Alao Akala, Folarin, Others To Officially Join APC Saturday

The All Progressives Congress, APC, will welcome to its fold, former governor of Oyo State, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala; former Senate leader, Senator Teslim Folarin and former Secretary to the State Government, Chief Ayodele Adigun, on Saturday.

Also expected to join the party were Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, Honourable Segun Odebunmi, Rauf Olaniyan, Honourable Ayoola Makanjuola, Alhaji Rasaq Gbadegesin, alongside their supporters, at a ceremony tagged “mother of all defections in the politics of Oyo State.”

Akala, who defected to the Labour Party, LP, from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in 2014, is set to join the ruling APC alongside other bigwigs in the state.

This was made known through a statement issued in Ibadan on Wednesday by the state publicity secretary of the party, Olawale Sadare and made available to newsmen.

Sadare said, “Some of the political bigwigs who had joined APC since last year and a whole lot of others just coming in would be unveiled during a rally at Mapo Hall, Ibadan, on Saturday.”

The Spokesperson added that, “with the calibre of those expected to join the party, it could be concluded that the battle over who takes over from Governor Abiola Ajimobi, would be fought and won only within APC.”

Diekola’s Integrity Compromised – Famodun

Chairman of All Progressives Congress in the state of Osun, Prince Gboyega Famodun has declared that Alhaji Fatai Oyedele Diekola who claimed to be a leader of the APC in the state has seriously compromised his own integrity by admitting to be instrumental to APC losing Osun West Senatorial seat to the PDP.

Diekola had boasted on a radio programme in Osogbo Monday that he was committed to helping the Adeleke brother (Ademola), who had jumped ship to PDP because (he) Diekola and others he did not mention, wanted to secure the late Adeleke’s legacy. So, he had to work against his own party to make the opposition win.

‘If that is not betrayal arising from deep seated disloyalty what is it?’, Prince Famodun asked.

According to the APC chairman, Diekola in that radio programme, exposed himself and his co-travellers that their inability to influence the governor’s decision to favour their own ambitions was why he sabotaged the APC.

‘Once you have openly admitted to sabotaging your own party’, Prince Famodun stated, ‘you cannot, in good conscience, still claim to be a member of that same party.

‘In the circumstance, it will be patently dishonourable for Diekola to continue to claim that he is still in APC.

‘He doesn’t need the party to tell him to fall out’, the APC Chairman told Diekola.

Prince Famodun further stated that, ‘the party was aware that the question of succession was making a few over-ambitious party men insistent on having one of their own succeed Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

‘In the process, desperation has set in for some who are prepared to sabotage the party, even if it resorted in them cutting their nose to spite their face.

‘It is a pity that some politicians who one would have thought were matured enough to know better, still exhibit culpable ignorance on this question of succession, Prince Famodun argued, stating categorically that ‘nobody can force the governor to be uninterested in who succeed him.

Appraising A Progressive Govt In Office

By Abidoun Komolafe

In less than a year from today, Rauf Aregbesola’s tenure as governor of the State of Osun will come to a close. A time like this therefore presents an opportunity to review his performance in office, vis-à-vis, his administration’s Six Point Integral Action Plan.

Although, it has become fashionable for the opposition to look for partners in its dubious search for raw materials to power its odious charades, a closer assessment of the specifics will lead Nigerians to draw appropriate conclusions on the success or otherwise of Aregbesola’s government. For instance, if the governor’s desire was to move the state from a public service economy to its rightful place as an agrarian state, how has he fared in activating market-driven value chain? If his vision and mission found solace in setting Osun on a genuine path to socio-economic development, hasn’t he done well in plucking a coin out of the mouth of the fish? What was the state of our roads before Aregbesola’s inauguration and why has his desire to make Osun the food hub of the Southwest been misconstrued for avenues to siphon funds out of the state by a misguided and disgruntled clique? How has he been able to provide a soft landing for the salary bug, which no doubt has also caught up with Abuja?

Again, has Ogbeni betrayed the trust of his people or is it a case of his traducers woefully failing to purge their dirty excesses before coming to the table to seek equity? Is it an issue of the achiever, unsuspectingly shifting away from blowing his own trumpet loud enough to wake even the dead or that of the audience provably imprisoned by mute indifference? Perhaps, more importantly, is it one of unreconstructable spinners notoriously trying to destroy the threads of communal togetherness woven together over a long period of time?

