Tinubu Made The Impossible Happen, Fashola Says In Birthday Tribute To APC Leader

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), says the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, made the impossible happen by ensuring that for the first time in Nigeria’s history, opposition parties successfully merged.

Fashola said this in a video tribute to commemorate Tinubu’s 64th birthday.

The minister, who was present at the colloquium held in Tinubu’s honour in Abuja, on Tuesday, said Nigeria was falling apart under former President Goodluck Jonathan, adding that Tinubu steered Nigeria away from the course of destruction.

Fashola said, “It was dangerous for Nigeria to keep that administration for another term and the evidence of that was before us. The country was falling apart. You must salute the courage, the passion, the foresight of Asiwaju to reach across and say ‘let us forge a partnership to save Nigerians, to save ourselves’.”

The minister added, “On whether or not there could be a merger, everyone said it wasn’t going to happen, it had never happened in the history of Nigeria and as far as that was concerned, it (the merger) was a victory that the impossible had become not only probable but possible and that was due to Asiwaju’s self conviction and, as I said, his ability to mobilise people and materials behind an idea.”

PDP To Produce Next Senate President If Saraki Is Removed – Senator

CHAIRMAN, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, PDP, Delta North, said yesterday that if President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, was removed from his present position by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, the opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, would produce his successor.

Nwaoboshi, who noted that Saraki had been obeying the court, said until he was proven guilty, no amount of blackmail would make senators elected on the platform of PDP shift ground and support for him.

“In any case, my party, the PDP, has resolved in our meeting to support him. So, there is no basis for him to resign,” he said.

Nwaobashi, former Delta State chairman of PDP, who spoke with journalists in Abuja, yesterday, described the present trial of Saraki as purely political.

He said: “We only need three and we have it. The calculation is very clear to me. The calculation is very clear for PDP. We know what it will take us. When I told them that Saraki was going to win, I did a lot of mathematical calculations based on the facts on the ground and it is even clearer to me now that the PDP will win it.

“We will win it. If anybody is thinking that a PDP man is going to vote against a PDP candidate, he is telling you a lie. We have people and we know how to get the people from APC.

“We will win and that will be very interesting. What is happening in America is going to happen in Nigeria. America has a Republican Senate but the executive is led by Democrats. So, it’s happening in different parts of the world. I can tell you with what’s on the ground that we will produce the next Senate President.”

On whether Saraki should resign as Senate President, Nwaoboshi said: “I’m a lawyer, 27 years in the bar. He is not guilty. He has not been proven guilty. Let us first of all get to the point that he has been found guilty.

“The man has taken a plea of not guilty and the law is very clear. He’s deemed not to be guilty until it is proven. It’s a matter before the court. The prosecutor has the duty to prove his case before the onus will shift to him to defend.

“If the prosecutor doesn’t have a case, then what is he defending? Take the example of Ndudi Elumelu; that was how they removed him as Chairman of Power Committee because he was taken to court. In the end, he was cleared.

“Look at the former Senate President, Senator Adolphus Wabara, he went to court. People were saying he is in court, that he should be removed. He resigned as a result of pressure from the public. He went to court and won.

“The other woman in the House of Representatives, former speaker, Patricia Etteh; in fact, the House changed its own position. But they had achieved what they wanted to achieve. There are so many examples like that.

“The man (Saraki) is going to court and he is obeying the court order. Until it is proven that he is guilty, no amount of blackmail will make us shift our ground and our support for him. In any case, my party, the PDP, we’ve resolved in our meeting to support him. So, there is no basis for him to resign.”

Asked whether Saraki should look at the soft landing option which looks like an olive branch, he said: “What is soft landing? There is no soft landing. The case is on. Are they going to withdraw the case? Let him go through the distance and let us see who is right.”

Senator Nwaoboshi, who noted that Senator Saraki’s trial was purely political, said: “You have seen it now. What is the intendment of an Act? Before he became a governor, he was supposed to make a declaration.’’

APC Wouldn’t Have Won Without Tinubu – President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has attributed the triumph of the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 general election to the vision of a National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Buhari said this in a recorded tribute which was presented at the 8th Bola Tinubu Colloquium in Abuja on Tuesday.

At the event, which was held to commemorate the 64th birthday of Tinubu, the President said the former governor of Lagos State was the brains behind the merger of Nigeria’s main opposition parties in 2013.

