APC Sweeps Sokoto Local Government Polls

The All Progressives Congress, APC, has won all the chairmanship and councillorship seat in the Local Government elections conducted on Saturday in Sokoto State.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the results were declared in Sokoto on Sunday by Usman Abubakar, the Chairman, State Independent Electoral Commission, SIEC.

Mr. Abubakar, who announced that APC won all the 22 Chairmanship seat and 234 Councillorship seat, described the poll as `free, fair and credible.’

The chairman had on Saturday announced the suspension of the election in Gudu local government council.

He said that the election was suspended as a result of repetition of the logos of some political parties while those of other parties were missing due to a “printer’s devil.”

He said that a new date for the conduct of fresh poll in the local government would be fixed at a later date.

Kano APC Leadership In Limbo As Chairman Retracts Kwankwaso Punishment Threat

The chairman of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, in Kano State, Umar Doguwa, has made a u-turn by disowning the statements he made on Thursday threatening former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso with suspension for organising a “violent rally”.

Mr. Doguwa had while addressing journalists on Thursday in Kano said Mr. Kwankwaso faces suspension from the party for sponsoring a violent rally while paying a condolence visit to the governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, over the death of his mother.

He said Mr. Kwankwaso had exhibited “acts of indiscipline which should not be allowed to go unpunished”.

He also said the party’s leadership and elders had approved the constitution of a disciplinary committee to penalise Mr. Kwankwaso.

According to him, the condolence visit was deliberately turned to a violent rally to cause mayhem in the state, abuse the governor and President Muhammadu Buhari.

However, while addressing journalists on Saturday, the party chairman said he was forced by Mr. Ganduje to make the statements he made against Mr. Kwankwaso.

He told reporters at the Press Centre in Kano that the Executive Arm of Government under Mr. Ganduje “purely confused a social event with Politics because the visit of Kwankwaso was politicized out proportion”.

He said he was withdrawing his Thursday statement threatening to suspend the former governor.

” I hereby withdraw the statement and disassociate myself from it,” he said, adding that the comments were ” a product of warped and mischievous elements in the government whose position and antics are to cause confusion and disunity among the rank and file of our party.”

However, hours after Mr. Doguwa addressed journalists, the state secretary of the APC in Kano, Abbas Sani, also called a press conference where he insisted that Mr. Kwankwaso must be punished for what happened at Ganduje town during the condolence visit.

Mr. Sani said the u-turn by Mr. Doguwa was “unfortunate” and would be investigated.

“The APC state working committee disassociate itself from the Chairman’s rather sad twisted position and the action is nothing but a betrayal of trust shouldered on him”.

“The Chairman’s remarks are his personal opinion and that of his mentor which will not change the earlier position of investigating the action of Kwankwaso and bringing him to book”.

Mr. Sani reaffirmed his total loyalty and that of the APC working committee to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and the party’s constitution.

The Secretary urged APC members in Kano to disregard the statement made by Mr. Doguwa saying they are “baseless and unfounded”.

Mr. Kwankwaso had in a reaction to the suspension threat accused his successor, Mr. Ganduje, of plotting to split the APC in Kano state.

In a statement by his aide, Yunusa Dangwani, on Friday, Mr. Kwankwaso denied being behind any “violent rally” in Ganduje town.

“It is therefore appalling and rather unfortunate that the good gesture of Sen. Kwankwaso has been mischievously interpreted wrongly.

“It is also disheartening that few hours after the death of our state Deputy Chairman Alhaji Isa Ali Danmaraya, the Government was busy coercing and misleading some party leadership into addressing a press conference that will only culminate in splitting the APC in Kano,” the statement said.

APC Candidate Opts Out Of Akwa-Ibom Re-run Poll

Victor Okon, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the March 12 Akwa Ibom rerun election, has withdrawn his candidacy.

Okon, vying for the Oron/Udung Uko constituency, made his decision known at a news conference held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital, on Friday.

He said his withdrawal from the Saturday Akwa Ibom House of Assembly rerun election was personal.

“After due consultation with my family and immediate constituency, I have decided to withdraw from the rerun election fixed for March 12, 2016 for very personal reasons,” he said.

“I have also already resigned from the All Progressives Congress (APC). This is my will and final decision on this matter.”

He thanked the people of Oron/Udung Uko state constituency for their unflinching support and assistance throughout his sojourn and during the contest and his political career.

Okon contested the Oron Udung Uko state constituency election on the platform of APC in the April 11, 2015 election and lost to Effiong Bassey of the PDP.