With a motivation to rapidly develop the state in all ramifications as well as enhance the capacity of the people, Aregbesola’s government has in the last 7 years delivered “all round” development to at least 75% improvement on what it met in 2010. While the administration has been consistent in its investment in infrastructure without undermining welfare, lives of children, youths, adults, aged, the weak have also been positively impacted in line with its Social Protection programmes. In addition to ‘Opon Imo’ (Tablet of Knowledge), this administration’s ‘O’ Series have not gone without bearing positive fruits.

As we all know, Aregbesola’s intervention in the education sector is not limited to provision of infrastructure as government has so far been training a third of teachers in its public schools on a yearly basis. Besides, the state’s sterling performance in the West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) is better understood from the context of where we are coming from. As at 2010, the performance level of students in WASCE was 15.7%. Within the last 7 years, Osun has recorded as high as 46.3%, which is quite a huge jump in the number of students with credit passes in English Language and Mathematics. The state’s position (between 1st and 3rd, since 2013) in the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) interms of matriculable students in Nigeria has rubbished the premise that WAEC rankings of states alone should be the basis for judging performance.

That Aregbesola has succeeded to a very large extent in all the critical indices is already settled. For example, within the last seven years, Osun has ranked 2nd on Human Capital Index and has maintained the 2nd position in four years in a roll in the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). Besides, it is now the 5th largest economy in Nigeria with its GDP growing at 7.3% per annum. And, as we speak, Osun is the 2nd richest and the 13th crime-free state in Nigeria.

Enrollment rate for the state’s children in primary school hovers between 70% and 80% – no doubt is about the highest in the country – while its performance ratings in NECO has also been in the units. In broiler production, Osun is now 2nd only to Oyo State. It also came 9th in the recently-concluded National Youth Games, a feat that has for a long while eluded the state. Predictably, Latifat Abiola Oyeleye and Alabi Philip Toluwalase have demonstrated that government’s transformational investments in the education sector have not been in vain.

Lest we forget, Aregbesola’s civil servants-friendly disposition could also be seen in his commitment of more than N200 billion to salaries, pensions and allowances, compared to less than N60bn spent on infrastructure. It is also worth mentioning that, under its O’MEAL programme, government has so far committed more than N10 billion to providing over-200 million plates of highly nutritious meals to students in its Elementary Schools across the state.

Pre-November 27, 2010, Osun could not boast of a recreation spot anywhere in the state. Now, Nelson Mandela Freedom Park in Osogbo has added flavour to more than 80 Tourist centres, scattered all over the nooks and crannies of the state for fun-seekers to make merry. And, with more than 200 hotels, some of which can compete favourably in the comity of hospitality business, the state’s revenue base is assured of a huge boost. The signing of a N216 billion investment in Industrial Park with a Chinese firm, Jiangsu Wuxi Taihu Cocoa Food Company Limited, also points to a ”fresh deal” for transforming the state’s ”industrial base.”

Of course, the governor deserves commendation for leading a new understanding in parliamentary Local Government administration in Nigeria. When fully operational in the 1st quarter of 2018, facts are that it will, among other advantages, help in expanding the potentials for accountability, transparency and societal capacity building.

Well, this is where Aregbesola’s accusers deserve some tutorials on the politics and the complexities of capital city centres. As an illustration, though Obafemi Awolowo hailed from Ikenne-Remo, he chose Ibadan as capital of the then Western Nigeria to concentrate the greater part of his development efforts. Gawain Bell who served as governor of the old Northern Region between 1957 and 1962 was a South African, while Ahmadu Bello, his premier, was from Rabbah in Sokoto. But that never deprived Kaduna its privilege as the administrative capital of the Northern Region. Ditto for Enugu under Michael Okpara whose source was Umuegwu in the present day Abia State.

Ben Bruce Speaks On Atiku’s Defection To PDP

Senator representing Bayelsa East, Mr Ben Murray Bruce has declared Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the Nigeria’s next president following his formal return to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Atiku who had defected from the All Progressives Congress made known his intention to rejoin his former party, PDP through a Facebook broadcast on Sunday.