He said without Tinubu’s vision and intelligence, the party would not have been formed and the APC would not be in power today.

Buhari stated, “If Bola Ahmed Tinubu did not participate, there wouldn’t have been a merger and there wouldn’t have been an APC government at the centre. That is absolutely clear.

“He should thank God that he has gone through so much and has remained relevant, that he is healthy and young.”

Earlier in his address, the President had contended that Tinubu remained one of the most important figures in Nigeria at the moment.

Buhari added, “There are very few patriots, alive or departed, who can match the commitment, resilience and creativity that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has, over the past few decades, demonstrated in organising Nigeria’s public life for good.

“As he adds another year today, my best wishes and prayers go out to a man who deserves a lot of commendation for what he continues to stand for.”

The President’s address, which centred on the theme: ‘Agriculture: Action, Work, Revolution’, highlighted the several opportunities which abound in the agricultural sector.

According to him, it is unfortunate that Nigeria is importing food when it should be exporting.

Buhari said, “Nearly all our crop-based farming activities are dependent on rain-fed agriculture, and this makes our agricultural productivity entirely vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“In the past few years, on the average, we have spent in excess of $11bn annually importing wheat, rice, sugar and fish. We need not, and indeed we cannot afford to continue on this trajectory.

“Agriculture is the key to our economic growth and social investment policies. Our administration’s key strategy is to ensure that Nigeria becomes self- sufficient in the foods that we consume the most.

“Maize, rice, corn, millets, fruits, poultry products and their derivatives can all be produced at home if we put our hearts into it. Our policy is simple: We will produce what we eat! It is not only logical, it is necessary.”

In his tribute, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, recalled the role Tinubu played in bringing aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party’s governors into the APC after the crisis in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.

Amaechi said Tinubu convinced the members of the APC to allow the New PDP members to join its fold at the time.

He said, “He was able to gather the leadership of the political class together. He was key; more than gathering the public because once you gather the leadership of the political class and ensure that there is unity of purpose, they could share to the public jointly this change mantra.

“We in the New PDP were in constant contact with him and we virtually negotiated through him. By the time the President (Buhari) and others got involved, we had gone far with Asiwaju. He played a key role.”

Also speaking in the tribute video, the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, described Tinubu as a visionary, noting that the ex-governor of Lagos was dependable and loyal.

Sanusi, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said, “It was people like Tinubu that insisted that this country could not afford another four years of that kind of thing (past administration) and basically laid down their lives, laid down their resources and gave their all to ensure that change happened.

“He is extremely loyal and that is how you know your friends. It doesn’t matter where you are or what happens to you, you can always be sure that Asiwaju will be there.”

Tinubu, while speaking at the event, recalled that the 2015 presidential election coincided with his birthday.

He said Buhari’s victory at the polls was his biggest birthday gift yet.

The ex-governor described the PDP-led Federal Government from 1999 to 2015 as a deceptive one.

The APC leader recalled that the PDP government claimed that it had established a Nigerian Commodity Exchange to provide a practical solution to a number of challenges that have adversely affected the growth and development of the Nigerian agricultural sector, contending that the initiative was a sham.

He thanked guest speaker and Ethiopian agric expert, Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, for exposing the dubiousness of the PDP-led Federal Government.

Tinubu said, “We have had a series of promises in the last 50 years and particularly in the last 16 years. I remember the article I wrote after the presentation of the book, Financialism: Fetching the water from a dry well’. It was about this commodity exchange.

“The deceptive government at that time announced immediately that same week that commodity exchange had been established. It took an Ethiopian to discover its lies, but thank God, we are taking it more seriously now.

“I salute the President and the entire cabinet that Nigeria is being redirected. There is no option for us but to revalidate our faith in our country and take the hard decision now. Our renaissance must come from within. We have the land, the mind, the capacity and the ability.”

Earlier, several of the contributors at the event decried the over $11bn that Nigeria had spent yearly on the importation of wheat, rice, sugar and fish products.

They noted that the whole of Africa accounted for a mere 5.6 per cent of the global meat production while Asia accounted for 42.3 per cent; Europe, 18.7 per cent; Asia, 42.3 per cent; America, 31.4 per cent; while others accounted for two per cent.