Kano APC Crisis: Kwankwaso Accuses Gov Ganduje Of Trying To Split Party

The immediate-past governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, has reacted to a threat by the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to suspend him for staging a “violent rally”.

Mr. Kwankwaso, a serving senator, had on Monday visited Ganduje town on a condolence visit to his successor, Abdullahi Ganduje, who lost his mother recently.

However, the Kano APC said the condolence visit was deliberately turned to a violent rally to cause mayhem in the state, abuse the governor and President Muhammadu Buhari.

APC chairman in the Kano, Umar Doguwa, had on Thursday addressed a press conference alleging that Mr. Kwankwaso had exhibited “acts of indiscipline which should not be allowed to go unpunished”.

Mr. Doguwa said the party leadership and elders had approved the constitution of a disciplinary committee to penalise Mr. Kwankwaso.

However, the camp of the former governor, on Friday, issued a statement, saying the former governor refrained from visiting the state since May 29, 2015 when he handed over to Mr. Ganduje in order not to interfere with the state’s affairs.

According to the statement, Mr. Kwankwaso had given his successor “space and time to settle down and consolidate on Sen. Kwankwaso’s successful programmes and projects that resulted into 100% APC’s success in the 2014 local government and 2015 general elections respectively”.

The statement, signed by Mr. Kwankwaso’s aide, Yunusa Dangwani, also said the senator found it pertinent to visit his successor and condole with him over the death of his mother.

It said there had been close ties between Messrs. Kwankwaso and Ganduje, being his former deputy for eight years and also his former Special Adviser when Mr. Kwankwaso served as Minister of Defence.

The statement added that Mr. Kwankwaso also “deliberately gave short notice for the condolence visit, but was pleasantly surprised by the turnout of the good people of Kano who came to receive him at the Malam Aminu Kano Airport and escorted him to Ganduje village”.

The statement added that by the time Mr. Kwankwaso’s convoy arrived Ganduje town, they were surprised “that some local people brandished local weapons, not minding the somber occasion. It is unfortunate that they could not be chided, thus we left them with their weapons at Ganduje”.

“It is therefore appalling and rather unfortunate that the good gesture of Sen. Kwankwaso has been mischievously interpreted wrongly.

“It is also disheartening that few hours after the death of our state Deputy Chairman Alhaji Isa Ali Danmaraya the government was busy coercing and misleading some party leadership into addressing a press conference that will only culminate in splitting the APC in Kano,” the statement said.

The statement further warned Mr. Ganduje to desist from dragging the name of President Muhammadu Buhari to cover for his administration’s “obvious weaknesses”.

Mr. Kwankwaso therefore urged the governor to “strive to concentrate on facing the enormous challenges of governance such that, perhaps, he may also be revered and respected by the good people of Kano State”.

Rivers APC Raises Alarm Over Killings Of Its Members

Barely 48 hours after a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Omoku, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area (ONELGA) of Rivers State, Franklin Obi, was killed alongside his wife and son, the party has again raised the alarm over the death of two of its members.

The party, in a statement issued yesterday by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chris Finebone, said two of its members were killed, one each in Buguma and Opobo.

The statement said: “Today Monday, March 7 in Buguma Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, PDP thugs working for the illegal Asari-Toru CTC, Sobomabo Jackrich, went on rampage and in the process killed and burnt, Mr. Ofinjite Amachree, an APC chieftain in Asari-Toru LGA. He was attacked by known PDP thugs, beaten to coma before setting him ablaze.

“The APC wishes to also announce that same today, an APC member by name Tubotamuno Wariso was also attacked and beaten to death at Opobo Town, Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area by known PDP/Icelander cult boys.”

The party alleged that the killings were part of the scare tactics of the PDP ahead of the re-run elections in the state.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Felix Obuah, has condemned the spate of killings in the state, especially in his home local government area, ONELGA.

He said he was “shocked and saddened by the reckless killings in Omoku, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State” which continued over the weekend.

Speaking to journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday, Obuah described the resurgence of killings among his kinsmen as abominable and sheer madness.

He wondered why all the entreaties by the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to all the warring youths in Omoku during his visit to the area a few weeks ago could be so flagrantly violated as though they gain anything from killing one another.

Describing the weekend onslaught as one too many, he urged the police to beef up security around the area and all parts of the state and further urged them to fish out perpetrators of the heinous acts and bring them to book.

While sympathising with victims of the attack, Obuah advised the police to step up their intelligence gathering in order to prevent further attacks and killings of Rivers people.

“My heart goes out to those that lost their lives and loved ones in this tragic event,” Obuah said.