Senator Bruce in his tweet said it was time Buhari was removed, adding that PDP had a good retirement plan for him come 2019.

He wrote “Just [email protected], the next President of Nigeria, #Atikulatelyannouncing he would return to my party, [email protected]

“We in the PDP already have a good retirement package for President @MBuhari.

“Time to #ChangeTheChange.”

 

PDP Is Too Disorganised To Rule Osun People – APC

By Toba Adedeji
As State of Osun 2018 gubernatorial election preparation is at the top gear, the All Progressives Party (APC) has maintained that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is too disorganized and maladjusted to rule the people.
According to the statement made available to OSUN DEFENDER over the weekend by the Party’s Director of Publicity, Barr. Kunle Oyatomi also alleged that the orientation of PDP is ‘greed’.
Oyatomi stated that, “The intractable power struggle within Osun PDP is symptomatic of the greed and inordinate ambition of an individual within the party, who wants to be Governor at all costs regardless of the fact that he is politically spent, unpopular and technically unqualified to run for that office.
Oyatomi was of the Opinion that the bigwig of the Party (PDP) is suffering from deficiency in leadership acquirement.
He said, “The rank and file of Osun PDP leadership appears to have no idea what they want to do to make the State better. The only thing they have been doing in the last seven years is to concoct and spread lies against the person and actions of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
“PDP has even lost the ability to articulate a substitute plan to that of Aregbesola-led APC government. Truth is that the PDP has no plan because it is empty; so there is nothing to articulate anyway,” Oyatomi said.
 
He argued that the Party is so empty saying, “One of their leaders the other day was engaged in a debate on air with APC official over what legacy either has to its credit in Osun. This PDP leader sited payment of salaries to workers as PDP’s best social legacy throughout the seven years they were in power.”
“When the PDP governed Osun between 2003 and 2010, the salaries paid to workers was slightly over N100 billion. But since 2010 till now, (also seven years period), Aregbesola has paid workers over N220 billion; which is twice as much as the PDP could afford.”Oyatomi concluded.
It could be recalled that Adagunodo faction of PDP, State of Osun recently showdown reneged harmonization template signed in Abuja which led to attack by Faforiji group saying, Adagunodo faction leaders lack management.

Letter To Atiku…..By A Dissatisfied Nigerian

By Churchil Okonkwo

You are a symbol of the past failures and the politically corrupt in Nigeria. With all due respect, therefore, I, on behalf of millions of Nigerians want to remind you that you should shut up when we are discussing anti-corruption challenges and the way forward.

I laughed cynically when I heard you brag that you would “shock everyone because you will fight corruption …if given the opportunity to preside over the affairs of the country.” You challenged Nigerians to either “come forward with a single shred of evidence of [your] misconduct while in office or keep quiet.” Crude arrogance! You subsequently bragged that your stupendous wealth was a result of your “resourcefulness and successful investments.”

What a lie! To use your own words, that display of arrogance was “morally offensive” to millions of Nigerians. Please, sir, accept my apologies, but the issue is not about your “entrepreneurial spirit” but whether you can corroborate the SOURCE of your investments and wealth. Sir, you are not more resourceful than millions of Nigerians, and thousands of investors with hard-earned and traceable source of wealth. So, sir, take your sermon of rooting out corruption in Nigeria to the sedimentary rocks in the valley of Adamawa Highlands.

As a show of good faith, sir, can you please explain to Nigerians how a retired Customs officer and VP, you, got the millions of Dollars, without a bank loan, you paid to the American University in Washington DC for a direct license to use the franchise of the university? We know that your estimated $25 million worth of University (ABTI American University) in Yola was not just because you were resourceful.

What is the source of the inexplicable reason for your increased wealth after 8 years as VP? Accept my apologies sir, but can you explain to Nigerians the source of hundreds of multi-million Naira mansions, mostly built on what Nigerians believe to be proceeds of corruption? What of the $125m you diverted from the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF)? Can you please, sir; explain to Nigerians how you managed to command controlling shares in Bank PHB, controlling shares in Intel, and oil services companies operating in many African countries?