It was generally agreed that the narrative must change for the better.

Some of the dignitaries, who attended the event, included The Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II; and the Ooni of Ife,Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.

Others were the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN); the governors of Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Niger, Kebbi and Imo states; several senators and members of the House of Representatives.

Senate President Bukola Saraki; and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, were, however, not at the ceremony.

The Punch

INEC Releases More Rivers Re-run Results

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday evening released additional five results from the March 19, 2016, Rivers State legislative rerun elections.

Three Federal and two State Constituency seats were released by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Aniedi Ikoiwak, at the Commission’s head office in Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital.

In the released result, the People’s Democratic Party (C) candidates cleared the three federal seats.

For Port Harcourt Federal Constituency 1, Kenneth Chikere (PDP) won by polling 18,904 votes, to defeat his close rival, Igo Aguma (APC), who scored 6,035 votes.

Port Harcourt Federal Constituency 2, Blessing Nsiegbe (PDP) scored 6,968 votes to defeat Collins Owhondah (APC), who polled 3,154 votes.

For Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, Kingsley Chinda of PDP scored 27,895 votes, while the APC candidate, Anthony Okocha, got 9,514 votes.

Also, the candidate of APC, Benibo Anabraba, won the State Constituency seat for Akuku-Toru 2; he scored 2,970 votes.

He defeated the PDP candidate, Tonye Alalibo, who was disqualified by the electoral body.

Adoki Smart of PDP, for Port Harcourt Constituency 2 scored 15,244 votes, to beat Mrs. Irene Inimgba of APC, who polled 2,844 votes.

According to the result, PDP has taken 13 federal and state seats, while APC got two seats from the results announced so far by INEC.

In a statement signed by the REC, Ikoiwak, investigation was ongoing by the Commission and the details would be made public after investigation.

He said the additional five results were the outcome of INEC’s meeting in Abuja.

Wike Playing Politics With The Development And Lives Of Rivers People – Amaechi

Former Rivers governor, Rotimi Amaechi, has stated that the incumbent governor, Nyesom Wike, is playing politics with the development and lives of Rivers people.

In a statement issued by Amaechi’s media office reads in full: “We watched with disgust and disbelief the recent television interview of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, excerpts of which had also been used in some newspapers. It was the typical Wike, twisting, butchering and turning the truth upside down; and in most cases telling outright deceptive lies in his failed bid to denigrate, tarnish and rubbish the towering image, person and laudable, landmark achievements of his predecessor and now Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.

“Most troubling, was Wike’s propensity, without any qualms whatsoever, to play politics with the safety and security of the lives of Rivers people. This is indeed most worrisome. It is no secret that Wike plays politics with development, the welfare and well-being of Rivers people. But no government should play politics with the safety and security of its citizens like Wike is sadly and shamelessly doing.

“Governor Wike claimed that the brutal political killings and murder of the All Progressives Congress (APC) members and other hapless citizens in the State are cult related or a result of cult clashes. What cult wars is he talking about? Since he claimed to have security reports, we challenge Wike to tell Rivers people the cult group that Franklin Obi, the APC Ward chairman in Omoku, belongs to, that led to his being gruesomely, beheaded and butchered, alongside his pregnant wife and teenage son. Or did Franklin suddenly become a cult member because he had the guts and courage to host a resoundingly successful ward meeting of APC faithfuls in the same ward as Wike’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) State chairman, Felix Obuah, just a few days to the re-run elections?

He then challenged Wike to name the cult groups at war. “We challenge Wike to tell us the cult groups and the cult wars that led to the killing of the innocent youth corper, Chukwudumeibi Okonta on the re-run Election Day? Was the Youth Corper a cultist or victim of cult wars or yet another victim of politically motivated killings in Rivers State? Wike must tell Rivers people the cult wars that led to the brutal murder of hundreds of Rivers people since the so-called election that made him governor, and the cult groups that all those that have been murdered, belong to. Wike’s cult wars/cultists claim is akin to insulting and spitting on the graves and memories of all those murdered and their families.

“With pity, we watched as Wike tried to compare the political killing of the late Okonta and INEC adhoc staff on the rerun election day in Rivers State to the fire accident that occurred at the home of the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kano State days after the elections of 2015. How pathetic. Even for Wike, this is a new low.”

