RECORD KEEPER FOR 1ST JUNE – 15TH JUNE, 2013

June 1, 2013

This month was opened with the comic relief of the year as the factional Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the presidential anointed candidate, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State described his rival, Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi as a dictator during his first term as chairman of the forum. But in a swift reaction, the government of Rivers State noted that soon, other governors who knew the facts of the matter would reply Governor Jang. It however seemed to me that the kettle had started calling the pot black.

No sooner than the government of Rivers State noted that soon, other governors who knew the facts of the NGF matter, vis-à-vis the allegation of Governor Jang would reply him that the Lagos State Governor, representing the pro-Amaechi governors went to court to stop Jang from parading himself as the Chairman of NGF.  Babatunde Raji Fashola filed the suit at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in his capacity as a member of the forum. This however affirmed the statement made by Amaechi and further established his leadership, which is why some people say Amaechi get mouth, Jang should watch his words.

 

June 2, 2013

The ruling People’s Democratic Party, on this day stated that the opposition political parties merging to form the All Progressive Congress do not have the capacity to hold primaries to choose those who would be contesting on its platform in 2015. The party’s spokesperson, Olisa Metuh said this in a statement in Abuja while dispelling fears that divergent views and opinions among members of the PDP were capable of weakening it ahead of the 2015 elections. On this same day that seemed like a ‘political Sunday’, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) sent words back to Metuh and the PDP, saying he would support whoever emerged as the APC presidential candidate to challenge the ruling party in 2015 election. But did anyone tell Buhari that he’s being referred to in that statement… Did I hear you say na military sense! All the same, time will tell and we shall see if Metuh’s prophesy will come to pass or not.

As the consequence of the role played by the Niger State Governor and Chairman Northern States Governors’ Forum, Dr. Mua’zu Babangida Aliyu in the crisis rocking the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, President Goodluck Jonathan’s men had moved to checkmate him from being re-elected as the NSGF Chairman unless he succumbed to the PDP pressure and recognized Governor Jonah Jang as the NGF chairman. Governors Gabriel Suswam of Benue, Ibrahim Shema of Katsina and Isa Yuguda of Bauchi were confirmed to be the arrowheads of the plot to exert a pound of flesh from Aliyu. Whichever side they pitched their tents, I think it matters for somebody to click to refresh the political button that accommodates the sentence ‘no permanent enemy or permanent friend in politics, but permanent interest.’ Shikena!

 

June 3, 2013

‘Who wants to be a billionaire?’ This seemed the question posed before Nigerians by the United States government as they placed a $7m (1.1bn) bounty on Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau to be given to persons with information that could lead to his arrest. Up to $5m was also placed on Al-Qaeda veteran, Mokhtar Belmokhtar and further $5m was offered for top AQIM leader Yahya Al-Hammam. This quick way to make money was however described by the Federal Government as a welcome development. Oh boy, opportunity comes but once…

It was not a good day for the agitators of new states as the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, announced that most of the agitators failed to operate within the constitution. He said the process required the support of two-third of elected lawmakers at the local government, state and national level, against their erroneous impression of memoranda submission as he quoted section 8 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. This might mean the agitators did not study the constitution to understand the procedure o. Anyway, there’s always a second chance.

 

June 4, 2013

On this cool Tuesday, the priority of the congress men at the green chamber of the National Assembly was the amendment of Section 143 of the 1999 Constitution. Honourables Yakubu Dogara and Emmanuel Jime, the sponsors of the bill maintained that they sought to remove the ambiguities in the process of removing the president and the vice-president from office on allegation of gross misconduct and provide for more transparent and democratic procedure for impeachment and for other matters. The bill was thus passed for the second reading. But I am sure, this is what the villa won’t like. Hmnn…Jona should be careful o, what is gross misconduct in the chamber may just be an exercise of executive power in the villa.

Still on the lawmakers, the Senate Committee on Constitution Amendment, on this same day also presented the report of the public hearing it conducted before the Senate at the red chamber with a recommendation of six-year single term for president and governors. But the bomb there was the clause that restricted the serving president and governors from being part of the grace. Who say the lawmakers are being tough on the Ijaw man!