If you are as smart and intelligent as you want Nigerians to believe, then it will not be difficult to break down the source of your wealth. Believe me, there are millions of Nigerians out there that are more resourceful than you that will be turned into billionaires overnight if only you can show us your magic wand. So, without explaining the source of your wealth, it is an insult to ask us to provide evidence that you are chronically corrupt. The burden of proof is on you, sir.

How can Nigeria move forward, when we are hamstrung by symbols of past failures, like you Atiku? Let me remind those still living in the graveyards of yesteryears of what you sir, represents. Your mere presence in Nigerian politics reminds us of the era of fire-breathing monsters that plundered the national wealth. Sir, your administration with Obasanjo represents a government of the ugly and predators. Under you, and Obasanjo, corruption was so sweet and so exquisite that the political class fell over themselves to worship the mini gods in Aso Rock.

Accept my apologies, sir, but Nigerians have not forgotten that under you and Obasanjo, our yesteryears were locust-infested. When you fought corruption with Obasanjo, we had wretched criminals that grew the size of their stomachs and pockets from “Turn Around Maintenance” of our refineries and under-selling of government entities to cronies. Under you, and Obasanjo, we had ministers and thieves that were busy acquiring properties worth billions while our infrastructures decayed.

Sir, you are a woodpecker that feed on the pantry of the poor, but found a way to avoid having boils in your mouth. The same mouth you are now using to insult us and bragging about how clean you are in amassing wealth in the midst of poverty in your backyard.

Atiku, sir, your ambition, therefore, deserves to be killed now. It is time for you to retire from public life, disappear from Twitter, political screens, and sight somewhere far away. Sir, when you drive around the hills and valleys of Adamawa Highland, are you not worried about the difference between your fortunes and that of the poor masses you represented?

Nigerians believe that corruption is a bigger threat than insecurity in your backyard in Northeastern Nigeria. Fighting corruption in good faith will heal the wounds of millions of Nigerians adversely affected over many decades. Unfortunately, sir, until you explain to us how you amassed your wealth, you are not the right man to lead Nigeria.

The stories surrounding the cancellation, the legality or illegality of the contract between Intels and its subsidiaries with Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) is an indication that your greed is finally catching up with you. For me, that deal is like the rest of the dubious investments you are now flaunting, all of which is a textbook example of how crooked bureaucrats like you amass wealth through cronyism and graft.

So, accept my apologies. You, like your boy the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, represent the dangerously corrupt political elites in Nigeria. As you make an attempt at the Nigerian Presidency for the umpteenth time, know it that your reckless shame has expired. The period from 1999 to 2017 is gone, even though the mess you and Obasanjo left behind is still hunting Nigerians.

Sir, I love you, but, until we begin to challenge serving and former civil servants and public office holders like you that cannot explain how they acquired so much wealth, we cannot really claim to be fighting corruption. Shed some light on the source of every Kobo of your shadowed investments and businesses and shame the people you refer to as “political enemies”.

While I wait for your explanation, know it that I will be the first to raise my hand and campaign for you if you will satisfactorily demonstrate the source of your wealth the way you explain to a 3-year old that 1 + 1 = 2. I say this with as a much respect as I can muster, hoping that you will disgrace me with verifiable proof.

Until you do that, sir, you should shut up and bow your head in shame, if there is still any left, when Nigerians are talking about the serious business of fighting corruption.

You can email Churchill at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @churchillnnobi.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Political Apathy And Its Consequence In Our Society

 

First and foremost, indifference to political activities and electoral processes have contributed immensely to the problem we are facing in Nigeria today. The situation of political apathy is now becoming heightened and this can have negative effect on the entire society at large.

Political apathy did not just come into existence, but it is triggered by some phenomena among which is the bad political leadership plaguing the country. Most of our political leaders today are not ready to do anything for the society. They are just there to satisfy their selfish interest and to enrich their pocket. Since people are not benefiting from the political system, many have eventually made up their mind not to get involved in voting and other political activities.

The second circumstance that definitely brings about political apathy is the non-fulfilment of promises that were made during their manifestoes. Many people rely on these promises, but they were rather disappointed. People have come to know that all political promises are mere lies and propaganda, and as a result of these, many people are discouraged to participate in politics.