Obuah further urged politicians to join hands with Wike to keep the State peaceful and secure from the hands of criminals, rather than trading blames and politicking with insecurity of any kind in the state.

He regretted that rather than join in the fight against criminality and insecurity in the state, some politicians, particularly, chieftains of the APC had used it to play politics.

Obuah reiterated his crusade for a free and peaceful State devoid of crimes, stressing that he cannot be part of anything that would take someone’s life.

He promised that the PDP would continue to preach against violence and criminality in the State, and would not support evil in whatever guise.

He recalled that a number of people lost their lives during the weekend attack including one Isaac Ikechukwu Chinedu, PDP Chairman in Obite; Chinedu Saidey, Ward 9 PDP Assistant Secretary from Oboburu Community; Franklyn Nkukuru Obi, APC Ward 4 chairman, his wife and son.

Lagos APC Calls For Peace In Mile 12

The Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has decried the recent crisis that engulfed Mile 12 Market which led to scores of death and destruction of several property. The party said the crisis was needless and targets the peaceful coexistence that has existed in Lagos.

In a release in Lagos, signed by the Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Joe Igbokwe, the party urged the various groups and factions in the crisis to maintain the peace and follow the processes laid down by the Lagos State government to restore peace in the area.

It urged leaders of the various ethnic communities in Lagos to respect the rights and interests of other ethnicities and ensure that the state continues to play its role as a huge entrepôt of diverse shades of Nigerians.

“As a party that believes in the peaceful coexistence of all Nigerians in all parts of the country, we see the recent bloody crisis in Lagos as a drawback to the peace and well being of the country and the peaceful coexistence of its diverse ethnic nationalities. We express this sentiment because we see the crisis as needless and grossly in contrast with the existing amity that has endured in Lagos fir a very long time.

“We believe that all ethnic groups in Nigeria must imbibe tolerance and compromise for us to forge a united and prosperous nation and the taking up of arms at the slightest excuse. We did not see what reportedly happened in Mile 12 as capable of igniting the kind of violent reaction that followed it if we all see ourselves as united and we believe the leaders of the various ethnicities as well as religious leaders must intensify efforts to promote tolerance and peace among Nigerians.

“We condemn the crisis in its entirety and throw our weight behind the efforts of the present state government to find lasting peace to the Mile 12 crisis. We therefore urge the various contending interests to maintain the peace, sheathe their sword and key into the peace efforts of the state government

“Lagos APC mourn the lives lost in the crisis and condolence with those that sustained injuries as well as those whose properties were destroyed in the crisis. We urge all to tap into the new vision for Lagos which requires every Lagosians to leave at peace and harmony with each other irrespective of tribe or tongue.”

Hundreds Of PDP Members Defect To APC In Ondo

Over 500 members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo East Local Government Area of Ondo State yesterday joined the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The defectors, who were led by Folajimi Adefemisoye, said they parted ways with the present administration because of its deceitful nature.

The new members are supporters of the APC leader in Ondo East/West Federal Constituency, Bola Ilori.

Ilori, who was the former Special Adviser to Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola on Environmental and Sanitation Matters, said the APC is receiving new members daily.

The lawmaker described the party as an amalgamation of many parties, adding that there should be no founder or joiner.

His words: “We are attracting more people into the party daily. We are kick starting the process that would lead us into winning the seat of government next February.

Ilori urged residents to work together to facilitate the removal of the “visionless government” in the sunshine state.

He also urged all governorship aspirants to unite and ensure a peaceful primary.

The APC Chairman in Ondo East, Temitope Akintunde, thanked Ilori for his financial and moral support to the party.

He described him as a good leader with pragmatic approach to political issues.

At the event were two governorship aspirants Jamiu Ekungba and Olusola Oke, APC chieftains including the Ondo Central Senatorial Chairman, Prince Gboyega Adedipe, who received the new members on behalf of the state chairman, Isaac Kekemeke, Chief and Mrs Wale Omojuwa, Mrs Bukola Tenabe, Mrs Kehinde Adeniran and others.

Ondo Retirees Lambast Mimiko Over Non-Payment Of Salaries And Pension

Labour retirees in Ondo State have come hard on Governor Olusegun Mimiko for his “refusal to pay salaries and pensions”.

The Labour Veterans, led by former Labour Union leader, Pastor Oyekan Arije, said this when they visited the All Progressives Congress (APC) State Chairman, Isaac Kekemeke.

The senior citizens were at Kekemeke’s office to show support for the APC in the forthcoming governorship election.

Arije was former Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Mimiko on Due Process.