I no go gree o, I no go gree… This looked like the song being chorused by the Rivers State Governor and re-elected Nigeria Governors’ Forum Chairman, Rotimi Amaechi, when he visited the NGF headquarters at Asokoro, Abuja in the company of Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State. Amaechi, who was suspended by the PDP for refusing party directive not to re-contest the NGF leadership said he would stick to the mandate that was freely given to him, and that he won’t step aside for any consensus candidate. He said, “Basically, when individuals are not able to reach a consensus, the best form of choosing a leader is by election.”  He however reminded Governors Jonah Jang and Olusegun Mimiko that “nobody can go to heaven when he is not saying the truth.” Yes, hell is as real as heaven, the message of the stubborn pastor.

June 5, 2013

A lot was really going wrong in the acclaimed largest political party in Africa, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as it suspended another of its own, the Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wagatakarda Wamakko from the party for alleged insubordination. Wamakko, another victim of the NGF election result was seen by the leadership of the party as a defiant PDP governor, he was thus smacked with the big stick. While other political parties were canvassing for more members in their party, the PDP continued to wield the big stick. In less than two weeks, two governors of the party were suspended and only God could tell how many would be left as the PDP National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur had decided to make good his threat to cleanse the party of deviants.

What the North really wanted to achieve remained uncertain as they kicked against the proscription of two Islamic sects, Boko Haram and Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan by President Goodluck Jonathan. The Arewa Consultative Forum and the Northern Elders Forum noted that the idea sold to them by President Jonathan was to use the stick and carrot approach which was why they agreed to the state of emergency idea, and they gave their consent. They were however aggrieved that Jonathan continued to use the stick but withheld the carrot. They flayed the ban and accused the government of messing things up. But the development turned a bit dicey and suspicious as the Northern Youth Consultative Forum, National President, Alhaji Aminu Mohammed, who pitched tent with his northern leaders called for the ban of Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Niger Delta Volunteer Force, Odua People’s Congress (OPC) and Ombatse. He opined that “these groups also engage in acts of terrorism.” At least, with this statement he admitted that Boko Haram engaged in the act of terrorism. However, the Senate’s position on the proscription was with President Jonathan, Jona carry go, we dey your side dey say. “Whenever the government makes a pronouncement that is good, we will support it”, the House of Representatives also stated.

The issue of the constitution amendment would be around for a long time as the committee saddled with the responsibility of amending it yet again sent a strong signal to deputies that are desperate to succeed their superior either by emergency or by death. The committee sought to amend the constitution with a proposal barring vice president or deputy governors from seeking re-election after completing the term of a deceased president or governor. You won’t believe this did not make any sense to those likely to be affected.

 

June 6, 2013

This day still offered so much on the amendment of the constitution as politics started getting more interesting. The Senate Committee on Constitution Review saw something good in the idea of the former Nigerian president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, with a modification, as they affirmed in the new review the power of the Federal Government to seize funds belonging to local governments where democratically elected executives were not in place. Baba has done dis before and we will do it again, the Senate Committee seemed to be telling their colleagues. On Baba’s part, are you of the opinion that he is saying words of elders have finally come to pass; it might not be in the morning though, but at least in the evening. Meanwhile, the battle for the principal offices at the National Assembly come next dispensation would be more than tough. You’ve not heard? Any person who occupied any of the presiding offices of the National Assembly would be entitled to life pension at a rate equivalent to the salary of the incumbent. Hmmnn… what a way to serve our fatherland, who no wan serve Naija? A beg, Iwan be senator o!

Wamakko no get respect! This was the basis of the PDP argument for suspending the Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wagatakarda Wamakko.  It was alleged today that Wamakko refused to pick the national Chairman of the party, Bamanga Tukur’s call, he frowned at the imposition of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, on PDP governors as their chairman by President Jonathan among Sunday offences. Truly, e no get respect because e get principle and he dey refuse to be pushed around.