Another fact is that, the way elections are usually being conducted bring about chaos, intimidation, harassment and some other social unrests that created fear in the mind of the electorate and due to all these acts, many have died while others have sustained critical injury. So, I think these also contributed a lot to people’s hatred towards politics.

To ameliorate this issue of political apathy, I would urge our political leaders to change their selfish attitude for good and caring one to better the lots of the society.

Our political leaders should also try to fulfill various promises they made during campaigns and try to restore the confidence people have in them.

I will also implore the people or those that are indifferent to politics and election to get politically socialised and participate because it is our right and obligation as responsible and active members of the nation. Not participating in elections can only worsen the situation because it will breed unqualified and non-eligible representation.

One On One Session With Atiku Abubakar

By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, I’ve always wondered what drives or propels the man, former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. For real, I have never seen a man so fastidious about his dream and so obstinate about achieving a lifelong ambition to be the number one Nigerian Citizen. I’ve followed his trajectory with keen interest since 1993 when he took on both Chief Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe, in an epic Presidential primary, that Chief Abiola ultimately won. His formidability we were told was a result of the influence of his godfather and political colossus, Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, now of blessed memory. Chief Abiola actually reached out to the General, as he was fondly called, to prevail on Atiku to pull out of the race and support him. A deal was subsequently struck, between Abiola and Yar’Adua, for Atiku to be Abiola’s running-mate. Everything looked good on paper until the powerful and influential Social Democratic Party (SDP) Governors threw spanners in the works, forcing Abiola to renege on his word. Whilst Abiola wanted Atiku, the Governors led by the irrepressible Olusegun Osoba, from Abiola’s home State of Ogun, insisted on Abiola picking Kingibe. They convinced Abiola that it was dangerous to pick Atiku who would have been more loyal and too submissive to his godfather.

I have no doubt that from that moment onwards, the June 12 Presidential election was already threatened and endangered. According to insiders, the General was so miffed and enraged that he swore Abiola would not be President for dumping his godson. Efforts were made by different personages to settle the matter, but it seemed the camaraderie was over between Abiola and Yar’Adua who, once upon a time, were successful business partners at African Ocean Lines.

Anyway, Atiku was kicked out of the race to fight another day. Abiola won the Presidential election eventually but was never allowed to assume power. The June 12 election fallout led to a cataclysmic eruption that consumed many of the big players, including Abiola, his wife, Alhaja Kudirat, Major-General Yar’Adua and General Sani Abacha. The boss of bosses, General Olusegun Obasanjo, escaped only by the whiskers. He was jailed but came back to be President. Ironically, the same Atiku who was not allowed to be the Vice-Presidential candidate in 1993 became the substantive Vice President in 1999, when he ran, and won, with Obasanjo. Whilst Obasanjo emerged, in a bid to assuage the betrayed and wounded Yoruba, Atiku’s choice appears to have been predicated on the sense of injustice that he had suffered as a result of being dumped by Abiola.

Everything initially ran smoothly between Obasanjo and Atiku in their first term in office, from 1999 to 2003. However, the relationship collapsed when Atiku started showing interest in the number one position. I will not bore you with the rest of that fiasco, including the anecdotal humbling of Obasanjo who allegedly had to beg his deputy, Atiku, to allow him a second term. My mission was to provide some background to Atiku’s uncommon trajectory. He has pursued his dream since 1993 and has never given up. That was 24 years ago. Indeed, Atiku has been in partisan politics for 28 years but only served in government for eight years. He has criss-crossed different political parties in search of that magic wand that could give him his heart’s desire. It has been a painful journey. He’s been dissed and lampooned as a serial “decampee” famed for wandering endlessly in the wilderness of Nigerian politics. That, for many people, is a major weakness which signals integrity issues. There are other minuses weighing on him like an albatross. How does he deal with these very serious issues of perception or misperception?

The opportunity came for me to engage him very critically, and very privately, yesterday afternoon in Lagos. A mutual friend had called to arrange the meeting at Atiku’s behest. I gladly accepted not only as I was anxious to bombard him with many nagging questions, but also because by some quirk of fate, the political gladiators for the number one hot seat in Nigeria seem to feel that a session with me is a sine qua non for their aspiration. I’m deeply humbled by that trust.