The retirees told the APC Chairman that “never before in the state’s history has public workers gone this long without being paid let alone celebrate the Yuletide bleakfully”.

They decried their members’ sufferings, saying they helped Mimiko to win in 2009.

According to the labour leaders, Mimiko is the first governor that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) would endorse and support.

They, however, declared that since the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has ruined the state, they have decided to work with the APC by ensuring that the party wins.

Kekemeke thanked the retirees for their visit and praised their doggedness in their struggle to continue to fight Labour’s cause even after retirement.

He praised their boldness for supporting the APC and enjoined them to continue to bear the present suffering the PDP-led government has brought on citizens, until “the APC government will come to change our stories for good next year”.

Buhari, APC, Others React To Death Of Minister, Ocholi

TRAGEDY struck, yesterday, as the Minster of State for Labour, Chief James Ocholi (SAN), his wife and son died in a fatal auto crash along Abuja-Kaduna highway.

While Ocholi, 55, and his son, Aaron Enojo, 20, died instantly, his wife, Blessing Fatima, a Registrar at Salem University, Sokoto, was said to have died later from injuries sustained in the crash.

It was gathered that the wife slipped into coma before she finally gave up the ghost in the hospital.

The late minister and members of his family were said to be travelling in his Prado SUV.

Explaining how the minister and his family members died 57 kilometers away from Kaduna, Kaduna State Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Francis Udoma, said the rear tyre of the SUV they were travelling in burst, while the vehicle skidded off the road and somersaulted several times into the bush.

Udoma, who made this known in a telephone chat with newsmen in Kaduna, yesterday, said: “The rear tyre burst and the vehicle somersaulted into the bush. The minister and his son died on the spot, the wife died in the government hospital at Doka, Kaduna.

“His driver, the chief detail, the orderly and the P. A. (Personal Assistant) were injured and are receiving treatment.”

The news of the minister’s death reportedly rattled the Presidency, which deployed some members of the cabinet to receive his remains at National Hospital, Abuja, last night.

They include Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal; Governor Yahaya Bello Kogi State; Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige; Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole; Dr. Jaf Momoh, and Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Tayo Haastrup.

Reacting to the accident, President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement by Garba Shehu, his spokesman, described Ocholi’s death as untimely, regretting that Nigeria had lost a key component of the change agenda.

He also described the deceased as an accomplished and patriotic Nigerian, saying: “Barrister Ocholi was an accomplished and patriotic Nigerian, who was keen to accept the call to service at a time his country needed him.”

The President remarked that in the few months Ocholi had been in office, he had already begun to distinguish himself through his commitment and dedication to his portfolio, adding that Ocholi had a long record of political association with him.

Buhari also extended his condolences to the government and people of Kogi State, who he described as having lost a distinguished and irreplaceable son.

This was even as he also sent the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr David Babachir, to formally convey the news to members of the deceased family as well as his church and prayed that God comforts and grants them the grace to bear the loss.

“The entire country mourns the loss of this great man, who has sadly left us when we need him most,” the President said.

Also reacting to Ocholi’s death, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State expressed shock and described him as a pragmatic and dynamic lawyer.

Bello in a statement issued, yesterday, in Lokoja by his Chief Press Secretary, Kingsley Fanwo, described the late Ocholi as a pragmatic, dynamic, humane and brilliant law officer, who was known around the world for his dexterous approach to legal and political issues and one of the most unswerving constitutional lawyers Nigeria has ever produced.

“The governor recollected with nostalgia how the late Senior Advocate of Nigeria joined other progressive minded individuals around the country to drive the intellectual pillars of the All Progressives Congress. The late Ocholi was a complete gentleman, who was irrevocably committed to the advancement of Nigeria,” Fanwo said.

The governor also described the late minister as a detribalized Nigerian, who believed in the oneness of the nation, summing up his death as an irreparable loss to Kogi State, Nigeria, the All Progressives Congress and the legal profession.

Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly, Umar Imam, said the late minister’s quest for peaceful resolution of every issues, be it political, community or otherwise, endeared him to the hearts of the people.

Umar in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Bawa Dangana, said though the death occurred at a time he was needed most, the people of the state would take solace in the agitation of the late minister to ensure that peace reigned in the society.

The speaker urged the family to take solace in God, and urged the people of the state to take lessons from his death and pursue peace at all times.

Erstwhile Minister of Labour and Abuja lawyer, Nwadiala Emeka Wogu, in his tribute, described his death as shocking and saddening.

He said: “It is very sad and shocking and a big loss to the legal profession. The labour movement will miss him, given his active involvement in the peaceful resolution of industrial issues.”