APC Declares Fayose A National Security Threat

The Ekiti State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has declared the governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose a threat to national security, asking the federal government to place him under serious security watch over his alleged comment to bring down President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

It said the governor’s recent utterances and actions suggest acts of sabotage targeted at rendering national institutions ineffective to perform their statutory roles for effective government in a federal set-up.

The State Publicity Secretary of the party, aiwo Olatunbosun, said this in a statement issued in Ado Ekiti.

The statement noted that Mr. Fayose’s unguided serial statements had exposed him as a man fighting a lone battle against the Federal Government over alleged selfish motives.

He said such motives were targeted at putting millions of Nigerians in jeopardy of instability in an already tottering economy.

He cited the governor’s alleged death wish for President Muhammadu Buhari at a rally held at Fajuyi Square, Ado-Ekiti, over the weekend to welcome the detained member of the House of Assembly, Akanni Afolabi, to the state capital as a case study.

Mr. Olatunbosun regretted that besides the governor inciting Ekiti people against the operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS), he had also for umpteenth time, threatened to bring Mr. Buhari’s government down if any attempt was made to probe sundry alleged crimes levelled against him.

“We have heard of reports of Governor Fayose inciting the people to stone the operatives of the DSS anywhere they are seen.

“This is besides saying many unprintable things about the President, such as saying that he would soon die, and declaring the DG of DSS, Lawal Musa Daura, a personal non-grata in Ekiti State.

“It is regrettable that Mr. Fayose cannot separate his personal views as a man constantly at war with the Nigerian law from the views of lawful Ekiti people, who are ready to submit themselves to the Nigerian law where the rule of law and good governance flourish,” the party said.

Accusing the governor of running a government built on his personal image, the APC said this misconception had “robbed Ekiti people the quality leadership with the right mindset to see governance beyond the prism of self-glorification”.

“This failure to see governance beyond personal appeal of the governor is costing our state good governance for the development of our people and her deserved place of honour in this country.

“That is why the governor is wasting state resources on helicopter charter to ferry an accused person, Akanni Afolabi, from Abuja to Ekiti after which he took six pages of several newspapers on frivolous adverts to publish court records on the accused’s bail application and topped it with the donation of a new car to same Akanni, who is still under investigation over several criminal cases.

“Fayose has appointed himself national opposition leader just because he wants to help himself in his many criminal cases against the nation’s law,” it said.

Neither the governor, nor his aides or the state government had yet responded to the APC statement.

APC To Prune Down BoT Membership – Report

The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has embarked on a tactical move to prune the membership of its yet-to-be inaugurated Board of Trustees.

THISDAY gathered that the ruling party is using the ploy of wanting to reduce the large BoT membership to weed out ambitious politicians who may try to use the platform to bolster their 2019 agenda.

In this regard, the APC leadership obtained the backing of the presidency on its proposal to reduce the membership of the BoT at the recent National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party and to initiate constitutional amendments that would pave the way for the planned reduction.

It was learnt that the plan was to come up with recommendations on the membership of the BoT alongside the amended constitution for ratification during the next national convention of the APC likely to take place in June.

According to a reliable source that was privy to the proposals made during the meeting of the APC national caucus at the Presidential Villa last week, “The party is worried about the large membership of the BoT which has given room to all manner of persons with perceived ulterior interests to be part of the board.”

The National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun, who recently spoke on the approval given to him by the party’s NEC for the reconstitution of the BoT, had said: “The party has decided to downsize our BoT in line with all other constitutional amendments.”

But Oyegun did not give a specific number of members the party wants on the BoT.

“NEC has decided to downsize our Board of Trustees in line with all other constitutional amendments. We don’t have any particular number, but it is going to be seriously downsized.

“The committee to work on this will be headed by the National Legal Adviser. We will put our heads together on that in the next day or two and there may be need to hold on a little bit,” he said.

While defending the decision of the party, the Deputy National Chairman of APC (North), Senator Lawan Shuaibu said what the leadership was concerned about was the large number of BoT membership and how it can be reduced so that its members can offer meaningful contributions to the issues affecting the party.

Shuaibu said the party believed that the current number provided by the APC costitution was too unwieldy to manage and as such approached the NEC to get approval for a constitutional amendment to prune it down.