The meeting was arranged for Lagos. Atiku had arrived on Thursday. I arrived in Lagos yesterday afternoon from Abuja where I had been the Chief Presenter of Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi’s book, On a Platter of Gold, chronicling President Goodluck Jonathan’s twilight days as President. I checked into my hotel just before 12 noon and put a call through to his room. He told me to give him a short time to freshen up and invite me over. He’s obviously been doing a lot of consultations and was working well into the early mornings. I dozed off. Suddenly, I was awoken from my slumber by banging on my door. I stood up to look through the peephole and was pleasantly surprised to see the most-talked about politician of the moment at my door. I opened the door and Atiku immediately apologised for the intrusion. He came without any aide, so we were both comfortable to talk frankly.

I thanked him for the honour of actually coming to me and asked if he won’t mind me asking some tough questions. He said that was fine and I should feel free. My first shot was about his moving from Party to Party. Does this not make him look desperate and unserious? He must have answered this question a thousand times because he wasted no time in answering very calmly and confidently:

“There is nothing wrong with it. Ours is a fledgling democracy of barely two decades since the end of the last military regime. What it means is that the political parties are yet to mature and are going through constant transformations and changes. That is why even President Buhari has been able to move from party to party, including ANPP, CPC and now APC. And for those who read about world history and political books like I do, they will know that Abraham Lincoln, Sir Winston Churchill and others went through so much before achieving their dreams…”

He went further: “I’m not different. I know what I want for my country. I’ve served Nigeria in different capacities and I am one of the most experienced leaders around today. There is no part of Nigeria I’m not familiar with. I have friends everywhere. They know me and I know them. The benefit of being around for so long is that they have come to know me for certain principles and know that I have a rich knowledge of Nigeria and what it would take to move us to the height of greatness. They can also trust me that I’m not coming to government to steal their money. God has blessed me with business acumen. How can you run a nation if you cannot run your own business? I run my businesses to international standards. Let any of those who want to compete with me show what they have managed successfully. I’ve lifted over 45,000 families out of joblessness and poverty through my microfinance company in my State Adamawa and we’ve have empowered mostly women. The good news is these women have been very honest. Returns on our loans have been about 98 percent. They have not disappeared with the loans given then. We plan to replicate this nationwide…”

I asked if he was obsessed with being President at all costs. His answer was an emphatic, No! He asked rhetorically why he should not give back some of his experience and exposure to a country that has given him so much? Why should he allow incompetent people to run down the country when God has given him the talent and wherewithal to lift up Nigeria?

I told him the belief out there is that he is a corrupt man and that the stain won’t be easy to remove. His former boss, General Olusegun Obasanjo, has sold us that line, and would stop at nothing to regale the world that Atiku is a thief who nobody should vote for. Atiku’s response was very concise and assertive: “I have the highest regards for my boss. He gave me eight years to serve Nigeria under him. We had our differences but we both tried our best. But on the issue of corruption, I have challenged anyone, anywhere, who has any evidence of corruption against me to come forward. I’m sure they would have combed everywhere trying to find anything incriminating against me, but they have not found it, or they are still searching. Dele, I’m throwing that challenge again, let them bring out whatever they have on me…”

I followed with a bazooka and asked him “how come you are running away from the United States of America? What offence have you committed to warrant not being able to visit, since all this time?” Atiku fired back at me: “It is the sole prerogative of America to determine who they want in their country or not. I’m not running away from America. I applied, but wasn’t issued a visa. However, they did not decline me categorically either. They’ve only said my application is going through administrative process. This is not peculiar to me. For about 15 years, Buhari could not enter America on account of religious considerations. The current Indian Prime Minister, Modi, suffered the same fate for years. Today, he is being treated to red carpet treatment in America.. I fly to different parts of the world, including Europe, if America wanted me, it would be so easy for them to reach out to their allies…”

