affairs of the party at any level.

A former interim national chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, told State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that all party chiefs in the South West would work for Fayemi’s success.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, were present at the dinner.

Governors at the meeting included Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and the Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, who was the chairman of APC Ekiti Guber primaries committee.

Some members of the National Assembly, ministers, and stakeholders from the zone also attended the dinner.

Buhari Meets S/West APC Leaders, Ekiti Guber Aspirants

haVice President Yemi Osinbajo; a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a former interim national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande; and the National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, were present at the dinner.

Others in attendance were former Governor of Ekiti State, Segun Oni; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi.

Governors at the meeting included Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and the Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, who was the chairman of the APC Ekiti governorship primary’s committee.

Some members of the National Assembly, ministers and stakeholders from the zone also attended the dinner.

Before the dinner went into closed doors, it was announced that Fayemi and Tinubu will make brief remarks before the dinner, while Odigie-Oyegun and the President will speak after the dinner.

Ganduje Resolves Kano Assembly Crisis

The Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has reconciled the two warring factions of the state House of Assembly.

Following the reconciliation which brought the crisis to an end, the Assembly will reopen on Thursday to further consolidate the resolutions reached at the meeting.

The state Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, revealed this in a statement to reporters in Kano on Wednesday that the reconciliation meeting was held late Tuesday night at the Government House.

Garba said that the meeting was held  between representatives of the two feuding factions and Governor Ganduje who intervened to resolve the crisis.

He said the intervention was done in the interest of peace and democratic development of the state.

Garba restated that the meeting was held in a matured and responsible manner.

One the aggrieved lawmakers had on Tuesday removed two principal officers even as the police prevented the 24 legislators who stormed the House entry into the complex.

The spokesman of the legislators and a former Speaker of the House, Alhaji Kabiru Alhassan Rurum, had announced the decision of the members while addressing journalists outside the Assembly Complex at Audu Bako Secretariat.

Fayemi: I’ll Resign In A Week

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Wednesday said that he would resign from the federal cabinet “in a week.”

Fayemi, who is the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State, spoke to State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, shortly after he was formally presented to President Muhammadu Buhari.

When asked when he will resign his appointment as a minister, Fayemi initially claimed that there was still a lot of work to be done.

He referred the reporters to Section 182 of the Constitution, which he said allowed him to be in office till at least 30 days to the election.

“There is still a lot of work to do. The Constitution, again, is very clear. What the Constitution says in Section 182 is that I must leave the cabinet at least 30 days before the general election,” Fayemi said.

When further asked how to describe him since he has emerged a candidate and he is still a minister, Fayemi replied, “Well, I am the candidate of our party and I am also a minister of the Federal Republic, at least for the next one week. So, for the next one week, I am the Minister of Mines and Steel.”

Fayemi, who is a former governor of Ekiti State, said he had crossed a critical hurdle by way of the party primary in his quest to return to the Ekiti State Government House.

Admitting that there was still a major work to do, the governorship candidate expressed delight that those who contested the party ticket with him have seen the work as a collective rescue mission.

He said that he had reached out to other aspirants and that they have agreed to be a part of the candidate advisory council for the election.

With all the cooperation, he said, the APC will win the governorship election.

Fayemi dismissed the statement credited to Governor Ayodele Fayose that he (Fayemi) would be defeated with a wide margin for the second time.

“As far as I am aware, Fayose is not on this ballot. We will deal with the candidate on this ballot and the track record that we have in Ekiti is what will sell us,” he said.

The minister also clarified the apology he recently rendered to the people of the state.

He said, “You should understand the context of the apology. Don’t just take the apology on its own.

“What I said was that clearly, there were people in Ekiti even though they are (in the) minority, who were not happy with some of the policies and programmes of our government while we were in office and to such people, I render an apology.

“But for me, the rescue mission in Ekiti is a job that has to be done. What do you want? You want continuity of lack of salary, continuity of poverty, continuity of want, continuity of directionlessness or you want to return to a past of buoyancy, human development, accountability and transparency in government? That is the clear dividing line and people can see that.”

Fayemi again faulted the report of a probe panel instituted by the state which banned him from holding public office in the state, describing Fayose as a “comedian.”

“I don’t want to dwell on the probe panel, but the law of the land is clear. It is only a court of competent jurisdiction that can convict anyone — any Nigerian — for any malfeasance.

“You cannot sit in your house, cook up a probe panel, a kangaroo tribunal and you say you have indicted someone and that person is guilty and should be banned from public office.

“That is just a joke; but then, the man we are taking about is an Alawada (comedian) like we say in Yorubaland. So, that is not surprising,” Fayemi said.