He said a committee would be set up to make recommendations on how to reconstitute the board as well as the ratification of the constitutional amendments at the party’s national convention that may hold in June.

Regarding the delay in the inauguration of the BoT, Shuaibu said it was not due to the clash of interests as speculated in the media but that “the party leadership was all the while tinkering with the idea of pruning it down to a manageable size so as to ensure that the membership is drawn from among those that have the interest of the party at heart and are knowledgeable about what the party stands for”.

According to him, the APC BoT, as provided by the constitution, may become a clog in the wheel of progress of the party if careful consideration is not given to its unwieldy size.

“The large membership could become unwieldy with many new entrants to the party rushing to join the party at the late hour so as to take up positions in the BoT.

“We have even ended up having former military administrators as members of the BoT,” he said

He said this crop of late entrants to the party, who are laying claim to the membership of the BoT have become so many and that if care is not taken, they may even outnumber their civilian counterparts.

“The membership of the BoT will become too unwieldy; you cannot easily manage this number. Even a lecturer with such number of students cannot cope, not to mention mature leaders who will be contending with varied individual opinions and interests.

“You see, what we have realised is that when you are talking about the BoT, you are talking about people with integrity and people you can identify as the conscience of the party, elders of the party who can easily be reached in times of conflict within the party.

“In fact, the BoT is so powerful that it plays a very important role in the affairs of the party, including approving constitutional amendments. So the moment you constitute and inaugurate it, they will never agree that the constitution be amended.

“That was why we had to shift the inauguration of the board until we were able to put things right,” he said.

However, it was gathered that at the time the party drew up the list of membership to the BoT and included same in its constitution, APC was still in the opposition and not yet in government.

But no sooner had the party taken over power at the centre, than the politicians and other interests groups swarmed the ruling party, thus swelling the number of those who belong to the BoT.

Political gladiators in the ruling party such as the former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, the ex-Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Tinubu, and the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, are known to be interested in chairing the BoT.

But recent developments have portrayed a slightly different picture in the power tussle. Investigations revealed that while the former governor of Osun State and erstwhile interim National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande may stand in for Tinubu as the man to be trusted to protect his interest on the BoT, the former vice-president is said to have beaten a retreat and is now insisting that he would not compete with anyone as far as the BoT chairmanship is concerned.

The swollen number of BoT members has further compounded the situation for APC since many of those who were listed were neither involved in the formation of the ruling party in 2013, nor were they members when the APC won the general election in 2015.

The APC BoT membership is supposed to comprise past and serving presidents and vice-presidents who are members of the party, past and serving senate presidents and deputy senate presidents who are members of the party, and past and serving speakers and deputy speakers of the House of Representatives who are members of the party.

Others include past and serving state governors who are members of the party, past and serving national chairmen who are members of the party, and BoT chairmen of political parties who have produced a past president, senator(s), member(s) of the House of Representatives, governor(s) of state(s) or member(s) of state house(s) of assembly and are members of the party, subject to approval by NEC.

The BoT will also include the serving national secretary of the party; two serving senators from each geopolitical zone who are members of the party to be nominated by the senators from such zones; one member nominated by each State/Federal Capital Territory Executive Committee for consideration, and subsequent recommendation by the National Working Committee (NWC) to NEC for approval; and one woman from each geo-political zone of the country nominated by the zonal committee for consideration, and subsequent recommendation by the NWC to NEC for approval.


President Buhari Praises Tinubu As He Clocks 64

President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as he clocks 64 years on March 29.

The President, according to a statement by Femi Adesina, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, said the rising political profile of Mr. Tinubu since he was elected a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1992 was a testimony to his forthrightness, diligence and doggedness.

Mr. Buhari said it was the same qualities that endeared him to the electorate and gave him all-round success as a private sector worker, a businessman and two-term governor of Lagos State.

The statement added, “As one of the pillars of the APC, President Buhari commends the visionary leadership style of the Asiwaju of Lagos, who is also the Jagaban of the Borgu Kingdom in Niger State, for creating a formidable opposition party in Nigeria that worked vigorously within a short period to oust a party that had been in power for 16 years.

“The President assures the national leader that his patriotism and commitment to democracy and good governance, and his generous spirit will always be remembered and appreciated by generations of Nigerians.