We soon dovetailed to the nitty-gritty of politics. Why did he not wait to contest the primaries in APC first and see the outcome before running away? I felt this was defeatist! His response: “After Buhari won the election, he was no longer interested in the Party that made him President. Every activity stopped and not even the Party Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, could take any decision. I called Chief Oyegun a few times to tell him our Party was dying slowly but he told me he would not do anything unless he got clearance from the President. At a stage, I gathered about 18 prominent members and began to meet in the hope that we can re-energise Party activities, but some people lied to the President that I wanted to use the forum to launch my Presidential campaign. That forum became simply dead on arrival. No BOT, no NEC meetings, as stipulated in our Constitution. The Party became a one-man property. Everyone grumbles behind the President’s back but they are too timid to raise a voice against the illegalities being perpetuated. I should be bold enough to know what I want, and can do so at my age, so I decided to leave…”

So, where is he going from here? He says he hasn’t formally declared for any Party, but is sure PDP is waiting to welcome him back into the Party he co-founded with others at the end of military rule. I asked if he has any guarantee of getting the PDP ticket. He told me why he should get it: “Nothing is absolutely certain in this life, but PDP needs a candidate with the brightest chance and that can only come from someone who has major experience, exposure, knowledge about running an economy, who is a Nationalist and not a sectionalist and whose brand cannot be intimidated in anyway by that of the current President. If PDP picks a weak candidate, then the Party is doomed. Some of those whose names are being touted and bandied about have not grown beyond their immediate domains.”

If he gets the PDP ticket, is he confident he can beat a sitting President and Buhari for that matter? “I will definitely beat him this time. He has wasted a lot of his massive goodwill. A lot of people are disgruntled but keeping quiet and lying low. Our youths are suffering terribly and now they are being sold into slavery. Everyone knows my track record of inviting and attracting a good team and giving them the opportunity to work professionally. Nigerians are tired of leaders who cannot think big and work big. Dele, I will be ready from day one…”

Is he not afraid of Buhari? “No, definitely not. Buhari is free to contest and I’m free to contest. And Nigerians will make their choice.” I could see that glow in his eyes. He sounded determined and more prepared at this time, than at any other time.

Will Atiku play a joker as his last card in 2019? Time will tell.

LG Primaries Fallout: Dissension In The Parties

By Shina Abubakar

The fallout in the recently concluded ward primaries in the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the local government elections in the state of Osun might eventually snowballed into a fully blown internal crisis if not properly managed, as well as the PDP which has failed to offer alternative platform for its members to actualise their political ambition.

Investigations conducted by OSUN DEFENDER showed that many of the party loyalists were afraid that the bitterness created during the primaries has further widen the bickering in the party rather than creating a platform to calm frayed nerves among warring members.

Findings revealed that factional interests led officials saddled with the responsibility of conducting primaries to allegedly manipulate the process in favour of candidates with minority delegates in some of the wards where primaries were conducted.

It was gathered that in some wards where over two candidates appeared for screening, the screening committee recommended that only one candidate emerge successful without making public the criteria for such decisions at the detriment of other candidates.

In Ifelodun local government for instance, the recently resolved crisis, which had lingered on for over two years, has resurfaced as a result of the outcome of the local government primaries in the council area.

It was gathered that candidates of a certain group were favoured across the council areas against the other group.

As at the time of filing this report, it was gathered that members of the other group in the town were of the view that the crisis will re-enact, full blown, with the action of the group which they felt was not checked by the party leadership.

Similarly, it was alleged that some party members from Irewole Local Government Council Area who protested against the attempt by some party caucus to allegedly impose certain candidates, who belong to a group in the party were arrested, prosecuted and remanded in Ilesa prison for about 24 hours.

Also, party members from Obokun Local Government Council Area stormed the state party secretariat last Tuesday protesting what they described as impunity by the Kehinde Lamolu-led state officials who oversaw the conduct of the primary in ward 1 of the council. The protesters claimed that Jide Agbaje won the consensus arrangement by the party elders, the primary conducted among the party executive members and later the expanded primary by the ward polling a total of 304 votes out of the 463 accredited voters against Albert Adeyemi in the presence of the state officials.

However, Chief Emmanuel-led protesters said the party Executive Committee was informed by an aspirant of the decision of the state officials that one Tobi Ogundipe has been announced as the candidate at a meeting in Osogbo without the consent of the ward executives and to worsen the matter, the anointed candidate is not a member of the party.