The chairman of the party’s primary committee, Tanko Al-Makura, said he was in the Presidential Villa to present Fayemi to Buhari for his blessing, “according to the party’s tradition once a candidate emerges for an election.”

He said having done that and also having briefed the party’s national leadership, the APC was ready to go forward and campaign for Fayemi’s election, in line with the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Al-Makura, who is the governor of Nassarawa State, expressed optimism that APC will win the election.

He said, “APC is very, very ready if what I saw in Ekiti is anything to go by.

“I think we can consider this election as a forgone conclusion, given the support, the solidarity shown by other aspirants after the declaration. This gave us an inkling that Fayemi is going to be supported by all the aspirants.

“If you look at the quality, the comportment, the maturity of the delegates who have unanimously voted Fayemi, you will know that out there, the people they control are also people that represent the interest of Ekiti State.

“Should the election hold today, I can assure you that with what we have seen, we are comfortable that Fayemi will emerge the governor of Ekiti State.”

APC Reps Have Endorsed Oshiomhole’s Chairmanship Bid — Gbajabiamila

The All Progressives Congress’ (APC) members at the House of Representatives have endorsed Adams Oshiomhole as the next chairman of the ruling party.

Femi Gbajabiamila, House Majority Leader, on Wednesday said the APC House members met with Mr Oshiomhole yesterday and are now convinced that the former Edo State governor possess adequate qualities to lead the ruling party.

“We sat down for over two hours with Comrade Oshiomole and had a heart-to-heart discussion and we are all on the same page,” Mr Gbajabiamila said in a Twitter update Wednesday morning. “As a result of that solicitation, we as the @OfficialAPCNg caucus in the House of Representatives believe in him.”

“We have more or less endorsed him,” he emphasised.

Mr Oshiomhole joined the race for the ruling party’s chairmanship last week, following weeks of high-profile endorsements that reportedly included President Muhammadu Buhari.

A former Lagos State governor and major broker in the APC, Bola Tinubu, is also said to be backing Mr Oshiomhole.

Mr Oshiomhole’s victory is all but assured in the party’s convention slated for June 23. The incumbent chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, has reportedly withdrawn from the race after calculating that he will not be able to neutralise the threat posed by Mr Oshiomhole.

The APC restricted its chairmanship slot to the Edo State, making it difficult to find another viable choice outside Mr Oshiomhole.

Mr Oshiomhole, who stepped down as Edo governor after completing two terms, said he would lead the party to a better future. Should he go ahead to become the party’s chairman as widely expected, he would spend his early weeks mending fences within the party.

The violent ward and local council congresses organised by the party have left several top politicians within its ranks seething. Other power blocs within the party, like the nPDP, are also threatening to derail the party’s prospects ahead of 2019.

But Mr Oshiomhole reportedly assured members of the APC caucus during the Tuesday meeting that he was up to task, with specific regards to the 2019 elections.

Speaker Yakubu Dogara was among those present at the meeting, and all the members reportedly expressed confidence in Mr Oshiomhole’s competence.

Just In: Omo-Agege Resumes At Senate, Signs Attendance

The lawmaker representing Delta Central Senatorial District, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, was at the Senate chamber this morning. He signed the attendance register and left.

However, he is now in the Senate chamber, where the lawmakers are now in a closed-door session which began shortly after President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, said the opening prayers.

The lawmaker, who was absent on Tuesday when he said he was resuming, had told a National Newspaper that he would be at the Senate on Wednesday (today).

“(I) Will be at plenary tomorrow, God will,” a text message in response to our correspondent’s enquiry on his absence on Tuesday read.

2019: INEC Will Never Yield To Pressure, Says Mahmood Yakubu

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, says the commission is completely independent in the discharge of its duties.

Professor Yakubu stated this during an interview on Channels Television’s Roadmap 2019, a special political programme anchored by Ladi Akerelodu-Ale on Mondays.

He noted that INEC has not been pressurised from any quarter since he assumed office and the electoral body would resist such stoutly.

“Since I assumed duty on the 9th of November 2015, I have been under no pressure from any quarter at all and this commission will never yield to any pressure from any quarter,” the INEC Chairman said.

“I have been under no pressure to do what is wrong and I will never do what is wrong. So, I think there is a sufficiency of guise in the law; the independence is what we make of that independence,” he added.

With about nine months to the general elections, the INEC boss assured that the commission is working hard to ensure the polls are conducted without prejudice.

He, however, pointed out that the independence of the electoral body comes from the integrity of the election managers, saying it is not necessarily drawn from statutory provisions.