The All Progressives Congress, APC, in reaction, described the death of the minister and his son as shocking and a monumental loss.

APC National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, in a condolence message, said the late Ocholi, who was the party’s Deputy National Legal Adviser, would be remembered for his selfless service to the country as minister, party, legal profession and his home state, Kogi.

While extending his condolences to the people and government of Kogi State, Buni prayed God to grant Ocholi’s immediate family the fortitude to bear the painful loss.

A condolence message by his friend, Mr. Sebastian, read: “It is simply unbelievable that my good friend, James Ocholi, SAN, is dead. Worse is that he died with his beloved wife and child. This is most tragic. This is most shocking.

Death, where is your victory? ‘Where is your sting? Christ overcame you and rendered you comatose on that Old, Rugged Cross when He resurrected with tempestuous power. I mock you in most un-mistaken terms.”

Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State in a statement yesterday, said Kaduna State government was in deep shock over the loss.

El-Rufai, through his spokesman, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, said the accident was devastating.

He said: “The state government extends its heartfelt condolences to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Ocholi family.

“Our condolences go to members of the Federal Executive Council and the entire nation. The minister died at a critical time when his contributions in the ongoing national rebirth and realisation of the change mantra are needed. May the Almighty God grant their souls eternal rest.”

In his reaction, NBA President, Augustine Alegeh, SAN, said: “It is a sad and shocking news. It is unbelievable. James was a devout Christian, a consummate bar man whose knowledge of law stood tall.

“He was modest, unassuming but very clear-headed and efficient in the discharge of his duties. He contributed immensely to the development of the bar. This is a very sad and painful loss to the entire bar. We pray for the safe recovery of his wife and others involved in the accident”

Labour analyst, Mrs. Funmi Komolafe, said: “His (Ocholi) appointment was seen as an indication that the Buhari administration was set to move the ministry beyond dispute resolution and strikes.

“It was the first time that the ministry had a Minister of State. Before his appointment, the ministry always had a minister. Successive governments never saw Labour as a key ministry that deserves a Minister of State. “Ocholi died before he could make his mark or justify his appointment.’’

I’ll Never Return To PDP – Oke

An All Progressives Congress chief and former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State, Chief Olusola Oke, has said he will never return to the PDP.

Oke, who defected to the APC shortly after the March 28, 2015 Presidential election, said he had no plan to go back to his former party.

He spoke to reporters on Monday in Akure.

He was reacting to the report published on Monday by a national daily and credited to the state Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Clement Faboyede, saying that all the former PDP chief, who had left the party, would soon return to the party.

Presidency Insists Buhari Never Made #Our5k Promise To Unemployed

The presidency has said that president Muhammadu Buhari never at any point during his 2015 presidential campaign made a promise of paying N5, 000 monthly stipend to the unemployed graduates in the country.

It however stated that there was a provision of half a trillion Naira in the 2016 budget which was mapped out to execute six social safety net programmes. According to the presidency, one of the programmes was a conditional cash transfer where the federal government would pay N5,000 monthly to the vulnerable and extremely poor Nigerians.

Giving clarification to the matter which had become controversial following president Buhari’s reversal of the promise, the media aide to the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande who spoke to State House Correspondents in Abuja on Monday, stated that the payment of N5, 000 to the less privileged contained in the budget would be implemented.

Akande also stated that about of 500,000 graduates who would be integrated into the teaching system would be paid N5, 000 token while on training. His words: “The budget for 2016 which has been submitted to the National Assembly has made an allocation of half a trillion naira, the first time in the history of this country’s budget where you have that huge chunk of money allocated for social investment. There are six social safety net programmes. One of them is the conditional cash transfer where government is going to pay N5, 000 monthly to the vulnerable and extremely poor Nigerians. That promise stands.

“The President never promised to pay unemployed graduates N5, 000; the President never made that promise and the government never made that claim that it will pay N5, 000 to unemployed graduates. The programme for unemployed graduates is the direct creation of half a million teaching jobs so that they will be trained; 500, 000 unemployed graduates will be trained to teach and they will be deployed to teach, while they are looking for their career paths or jobs. That still stands!

“In addition to that, there is also a scheme to train 370, 000 non-graduate youth for skill acquisition and vocational training. During the time of that training, they will also be paid. “So the President did not say that he would be giving unemployed graduates N5, 000. The N5, 000 monthly stipends which is already in the budget is for the vulnerable Nigerians and the extremely poor. Once the budget is okay , one million extremely poor Nigerians will receive N5, 000 monthly.”