 

June 7, 2013

On this day, all roads led to Abuja, precisely the Villa, where the Peoples Democratic Party leaders from the South West, numbering about 150 decided to slug it out once and for all with President Goodluck Jonathan. The delegation’s spokesperson, Chief Olabode George set the tone of the meeting. The aggrieved PDP members lamented their marginalisation under Jonathan’s administration. But trust Jona, there would always be a response. He quickly blamed the catalogued woes of the aggrieved on some cliques from the South West zone where the speaker of the National Assembly was expected to be produced under the PDP arrangement. He argued that the idea was truncated by people from that zone as he asserted that he had always been pro-South West zone, trust him, Ijaw man no dey carry last. Meanwhile, he further gave another exit route “lets reclaim Ekiti and Osun states”, this he felt would ease the burden on the PDP leaders, but through ‘consensus candidate.’ Jonathan urged. What a democracy, Jona style

At it again, the aviation authority was becoming a good machinery to deal with the ‘I no go gree governors’. All battles might have ceased till each of these governors attempt to board a private jet. The Comrade Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, suffered the same fate experienced 42days ago by his Rivers counterpart, Rotimi Amaechi when his chartered OAS helicopter was grounded at the Benin Airport. Believe it or not, Oshiomhole had to cancel his journey to Sen. Ben Obi mother’s burial in Anambra state since his effort to address the issue was made futile by the airport staff. He thus called up the governor’s convoy and made a u-turn to his hometown, Iyamho, in Etsako West Local Government Area of the state. Although, the General Manager, Public Affairs, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Mr. Supo Atobatele came out to say that the agency was only adhering to the rules and procedures guiding the profession, what I know is that they are really up to the task being added to their call and I think whosoever that is giving directives will be proud of them. Anyway, if you are close to the I no go gree governors, advice them to try the waterways.

June 8, 2013

Yes, they are on the list… No other persons than Governors Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State and Babangida Aliyu of Niger State. The duo had been nominated for the ‘most important’ suspension award of the Peoples Democratic Party’. Their offence was no longer news but the yet to be pronounced suspension generated serious row among the party’s National Working Committee members. While some NWC members argued against, others opined that the duo must be dealt with. At least, Nyako must be whipped for battling Tukur who also hailed from Adamawa in the struggle for the soul of the PDP in the state, and Aliyu must be suspended for insisting that Jona signed a pact to do just a single term, not to mention their offence of the NGF election.

‘It won’t work’, the Presidency sent signal back to the Senate on their alleged plot to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from staying in office beyond 2015. Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Dr. Ahmed Gulak stated that the amendment was unfair and the proposal would fail. But to everyone’s surprise, he was relying on Nigerians that the Jonathan’s administration had served so well to come to their aid on this matter. He said “It is not a fair amendment to target a particular group of people. That proposal will not scale through because Nigerians are wiser.” Truly Nigerians’ reacted. They were the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC). They insisted that Jonathan must run in 2015, and that the National Assembly should not do anything that would affect Jonathan’s second term ambition, they warned. Had Jona known this 6-year single term of an idea would backfire, he wouldn’t have raised it. Have you forgotten? He started it…what goes around comes around.

Alas, the lower chamber of the National assembly came up with a position on the 6-year single term for president and governors today. ‘We are not a party to it’, they argued. A member of the House of Representatives and Chairman ad hoc Committee on Review of the Constitution, Ibrahim El-Sudi revealed that the House would only support the retention of the four-year presidential system of two terms, chikena. Interest don differ, tru tru Nigerians are wiser.

June 9, 2013

See what journalists caused, they made the Peoples Democratic Party to administer the oath of secrecy to its members of staff so as to control the flow of information in and outside the party and still, the news is in the media again. Anyway, journalists should take caution, the staff of the party had been warned to stay away from the press, since the press won’t stop to poke nose into the PDP affair. Or u wan make dem lose their job? Na so Chief Solomon Onwe, Acting National Secretary of the party threatened dem.