On the process of selecting an INEC chairman, Professor Yakubu noted that it is better to say the President nominates rather than appoints a candidate.

He stressed further that the constitutional provision for appointing an INEC chairman requires that the President must first consult with the National Council of States.

The Council of State is made up of the President, all the governors, serving presiding officers of the National Assembly, former Chief Justices of the Federation, as well as former presidents and Heads of State among others.

Professor Yakubu explained, “There is a process of consultation, then it (the name) is submitted to the National Assembly and the NASS screens the candidate and then submit their recommendations to the President who swears the commission in.”

He added that the process of removing an INEC chairman is also clearly defined by the law.

According to the INEC boss, it requires a two-thirds majority of members of the Senate and the House of Representatives to remove an INEC chairman.

He added that the other ways include by means of voluntary resignation or in the case of ill-health.

Police Lay Siege On Imo APC Secretariat

Operatives of the Imo State Police Command have taken over the secretariat of the All Progressives Congress located at Imo State University Junction in Owerri.

The development came on the heels of APC’s nationwide ward congresses held on May 5, which were marred by crisis in the state.

The national leadership of the party had announced the postponement of the Imo State Local Government congresses which took place across other parts of the country last weekend.

This is even as unidentified hoodlums last Friday allegedly set the party secretariat on fire amidst a downpour.

The fire, which mostly affected the inner parts of the secretariat, was said to have destroyed vital party documents and equipment.

The APC state chairman, Hillary Eke, had told newsmen that he had petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, over the fire at the secretariat on May 5.

He had said that members of staff of the secretariat “identified those who launched an attack on the secretariat while the ward congress was going on across the 305 electoral wards in the state.”

When our correspondent visited the secretariat on Monday, armed policemen were seen manning the entrance, with their Hilux van packed by the side.

Nobody was allowed entry into the secretariat, even as the building was locked up.

Also, no secretariat workers or party official was seen around.

When contacted, the Police spokesperson, Andrew Enwerem, said that the Police took over the secretariat following the fire outbreak on Friday.

According to Enwerem, the Command leadership had ordered a “thorough” investigation into the circumstances that led to the inferno at the secretariat.

He said that in order not to compromise the process of investigation, the Police had to “temporarily” take over the secretariat

Enwerem said, “We have temporarily taken over the secretariat following the fire outbreak.

“The Police are investigating and in order not to jeopardise the investigation process, we have to take the secretariat over in the meantime.

“This is to avoid any other attack on the secretariat and to make sure that peace is restored.”

APC Denies Reports Of Parallel Congresses In States

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has reacted to cases of parallel congresses in some states of the federation.

Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, National Publicity Secretary of the party, in a statement on Monday, stated that there is no such thing as parallel congress.

There were reports that such cases were recorded in Oyo, Kogi among others.

But Abdullahi said: “The only congress recognised by the Party is that conducted in accordance with the Party constitution, which was organised by the congress committee charged by the Party to organise such congress.

“We therefore regard any so-called parallel congresses as exercise in futility and attempt to cause confusion in the Party.

“We wish to reiterate that any Party member who has any genuine grievances regarding the congresses should channel such through the Appeals Committee in their respective states.”

Court Dismisses Tenure Elongation Suit Against Oyegun, Others

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Monday, dismissed two suits seeking to overturn an earlier tenure extension for All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, and other officials of the party at the national, state, local government and ward levels.

Delivering judgments in two separate suits on the matter, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba observed that the party has reversed its decision to extend the officials’ tenures.

He stated that he has taken judicial notice that the APC has commenced the conduct of its congresses to elect officials at the ward and local government levels.

Justice Dimgba said he is also aware that the party is planing to hold its national convention.

While asserting that the court does not give judgment “for fancy” but only “addresses live issues,” Justice Dimgba said had the tenure elongation scaled through, it would have been a violation of both the Nigerian and APC’s constitutions.

A member of the APC in Imo State, Mr. Okere Uzochukwu, filed the first suit on March 2, 2018 and marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/219/2018 to challenge the move.

The second suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/237/2018, was filed on March 8, 2018 by four APC members aspiring to run for leadership positions in the party, to challenge the extension of the tenures of the incumbent holders of the executive offices of the party.

Office Of The Governor’s Budget: PDP Leaders Are Fiscal Illiterates – Osun Govt

The Government of Osun has described as false, baseless and unfounded the allegation of financial malfeasance levelled against the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola by the state chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

A statement by the Media Adviser to the Governor, Mr Sola Fasure, said PDP had once against demonstrated its skill at deception and uncanny ability to turn white into blue in a bid to discredit the people-oriented government of Aregbesola.