“He prays that the Almighty God will grant the Asiwaju long life, good health, wisdom and prosperity as he steadfastly supports efforts to promote the development of Nigeria.”

Rivers APC Consoles With NYSC, On Death Of Corps Member

The members of the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have paid a condolence visit to the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.-Gen. Johnson Bamidele, on the unfortunate death of a corps member, Okonta Samuel Dumebi, during last Saturday’s legislative reruns.

The corps member, who was an ad hoc member of staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was an orphan from Illah, Delta State, but killed on March 19 in Ahoada West LGA of Rivers state, during the elections.

The APC’s delegation to NYSC, which was led by the Rivers governorship candidate of the party during the April 11 last year’s poll, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, was received by the Director, Corps Welfare, Mrs. Rhode Kwaki, other directors and staff of the NYSC.

Peterside, who is also the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), stated that the APC members from Rivers state were at the NYSC’s headquarters in Abuja to condole with the DG and other officials of NYSC, as well as the family of the deceased.

The APC chieftain (Peterside) said: “We are pained at this irreparable loss and more pained that it happened in our dear state. It is a shame on our country and we feel that sense of loss like you. Our prayers are with you and the family of Okonta Samuel Dumebi.”

The NIMASA boss also berated the Rivers Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for threatening INEC officials before the March 19 elections, which he insisted led to the avoidable death of the orphan, describing the corps member as a victim of Wike’s hate speeches and viciousness.

The deceased was also described as a young man with dreams and patriotism, who demonstrated his desire to contribute his quota to the development of Nigeria, assuring that the country would remember him for a long time to come.

Peterside, a former member of the House of Representatives, also promised that the APC in Rivers would join hands with the NYSC to bring an end to the recurring violence and deaths of young Nigerians, insisting that elections should not be avenues for people to lose their lives.

Kwaki, who represented the DG of NYSC, stated that officials of the corps were saddened by the gruesome murder of the young man.

The NYSC’s director also lauded the APC’s delegation for the visit, stressing that the officials were now encouraged by the support and show of solidarity by the politicians.

The Rivers APC Chairman, Chief Davies Ikanya; the deputy governorship candidate of the party in the April 11 last year’s election, Asita Honourable; and some faithful of the party were part of the delegation.

Ondo APC Warns Against Attacks On Its Guber Aspirants By Members

Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo state, Mr. Isaacs Kekemeke, on Thursday, warned members of the party against hurling abuses and attacks, through the social media, on political aspirants seeking to contest the forthcoming governorship election in the state, under the platform of the opposition party.

Kekemeke, gave the warning ‎while joining members of the party’s State Executive Council (SEC) to receive the former legal adviser to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olusola Oke, who joined the APC last year, in his political ambition to contest the forthcoming governorship poll of the state.

It was gathered that, Oke, now a chieftain of the APC in Ondo State, was at the party’s secretariat on his mission to inform the party of his intention to contest the poll on the platform of the main opposition party.

Kekemeke expressed dissatisfaction with the party’s supporters and members who were in the constant habit of attacking governorship aspirants on the social media network.

He wondered what would become the fate of anyone of such party members or supporters who indulged in hurling abuses at such aspirants, who may end up becoming the party’s standard bearer and eventually the next governor of the state.

“A good party member should always fight for the growth and development of the party instead of dissipating their energy towards unnecessary attacks on the party leadership and its gubernatorial aspirants to cause rancour within the ranks of aspirants and the party.

“These people are moles sent from the PDP to cause disaffection amongst party members and at the appropriate time, they will be fished out and dealt with accordingly, if they don’t desist from such acts”, Kekemeke said.

He, however, described Oke as a courageous politician who had a background of meritorious service to the state and, by extension, the country at large – having served at various capacities as political appointee and as an elected member of the House of Representatives.

Kekemeke appreciated the former legal adviser to the Peoples Democratic Party ‎(PDP) for his various contributions since he joined the oppostion party in the state.

He urged the party members to throw their weight behind any governorship aspirant seeking to contest under its platform, but cautioned against maligning the party.

APC Official Cries For Political Backing For Saraki

The deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Timi Frank, has described the continued trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, as “worrisome”, saying there were flaws in the processes leading to the arraignment.