It was learnt that the sharing of party offices had started brewing tension within the yet to be registered All Progressives Congress. The Congress for Progressive Change and All Nigeria Peoples Party were locking horns for the office of the National Secretary, this however had given room to scheming and conspiracy. Nigerians hope the battle had not begun before they get to the battle field.

The Senate was not leaving any stone unturned as far as the constitution amendment was concerned. Its newly enlisted enemy might likely be the state governors as it proposed to whittle down the powers of these governors over state Houses of Assembly. In its review of the constitution, the Senate proposed to make the state lawmakers and the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIEC) receive their funding directly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund meant for the states. I hope the Senate won’t lose too many friends.

 

June 10, 2013

This was a serious case of ‘fire for favour.’ Ribadu in trouble. The statement of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu at a lecture in Kaduna last Saturday that President Goodluck Jonathan was presiding over a sinking nation attracted the wrath of the Presidency. This revived Dr. Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, and the sleeping dog awoke once again, he’s back in form, spitting fire. He called Ribadu an ingrate, I wanted to know why and he gave his reasons.  He said President Jonathan led administration welcomed Ribadu back to the country after his alleged self-imposed exile, restored his rank in the Nigeria Police to save him from the shame of demotion and converted his dismissal from service to retirement. Hmnn…what a favour he truly got, but why should such be given if not well deserved? All the same, it was only God that could give favour without asking for reward.

Second term is a must for President Goodluck Jonathan, as his aide on Political Matters, Dr. Ahmed Gulak won’t allow the Senate to rest on this at all.  Gulak continued to scheme and strategize on the way forward as he advised the Senate to peg the commencement date of the single tenure to 2019, this, he explained would give President Jonathan and first term governors the opportunity to contest the 2015 elections. E be like say na by force.

Today in South Africa, Dr. Desmond Tutu joined millions of South Africans that were praying for the beloved father of the South African nation and its former President, Dr. Nelson Mandela who had been admitted at a Pretoria hospital for the past 3days.  The anti-apartheid campaigner described Mandela as the symbol of reconciliation in the country due to the roles he played when white racist rule ended in South Africa.

The merger that brought about the All Progressives Congress looked good for all political parties and politicians that were not relenting in ensuring there was change in government come 2015. But the major challenge that accompanied this effort was how their envisaged success would be managed.  While the APC chairmanship had been ceded to the ACN, the duo of Chiefs Bisi Akande, Action Congress of Nigeria National Chairman and Tom Ikimi, the Chairman of the merger proceedings, both of the ACN had started to jostle for support of the party leaders in a bid to occupy the APC chairmanship seat. Meanwhile, the party is yet to be registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This development however signaled the manifestation of the PDP prophecy about APC.

 

June 11, 2013

It was Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Action Congress of Nigeria national leader’s turn to lash President Jonathan and probably be prepared to get his response as at when due after the Aso Villa scribes and spokespersons must have consulted on how to fire back. Tinubu, at the Grand Committee Ballroom, Westminster Hall, House of Parliament in London described President Jonathan as a confused person who does not know how to tackle Nigeria’s challenges. He further stated that the Jonathan government was a retrogressive one with harsh redistribution of wealth. He argued that the bottom got squeezed while the top expanded. And that the current administration was serving Nigerians the salad of corruption. He however promised Nigerians home and in the diasporas a bright future, he said the newly merged but yet to be registered political party, All Progressives Congress, which he described as “the government in-waiting” would rescue Nigeria from its ‘confused state’. Hmmnn…those that stay in glass houses now throw stones as if it’s a hubby. Anyway, Jagaban should be prepared to get his fire back

The Niger Republic suddenly turned a refugee camp for Nigerians from the northern part of the country. Did you ask why? The same old reason, the fear of Boko Haram and the al Qaeda-linked Ansaru which attracted the military onslaught and led to the displacement of not less than 6,000 people, mostly women, children and aged people so said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, in its report it presented in New York, United States.  The agency’s spokesperson, Adrian Edwards said those who spoke to UNHCR said they escaped from not being caught in the government-led crackdown against the Islamist militant sects. He added that the presence of Nigerians refugees in Niger was putting a strain on meager local food and water resources in the country which struggled with food insecurity due to years of drought. What an image painted of Naija.