He stated further that the opposition PDP in Osun in company with the party’s governorship aspirants dished out concocted figures that were a mix-bag of lies and half truths containing wildly flawed and incorrect statistics about spending in the Office of the Governor.

According to Fasure, Osun PDP has demonstrated for too long its inherent ability for untruth and deception and so the recent information it purported to disclose to the public was nothing unusual as it is the party’s stock in trade.

PDP had claimed that the Office of the Governor spent N6.3 billion in 2016, among other sundry financial improprieties. Fasure described this alleged financial information as a display of monumental fiscal ignorance to ascribe the Office of the Governor to the person of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.

According to Fasure, the dubious press conference by the PDP was therefore a desperate attempt to change the narrative on the soaring popularity of Governor Aregbesola and the APC in contrast to the dwindling fortunes of the PDP in the state and all over the country.

The statement read in part: “We therefore have the following to say on the cacophonic baloney concocted by the PDP on the account of the state.

“The primary source of the information relied upon was the state audited account for 2015 and 2016 that had been publicly presented with fanfare on April 4 this year.

“It is therefore curious how the state’s account transparently presented to the public could be a source from which the opposition will draw allegations of financial impropriety.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Osun is the only state among the six participating states in the State and Local Governance Reform (SLOGOR) Project that publicly presented its account for three years running. Others are Anambra, Cross River, Jigawa, Kano and Yobe.

“The PDP got its facts wrong by claiming that the Office of the Governor spent N6.3 billion in 2016. It was actually N9.7 billion. N4.8 billion was also expended in 2015, as against N1.2 billion falsely claimed by PDP. But it is a display of monumental fiscal ignorance to ascribe the Office of the Governor to the person of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.

“There are 28 agencies under the Office of the Governor. These are: Osun Park and Gardens; Wife of the Governor; Office of Regional Integration; Bureau of Government House and Protocols; Christian Welfare Board; Muslim Welfare Board; Public Procurement Agency; Osun State Sports Council; Office of the Deputy Governor; Public Service Office; Special Project Office; Sustainable Development Goals; O’Jobs; Office of Human Resources; Bureau of Public Service Pension; Office of Economic Development and Partnership; Policy and Economic Team; Office of Forestry, Natural and Mineral Resources; Office of Policy Coordination; Bureau of General Services; Osun State Emergency Management Agency; Bureau of Lands; O’Honey; United Nations Development Programme; Osun State Agency for the Control of AIDS; Sustainable Development Goals; and Bureau of Communications and Strategy. These are the agencies which received the budgetary allocation under reference, not the person of the governor.

“A breakdown of the 2016 sum reveals that N648 million was spent on personnel, N2.5 billion on overhead while N4.99 billion was spent on pension, making a total N8.1billion. The balance of N1.56 billion was expended on capital acquisition and other critical expenditures.

“It is ridiculous and the height of mischief to claim that the state government spent N1.8 million on health in 2016. Capital project and project funded on health alone was to the tune of a total sum of N498 million in 2016. Hospital Management Board in 2016 also got N1.5 billion. Capital projects in health were also carried out under Sustainable Development Goals and the Ministry of Health.

“PDP also claimed that the Office of the Governor spent N276 million on ‘infrastructure maintenance’. This is false. The sum was expended on ‘infrastructure acquisition’. There is a world of difference between ‘acquisition’ and ‘maintenance’.

“The state government has had to use huge sums to repay debts. These debts date back to the old Oyo State. Aregbesola’s administration inherited a total of N19.9 billion debt incurred by the previous PDP administration. These debts were owed UBA, Zenith Bank and Sterling Bank. As it is evident to all, the bonds were used efficiently for infrastructure development.

“The state government also took more than N25 billion loan to pay workers salaries and it was in order to avoid cumulating more debts to pay workers salaries that the government adopted the modulated salary structure arrangement.”

Fasure averred that it is sad to behold the display of intellectual ineptitude of PDP which made a mountain out of the molehill and in the process expose itself to ridicule and public opprobrium with the expression of monumental ignorance on simple fiscal matters.

He stated that the PDP leadership, with its governorship aspirants including a professor and a Senator of the Federal Republic, shamefully displayed crass ignorance in its failure to know and distinguish the difference between the Office of the Governor and the person of the governor.

According to Fasure, this faux pas has morally disqualified PDP and its aspirants from occupying any leadership position, having demonstrated their unsuitability to govern the state.

He therefore, alerted the media and the public to be wary of the diabolic intentions of the PDP leadership who are ‘certified confusionists that have perfected the art of lying and public deception.’