Also, the medium gathered that the supremacy battle among some bigwigs in Iwo Local Government has further created tussle within the APC in the local government as aspirants belonging to one of the camps were not given consent form nor screened for the party’s primary

The situation was too different in Boluwaduro, where the incumbent Executive Secretary lost the primary conducted by the ward executive committee but the winner Mr Stephen Dosunmu was not allowed to take part in the screening exercise of the party.

The crisis generated by the outcome of the party in Irepodun local government council area is almost dividing the town along party line, as a monarch in the council was said to have been castigating a commissioner for instigating party machineries against some indigenes of his town.

In a similar development, the PDP’s camp is not an alternative platform for aspiring politicians as the factional crisis that ought to have been resolved is taking a new twist as members who are willing to contest the forthcoming local government election in January are desperate to ensure that the crisis is done with even if it means shutting out the gladiators.

A faction of the Party in Osun State has rejected the arrangement by the national leadership of the party to harmonise and share positions among the two factions in the state PDP as the party congresses in some wards were inconclusive.

The Chairman of the faction with majority of members, Mr Soji Adagunodo disclosed that the harmonisation arrangement was unacceptable because it does not reflect the will and wish of the majority of members of the party in the state.

Adagunodo explained that the arrangement for the sharing of party executives in the Local Government Areas as discussed during the harmonisaation at the PDP National Headquarters in Abuja last week cannot stand and insisted that free and fair congress should be conducted to resolve the matter.

This, according to a source close to the party secretariat is a source of worry to members who believe they have the capacity to win election in the council poll scheduled for January next year.

Some of the PDP members do not want the party to boycott the election believing that the fallout of the APC primaries could work in the PDP’s favour and launch the party back into the heart of the electorates

across the state.

From the two major parties in the state angry members are abound waiting for any opportunity to present itself, especially if the political parties fail to address the crisis threatening to tear the parties apart.

However, the Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Barrister Kunle Oyatomi disclosed that no members of the party were angry to the extent of wanting to leave the party because they love the APC, its leaders and the Governor, as well as its achievements.

He disclosed that what happened is a reflection of the popularity of the party in the state and it is an integral part of any democratic settings, where individuals protest when things did not go their way.

“ To protest the outcome of a primary election is part of democratic process worldwide, but I am assuring you that no member of APC is trying to dump it for another party because there is no alternative to APC in the state and in Nigeria as a whole”, he added.

Buhari: Tinubu Brought Me “A Beautiful Piece Of Information”

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, brought him “a beautiful piece of information” which he was not aware of before.

Buhari, however, did not disclose what piece of information it was but promised to discuss it in detail with the former Lagos State Governor.

“I also thank our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He has brought me a very beautiful piece of information which I was not aware of it until I sat down and read it this evening (Tuesday night). Thank you very much for your hard work and I will discuss that paper with you,” he said.

The president said this while interacting with the Nigerian community in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

He is in the country for the 5th European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit.

He is being accompanied by Tinubu; Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State and Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State.

I Will Be In APC For Life – Adamawa Gov, Bindow

Adamawa State Governor, Jubrilla Bindow, on Tuesday said the recent resignation of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar from the ruling All Progressives Congress would not have any negative effect on the party in the state.

He said the party was strong and would continue to be strong despite last Friday’s development.

Bindow said these in an interview with State House correspondents shortly after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“APC is strong. We have 25 members in the state House of Assembly.  24 out of 25 members are APC members. The three Senators from the state are all APC members. It is the same in the House of Representatives, including Adamu Kamale who recently moved to the APC. So we are strong and we will continue to be strong,” the governor told the reporters.

He said he would never leave the APC with Atiku, saying he worked hard with others to form the party.

The governor said the former Vice-President was matured enough to take any decision he likes.

He said, “The former Vice President is more than matured enough to decide whatever he wants for himself.

“As far as I am concerned, I am one of the founding fathers of APC. When I was in the Senate, we were the ones, alongside the current Senate President that worked very hard to ensure that all members of the National Assembly agreed to move to APC.

“So, I cannot see any reason why, today, I will leave that House I built. So, I am in APC for the rest of my life, period!