On this day, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (retd.) Chairman, National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), at the 19th anniversary celebration of June 11, 1994 Epetedo declaration by Abiola publicly stated that the betrayers of the acclaimed June 12, 1993 presidential election winner, Chief MKO Abiola were still in government enjoying the dividends of democracy which they were not part of its struggle. He said most of them were there, masquerading as champions of democracy today. People however waited for him to mention names, you won’t believe it, he disappointed all, because he mentioned none. If you are one of them, Nigerians are watching, you might be forgiven, but not forgotten, dem sabi you well well…

June 12, 2013

A school of thought on this day persuaded President Goodluck Jonathan to take a bold step in addressing the Peoples Democratic Party crisis which pitched almost everybody against themselves in the ‘PDP family’. The president who, this time gave listening ears, at the mention of his political career and the opposition’s determination to wrestle power from him come 2015 which they said the gale of suspension may make it possible to quickly set up a secret committee to look into the crises. Who wan leave power? Issues expected to be addressed by the committee were: the suspension of two PDP governors, Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) and the effect of the Independent National Electoral Commission query about how majority of the PDP National Working Committee members emerged.

The drama that yearly occurred during the celebration of June 12, 1993 election in honour of the acclaimed winner, Late Chief MKO Abiola won’t cease this year. While some governors were celebrating the late hero, the president, Goodluck Jonathan was busy swearing-in the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC). Though he acknowledged that June 12 was a unique day that changed the political history of the country but he won’t declare it a public holiday just like his predecessors. He would rather note that more honours and recognitions may come Abiola’s way but Nigerians hope it won’t come with controversy like the UNILAG saga.

Meanwhile, as the spirit of the annulled June 12, 1993 election came alive in Warri, Delta State, at a rally organized by Asari Dokubo’s Niger Delta People Salvation Front, the group called for the immediate arrest of Generals Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalam Abubakar. The reason, I no know o. They however used the medium to state the koko, their main priority. They said the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 was non-negotiable, what a Niger Delta way to celebrate June 12.

On his own part, the younger brother of late Abiola, Mubashiru Abiola shut the lips of the June 12 sympathisers. He said everybody should hold their peace and stop blaming the death of the late business icon on Babangida because he was not in office when Abiola died. He argued that Babangida had always been supporting the Abiola family, and asserted that the best regime in the country was the one headed by Babangida, lo ba tan! He submitted that the Federal Government was owing the family a substantial amount of money, hence Jona should invite them on the matter…na private discussion.

While the June 12 celebration was on, there was a breaking news, and in less than an hour it made round, it was confirmed that Fatai Olayiwola Olagunju, the great juju maestro popularly known as Rolling Dollar passed on at age 85 after a brief illness. He was diagnosed of cancer at the Surulere Lagos Mainland Hospital where he breathed his last and was buried on the same day according to Muslim rites at his residence in Hammadiya, Ojokoro LCDA, Lagos.

Rolling Baba, ‘won kere si numba’…

 

June 13, 2013

Things have finally fallen apart between the national Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Bamanga Tukur and the Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko. The crisis within the PDP degenerated to an extent where the leadership of the party had started trading words and calling themselves names. They now went public and disclosed to the nation that they were incapable of the offices they both occupied. While Wamakko accused Tukur of incompetence, he alleged that Tukur was running the PDP as a personal business from his private home, thus “Tukur must go”, that was the chorus to his special anthem and the only condition for peace to reign. Tukur sought back, in a fire for thunder approach. His Special Assistant on Media, Oliver Okpala, who spoke for him, said when Wamakko insults an elderly man like Tukur because he was a governor, then we don’t think he had the moral fibre to remain in office because as a governor he should live by example. Yes… Tukur 1, Wamakko 1? This family can yab hen, it seems to me a house of yabis…