Mr. Frank said in a statement on Friday that it was dangerous that the leadership of the APC “chose to sit on the fence and watch Mr. Saraki swim or sink in his trial”.

“I sincerely hold that the current trial of Saraki is not only underserved, but amounts to paying a good man with evil. I also want to say that the leaders of our great party have unfortunately remained quiet in the face of evil.

“I don’t believe we have forgotten that the victory of the APC during the last general elections could not have been possible without courageous strategists like Saraki who lent their political weight in favour of the APC at the risk of their own lives and personal survival,” Mr. Frank said.

“I don’t think we have forgotten how Saraki as a Senator in the 7th Senate brought the attention of Nigerians to the fraud perpetrated by the the last administration in the name of fuel subsidy.

“I don’t think we have forgotten so soon how Saraki led five other governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) into the APC – a development that successfully turned the political tide against the PDP and eventually tipped the electoral scale against them during the 2015 general elections.

“I don’t think we have forgotten how Saraki led scores of Senators to cross over to the APC on the floor of the Senate.

“I don’t think we have also forgotten what he gave of his time, personal resources and energy to ensure that the APC emerged victorious both at the National, State and Local Government level,” he said.

Mr. Saraki is facing a 13-count charge of alleged false declaration of assets.

On Thursday, the Code of Conduct Tribunal rejected Mr. Saraki’s argument that the case against him was flawed, and ordered the trial to continue.

Mr. Frank wondered how the case of Mr. Saraki was being treated differently at the CCT, which in 2011 struck out the case against one of the national leaders of the party “because he was not given the opportunity to deny or admit the alleged discrepancies in his asset declaration forms in line with Section 3(d) of the CCB/CCT Act unlike 11 other ex-governors who had similar cases of irregularities whose cases were dropped by the CCB after they were invited by the agency”.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Section 3(d) of the CCB/CCT Act which has been so undermined by the CCT in its Thursday ruling states that the CCB shall: ‘Receive complaints about non-compliance with or breach of this Act and where the Bureau (not the AGF or EFCC) considers it necessary to do so, refer such complaints to the Code of Conduct Tribunal established by Section 20 of this Act in accordance with the provisions of Sections 20 to 25 of this Act: provided that where the concerned makes a written admission of such breach or non-compliance, no reference to the Tribunal shall be necessary’”.

Mr. Frank said it was pertinent to mention that when the particular section of the Act was pleaded in the defence of one of the leaders of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria in 2011, the same chairman of the tribunal, Justice Danlandi Umar struck out the case for lack of jurisdiction to entertain the suit when he ruled that “…On Section 3(d), I feel compelled by the argument of the learned SAN for the accused. It is a condition precedent for referring a charge to this Tribunal that the Accused ought to have been invited to either deny or admit the allegations against him. This is missing in this case as the Complainant has no such evidence of a prior invitation. It would be proper for me at this stage to simply decline further exercise of jurisdiction having held that the co diction precedent to the instituting of charges against the Accused has not been complied with. I hereby resolve this issue in favour of the Accused…”

He added: “It is based on the above precedent that I want to ask why Saraki’s case is different? Why is the judiciary suddenly giving in to apparent blackmail from a section of the media by refusing to do their job as required by law?

“Already the Senate President has told the world that the trial has nothing to do with corruption but that he is being persecuted for emerging as the Senate President. To me the ominous silence of our leaders since the day he was arraigned uphill now serves to validate the claims of the Senate President that he is being persecuted.

“Or where else in the world will the number three citizen of a country be hurled before a tribunal over alleged irregularities in his asset declaration forms 13 years ago, and the hierarchy of the ruling to which he is a bonafide member will not come out to show solidarity or defend him?

“If it is true that the trial of the Senate President is not borne out of genuine desire yo fight corruption but is being carried out for selfish political ends, then who is next?

“I think the party need to be courageous enough to speak out against this unwholesome trend whose outcome will definitely not augur well for the overall development of our party and by extension the country at this hour.

“Even the holy scriptures admonish us not to muzzle the (ox) that thresh the corn. Saraki has paid his dues at a time it was suicidal for anybody to stand up against to the then ruling PDP. I believe it is time for all of us to act to save our party. It is time to rally round our generals who have fought valiantly and led us to victory. To abandon Saraki is to abandon a worthy comrade,” he said.