This Thursday seemed to confirm the month of June a month of death as the National Association of Nigerian Student (NANS) lost five of its members, including the NANS Senate President, Donald Onukaogu in a fatal motor accident this morning along the Ikot-Ekpene road in Ikwuano Local Government area of Abia State.  The deceased met their untimely death on their way to the University of Uyo (UNIUYO) in Akwa Ibom State where four students were said to have lost their lives during a protest. The official Hummer bus of the union leaders had a head-on collision with a truck somewhere at Ariam, causing the death of five, with scores of others seriously injured. This conspicuously increased the number of lost lives this month.

Yes, I trust you… no, not you, I mean the Presidency. Lailai, Tinubu could not speak those words without getting his response, Trust  these rustic hired speakers, they quickly tagged Tinubu an unpatriotic Nigerian. The Presidency defined a patriot as someone who would protect the image of his country, irrespective of the political differences. This Tinubu failed to do, he chose to say things the way they were or better still the way he saw them, at the House of Parliament in London, and this angered the |Presidency, because the dirty linen of the nation was taken to the public. What an unpatriotic citizen Tinubu was, according to the Presidency. Dr. Doyin Okupe, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs thus put Tinubu in his place. Anyway, truth is bitter but it hurts more to lie.

 

June 14, 2013

The death of the PDP had been prophesized by the former governor of Kaduna State and a chieftain of the party, Alhaji Lawal Kaita. The clause attached to this prophesy indicated that the PDP would be a forgotten party if it imposed its candidates come 2015. He described the words of the party’s BOT chairman, Chief Tony Anenih on automatic ticket as ‘rubbish’ and ‘negative’. He reminded those that cared to listen that he was a co-founder of the PDP and standard practice must be followed. He thus warned President Goodluck Jonathan not to seek re-election, he stated bluntly that if Jonathan decides to contest the next election, ‘they’ will fight him and if by whatever means he scales through the PDP primaries, whether automatic or not, he would fail at the polls because people like him won’t vote for him. A word is enough for a wise, these people vex.

“With Wamakko we stand”, nine Northern PDP governors were telling Jonathan as they insisted that Bamanga Tukur, the party’s national chairman must be relieved of his duties. The governors, nine of the 15 PDP governors from the North expressed displeasure at the kind of treatment being meted out to them as if they were school boys by Tukur, while they frowned at the suspension of Wamakko whom they believed was speaking their mind. But on Tukur’s side, his camp was already pushing for the expulsion of Wamakko for alleged “rudeness” to party leadership. The battle might have just begun.

 

June 15, 2013

Another death struck just this same month that had recorded so many but yet still haven’t given up. The cold hands of death sneaked into the Mogaji family this Saturday evening and snatched away the mother of former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the President General, Association of Market Women and Men, Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji at the age of 96. Lagosians stormed Mama’s Ikeja Lagos residence to confirm the authenticity of the story this evening, only to be told that mama was no more. Mama would however be remembered for her relentless efforts, in many ways, which helped to shape political opinions and decision-making process in the country.

This was really a tough time for the pro-Amaechi disciples most especially those ones that depended almost 100 per cent on the Federation Account and the proceeds from the Excess Crude Account to pay salaries and do other things in their states. The division within the Nigeria Governors Forum did not give them the room to address this financial crisis as the Federal Government at present jumped on the available opportunity to withhold some outstanding and continued to play around this issue. Trust those at the helm of affairs, they sure knew the meaning of the phrase “opportunity comes but once”, and to the fullest it seemed they were going to utilize this. Meanwhile, the highly favoured factional NGF chairman had decided to take a step, planning to summon a meeting of the governors and the president in a bid to straighten things out on the state of finances of the states, most especially when the Forum of Commissioners walked out from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee meeting last Thursday without a resolution. As he strategized on his plans, what remained uncertain was who should be counted in and out. Money matters, you know, this is really not the best of times for PDP.

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